Listening to Your Inner Voice

Listening to Your Inner Voice: 11 Ways to Connect to Your Inner Knowing

You have a constant source of guidance that is always available to you. Intuition.

Whether you realize it or not, your intuition provides a connecting link to everything that you could ever want or need, and, if you learn to trust your intuition and listen to your inner voice, it will help you to be, do, or have anything that you desire.

Sometimes, following this guidance can come from direct communication with spiritual guides or your akashic records, while other times it can come through a dream, a synchronous event that jumps out at you, or simply a gut feeling about what you should do.

Learning to interpret the information you receive can be a subtle art. Your emotions provide you with the perfect system to interpret whether or not you are thinking about your guidance in the right way.

When you feel good, you are following your guidance, and are on track with what your intuition has been telling you. When you feel bad, you’re off-track. The system could not be more simple!

Learning to trust your intuition can be much more difficult. The voice of your soul, your intuition is always on your side, and once you cultivate a relationship with this superpower, you will begin to realize it is always leading you in the right direction.

Here are some more ways to follow your intuition:

1. practice yoga + meditation

This spiritual practice allows you to calm the activity of the mind and connect to the breath. Through stillness, we are able to quiet our minds and listen to the inspiration and intuitive hits that are coming our way. As you begin to cultivate this relationship with your inner stillness and the Divine that lives within, you’ll begin to trust yourself and to also foster a beautiful and healthy relationship with your inner knowing. 

2. listen to your gut!

Your body is constantly reading and feeling energy. Because it picks up vibrations, it’s important to begin listening to your gut instinct when it first hits. Energy never lies. Listen to your body. It knows before you do.

3. go within and feel

Going within and allowing yourself to feel what’s arising is your greatest indicator on how you should follow through. If it doesn’t feel right, choose again. If you feel a sense of calm and a state of relaxation, it’s the ultimate indicator that it’s the right move. Remember, you have to step out of your comfort zone if you want to experience something you’ve never had before. Trust what you’re feeling.

4. chill out

If you’re constantly on the go and don’t have any time for rest and rejuvenation, not only will you burn out, but inspiration will have difficulty flowing. Inspiration and intuition originate from the same source: Spirit. Let go of the need to always be doing, and learn how to simply BE.

5. follow your heart rather than your mind

As you begin to quiet your mind, you can hear that little whisper inside. If the voice is full of love and trust, if it feels expansive, that’s your intuition talking. The voice of fear and doubt, the one that gives you anxiety, is the ego. Learn to tell the difference between intuition and ego, and start paying attention to which voice you’re listening to the most.

6. release what’s been holding you back

Holding on to the limiting beliefs, toxic relationships, and unhealthy habits are only hindering you from living your fullest, most authentic life. Our beliefs and the stories we tell ourselves determine what we get from life. What we believe is what we will manifest into our reality. Unfortunately, not everything we learn and the beliefs that we form are true or serving us in any way.

Our limiting beliefs are what actually hold us back from growing, from creating the life we want, and sometimes even cause us pain and discomfort. You get to decide what you think about yourself and the world? But in order to change the things we don’t like, we first have to identify what they are.

7. begin clearing out your third eye

We live a society where our pineal gland, the home of our intuition within our brain, has been calcified due to tainted food, water, soil, environment, and products. Using fluoride not only calcifies your pineal gland, but it also makes it more challenging to tap into that center. Working with crystals like Labradorite, Selenite, Sodalite, Flourite, Tiger’s Eye, and Moonstone are great tools to protect and connect with your intuition.

8. trust yourself and where you’ve been

What you’ve gone through up until now no one will ever be able to understand. As you begin to honor where you’ve been and where you’re going, nothing outside of you can steer you wrong. All of it has given you the wisdom to support you along the way. Believe in yourself. You know you more than anyone else. Trust that you are always protected and guided.

9. create sacred space

Seeing life as sacred allows you to connect to your psychic ability and create the space for the inspiration and intuition to flourish. If your mind is constantly crowded and cloudy, there’s no space for the miracle of your intuition to flow. Light some sage or palo santo. Practice deep breathing. Allow your highest self to lead the way. Create boundaries. Surround and protect yourself with a beautiful white light.

10. tune in to your dreams

Dreamwork has always been a great way to tap into the subconscious. As you begin to tap into your dreams and recall them on a daily basis, you can begin to see the patterns your subconscious mind is working through. Start using a dream journal. When you first wake up, your intuition and clarity is at an all-time high, so take some time to not only decipher what the symbolism of your dreams could mean, but to also journal anything else that comes through.

11. stay present

Spirit speaks in the Now, for the Now is all we have. Consciousness lives in the present moment and the more we allow ourselves to honor this very moment, the more we are able to recognize the beauty and gift of being alive. As we allow ourselves to live in the space between thoughts, not only do we experience consciousness, but we are able to listen to the subtlety of our intuition.

If you ask the Universe to show you a sign about an inquiry you’re looking for some clarity around, you must be in the present in order to receive. Stay open to what’s coming your way. Release any expectations about how things are supposed to look and allow yourself to live with faith and trust that all is unfolding as it should.

As you continue to evolve, you’ll begin to realize that your intuition is more than a curiosity, it’s an innate knowing that transcends our limited five senses. Embracing the idea that life is happening for you, rather than against you can lead you on a journey to reclaim your authentic power and foster the self-confidence needed to not only follow your dreams, but to create your own reality—a reality that’s in alignment with your soul’s purpose. 

Your intuition is here not only to help you survive, but to help you thrive, so believe in yourself and use your feelings as a guide. Breathe. Find stillness. Relax. And allow the miracles of the unknown to unfold.

Do you have any ways you love to connect to your intuition? Share in the comments below.

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Elevate Your Mornings

Elevate Your Mornings

What if every morning instead of connecting with your phone and the outside world, you connected to yourself and your inner world? What if you started out each day with focus and intention, designing how you want your day to go rather than just reacting to whatever happens?

People who take the time to manage their minds first thing in the morning statistically get better results from their day than those who don’t. Maybe it’s time to emphasize the importance of a morning routine so that you can start living your life on purpose, not by default.

The three foundations of our morning practice are: Meditation, Journaling, and Gratitude.

Meditation

There’s a common myth that meditation is about stopping your thoughts. That would be impossible, as anyone who has tried and failed to meditate that way in the past can tell you. Meditation is actually about observing our thoughts and choosing which ones to engage with and which ones to let go. It’s a mindfulness practice and about being conscious of our thoughts because it is our thoughts that are creating our life. Thanks to this little thing called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) our brain is trained to look for and find what we tell it to focus on. Quite literally, what you focus on, grows. Take charge and tell your brain what to focus on instead of letting your monkey mind jump from branch to branch.

If you’re new to meditation, don’t feel like you have to jump in and start doing it for 20 minutes a day. Start with two or three minutes, then go up to five minutes, ten minutes, and so on. Once you commit to a meditation practice as part of your daily routine, I promise you’ll start looking forward to making that connection with your inner self.

Journaling

The best way to get to know your inner landscape is to get it out on the page. A journal practice helps you gain awareness of your daily thoughts and feelings and can clarify where you tend to put your focus. Once you have that awareness, you can begin to clear out the mental clutter, set powerful intentions, and reframe your thoughts. Getting what’s in your head out on the page is one of the most powerful ways to get in touch with your inner knowing and learn to recognize your unconscious patterns.

It can also help you integrate knowledge you’ve been absorbing or work out things you’ve been working through. One of my favorite things about journaling is going back to things I’ve journaled about in the past and seeing how far I’ve come and all the changes I’ve made or dreams I’ve manifested. It’s also a helpful place to store any of those bright ideas and revelations that come to us. Having them all in one place can help organize your thoughts and provide future inspiration.

Gratitude

There is always something to appreciate and be grateful for. For one, you’re alive. You woke up. Your heart is beating. Start with finding 3 things every morning and write them down in your journal. The real power behind this practice is getting into the feeling of gratitude. Our brains have this thing called the negativity bias, and it tends to seek out the negative, which, in turn, is working with the RAS to keep bringing more negativity into our focus. If we can train our brains to start looking for the things we love and appreciate, then the universe will respond to our frequency and keep sending more things for us to appreciate, and our brain will be focused on recognizing what we want more of in our lives, rather than what we don’t want. Imagine how powerful it is on a daily basis to feel real gratitude for all the things you love about your life and you want to create more of. Remember, what you focus on, grows.

When it comes to my morning routine, I like to do some yoga or stretching first thing. Then I can sit and meditate. I’ve built up to a 20-minute daily meditation (10 minutes on busier days). Then I get my coffee, and I have a special place I like to sit where I light a candle, burn some incense, and play some music. Here I’ll take about 10 minutes to journal. This is where I check-in with myself and decide what I want my day to look like. I think about what I’m grateful for, which always feels good, and after that, I’ll read something inspirational (I always have a stack of books nearby).

I recommend that you use your favorite journal (or buy a new one just for this purpose) and use the format from the Morning Journal worksheet to get you started.

If you already have a strong morning routine and you’re looking to add more to your mornings, here is a great list to get you started:

Want extra inspiration to add to your daily journal practice? Here are some ideas:

  • Brainstorm dreams and goals
  • Collect empowering quotes
  • Write about your future self
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Work through beliefs that are holding you back (shadow work)

You can access our Journal Prompts worksheet in the Freebie Library here.

No matter how you choose to start your day, what matters most is consistency. Results come from what you do every day, rather than what you do on occasion.

Stick with this practice for 30 days. If you can give yourself this twenty-minute head start in the morning, imagine what the rest of your day can feel like. This isn’t just about building a morning routine, it’s about creating your best life, one morning at a time.

For free spiritual resources, updates, freebies, and other surprises, sign up for the JL Winters newsletter.

If you’d like more inspiration, connect with me on Instagram.

Lots of love and light…thank you for reading.

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What is Self-Care

What Is Self-Care?

We’ve all heard about self-care, but what is it exactly?

Our society has become hyper-focused on physical health, exercising, and eating right, but not so much on the importance of tending to your mind and soul. It’s only recently that mental health even became an accepted topic of conversation, and the essential component to mental and emotional health is the practice of self-care.

What does self-care look like, then? Is it going to the spa, getting manicures, and indulging in Sunday brunch with your girlfriends?

Or does it go much deeper than that? To a place of taking a respite from the outside world. To taking deliberate action to find deep replenishment on a soul level. Of learning to mentally and emotionally care for yourself.

 

I think of self-care as the routines we use to nurture our relationship with ourselves. How can we know how we’re feeling if we don’t take the time to process our emotions and experiences and check in with ourselves? Self-care is developing the capacity to love, accept, connect, and care for yourself, from the inside out.

When practiced often, it becomes a way to know yourself on a deep level, to grow your confidence, self-worth, and compassion. When you learn how to nourish your soul, you replenish your vitality. Self-care is knowing how to fill your cup. It’s finding your own medicine.

So, to get started, ask yourself: What activities make me feel good? Some examples could be:

·         Clean living space

·         Reading

·         Exercise

·         Being outdoors

·         Listening to music

·         Cooking your favorite meal

·         Petting your dog/cat

·         Comfy clothes

·         Bath with candles

·         Treating yourself

What's Your Medicine?

What’s your medicine? If it’s journaling, get a beautiful notebook or journal to start recording your thoughts and feelings. Do you enjoy reading? Go to the local library or get a few reads from Amazon. Feel like cooking a comforting meal? Go to the store and get everything you need to treat yourself to your favorite meal.

When you know what brings comfort and healing to you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, you will always have activities you can use to make yourself feel good. Once you have an idea of what those things are, you can create a small area or a self-care basket in your home to hold the items you use to relieve, inspire, or soothe you. Things like candles, essential oils, dark chocolate, a stack of books to read, or a fresh journal waiting to be used. It will become your self-care toolkit, available to you any time you need to use it. Other times you could put on a cozy outfit, turn on your favorite music, or run a replenishing bath. Self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming, and it doesn’t have to cost money.

One of my favorite rituals is putting a favorite meal in the crockpot, taking a long bath with candles and soothing music, using oils and lotions on my skin for a self-massage, putting on a comfy outfit, and then enjoying my meal. Afterwards I’ll watch a movie (probably a rom-com) or get cozy with a book.

What makes self-care so elusive is that we aren’t scheduling time for it. We fill our to-do lists and planners with all of the important things like that work meeting, soccer practice, or appointment at the DMV, but rarely do we look at our calendars and see two hours set aside on a Sunday for self-care. We may tell ourselves that we’ll do it when we have some free time, but the irony is that in this fast-paced world we never seem to find any free time.

We have to learn how to carve out time for ourselves in the form of self-care. Whether it’s one evening a week, or every morning as part of a morning routine. Taking thirty minutes in the early morning hours before the rest of the house is up can make a huge difference in the rest of your day. Get a cup of coffee or tea, put on some soft music, and light a candle. Get your journal and check-in with how you’re feeling, how you’d like to feel, and what you want your day to look like. Think of a few things you’re grateful for. Have a few minutes of quiet reflection. Maybe do some stretching or take a little walk around the neighborhood.

It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture. Sometimes the tiny, daily habits we incorporate into our routine become the best self-care practices. We become so nourished by them, that on days when we miss them, we can feel the difference in how we’re showing up in the world. We start to discover that we’re better when we make the time to care for ourselves first.

Everyone’s life is different, full of different commitments, but I encourage you to look for the pockets of time you have available. Your break at work, those thirty minutes when the kids are in the bath, early in the morning, or later in the evening when the house is quiet. What are your pockets of time? Start by finding one and filling it with some form of self-care. It doesn’t have to take very long.

Letting Go of Guilt

One of your biggest obstacles to self-care might be overcoming the guilt of taking time for yourself. Women are trained to give of themselves freely to everyone around them while denying the same care to themselves. Society tells us that if you are left drained and worn-out at the end of the day with nothing left for yourself, then you are an ideal woman. I can’t begin to tell you how damaging and completely backwards it is to feel selfish about taking time for yourself. The only way you can nourish the world around you is to first give yourself the medicine you need to nourish your soul.

When you take the time to love and care for yourself, that love can flow out into the world around you. Practicing self-care allows you to give the best of you, not what’s left of you.

If you want to set-up your own personal self-care routine, be sure to grab your own Self-Care RX designed to help you with your self-care journey.

For free spiritual resources, updates, freebies, and other surprises, sign up for the JL Winters newsletter.

If you’d like more inspiration, connect with me on Instagram.

Lots of love and light…thank you for reading.

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The 6 Stages of a Spiritual Awakening

The 6 Stages of a Spiritual Awakening

Do you feel like you’re going through a spiritual awakening and you’re wondering what this journey has in store for you next?

Embarking on a spiritual awakening is a profound and transformative journey that allows individuals to deepen their connection with themselves and the world around them. It transcends religious and cultural boundaries, guiding individuals toward a higher state of consciousness and personal growth. While each person’s experience may vary, there are generally six stages that you navigate during a spiritual awakening. I will take you through each stage so you can find out where you are on your spiritual journey and what to expect next, as well as give you some tips on how to move through each stage faster until you reach enlightenment.

Waking Up - The Call

The first stage of a spiritual awakening begins with a subtle inner calling or a deep sense of dissatisfaction. This is where you start to question your daily life. Maybe things you’ve always done are no longer fulfilling. You may feel like something is missing and you don’t know what it is, like a deeper purpose waiting to be discovered. You might move through depression or a lack of motivation and generally long for something more meaningful.

You will also start to notice synchronicities or coincidences – like repeating numbers – which are communication from your spirit guides trying to guide you in the right direction and give confirmation that you are on the right path.

It’s important to pay attention to these and not write them off. The signs are there to help you as you seek out a connection with something greater than yourself.

The Dark Night of the Soul

This second stage is where a profound shift in consciousness occurs. Where you experience a heightened sense of awareness and expanded perception of reality. You become curious and open to new ideas, along with having a deep desire to explore the mysteries of life.

It is during this phase where you may experience what some call the Dark Night of the Soul, where you hit rock bottom in some way. You feel isolated and you’re tired of pretending to be something you’re not. You start to question your life.

Which masks are you tired of wearing? What can you let go of? What is no longer serving you? What beliefs are limiting your growth?

This dark and isolating stage will pass. It’s only temporary. Keep going – because when you come out on the other side, your sense of self will be restored at an even deeper level than before and you will realize this was a very important step in your journey. Having gone through something painful can reveal what you don’t want to experience in your life and lead to a shift in perspective where you awaken to the reality of what you do want.

The Hermit

Once you have passed through all of the darkness and isolation, you will still feel alone and isolated, but this Hermit stage is necessary for inner reflection and healing after the intensity of the last stage. This is where you really start to do your shadow work, releasing insecurities and outdated beliefs, and other things that don’t serve you.

In this phase, a thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual experiences intensifies. You may delve into various spiritual traditions, philosophies, and practices, along with reading spiritual texts and seeking guidance as you look for answers to your existential questions.

You will turn inward for self-reflection and healing. It is a time of profound self-examination, where you will confront your fears, insecurities, and past traumas. Inner healing takes place as you release emotional baggage, forgive yourself and others, and cultivate self-love and compassion. This stage requires courage and a willingness to face the shadows within, leading to advanced emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth.

The key here is one of our favorite buzz words: Self-care. Do the things that fill your cup; take a hot bath with Epsom salts and essential oils, dance in your living room, go see a movie, get a massage, take a yoga class, make your favorite meal, take a long walk in nature. The point is to start releasing old and stagnant energies to make room for something new.

When you start feeling more social and energetic, you’re ready for the next stage.

Stepping Into Alignment

By shedding what doesn’t serve you you’ve increased your vibration so much that what doesn’t serve you can’t stay in your life anymore. Maybe you’ve been aware of what you needed to let go of for a long time, but now is the time where its all falling away. Friends may change, you may start eating differently, or desire a different career.

The new insights and wisdom gained during the previous stages begin to integrate in your daily life. The focus shifts from seeking external knowledge to embodying the spiritual teachings and principles. This integration involves aligning your actions, relationships, and values with your awakened consciousness. This can be very difficult because our ego likes to feel safe and sees this change or loss of “comfort” as a threat.

You will also start to find new hobbies and interests that are more in alignment, meet new people, and start experiencing new things and activities. You might start experimenting with spiritual practices like meditation, looking for a spiritual teacher, reading books, and trying different healing modalities like yoga, reiki, and working with energies.

Try to pay close attention to what drains you – your job, people in your life, certain foods. If these don’t feel aligned it may be time to consider making some changes in these areas as well.

This stage is a time of conscious living, mindfulness, and the application of spiritual principles to create positive change in yourself and the world around you.

Surrender and Trust

The fifth stage is a tough stage. Your higher self has a plan for your life, but your ego thinks it is in control and will not like surrendering that control because its job is to keep you safe. To the ego, change and stepping into the unknown is dangerous. A saber-tooth tiger could be just around the corner, ready to devour you. If you don’t go over there, no tiger will eat you. This is where everything you have learned and started practicing will be tested and you will be asked to trust in the flow of life, to surrender to the “Great Mystery”, or to have faith in something bigger than yourself.

Once you fully surrender and let go, you will start to see synchronicities pop up everywhere in your life. Insights and downloads will flood your life. You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when you can listen to the synchronicities and act on them. Signs, people, and opportunities start showing up. Maybe the same message or song lyric or sign on a billboard keeps coming into your field. Repeating numbers become a normal, everyday thing in your life. Surrender and go with the flow. Trust yourself, your intuition, and those little nudges. Letting the ego go and learning to trust can be very difficult, but once you start making this a habit, you will see positive changes and know that you are being led in the direction that is best for your life. Each day will become a new adventure.

Presence and Service

In this final stage your soul is in the front seat and your ego, having merged with your own true nature, is riding in the passenger seat. You have come into alignment with Source. Now that you’ve come so far and worked on yourself so much, you now feel the urge to help other people on their path. When you are enlightened, you are living in the present moment. You rarely obsess over the past or worry about the future, because the present is the only thing that’s real.  You know joy, excitement, and bliss. You feel a deep sense of interconnectedness and unity with the world and everything in it, but you are attached to nothing. Be in the world, but not of it. You source your own happiness from within, rather than looking to the outside world to provide it.

At this stage, you may feel called to start looking for ways you can use your unique talents and gifts to be of service. You will look at what you desire, where your passion lies, and you will naturally want to follow what you love to do because that will lead you into your purpose.

Embarking on a spiritual journey requires patience, self-reflection, and an open heart. As you progress through these various stages, you will discover your true essence and awaken to the fact that you are already spiritually awakened, you just had to do the work to align with that higher version of you. It will now be easier to embrace your divine potential and find meaning and purpose in your life. A spiritual journey is an ongoing process of expanding into higher states of consciousness, and most people will have many spiritual awakenings throughout their lives as their soul continues to evolve and transform. I hope this knowledge will empower and inspire you as you progress on your journey of awakening and self-discovery.  Trust it, and go with the flow.

What stage of spiritual awakening are you on? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

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Embracing The Unknown

Embracing The Unknown

Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Each time you try something for the first time you will grow – a little piece of the fear of the unknown is removed and replaced with a sense of empowerment. ~ Annette White

Life is a journey of constant growth and self-discovery, and one of the most transformative experiences we can undertake is venturing beyond our comfort zones. It is natural to seek comfort and familiarity, but true soul growth lies in embracing the unknown, pushing boundaries, and stepping outside the confines of what we know. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone and how embracing discomfort can lead to profound personal development and a deeper connection with yourself, and the Universe.

Trust the Universe

Stepping out of your comfort zone requires letting go of the need to control every aspect of your life. As you embark on a journey of self-exploration, you’ll learn to trust in the Universe’s divine plan for your life. Do you ever get those little nudges of inspiration? An idea that you should do something you never thought would be possible for your life? Surrendering to a higher power and taking inspired action on those intuitive hits allows you to realize that there is a greater force guiding your path and it only has your highest good in mind. Embrace the uncertainty and have faith that every experience, positive or challenging, serves a higher purpose in your soul growth.

Embrace Vulnerability

Venturing into unknown territory often leaves us feeling vulnerable, as we face the possibility of failure or rejection. We may be afraid of being judged by others. Vulnerability requires courage and is often a gateway to inner strength and resilience. By acknowledging our vulnerabilities, we open ourselves up to profound learning and growth. We discover that courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to act despite being afraid. Embrace vulnerability as a sign of your willingness to grow and evolve beyond your fears.

Challenge Limitations

Our comfort zones can become self-imposed prisons, limiting our potential and preventing us from experiencing life to the fullest. Stepping outside these boundaries expands our consciousness, allowing us to see the world from new perspectives. As we engage in unfamiliar experiences, we challenge old beliefs and conditioning that come to the surface, paving the way for personal transformation. Notice what you’re afraid of and examine how this fear is impacting your life. Breaking free from the limitations that hold us back expands our awareness of ourselves and leads us to replace limiting beliefs with empowering ones.

Let Go of Resistance

Change is an inevitable part of life, but it isn’t change that makes us uncomfortable, it is our resistance to change that can lead to suffering, because whatever you refuse to let go of, you will continue to draw into your experience. Stepping out of our comfort zones demands a willingness to embrace change and adaptability. Maybe your dreams will require you to change what success looks like to you, or how you’re showing up in the world. It can be difficult to take risks and try new things, but when you are willing to open yourself to uncertainty, you cultivate the ability to flow with life’s currents, rather than resisting them. When you embrace the discomfort of change, you’ll be on your way to finding harmony with the rhythm of the Universe and unlocking your unlimited potential.

Discover Hidden Gifts & Talents

As we challenge ourselves to explore new territories, we often discover hidden gifts and talents we didn’t know we possessed. These talents may have been dormant within us, waiting for the right opportunity to emerge. Or, they may have been part of our shadow self (parts of ourselves we’re ashamed of) and we learned to see them as a strength rather than a weakness. Stepping outside our comfort zones allows us to tap into these latent talents, empowering us to live with more purpose. When you believe in yourself and trust in your abilities you will begin to build more self-confidence over time, leading you to live your best life.

Venturing beyond our comfort zones requires courage, faith, and a deep trust in our intuition and the Universe. It challenges us to grow, evolve, and discover the vastness of our own potential. From embracing vulnerability to breaking free from limitations, each step taken on this path enriches our life experience and strengthens our connection with the world around us. Embrace the unknown, and you will find that true growth and transformation lie just beyond the borders of your comfort zone.

To get comfortable with being uncomfortable, you must first make the decision to be uncomfortable. Why not start right now? Make a plan to do something that makes you uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be as simple as sharing your idea, asking for what you want, pressing publish on that blog post, going on the date, or recording that podcast.

What’s one action you’ll take this week that feels uncomfortable? Let me know in the comments

For free spiritual resources, updates, freebies, and other surprises, sign up for the JL Winters newsletter.

If you’d like more inspiration, connect with me on Instagram.

Lots of love and light…thank you for reading.

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Silencing the Inner Critic

Silencing The Inner Critic

And Writing From The Heart

Aspiring writers are especially prone to getting bogged down with an array of writing advice. Thanks to the internet, we can learn anything from style, structure, plotting, word choice, characterization, setting – if you can think of it, you can find an article or even an entire book about it. Which leaves one to wonder…

Is too much advice a good thing?

 It’s commonly said that one must first know the rules if one wants to break the rules. A better piece of advice might be you have to forget the rules altogether and make up your own. Isn’t that what art encompasses in the first place? Creative expression doesn’t play well with rules. And since most writers are avid readers, we already know more about the craft of writing than we think.

When I first started my writing journey, I was full of passion and creativity, and I managed to get published, even though my craft wasn’t perfect. Always seeking to improve, I set out to better my craft, and that’s where I got over-loaded with all of the advice, must-do’s, never-do’s, and can-do’s. This is where my writing got crippled. The polite rejects kept rolling in, and I couldn’t figure out why because I was following their guidance and advice to the letter. I nixed adverbs and filter words, and I never, ever used the dreaded exclamation mark. After being rejected by an agent simply because I’d had the audacity to use a literary device, I began to reconsider the rules. Maybe they didn’t work for my style. Writing is supposed to be fun, at least in my world. Instead, it had become a chore, and I started to second-guess every word and doubt myself.

I was no longer having fun.

The one thing I never lost sight of was my love for creating worlds and stories. This is where I became a radical. I put aside the self-doubt and second-guessing every word and sat down with my laptop and opened a new, blank page. I had a story in me, and I decided to listen to the words flowing from that secret place deep inside me. I used all the little bursts of sentences and dialogue that would plague me as I cleaned the house or went out with friends. Journals became filled with notes and scribbles. I trusted that the part of me able to come up with the ideas, the characters, and the basic structure, could also come up with the right words. I learned how to let the story flow onto the page. I used adverbs and dialogue tags. I used words like that, very, little, just, and then. I started sentences with ‘and’, I played with punctuation, exclamation marks, italics, and alliteration.

I let Spirit be my guide.

And I’ve never looked back. This little experiment taught me the most important lesson of writing. You have to be brave enough to write whatever comes without judging (don’t worry perfectionists, you can edit the mess later). The part of you that’s good at writing is your soul. That untapped part of your subconscious that already knows every word to every story you’re ever going to write. Some refer to it as their muse. Call it whatever you want, but it knows what to say and exactly how and when to say it. A perfectly placed word. A great cliffhanger. A snippet of sharp, witty dialogue. That part of you can create characters out of thin air, or kill them off just as easily.

Listen to this creative voice.

That is your voice. Unique only to you. It’s what will make you stand out from all the rest. The more you listen, the louder it will get, and your muse will never be fickle or need to be lured out. Don’t let the rules overwhelm you or get in the way. You aren’t going to find the heart of your story in an expensive, week-long workshop or by studying a book on writing skills (though follow what feels right for you). You already know what you want to say. You already have your voice, but in order to find it, you have to get to know yourself. You have to go within.

So, how do you set about strengthening that ever-elusive voice? Here are a few tips to get you started:

Have A Daily Spiritual Practice.

If you want to learn to write from your soul, you first have to get in touch with that part of yourself. Strengthening your intuition is a good place to begin. Start listening to the advice, the leads, the inspired ideas as they pop into your head, no matter how crazy they might seem. And don’t forget to write them down. I promise you won’t remember them later. The more you allow yourself to do this, the louder the voice gets and the stronger the nudges get. Your role is to act on those nudges. Decide what works for you, and let go of what doesn’t. Trust yourself and the process. Other things you might find helpful are journaling, drawing oracle or tarot cards, meditating, reading books on creativity, and establishing a morning routine. Connect with the unseen and the unknown and follow your feelings. This is where the magic lives.

Find Your Most Creative Time.

For me, it’s the mornings. My mind is fresh, my energy is high, and things are quieter when the world is waking up to a new day. I like to save the afternoons for more technical things, such as marketing, social media, working on my website, or editing. If you’re not sure when your creative time might be, experiment with different times of the day. Some of us also have normal jobs, families, and other responsibilities to work around, and we have to make our writing time fit into those schedules. Even finding thirty minutes in your day to write uninterrupted is a great place to start. Once you build the habit, the rest will follow.

Devote A Special Place.

Our brains are creatures of habit. By having a dedicated writing space, you’re telling your brain that when you sit down there, it’s time to write. Put the phone away. Don’t check social media. Save the research for another time. This is your sacred time to write. Sometimes it can help to give a little ritual, light some sage or incense, a candle, play music if that’s your jam, or even bring some brain-boosting crystals into your space, like Quartz, Amethyst, or Citrine. Sip a cup of tea or coffee. Then ground yourself, take a few deep breaths, and just start writing. This process can feel slow at first, but like anything, it gets better with practice, and before long, you’ll be writing in spiritual mode.

Cut Off Your Ego.

This might be the hardest thing to do. Differentiating the voice of the ego from the voice of your soul is sometimes challenging, but the soul will always build you up, it will never cut or criticize. When the ego does come barging in, freaking out about how many times you’ve already used that word and worrying people are going to hate your story, kindly remind it that it has a role, but right now, you are working from a different place. The ego can come out when you’re editing; that’s where it can be most useful. You have to learn how to drown the inner critic out, and as you get used to listening to the soul, the ego will learn when it’s time to get in the passenger seat.

When you write from Spirit, you can never go wrong. Agents and publishers don’t care about where you studied writing or how many credentials you have after your name (although they are nice to have). What matters is the story you tell and how well it engages the reader. The world doesn’t need more writers who follow the conventional rules and write to the market in order to be successful. What the world needs is fresh voices. We need adjectives and adverbs and exclamation marks! We need your voice. Let go of all the rules and make up your own.

This is how you write magic.

What other ways have you found to connect with your voice and write from your soul? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

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