Archives for December 2017

One Easy Technique For Minimizing

When I was younger I lived in a world of material collections. In high school, I began working a fairly well paying job for my age and while I saved a bunch of money, much of it also went towards fueling my love for apparel and home décor shopping. I remember countless occasions when in order to have the mental clarity to complete an assignment for school, I would first have to organize the piles and piles of possessions that quickly accumulated to chaos in my space. Over time I began relating to all that I gathered in pursuit of an excessive and elaborate closet and overly decorated space as a rat’s nest of burden. My belongings were beginning to weigh heavy on me, impacting my peace of mind and emotional clarity.

Perhaps you can relate?

Have you accumulated so much that you can no longer navigate your closet or wardrobe with ease? Do you struggle to locate specific items or appliances because your home spaces are saturated with excess? Do you experience feelings of dread or anxiousness upon entering your room, not knowing where to begin?

I’m here to share one of my most used minimizing practices with you to liberate you from the mess! This practice has helped me simplify so many areas of my life. By utilizing this one simple technique, you will be on your way to getting down to the basics.

While I’ll be explaining this technique by speaking specifically about clothing, know that you can use this technique in any area of your life, such as your kitchen, bathroom, car… wherever and whatever has gotten a little hectic and out of hand lately.

Tired of the first thing you see in the morning being that monstrous mountain of clothes begging to be dealt with? Then try this super easy and simple approach that has helped me shed so many unnecessary belongings that were adding weight to my life. I trust you’ll walk away feeling lighter too!

Step 1

Begin in your closet or dresser and either starting with one section or drawer at a time (or take the whole enchilada and empty it all at once!) take a big armful of items and spread them out across your bed or floor. Choose a place where you’ll have a nice open space where you can go through things to separate into four piles.

Pile 1

The first pile you will create is for those things that you wear or use on a daily or weekly basis… the pieces and items that you are absolutely in love with.

Pile 2

The second pile will be for items you plan to donate. You can donate to more-well known places like Goodwill or the Salvation Army, however, I know for many people, they don’t feel good about supporting these organizations due to some of their problematic practices.

No problem! Do some research and see what alternative or local not-for-profit or charity-oriented thrift stores are in your area. You may even be near shelters for displaced LGBTQ youth or survivors of domestic violence who are often in need of clothing and supplies. There are so many ways the possessions that no longer add value to our own life can make positive impacts for people just in your local community.

The second and third piles are going to be things you know you do not want anymore… items that you have not worn or used recently… or maybe have been lingering and taking up space for years. Give yourself permission to release these items with grace, knowing how they can be better appreciated by others.

Pile 3

The third pile will be designated as items you intend to sell. Items that go into this pile will likely be of better quality or gently used compared to the items in your donation pile.

Your options for selling are endless! You can sell on Ebay, the Facebook market place, at swat meets or garage sales. You can also sell your used apparel using an app called Poshmark. I have been using Poshmark for years now. It not only allows me to shop for gently used second hand clothes, but I’m also able to sell clothes I am ready to release. You can find my closet on Poshmark @rawalignment. Its super user friendly and a great way to earn back a fraction of the cost you invested originally in your clothing, while simultaneously supporting and encouraging others to shop second-hand as an alternative to purchasing fast fashion.

Pile 4

The next and last pile to create is for items you are not too sure about. These possessions may not be worn often, but you may not feel ready or sure if you want to let go of them yet.

Everything that you are still longing to hang onto will go to this pile mindfully. Try your best to make this the smallest pile, though don’t push yourself to sell or donate something you’re not comfortably sure you’re ready to release.

This certainly is a positive opportunity to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and really purge of what maybe of no use to you anymore. There is SO much more to life than material belongings.

It might actually feel really good and exciting to get rid of things that will create more spaciousness in your life.

When you’ve completed this pile, you will put it in a box or anyplace you can easily store it, out of sight, for 30 days. At the end of those 30 days, if you have not had a strong urge to retrieve something to wear or use from this box, then you can rest assure that you have the confidence to separate those items into sell and donate categories.

~ Simplicity for Peace ~

I have used this decluttering technique personally so many times. It really is so easy to follow. I think sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Taking everything out of your closet, wardrobe or cupboards can ultimately feel really overwhelming, but it is a process, when completed, always leaves me feeling really refreshed and accomplished.

So if you’ve really been feeling the call to simplify your life, please take this as an encouragement to embark on this super tangible way to do just that! All you need is a couple hours or even a full day out of your weekend to jump start this process and see what happens!

Having physical clutter in our life so often creates mental clutter too. Your effort will reward you with so much more time than you invest by making your life and space that much more easy and efficient to navigate.

Not needing to utilize precious time and energy to consistently clear space after that initial simplifying is such a gift.

Imagine how you could better use that abundance of time that you otherwise dedicate time and again to cleaning and organizing. You can invest in more connection with the people you love, fuel and nurture your passion projects, discover more room to spend time outdoors… the possibilities are plentiful!

Having a clear space gives me a sense of freedom and deep alignment with myself. My minimalist journey has provided time and space for me to establish routines and positive habits of self-love, care and self-expansion that have opened so many doors in my life.

There’s a freedom in waking up in a clear, open space. It avoids the stress that comes with waking to witness immediate demands of what you need to achieve that day, whether its folding the ever growing pile of clothes in the corner of your room or trying to find your nail clippers in that ambiguous, tangled “junk” drawer in your bedside table.

Often, people tell me they lack the time to better care for themselves. Consider this a call to action! How can you be more efficient in your life so that you can create the space for vital and important care? You can begin showing up for yourself by first simplifying your environment.

Let go of what no longer serves you to make room for what creates energy and feels expansive and exciting. You’ll be amazed to witness all the ways in which it gifts you.


Self Care as an Act of Revolution

From every facet of life, whether in our homes or workplaces, we are bombarded with messages, pressures and expectations to put our productivity before our health and wellbeing.

A great indicator of this grander cultural and societal programming is how often I hear from others expressing feelings of guilt and fear of indulgence when discussing their self-care practices.

It is no surprise when so many of us neglect achieving a work-life balance, get adequate rest and prioritize eating a balanced, wholesome diet when we are raised with the understanding that these very standards are not important. We are encouraged, at times on a deeply subconscious level, to think of making time for ourselves as selfish or of low priority. This is possibly one of the greatest and most detrimental lies we are fed.

It is a lie and expectation that leads many of us to pushing well beyond our limits, burning out and grinding away the workweek from a place of no energy or hope of recuperation.

It is of little shock that many of us fall to the clenches of despair and hopelessness after weeks, months and years of this same repetition, desperately rising to the demand of endless hustling with no sight of rest and rejuvenation to fuel our spirit.

It is an unfortunate reality we must handle, for the very systems in which we navigate do not give us the cornerstone to support ourselves in our self-care journeys.

But the more we find skillful means to do the work for ourselves and model it to others, the more we participate in shifting this current problematic paradigm. We can see it happening already in our lifetime. Think at the major shift we've witnessed in the past decade as the collective awareness has grown around subjects such as diet, mindfulness and self-love/care. Today, these topics have grown into trending, household names.

» We are changing the world.

It may feel like quite the load to carry, recreating the way you treat and care for yourself in a society that doesn’t always encourage you to do so… in a society that expects you to neglect your care in the name of “progress” and profit.

No doubt to truly see this shift in standard of living, we need to see changes on a level of policy, shifting the expected hours of work per-work week, making minimum wage reflect local and regional standards of living so that people can support themselves and providing increased paid vacation days, just to name a few. I do not make this call to invalidate and negate the additional layers and circumstances that make striking this balance all the more difficult, such as low socioeconomic status, family size, migrant-status, access to healthy, affordable food, etc.

While we wait or support the tireless efforts of change makers to enact these much needed shifts in our society, recognize that to make your self-care a priority is a revolutionary act. By prioritizing time for your health, you are actively going against cultural programming that tells us our pursuit of living a balanced, healthy life is disposable.

» Let’s start a revolution.

Self-love/care is a path worth venturing on, no matter how difficult it may feel at times to juggle the demands of everyday life. It’s worthwhile because putting in the effort, time and energy to show up for you gifts immediate results.

It gifts feelings of joy, relaxation and replenished energy to be of greater service to yourself and others. It makes you that more capable as a servant of change to this world.

» Give permission to your care.

Dissolve feelings of guilt or selfishness around showing up for your care. A common occurrence of these feelings is when others express guilt in their care when they have so many other things to accomplish.

Take a study from your own life. As soon as we tick off every task on one to-do list, another one forms. There will always be an endless list of jobs demanding to be addressed. Cultivate the practice of placing “rest,” “drink a smoothie,” or “enjoy that lavender, Epsom salt bath,” next to “meet that deadline,” “pick up the dry cleaning” or whatever tasks are banging at the back door.

We won’t always get everything done. And we can all learn to be lighter in our approach in productivity and accept that as okay. You are only human. There are only 24 hours in a day. And within the constraints of that reality, we will have to let go and surrender that some things may have to be held out for another day.

Most importantly, I want to encourage you to celebrate your efforts. Not many people dive into lifestyles that incorporate health promoting practices and get it perfect the first try. Shoot, I even struggle with consistency at times. The good news is, the more you choose yourself by choosing a life that truly honors yourself, the less you'll accept anything less. So celebrate each time you do something that makes you feel vibrant and alive, even if it’s not everyday.

The Dalai Lamai, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die; and then dies never having really lived.”

~ You are the grand architect of your life ~

What are you going to build?

I implore you to build a life that prioritizes your health, spirit, passions and creativity. Not only for yourself. But for all beings and the well-being of this Earth. Now how can we call that selfish?



How Compassion Can Help You Reach Your Goals

We can all relate to the hardships that can often accompany striving towards a personal goal or desired transformation. Have you been trying to change your diet, but feel like you fail time and time again due to caving to powerful cravings? Have you been going to the gym regularly, but are disappointed in the lack of progress in your physique goals? Do you feel like you’re on an strenuous mountain hike, yet no matter how hard you push, the summit refuses to come into view?

When trying to reach your highest potential, its not uncommon to hear your inner critic getting louder. Instead of the inner voice serving as a positive cheerleader encouraging you along the way, you maybe victimizing yourself with constant criticizing and shaming for those moments you trip up or miss the mark.

We all know what this inner dialogue can sound like: “Ugh, why did you just eat that? You’re not getting anywhere. What is wrong with you? I’m not enough.”

Put down the bat and pick up a feather.

When we try to motivate ourselves with cruel mental prodding, it’s like beating ourselves up with a bat. In time, you’ll come to associate feelings of inadequacy and stress with your goals, leading to a slipperier slop of goal-avoidance to escape the pain of self-deprecation.

Using the bat is an obstacle to progress.

Would you stand by as your closest friend talked about him or herself with the same negative, discouraging self-talk you hear in your head? I know I wouldn’t. Then be your closest friend, pick up a feather and tell the inner-critic to back off and stop with all it’s bullying.

The feather allows us to build enthusiasm for our journey by celebrating our efforts and rewarding ourselves with kindness. For example, regardless of whether you’ve achieved your fitness gain goals or not, after each workout, thank yourself for showing up and putting in the work that day. This approach is like being driven by a carrot on a string, propelling you forward with affirming self-talk.

Cultivate and think positive, encouraging words when you make choices and take actions that are aligned with your goals.

Sometimes, you won’t quite hit the mark, like those moments you eat a food item you set intentions in eliminating from your diet or you crashed to apathy and excuses instead of rising early for your morning jog. Even in moments of “weakness,” you are deserving of your own compassion and care.

Be gentle with yourself. Practice patience. Give the same care, kindness and compassion you would give to your closest friend.

For many of us, our goals entail completely relearning and dissolving years of habits, cultural conditioning and limiting beliefs. Remember that progress in our individual journeys can often take time. Don’t set unrealistic expectations for transformation or success to happen overnight. Whether your goals are focused on diet, fitness, self-love, recovery, etc. know that you are embarking on a lifelong practice. While you may reap the joys of many immediate payoffs (and I hope you do! Use this as rocket-fuel to stay motivated in your pursuit!), sometimes the true depth of our growth is best known and experienced with time.

If you dive in with high hopes of big shifts on a short timeline, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see the results you want- as quickly as you want to see them.

You have a choice in which path to take:

  • Attempting to achieve your goals with the absence of encouraging, kind and loving words to yourself — leading to feeling discouraged and inadequate with a higher risk of giving up completely.
~ OR ~
  • Practicing patience and compassion while finding the simple joys in each step you take towards revealing your highest self– the loving, fulfilled being that already dwells within you.
Be compassionate with yourself each step of the way. This lifelong journey of self-discovery and evolution is a joy, not a burden. Enjoy it. Embody the love and kindness we all so desperately need more of in the world.

It begins with you.



6 Holiday Gift Ideas » Things I Use Daily

As a minimalist and conscious consumer, I find great value in investing in quality products that meet multiple needs in their versatility, grant me the ability to avoid purchasing or using unnecessary products, and gives me the opportunity to support companies with ethics that I stand by.

Many of you have seen these products worn or used by me in my videos, and I’m fairly consistently receiving questions and inquiries about them. Now, I’m picking up the hint and present you with an overview of my 5 most used material belongings.

1. Bamboo Utensils by To-Go Ware

If you’ve watched a “What I Eat in A Day Video” or any of my Vlogs, chances are, you’ve caught a glimpse of my bamboo utensils in action along side overflowing bowls of sliced mangoes or massive green salads. Whether dining at home, or grabbing a bite to eat out during your lunch break, the feel of bamboo will always rein superior over silverware for a more pleasing eating experience, at least in my opinion. I highly recommend this product if purchasing “take-out” food is a common practice for you. Ditch the single use plastic utensils and use your own!

They’re reusable and made with a commitment to being environmentally responsible, making these transportable utensil sets super eco-friendly. Their travel cases come in a variety of colors with carabineer attachments to easily clip to your bags.

And they even offer children’s sizes! If you know my love for small cute things, you won’t be surprised to know I have a children’s set 😉

To-Go Ware is a company I feel really proud to support, as we share similar visions and dreams for a transformed “to-go” culture that has lead us to creating excessive plastic waste. Toss out the “throw away” approach and commit to reuse today!

2. Bare Foot Sandals by Xero Shoes

Ever since discovering these shoes in the fall of 2015, I have literally worn them every single day. Xero Shoes slogan of “Feel the World” couldn’t have been more appropriately claimed for their wide selection of barefoot, minimalist sandals, boots and everyday shoes. You can actually feel the ground beneath your feet, which enables me to feel more rooted and connected to the Earth.

Their products are remarkably comfortable and are designed with adequate security to dive into action, unlike your average flip-flop. Their versatility can lead you on hikes through the wilderness, jogging through city streets, walking on your day-to-day errands or paired with a more casual outfit for a lunch date.

They’re travel savvy too as they are light weight and can be rolled up to fit the size of the palm of your hand, making them easily stowed in side pockets of your back pack or carry on.

Xero Shoes creates their shoes with a commitment to empowering more people to walk the “natural way,” with a philosophy and emphasis on promoting a line that supports easeful, healthy and pain free movement.

3. Bamboo Toothbrush by Mabel

The folks at Mable are on a mission to inspire others to make a difference by making small, sustainable choices, one toothbrush and classroom at a time. Not only have they made a chic, eco-friendly, 100% bio-degradable tooth brush to replace the nearly 5 billion plastic tooth brushes made annually (and one day will find themselves sitting in landfills), but they also visit schools in their local community through their Buy Give Teach program, empowering youth to utilize the power they have to affect change.

Mabel toothbrushes come in various bristle types (I like the medium), are offered in kid sizes and can even stand up on their own! I know, pretty cool, right?

So not only can you keep your pearly whites looking fresh, you can do it while also supporting the remarkable team at Mabel in their mission to make small, sustainable changes trendy. In order for our changes to have the greatest impact, they need to reach others.

Let’s come together to stop adding to the problem, cut our plastic use and be part of the solution.

4. Mantra Bracelet by Mantraband

Sleek, delicate and never in the way, my mantra bracelets from Mantraband carry self-love proclamations to remind me of my greatness throughout the day. Not only are they a constant reminder to the wearer, but can give moments of appreciation and inspiration to all who see them with their wide offering of peace warrior slogans, positive affirmations and optimism provoking words.

Their bracelets (and necklaces too!) are another expressive tool and adornment to surround yourself with loving kindness as you weave a life of positivity and radical self love.

The ones I wear say, “Love yourself,” and “Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce.”

Gift yourself or a friend today with a Mantraband.

5. Reusable Water Bottle by Hydro Flask

Say goodbye to lukewarm water! Whether you’re lounging in the sun on the beach or have been hiking for hours, despite the scorcher you maybe experiencing on the outside, you can have faith your ice cubes are still intact on the inside. You can trust in the same guarantee for hot beverages warming your bones on chilly, wintery slopes too. The Hydro Flask keeps its contents cool or hot, regardless of the environment’s temperature. Wherever your adventure takes you, you can have faith that Hydro Flasks’ insulated products will provide.

Like most of the products on this list, the Hydro Flask is reusable, helping us make a positive impact on the environment and our health by not investing in single use plastic water bottles.

I have a 21-ounce aqua-color bottle that conveniently fits in my car’s cup holders and inspires me to stay hydrated.

Due to its ability to keep liquid ice cold or hot, it feels like a step up from my previously used mason jar.

Hydro Flask also funds Parks for All, which “provides grants to non-profit organizations focused on building, maintaining, restoring, or providing better access to parks,” which makes your investment in their products an investment in our park’s wilderness too.

Hydro Flask is a bottle you can feel good about.

6. Coloring Book by Raw Alignment

Two years ago I began hand crafting a positive affirmation coloring book. Over 200 hours of drawing, with love and passion fueling each and every pen stroke, and 50 drawings later… it is finally ready for you.

This coloring book includes includes 50 pages to color in and 50 inspiring quotes, positive affirmations and self growth activities.

I have never been more proud of something than I am of  this book.