Do I Really Have to Get Rid of My ‘Stuff’ to Be Happy?

I’ve been traveling more than usual lately and I’ve realized that I drool with envy at those put-together women at the airport that glide through customs in their beach hats. You know, the ones in neutral capris pants and not a whisper more than a small purse and a matching chic carry on suitcase?

But alas, it’s not for me.

I clunk into the airport with a larger than average bag in relation to the size of my trip. I pay the extra fees, I wait the extra time to check my bags in and then wait at baggage claim again to pick them up on the other side.

When I’m packing, I feel like I simply won’t enjoy my trip if I leave anything behind. I can’t imagine how lonesome and ill at ease I’ll feel. I don’t mean forget things, as we all do. I mean, I want to feel like home wherever I am. I want to be me, even though I’m far away. I’m the woman who takes more books than clothes and always always slippers.

But what do I really need? Can I make it on this trip without all this “stuff”?

I’m not interested in that book about getting rid of all your stuff and becoming a breatharian. But as I get older, I feel like I’m evaluating more closely what I bring into my life, my space, my bag, man.

My bag holds lots of stuff to do like reading, writing, drawing and nice pjs for getting a good night’s sleep. My bag is heavy – rich and deep. Not cluttered, just full.

If I look at adulthood as a journey, I wonder if I’m bringing the right stuff too. How do I make it full, rich and deep? I pray to know the difference between a full life and one that’s cluttered with things I don’t love or need. Or worse, “stuff” that holds me back.

There seems to be  another category of stuff we keep around us that is loaded with fear.

I wonder, what am I always “carrying” ….

Just in case something bad happens

Just in case I get bored

Just in case I’m not enough.

Alone, am I enough? …Oooh. Now we’re getting somewhere.

What are the lies I keep telling to keep me safe? What are the buffers and “ah wells” I hold onto that stop me from getting to close to sadness? What are the thoughts I just won’t think?

As a first step I’m starting to de-clutter my travel bag list, not so much in the Marie Kondo way but in the, “I can just be enough on this trip” way. And if I forget something or get bored, it’s on me. It’s on me to just be okay with it and find a way to feel at home wherever I am, without anything but me. I’m sure I’ll find a way to live without it. Which means, of course, I didn’t really need it at all.

Down to one small bag. One small suitcase and the thoughts I choose.

That’s all I need, really.

Just me against the world – or with the world? On this journey, this adventure.

I am enough ( and so are you ).

__________________

What would you take with you if you were packing a bag to leave forever? Whose picture? Which books? Which thoughts, friends and memories?

Which of those things are you taking because you think you’re supposed to? (Decide and then take them out. How do you feel?)

It’s not just about the possession  – think of it as paring down, becoming choosier – defining you and what you’re about just a little bit more.

The concentrated, bald and naked essence is all we want here, people. (Scary almost chicken-like image aside). It’s all you really need anyway.

Don’t forget to come grab more at ashewoodward.com

When Only Your Weird Will Do: How Keeping It Real Has Been My Secret to Success and Happiness

Y’know, in my late twenties I was sure I was on my way to being a success. I was teaching full time and I had my own successful hypnosis business. I was serious, no nonsense, go go go! On top of of that, I really dressed the part: super corporate chic, lots of black and brown (you know the type). BO-RING!

Fast forward to me discovering my gifts as a writer and life coach and realizing that my mindset (and my wardrobe) were so out of sync with who I really am. It was all just a part I thought I had to play to be successful.

But when I figured out that I am still the same funky and free girl I was waaaaaay back in high school, I truly found success. Weird, eh?

Turns out I wasn’t just innocently attempting to grow up, be mature and responsible; I was crushing my true soul – the one that so effortlessly and generously showed up when I was younger.

This is when I also realized that I wasn’t alone. I started to ask the people around me if they felt like this, or if I was the only weirdo. They actually all had some pretty unreassuring things to add, like:
You have to grow up some time
You can’t make money being in a garage band
It’s not like we can all be artists 
You have to be responsible and have a real job that pays the bills

UGH! Depressing!!

What makes us think that what we would love to do or BE isn’t WORTH doing?

I for one couldn’t live one more minute without reconnecting with my true self. I threw out those stuffy clothes, got rid of the boring hair cut, and threw myself at the questions I had about what and why people were okay living with a ‘just because’ and ‘good enough’ attitude. I was ready to be me and find out how I could help others shake of their imposter costumes too.

And now, the work that I’ve done since has always lit me up and never let me feel like I have to be anyone besides just me.

And don’t get me wrong – I still have more layers to peel off and BS to sift through but I have committed myself to doing that – that is actually what feels the BEST! 

 

 

Lately, I think I’ve sifted out yet another several layers of BS that was blanketing the real me, and it feels amazing. I’ve been saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ like a pro, and I’m so much choosier when it comes to my choices – not picky, just … choosier – listening more closely to what I really want and not what I think I should say or do.

Sometimes I have to close my eyes behind my sunglasses to hear that I actually don’t want to get a drink just cuz it’s Friday, after I said I’d go. Sometimes I catch myself saying, “It’s fine if there’s no vegetarian option, I’ll have a salad,” and then I regret it.

And slowly, I know, those responses will build up another blanket fort so heavy that it will crush that true soul once again until I can’t breathe and I have to start all over again, listening more carefully to the voice.

It’s not easy. Actually, it’s really f***ing annoying that it’s such a quiet voice. It’s so hard to hard to hear under the pressure of the moment, or the buzz of and whirl of the Internet, the ALL CAPS on social media, your screaming child, your angry partner, your angry self, traffic, juicers, weird yoga music, etc. But it is under there.

Close your eyes if you have to (I do).

What would it feel like to say no (politely) more often and do what you want? Freedom?

What would it feel like if we all did this more, all the time? Would honesty and trust become words we could depend on?

I’d love to hear what happens for you this week by taking on this habit of listening carefully first before you say yes or no.

Leave a comment here or with the Facebook community to share your experience with other thirtysomeones (and me).

And check out what’s new at my site ashewoodward.com, where you can also find my contact info and how to get in touch for personal, one-to-one coaching calls.

 

Cuba Libre – My Vacation from WIFI

My husband and I got back from our vacation in Cuba on Tuesday. It’s a beautiful, laid-back place and so nice to get away from a piece of Toronto winter. But let me tell ya, instead of feeling refreshed and re-energized, I’m still riding the Caribbean-style, laid-back train. Cuba’s residue is still with me – the warm sun, no cooking for myself and most especially NO WIFI.

That’s right, you heard me – no WIFI at the hotel. It sounded scary to me at first too. I thought, will I go crazy? Will I really be able to really shut my business’s doors for a full week?

Having no choice kind of makes the decision for you but it also turned out to be such a blessing. I let go of my phone and emails to let my mind go blank – almost to the point where I couldn’t care less when the hotel staff was less than forgiving of my Spanish skills or our bus was more than 40 minutes late.

I really haven’t been able to reach this state in a while since I’m sure we all feel is near impossible when life is going on a mile a minute with text messages and social media posts to get to.

Letting go in Cuba was an amazing reminder of what life before technology was like. People actually just sit around and talk! They draw maps or they physically walk with you to show you their favourite place to eat. There’s no Uber. There’s no Yelp. And no one on Instagram is going to LIKE my seafood dish except me.

Then one day while we were in beautiful Havana, we came up to a park. I knew something looked a little ‘off’ but I couldn’t quite pinpoint it until I stared, bewildered, just a little longer. Then I realized it- everyone was on their phone. Every single person in the park had his or her head down and wasn’t talking to anyone around. It was really creepy. Apparently this was one of the ‘hot spots’ in the city that are few and far between.

After days of being without any connection I felt sad at first for what could be a very social and lively park. I almost shook my head with judgement.

Luckily, I caught myself because I realized that I almost didn’t notice how this picture stood out among the rest of the city. I almost didn’t catch it because it’s so commonplace at home.

It was such a quick moment but it made me realize how much I depend on technology and maybe even have a bit of an addiction (or maybe a big one…). But it also made me realize how lucky I am to have Internet in my home and be able to do business online.

Interestingly though, after only having to live about four days at that point without Google, I judged these people in the hot spot who were just trying to enjoy being connected to the world at large like anyone else.

It’s a strange feeling. And I think it’s a debate we are all having with ourselves more often . On one hand, if you’re in your thirties, you probably remember land lines and pen pals. I remember watching the entire countdown on MTV just to see my favourite Michael Jackson video at number one.

Without YouTube, we had to sit through all the other music too, which sometimes took all afternoon. And then when I wanted more, I would put on my MJ album, but be bursting at the seams to dance harder, knowing I couldn’t because it would make the record skip.

Ahhh, the good ol’ days.

There are the memories and there are the things I’m glad are in the past. I’m grateful for technology but I’m also grateful for vacations from it so I can get some perspective.

For me right now, I think I’m still trying to hang on to a little more of my disconnected life. Cuba reminded me so much of life before technology and social media ruled my time. And while I have no interest in going backwards or cutting out social media out completely I am making a commitment to be more aware of when I choose to have my head down.

Are you having this debate? Are you condemning technology on one hand but addicted to its conveniences on the other?

I’d say, before condemning technology, see what your experience as a thirtysomething can bring to it. For example, online dating may seem unnatural, so how can you add some good old fashioned charm to the conversation or make her feel like you can transport her to a simpler time? Go with the flowers or the mixed tape (or playlist), call instead of text, know where you’re going so you don’t need GPS.

What are your beliefs about social media? Does it make us more or less social? Does it make  YOU more or less social? When are other times you could make a phone call instead of sending a text or email?

OR, when could you send a personal email instead of resending a meme?

I’d love to get a personal email for you about your thoughts and questions. Contrary to what I said about technology, I AM ready to get to work with new clients, starting next week.

If you’re ready to get your priorities straight and start being the success you’ve always wanted to be, get in touch today! We’ll chat about where you’d like to go this next year and create an action plan to get you there whether it’s in your career, dating or spiritual life.

Let’s chat today – support@ashewoodward.com

For more info visit ashewoodward.com

Avoiding bad news lately? Here’s what it could cost us all.

So the last thing you may want to read is another article, post, blog meme, tweet, headline, status about Trump, right?  BUT WAIT!

Before you ignore, hide, sigh, cancel or avoid social media, I wonder if you’ll do something for me…

Ask yourself really why avoidance is sometimes our first reaction to “bad” news.

 

I’m hearing a lot of people talking about cancelling their social media accounts lately, at least for the time being.

Is this you?

Do you feel like it’s all just too negative? Too heavy?

Do you maybe feel like you don’t know enough about politics or the situation to actually comment?
Are you sick of how all this news makes you feel (helpless, vulnerable, angry)?

When Trump was elected, I tried to stay positive, saying that maybe this will help us wake up to many problems. Looking back, this may have been a little too light-hearted as far as approaches to politics go, especially now that we’re faced with executive orders that fill us with a whole range of mostly intense emotions.

But the favour I ask of you is to consider what this avoidance attitude can mean for us all. If we avoid social media and try to ‘keep positive,’ what are we missing? I’m not talking about FOMO (fear of missing out), but the larger conversation of our times.

We’re being asked to really examine our thoughts on race and religion in particular. Can we afford to ignore what we might really be thinking, feeling or the ugly side of what we’ve been conditioned to believe?

Is there a reason Trump’s comments and actions create a stir in us?
Is something being reflected back?

I have no political background. I’d even go as far as saying it’s scary how little I really know about politics and I’m Canadian. But I still have an opinion.

And it’s this.

In the last election, Americans were faced with deciding between 2 less than desirable options. And instead of making a choice, many chose to avoid and not vote at all – in fact, around 95 million voters did not cast a vote.

Even with my limited knowledge in American politics, I know there’s more to it than that. However, we can’t ignore that the votes of 95 million people would have made a difference. Maybe the same outcome, maybe not. But it would have been a different conversation in America.

But I get it.

I mean, how many times have we all been in the same place where there are hard decisions that need to be made, but we do nothing instead?

I get it. I’ve done it. It’s just easier.

But know this: taking no action, is an action. Make no mistake – you ARE making a choice; indecision is a decision.

We may not all need to take action and march and protest. Some of us do and that’s good and important; it’s such an amazing freedom we have the right to express. But there are other ways to be heard.

We can be aware of what’s happening, have an opinion, but not let it ruin our day; not let it steal our hope; not let it leak into our mood at home or work.

And if it does, let’s agree to reflect on what these feelings mean for us and not shy away from the lessons we could learn.

How do we really feel? Angry, sad, hopeless, sexist, racist?

Right?

Wrong?

Or, it may be making us question the role of leadership completely. Who we choose to follow says a lot about us. We’re saying that we like where this leader is taking us and we share that vision.

But when we question certain decisions made by our leader, our own identity comes into question. And that can be uncomfortable. And that makes us want to hide.

If it’s all getting to be too much, take a time out. Sometimes we really nee a break from it all. But use some of that time for reflection. Get your opinions sorted, without the help of the media.

You may also find you become more reflective in other areas, or more decisive from now on. You can let the lessons from all of this leak into, or even saturate all areas of your life.

The worst thing isn’t the situation that we’re in. The very worst

would be letting it all be for nothing.

Click the link below or shoot me your thoughts at support@ashewoodward.com or start the conversation here or on the Facebook page.

…Start the conversation indeed…

Get started with the power of personal coaching. Check out my site and packages available to get down and dirty with your ugly thoughts and all their delicious lessons. ashewoodward.com

Let’s Master Adult Life

I know I’ve written about the term, “adulting” before but I have another take on it. Used as a verb, the terms suggests that being an adult is an activity. We can all agree that activities like sports, hobbies, or even weird things people do on reality shows, can be mastered.

So could it then be possible, being that “adulting” is a verb, that we could one day perfect our adult lives?

Common sense, of course, tells us that it’s quite impossible. Yet, I know that there are a good many of us that are trying to do just that. We compare ourselves to friends, family members or celebrities, and wind up in shame spirals about not adulting right. We may kick ourselves for a while as we compare our silhouette to someone on the red carpet one or we may have a cry in the car as we leave our friends’s beautiful home.

But, eventually, we have to get back into our routine and keep our lives going. And, interestingly, I think it’s in our routines that the key to shaking off that shame spiral may lie.

If we really wonder closely about why it’s impossible to perfect our adult lives, consider how routine works. Routine rarely truly stays exactly the same for very long – we age, we grow and s#*!happens. It may seem that once we perfect routine, a stick is thrown into the spokes and we have to adapt – change jobs, gyms or move across the country for our own or spouse’s job.

The other problem is that there is no one specific activity that adulting is or that we could perfect. Maybe we can get really good at paying the bills on time or checking the oil in the car, but we could never be a professional at adult life…right?

No. No one is just born being good at life – Not you, me, your friends or even Beyoncé.

They might be good at singing, marketing, selling or sailing, but that doesn’t make them good at life in general.

In the book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell explains that it takes, on average, about 10,000 hours to be really, really good at something – like in the realm of a professional. In other words, a lot of practice makes pretty well perfect.

If you’re in your thirties, you have lived more than 10, 000 hours, but are those all good, adulting hours? Probably not.

Here’s some math I got obsessed with this past weekend while pondering:

By 30, we’ve lived for 262, 800 hours – clearly more than 10,000 hours, but that’s pretty ‘normal life’ hours.

If we take the government’s suggestion and say that age of majority is 19 (in Canada), I’ve been an adult for 11 years or 96,360 hours.

Again, quite a bit more than Gladwell requires.

But, if I’m really honest, it hasn’t been until recently that I really knew what being an adult truly meant besides being able to stay out really late, being able to drink alcohol and finally being able to curse around my mom.

I think that feeling of truly being responsible for myself and my actions and even thoughts and mood has only come to me lately – maybe when I turned 31. That was 3 years ago –  so, really, I only have 26,280 hours experience.

But it also hasn’t been consistent.

There are still times that I regress and reject being an adult. I skirt responsibilities, avoid talking about serious topics, and sometimes spend hours under a blanket watching Netflix, hiding from this cruel, cruel world.

And then the game will change again – and again and again.

Another way to think of it is being a parent. Everyone wants to be the perfect parent. Moms especially have guilt and perfection complexes out the ying-yang. They stretch themselves to reach an unreachable goal of being a ‘perfect mom’ and having the perfect routine (even though they’re doing a pretty perfect job already in most cases).

But think about it: how can you be a perfect parent to a growing human? Every minute the game changes. As soon as you’re a great parent to a five-year-old, he turns six! As soon as you’ve mastered the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, she turns around and says she wants jam!!

Perfect is just not gonna happen. And that’s the joke.

You’re not supposed to be good at it. The game will inevitably change again and all we can do is use our experience it to live it. We just have to marvel at the variables, the changes, the curveballs and take note of how we get slightly better each time we’re under the gun.

And the cool thing is that we’re all in the same boat. Not one single one of us has it all figured out. I know you’ve heard that before but this time, really listen.

For some reason, we’re all guilty of believing that some people have an extra magic gene that makes life simple. It may look like it – but it’s not. It never is.

Life is never something anyone can perfect or hack or do better than anyone else. And this is precisely why we have to acknowledge that we LIVE life and not DO life.

We can DO yoga, homework, singing and sailing – but not life. Life won’t let you DO anything to it but LIVE it.

But take comfort in this:

You have some experience being kind

You have some experience with working hard

You have a lot of experience with love

Hopefully, you’ve racked up quite a score in these areas.

Because adulting is hard. Yep – we like it like that. It’s meant to be. It’s what keeps us on our toes, and never lets us become too comfortable with mediocrity. It will continue to have memes created in its name, proclaiming its harshness. And, all the while, we laugh because we know the futility of our protest.

dogult

So don’t give in or give up. Continue the pursuit of betterment because that’s what we are meant to LIVE. It’s a big part f what it means to be a grownup – never give up, even when it’s hard.

I don’t mean to discourage you – quite the opposite. I want all of us to embrace our adulthood as something that we are blessed to experience. I urge you to remember that you’re doing everything just fine – there’s not really a wrong way – we’re all in this experiment together!

So even when the game changes completely, we just have to show up, love, work and continue to be kind. That’s all we can really say we’re good at, but it’s actually quite a lot. Don’t you think?

What part of adulting do you struggle with? Have you found any area that you think you may have mastered? Any advice for when we compare ourselves to others?

I’d love to talk about these ideas so leave a comment!

And if you’re ready to step into adulthood to become the best version of YOU, get in touch for a FREE coaching consultation – support@ashewoodward.com.

And be sure to download your copy of The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goalmaking HERE

   goalmaking

How to Satisfy Your Inner Marty McFly: Are You Ready to Go Back?

I wish I knew in my twenties what I know now.

I hear it all the time – from friends, clients, even myself at times. This week it even came up in my interview with Scott from Power of Perception. We both agreed it’s fun to indulge in imagining the past a little bit better with some input from our wiser selves. Oh if we could just do it over!

It’s frustrating sometimes when you think about it and the urge can be pretty great – especially when you think about embarrassing moments or times when you could go back and save a little face. It truly is such an attractive concept: taking the wisdom we’ve gained and going back to all the difficult times to re-do them with more grace, more composure and maybe some better-chosen choice words.

It’s enough to make us literally stop, think and dream about the times we’d like to correct or experience again. And for thirtysomethings I think it’s even more pronounced because, after all, we are the Back to the Future generation!

You could retake exams with your practiced skills, amazing your parents and teachers and getting a full scholarship to the university of your choice. Or maybe you even get a great job right out of high school.

Or, you might want to go back to talk to your crush, knowing now that it doesn’t phase you if he or she laughs in your face because you’ve grown a thicker skin. You could even go back and face your bully, knowing now exactly what to say to brim ‘em down.

You might even be the type to go even further back and buy some Apple stock, invent Facebook, or bet on the Super Bowl.

Personally, I’d go back to save myself a lot of time by starting my business right out of university. Sure, the Internet wasn’t so great back then, which would make it harder to get exposure and do international business. But I wonder if I’d be further ahead than I am now in achieving my goals and to-dos on my bucket list. *sigh.

But the more I think on it, I’m not so crazy about repeating high school or university. It took a lot of time and I was stressed, tired and unhealthy for most of it.

I also have enough trouble with getting exposure for what I do with the Internet the way that it is today so I don’t think I’d enjoy going back to a time when things would be more difficult. Even with the wisdom I’ve gained, I don’t think it’s such a great idea.

I’d also have to be very careful to make sure I did certain things so that I still meet my husband and all the great friends I’ve met along the way. A couple different moves and I can see a lot of great times I’d miss.

So as tempting as it is to send our wiser selves back to correct the past, isn’t it more satisfying to know that through all of that, you still became you- the wise person you have so much confidence in?

Isn’t it amazing that we believe that we now have the confidence to go back to those situations and crush them?

So the thing we need to take away from this is remembering that you’re that person now – those powers are at your disposal here in the present. You’re that person dealing with whatever problems you’re facing. And if you have the confidence to send yourself back to correct those wrongs, you must have the confidence in your present self.

So what are you going to do, wise one?

The problems may look different than they did in high school, but think of how much more capable you see yourself as now. You should be confident that your experience and wisdom will allow you to find a way to solve any problem you’re facing.

Sure, you don’t know the outcomes but the great thing about being in our thirties is that we really get to know ourselves. We know how problems happen and get handled in our lives by now if we’re willing to look.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you’re wanting something right now. Let’s say it’s a big one.

Looking back, I’m sure you’ve wanted something before and got it. Find that situation and analyze it. Write it out and take a look.

What were you thinking? What action were you taking? Whose advise did you heed?

In other words, how did you get what you wanted in the past? And, furthermore, how can you use what you’ve learned since then to get what you want and more in the present and the future?

The great thing about being where we are in our thirties is that, yes, we have a lot of experience to draw from. But it’s useless dreaming about taking it backwards. Life is happening in front of you – going forward.

So how are you going to use your wisdom to make life easier for you in the here and now and beyond?

What makes you so much wiser now? What makes you so much different than you used to be?

And use that. And work it!

If you’re unsure about how to use your skills and experience to help you with decisions, problems or manifesting your dreams, get in touch for personalized coaching. I’d love to work with you to uncover your unique superpowers that will lead you to achieve your goals in the present and beyond. Go to ashewoodward.com for how to get started.

What Are Your Daydreams Trying to Tell You?

For the longest time I actively worked against daydreaming because I saw it as the opposite of productivity.  Every time my eyes started to cloud over with fluffy fantasies I would snap myself out of it and get back to “real” work.

Well, as they say, “Be careful what you wish for.”

It was at the beginning of this year that I noticed my self-discipline really taking hold because once I stopped the daydreaming, I got really focused on practical work. So much so that I never took breaks and sometimes went two or three hours without getting up from my computer or taking even a sip of water!

Surprise, surprise, it all caught up with me. 

Sure I’ve been productive as all hell but I’ve learned that it’s nothing without some reflection.  Not only do we really need to reflect in order to improve oneself and check in but also to acknowledge the work and achievements that have been going on.

And, duh – reflection and self-checks all happen in the daydreaming realm.

By shutting out daydreaming I haven’t been shutting out pointless thought webs, I’ve been stifling my brain’s way of sorting and healing.  Not only that but I’ve stopped it from refreshing itself by adventuring and exploring.

And the worst part is that as a Creative (capital C) I can’t believe that I ever thought that was a good idea. How dare I try and stifle my Creative brain!  It’s literally my money maker and how I make my living – writing the blog, creative marketing, and, most importantly, working through people’s questions doubts and helping find creative solutions.

Daydreams are where the imagination goes searching for the next idea and the answer to current questions. At times these derailments may look like innocuous jaunts down Ryan Reynolds Lane but eventually, if we let them run a little longer, they just might take us to Breakthrough Avenue.

And since cutting off this free flow of ideas I feel as though I have an injured muscle.  Even though I’m letting the daydreams take me away again, I’m rehabilitating slowly.

In other words, I’ve been off my game. You may have noticed that I didn’t post last week. Don’t be fooled. This has been going on a lot longer than that, it’s just that it hadn’t affected my post writing yet because I had a stockpile of ideas from months ago.

And now, since I’ve figured out my problem, I’m back in business – literally! Mercury is flying forward and so am I. Ideas are flowing and solutions are no longer floating somewhere beyond my reach and I vow to my Creative Spirit to never shut out daydreams again.

—-well, not never; a girl’s gotta work sometimes too!

The point is, daydreams are rich with ideas and to stifle them is to block your full creative power and potential.  Never fool yourself into thinking that they are the enemy, as I did.  You’ll only block yourself further and perhaps miss out on your big aha.

So, how are you letting your creativity flow these days? Have you ever had an epiphany through a daydream?  What was it? I’d love to hear i the comments.

Or, if you really want to talk about how daydreaming and exploring your creativity can solve some of your adulating problems, get in touch for coaching at

support@ashewoodward.com.