Happy New Year!

This very date, January 1st, is when many of us feel inspired to commit to whatever the necessary changes we need to make in order to experience our "best year yet". We often push ourselves to break bad habits and form new routines like jumping into a new exercise routine, eliminating all bad foods, or starting a new 10-step skin regimen. These extreme changes can end up shocking our systems that our bodies end up quitting before we have a choice in the matter.

My personal January track records includes the following instances that were all connected to choices that I made that weren’t rooted in self-compassion but rather the need to change quickly, please others, or overdo out of fear of lack:

  • Sprained ankles 3x

  • Miscarriage

  • Kidney infection

  • Wrist injury that left me unable to work

  • Moving across states with cancelled flight!

I also got married in January 2017 so it’s definitely not all bad. And even with the listed instances, I still don’t let the new year scare me. Each low point was just an opportunity to ground down and reset, something I’ve not always been great at recognizing in the past. The truth is I don’t necessarily rely on the start of a new calendar year to inspire me for active change. I have my own tradition of setting a new intention on my birthday in August, but I take the time during the January to access how my new intention is going. Each day, week, month, quarter etc. are small opportunities to reflect and instead of focusing on how much I am not doing or the extra that I need to do, I focus on how much I’ve done.

This simple act of reflection helps me remember that each year naturally has growth. Whether it’s growing pains or expansive growth, I’ve not experienced a year yet where I didn’t feel like I was at least slightly better, stronger, and more in tune with myself than the year before. In order for me to gain clarity on what I want to achieve and set an intention on for the new year, I go through the following steps:

STEP 1 | Break Up

What did I break up with this last year that helped me create the space I need in my life?

Space is a necessary part of the growing process because if we congest our lives with too much, like I have for many years, there can be no space to move towards. This year, I did the most breaking up ever and it was hard. I broke up a business partnership, I broke up with many excess streams of work that were not adding to my income or happiness, I broke up with gluten, I broke up with some clients, I broke up with constantly trying to “manifest”, I broke up with the idea that if I control everything I can predict an outcome, and I broke up with exhausting myself. These are just the top few that I can think of but they all needed to go. This gave me the opportunity to breathe and flourish in a way I didn’t expect.

Many of my clients go through this break up phase with products that are no longer in alignment with their values, prescriptions that they no longer feel benefit their long-term health, and practices that encourage shaming instead of self-acceptance. The breaking up is seemingly the hardest part, but what we unintentionally end up doing is congesting the newly opened space with too much to fill the void. The truth is that the void is needed in order for you to catch your breath. I know I needed it but didn’t always believe it at first.

If your first intention for 2019 is to start breaking up, my only advice is give yourself a beat before diving into the new. This will give your mind, body, and soul a moment to heal so that the guidance of your intuition will start to come through loud and clear.

STEP 2 | Grounding Down

As many of you know, I not only did a lot of advanced education this year, but I also invested in a lot of self-work. Spending so much money on myself is not something that I’m used to because I’ve never had a lot of money. The wild discovery I made at the end of 2017 is that if it’s for the betterment of you, the money somehow shows up. The investments included seeing an angel healer (at $400 a session!), doing lots of blood work and doctors visits, acupuncture, manifestation courses, reiki, and investing in so many supplements/herbs/tinctures/foods that catered to a very restricted diet plan. It all became super exhausting because I initially invested in all of this because I wanted to get pregnant, but what I realized along the way was that I am way too depleted to be able to carry a baby right now. Even after all of the spiritual people told me they sensed that I was either pregnant or would be soon, I just decided that these investments were going to mean nothing if I didn’t do them for me. Not because I was pressured into them, because it was the popular/trendy thing to do, or for the sake of my future baby. The constant pressure to work on myself endless got to be overwhelming and I realized how I lacked grounding to begin with. So I decided to make a choice and invest in what I wanted to do only if it made me feel grounded and nourished.

Many people suffering with skin imbalances will go to the extreme with what they are willing to invest in but when it comes down to it, all you have to do is ground down and nurture yourself. It’s really simple.

Step 3 | Acknowledge the lessons

It’s hard to feel #blessed when sometimes all you want to do is scream at the universe as to why you have to go through certain experiences in order to learn. But at the end of the day, those experiences are the ultimate lessons that help you navigate the trajectory of your life. Ever since my shingles in 2014, I have not felt the same in my body. Everything from my libido, my weight, my emotional wellbeing, and my capacity to intake information has all been super whacky. It can often be infuriating to live in a city and current social culture where wellness and being healthy is on trend. Not to mention, it’s been my job for 13 years. The constant fear that because I’m not abundantly healthy and the picture of “perfect LA esthetician” has crippled me from even taking the necessary steps towards just feeling better some days. I won’t look like the instagram influencers that sell this lifestyle nor do I really want to at this point. The lesson in having endocrine imbalance, reproductive issues, nervous system breakdown, and sluggish digestion is that I’m just a person going through it like everyone else. The acknowledgment that there is no need to expect myself to be “perfect” has helped me really see my experiences are an opportunity to better myself for future Hayley. It’s not always fun to be chronically exhausted and not be able to eat certain triggering foods or even struggle in conceiving, but I wake up every day and get to try to live a love filled day. That’s all that really matters in the end, right?

So for my clients who are so ready to just have clear, ageless, and “perfect” skin, it’s not really about that is it? The communication being signaled through the skin is much more productive than you think. It’s a roadmap to help you heal for the long-term. Your skin can guide you towards deeply rooted imbalance and depletions which can have a larger impact on your future self than just dealing with a facial imperfection.

And remember, you’re always evolving. Skincare is the active decision to listen to an organ that is a communicator for many internal systems. It's caring for yourself by nurturing the depletions in your whole body. It's feeling good in who you are. It's an evolutionary practice that is sacred to you because you get to wear your skin from the moment you are born until death. It's your armor, it's your barrier of protection, it's your filter of waste, it's your guidance in so many ways. Your practices to care for your skin are your self-care practices. They are part of what serves your whole self and your future self. Enjoy them and create more of them!

My final step is obvious...Set your intention.

This year I am committing myself to a new intention, one that is much better suited for the long-term goals I have for myself and for you! I declare this year to be my year of YIN. My year to let myself heal, restore, and slowly navigate this life in a way that will honor the present. I surrender to the journey and choose simply to take each day as an opportunity to lead with love through this world. If I lead with love towards myself, others, and to the future, I know that I will not be misled.

I hope all of you have a happy start to 2019 and that you are able to take today as an opportunity to reflect on what you have, rather than what you lack. You are all abundant beings that are on this planet for a reason right now. If you are searching for your purpose in an existential way, bring yourself back down by placing your hands over your heart and you’ll see that all your answers lay right in there. Your purpose is to just be you, to live your most authentic life, and to spread your magic along the way by choosing to be loving to yourself first.