Surrender

Whenever I find myself starting to get anxious or uncomfortable, or I notice that I feel like I need to control something, I repeat the following to myself:

“Help me to surrender today.
Surrender to what was,
To what is,
And to what will be.”

If the committee in my brain is really rolling on overdrive, I’ll just keep saying it until my mind is ready to surrender.

Have you been in this place before? You are so willing to do whatever is being asked of you that it’s like you throw yourself to your knees and throw your hands up in the air and say, “I can’t do this anymore. Help me please.”

That’s what I refer to as the “ultimate surrender.”

What I have learned/am learning is that we don’t have to be brought to our knees to surrender. We have ways to incorporate it into our daily lives, ways to continually practice.

You might be thinking, “But I’m not weak. I don’t need help. I can do these things by myself!”

You might also be thinking, “I don’t even know what these things are that you are referring to?”

I’m kind of giggling as I type this because I have absolutely related to all of that in my life and even in my more recent life.

2018 was a massive year of change and growth. It was really the year I think I finally understood surrender.

What surrender means to me is this:

I am not weak. I am a wise, strong, fiercely independent woman. I am capable of anything you ask me to do and am willing to prove that I can do something you tell me I cannot do. I still choose to surrender as much as possible because, to me, surrender is easier. It makes my life more light and less serious, less heavy — ultimately letting in more joy.

Surrender is still being able to make tough decisions and choices, but it’s knowing, really knowing, that I am only in control of me. That I am the only variable I can control.

It is knowing I can’t control what anyone else does, what anyone else’s reaction is, what anyone else says.

Surrender is knowing that I can and will navigate anything that is thrown at me (hopefully with grace) because what is happening around me doesn’t matter. What matters is: What can I do? How can I handle this? How do I feel about this?

The reality of this life — of mine, yours and ours — is that “what will be, will be.” It does not matter how much we obsess about it, how much we try and fix and save and control.

What will be, will be.

Relationships, jobs, trips, gossip, rudeness, hurtfulness, people, places and things.

We can’t control any of that. We are only responsible for ourselves.

Surrender is accepting all of this, sitting with ourselves and opening up to who we really are. To me, surrender is a step toward empowerment.

As I mentioned, this isn’t a sign of weakness. To me, it’s really a stance of power.

Surrender gives us the opportunity to reflect on who we are.

Where do we stand?

Am I doing what I need to do to take care of myself so that, regardless of people, places and things, I WILL BE OK?

Where is my self-worth in all of this?

What can I do to better care for myself?

Am I addressing my own needs so I don’t rely so heavily and detrimentally on other people?

What are my expectations here?

What is my responsibility here?

What can I do to be free?

I am not saying that life doesn’t happen and that shit doesn’t hurt. Because it does, my friends. Life still happens, people are still hurtful, and our hearts can still be broken. Hopefully, surrender offers us grace to move through the challenging days.

Surrender just really gives us the opportunity to focus on ourselves, on our responsibility, on our ability to heal so that, instead of us obsessing over things or taking months to heal, maybe it just takes a week. Then, maybe it just takes a few days, and maybe eventually it only takes 30 minutes to move through our process. And every step of this journey, of these trials and lessons, we are getting that much closer to being free.

To be happy, joyous and free … I don’t know about you, but that’s my goal today.

Take some time and consider dancing with surrender today. In my experience, it is soooo worth it. And you know what’s amazing? You are not alone.

If nothing else, I am here. I relate, and I will support you in any way I can.

In love and light … xoxo,

– H

Day to Day

I love this little space! It brings so much joy and challenge to my heart. It’s the perfect addition to my day-to-day life.

Maybe you have scrolled through my website or maybe we know each other personally. For my new friends and the people I’ve met through here and not in my everyday life, I really want to be transparent in all of me — really who I am, what I do, where I have come from.

I “accidentally” found the career for me when I was a junior in high school and got a job as a towel assistant in a hair salon. Six months into the job, and I think we all just kind of understood I knew what they were doing.

By the end of that year, I was sure I was going to hair school, and my plans for college had changed. (And really, who am I kidding? I would have failed out or died from rapidly drinking far too much alcohol.) I had the task of convincing my parents hair school was the better choice for me than college.

My dad, who is an entrepreneur himself, with his own business since he was 18, really wanted me to go to college.

I’ll never forget what he said: “This life in the trades, you can be prepared to work twice as hard for half the money. Go to college and get a degree. It will be better and easier.”

My mom finally convinced him that he couldn’t make me go to college — after all, he hadn’t gone and had still done quite well for himself — and that he needed to let me give it a shot. I could always go to college.

His requirements were that I went immediately after I graduated and that I went to the best school in the country.

We had a deal, and I would figure out a plan!

I ended up in hair school 13 days after I graduated high school, and fortunately for me, the number-two-ranked school in the country was just a 45-minute drive from home.

I was off and running.

Thirteen years later, I have never felt like I worked a day in my life. I am nine and a half years into owning my own quaint hair salon/beauty loft. WHAT THE WHAT? Reading that gives me total goosebumps! How dang lucky am I?

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of growing up with this little place I call home, which you can check out here: www.latherasaloncle.com.

I have learned and I have lost.

I have been humbled to my knees.

And I have grown here immensely as a person and in my career.

I have had the honor of touching thousands of people’s lives and really having the privilege to make people look and feel beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. What an honor, my friend. What an honor.

About five years ago, in a way I could only describe as an “accident,” just like the way I got into this career, I found a new passion within this hair career. I’ve spent the last five years having the absolute honor of styling bridal hair. Your wedding is easily one of the most amazing and exciting days of your life, and believe me when I tell you, having the perfect hair is very important.

Bridal hair has given me the opportunity to really express myself creatively, to push the boundaries of what hair is capable of and really make art. It’s always requiring a different level of patience, tolerance and practice!

Every day I am blessed with the opportunity to grow more, to learn more, to try and soften more and change. Reality, I’m just blessed!

I’ve included a few of my absolute faves below, and you can see more pictures here.

Thank you for allowing me to share the pieces of who I am and of what has helped to shape me.

Now you know, if I’m not traveling, this is where to find me ... a little spot right outside of Cleveland, Ohio, having my life changed by these experiences every single day!!

To a great hair day … xoxo,

– H

Music

Everything doesn’t need to be serious all of the time!

Music brings joy to me. It helps to pass the time and even to shift my mood.

I actually spend a fair amount of time working on playlists, especially when I am getting ready to go on an across-the-world journey. I’m working on monthly playlists to offer you. In the meantime, I thought I would share my travel playlists so far.

You can follow me on Apple Music and on Spotify for the most up-to-date playlists.

What I do is polish up the playlists on Apple Music and then transfer the completed lists to Spotify.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, and I look forward to sharing so much more music with you.

P.S. – I am always looking for new music, so if you have some suggestions, throw them my way. I would be ever so grateful.

Spotify Playlists

Who We Were: Enough

I don’t know if I was born thinking I wasn’t enough or if it was learned behavior from the years of bullying, where people told me I wasn’t enough for so long I actually believed it.

It’s worth mentioning that this is by far the most vulnerable thing I feel like I could ever talk about, but also the foundation on which my story starts and my life was built. I’m trying to give you some sense of where I came from, of who I am, of all of the things I have experienced in my life to get me to where I am.

I don’t really know which answer is right: Was I “born broken,” or did I have “learned behavior”?

Or, was it a culmination of the two? I don’t really know if it matters except for helping to maybe paint another storyline.

I’m sure some combination of the two lead me to a rather painful, pretty unhappy childhood.

I don’t remember much from early childhood, except I remember being angry that my little sister was born. (Hello, jealousy!) I instantly felt like I had to compete. (There, that’s my work. That’s part of what makes me think I was born unsure of my worthiness.)

But pretty rapidly from when I was in first grade on, I was bullied. It was pretty clear for whatever reason I wasn’t like the other kids, and they wanted to make me aware of that, and I JUST WANTED TO FIT IN. Desperately. I just wanted to be one of the “cool kids” so badly.

My childhood could be summed up in these few experiences.

I was fat. (Need I say more?)

  • I’ll never forget the day. I was in seventh grade, I had just walked out of the lunch line toward a table of my soccer-team peers, and I went to sit down. But the chair wouldn’t come out from under the table. I didn’t understand why, so I pulled harder and then somehow it caught my eye that two of the girls had locked their legs on the the legs of the chair so that I couldn’t sit with them. When I realized what was happening, I grabbed my lunch and walked over to another table to sit by myself. But I can tell you, in that moment, in front of all of the other tables that could see what had just happened, my heart was broken. I didn’t know how to cry then or feel the hurt that I felt so deeply. It just turned into even more unworthiness, even more rage.

  • Boys used to tell me that I would probably actually be pretty if I was skinny and that, until then, no one would ever like me or love me.

  • They called me Halley’s comet (because I was the size of one) and Hale-Bopp, which I’m pretty sure was another comet that came along at some point in our childhood.

  • They called me fat and every term that resembles fat and always added that I would be so much more worthy or better if I wasn’t fat.

While I could keep going, I think or hope the picture is clear. I actually believed their words so much. I never actually thought anyone would or could love me because I wasn’t thin. Because I wasn’t enough.

I mean, pretty close to 18 years of that is a long time. By the time I was in high school, I had been put into counseling, tried every diet known to man and further instilled into myself that I wasn’t enough as who I was because that’s what the people who I thought mattered kept telling me.

The people who did matter (aka my mom) did everything in her power to tell me I was enough, I was worthy, that these people and the things they said weren’t true and didn’t matter. Every day. Every time. Consistently.

Thank you, God, that she did that, because as I’ve had the opportunity to relearn and grow, her words were like mustard seeds of truth for me to build on.

I think actually now that I reflect on these experience’s and on my life, I realize I never had a thought to whether I was enough or not and before I could even have one, there were lots of people telling me that I wasn’t.

So you know, fast-forward a little bit and these experiences were foundational building blocks to so many things.

IMG_5758.jpeg

I learned that just because people are “cool” doesn’t mean we are the same kind of people (over and over and over again, as I kept trying to be friends with people who just never wanted me).

I learned that people could and do love me. Just as I am. For who I am. That I am enough. (Although I often think about my first “serious” relationship, I remember being in awe that someone actually liked me, that someone actually wanted to be with me.)

It’s baby steps, friends.

  • I have fallen on my knees lots of times and danced with what “enough” means to me.

  • I’ve sought out ALL of the counselors.

  • I’ve learned what real friendship is.

  • I’ve learned what love felt like and looked like and most definitely what love is not. 😂

  • I’ve learned to look at what my part in all of those situations and experiences was, where my work was, where my responsibility is.

  • I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, learning who I am, what makes me happy and sad, what feels good and what doesn’t. I’ve learned that no matter what you look like, you are worthy of being loved.

  • I’ve learned: You are alive = You are worthy.

Nothing and no one should take that from you or make you question that you are enough.

If they do, I hope you find the courage from within to get out, to save yourself and do the work to know you are so much more than enough. You always will be too.

It’s unlearning everything you think you know or have been told and baby-stepping your way out ...

Into who you actually are.

Into what really is the truth for you.

Into happy, joyous and free.

Into laughter.

Into love.

Into self-responsibility.

Into inspiration.

Into possibility.

Into anything you could ever imagine.

Because who you are is ENOUGH. And really, what more matters than that?

Vulnerably enough … xoxo,

– H

Who We Were: Before and After

This isn’t your typical before-and-after photo. Although if I’m being totally fair, I don’t know what a “typical” before-and-after photo really is anyway.

I read the other day something about how before-and-after photos can demean the person we were before, in the sense that somehow we didn’t view ourselves as enough. {That struck a chord. Deeply.}

Because who I am today, this woman I have become is entirely built upon the woman I am proud to have been.

And I don’t know about you, but my before-and-after photo speaks to so much more than the weight I have lost on my journey. There is more to unlayer and discover about who I am.

IMG_6199-1.JPG

I promise you.

I am proud of who I was back then; after all, she is me. I wouldn’t be who I am now if I hadn’t been and done and experienced all of the things I had before.

I also don’t know how else to showcase a before and after of a soul becoming free or a woman coming into her own more than allowing my experience, strength and hope to shine through in the form of a before-and-after picture. By sharing this, I want you to know there is, in fact, hope for you too.

Whatever that hope looks like, whatever change you need to make or, heck, even want to make, I URGE YOU TO MAKE IT.

There is joy on the other side. I promise you.

I dig that a photo only shows us something at face value, but I am hopeful my words can make the impact here.

I hope you have the opportunity to learn that wherever you are in life right this moment, you are worthy … so much more worthy than you realize.

You have a right to feel free and to feel joy, to laugh without hesitation and to cry when necessary.

You have a right to find your own spotlight and stand tall because you are enough just as you are.

You are worthy of never lowering your head for anyone or anything.

And if you feel you can’t be these things for one reason or another, I offer you the courage to do the work necessary to find your freedom.

Because on the other side of that work — whatever your work is — is a human waiting to be joy-filled and free.

Since a picture is only the face of the thousand words behind it — and really, unless you’re one of my “ride-or-die homies,” you only know me at face value — I came up with this little series called Who We Were. If you would like to know more about the human behind the photos, follow along and drop your email below.

I hope you know you are enough today and worthy of joy. I’m here if you need a reminder.

Vulnerably yours … xoxo,

– H

Reflections

IMG_5757.jpeg

What a year filled with wonder and awe. I can’t help but feel so fortunate and blessed!

My life changed this year. My mind opened.

I loved and I lost.

I laughed and I cried.

I was open and changed by experiences and adventure.

I learned about my fears and how strong they have been. I learned how to talk with them and let them go.

I danced with acceptance and surrender.

I found my voice, my joy and my tears.

I felt heartbroken and entirely confused.

I felt low and I felt high.

I was given so much grace this year and started to learn to give it in return.

The list is endless and would take up too many pages, but my gratitude is endless for this journey, for the experiences, for THIS LIFE.

I feel excited by all of the possibilities a new year brings and the opportunity to continue to do this work and to learn these lessons.

My hopes for 2019 are

  • To be more silly

  • To be more light

  • To be more love and loved in return

  • To see more of the world

  • To be grateful for everything I have and everything I am

  • To gain new perspectives and make new friends

  • To let go of old behaviors and fully surrender into what is and what will be

  • To be happy, joyous and free

I hope the start of this new year brings you blessings, more love and a whole lot of new experiences.

May this serve as a New Year’s reminder from me to you, whether you are reading this now or any time of year.

Come as you are,
As you want to be,
Loved and open,
Wild and free.

There’s a place for you here ...
A place full of love,
A place full of light,
A place for us all to gather,
To share, to find what we need.

May I offer you grace in this moment.
May you offer me grace in the next.
May we all remember to practice grace together.
— A Collective Grace

To this new year and to new experiences together ... I am so grateful for you all!

xoxo,

– H

Beginning Again

IMG_5697.jpeg

Hi friends!

It’s definitely been a little bit. I got a little behind on editing, then life happened, and I decided to take a little break until January so I could get myself back on track and not stress out about it.

Because what the heck, this is supposed to be fun!

Anyway, I’m rolling on a nice schedule. So if you want to follow along, it should be quite the adventure.

I can’t wait to share with you where my life is unfolding in new ways as well as the emotions and fear that have risen from all of the twists and turns of trying my best to live life on life’s terms.

Andddd … I have really exciting, joyful things to share that, had I not had this little break, I might not have had the chance to process for myself before I shared it with all of you. (That can definitely be a train wreck. 😂)

So double what the heck.

To new adventures, new joys, new experiences and new life, I’m excited to share 2019 with you.

In peace, love and grace … xoxo,

– H

Even Now

“His ways are not our ways, and we must believe even when we can’t see the way out.” — Angie Smith, I Will Carry You

What a particularly amazing week to have the opportunity to check my spiritual progress.

I’ve often been told lessons repeat themselves until we learn what we’re trying to be shown, and that’s for sure been true in my life.

EUROPEFR-737.jpg

As I’ve continued to grow and move forward in life and in learning, I’ve had the opportunity to observe full-circle lessons as the chance to check my spiritual growth and throw myself into the arms of my higher power ... A THOUSAND TIMES A DAY.

See, what I am starting to think here is that every experience (especially uncomfortable ones) are the opportunities for us to grow spiritually. Every day, we are being given the opportunity to soften, to learn, to love, to find compassion and to grow.

A thousand and one times this week, every day, I fell into the arms of my higher power.

“I can’t. He can. I think I’ll let him.”

Help me to get through this day, this situation, this place. Take this from me because I can’t control it and only you can. Help me to find peace in this moment and to go out from here doing your will, not mine.

Just having the thought, “Haley, turn this over. Let it go. It’s not yours to control,” is a dang miracle and such a different thought from what my brain used to think. It’s so much more peaceful, and there’s so much more surrender.

I mean, isn’t that really what life is about: acceptance and surrender?

This life is going to happen one way or another. How peaceful do I want it to be? How peaceful do you want it to be?

I’m so grateful for this reminder, and I’ll remind all of us again. Walk by faith. There is so much peace and so much joy to be had.

Thank you for these opportunities. Thank you for this growth and this softening.

Thank you for letting me share.

Peace, grace and love to you.

Vulnerably yours … xoxo,

– H

I Want to Be Your HUG Dealer

I have been working consciously and sometimes tirelessly for the past two years to become “softer,” gentle, light. 

I used to describe it as trying to break my own heart open wide. Now, I realize it’s not my heart but the walls that have been protecting it and love that so desperately wants to be free.

HD071.jpg
HD039.jpg

I want to be a light for me and for you, to bring joy, compassion, LOVE, gentleness and softness to all those I encounter. To do this, I need a softening of the edges and an explosion of light, love and gentleness.

And I don’t know about all of you, but sometimes when I am at my most raw and vulnerable, it is the ABSOLUTE HARDEST to be soft and to let the inner gooeyness show. At first, I find myself feeling joy-filled, free and excited to share that part of me, and then, I get to where I am going, and I’m not even sure how it happens, but ZAM! 

My walls somehow go up around that peaceful freedom, even though I so desperately want to share. Then, I struggle to offer the softness, and I beat myself up. I can feel the literal anger and disappointment run through the center of my chest. 

I used to just sit with this and do nothing different, silently making it worse by allowing my brain, my perfectionism to abuse my little spirit for always letting it down. 

How wrong I had it. How much worse I was making it for myself.

Today I say, “It’s OK! I know you are afraid. I honor the way you feel. We don’t need to be afraid, and I hope when you are ready, you will trust this will be OK, too.”

How many times have we heard that being gentle with ourselves allows us to be gentle with other people? Ain’t that the SERIOUS TRUTH.

How can I be gentle with you if I can’t be gentle with me? (I really have been a slow learner my whole life. 😂😂  But I know I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.)

Friends, it wasn’t until this year, 30 years after I was born and years after I started the process of working with a counselor, that I finally learned what being gentle meant.

Thank you GOD for the grace you keep offering me, for the continued gentleness you have allowed me to soften in and learn from. I am soooo blessed. 

So wait, I’ve gotten off track. 

What I’ve learned in this process is that I just have to be gentle with myself. I have to honor that my brain works differently than my heart and my spirit. I have to let it see that it’s OK to trust. It’s OK to be vulnerable. But I can’t force it, and beating myself up is only going to further enforce the fear-filled walls. 

That’s what gentle is to me, honoring wherever we are and allowing that to be, instead of forcing the way it could be. It’s compassion for the struggle because the struggle we all face is real, folks. 

Oh my damn, ⬆ what a blessing.

Wait, I just did it again. I can’t help myself. I’m just passionate. 

So, I want to be your HUG dealer. What do I mean? I want to give you a hug, offer you an ear, be a source of softness, compassion and understanding. I want to offer you gentleness.

I want to work past my own walls with you by being uncomfortable myself. Hugging is my very favorite thing, but it’s also totally vulnerable. I want to put these practices in place.

I want you to know, I know this struggle. I know it’s hard to be happy, to be open, to be joy-filled, free. I know the ache. I know that whatever your struggle is, it’s the hardest thing you have ever done. I know you are doing the best you can to get through this life. 

I am here. I honor you. I applaud you. Let me be your light walker.

And selfishly, you know what? The more I do this, the less I will put those walls up, too.

Let’s be each other’s HUG dealers.

In love, light and continuing grace … xoxo,

– H