Tag Archives: change

Beauty is Not Determined by Our Pants Size!

1950's beauty1950’s Ideal Woman’s Body

Who says a size 12 is Fat! Who decides that generous curves are not beautiful. I grew up believing that a size 12 was an marvelous size for a woman, and that this model was sexy and gorgeous. A woman had a soft belly, flesh on her arms, and hips that she could swing. Mae West allegedly once said: “Cultivate your curves they may be dangerous but they won’t be avoided.” Did Mae West or this model worry that she wouldn’t be loved or liked because of how she looked? There is definitely beauty in a smile, in sparkling eyes, and open arms In the next few blogs I want to explore what Beauty means to all of us now. We can use words to hurt ourselves or use those same words to build our self-esteem.

Today I am a size 12 and I have to stop myself constantly comparing myself to the size 2 woman and thinking I am enormous. I have quite a few more scars than this model, but we are not shaped so differently. I am decades older than she is in the photo, and my belly bulges a bit more than hers and there’s extra flesh on my arms that swings. My ass maybe a little more generous, and my thighs rub when I sweat. But how am I not still beautiful?  My negative self-talk says that my beauty is only on the surface. My self-esteem says what matters most is literally seeing the beauty in myself and other people.

I did a casual survey on FB on what people thought was beautiful. All ten women who responded said that beauty was in the eyes, the soul, and the heart. One woman said that developing and holding onto a moral integrity was beautiful. Another woman said that being pretty was very different from being beautiful. One woman said “I may look and feel like an arse, but my hubbie, and children make me feel beautiful.” Everyone of them made a distinction between outward appearances and how we feel inside, or how others love makes us feel. How do you define beauty? When do you feel beautiful?

 “Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

excerpt from “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou

Through Recovery We Discover Our Own Beauty

kintsugi
Though we come to this path of recovery shattered, fragmented pieces of ourselves we are still beautiful human beings.  The actions and substances we have taken in an effort to feel whole and complete are the very things that have left us in this broken state. We  find in recovery through the 12 steps something that will actually mend the broken pieces. Through recovery we discover our own beauty.
We are mended using what we can call the gold powder of the 12-Steps, yoga, meditation, connection with a higher power and being of service to others.  These are the elements that make up the golden lacquer of the path of recovery.  When we use these tools as the golden glue in which to mend our broken pieces, something incredible happens. We become transformed into an entirely new being more beautiful than what our original self could have been.
When we look in the mirror, our cracks are still there, filled in now with unique golden lines.  We see the cracks and our defects of character more clearly. Maybe we felt like fragile dolls before, too vulnerable, too fragile to live without our addictions. Through recovery we know where we have been and we are better now for having been there.  We continue to take personal inventories, and make amends whenever necessary. We have combined our fragility with resilience to find a life of such richness that we never could have imagined. We have been damaged, have a history, but now we are more beautiful with our scars and cracks filled in with the golden powder of recovery.

New Moon in Gemini – Curioser and Curioser

new moon From Alice in Wonderland: “Alice: Well, when I was lost, I suppose it’s good advice to stay where you are until someone finds you. But who’d ever think to look for me here? [sigh] Alice: Good advice. If I listened earlier, I wouldn’t be here. But that’s just the trouble with me. I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”

Sound familiar? Alice is talking to herself and during this moon phase we will hear our contrary voices clearly speaking. One part of us wants to stay home and write all day holed up in our office, another part of us is ready to socialize. Or one part of us may say yes to a new situation, while the other quieter voice may say slow down don’t move too fast. Or even simpler, do we exercise or not?

Do we always listen to the contrary voices? Probably not. We often train ourselves to block out the dialogue we don’t want to hear. However, sometimes those contrary voices are really angels in disguise. They may be warning us of trouble ahead, or coaching us in better self care, or suggesting that the relationship we are thinking of dumping is worth saving. Truly the river in Egypt is not the only form of denial that we swim in, and accepting all parts of ourselves is a spiritual journey. Sometimes those contrary voices may be very, very quiet and we need to slow way down to hear what they say.

With this new moon we are given so many choices. That is both what’s fun and what makes us feel a little crazy. Really! Every once in awhile going a little crazy is good for the soul. Have fun with friends and get your work done. With the dual nature of the moon in Gemini you actually can do both.

Faced with new choices how do we choose? What do we do? Communication with ourselves and those involved is the key to coming through this moon more or less intact. Even saying, “well a part of me wants this, and a part of me wants that” is a great exercise in allowing those contrary voices room. And the best part of this moon is everyone is feeling the same way!

So go ahead and talk to yourself today, no one will notice and think you are off your meds! They are probably doing the same thing. Talk it out, share with those you love and the solution will appear.

Do Your Best = New Moon in Aries

new moon1

NEW MOON in Aries is the beginning of the Astrological New Year, spring time inspires us to bring in the new. Aries is the sign of the self, and sets in motion the internal and eternal quest for “Who am I?’ and “Who am I now?” We are inspired at this time of year to make changes, clean out our closets, and try new things. We are encouraged to find and trust our own unique expression to embody the changes and the energies we wish to experience.

We literally are able to set the seeds we planted last Winter Solstice into motion. Aries is a go-getter, enthusiastic and all about motion. The old aphorism of Spring fever is true, it moves us to say to ourselves “Where do we want to go? What do we want to do?” We certainly don’t want to stay still and work!

In our quest to define who we are Aries energy can be very cerebral, impulsive, and self-centered. During this time we may need to be reminded that “The hardest journey is from our head to our heart. But once we get there, we’ll know who we are.” When I am feeling comfortable in my own skin, I know who I am and can therefore have compassion and love for everyone I encounter. When I am scrambling to find myself, I stumble, and sometimes inadvertently trip over others feelings. Maya quote bestDuring the month of Aries our competitive energies may also be engaged. We may think we have to “be the best”. That’s when the compassion in Maya Angelou’s statement helps me to pause and find compassion for myself. In recovery I am learning that I am doing better rather than getting better. My soul’s already whole and wonderful, it’s my brain, and heart that need convincing of that truth. Aries people can also be great models of self-compassion, where they believe “all I need to do is do my best today, and then maybe do better tomorrow.”

We must each find our courage—an Aries trait—to become the people we are meant to evolve into. We are challenged to bring our ideas, our love and our purpose to help the larger community. As we find ourselves, we are then able to bring our unique gifts into play. As we share our gifts, the more we find ourselves. The question “Who am I now” becomes a guide to action and more action. What would our future be like if everyday we knew we did our best, and looked for the option of doing better tomorrow?

 

 

 

New Year – New Moon

new moon1 2014

For the first time in 19 years this New Year is also a New Moon. Culturally we are looking at the chance to start over with a new year, or at least list our resolutions.  With any New Moon we ‘become open to new beginnings”. The combination has great potential for powerful intention which can lead to profound change.

This New Moon is in the sign Capricorn which is primordial feminine energy. Capricorn is a cardinal earth sign December 22- January 21. The qualities of Capricorn are: organized, ambitious, hard-working, creative, practical, and dedicated. Capricorn is the original planner with great ideas, and a wealth of energy to accomplish goals. However, Capricorn energy also opens the door to thinking we “have the perfect or at least the best” solution to an issue. When we avoid the mental state of having to have things be perfect we can mine great patience, or even better acceptance instead.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for anyone during this Capricorn time is to understand there is a process to everything. Just like our lives and our loves, we cannot make the plants grow faster in our gardens, they have their own divine timing. Acceptance of life on life’s terms is a great adventure. Some days we would rather have things be as we “planned”. And on those days if we listen closely we can hear God laugh at our plans as they skitter away like fish swimming in a pond. When we walk our days with acceptance in our hands and hearts we touch, and share healing.

The Buddhist’s have a great phrase “beginner’s mind”. When we approach this New Year and New Moon let’s experiment and travel this journey with an open mind and an open heart. With this openness we can also choose which words we want to use to define this time. What will be the words you choose? Will it be love instead of fear, or joy instead of settling?

words for 2014

You and I are Not Damaged Goods

Owning our story B Brown

How we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to go to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am enough, and worthy of love. I am enough! What a concept! Would I rather think I am enough than think I am damaged goods? You bet. Would you rather feel worthy and loveable? I am sure. What stops us from feeling whole, brave and accepting all of who we are? What will help us to realize that we are not damaged, or that there are no mistakes? What are the tools we have or can create to change those beliefs?

This message of being damaged goods is pervasive and insidious. It can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We may say to ourselves, “I think I am damaged therefore I act like I am damaged. And if I act like I am damaged then I don’t have to act out of self-respect let alone self-esteem.” Thinking we are damaged may be at the root of casual violence, drug use, or any form of self abuse. The thought that we are damaged is wholly based in shame. When we create awareness of how we carry shame in our lives we take our first steps towards freedom. I am, and hopefully you are, ready to change that message.

Do we carry shame like some kind of emotional genetic code? Does our parents shame becomes our shame? Maybe it doesn’t look exactly the same. My mother was ashamed of her immigrant mother, my father was ashamed of his hillbilly father. My shame  comes out in second guessing and berating myself for apparent mistakes. Are we carrying shame around as if it is the sweetest smelling nosegay when actually it is a “hot mess” as the teens are saying these days?

Awareness of these messages of shame is the first step. Maybe the second is the realization that shame is carried forward through our families. My mother was ashamed so therefore she shamed me. If I can let her off the proverbial hook, then maybe I can do the same for myself. And only THEN we can create a tool that addresses these beliefs at the unconscious level. To simply notice something may or may not change it…however, when we interrupt the negative pattern and consciously reprogram the unconscious change is more likely to occur.

Most of us ‘try’ to change our idea of being damaged goods at the level of willpower. As in “I won’t think that way anymore…I will not think that way anymore…I will not think…oh shoot! I am back there again.” If we are still doing the same thing, can we continue to be surprised when we get the same results?

I had a conversation with a mentor the other day. We were talking about the pattern I still have after all these years of therapy and recovery of being upset by little things that did not go as planned. I used to call them mistakes and grind them into me like a broken record. She and I were talking on the porch of a grocery store, and just inside the door was a large sign that said, “Thank you!” And I realized that I could say thank you, when I have turned left instead of right. Thank you when I did not have the answer to a clients question. By saying thank you I am acknowledging that there might have been a reason for the left turn, or for saying “I don’t know”. I can be grateful that each time these alleged mistakes happened they  provided me with a chance to do something different. The first time I said thank you rather than berating myself the feeling of freedom and internal space was sublime.

You may already know that you are not damaged. You may already realize that you are worthy and loveable. What do you do to change your beliefs around shame, being damaged or making mistakes? What do you do to claim that you are indeed “Enough”?

What! You Did Not Do What I Wanted!

hooponopono2a

Today is 9/11. The memory of watching the planes go through the twin towers will always replay in my mind. Those actions continue to put things in my life into perspective. On that day, I could no longer as an American remain untouched by global violence. I was not in New York or DC at the time, however, I had friends who were, and they described eloquently what they went through. My illusion of “it can’t happen here” was busted. 9/11 made it abundantly clear that we are one world. I may not always understand or even like my world family, but we are all still living together on this one beautiful jewel of a planet. We all have a choice whether to live in fear, or live with love. And this day of all days is a reminder of that choice.

Today, I again realize that we are indeed one people, one world, one messy family. With that realization I can no longer focus on the miniscule dramas of my life. The thoughts of “but you said you would, but you promised, but you were going to, stop ricocheting around in my brain. They just don’t seem as important. I can relax into more acceptance for what is. I can let go of fear and move into a place of loving my messy family. I can forgive people for not doing what I wanted them to do. I can let go of my expectations, resentments and come back to being in the present.

Powerlessness, lack of control that is often my dilemma. And when I feel powerless I can find myself wanting to fight back and strive to have control again. When I am caught with that striving I think my vision of how the world ought to be is the correct one. My vision is flawed — after all I wear contacts because I am near-sighted. Though I strive to see a larger perspective I am still limited. And with that limitation I cannot see the perfection of what is.

The planes flying into the twin towers are an extreme example of powerlessness. There was nothing that could have stopped them in that moment. We don’t live in a world where there are Supermen, or other comic book heroes who can step in at the last moment and lasso the planes. Conversely, I am not a superhero. I am not perfect, I am a beautiful woman who is growing into more strength and beauty each day. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not in charge of the outcomes. I am not in charge period. Some days there is comfort in that thought. Other days I want to be the superhero that stops the planes from destroying so many lives.

So on this day of remembrance I offer the message of Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono). Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing” in a family conference in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness. What can you do today to cleanse your world? What can you do to bring forgiveness into your heart? This is my offering.  I love you. I am sorry. Forgive me. Thank you.