These were the questions in my heart, and this is how I answered them.
Hi, I'm Leslie Ralph, author of There, I Might Find Peace and featured writer on sites like Positively Positive, Tiny Buddha, and Mind Body Green.
Over the last 15 years, I've immersed myself in all things healing - from positive psychology to spiritual development, and everything in between. In my work as a psychologist, my writing, and art, I help sensitive spirits fill their hearts with peace and love themselves for life.
It's my job now, but I have to admit...when I started, I just wanted to fix myself. I always saw myslf as too much or too little. Too quiet, too hyper, too sensitive, too dark. (Why couldn't I just be normal?)
I spent so much energy on changing myself that I lost myself. I had no idea what I liked much less who I was - and for the longest time, I didn't even know it.
Even as I checked off the boxes on my life's to-do list, things I'd spent so long planning, I couldn't shake the feeling that I still didn't feel the way I expected. On the outside, my life looked exactly like I'd pictured, right down to our pizza Saturdays and my blue hybrid. Nothing was "wrong," so how could I feel so not right?
Today, I know there's something in me worth nurturing. It's the spark of hope when I fail, that steady conviction when no one gets what I'm doing, the reliable breath that anchors me to the truth of who I am.
How'd I do it?
By listening to that little voice in me that I'd pushed away for so long. It was quiet at first, but once I started listening, I discovered that it had been there all along.
It said it wanted to write a children's book (much to my surprise), so under the cover of darkness, I grabbed a pencil and a sheet of paper from the printer. And I drew...and drew...and drew.
And I self-published these...without asking for anyone's permission:
The little voice asked, what if you wrote a poem? So, I decided to find out...in secret...on the back of an envelope I found in my purse. That one poem grew into this:
I have to be honest, it was real awkward at first. A lot of this felt silly, delusional even. But those small decisions brought me back to life.
Now, I see nothing but possibilities.
Does any of my story sound familiar?
Have you ever felt restless, empty, or confused? Do you wonder how to get unstuck?
Every week, I send emails to over 1,000 readers, and I hear back from so many of them saying these same things. Things like...
"I want to trust myself again, even after all the bad, bad mistakes."
"I don't want to feel so restless."
"I don't like who I am right now. How do I even love myself?"
"I'm lost and floundering."
"I want to put one foot in front of the other without worrying so much about what other people think."
So many of us wind up in this place, listening to an inner critic that tells us we're unlovable and a past that won't let us move forward.
Even with my years of practicing psychology, it wasn't until I found my way through it that I really understood this one simple truth:
When the questions is how to get over fear, let go of self-sabotaging behaviors, stop procrastinating, forgive, find yourself, reprogram your inner critic, or move on from the past, the answer is always this:
begin with love.
Meet the Beloved Flame Practice.
The Beloved Flame Practice is based on my years of working as a psychologist. I specialize in positive psychology, mindfulness, meditation, and self-compassion, and I've clocked thousands of hours helping others find their own path to inner peace and love.
And this is the practice I've used in my own life to call upon a healing, loving energy in my life.
I use it when I'm feeling lost, fragile, or frozen. These are the questions that help me remember what it is I intend to do with this life, and these meditations bring me back to my truest self, open, loving, and certain of my connection to others.
The Beloved Flame Practice is a 4-week meditation and journal practice all about nurturing the light in you so you can live a happy, fulfilling life - authentically.
A life of appreciation, not dissatisfaction.
A life of looking upon yourself with love, not criticism.
A life of meaning and purpose, not emptiness and restlessness.
This is the practice that returns you to your truest, clearest self.
You CAN feel bright, brilliant, and brave.
Even if right now...
- You're feeling restless and blah.
- You have no idea what you want, what you like, who you are.
- You are *so* on autopilot.
- You're in the middle of a world-famous existential crisis (believe me, I've been there!).
- You don't know how to love yourself.
- Reading every self-help book on the planet.
- An elaborate morning and evening routine that takes over your life.
- Quitting everything and starting from zero (and still not knowing what you want).
All you need is the willingness to begin with love...and you don't even need to know how.
Here's what others are saying about the writing and exercises I've shared:
How does the Beloved Flame Practice work?
The Beloved Flame Practice is a 4-week meditation and journaling practice that you complete at your own pace. Start and end each week aligning your actions with your heart in the journal. Complete each meditation however it fits in your schedule during the week and use the corresponding journal questions to deepen the experience. The journal also includes daily reflection questions to keep your fire burning the entire four weeks.
BELOVED FLAME MEDITATIONS
Through uplifting visuals and healing self-talk, these meditations bring you deep into the feelings of peace, love, and light. This series of meditations takes you on a journey of setting deeply felt, sincere intentions, invoking the healing of self-compassion, and offering the light in you to the world through loving-kindness.
BELOVED FLAME MEDITATION
10 luscious minutes of getting deep into the feelings of your intentions and nurturing the sacred flame in you. It's all about the light.
LIGHT OF LOVING-KINDNESS
A radiant 20-minute loving-kindness meditation rooted in the feeling you wish to cultivate in your life and spread throughout the world. Everything is illuminated in this meditation.
HEALING LIGHT MEDITATION
Bring the healing energy of compassion to your body, mind, and spirit with 15 minutes of love and reverence for yourself. This is the start of letting go.
Get yourself off autopilot with this 3-minute meditation for feeling clear, decisive, and alive. It's a burst of heartfelt purpose just when you need it.
And spoken word poetry and prose about the light in you sprinkled in to awaken your spirit.
BONUS: I've included printable written instructions and cues to use as your map when you're ready to go solo or want to get into the piece of the practice your spirit needs on the fly.
BELOVED FLAME JOURNAL
Meant to be used together with the Beloved Flame Meditations or on its own, this 4-week journal will take you on an illuminating journey.
Begin and end your Beloved Flame Practice from a place of purpose. Clarify your why and set an intention for this experience.
Complete these questions after each meditation to capture the light and take it with you. Put the imagery, the emotions, and the aha moments from your meditation into words and use that to inspire life- and light-affirming action.
Get grounded and aligned with your heart as you start and end each week. You don't have to wait for a new week - use these questoins as often as you like to fan your fire.
Make a declaration - you are worthy of being seen and heard. These are your truths. These are your desires. This is your story. Get reacquainted with the sound of your own voice and tap into your natural wisdom. I hand-picked 28 questions from my own journals. They are my very favorite way to remember the joy of being me.