From My Heart – 11/11 is more than just my number!
11/11 holds great significance for me … these numbers have been my Ashley guide post through much of my grief and ministry of The Angels Across the USA … I have 111 tattooed on my left arm and 11:11 on my right arm ... Oh the stories I could tell you about these numbers … but we will save that for the book.
But this year on 11/11, it all seems different … as this date was approaching I realized how upside down and out of sorts my life is … It isn’t easy to admit our shortcomings, mistakes and downfalls … but I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t willing to share the difficult along with the wonderful things I am blessed with.
Over the past days as I took stock of my life, I realized there were many things holding me back, keeping me down and hindering me from having joy in my life. The amount of stress, emotional pain, disappointment and anger I have been carrying around have certainly left me disoriented. Most of you can relate as this pandemic has done a number on you as well.
When your work revolves around healing and being an empath, you would think that working through difficult times would come easy … but I assure you these past few months have knocked me down and nearly out … there were times I truly didn’t see how I would or could emerge from all of this intact … as with grief, I had to acknowledge that the struggle is real … and it would take everything I have to fight my way back.
Experts tell us the loss of your income or job, the loss of a home, the loss of a love relationship, the death of loved ones, a betrayal, moving to a new area … they tell us that each of these are major stressors … they also tell us that trying to navigate more than one of these simultaneously is extremely difficult … In 2020, I have carried the stress of dealing with every single one of these at the same time.
Little did I know in March that my entire 2020 Angels Across the USA Tour would be cancelled … traditional unemployment supplemented me for a short period then it was denied … in the summer my relationship ended abruptly and I hastily moved away from North Carolina and the closeness of people I love and care about … several deaths in 2020 of people very close to me broke my heart and rocked my world as I was scrambling to figure out where I wanted to start over and make a new home base for the Angels Across the USA.
My saving grace was that through all of this I continued reaching out to those in grief through this new virtual world we were forced to live in … in late August I decided that The Angels needed to get back out there whether we could have public events or not … It wasn’t easy, but The Angels and I traveled and impacted many grieving people. Along the way, gracious friends and family have allowed me to stay with them … and somehow we are here in one piece in spite of the financial and emotional hardships.
The Angels Across the USA and me personally have never had to take on debt until this year ... it takes a lot to keep all of this going and without knowing when we can get back to Touring ... it is difficult. I don’t tell you this seeking sympathy, I tell you this because it has been my daily reality.
As this 11/11 approached I decided this would be the day I begin to turn this all around … I firmly believe that rituals and conscious decisions have the power to transform our lives … so today, I decided I will practice what I preach and begin the slow walk back to getting on track and finding my joy.
Many years ago I attended a conference and was introduced to a ceremony where we burned our burdens … at first it sounded odd, but I went along with it. Each of us wrote down what was burdening us, what brought us pain, what was holding us back, who we were angry at … then one-by-one we walked up to a fire and let go of our pieces of paper with our burdens allowing the fire to take them away from us … it was an incredible healing moment for me.
After the ceremony, we each wrote down things we were going to do or say that would carry us toward a place of healing … these powerful affirmations also helped me greatly … all those years ago I was given a simple yet effective way of drawing a line in the sand, a demarcation point between who I had become and who I wanted to be … and the truth was, I just wanted to be me again.
So today, on 11/11, I am ready once again to burn my burdens … I have the perfect spot here in the beautiful foothills of Colorado where I can do this (trust me it will be safe and I will not start a wildfire) … In addition, I have made a list of things I will say each day and put into practice.
1. Don’t allow people or things you can’t control to control you
2. Ask for help, people have no idea what you need when you don’t tell them
3. Express gratitude everyday for what is good in your life
4. God has a plan, the more you trust, the less you stress
5. NEVER Give UP!
6. Forgive doesn’t mean forget
7. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again
Tonight, after I burn my burdens, I am going to dinner with someone who has known me for many years … we are going to celebrate 11/11 … we are going to toast to life … we are going to toast to the gift we are given to start over as many times as we need to in life.
The Angels Across the USA Tour WILL be back in 2021 ... you will be hearing from me about how you can partner with me and help us get whole and down the home stretch of getting through this pandemic.
I believe I have also decided on the new home base of The Angels Across the USA ... I will let you know once I have made that final decision.
Thanks for your thoughts ... thanks for your prayers ... But most of all, thanks for supporting me through 17 wonderful years of sharing my music and message with all of you ... 2020 may have gotten me down ... but never count me out ❤️🦋❤️