Holiday Muse

Everyone asks, “How is it the holidays already?!?!”  We all feel it: the anticipation of an approaching new year, combined with the anxiety of closing another, all while coordinating complete chaos with your family.  There is something about ending the year, planning to start fresh and managing your family all at the same time, that sends us into a holiDAZE tailspin.  When we reflect on this past year, we can recognize that collectively, there was a high stress level.  Reality is, the news, politics, domestic and foreign attacks, as well as a string of natural disasters, have left all of our hearts a little heavier than normal.  This year in particular, you have the opportunity to approach the holidays with more perspective.  Having observed the turmoil of this year, we have a deeper realization of what matters in life.  With this broadened perspective, you can establish a plan to engage as your ideal self this holiday season.  A plan provides a new approach, sets intentions, and prepares us a little more for the difficult times to come.  This year, consider creating a plan to show up lovingly, accept love from the important people in your life, and create a protective shield around your heart and feelings.

For many of us, simply showing up and being present for a holiday celebration is a big deal.  We all have different situations and relationships with our family and friends that determine our attitudes about the holidays.  Some are undoubtedly better than others, but there is a commonality that it all comes down to: love.  Love comes in so many forms - some of which are not always healthy and certainly not easy.  The joy of the season, as well as the conflict, is usually centered around the desire to love, and the desire for love.  This also feeds a desire for tolerance, acceptance, and communication.  This is so much of what we are seeing at a larger scale in our country during both the positive and negative times.  Unfortunately, when people seek out certain expressions of love in places where they’re impossible to get, all while failing to give love to themselves, the demons of loneliness, paranoia, cynicism, and anger can manifest in those people. This can lead to selfish and seemingly evil actions.  This brings all the more reason to show up differently this year.  Don’t seek out a specific expression of love in a place you know it doesn’t exist. Instead, accept the unique love that each person and space has for you, and if there is no healthy love, walk away. Fill that void with self love, or affection from a healthier space. And in turn, give love freely to those who might be struggling. Showing up consciously can bring the healthy, positive, co-creative love that we need in our micro-communities and ultimately affect change at a global level. 

So, what should be different?  You stop right here, right now and commit to showing up with an abundance of love, recognizing where people are in their lives.  Engage and be present in conversation.  Offer a positive perspective from a loving heart, but do not enable.  Enabling is not love and it often requires you to lower your standards.  Love in a way that pushes yourself and those around you upward towards positivity.  This also includes gift giving.  The pretentiousness and competition that comes with holiday gift giving is not loving.  Instead, give with intention, inspiration and a conscious heart that is inspired by positive love.  Giving a gift that brings awareness or skill to someone’s life has a much higher value and impact than a material item that simply has a high price tag.  Money does not define love.  So remain grounded in your heart, and the right words, gifts and actions will pour from your soul.

Some of this is easier said than done.  You can show up as your best self until your sister insults your cooking, and old patterns of resentment and anger are triggered so quickly, it’s as if you’ve been hit by a paintball gun.  The paint is all over you, and you can’t hide it.  Your face is flushed, there’s a frog in your throat and you want to throw cranberry sauce in her face.  Again, this is where we need to pause.  Instead of waiting for these moments to occur this year (you know it’s going to happen because someone can’t keep their mouth shut!), you will put on an invisible bubble, built from your newfound perspective.  This big, clear bubble will cover you and protect you.  If someone gets too close and tries to hit you, they are going to bounce right off of that bubble.  They don’t know it’s there until they hit it, because your heart has remained open and loving.  This bubble is comprised of confidence, self-love, acceptance, a humble attitude, and a dash of “shake the haters off”.  The bubble sounds funny in theory, but it’s incredibly essential.  An entire year has passed and in some manner, your thoughts about humanity have changed in some way.  It has likely sparked action within you to improve yourself.  These shifts have allowed you to show up differently this year.  With that said, someone in your circle probably did not get the memo.  They either remained the same or chose to move toward unhealthy love.  You are not to accommodate their lack of progress, and when they strike, let them bounce right off that bubble!  Boing!  Sometimes someone has to bounce before they can come back to stable ground and re-engage with a loving perspective.

Ultimately, this is where we all wish to be.  On stable ground, in loving, supportive relationships.  Regardless of what your sister said, she probably wants this too, but is simply lacking the tools to get there.  We must recognize this common desire and allow ourselves to be loved by our family and friends in whatever unique way they are able to give love.  I’m personally horrible about this and I’ve been especially bad about it this year.  We give love so easily, but then we don’t receive it because we don’t want to be a burden on others.  Love is a two way street, and it’s at its best when being given and received.  Our family and friends might not love us in the exact manner that we are looking for, but guess what?  They are doing their best and their love is pure.  Allow yourself to fall in love with everything that you came from.  If some of your background is negative, be grateful that it didn’t kill you.  Appreciate the strength and perspective that it provided for you - the opportunity that you were given to change your life for the better, for both you and your family.  Being open to love in its many forms, and knowing that each form is part of our path toward healthy relationships, can rid us of resentment, fear, and anxiety.

Take a moment and make your plan.  Think about how to show up fully, as your improved self.  How to give gifts that inspire others toward positive development and change.  Think about your bubble and the recipe needed to create it.  Who is likely to trigger you and what are you already anxious about?  And finally, let your heart open wide.  Allow love to flow in and out freely.  Say yes to a family member treating you and expressing their abundance of love toward you.  By receiving love freely, you will make them feel valued, and in turn they will give love to others more freely.  Allow a domino effect to begin in your micro-community, driven by the inspiration and hope to spread healthy love globally.  Live your muse and love like never before!

Rashanna Moss
CEO & Executive Visionary
Moderna Muse

HolidayMuse

Me, too.

Me, too.

A strong grab up the back of my dress from a stranger in a crowded bar, who left so quickly I never even got to see his face. Just the back of his head as he pushed through the crowd, followed by a group of men in crisp button downs and jeans. I spun around and shouted after him - some sort of expletive I can’t remember. My words wilted in the heat of my anger and the blur of so many voices and the booms of loud music. He was feet away from me, but moving fast, and as I took a step after him, with anger flooded across my face, one of the men following him turned to me. He pressed his arm against my chest, backing me up, and blurted “woah woah woah, let it go, we’re leaving.”

In an instant, his defender turned, and they were gone.

Gone to enjoy their night. Gone to grab another piece of flesh in another bar. Gone to prop each other up or ignore each other’s shortcomings or pretend they didn’t see it happen, even though they’d probably destroy the guy who grabbed their sister or disrespected their mom. Gone to move on with their lives, probably to get married and make babies and say things like, “My daughter deserves respect.”

Sadly, having my underwear and bare skin grabbed by a stranger falls into the “not the worst of it” category in the countless “me, toos” you’ve been seeing across social media. So many people get it so much worse. So much so, that we fear speaking out when it’s a “minor offense”. Catcalls, sneaky touches, accidental brushing against our bodies. We stay silent, because we are trained to tell ourselves, “so many people get it so much worse.” We don’t want to complain. We are strong. We are resilient. We don’t want to diminish the struggles of women who have hit rock bottom at the hands of their abusers. We don’t want to call out our friends for committing “minor offenses”, because hey, they’re “not the worst of it.”

But they are the beginning of it.

Five years later, I still look back at that moment and cringe. A stranger’s dirty, bare hand grabbing at my skin, clutching at my underwear. Me, fumbling with my frustration, rolling my eyes with my friends, trying to “let it go”, fighting back tears of anger, confusion, and embarrassment. Me thinking, “I should’ve worn jeans” - on a 90 degree night in Texas. Me, taking blame in my own mind. And no, this wasn’t the only time.

Your body is yours. It is no one else’s to claim, to touch, to make you feel powerless within. You are not to be blamed for the ignorance and disrespect of others. Let’s rise above it. Let’s NOT “let it go”. Let’s end it where it begins, speak up for the abused, and speak out against the abuser across the full spectrum of disrespect and ignorance. Support people and businesses who see that sexuality is not a bargaining chip, a power play, or a mechanism for control. Find your voice, and use it.

Me, too.

Shannon Pike
COO & Executive Brand Curator
Moderna Muse

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EMPOWER YOUR MUSE

We know empowerment when we see it. Energy is strong. Confidence comes easily. Presence and personality are unyielding. An empowered person seems to move with less effort and less force, yet when observed closely, the results show the opposite - they break through walls and overcome obstacles as if it’s what they were born to do. In observing empowered people, there is a juxtaposition of what have been traditionally seen as neutral or acceptable traits and disruptive or unacceptable traits. There is typically a positive vibe surrounding those who are neutral, accommodating and even-keeled, while in general, those who show up as disruptive, headstrong, or argumentative receive more outside judgement and negative feelings towards their ideas and actions. The individual who is empowered walks the balance between these dynamic traits, rising into their individual strengths, continuously breaking through walls, and embracing their freedom to claim their life and their right to be empowered. 

Your personal journey toward empowerment is unbound by the opinions and impressions of others. There will be those who respect and appreciate your efforts and passions in life. There will be those who are threatened or bothered by your refusal to accommodate them. If you are truly rising up and claiming your life, the energy of those who see you positively will outweigh those who see you negatively. But we all run the risk of perceiving and believing the complete opposite - of allowing our fear to claim our life, rather than claiming our life for ourselves. The fear of being viewed in a negative way can cause us to turn away from our true path and sink back into our shells. And by doing so, we turn our backs on our muse. No matter how grandiose or practical your true muse is, becoming empowered is vital to fully rising up in your highest expression of self. It requires that you learn to walk the tightrope between those “acceptable” and “disruptive” traits. It’s a challenging journey to get to this point, but once you make the decision and commitment to walk that line, the worry of outside judgement falls away. You discover that walking in empowerment is actually easier than allowing the judgement to creep in...because to be empowered is to be YOU...living in full alignment with your truth, your special purpose in life.

You own the right to feel empowered, no matter who you are. Empowerment does not discriminate against age, education, race or gender. All that matters is what’s inside of your heart and soul and your willingness to be strong and confident in claiming who you are. Start by observing yourself for a week. Take note of the times when you are behaving or speaking in a manner that feels really good in your heart. You feel completely fired up or completely at peace. There are no layers to camouflage what you are really feeling or thinking. It’s the real you showing up. Document these moments in time to refer back to. Then, do the exact same thing, but with the opposite observation. Acknowledge those moments when you are behaving or speaking in a way that makes you feel unsettled or out of place - behavior that does not align with who you truly are. You are layering on the fake charm or switching conversations to avoid conflict because you don’t want to upset anyone.  What you really want to say is different than what you actually say. How you really feel is different than how you act.  Document these moment as well, and compare them to your previous list. 

In observing the differences between the two lists, you have a choice to make.  You can continue to live as is, with the understanding that your current actions will not lead to your empowered muse, or you can start to put in the work to shift your conversations and behaviors towards the real you. In no way does this mean that you call up all of your friends and give them a piece of your mind. Being empowered is not about asserting dominance or constantly proving you are “right”. It’s about maintaining a steady confidence in who you are, and allowing others to do the same without giving up pieces of your muse. So, no need to go Terminator here!  But you can start to shift the manner in which you allow people in your life, and the way you share parts of yourself with those you do allow in. If you have a friend who you have to consistently fake the funk with, change the frequency and time with that individual so it’s reduced to time where you can be you and enjoy them. Yes, some people need to go completely, but use the guidance of your inner voice, of what’s in your heart, to make the proper shifts. Most importantly, remember the environments and people you were around when you felt the most passionate, happy and peaceful...magnify your time in those spaces!  This is where the juice is. The more time you spend drinking that juice, the more it will fuel you and the stronger you will become in showing up fully confident as yourself. 

Although you become stronger and more confident by drinking the juice, your opposition will simultaneously become stronger. It’s scary. You might feel lonely, judged or even like an outsider, having a hard time relating to others. It’s part of the growth process, and the work you put into those challenges builds up your resilience. This behind-the-scenes effort propels you into empowerment, and manifests as what others see as “effortless” success. They might not see the work happening, but you know and feel the transformative power of it in your soul. If you do feel alienated in the process, seek support in those who embody empowerment themselves, or those who encourage you to keep seeking it for yourself. This comes hand in hand with the concept of allowing people to come and go in your life, based on how they energize you. There is a common misconception, especially among women, that we have to be “alike” in order to be “aligned” - but becoming empowered looks different on everyone. Empowered women are speaking at rallies, editing films, managing households, volunteering at animal shelters, serving lattes, and everything in between - what links them together is their commitment to claiming their life, owning their choices, and respecting everyone’s potential to do the same. Surround yourself with these empowered women - the ones who encourage you to make the choice that differs from theirs, but leads you to a shared sense of strength and confidence. 

You must also push yourself to deal with the challenges of becoming empowered independently - seek out articles, books, music and other connective points to push through the pain or confusion. Think about those everyday moments where you feel a little lost or uncomfortable, like when something in your house breaks. The fix is often within your scope of capabilities, you just need more information to bridge the gap of what you already know and the small portion of information needed to complete the fix. You find a tutorial on Youtube and grab supplies from the hardware store. It takes time, but you figure it out and complete the fix. And then you feel accomplished because you depended on yourself and your own faculties. Sometimes, the tools and knowledge that we gain on our own are the very experiences that build self-confidence and self-reliance, better equipping us for the next hiccup life throws our way. This is paramount in finding your path towards empowerment. It is self-earned, self-taught and can only be owned by you and you alone. And once you break through and see the light on the other side, you will stand up fully in your power knowing that you have arrived. You have claimed your life. You are EMPOWERED. 

Rashanna Moss & Shannon Pike
Founders, Moderna Muse

For more information on our upcoming event, EMPOWERED, visit the Events page. This wellness experience will take you to the depths of your strength in body and mind!

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