Portals and Epiphanies


Sparky peeping through a tiny portal in a boulder

Hey guys,

I wrote a pretty emotionally charged blog post a few days ago! It put me into reflection mode, into a don’t-do-anything-or-interact-with-anyone type of mode. All weekend I decided to integrate what was going on with me and my platform and to just take a break from it. I found myself traveling through many “portals,” literally and energetically while hiking in the woods yesterday. Austin and I went up to Flagstaff again and hiked Fatman’s Loop on the Kachina Peaks. The vegetation was quite different than what I’d seen around this area. Ponderosas and spruce canopied the land while short, auburn oaks gathered in groups below. Huge boulders covered in neon green lichens scattered between the trees and the sun peered through, creating these portals. I captured a few photos of what we saw, each laid out in this post.


Austin peeping into the ceiling of the boulder cave we rested in

We stopped in a boulder cave to have a snack and to meditate in the sun. I asked for guidance on my feelings all week, and wished to transform how I was feeling into something positive. I’ve learned so much these last few months, however I craved the breakthrough that was on the brink of manifesting. The epiphany that would bring me back to myself. The sun felt so good on my skin. I always feel the sun burning away what is not serving me anymore, any pain, suffering, or worry that keeps me from my genuine happiness.


can you see the fairies?

After this meditation we carried on and I noticed many portals we had to walk through to get back to the car. The first was on the hiking trail, a set of stairs moving up towards the sun between a strand of oak trees. The sun caught the leaves just perfectly to look like fairy beings moving way for us to pass through. The second portal we saw was a massive alligator juniper tree scorched by a fire many years ago. A lot of the alligator junipers on this trail were the biggest that I’ve ever seen, half dead and half alive, half covered in leathery bark and half smooth. Their essence was interesting, masculine to say the least. They had a playful “beware” vibe to them, like something you would tell a child when going out into the woods to explore. Like there were mystical creatures about and you needed to be aware of your surroundings. Well, this tree that was set on fire stood in the center of an open area, other fallen trees around but not charred. The bottom part of the tree had an opening, it looked like a doorway. A short little portal if you will. The inside of the opening was charred, though the trunk around it was not. Very peculiar… We walked through several times, Austin sharing he felt a shift in energy and I felt as though I was going through a ring of fire, blazing away the worried part of me.


walking through the scorched tree portal

Today, I meditated in the sun, asking for insight. And this is what came to me:


Much of my focus this year has been on outreach. How can I reach more people? How can I sell more books and spread my message? How could I get my art out in the world for more people to see? I know that there’s lots of like minded people out there, but how do I reach them? So, I began to dig deep into the world of online marketing and social media marketing. A list of “shoulds” and “fool proof strategies” that are proven to work. The advice I was finding was great and all, but it didn’t feel true to me. I’m a believer of synchronicity, of the “mirror” so to speak. When things are meant to happen, they will happen in random and unexpected ways (sometimes it really feels magical!), and that is how I know I’m in line with myself. And, when I am centered and put out the energy I want to receive back, it happens that way.


This month though, going against myself caught up with me. Curiously, I decided to follow the “shoulds” and the “fool proof strategies” to try them out. To see how they work. If they do actually work. I found myself trying to fit into a box that wasn’t for me. The whole point of being an artist, the whole “beingness” to it is to flow at your own pace. To flow with your inspiration when it comes and to center yourself when it doesn’t. Over time, being on social media, working on my business became a chore. I spent lots of time “trying” to create interactive posts for Instagram, to lay out a whole week of posts to “fit into the strategy” and to “beat the algorithm.”



Something shifted within me over the weekend. I don’t care about all of this shit. Yes, there are some things that I want to use from these last few months of learning marketing, but the rest is just a bunch of garbage. The Universe serves us as we need in every moment. If I’m meant to reach a ton of people, I will! The last few months, I shifted into a pretty “standard” way of being - the way that I aspired so much to stay out of. You know how that is… efficiency, profits over doing what’s right. The daily grind. The “real world.” That is totally not me, confining myself to a set of recommendations and standards. I feel that when I conform I lose a piece of my integrity. The one thing that is coming to mind is my Etsy store. It is recommended that you set free shipping rates on your store and add in the price of shipping into your product price. It appears to be more, and maybe the buyer skips over it because of that… I was willing to try it out and what do you know? I was going against what my heart said and I had zero sales this month, though I’ve increased the amount of time and effort I’ve put into it.


Another thing I noticed is the content I’m putting out on YouTube. A lot of “experts” say that finding your niche and serving them consistently is the most important. Well, a niche to me is another word for “box.” I prefer to live with as few labels as possible, because labels to me are boxes. They are limiting. It is challenging for me to come up with content for my audience when I have to limit myself in this way. I am a story teller. I love to share my stories and experiences and most of the time that is enough! Sometimes I feel stressed to make a video that “serves.” The term “storyteller” seems to be underrated nowadays, though I think it is such an important thing to be! Telling stories inspires others, can help others through a tough time in their lives, and can even turn into a legacy that gets told generation after generation. Think about all of the authors and writers out there. They tell stories. That is enough for them. Case in point. I will not be listening to “experts” anymore. I take back my power.


My whole point to all of the rambling is to say this. It is important to follow your heart no matter what you “should” do, what is “smart” to do, or what the “experts” say. Nobody knows you better than you do. You are so great that you cannot be put into a box. You are amazing just as you are and no set of standards can take power over you because all you need to be is you. Everyone evolves and grows at their own pace, and that looks different for each unique individual. I hope this inspires you to shine bright in the world and to forget about what people tell you you “should” do. Ain’t nobody got time for that!


And sometimes the way you are acknowledged for who you are and what you’re doing is silence. Actions speak louder than words, right? A friend gave me some insight today. Sometimes you don’t get “engagement” on your posts or writings because the people you are reaching are walking the walk instead of talking the talk. You know what I mean? This insight helped me so much today. Knowing that I can impact people and they don’t necessarily have to give me an answer back with their language, with telling me. But months later, when I see what they’re up to and they’re full force following their dreams, I can believe I had a small part in that, in inspiring them to follow their heart. What a gift! And you know what, that is enough. No amount of “engagement” can give that gift.


Sending you lots of love on this charming Sunday,


Ashley

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