Seeing Your Beauty Through Other People's Eyes

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I’m still easing back into the week, and here it is Friday! Haha! I guess that’s what happens when you’re on vacation for a majority of the week. Not that I’m complaining…

Earlier this week, while in Key West, I visited White Street Pier and the Key West AIDS Memorial. It was beautiful, to say the least. The memorial is right on the street, but the pier (now actually called Edward B. Knight Pier) extends out into the water and you’re just kind of out there, alone with yourself.

Of course, I wasn’t alone, my partner, Mike, my daughter, Ems, and our friend, Eylin, were with me. But you still feel so small – the ocean does that to me every time; it’s one of the many reasons I love it so! It’s also a great place for a photo op. I shot a few pics and then asked my daughter to take my picture. She did so and then smiled when she looked at the shot. “Wow. Look how beautiful you are!” she said, full of awe.

And it hit me: No matter how much mindfulness work I’ve done, no matter how many body-positive meditations I’ve participated in either as student or teacher – I still pick out the little insignificant imperfections in my pictures. But to my daughter, I am beautiful. Just as I am.

See, her definition of my beauty is the combination of everything that she sees on a daily basis: my humor, my curly hair (it got SO curly in the Keys!), my smile, my confidence, my soft hugs, and the stories we share. Not my cellulite.

Now, I’m not posting the image for compliments or for, really, any feedback of any kind. It’s not an exceptional picture. They’re not going to put me on the cover of a magazine. But to my daughter, to my partner, and I know to my friends, I’m beautiful. Sometimes I need the reminder that what I see in the mirror isn’t what others see.

At that moment, I decided to try and see myself through my girl’s eyes. To remind myself that when I feel a little insecure about a part of my body, I’m the only one who sees it. I’m the only one who knows – or even cares – that the drape of a shirt covers a little hip roll I’m less than thrilled with.

So this is my reminder to you. I know each and every one of you – even if just from afar or via social media – and I’m telling you right now: You are beautiful. You are wise. You are sexy. You are simply awesome. I’m proud to know you and to call you one of my tribe.

MINDFULNESS IS AN ONGOING PROCESS

You can’t just do some mindset work one day and expect to retain the new ideas forever. You have to continually work on it. Ready to love your body, in all its beauty, AS IT IS NOW?

Check out Love Your Body Master Plan, a self-guided course designed to help you love your body and yourself JUST AS YOU ARE! Right now. In this time and space. We use meditation, journaling worksheets, and mindfulness practices to help foster self-love and healing. You’re gonna love it!

Is Zoning Out Bad?

Zoning out is completely normal. If you take the time to notice when you zone out, you might learn why you do it. So let’s start by noticing when you zone out.

  • Does your mind shut down when you’re driving? It might be because you’re driving on a very familiar road.
  • If you zone out during mealtime, it could be that you’re distracted by the activities of the day.
  • What if you zone out during sex? You might not be feeling a connection with your partner.
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IS ZONING OUT ALWAYS BAD?

Not at all! According to research published in Psychological Science, when our mind wanders, we’re engaging in “creative incubation.” It’s a time to brainstorm new ideas or to let our brains work through a problem while we just kind of lose ourselves in a daydream. It might also help us with planning ahead, according to researchers at the University of Liege, Belgium.

Let’s face it, our brains need a break, but if you want to stop drifting off into la-la-land during certain activities like those mentioned above, keeping a journal might help. Just jot down the activity and the time of day that you zone out. Then see if there’s a common theme. If so, you can turn your attention to those moments and control more of your engagement with them.

You Should Be Your First Priority

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Self-Care isn't Selfish

It's been a wild week this week: myriad demands from clients and work obligations had me running from place to place. This morning, as I sat down to meditate, I had a very difficult time settling my mind.

EVEN MEDITATION TEACHERS HAVE TROUBLE MEDITATING SOMETIMES.

As my thoughts continued to flood into my meditation, I focused on my breath. I focused on gravity. I threw a bubble up around myself to prevent anything from coming in. Calendar points kept popping up and I thought, "Oh, but (so and so) needs this from me." The thought kept running through my mind and distilled down to: "They need me." And I immediately stopped and a voice from deep inside said,

"I NEED ME."

It doesn't matter what other people need from me. I need me first. I need me to support me, to foster my desires and dreams, to give myself a break. Yes, that grammar is atrocious, but it gets the point across.

I'm currently reading The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte and I'm pretty sure I've found another inspiring woman from whom I will learn so much. In it is a quote I wrote down in my planner so I can see it often:

"IF YOU TRY TO KEEP YOUR MOST SACRED AMBITIONS OFF OF YOUR WEEKLY CALENDAR AND YOUR MOST GENUINE TRAITS OFF OF YOUR RESUME, THEN YOU'RE MISSION OUT ON THE POWER OF REAL INTEGRITY."

Wow. Just wow! How often do we let the things that are most sacred to us: family time, church, meditation, yoga, phone calls with friends, time at the gym, etc. fall off our weekly calendar? How often do we prioritize our partner, our kids, our job, our school, and so forth at the expense of ourselves?

If we don't list ourselves among our priorities and nurture our soul, then we won't be able to be the best version of ourselves.

Wait. Let me rephrase that:

IF YOU DON'T LIST YOURSELF AMONG YOUR PRIORITIES AND NURTURE YOUR SOUL, THEN YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO BE THE BEST VERSION OF YOURSELF.

There's an old adage that you must fill your cup before you can fill others' and it's so true. Pay attention to you. Hell, schedule "me time" into your calendar if you have to and -- here's the catch -- hold yourself to that scheduled me time. You need it. You need you just as much as, if not more than, everyone else.

It's OK to Feel Down

I have a confession to make: I woke up irritable today. My allergies were in overdrive. I’d had horrible, frustrating dreams. One of my writing clients is pushing for the close of a book, but OUR clients are busy and the two aren’t in alignment on timing, so that’s annoying. Little things seem to be bugging me in ways that they normally wouldn’t. And OMG it’s only Wednesday!

Do you ever feel like everyone else in the world is doing better than you? That they’re somehow living full lives and you’re missing something?

It’s OK. I feel it too. The pressure to be perfect. The pressure to be full of joy all the time.

Sure, I’m a very happy person, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. It’s OK if you do too! Perfection is an illusion! Sure, you can be perfect at something, but you will never be perfect. I won’t either. No one is perfect, but that’s what makes us beautiful.

So how did I pull myself out of my funk?

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WRITE IT OUT

Well, I started with sitting down with my journal. I call this time my talking with the Universe. Sometimes it’s just rambling and other times it’s a note to Spirit/God/Creator/the Universe. I find answers when I write out questions and really take the time to listen. Today I also made sure that this morning journal time included gratitude. I listed out as many things as I could that I’m grateful for.

 

 

LIGHT IT UP

Then I lit a candle and meditated for probably a minute (literally, just one) by visualizing all the love and gratitude that the light of that candle would draw in. And then I got down to business for the day.

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Did my little morning ritual fix everything right off? No.

Did it help? Absolutely.

Some days it’s harder to be intentional about our happiness and I want you to know that even someone like me, who talks about being happy all the time, isn’t happy ALL the time.

So how are you? I really want to know. I think you’re phenomenal.