Brave enough to be vulnerable –

“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, PhD

There are people who can mask their emotions under even the most stressful of situations. I call this ability a poker face and we all have worn it from time to time.  We wear this unreadable expression when we want to keep our cards close to our chest and don’t want others to know our true feelings. We mask those emotions with a very neutral facial expression.

We cover our vulnerability. As humans we have become good at reading facial expressions, it’s a survival skill. A twitch of an eye, a tear or maniacal smirk can give us a warning when the situation is about to go in a negative direction. Just the opposite is true also; laughter and smiles can let us know it’s okay for us to be at ease.

Although humans share this planet and we all should be on the same team, we know this isn’t true, for everyone seems to separate themselves by their beliefs. Still others will use your vulnerability to manipulate you or use it against you. There are even some situations in which having a poker face is necessary for success; as a lawyer, a business person making deals, or even a politician.

Yet, even with all that, there are those who wear their hearts on their sleeves and everything they are thinking is as plain as the nose on their face. What I don’t understand is why showing our emotions is considered weak. As a woman, I swim in my emotions every minute of every day. I find them very useful actually. These emotions grow my strength.

If a sunrise makes my eyes tear up with gratitude for another day or if a Kleenex commercial makes me cry with sentiment, why is this considered fragile? If I am vulnerable enough to feel all these emotions, I am also strong enough to process them and use them to my benefit. Doesn’t feeling our emotions and willing to share them, make us stronger than those who chose to keep sentiment under lock and key? Emotions get things done; they make us act, move proverbial mountains and even change the world.

Being emotionally invested in an outcome, helps us to see alternate routes and options for solutions. Being passionately invested in the results makes me very creative in finding solutions. I don’t buy into the two choice only options always given to us as a society. False choices of having to choose between the right or the left, masculine/feminine, right/wrong, environmental preservation or economic growth… just doesn’t always fit the need.

Who decided it is the emotionless, poker faces of the world that get to choose what is right and wrong? I’m calling BS on how ‘strength’ is depicted. The way I see it, emotions, covered up by a neutral mask, only means you are not brave enough to show the world your real face.

It is our beliefs that separate us and make us give others the choice of my way or your way… when really, our world is full of options and solutions and hardly ever is there only two choices.

As American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge.”

I believe we are currently in a “times of challenge” part of our history. There are still so many people who think that maybe women are not ‘strong enough’ to lead because we are emotional beings. I disagree. To choose to wear your heart on your sleeve or your emotions all over your face, is brave and profoundly human. To show your vulnerability is to show your courage and what you stand for. It is those with the poker faces you should be wary of.

Emotion like this can even be seen in the little details of life. Like the strength of a mother who brings her 6-week-old newborn into the clinic for vaccinations. Knowing she is about to subjecting her infant to the pain of the injection. She too cries with her baby, as the shot is administered. Holding in her arms the embodiment of unconditional love. She knows this act is for a greater good and protection… There is the emotion of love streaming down her face. There is strength.

Strength has a face and it is not what Hollywood tells us. It is not a poker face or an angry face. It is in the emotion and courage to be brave no matter what. If society is going to heal, we need to change the way we view strength. Because if anyone knows how to heal, nurture and grow; it is a woman with the courage to be brave enough to show her strong emotions to all.

It’s our time to show up and be our true selves. Know it is okay to be vulnerable and that being true to ourselves is the greatest measure of courage.

“There is no greater measure of courage than vulnerability.” Brene’ Brown, Ph.D. from her book Rising Strong. It’s a great read and I highly recommend it!

*Picture take on the Mississippi River, my daughters first canoe ride. (She was scared but brave. I am so proud of her!)

Wishing you love and blessings,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

 

 

5 reasons to foster furry friends!

Have you heard of animal rescues?

There is a local animal rescue in my town called Ruff Start Rescue. It’s run by a young woman with a heart as big and radiant as the sun. Since starting the rescue in 2010, they have grown to over 600 volunteers and have saved over 5,500 animals. I do my best to volunteer when I can, although it is not nearly as often as I wish I could. So, I donate dollars and I foster animals in need, as often as possible.

I love our local rescue because they are not like other shelters or rescues. Ruff Start Rescue sets dogs and cats up for success in a home-based atmosphere by asking volunteers to foster them in their homes as part of their family. This allows the animals to learn manners, be potty trained and get vetting needed; while giving the animal the opportunity to be loved by the family that hosts them.

I have learned so much from the dogs I have helped find forever homes for. Some of them broke my heart. Yes, I cried and wished them well on their journey into their new lives. It was all worth it though; all the tears, all the messes, vet visits, laughs, cuddles, slobbers and love. All worth it!

We have had such great, heart opening experiences, that I just had to share the top five reasons you should foster too! The number one question/statement I get from friends when they find out I foster is: “I don’t think I could foster because I would fall in love and it would be hard to let them go. How do you do it?” Here is what I tell them.

1. “You” get to choose the right family – Ruff Start Rescue lets you, the foster, pick the best family for your foster animal. They trust, that since you have been loving and caring for the animal, that you will know what kind of atmosphere it will thrive best in. If you don’t think the dog will do well with little kids, then the dog does not go to a family with little kids. The point of the rescue is to give the animal its best chance for success and not to put it in a situation destined for failure. You get to go through the adoption applications and interview the families. It it’s much safer for the animal then just allowing anyone to pick and purchase them from a website.

2. You will fall in love – The truth is, as a foster family, we do fall head over heals in love. That’s the point! To show love, compassion and consistency to the dog/cat that may have never been loved before. This is a soulful connection that doesn’t just make emotional growth and stability possible for the animal, it helps you too! To love another living being enough to let them go to a forever family where they belong, is selfless. Helping them find their forever family is much like raising your kids to be prepared for the world. It’s the right thing to do and so rewarding to see them happy and healthy; living their best life.

3. Be fully prepared for the possibility of a foster failure – Foster Failure happens when you foster and end up falling in love with an animal that just fits your family. Then you decide to adopt the animal yourself. I have done this twice. The most recent foster failure was our dog Hank, who was found as a stray. He was held in impound and his time was up. I saw his face and plea for help and I just knew we had to help him. He was almost like a wild animal when we got him home, he needed lots of training and love.

4. It’s hard but worth it – We even had to do a couple weeks of shutdown acclimation before Hank got to meet my resident dog Gus. Hank got to sleep, eat and just decompress in my daughter’s bedroom until he got comfortable and relaxed with his new living situation. It took him a couple weeks, but I believe allowing him this time to feel safe, made all the difference when we introduced him to our family dog. It was hard keeping everyone separated at first, but we were dedicated to Hank’s success. Hank has paid us back for not giving up on him with love and loyalty and he is a wonderful addition to our family!

Photos 3_17_2017 1664
Hank in Impound

Handsome Hank Hank after adoption

5. Letting go  I like to think dogs are like people, although I love them all, some are easier to get along with then others! So, this means some are easier to let go then others! There was a little dog named Rosie,  we fostered several years ago, who had contracted Parvo. Parvo is a disease that kills puppies. This little stinker beat Parvo but the battle was scary and heartbreaking.

There were sleepless nights and a whole week where all we did was just cuddle her, while praying she would live. We had to hydrate her by injecting fluids subcutaneously, which it hurt her to do so. Listening to her cry, while we tried our best to keep her alive, was just as hard as letting her go to another foster family.

We nursed Rosie through Parvo and our resident dogs helped to potty train her and teach her manners, while we loved her very much. She was the coolest little dog I have ever known. But, one day out of the blue, we had to let her go to another foster family on very short notice. One of my dogs, Penny, started to get aggressive towards my other big dogs while playing catch. We felt that it was just not safe anymore for little Rosie, in a house of big dogs that just became unpredictable.

So we called the rescue. They came and got Rosie immediately, because they are dedicated to keeping their foster dogs safe and healthy. It was hard for me to love Rosie for so long, only to have her gone in a flash because of my own pack. It was the best thing to do for Rosie, but it was hard on all of us.

Rosie Rosie

It is true that not every story ends on a happy note, but most of them do! Rosie found an amazing family soon after leaving our home. We have had foster dogs who’ve had Cancer, Parvo, broken limbs, worms, and broken spirits but have gone on to live great lives. The rescue we work with understands that life and animals can be unpredictable and have helped me through many situations throughout the years. I think of the starfish story when I think of fostering animals. You may not be able to help all that need rescuing, but you can help one at a time, and that is better than none.

If you have the time, energy and enough love to share; I recommend you try fostering too. It is such a wonderful experience that I keep going back when our family has the time to dedicate to a rescue animal. I keep going back to Ruff Start Rescue because they have always been there to help me when I need them. They are local hero’s in my mind and this is a cause and crew I love to support. Maybe you would consider opening your home and heart to a furry friend in need.

Please donate if you can to a wonderful and deserving organization! http://www.ruffstartrescue.com

Wishing you an abundance of blessings and love,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

Affirmations for your spirit!

What’s an affirmation and how can they help me? Much like Mantra’s (a sound or word that directs our brain waves into higher consciousness like OHM) an affirmation is the same but a little different. It is usually a sentence or phrase that helps keep your focus on your intention. I find it much easier to meditate and have a better day, when I have an affirmation that reiterates my intentions for that period or moment of meditation.

For example, when I am feeling down, or things aren’t going my way or maybe I am not as self-assured as I would like. I would say something like this (below) to myself several times throughout the day.

“The world is my playground for positive experiences of adventure and miracles in action. Nothing is impossible. I got this.”

This affirmation takes my mind off any worry of the past or future and leaves me open to experiencing my life right now. I believe that, to some extent, we do manifest the day we experience. We all have the free will to think and do what we choose. If we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and don’t figure out how to brush that energy off, your whole day ends up like an uphill mountain climb.

When I wake up mad, (Hey, it happens, some of us aren’t morning people!) I usually try to shake it off and hope a strong cup of coffee and the sunrise will help put a new perspective on things. But on those days that a warm shower and coffee aren’t enough, I do my best to give myself an attitude adjustment with an affirmation.

“Thank you for this day! Please guide me to do only good. I am open to divine guidance and love. I am the light.”

Repetition seems to be necessary, because I get distracted and find myself slipping into lower vibrational thoughts. When that happens, I need to repeat my affirmation and the intention of energy I wish to give and receive from the world around me. Sometimes something as simple as “I am safe.” Or “I am enough” is all it takes to remind me to get back into the here and now of my day.

I am a fan of Louise Hay’s work. She has a book called Heal Your Body. In it, Louise offers insight to buried mental issues that manifest into physical ailments. For example, if you wonder why am I having this back pain? Louise’s book says:

Lower back pain means: Fear of money and lack of financial support. She then offers an affirmation to say to yourself throughout the day to help your mind heal your body. “I trust the process of life. All I need is always taken care of. I am safe.”

Middle back pain means: Guilt, stuck in all that stuff in the past, “Get off my back.” The affirmation is “I release the past. I am free to move forward with love in my heart.”

Upper back pain means: You could be experiencing a lack of emotional support. Feeling unloved. Holding back love. The affirmation for upper back pain is “I love and approve of myself. Life supports and loves me.”

It is a very interesting book that has helped me and many people I know acknowledge the emotions that have physically manifested into ailments. It helps us put words to our mind, body, spirit connection so that it makes sense to our logical minds that rationalize everything. This book has helped me to feel confident in writing affirmations specifically for me. I do recommend you check this book out! 

I have always believed that “thoughts become things!” and we should do our best to keep our thoughts busy manifesting goodness. Working with affirmations helps me to guide my active mind; to a peaceful and positive contentment.

There is no harm in coaching yourself to keep your thoughts positive to have the best day possible. Even if unconventional ways may seem a little ‘woo woo’ I suggest you give it a try! What’s the worst that can happen? You’re still ornery and have a crappy day? It happens to us all. But we can do our best to change the direction of our thoughts and steer them in a more hopeful direction.

I would like to state I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am a human who has a very active mind and I like to share my tips and tricks I use to keep my thoughts positive and productive. If you feel like you need psychiatric help, do it! There is no shame in taking care of yourself.

For those of us who like to practice selfcare to keep that mind, body, soul vibes flowing positively, I think I am okay in sharing my experiences, from one friend to another. I hope this has helped you in some why and opens your mind to alternative practices that help us be nice to ourselves and others.

With love,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@EmyMinzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

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Whoa!

I used to watch Blossom, it was a television show back in the 90’s… way back when. Anyway, Joey was Blossom’s brother who always said “Whoa!” in a cute and funny way when he learned something that surprises him. Today, I am feeling a tiny bit blown away by the roller derby of feels I have going on after election day. Huge, determined, and powerful emotions, crashing into one another that are nothing alike.

At first, I was totally okay and thankful for the amazing experience to be a Candidate. This experience was a roller coaster of emotions, where all at once, I felt excited, terrified, empowered and heart-warmed. But now that it is over, and I did not win, after a very hard effort and sacrifice of time. I feel thankful, sad, angry, relieved, exhausted, blessed, confused, and just plain “WHOA!!!”

This has been one heckava adventure! I would not trade it for anything. I loved everything about it except how hard it was! Man! I am exhausted. I feel the tired deep down in my soul. Like pouring from an empty cup exhausted. It feels so good and so bad all at the same time. Seriously, I have called myself a walking contradiction before, but these feeling here… take the cake.

I want to be proud of myself for stepping up and taking the chance to be the change I wanted to see. I found out it was much harder than I thought it would be. I want to be proud of my work, but I also have this opposite feeling that I let a LOT of people down. People who I have gotten to know and really enjoy.

This opportunity to see the greatness in my community has changed me to my core. I am beyond a doubt in awe of how Central Minnesotans truly care about each other and our small-town way of life we love. I love how we support one another and even if we may not vote the same way, still manage to get allong. Quite nicely most the time.

I have learned that the people who scream the loudest do the least from the sidelines. I have learned quiet people have a whole lot to say. I found I love to and benefit from listening. This experience was raw, from the heart, listening to the families I share my grocery store and gas station with. The folks I talked to are no different than me, they want us all to get along too.

I saw for myself what I knew all along. We have far more in common than not. I think that our communities do need healing. They need to see that it is possible. Everyone who I met, wants it to be possible and needs it to be possible. We need each other to survive. Not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.

As a small business owner, I know the importance the support of my community means to me. I take my job very seriously and do the best I can every time, every client. Because I want the people I help to come back to me. This is what small business is all about, customer service. People remember the way you made them feel. Just like all folks, I have not been perfect, but I took those experiences as lessons and work to improve myself and the way I leave people feeling every day.

I’ve been feeling a lot of feels, but I had an epiphany of sorts. I wish to take my loss as a redirection of my priorities. Maybe, just maybe, there is a different way to do what I want to do? I have some ideas. I will do some research and see where this takes me. Until then, I choose to be thankful for this attempt to be the change I wish to see.

I will be thankful for each and every soul I came across in my political journey, as well as every experience that made me step outside of my comfort zone. I had been craving adventure and a political campaign offered me just that. I am still determined to experience all the adventure I can, even if it’s right in my backyard.

Do I recommend running for office for everyone? Nope. Do I recommend it to those who want to change their perception of the world? Yep. I think far differently of politicians now. This is not a position set up for those without motivation. You must have the funds, the time, purpose and drive that keeps you working your fool head off.

I will admit, I did and do still have an ulterior motive. I want to protect our water here in Minnesota, it is what makes us so great. It sustains our economy and environment plus our way of life. It is imperative to our future.

Yet, I am only me, there is only so much I can do. The majority of people in my district do not agree with my platform, so there must be another way to be the change I wish to see. I must work on this… I already have a plan. Will I run again? Maybe. But there is time to decide and a lot of life to live between then and now.

Until then, I will work to feel all my emotions that will lead me to more adventures and help define how I live my life. I could choose to be upset that things did not work out how I wished they would. But I trust that this journey was an important part of me getting to where I was meant to be.

Working through my roller derby of eclectic emotions is what the human experience is all about. You feel them, let them pass and acknowledge the ideas that come before and after them. That’s the meaty part. The conclusions and the epiphanies caused by the experience and adventure.

The journey happens in the now.  I have been asking for lessons through Joy. I received an abundance of them. I must not allow this one loss to diminish my heart opening experience. It does have a purpose and I still have a purpose.

Let the next adventure begin!

Wishing you an abundance of joyful blessings,

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

EmyforHouse.com

@emyminzel

@EmyforHouse15A

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com

Lessons through disappointment~

It’s going to be the second week in August and I have been on the water and in my kayak only one time, back in June. For unforeseen reasons, both lake vacations I had scheduled to take this month had to be cancelled. I had been puting off lake time and rest during early summer because I knew I would have the opportunity in August. That was the plan anyway. 

I was supposed to go to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area with my Adventure Sister Stacy, the first week in August. Then to a resort (on Lake Kabetogama) with my Husband for his birthday and our Ten-Year  Wedding Anniversary a few weeks later. Turns out things changed and not just one but both vacations had to be cancelled. This turn of events was a devastating blow to my spirit to be frank. 

I was so very much looking forward to spending time on the water; reconnecting with my dear friends, my Husband, myself, and the nature I love so much. It literally feels like the Universe took away my Birthday. Oh, and like I told you in my previous blog, my one and only child moved out of the house this week. So honestly, although I have a great deal of important things to do, my spirit is feeling neglected. I’ve also noticed this feeling reflecting in my attitude and spirit.

We all get this way sometimes, when life changes or events begin to feel overwhelming or never ending. We may dream of getting away to escape it all; so that we can have quiet time to process our next move or to simply have a moment to quit moving! Going and going like the Energizer Bunny, does not allow me to stop and contemplate my feelings, choices, or strategy for the future. When I am unable to find time to reconnect with what is important to me; like spending time in nature, floating on the water, cooking, or writing, I can feel it in my soul.

At first, the news of my cancelled vacations led to a short pity party for one. But I decided not to wallow and keep moving forward with life, as that is what adulting is about. I had decided it was guidance from the Higher Power that my energy was needed at home and on the campaign trail. Yet, as the week of my BWCA vacation passes and my body does the motions of work and progress, I feel the  usual upbeat energy of my spirit and drive fading. Because I am not making time for my own needs. 

It is easy to get caught up in living the life others think you should be. Especially as a Candidate. I have a whole team of people who bust their butts for me and I do not want to let them down nor myself by not doing everything I can do! My campaign life is exciting, important and the way I see myself making a positive difference. Yet, is neglecting my own needs the right way for anyone to live their lives? Probably not. I am hard on myself as I have high standards not only for me but the people around me. 

Yet when they need a break, I am compassionate and understanding while they take one. Why do I feel like I do not deserve one or that I am not able to take one? I am lacking disposable income for vacation this summer because I have cut my working hours down to meet the campaign needs. It was a sacrifice I was able and willing to make. The repercussions though, are that I feel like I missed out on some much needed and deserved time out in the forest and on the lake to recharge. 

I am not looking for pity, I understand many people are not allowed the luxury of vacation. These choices are mine and I believe my heart and efforts will see me to making a positive difference in the world. If not, I still made a lot of great friends and had wonderful experiences this summer! I knew it would not be without hard work or expense, I was up to the challenge/adventure. 

What I am not willing to sacrifice are the needs of my spirit or ignore the calling of my soul to do what I must do. I must be the change I want to see in the world, to do that, I must make time to be authentically me. My spirit is being called to the water, asking me to rest for a bit to find balance and peace.

My soul, is telling me that I have been telling myself, “What I want and need does not matter.” I am not making my spiritual needs as important as other things in my life. I am not making my ‘peacefulness’ a priority. I am putting the wants and needs of my campaign, my family, and my goals over my spiritual wellness. 

This is a reality for a lot of people in our society. I believe this lack of connection to what is tranquil and quiet is where a great deal of our displaced anger comes from in our Nation. All work and no play makes Emy an angry girl. This is not an obscure dilemma for most people in our world today. I find myself covering up my sadness of not being able to connect with nature (or enjoy some of our short Minnesota summer) by coping with anger. I am distant and distracted.

I am distracted by my desires to be anywhere but here sometimes. 

I know you feel these words. 

This is not normal for me, I am  usually and naturally an upbeat person. I thought about not posting such personal feelings. Yet I wanted to acknowledge that I believe; most of us are striving daily to do better, be better, have better, but that we get lost in the ‘doing and getting’ part. Forgetting that stillness and connection to Spirit/God is of great importance, not only for ourselves but to our connection with others and society. 

So, what is a girl to do? I don’t know. I am not a Guru. I won’t offer advice. I will only share my experiences and feelings for you to judge me upon. Do I go put my kayak out on the local lake that is full of algae and pollution? Nope. Don’t need that energy. (Although I acknowledge it is there and strive to do all I can to fix it.) 

Do I find a friend with a backyard pool to float in for a moment in the sun? Nope, not what I am looking for. I need a change from the daily grind. I need new experiences and scenery to stimulate my mind. I want to hear nothing but nature and water. I must reboot like my computer! My body, mind and spirit connection needs to be tended to. 

As with the unpredictability of life, I am not sure when or where it will happen. Yet, I am trusting that Spirit has a plan for me to do just this. Somewhere out in this big Universe this opportunity is waiting for me. Until then, I will be thankful for the good in my life. I will enjoy the nature from my front porch. I will focus on the song of the birds and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees instead of traffic.

I trust the higher power knows what is best for me at this time in my life. I trust this path, I trust this frustration, I even trust the feeling of having my Birthday taken away! This gives me incentive to acknowledge, respect and tend to my own needs. 

The nurturing instincts I have for my loved ones, the planet, animals and others must be also extended to myself. Life lessons or tough love from the Universe can open our eyes to the reality of our actions. My needs are important too. And so are yours. Remember that.

Emy Minzel ~ Adventure Sister

https://emyminzel.com

@emyminzel

Follow the Adventure Sisters on Facebook!

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Stacy Crep ~ Adventure Sister

https://stacycrep.com