Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. I am a small town girl from rural, upstate NY; Williamson, NY, population 7,000, roughly 100 students in my graduating class. I grew up with cows in my back yard and for fun my younger sister and I would ride our go kart around the apple orchards behind our house. I learned from a young age you worked hard for what you got and completing chores around the house were always to be finished first before any fun was had. Although I fought this endlessly as I child I will forever be grateful for the lessons and values my parents taught me.
Growing up I often felt as though I didn’t quite fit in and from a young age I struggled with anxiety/ depression in search of my purpose and meaning in this world. I am deep thinker and quoted an “old soul”. I knew there was a place for me and a life of giving I wanted to live, I just didn’t know where it was yet. Following this path of unsettlement, I knew in order to change I had to take the actions and make the choices to get me to where I wanted to be. At 18 years old I moved out of my home in upstate, NY and went to college in Greensboro, NC. In fact, I wanted this change so bad I worked and spent the summer prior at a local community college and was able to graduate high school a semester early and then start college early.
I was on the hunt for success and in search for someone to give me the gold star I was always looking for. I thought graduating college, paying my own bills and being the most successful person at my high school class reunion would give me exactly what I was looking for my whole life. At least that’s what society had told me. Well, a few years out of college (that I graduated in 3 years) I realized that’s not it. The happiness, wholeness, peace, and contentment has to come within yourself first. This was not easy for me to figure out at all! It has taken years of therapy, self-discovery, self-reflection, yoga, meditation, coaching and work to solve and I am still working to continue to find my inner wholeness and peace every single day, but isn’t everyone?
This past year of my life I have been given the opportunity to really dive in and understand who I am and what my core values are. In this life for me, what I think we all need more of, what makes life whole is love. I believe everything comes back to love but that love must be for yourself first! I am still working every day to find that true love within me and I know it will be a never-ending battle. I was ready to give up on it once and sometimes things get hard, but it’s about finding that one thing every day that brings you light that no one can touch or diminish for you.
Here in this life I want to be able to be there for those and give love, light, joy, and happiness as I would want it from someone else. Life is hard, it’s not easy, and sometimes it’s certainly just not fair, so let’s be there for each other. Let’s share a good laugh, say thank you, be grateful, read often, write a note, open the door, put away the shopping cart, smile, give a hug, spread words of encouragement, share advice, tell someone when there is no more toilet paper in the roll, and help others when sometimes you don’t even know just how much they truly need it.
Q. What is your work?
A. I am a Merchandise Specialist for Men’s Non-Denim and Accessories at Wrangler Jeans. My passion is merchandising, product development, and retail and I am extremely grateful to be working in a field and in a job that inspires me to think creatively and analytically at the same time. It was not always like this though. Actually a few months ago I thought I was done and ready to go back to school to be a teacher and feel more rewarded from a job that I felt gave to other’s directly. I didn’t though, I stuck through it and things opened up for me and I gained a whole new perspective. Life isn’t just about the specific job on your resume, I begun to realize. Life is about the whole, how you perceive yourself/your job and the attitude you bring into an environment is exactly what you will get out. I want to give, and I love helping others, I just have now have begun to find different ways of doing this that allows me to be fulfilled. I challenge and hope everyone can take something they are in and look at it through a different perspective. Even though it might not be the title or the description what can you bring and what can you get out of your current situation.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I am excited to be working on my “social media detox project”. I decided to delete all social media for 30 days! Say what? Yep, I did the dirty deed. I also didn’t just log out of the app’s. I completely deleted the app's from my phone. I was done, done allowing something to control how I felt, done feeling a sense of comparison, and done looking to see if that cute boy from the bar liked my picture.
After an event that happened, will just say the movie Mean Girls was not just made up in someone’s head, I realized this is a problem and if something doesn’t happen, if someone doesn’t start making a stand we are going to allow this to run our lives. I truly believe that social media is certainly going to ruin our youth and ourselves if we continue to become victims to it.
My project is going to consist of an interactive social event hopefully early summer, so stay tuned, of my own personal self-reflections and realizations brought to my life after my 30-day detox and tips for living in a world comprised of social media. Because, let’s face it, we can’t live without it but how do we allow social media to be in our lives and not run it.
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I just went on a solo vacation by myself, and it quite possibly might have been the best weekend of my life! I found out a favorite Author, motivational speaker, and spiritual leader of mine, Michael Beckwith, was coming all the way from California to Virginia Beach and I just knew I had to go. I decided oh what the heck, go for it Haelee, you don’t need to find someone as interested in this as you are, go for yourself! So, I did and in addition I booked a king suite, ocean front for the weekend, and it was so worth it! I had no idea prior what all the weekend was going to eventually consist of or bring but I went into it doing something for myself and it ultimately lead me to experience an amazing time I never else would have.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not, why not? What's stopping you?
A. I truly would want to be giving love, joy, peace, happiness, and blessings to others everyday so that they can see their own light and path. As much as I would want for that to be through giving my love every day to my own dog, child, or partner none of which I have, I am learning to be patient. I believe I can give what I truly want every day as long as I bring it to myself first and accept where I am on this journey and know I will only ever be the person that can truly stop myself from it.
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. To be yourself and own it with fearless confidence! Never listen to what that kid on the bus had to say to you and never force yourself to do something you never wanted to.
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. To know that you are enough! Just as you are, just as you were made to be, and everything you have to offer to this world. Believe in yourself and your values and never listen to the negative comments people will say to bring you down.
Every night before I go to bed I look to my painting with the word “believe” painted on it and in an extremely cheesy way I say to myself in the mirror “I believe tomorrow is going to be a great, awesome, fun filled day”. I have been doing this for over how many years that I can’t remember, and it’s only recently come to me that not only do you have to believe and have hope, but you must go after what you want in this life and live it with your full heart. Stay true to yourself and trust the process.
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. Small acts of kindness, seeing or experiencing love, and a sense of community and belonging.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. I am forever grateful for this community that Yoke and Abundance has brought to me and all the knowledge and wisdom it has bestowed upon me.
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Ah man this is tough, I truly love yoga and its practice in totality. Yoga brings internal peace and grounding into my life and the practice of appreciating hearing your breath is what everyone needs.
To choose one, I would say mountain pose or Tasdana. When standing firmly grounded, drawing in from my core to express out through my hands, I feel unstoppable. I focus my Drishti up and then smile out with pure joy, light, love and gratitude for the practice and my life.
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I chose to treat others the way I would want to be treated. I chose to live my life in service and to give when possible and when I can. I chose small acts of kindness and most of all I chose to laugh, often and at myself for the stupid things I do.
But above everything and anything, I smile! I smile at everyone I meet and open a welcome heart. For you never know just what that smile might bring :)