Pogi: My Alebrije

Do you remember Dante from the Disney Pixar movie, Coco? He was Miguel’s Xoloitzcuintli dog that also served as his alebrije or “spirit guide”, helping him navigate through the Land of the Dead. I recently started calling my pug, Pogi, my little alebrije. While he does get into way more mischief than any other dog I know, I am constantly comforted by his watchful eye & presence around me.

When I met his litter last Summer, I was pretty convinced that I wanted a girl pug. There were six pugs in his litter total. Two boys had already been claimed, & three girls remained when I arrived to meet the litter of pug puppies. I had met & held all three girl pugs & was trying to make my final decision between them. My Pogi was sleeping in the corner of the puppy pen, & since I thought that I didn’t want a boy, I was fine with ignoring him & not even trying to meet or get to know him.

My sister, Danielle, was the one to really push me to make sure that I met all the available puppies. Even though I wanted a girl, what was the harm in at least meeting him before making my final decision. She thought it’d be best to know for sure before leaving him alone in the corner, & I’m so thankful that she did. I knew he was the one for me from the moment I picked him up. He truly was & still is my soulmate, & there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted any other pug! 

Pogi the day we met at 6 weeks old.

How do I know that Pogi’s my soulmate & alebrije?

  • I happily wake up to his snoring, wrinkly face every morning.
  • After a long day, the way he always wants to cuddle with me on the couch is so comforting.
  • He knows all of my deepest & darkest secrets & still loves me.
  • Just being around him makes me happy.
  • No matter where I go, he’s never far behind & watching over me, ensuring I’m safe. 
  • I can recognize his flaws (like the way he’s overly intrusive, loves to steal toys that are not his, runs away with papers, & tries to eat/chew on anything left on the floor when no one’s looking), but I still love him anyway.
  • When I’m feeling silly & playful, he immediately joins in on the fun.

Pogi’s love for me is unconditional as is my love for him. I may need to discipline him on occasion for getting into mischief, but at the end of the day, he’ll learn his lesson & know that I’m still his person. When I’m feeling down & having trouble getting out of bed, Pogi gives me kisses on my forehead & gently strokes my hair & face until I’m ready to wake up & start my day.

I can’t even believe that I almost missed my opportunity to meet him, because of my preconceived expectations of what I thought I wanted. If my sister hadn’t been there to put sense into me, I could have ended up with one of Pogi’s sisters. While I’m sure they’d be just as adorable & fun, I seriously doubt we’d have the same connection. Pogi & I were destined to meet. If I had been too stubborn to listen to my sister, I would have lost him to another person.

I truly believe that Pogi is my soulmate, my alebrije, & my spirit guide all in one. He was given to me as a gift from God to help me on my journey through life, & I’m so blessed & grateful to have him by my side. 

Do you have any pets? Would you consider them your soulmate, alebrije, or spirit guide? Let me know in a comment below.

XO Denise

Alchemy & Transmutation

What do you think of when the topic of alchemy is mentioned? 

At its simplest definition, alchemy is the philosophy or science of transmuting base materials or metals, such as straw, lead, or copper, into silver or gold. Don’t get too excited or ahead of yourself – I’m not going to teach anyone how to turn ordinary things into money today. lol

Personally, I believe that alchemy at its source is the concept of transmutation. Last year on a long road trip to Portland, the topic of emotional transmutation came up during the car ride. While I fully understood the idea of transmutation at that time, I never found a need to proactively put it into practice. It wasn’t until I was deeply hurt by someone who I thought genuinely cared about me that I benefitted from its purpose. 

In the past, when my emotions became heightened & uncontrollable, I was desperate to find a way to channel my emotions into strength. One day, I suddenly recalled the transmutation conversation from last year. Your emotions can be extremely powerful. If you don’t have your emotions under control, they can cloud your judgment & overwhelm your mind, keeping you in a place of anger & sadness. I’m a firm believer that your mindset creates your reality. 

When your emotions are properly harnessed & transmuted, you can change them into whatever you need. You can change your anger into healthy boundaries. You can change your sadness into creativity. You can turn your pain into compassion & forgiveness. When you’re feeling lost & desperate, you have the power inside of you to turn any negative entities into inspiration & motivation to help you find your true path. 

Your emotions & your current situation may not be your fault at all, but if you take a step back, you’ll realize that how you’ve been treated by another person is their karma. But how you choose to react to their choices is yours. You can either respond as a victim, or you can take your power back, transmute it into something positive, & become an alchemist. 

Keep your peace. Save your energy. Let them walk away, forgive them with love, & learn from the experience. Turning your pain into passion through transmutation is the closest we as humans get to performing alchemy in our every day lives. 

Reflecting on my past, I may never get the apology or love that I wanted in return from the person who hurt me, but I’ve accepted that. I am thankful for how things transpired. I am at peace with my past now because I chose to keep going & become the true love of my own life. 

XO Denise

How & Why I Learned to Read Tarot

If I lived in the Magical World of Harry Potter, I would have been a Ravenclaw, & my favorite class would have been Divination. I would love to learn all the different methods of divining the past, present, & future. Potions would probably be a close 2nd, but that’s a nerdy story for another day. lol

I’m slowly starting to truly believe that I’m an empath. An empath has the ability to understand the mental or emotional state of another individual. Even though I’m not outwardly emotional, I can easily sense how others around me are feeling. I am easily drained in large crowds, especially when interacting with negative people. Strangers & acquaintances who don’t know me very well at all, usually ask for my advice or proactively reach out to me with gratitude for inspiring them. My intuition is usually accurate. Weather easily affects my mood. And I truly feel that my purpose in life is to help others. Now knowing this about myself, I pay more attention to someone’s energy & actions, not their words.

Last Halloween, my best friend read my cards for me in a mutual attempt to help me heal my heart as well as give me clarity & guidance. While I had some relief afterward, I didn’t understand or retain the meanings behind the cards that were pulled for me at a deeper level, which is most likely why the following week I was triggered & let my emotions get the best of me. Even after reflecting on my emotional triggers & mistakes, I wasn’t able to completely pinpoint why I reacted in the way that I did. So in an attempt to learn & understand my shadow self on a deeper level, I decided that I wanted to learn how to read Tarot.

I absolutely love to learn. I’m also fiercely independent & curious. I started by buying the Modern Witch Tarot Deck & the Modern Witch Tarot Journal from Amazon. Then I simply googled “How to read tarot cards” to start learning, since my cards & journal wouldn’t arrive for a couple of days. lol One idea that resonated with me was that all the answers you seek are already out in the universe. We can use Tarot cards to help harness & interpret the answers to our questions.

I’ve always believed in looking inward to find the solutions to my problems before reaching out to anyone else. As an empath, I’m fully aware of the potential effects of burdening someone else with my problems or negative energy. While I’m sure I could have easily paid someone else to read my Tarot cards, I genuinely believed that the answers to the questions I had were meant to be illuminated through introspection. Similar to how I wouldn’t go out searching for someone to tell me what was wrong with me, I didn’t believe that I could uncover my shadow self by paying someone else to look into my Soul. This was an internal battle that I needed to venture into on my own with strength & bravery.

As soon as my cards & journal arrived, I delved in deep, learning the meanings of each card in the upright as well as the reversals. I asked all sorts of questions: Yes/No, Why, How, Who, etc. Then noted down the denotative & connotative meanings of each card I pulled then used those meanings to interpret the potential answers I was seeking. With every new Tarot spread I tried, & with my questions answered by the Universe, I was able to find balance & hope for my future. 

The answers suddenly became clear to me. I needed to let go of my expectations in Love & leave my past behind me in order to step into a new beginning. My future is now whatever I make of it. I manifest what I desire to come into my life, & I don’t let my pride blind me from being compassionate towards others. Now, I’m here, fully embracing this new spiritual journey!

Are you considering learning how to read Tarot? Let me know about your personal experience in a comment below.

XO Denise

How-To: Life Audit

Every December, I do a four-day life audit, where I reflect on what I’ve done over the past year. I thoroughly evaluate what I’ve been doing with my life, & I decide whether or not it’s aligning with my true purpose & still leading me toward reaching my longer-term goals. My life mission has always been to inspire individuals to embrace their uniqueness & enrich their existence. As a planner & a goal-oriented person, I do my best to ensure that I am consistently working towards both my short-term & long-term goals.

First, I categorize my life into five major categories:

  1. Personal Growth
  2. Relationships (Romantic, Family, & Friendship)
  3. Career
  4. Finances
  5. The Greater Good

I personally believe that goal setting is easier when you break things down, step by step. It’s also easier & less overwhelming when you take your time & are very specific about what you want. If the five categories I listed don’t resonate with you, feel free to add, remove, or create your own. Your life audit should reflect you, so feel free to customize your personal life audit as you see fit. 

Second, I dedicate a focus for each of the four days:

  • Day One: Be Honest
  • Day Two: You are Amazing!
  • Day Three: Life Themes
  • Day Four: Create a Master Plan

On Day One, I answer the following “Be Honest” questions for each of the five categories:

  • What are the three things I’m most grateful for this year?
  • What three things am I most proud of?
  • Do I feel like this year has been everything that I wanted it to be?
  • What could I have done better or handled with more positivity?

This day is about reflection. The day to day of life can become overwhelming sometimes, so you become distracted & forget to stay on track altogether. While seeing where you’ve slacked off can be triggering, it’s really important to take in both the good & the bad. Don’t punish yourself for not being perfect! No one is. 

On Day Two, I answer the following “You are Amazing!” questions:

  • Which five things do I love most about myself?
  • What are five of my skills/talents?
  • What three things have I succeeded in this year?
  • How have I been able to support others this year?

This is one of my favorite days! While you may be loved & have people in your life who are incredibly grateful to have you in theirs, not everyone proactively takes the time to ensure that you know it. The truth is your closest circle of friends is a reflection of who you are. When you surround yourself with amazing people, they will want to lift you up & ensure that you know that you can succeed in all of your endeavors. 

Another thing I do on this day is to ask five friends, co-workers, or family members “Which three positive words come to mind when you think of me?” I then make a note of the positive words in my phone to reference whenever I’m feeling down or having a bad day to remind myself that I’m still an adorable badass! 😉 

On Day Three, I answer the following “Life Themes” questions for each of the five categories:

  • What are my hopes & dreams?
  • What can I do to bring me closer to accomplishing my goals?
  • Who will cheer me on and/or keep me accountable?

Sometimes, it’s hard to reflect on the bigger picture when you get lost in your day to day work. I’m still young, but there’s so much that I want to accomplish in my lifetime. I want to help people. I want to travel the world. I want to buy a house, create a home, & have a family. While I’ve made some progress on these goals, I know that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to get myself there. 

On Day Four, I re-read everything that I’ve written then create my Master Plan for the upcoming year. Here are the “Create a Master Plan” questions I ask myself:

  • What are my five big goals/initiatives/plans for the upcoming year?
  • When I break down each of these five goals, what are five steps that I can take to make them a reality?
  • Within the next three months, what steps can I implement?
  • Within the next four weeks, what steps can I take sooner rather than later?
  • Within the next week, what steps can I take right now?
  • What steps can I take every week to consistently bring me closer to achieving my goals?
  • Who do I want to collaborate with this year?
  • What is my mission statement for this coming year? 

This day is about getting clear on exactly what you want, setting specific & timely goals, as well as identifying the steps you can take to accomplish them. When you know what you’re working toward & your mind is focused on getting you where you want to be, you feel unstoppable. I love being able to go into every new year with a new sense of purpose. And I thank myself for all the work that I’ve done in the previous year as well as forgive myself for any moments where I veered off track. I remind myself that it’s just a part of life, & I’m only human. 

Have you ever audited your life? Do you have a personal way that you enjoy & prefer to use to set your goals? Let me know all about it in a comment below. 

XO Denise

Spiritual Traps

Despite being an Economics major, I took Philosophy, Cognitive Science, & Psychology courses when I was in college. I’ve always been interested in the mind & the brain. If you’re not familiar, Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, & existence. Cognitive Science is the study of thought, learning, & mental organization. Psychology is the study of the human mind & its functions, specifically focusing on behavior. While my spiritual journey has had its ups & downs, the knowledge that I’ve retained has definitely helped me identify spiritual traps.

Similar to my last blog, most people tend to identify & react from their ego. It’s important to recognize that feeding your ego actually harnesses unhealed trauma & keeps you stuck in lower vibrations. Think of the ego as your sense of self, which is primarily focused on YOU. Think “I” statements. i.e. “I am a Social Media Influencer.” “I drive a BMW & only wear designer labels.” “I think my beliefs & opinions are more important than anyone else’s.” The truth is when you’re able to take a step back & separate from your ego, you can connect to higher vibrations & your higher self.

With this in mind, here are some spiritual traps to look out for on your spiritual journey:

I am “Good” & everyone else is “Evil”  

Just because you don’t agree with someone’s words or actions doesn’t automatically make them a bad person. To tune into your higher self, you need to learn to take a step back before you judge & try to understand how things may be from their point of view. Do your best to have compassion with everyone you meet, even your enemies. If you want to feel seen, heard, & validated, give that same courtesy & respect to others.  

Identifying yourself as a “Spiritual Person”    

Your spiritual journey is about the journey itself. Choosing to outwardly identify as a “Spiritual Person” is just another way of fueling your ego. The real goal should always be learning who you are & why you act the way you do. The truth is that you are not better or worse than any other individual. We all have our own journeys to fulfill. We’re all learning. While some people may be vibrating higher than others, people with lower vibrations probably need the most love & understanding. You are not God. Humble yourself. 

Seeking “Love & Light”    

Again, your primary focus should be on learning & healing. Seeking to be seen as someone filled with “Love & Light” is just another mask that feeds your ego. Don’t worry about how you appear to others. Focus on what you’re learning. Reflect. Feel your emotions, whether it’s fear, anger, guilt, or past trauma. Come to terms with your shadow self & slowly but surely take the steps you need to heal & move forward. Send love into the universe with no expectations. Forgive yourself, & forgive others. You are not your past or your mistakes. You’re human. Striving to do better & be better is more important than staying stagnant & ashamed. You don’t need to live in fear of making the same mistakes. Choose to love & change for the better over fear.  

Acting “Nice”    

Most of us are raised to have good manners by parents, teachers, mentors, etc. But pretending to be “nice” for the approval of others is actually a sign of psychological immaturity. If you’re acting too nice, it’s usually a sign that you’re being manipulated or have been manipulated in the past. Know that you’re allowed to be nice when you want to be in the appropriate situations. But if you’re being disrespected or mistreated, you can still stand up for yourself, be strong & assertive, while still being kind. There’s no need to be fake. Be honest & speak with love & self-respect. 

Secretly believing that you’re better than others    

Hopefully, you see the trend here. Stray away from any behaviors that inflate your ego. Your spiritual journey is about grounding yourself as a human. If you’re using your spirituality as a way to secretly disassociate, judge, or create a false sense of self to the world, you’re not connecting with your higher self. 

Remember, your spiritual journey should always come from a place of love. When you proactively give love to others, it comes back to you with abundance. When you create a facade or try to steal the happiness & energy of others, you’ll only end up draining & hurting yourself. Only light can drive out darkness. Continuing to stay in the shadows will reap karma. 

I do apologize in advance if any of these spiritual traps are triggering to you, it may be a sign that you’re an emotional vampire. (Do you purposefully try to steal light, luck, or energy from others? If so, consider why you do this.) Recognizing your triggers is another important thing to look out for. They help identify the shadow aspects of yourself that still need healing. Keep grounding yourself, be authentic, & do your best to be a good person. When you love yourself as well as others, the universe will reward you.

Please don’t blame yourself if you’re unable to release any limiting beliefs or vices quickly. Your spiritual journey is not supposed to happen overnight. In fact, if you think you’ve already reached enlightenment, please take it as a sign that you have a lot more work to do. Do your best to love & accept others exactly as they are. What you dislike in others is probably something that triggers your past trauma or highlights insecurity that you’ve failed to address. At our highest vibration, individuals are kind, forgiving, & understanding. We love & value ourselves, & we accept others for who they are without expectations or judgment.

Have you fallen for any Spiritual Traps? Don’t be ashamed. I still love you for trying. It’s all part of the journey.

XO Denise

The Seven Chakras

The Seven Chakras

If you’re not familiar with chakras, they are the seven main energy sources that run down the center of your body: 

  1. Crown
  2. Third Eye
  3. Throat
  4. Heart
  5. Solar Plexus
  6. Sacral
  7. Root

Feel free to read through the infographic above to learn more, or check out this helpful article for beginners. When your chakras are open, positive energy is able to run through your body freely. Open chakras create harmony between your body, mind, & spirit. When your chakras are blocked, closed, or out of balance, you can expect to feel out of balance both physically & mentally.

Opening My Chakras

Growing up, I was raised Catholic. I was baptized, & I attended a private Catholic school from Kindergarten through 8th grade. I was also Confirmed when I was a Sophomore in High School. (Confirmation is the Catholic sacramental practice of reconfirming your baptism. You accept the beliefs you were taught during childhood as a young adult.) Though I wouldn’t call myself religious, nor am I a practicing Catholic, I do pray daily & believe in God.

When I’m struggling, I always rely on my faith to help guide me. Related to my last blog post, when I walked away from the situation in November, my energy & emotions were a mess. To help, I started praying more followed by learning Tarot, doing Yoga, & meditating. I also clearly defined what I wanted to manifest in my life. Every night before bed, I write a list of everything in my life that I’m grateful for. Then, I light a candle, say my manifestations out loud, & pray. I truly believe that God, angels, & my spirit guides gave me the strength to persevere through my circumstances.

As I began to heal, there were times when my chakras would ache & pulse out of nowhere. I felt my Third Eye, Heart, & Solar Plexus chakras the most. Your Third Eye Chakra allows you to see the bigger picture & connects you to intuition. Your Heart Chakra controls your ability to give & receive love. The Solar Plexus Chakra controls your ability to be confident & control your life.

What I Learned

Slowly but surely, I got back on my feet again. People with ill intentions & temptations were thrown my way by the universe, but I have faith that I’m divinely protected. I hope to continue to become a better version of myself because I want to be less triggered, more intuitive, open to love, confident, & in control of my life. 

I am no longer repeating my behavioral patterns, & I pay no attention to anyone who isn’t looking for a serious relationship. I’m no longer disappointed or upset by men who cannot live up to my standards. I walk away from men who offer me nothing but false hopes & empty promises. Going forward, I always choose to love myself first & trust in divine timing, knowing that the right person will come into my life to stay. 

If you’re feeling out of balance, I thoroughly recommend learning more about the chakras & identifying where energy might be blocked. Meditate, listen to your body, & take the steps you need to open your chakras. Once energy flows freely through you again, the vibes radiating from your Soul will bring you back into harmony: mind, body, & spirit.

XO Denise