The week I started Om Plus Om, one of my favorite self-employed bloggers and biz savvy role models, Sarah Von Bargen wrote about figuring out the we’re-told-is-super-important why of her business. Ya know, something for the posters.

Why did she choose to work for herself fulltime? Was it a grand calling to help people create their very own productive, fulfilling corners of the internet? Kinda. 

Truthfully, though, it was really for herself. What she wanted was freedom, so she made it happen. Huzzah! 

Also that week, Elizabeth Gilbert (swoon) announced her new book, Big Magic, which taps into the very core of what Om Plus Om is all about: self expression as essential to health and happiness. Huzzah again!

So I took – heck, why not – what I saw as the signs in Sarah’s self-affirmation and Elizabeth’s validation and I gave myself an ol’ pat on the back and thought: go get it, girl. Their writing helped make the decision to commit to Om Plus Om easier. I wish I could say it made it easy.

I already knew: 
> I wanted to work for myself so that I could babysit my nephew + take walks on the beach any time of day.
> My wellbeing depended on self-expression + building a creative practice.
> I wanted to reach + help people.
> I got a high from taking someone’s precious online business and putting words together like a puzzle to help that business grow

I knew that both Om Plus Om had a higher purpose to help others and a ‘selfish’ one: ME (and my little munchkin nephew). But the truth is living authentically and choosing me is hard work. There’s doubt, self-criticism, uncertainty. But whenever you feel pressure to make choices based on something outside yourself, the antidote is allowing yourself to ask What do I want? What feels right?

Want to raise a family? Do it. Want to stay kid-free so you can keep your clean (or totally messy) house all for yourself? Good choice, good reason. Work from home because you’re addicted to your soap operas. Start a design business because it comes naturally to you. Choosing something solely because it's right for us is both rewarding and hard.

Give yourself permission to choose yourself because it's hard. Choosing authenticity is the kind of challenge we know will pay off. Tweet: Give yourself permission to choose yourself BECAUSE it's hard, a challenge you know will pay off. via @omplusom tweet this text!

IT COMES DOWN TO THIS, BABES: Making decisions is hard, big or small, let's be real. But when we listen to our intuition and act on it, we build self trust. Then it gets easier to let go of worry. We figure out that things won’t go as planned but we keep it together anyway because we know we’re headed in the right direction. We know how to ask ourselves What do I want? And we know it’s ok to say I want ME

This is big work. Take a deep breath, babe, and honor that. Sarah gives permission to choose you, this week's #MomentofOm - brought to by Olivia Effing Pope - gives you the courage. Dare to choose yourself, again and again.

I want my passions and abilities to thrive. I want resiliency and confidence. I want ME. To get that, I rise to the challenge of fulfilling these small dreams, insecurity and vulnerability in tow. 

Intuiting a desire doesn’t make acting on it easy. But taking that leap makes you a warrior of wholehearted living. Tweet: Intuiting a desire doesn’t make acting on it easy. But taking that leap makes you a warrior. via @omplusom  tweet this text!

TELL ME, BABES: How have you been challenged to listen to your gut? What lessons have you learned? From whom? Leave a comment! 

Want more mindful tips to get you up + into your life? Thought so. Check out my ebook, here

3 TIPS for AUTHENTIC LIVING (that will save your life!)

So often, when I tell people that I am a writer, the response I get is “That’s great. I wish I could do that. I’ve been journaling for decades, but I’m not a writer.”

You know what makes someone a writer? Whether or not they, ya know, write. A person with half a million journals filled with personal reflection is a person who has most passionately and intentionally built a creative practice that works. This person is a producer.

Producing art is a form of creativity. It is the creative output of artists. But everyone has a creative fire within them. I knew a woman who thrived off connecting families in need of specific household items with churches and non profits that had these items to donate. The help-others aspect was a huge part of why she loved it. But she also loved the puzzle of it: figuring out the logistics, cataloging supply and demand. She expressed her truest self by thinking up imaginative ways to solve the problems of the families she met through her work.

What keeps us from turning towards this part of ourselves?

> The fear of being alone. When we change our behaviors, those around notice. We tell ourselves that even though I’m unhappy with myself, at least I’m showing up for others is the lesser of two evils. The other evil being the possibility that if I show up for myself, even a little bit, people will judge or abandon me. Bull. Shit. When we honor ourselves and release the pent up energy of inauthenticity, a rush of lovely energy flows in. Aren’t you more attracted to confident people who walk their walk and own it? Thought so.

> The fear of the unknown. Creating and playing as a big bad adult feels raw. It is is daring to do someting outside our comfort zone. It's uncomfortable. That rawness is uncomfortable but it is beautiful. Like Brene Brown teaches, vulnerability is the seed of vibrancy. Let go of the outcome, and know that, in engaging that vulnerable side, you are rocking it hardcore.

> Critical Mind. There’s something about creative expression that our minds instinctively say For real? That’s kids stuff. So effing what? Listening to the belittling voice of self-doubt is useless. It de-energizes us and keeps us stuck. I’d much rather look a fool covered in paint with a bunch of other paint-covered authentic peeps than be in constant worry that I’m doing something wrong. 

We push ourselves in so many aspects of our lives. We strive to be reliable and respected at work. We always want to do the best by our children. We want to live up to the idea we have in our minds of who we should be. But we do this at the expense of being who we are. 

When we live without honoring our need for play and expression, we are not only being unfulfilled emotionally, but also physically at risk. 

According to Christine Northrup, M.D. our issues are in our tissues. A lifestyle which does not address our deepest desires causes disease. It is akin to living with physical trauma.

But this issue of ‘deepest desire’ stuff is not and does not have to be some extreme life-makeover involving candles and feathers and luscious turquoise pashminas and retreats into the wilderness (though that sounds pretty fine by me). 

Before I started Om Plus Om, I was stuck and, by my own definition, not a writer. I wasn’t producing. My mind was foggy and I couldn’t find it in me to get my ass in the chair to write. I told my friends about how stunted I felt and when they threw back at me the on line I use when coaching others, they’d ask what do you want? Then I kind of did this thing with my hands; I wiggled my fingers and said I want to make something. I want to get dirty.

I started a scrapbook. I tore pages from magazines and got glue everywhere. I made a mess and wanted to make a bigger one. So I got up from my bedroom floor, all covered in scraps and stained with marker, and I went outside and started digging. Before I’d gotten any seed. 

I couldn’t not do something – make something – anymore. 

My body ached for a while, but not as much as it had in my paralysis. My mind skipped and wondering and felt out of control with ideas and thoughts, but not as painfully as when it’d been stuck on self-critical, despairing auto-pilot.

Steps to help you do your thang:

> Prepare for that critical mind. It’s gonna come up and it’s gonna scream. Scrappingbooking?! How is this helpful? The practice of overcoming this voice is the most powerful way to reclaim your mind and life. Where the mind goes, so go you. There is such strength in heading in a different direction.

> Play. Remember that this is just for now. Whatever you’re desire is, think of it as play. And be secure in knowing that it is essential. Play is like experimentation. You are experimenting with ways to up the happy factor in your life. No big whoop (but kinda the biggest whoop).

> Connect with like minded people, online or through or anywhere. Find a tribe or inspiring role models. Dismiss people who dismiss your efforts. Not. Worth. It. 

What do you want? 

With all the stress in your life, what could you do just today to make it easier? What could give you a little joy?

Your answer is your drum beat. Tomorrow it may change. But for today, answering the call to add joy is the way to honor your Self. It is the way to heal and be authentic.

Tell me, babes. Leave a comment!



Let me just throw down some truth: WE ARE ALL CREATIVE BEINGS. No we're not all artists, but each and everyone of us is born with a unique blend of right brain mojo. And living a life that does not tap into that innate explorative energy will Drag. You. Down. Big time. It’s a 100% certainty. I speak from experience. So:

> You’ve got a unique voice that you’re so so ready to use in order to create content (or live a life) that reflects who you are + what you desire

> You know what brings you meaning + you so so want to use that sense of purpose to impact the lives of others

> You’ve got passion up to whazoo + you’re so so determined to harness that energy to blaze your own path

Well, thank god. Me too! But no matter how ready we are or how much we want it, we cannot do it alone. Luckily we're both here. With each word read and each breath taken, we are doing the work of our lives.

We all deserve to thrive. I mean, really thrive, in a way that we become so accustomed to honoring our creative minds + bodies + spirits, we begin notice we’re actually healing ourselves - feeling physically better and kind of, ya know, on fire.

Because we’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I’m a trained writer, and I wracked my brain thinking of another way to say it, but there simply ain’t. We are sick and tired of not showing up for ourselves in a way that truly matters. We are sick and tired of old ruts and sleepless nights and just not getting around to it and doing the thing we ‘should’ be doing instead and forgetting what makes us hum.

Creativity is for all of us, whether we’re climbing the corporate ladder, trying to hit 10,000 followers, + commissioning dozens of paintings; or simply nurturing real friendships, watching our garden reap in some harvest, + helping our kids with Chemistry homework 3 whole days in a row. 

Om Plus Om is for those of us seeking to turn up the volume on life + find the color.

I’m here to help you do it. Because thisrighthererightnow is me DOING IT. And thisrighthererightnow is all we’ve got. Among way too many other things, I’ve blogged for 4 years, written a short story collection, worked as script supervisor for the likes of Lena Dunham, and attended dozens of workshops in creativity and Ayurvedic medicine at the Kripalu Center for Yoga. I've learned and learned and forgotten and remembered and lost forever and just now remembered again. The answer to addiction recovery, to creative road blocks, to healthful living is the same: Om, baby. Listen to that hum. Be present. Show up. Even when it's hard. Especially when it's hard.

Come here to learn how to:

> Build a life or creative practice that excites you + gets results.

> Manage fears in order to take action towards your goals + ideas.

> Create content + projects that satisfy your creative hungers.

> Stay motivated + grounded when this shiz just ain't happening.

> Stay positive + (dare I say) calm when things get extra special messy.

One of the greatest Ah-Ha moments of my life was when a friend turned to me after I sat wallowing in paralysis because I didn't know how to live my life. She said, 'Julia, you can talk people off the ledge. Don't put that to waste.'

You there baby, don't settle. I've been there. Get off that ledge of the ho-hum and beat out the rhythm of your own drum. Remember, you are not alone and we need you in all your messy glory.