2015…  What a year!  2015 goes down in the books! This has been one of my most challenging, stressful, and beautiful years of my life.  How can stressful and beautiful coincide in the same year?  Well, it all comes down to personal growth.  I know that soon I will look back on this part of my life with appreciation.  For these challenges have brought upon a renewed and insatiable desire for life..

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I have learned more about myself this year than I ever imagined, and here are a few things I have learned:

I want to LIVE, not just exist.

I am stronger than I than I ever imagined. 

I find bliss in my alone time.

I have too much soul to be handled by someone who has never been passionate.

I want to spend time with real people: People with passions, people with dreams, people with inspiring goals.

I desire to learn as much as I can about all types of cultures.  

I want to see as many beautiful places in this world as possible.

My passion is to help others have pure happiness and health.

At the end of my life, I want to look back and say “Wow I cannot believe I did all that!”

 BUT…Time to get real, sister.  I’ll be honest, I was certainly ready for the finale of this damn year.  Have you ever had a day, a month, or a year where you just could not wait for it to be over with??  2015 was that year for me (this is the first time I have ever felt this way too)! 2015 hit some rough water, but it’s beginning to look clear ahead.

With all that being said, it doesn’t mean that I have all my shit figured out.  Earlier last year if you would have asked me a simple, “How are you?”  I could have very easily answered, “I need f*cking therapy ASAP,” or “B*tch, I’m fine!”  My life was completely all over the place, and even more so…my MIND was completely scattered.

My husband and I got divorced.

There it is.  It’s out there now. In black and white.

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Ewww, the D word. Such an ugly word.  It is not a fun situation.

No need to go into the nitty gritty details, but basically, after eight years, my husband and I ended up being on different paths.  A few years ago, when I ventured into a plant based diet, I simultaneously began to discover my spirituality.  With my new found enlightenment, I learned that my purpose on this earth is beyond what I was capable of accomplishing while being married to someone who is not on the same life path as me.  In the midst of my “waking up” other aspects of my marriage became very clear to me, and many situations, unbeknowngst to me during the relationship, arose from the past.  Ladies (and gents), please listen to this: We are given our intuition for a reason.  It is important to use it. 

Your intuition is your soul, and your soul will never lead you astray.

I experienced many dark days in 2015, and although I felt confident I was on the right path, I had lost my best friend, and that an almost unbearable feeling.  I had lost someone that I had wanted to be with and take care of forever.  I no longer had the comfort of seeing the same familiar face everyday – the face that I had grown to love so deeply – every line and freckle and wrinkle….it had all vanished. “What the hell has happened with my life??” …I would ask myself.

With time, things started to get better…well, some of the time. I definitely had days where I was proud of myself if I merely made it out of bed and brushed my teeth!  For a while, this became a joke between my girlfriend and I.  We used to text each other and ask if we had brushed our teeth or if we had changed out of our pajamas yet that day. (geesh!)

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In my experience, a divorce or a major breakup seems to throw off everything else in your life.  Initially, I thought that I had this whole situation under control, including my emotions.  Of course, that turned out not to be the case.  As my inward superwomen facade dissapaited, I began to have mornings where I would wake up and essentially just stare at the wall all day.  I was in some sort of weird-ass depression. I had no motivation.  I accomplished zero.  I did not want to cook (much less cook anything healthy).  I did not even want to think about photographing food!  I just wanted to sit and feel bad for myself.  The worst thing about it all was this:  The few days that I did feel “good” could be easily be ruined by the slightest little thing.  You know those days, when you are feeling super fly, but then you stub your pinkie toe on your dresser and consequently your ENTIRE days falls apart??  Yeah, I let that happen way too many times!  It was all my fault too; I was not addressing the underlying problem, and that problem was me.  I am in control of my reality, just as YOU are in control of yours.  No matter what anyone does to you, it becomes your responsibility to make the most out of YOUR life.

But get this:  Learning this is all a part of the process.

The key component here is that you snap yourself out of that shit quick.

Dwelling on past issues will only deprive you of the time you have been graciously given to make your present and future life better.

I started making changes.  I began waking up every morning and telling myself it’s not the end of the world.  It’s a new beginning, actually!  I Breathe.  I have so much to smile about.

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I know that many of you reading this have been through (and some are presently going through) tumultuous relationships. Whether it be unsavory relationships with business and financial partners, family, or friends, these imbalanced relationships can shatter our world.  What we take away from these experiences, and what lessons we share with others is what matters in the end.

A huge lesson I have learned thus far in life is that when another person betrays you it is only because they suffer deeply inside.  The message that person is trying to send is that they need help.   Other’s actions are a direct reflection of themselves.  The most important piece of advice I can give you, is that you must know that you cannot save everyone.  It is not your job to save people who cannot be helped.  The only person you can save is yourself.  Cutting people out of your life doesn’t mean you wish anything bad upon them.  It only means that not everyone is meant to stay.  Be wise enough to know when the time has come to stop the cycle and save YOU.  Don’t become who hurt you.

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We do not know every step we need to take or where our lives will lead us, but that is the beauty of this life.  Life doesn’t always give you what you want, but it does give you the people you need exactly when you need them.  Life gives you the people to help you, to hurt you, to love you, to leave you, and to make you who you are presently and who you will be in the future.

Give yourself a big dose of inspiration & self love.  Believe that you will reach your goals.  Whenever you have doubts or worries, surrender yourself and trust that the universe has your back.

Even with my unfortunate events that have happened this year, I am still happy…actually, I’m even happier.  I am happy because I know that this year happened according to a divine plan.  I approach negative situations differently now.  I have the ability to see why a certain instance is happening and how it will help me grow stronger.  I’m not going to lie and tell you that I am miss “Polly Positive” every moment…  I have moments where I want to scream and break a window lol, BUT when I feel that familiar angry, energy rising, I stop it in its tracks.  I choose to remember that my life is unfolding according to plan, and I breathe through it.  I choose to focus on the things I am grateful for and how lucky I am to be where I’m at.  Its remarkable how great your day can go if you simply keep a positive outlook on things.

“Break up with your past. Date the Present. Propose to your future.”

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As I am writing this for you all (and very much for me as well) my eyes are teary, my heart is mending, and soul is smiling,  I am sending my love to each and every one of you who have been through major heartache, to those of you who are struggling, and to those who have yet to go through such pain.  One of life’s biggest secrets is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.  Just know that with each difficult situation you find yourself in, it is a life test to make you even more incredible than you already are.  You are more powerful than you know.

Bring it on, 2016.

48 comments

  1. Your words brought me to tears. I feel as though, even at the young age of 20, that i know your pain. I wont go into details, but i have also recently gone through what was a terrible nightmare of a break up that destroyed me like i never thought anything could. I never knew i could feel so low, i thought i was strong, and never would have saw my future unfolding in that way. I had no real support to help me through it which made it even harder. Even the strongest souls can be temporarily broken. However your words give me confidence that i will be my strong, confident self again. Your words remind me that im not alone in times like these and that it is possible to be happier and stronger than ever before. There is hope. Thank you.

    1. Hello sweet Anna, I don’t have to see you to know that you are one gorgeous soul – your words show me who you are. I am so sorry to hear what you have gone through, and I am saddened to hear that someone was so careless with your heart. You must keep striving forward, and it sounds like you are heading on that path. This that you are experiencing will only be a catalyst to create the woman you are designed to be – that woman is resilient, strong, independent, and happy. Five years from now, and ten years from now, you will think back on this time and appreciate what it has taught you. In the meantime, I encourage you to do one thing each day that is just for Anna. It is so easy to lose our spark and feel devalued. We reignite our spark by believing in ourselves, by surround yourself with people who do not drain your energy, and treating ourselves gently.

      Lots of love to you,
      Ashley

  2. You’re so strong for sharing your story, and I too, feel that sharing our own struggles empowers us and others. I’m so glad you’ve come out of this difficult time even more beautiful and self-aware, love you gorgeous <3

    1. Hello to one fellow warrior! Yes, sharing our story helps others and in return helps ourselves. Looking forward to seeing you. Take care and stay well, sweet girl.

      XOXO,
      Ashley

  3. I have never met you in person, but you have perfectly written and conveyed everything that I needed to hear at this moment. Thank you.

    1. Hi Mary! Your words touch me. Thank you. I hope you have a beautiful 2016. Sending love and positive energy your way.

      Love,
      Ashley

  4. Hi Ashley,
    thank you for sharing your story with us and being honest and realistic about what one goes through when going through such a difficult time. You are such an inspiration to so many and have really come out of this even stronger and more beautiful than ever. This was all part of the plan as I call it and you’re so right, we have to go through this to get us to the next phase of our lives. May 2016 be an amazing new chapter of your life????

    1. Hi Zakie! Thank you for such kind words and encouragement. I hope 2016 brings tons of joy and excitement to your life!! XOXOXO!!

      Love,
      Ashley

  5. Great article. I too am currently going through a divorce. Our 9 year anniversary was NYE. It’s been a very difficult time because of so many tragic things that happened during and after the marriage. But your words have truly encouraged me. Thanks for being so transparent with us strangers. Now I know I will be ok.

    1. Hello, thank you for taking the time to ready my story, and I am so happy that it has encouraged you. I am sorry to hear you are experiencing a difficult divorce. My heart goes out to you. This too shall pass. You will be wiser and stronger. Sending you virtual hugs and lots of love to you. Stay positive and have a beautiful day. XOXO, Ashley.

  6. Hi Ash, I’m sorry to hear about your trying times but i am so sure that you are bouncing back better and brighter than ever! You are such a sweet giving soul with so much love and enthusiasm to offer the world…don’t forget that gorgeousness xxx

    1. Hello beautiful, thank you for your sweet words. Life gives us so many ups and downs, but life is a beautiful thing! So happy to know you. Sending hugs and smooches to you all from the other side of the world! XOXOXO!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope you have a beautiful day. Stay strong! Sending you lots of love.

      XOXO,
      Ashley

  7. Ashley,
    You are a beautiful person inside and out! You write beautifully too!
    I wish you nothing but good health, happiness, and love in future, and I’m quite sure that’s just what you will have!
    Love, Stacey

  8. I read this after a day and a half of lying in bed. Time spent wondering what I did in this life or another to always be the recipient of heartache and sorrow. It’s been over four months and it doesn’t seem to be getting easier. I lay here hoping time will heal. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life helping raise kids that weren’t genetically mine, but that I loved the same. Last two relationships both had kids and losing someone is hard, but losing a child multiplies it. This last relationship was over eight years. Eight years of me making sure she had everything she desired. Making sure the kids had everything I had growing up and more. I lost myself in those eight years and I lay here hoping I at least helped the kids be greater individuals. Reading your story and those who commented though strangers makes me feel for the first time in many months like I’m not alone. One step closer.
    Thank you.

    2016 – The year of happiness. The year of me.

    1. Hello Anthony. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I realize we are all one – We all have struggles, and we are truly never alone! Thank you for reading, and thank you for taking the time to leave such a heartfelt message. I feel strongly that you left an incredible impact on your children and that you helped them become who they are today and who they will be in their future. Never regret or doubt yourself because giving back and helping others is the key to life. You have a natural gift for empathy and compassion; while still continuing to help others, make it a point to do at least one nice thing for Anthony each day. You deserve it!

      Sending you love and much happiness in this new year. Yes, this is the year of YOU.

      XOXO,
      Ashley

  9. Thank you for soesking from your soul, it is very inspiring , And for all of you passing trough the same I send some love !! Everything is going to be ok promise …

  10. Ashley, You are an amazing person. Reading your writings inspire me. Being able to see into the little snip its of your life over the past several years has been amazing. I didn’t know your significant other,(maybe met him once) but your spirit is way to big to be held down. I hope you continue to grow and shine as bright as you are. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to. We miss you here in the big “T”.

  11. Hi Ashley, the magical Mermaid,
    This is such a beautiful and powerful article. You are so amazing. I know how hard this year was for you, because you are my friend and I know what you were going through. But know that this whole experience made you a stronger person. Your soul needed to experience this in order to grow. I know that only great things are coming your way. 2016 is going to be your year! Wishing you good health, joy, happiness, success and abundance in 2016.
    Love you
    Aleksandra the Unicorn

  12. Ashley,

    I just wanted to say thank you. Your words brought me to tears as well as tugged at my heart. You are truly wonder woman who many look up to.
    I may not know what kind of pain a divorce holds, but a heartbreak or something tragic that happens I know to well.
    So once again thank you <3.

    1. Hi Jessica. You are so sweet. Thank you for reaching out, and thank you for always being so supportive! Love ya doll.
      XOXO,
      Ashley

  13. Dear Ashley,
    We share names (my middle name is ASHLEY!), and we also share the feeling of loss. I know that exact feeling of wanting to scream or cry or wonder in disbelief how you could have known this person so well, known every freckle, and then have it all come crashing down on you. It’s an indescribable feeling of pain and torture we unfortunately have to endure. Years have gone by and a day doesn’t pass where I’m reminded of my past with that person. But as time does go by, it does get easier. Which I’m so thankful for! I’m happy to hear you’ve kept your eye on the future and all it holds for you because you’re a special soul! It was obvious to me when I found your Instagram account. And I’ve followed you for a while now with the hugest grin on my face at the sight of your photos. Keep inspiring, keep up the positivity, and keep pressing on. Because you are one incredible woman!!
    Much love,
    Victoria Ashley

    1. Well hello beautiful, Victoria Ashley. You know when I was little, I told my mom I wanted her to change my name to Victoria, lol; true story. Thank you for sharing your message. It seems as though we all experience something as this at one point in our lives. I am happy to hear you say that, with time, it feels better. Thank you for following along, I truly appreciate you! You have definitely warmed my heart and made me smile this morning. Love you!
      XOXO,
      Ashley Diana

  14. Wishing you all the best for the future, I’m going through the same hurtful time. I don’t know if I can be as strong as you . But I will try.

    Tracey x

    1. Hi Tracey! Thank you for your well wishes. I am so sorry to hear that you are going through these troubling times. Please believe in yourself. There is a reason this is happening; I promise. You are strong and resilient. Start by doing one thing each day for you, Tracey. You are worth it and you deserve it. Sending lots of love, and positive energy your way.
      Love,
      Ashley

  15. You are so absolutely so courageous and I look up to you an incredible amount. Your strength and happiness just beams out of you now, and it’s amazing to be able to watch you grow! Reading this felt incredibly healing for me, and gave me a better understanding to some past relationships. Thank you so much for sharing such a personal part of your story with us, we love you!!

    1. Hi Andrea! Thank you for your kind words. I very much appreciate you following the journey. I am so happy that my story has helped you, and I truly appreciate YOU! Sending you lots of love back!

      Ashley

  16. Ashley,

    You are amazing and I’m confident that you’ll come through this stronger, better, & brighter than ever before.

    You’re honesty and transparency is so refreshing. It takes great courage to be REAL!

    Talk to you soon!
    xo
    Melodee

    1. Thank you Melodee! Your words mean so much. Everything you said is how I feel about you! You are so courageous and strong. Love you! XOXOXO!

  17. Hello Ashley,

    I had to leave a comment. I first stopped by to read your “How to find your spark again” post which brought me to this post. Your words brought tears to my eyes. I have to thank you, you brought a lot of perspective to me today! Although I don’t know the hard ships of going through a divorce, I felt the pain of your struggle through your words. My husband and I experience two miscarriages back to back last year, and it’s been a struggle for me to regain a sense of “normal” in my life. I’ve spent many of days just as you discribed here, you’re words struck me to the core. Thank you very much for this post-I needed it ? You are truly beautiful inside and out!!! Xo

  18. Hellol Ashley

    I have read many many posts about relationships and yours is probably the first one that’s hit home for me so hard. I’m 26 and I’m meant to be getting married in a months time. My fiance is and i are of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Our relationship has been turbulent from the start due to many many external factors. When he proposed to me I was neither happy nor excited and all I heard were warning bells, but I said yes. For him. Please don’t get me wrong I absolutely love him, he is my best friend and we are great together. But I know that my life path does not align with his and this kills me. We have planned our wedding and I’m terrified because something within me is screaming that I shouldn’t do it. But the love we share keeps me holding on. I’m in a difficult painful patch and I don’t know what to do anymore. All I know is that I have to do something soon.

  19. Dear Ashley,

    I don’t know you, we have never met, but I will never forget the pure kindness you showed me when I emailed you about websites and had questions about other lifestyle changes. You responded to them, each and every one of them. You will never know how much that meant to me and what is still means to see you reaching out to every single soul who writes you. You are a genuine person and I wish the world had more people like you in it, because I would love to meet more girls that I can be friends with like you 🙂

    I am so sorry for your pain. I feel like I know you since I have been a true believer in who you are and what you have to share from many years ago. Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us and for showing us that true strength looks like. I almost feel guilty for questioning the choices I am making in my own life. Especially when I have a partner who loves me so dearly. We are set to get married this year and yet I have so many doubts, questions and past things I am still holding onto. I thought this part of my life would be the easiest. But when you spoke about your passion and not being with someone who shares the same as you, I felt like you were speaking to me. Your post really hit home for me and makes me realize how important it is to be with someone you can be with forever.

    I think you are strong, courageous and love yourself completely, because it takes someone with courage to walk away when they know it is not right for them or where they know their soul cannot flourish.

    Not many of us would/could do the same thing. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope that 2016 is the BEST year it can be for you! And congratulations for getting your shakes in the restaurants! So excited for you!

    I truly hope I get to meet you one day! I aspire to have my own “smoothie bowl” nook one day. xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you for your heartfelt words and message. It means so much to me. I am sending you lots of love and good vibes for your life and your relationship. I believe in you babe! XOXO!

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