The Wealth of Simple Trips

On the first trip we made after the year in isolation, we went to the beach. Fortunately for us it was just a little under two hours away but it might as well have been to a tropical destination at a five star resort for all our excitement. It was however just a two day short trip in a basic hotel that had a deal on an ocean view room. We planned it for a Wednesday night through Friday even to avoid the weekend chaos. It felt like we were new explorers going into unchartered territory.

We had made a couple day trips to the beach in the year. Our state has some wonderful state parks and some happen to be at the beach. It was necessary and a treat to get a day away from the house. Away from the stress and just out of the house! We always felt good afterwards and it made the isolation a little less straining. We had a good day and made it work.

Now though after more than a year of no travel, we were venturing out for a 2 night stay at a nearby hotel. Our son was so excited he packed himself 3 days before we even left. When I asked him what he packed he said 2 of everything! I was impressed with his thoroughness of remembering even a light jacket in case it got chilly at night. We had bought new sand buckets and shovels the weekend prior at the dollar store too. Even though he’s older now, we wanted to play, relax and just be with the sand and water.

Prior to the isolation year, yes this is what I call all of 2020, we had made a few trips regularly. We tried to take a regular family vacation each year and some smaller long weekend trips scattered throughout the year. It wasn’t always easy getting away but it was something we enjoyed doing whenever we had the chance. We are not a big budget vacation family so our vacations were more like going somewhere in nature, destinations filled with enrichment and memories made outside. We haven’t ever taken our son to Disney because well it isn’t something we can afford and when we ask him where he wants to go on vacation he says things like Hawaii, Alaska, Texas and more.

So on this first trip out of the house we each packed a small bag. We also packed up the dog and brought her. It was a full family outing! We had no plans and the only reservation was the modest hotel. I never expected how overwhelmingly happy this would make us feel. I honestly felt light headed at the experience because it was such a taboo thing to travel anymore. It felt like travel had become this far fetched thing where you needed a vaccine passport, anal probe and blood of a fresh sacrifice blessed by a shama on top of the expensive tickets and crammed seating. That wasn’t for me. I don’t know when I will ever be on another plane as a result.

I realized there is so much normalcy in the simple trips. It was now a luxury to take a short couple day trip to our local beaches. It was simple joy though that came through all of us in appreciation. We had been so fortunate during the year of isolation that I had been able to continue working and none of us had gotten sick. There was food on our table and toilet paper in our closet. We were alright and these things were blessings. Now though we also felt the blessing of a regular short trip still in our home state. It had been so long and so foreign that we felt like explorers coming to a new land.

It has been a few weeks since we took this trip and I have been thinking of it non-stop. It wasn’t our fanciest or most expensive trip but it was one of the more pleasant and meaningful. It restored our hope normal could happen again. It reminded me of what it means to enjoy the simple means of making memories with my family. There was a soothing of our souls by being with nature as close as we could be for a couple days that felt like a hug from a friend we had not seen in a long time.

At one point I was sitting in my chair watching my son and dog play thinking how wonderful it is to be here. Not working, not stressing out about the latest concern at work but being here. Enjoying the moment and being a part of something that means something in life. We so often let life take over every aspect of our life that we forget what it feels like to just be. At the time my job was not going well, it was a slow month in Dragonspit Apothecary and I was feeling stressed out. In fact I had told my husband over the prior weekend I felt like a truck had hit me with how much stress I felt moving around in my body. Here now though I could breathe, deeply and intently without the panic of holding it in.

That’s the thing about the wealth we find in normal life. It is always there either beating us down or releasing us from the strain. Too often we get caught in the waves constantly crashing down on us and we can’t seem to get our footing. It takes a simple trip or step away from it to remind us how to reclaim our own being. For many of us the stress of the year in isolation meant job losses, unpaid bills, lack of food and more. Those stressors are real and they twist us up in all kinds of worry, pain and frustration. It is difficult to see past those problems at something that makes us feel good even for a moment.

I am totally guilty of letting life get to me. My job particularly is the area where it hits me the hardest because well it is super important to our family’s livelihood. Yet I know logically jobs are the least dependable aspect of my life and they have proven time and again to be something I shouldn’t rely on. That was why I started my own business as an eventual safeguard but it is still necessary for me to work at a job for now. Many of us are in this same situation and we don’t know how else to lessen that dependency. We let the stress of our jobs consume us and it is hard to reset when we are not at work. That is where the wealth of a simple trip comes in.

It was something I always knew but for some reason it just never seems easy to do in the moment. The best advice I can give anyone is to literally step away from it. Take a walk, visit a park, go outside. Remove yourself physically from the environment even for just a little bit and go until you can breathe again. When I felt that breath finally from a few hours playing on the beach on this very simple and modest family get-away I knew just how much the stress had been building up and eating me for the last year. It felt like I needed to stay at that beach for at least 6 months to recover too.

The year of isolation took so much from us, including most peoples reasonableness; in how to respond to a virus. As a result our bodies, minds and spirits are deflated, burned out and filled with numbness from stress and anxiety. It is time for a healing. Rather than some exotic pre-planned everything that costs a lot, my recommendation is to return to simplicity and leave the world behind a moment. Capture the moment of smiling and realizing you are still you and there is a reclaiming of that person possible from under this bundle of nerves. Ease back into living in the real world with simple things that feed our soul and give us back our desire to live well naturally.

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What Wealth Means to Our Kids

My son and I were driving home from his karate class this past Saturday and we saw a sports car. It was one of the new corvettes that was very noticeable at the stoplight.
My son says as he is looking out the window of our minivan at it, that he is going to have a lamborghini when he grows up.

I said in response to him, wow that’s a really fancy car. Those are really expensive too!
Inside my head I’m going oh my gosh I cannot even imagine what the insurance on a car like that would be for a young teen or adult

In my son’s eyes though he wasn’t thinking of the price tag but rather just being a young boy who has played with hot wheels cars and is starting to realize how fun it would be to have the real thing one day.

Hi I’m Amy with Dragonspit Apothecary.
I’m a working mom and wife just trying to live well naturally the best I can every day.

Today, I wanted to share this conversation we had in our minivan because while it seems like just a normal kid conversation there is actually something really important underneath it all that spoke volumes to me when I unpacked it later.

See my son is like my kids, he sees cars all the time and knows most people have cars that look like everyone elses. So when you see something fancy or different like that corvette we saw at the stoplight, it catches our eye.
It gives us that reminder that we don’t have to be like everyone else
Unfortunately most us at this point think out loud or in our head well yeah that’s true as long as you have money to do that

Money certainly does help with some things but it is not at all what wealth means to our kids or what my son was teaching me in that moment.
What wealth means to our kids is being different and in a good positive way that catches attention, makes us feel special and shows us in our best light
When we feel our best we are confident, brave or at least courageous and we are not afraid to claim what we want in life.
Our minds are open to opportunities and possibilities in a way that our dreams actually have a chance at coming true.
Money doesn’t create that feeling
However you can maybe make a lot of money if you pursue your dreams and do that thing you’ve always wanted to do that would change the world to a better state or create the life you really want to be living

Now where this gets interesting is maybe my son really does want that expensive sports car and that’s fantastic but too often most of us give up when we see something out of our reach.
We think we’ll never be able to afford it or it’s not possible for us to ever have something like that
We shuck it off as a silly dream that isn’t anywhere close to our current reality
My son though because he has not yet in his life been through things that take away his dreams, doesn’t care about the price tag, he just knows this is something he wants in his life and is working on ways to figure out how to make that happen.
His dreams are still fully alive as possible

I believe our children teach us in those regular moments of just being kids just how much we have let life force us to pack up our own dreams
In our dreams we don’t worry about how much something costs or what we have to invest in it to make happen, we just do it. It just happens
We’re driving around in lambos and living in beach houses right?
We’re working at something we love and we feel happy and fulfilled in our dreams don’t we?
There are not price tags in our dreams and if there are we never seems to find ourselves lacking what it takes to get our dreams to show us we can have it.

So why does that change when we open our eyes?
I get that our bank accounts are not flush and we don’t live at the beach in real life but why do we give up the thought that those things are not possible when we are awake?
What makes us wealthy in our dreams and poor in reality?

I believe it is when we open up that possibility of dreams being true and live in a way that supports that pursuit we find we too dare to be unique. We are brave enough to say out loud I am going to have that fancy sports car one day.
Then we do the things that make that possible.
We take that first step towards being true to ourselves and manifest the life we live in our dreams

When we listen to our children and their hopes and dreams, it is reminders of our own hopes and dreams. It is a reminder of what we have let life take from us and while we may have a good life now, it may not be the full potential of what is possible or what is really calling our hearts.
Opening that window creates the ability to see a whole new path in our view that leads us to living that beautifully wild natural life.

Until next time friends, life naturally well

For When You Don’t Feel Wealthy

There are plenty of days I really struggle with feeling my best. Yes, here I am the gal always telling you about what it feels like to live naturally well saying there are a lot of days I fight for it. There are just some days it is not all rainbows and unicorns and instead we find ourselves knee deep in the storm just trying to survive. I share the truth on this in saying there are just days finding the balance of living naturally in with the harshness of life reality has you eating Little Debbie cakes while you cry and talk about how much bullshit there really is in life.

While I firmly believe it is possible and definitely better to feel naturally wealthy in our lives and live that true North way, life has a way of beating you to a pulp. It wears on you to the point you just feel exhausted, burned out and ready to sink into some stretchy pants. It is hard to feel past that pain and frustration on some days when it is all crashing down around you. I’m a realist and think part of living naturally is accepting what we cannot control and finding our own way of dealing with it. The living naturally well part is where we find the release and healing that brings us back from the brink and prevents us from living in the fog forever.

It is when we wallow in that state of numbness and emotional eating that we forget this should be just a short refuge to regain our strength. Instead we feel mind numb and constantly tired from the ongoing stress without ever finding our footing to be warriors against it. Stress has a way of making us all victims at times and we can live in that scared space a long time. When that happens we also lose our natural wealth that gives us the confidence and encouragement we need to fight back and make changes to this wallowing numbness. We lose ourselves, our dreams and even hopes instead.

Natural wealth is always there though, even when we feel like we can’t use it or it’s not for us. It is what we use to chase dreams and see them manifest one baby step at a time because we are focusing and investing in them with our own energy. It takes bravery, confidence and encouragement to do that and those things are natural wealth deposits we make for ourselves. That is very hard to do at times though when we are being beaten down from life’s merciless waves chasing. It can seem chasing a dream sounds like like just one more thing on the to-do list I won’t get done today or that is reserved for special people who have time and money.

For those times I don’t feel wealthy and certainly don’t look it in my stretch pants. You know the ones that have a bleach spatter on the leg from that one time doing laundry, well I have to give myself grace. In that moment, when I feel chaos in every corner of my life and stuff is upside down with frustration and stress I have to give myself grace. The part of wealthy that no one tells you about is sometimes it is simply having grace with yourself. How wealthy it is indeed to say it is alright I feel like a mess and my life is full of messy things but I am alright through it all. Natural wealth indeed to recognize where I need rest and give it myself without guilt in those moments.

Sometime we go so hard in life at all the things – mom life needs, wife needs, being a friend, doing our jobs, pursuing dreams, doing the impossible and then some that we get tired and burned out. Sometimes things go wrong or things happen that hurt us deeply. It knocks us down and it sucks. These things take the wealth of our soul and spills it on the floor as we try to fix, support, lend, protect and serve those around us. It is what we women do, every day. When night is there and we are wiped out, our wealth account feels empty. There is nothing left to give and we ourselves have had very little in return given and shared with us. For those times I feel like this, I remember the real wealth of my soul is in grace.

In so many ways I have come to think of natural wealth as grace itself. It is ever flowing and yet so many of us don’t allow ourselves a sip of it. We think we don’t have time or don’t deserve it. There is also the fear of what others will say or think of us if they see us enjoying it. Wealth and grace are so sought after and yet when we find them there is such guilt in actually enjoying them fully and openly. It is like stashing away a favorite box of cookies and enjoying them after the entire family is asleep so we don’t feel bad for now wanting to share them.

So even in the times I don’t feel wealthy it is still there waiting for me to use it. It is expanded through my own energy of depositing positive in my life. When I invest in myself to do what is right for myself, including giving myself grace during storms, it gives me the fulfillment of needs. This my friend is where confidence comes from that empowers us to emerge from storms bravely and have grace when we need more time. That is natural wealth and we all have it inside us to build on.

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The Wealth of Our Labor

Most of us are saving for retirement. Whether retirement is a few years ago or still a long ways off we save for it as much as we can throughout our careers. The financial experts advise to have a million dollars or more saved up by the time retire in order to take care of ourselves. That can seem like a lot of money and it really is, but if we save a little over time it builds right? The labor we put into that though is where I question how logical it is to think that wealth should only come from a job we dislike or at the very least promises us no security in building that nest egg.

I remember when companies used to have pensions and if you worked there long enough you could retire and have an income for the rest of your life from that company. I wasn’t lucky enough to be in a place where that existed but I heard they were pretty lucrative for most people. When companies realized one day baby boomers would retire they also realized the pension system wouldn’t be able to support everyone. 401k(s), IRAs and other retirement tools came on the scene with the promise to be a great replacement for the pension. It gave the employee the power to control their future money and not lose it if they changed jobs. There have been a lot of benefits to this strategy but in the end the premise is still based many times on depending on an employer for that 401(k) and perhaps even the matching dollars they provide as a benefit.

The truth is we should be in control of our destiny, including retirement and all the things that lead us to our place of dreams. We spend a lot of lives working and saving for that time when work isn’t needed anymore or we simply can’t do it. However, why is retirement the only place where we think we should have control of our lives? What about the 40 plus years we spend working for that retirement? Shouldn’t the labor of our hands during that time matter for our wealth of living today? I think so.

It is not easy though is it? As in there is a lot of work, time, creativity and energy required to pull that whole destiny driven life off. There are days too it really doesn’t seem possible. Yet the alternative is giving away our very power and being dependent on corporations in hopes they don’t fire or lay us off too many time before we get to retirement. With over 70% of people disliking their jobs it also doesn’t sound very motivating. Our labor in those situations is soon forgotten as we are overlooked for promotions, raises or even just being saved from the latest round of restructuring that eliminates jobs.

I’m not saying quit our jobs, at least not yet. Jobs are important and we need them not only for retirement savings now. What I am suggesting however is the wealth of our labor is undervalued and we deserve the opportunity to pursue a life that is beautiful now and when we are done with working. It shouldn’t be one or the other! What worked for me was finding the path that led me to starting my own business while I still work at my job. It is at times stressful and I have to choose one over the other at points but it is the start of that reclaiming for my life.

Before I made my first dollar I had already made something else. I felt empowered for probably the first time in my career. For the first time I felt free to do all the things I kept telling the companies I worked for was the right move but was ignored or rejected. Now I could do those things and see the results myself. I could make decisions without 5 layers of approvals and scrutiny of my ideas. Admittedly, it was liberating and intimidating. The wealth of my labor was now two-fold though and that was something my job or the jobs before that had never given me.

There is nothing wrong with just having a job. Yet it is when we sacrifice our happiness, time with our family, hope and dreams as well as our well-being physically and mentally that this becomes a poor return on our investment. We should invest as much interest in building our wealth of living now as much as we invest in our savings for our future retirements. I believe that anyway because otherwise we just get to retirement and we have nothing in our health to enjoy retirement with!

When I hear people say they can’t or don’t have time to invest in other things besides their jobs and employer’s 401(k) my heart breaks for them. I can hear the sadness and frustration wrapped around stress and deflated energy. I have felt those things myself and it’s not fun. In fact, a couple months ago I learned there were plans to replace my entire team with some new model and the manager leading that endeavor was hiring her own people. My entire team is at risk for displacement as a result. Our livelihoods, 401(k)s and health insurance is at risk. What will most of us do? Simply go look for another job and pray it doesn’t happen again soon.

I have thought this way for too long and one day I realized why people just look forward to retirement at a certain point in their careers. It almost seems like it isn’t worth it but we lack the direction to know what to do differently. We are taught as children and throughout our lives to act and think as employees. Grow up, do your best in school and get a job you’re intersted in is the exact instruction we give our own children! Why? Why is that our only answer?

We may have to work for some or most of our working years until we can retire. At the same time though we can build the real wealth of our labor with something that we create, manifest and that inspires us. We were made to live naturally inspired and in a way that promotes happiness, well-being and work-life balance. These are fundamental elements of what is means to live a good life and most of us don’t get that without a lot of self-talk about it isn’t so bad where we are. My friend YES it is that bad and it’s time we changed that messaging to ourselves and our children.

To build the wealth of our own labor means to take back our own power in living naturally through not only our personal life and what happens in our house but everywhere, including our work. It means building a legacy of our work that pays it forward to others while fulfilling our souls with meaningful, creative and inspirational work. That may look like selling products we love or creating something that doesn’t even exist in the world yet. It is a matter of finding that trigger, unwrapping it and letting it unfold naturally into our lives every day, little by little building the momentum that propels us towards a life of wealth through the our own labor that represents who we really are.

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Wealth in Knowing Who to Trust

We all have a story or two of someone we thought we could trust but turns out you couldn’t and something pretty bad happened. It has certainly happened to me and not only do you get really hurt from those situations but you also lose who you thought was a friend. At times maybe the result wasn’t their intention but it always ends up feeling like you were played for a fool and there’s a big mess to now clean up. Knowing who you can trust is such a tricky situation.

The wisdom we develop from being in situations where this occurs tends to stick with us. We are more hesitant next time to let someone close to us or it may take us a long time to even consider falling in love again. Regardless of if the next person would ever do that to us or not, we don’t take that risk. I have certainly done that to protect myself. You just never know about people right and after you’ve been hurt a few times you become suspicious of everyone.

Where this really creates problems is in our work space. There is already a big competition setting where we are pitted against one another which doesn’t help either. However, for some people being in the work space, whether in person or virtual brings out the worst in us. Like we become this evil villains who take no prisoners in our actions to show we are better, greater or just “told you so.” It’s incredibly devastating when you have to work with these people and therefore trust them on parts that impact your job and they turn around create these terrible situations. It can be career ending too but for what?

Not only did we lose a job perhaps but we lost friendships and connections. We all paid the price for the actions that occurred and there is no this toxic work environment we all must figure out how to navigate. Where there is no trust there is no way forward on success. Yet individually, we know there is a wealth of wisdom in knowing who to trust at work and who to steer very clear from. It is just hopeful we can recover from whatever evil game that person is playing that impacts us next time.

I have come to think of these experiences as wealth building opportunities. When you are going through it, wealth is the furthest thing from your mind as you consider how to survive and recover from it but once you clear the wreckage there are some usually some value you can find. You can actually overcome these situations and end up in a much better place for one thing. That may not seem like it at the time but maybe it was exactly the push we needed in our life or career.

The other reason I think these are wealth building opportunities is because they give us strength. We learn a lot about ourselves and others during these times. It can be very difficult to trust again but when we are ready to the experience we went through give us wealth to enjoy in another relationship. We love deeper the ones we know we can trust and that have us completely supported. We hold tighter to the true friends by our side standing up for us and lifting us up in love and support too. We see the true wealth of who we are and who is there with us. Maybe we already know these things but in those moments of crisis like this, you really see the wealth of you emerge.

When it has happened to me I have gone through all the emotions, especially anger. I am usually the one who trusts first because I want to believe people are good and don’t hold ill intentions. I assume people are not as self-serving as they sometimes actually are. Maybe that is naive to assume everyone has honesty, integrity and forthrightness in their hearts. What I believe though is there is a wealth in knowing who to really trust and you build on those bad experiences to help refine that.

When we don’t have a choice about it, like in a work setting where you have to rely on each other and there is an inherent necessary trust as a result, well there’s tactics there too for help. People will advice you to document everything and sure that can help but I prefer instead to be the example. If I can walk out of one of these ugly situations and still say I am honest, have integrity and my character is one of good then regardless of the outcome I can hold my head up high. I can sleep at night.

There is a wealth in knowing who to trust in every area of our life. It is almost a skill or art that at times I don’t know that I have mastered it. What I find curious though is sometimes we don’t know until it is hindsight. It is how we handle it too that makes the difference in how we move forward from it. I think it is very natural to trust people upfront but the world we live in makes that very risky. So when it comes to living naturally this idea of natural trust in people gets challenged a great deal.

If we are lucky we know upfront either by someone telling us or observing ourselves something that wards us off from getting too close to someone. Other times it is a chance we take. The wealth of the opportunity comes when we learn in those experiences that are bad and it doesn’t harden our heart or turn us into someone we are not. Yes it hurts when it happens and it can have some rather severe ramifications but walking through that storm in our own way is what matters. Being true to ourselves, staying on our natural path and seeking the goals we have about that situation is where we can shift the energy.

It may not change the results and outcomes. I do believe sometime the outcome is out of our hands but by focusing on ourselves we see the difference of natural wealth. There is absolutely a wealth in those situations when we come through it with a peace of mind knowing we are doing the right thing and being true to our North compass point. Sometimes that is the biggest blessing too. In a space where there is toxicity and mean things going on that break trust, I have found releasing them in love is the best course of action. It may not feel very natural to do that when you’re super hurt and mad but it sure does help with the healing and staying true to ourselves.

Having just gone through this recently in my own job (again), I come from a place of pain and hurt from this situation. Someone I worked with and had to trust as a result of the roles we were in used that situation to attempt destroying what she was jealous of, namely my thriving success at something. It has not been easy to recover from this situation personally or professionally. In fact I’m not sure what hurts more right now, my heart or my career. Yet what is giving me peace in this moment is the wealth of knowing I can sleep at night. I can still be me and live naturally wealthy for the good things I do. I didn’t need to destroy someone’s credibility or reputation for my own gain to have that either.

While we may not always have the wisdom of knowing who to trust I believe we always have the wealth of the opportunity it brings to us. It helped me realize how true to myself I had grown and how comfortable I am standing back up after that blow with the empowerment to walk in truth. It also gives me the focus to stay on my path of natural living so I don’t feed into the situation and can retain my own sanity if nothing else. However, I believe the wealth of the opportunity is actually bigger than that. It is a testimony to our own resilience that comes from living naturally well.

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