Maybe you are a lucky person with no care about aesthetics or you're just plain happy with the face and body you see in the mirror. Maybe you just truly don't care about things like that. If this is the case, Rock on! I seriously applaud you. There is no sarcasm here. Our world often places so much emphasis on the outside package that we forget about the inside or we feel so focused on the inside, we forget about the outside.
But, maybe you're like me and the truth is- you do care. You notice the crows feet that have become laugh ravines down the side of your face. You want to love them because they came from expressions and moments that made you who you are. BUT, there is often still a nagging self doubt- a silent critique.
Every once in a while, I really try to imagine what others see when they look at me. Do they see strength, beauty and vibrancy, or do they see age, wear, and weakness? It's not healthy to go down the rabbit hole of negativity here, so I use this exercise as a way to discover unusual things that maybe someone else might see and appreciate, but that I often overlook or even curse.
This exercise was born from my regular observation of the beauty in others. It might be odd, but if I am staring at your mouth when you speak, it may be that I think the way your lips form your words is intriguing. If I glance sideways at you as I pass you in the hall, it may be that I caught your profile and noticed the amazing way the angle of your nose is so different than others I've seen. I might notice the shade of your eyes, that little freckle above your cheek bone, that scar from when you feel off of your bike as a young boy. I see things that others might find annoying or repulsive or odd about themselves- and I see them as beautiful.
I wonder if people that I observe knew about these things I found beautiful, if they'd think I was strange or odd for noticing- if they'd shrug it off because they've lived with it for so long, it's commonplace now. I want to go around the community and shout out all of the pieces I find most interesting, beautiful and wonderful in each of my neighbors- but THAT would NOT get me an invitation to the block party.
Where I'm headed with this is- I think there are so many reasons to love ourselves, but like a Monet, we are so close all we see are dots of ourselves... a blurry image. We don't know the ways others see us and have envy or appreciation. We don't know the beauty in our "flaws". What if we could jump into the eyes of a stranger and look at ourselves from afar, would our line of site train on the special qualities- our unique beauty? It might happen more often than we think and we might be missing it.
Today, notice your smile, is it crooked? Someone finds it cute. Notice your jawline, is it soft or sharp or covered in whiskers? Someone finds it cuddly. Notice the twinkle of your eyes, the light dancing within them. Someone finds them unforgettable. Embrace your unique beauty today. What do you think others might notice in you? Feel free to celebrate your FLAWESOMEness today in the comments below.
Dear Universe, Ancestors, Angels, God, Love and Light,
Today, I am making a peace offering to you. Striving and pushing have been my way for so long. Today, let me allow the grace and flow of life to open my heart to an ease and a joy that comes with being. Dear universe, I lay down my armor and open my chest to expand with each breathe. All things work out when I allow myself to feel more and think less- when I trust in your ways. Let me expand, remember the miracle of this moment, and take in all the colors, love, light and joy that already exists in my world. Let me not live in yesterday or tomorrow, planning and building and stretching the boundaries of my fragile truth. Let me remember that I am a spirit having a human experience and it is the human mind and body that are short-lived. The essence of me is eternal and connected to every thing and everyone. We are one. Therefore, there is no need to be in conflict. Let me bring a peaceful heart to you, today, universe. This is my peace offering.
Trying something new means you Won't be perfect... your inner critic increases cortisol--It's the critic that's your enemy
Have you ever told yourself that the scale is your enemy? That you won't lose that weight?. That you can't? That you are cursed? Maybe it wasn't meant to be? Maybe you aren't good enough to have that body or that love or to feel beautiful? You don't have THOSE genes... If you've sat around in sweatpants in the dark eating a half gallon of ice cream and thought- F-it, I can't do it anyway, you aren't alone. I've heard more than my fair share of women giving up because their inner voice tells them over and over they can't succeed. Their experience is that they can't or haven't. What if it's not reality, that feeds our body, but our mind and the story we tell it that insulates our middle? I've been down the road of losing the baby weight and bouncing between sizes, but, I've managed to maintain a healthy weight and I think half the battle is won when we change our thinking.
Many of my favorite women are on a health journey. Two of them are in weight loss mode. I'm trying to get myself back to my ideal health, which involves shedding a few pounds around the middle, too. One thing I've learned is that everyone's journey toward optimal weight, energy, joy and presence is different. We buoy between motivation, confidence and, sadly, in many cases, I see such self-deprecative behaviors that it is COMPLETELY working against us. Under the surface of our thoughts (the ones we are aware of) is an ocean of swirling thoughts we don't often recognize. If the conscious is a pond of thought, your ocean thoughts are whales that only emerge for air on occasion... only reach the pond when they get strong enough to surface. So, you've got to have a lot of a particular thought for you to become aware of it.
We have to work really hard on telling that nay-sayer thought "out" and switching the dialogue to send more and more positive thoughts deep into the core of our consciousness. But, it's worth it.
Every time you step up to the scale and think, "It's going to be bad", you create a negative thought/emotion pattern. All of those negative thoughts you think build a stress response in your body, increasing your cortisol. Your cortisol impacts your insulin, therefore impacting your metabolism, sugar levels, inflammation and memory. Increased levels of cortisol shut down other body functions such as digestion and cause your brain to over-react. It isn't good to wake this beast. We want it happy, balanced and regulated.
Instead, use the power of positivity to impact your body. Researchers indicate that the mere thought of us doing something or looking a certain way can impact our reality. If you can imagine yourself doing a perfect dive, as an Olympic athlete, your brain is likely to replicate that image and make it real. If you are like me, and you picture yourself in child's pose during yoga, and you see yourself relaxed, your body actually responds to that image. I have used this practice to imagine everything from an ulcer -free bladder (to heal it before a biopsy) to seeing myself with washboard abs.
So, why not take it a step further. Pair positive thinking with positive impacts on your limbic system to improve your health? The limbic system is your emotion center. Our oils impact your olfactory system which is directly connected to your limbic system. If you diffuse oils that improve your emotions, you are likely to decrease your cortisol. Your stress response decreases as your favorite essential oils float through (I love Adaptiv, Citrus Bliss, Lime and Serenity).
So, what have you got to lose by retraining your brain to think more positively about your body, your odds of losing weight or getting healthier? By pairing the positive mojo you make with uplifting oils? Welp, some of your more negative friends and family might get annoyed with your upbeat attitude and isolate a little... or get jealous of you... can you handle that? Hmm... I think so.
Give it a shot and let me know what you learn!
I’m not perfect. Just ask my children. Moms aren’t meant to be. We try- Lord knows we do. I burn dinners, I forget things, I cause us to be late, and, I will let you in a little known secret- (shhh… don’t tell) at bedtime, when reading a story, I might even fart. Yep. Totally beautiful and fartytale (I mean fairytale- worthy).
BUT, if we were absolutely perfect, how would our children react? Would they expect perfection from themselves or always feel inferior? Would they be healthier with this perfect model, or begin to believe that the human experience is meant to be effortless, therefore any challenge they experience or they witness in others is wrong, bad, judgement worthy? Would our children learn to grow from challenges or would they shy away, because it might reveal a flaw?
So, why do we beat ourselves up for our smaller mistakes? Why do we romanticize our role?
Let’s take a typical day in my household as an example. My oldest (who will one day be a leader in some format with his love of control and organization) might yell at his friends while gaming- or he might yell at us and we say, “Please apologize” (on our best days). We shape his behavior by setting the expectation that he make amends, change, or-lose that gaming privilege.
On a not so perfect day, I yell at him. I apologize... Which situation do you think he learned more from… me asking him not to yell or me showing him that when we slip up (as humans do), that we take space, then apologize and reconnect? I’m thinking the less than pretty, uncomfortable option is MORE powerful.
When my youngest sees my failings at bedtime… I’m so tired at this point that my ADD is no longer a superpower, but it is what causes 10 extra trips up and down the stairs as I forget this or that, leave the light on, stub my toe, drop something, etc… he SEES himself. Mama started out just like him- bright and creative, but in serious need of grounding. I crashed, like he does, I danced and squealed with excitement, I had a million interests and started but didn’t finish many. These moments when my “little self” sneaks back out and he can see I struggle, STILL, might just be what gives him hope that he will one day figure out a way to spend 90% of his day accomplishing the goals he’s passionate about instead of what my dad calls “pinging” from one thing to the next. Right now, his ratio might be a lot lower, but he’s 8, and it’s ok. We just have a different spirit and a different way. Our SELF talk and our inner critic teach them how to have positive self talk- or not.
You see, while I post about positive ways to approach my life, it might seem like I am trying to portray perfection, but rather, I share my story, my truth in order to uplift and help others learn what I am learning- almost in lock step. It is my mistakes, my failures, my challenges, my pain that causes me to reach for something more. Our flaws maybe the very BEST teachers, not the WORST for our children. How do you embrace your flaws with grace?
Love yourSELF... Flaws and all.
On the best days, we connect with our intuition, spirit, divine wisdom, angels, guardians, ancestors or inner knowing multiple times a day. Whatever your name is for that inner voice, it is a wise and mellifluous voice that requires you to "put your ear down close to your soul" or to "get very quiet" to hear it. The more regularly you listen, the more it speaks and the more you can trust. I tell my students and my children that they have an internal compass and when they act from a kind and loving place, they will always be ok, even if it doesn't yield the results they wish it would at first. So, today, in my practice with the Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid (my favorite deck for its beauty and optimism), I pulled the 6 of fire. Maybe it will help you, too.
The 6 of Fire is about "stepping into the limelight to become an enlightened influencer". This card speaks right to my heart today as I thanked the universe for guidance on next steps for my journey with writing, podcasts, coaching and teaching. I have so much I want to do and there are so many things I'm putting out into the world, but yet, I get worried. Have you ever done this... you worry that your happiness, wisdom, or success will feel like competition or arrogance to someone else? Do you ever stifle your excitement or fail to mention it despite the rising in your chest that means you are holding back a happy little circus in your heart. Those elephants need to climb out and prance around the room, they are too big to be kept inside. Why try to hold them back? Does it really help the people who might be upset or jealous or feel belittled by it?
This card empowers you to look at your wisdom, your success, your path and your art as a beacon for others. There are people waiting for permission to live more, to try new things, to share their joy. Every day we see memes and negativity shared online. We see sexy pictures of famous people or fake news. The real news of your REAL experience has just as much value as the rest. Don't dim your beacon for others (I am telling you as much as I am telling myself) because the world will never know again a voice like YOURS. You are the only you and you will have your own following of people who may never share or like or comment, but might be MOVED by your story. Without seeing the results, you might be making a positive ripple in this world... and who knows how far that optimism could reach. Be the light. Speak your truth. Embrace your immeasurable success.
Have you ever turned over a rock in the yard and found a tender, green shoot growing underneath it? It's remarkable that something could be so determined to grow and live that it made it that far- under that heavy rock and completely in the dark. We have beauty in dark places, too. Under heavy and shadowed experience, there can be the most amazing strength. Transformation to me, isn't shunning a part of you or changing who you are. If you spend energy to perfect, it's more fragmenting. Looking at one part at a time creates shards of ourselves, slivers of our truth- like shattered glass. Sometimes, the greatest transformations come from acknowledging the darkest parts of ourselves and bringing them light. For a long time, I carried around a deep pain. I knew it was there, but I wasn't sure what to do about it. I meditated, I ran, I read, I wrote, I prayed. I asked my angels and guardians and ancestors to help me heal. Fortunately, I finally released these shadows. I had to speak them, to bring them to the light and fresh air. Ignoring them made them grow, gave them too much power. It wasn't fair to my family or my wife because they colored moments that were beautiful. They were in essence, pulling my heart into the past when I needed to be in the present. They didn't allow me to love as fully or deeply as I could. It isn't easy to spend time with your shadows, but it is worth it. Allow yourself to feel the pain and give words to it. If it feels too difficult, ask someone you trust to be with you. You aren't broken. You aren't irreparable. You are perfect. What's more, even though it maybe scary and hurt to hear, you deserve to heal. Your family and friends deserve to know all the parts that made you who you are. Turn over the memories, give them air and light and let them go. What is your struggle? What is your pain? Where do you feel shame or heaviness? Where do you linger in a past you can not return to? Are you ready to bring the light and presence to your shadows? #bringthedarknesslight #shadowshowourlight #journey #vulnerablityandbravery
Have you been searching for simple ways to embed diversity, inclusion and authentic belonging into your family? Check out this free Ebook by Patricia and LeeAnn Sinclair. With 19+ years in education ranging from early childhood to 6th grade, we share an overview of practices we've intentionally developed with our own children. Young children ask questions and want to express love as well as their observations. How do you deal with their questions? What happens when those observations are loud and public? Feel free to comment below and let us know how better we can tailor our Beta book for you! The Ebook is downloadable on the homepage. Please also let us know if what we can create to better meet your needs!
When I first met my wife, Patty, I was sick. I'd been going to the GI specialist multiple times a month to monitor blood loss and the intense pain I experienced abdominally. I couldn't walk first thing in the morning. My feet hurt so bad. I started having nightmares about my upcoming wedding. I was engaged to an amazing man... a fun, caring and hardworking engineer. But, I was sick.
When Patty and I found our dear friend, Peter, dead, we went through life saving steps. We fought the grim reaper- we couldn't believe that he was gone. My heart still knots up to think of that dark experience. I'll share more on that later, but let's just say that a lightbulb went on and I realized I had been living a lie. I wanted to get married, but I wasn't meant to marry this sweet man. I had to make a change.
Within a few days of deciding that I wasn't ready to get married, many of my symptoms dissolved. Time passed and I still had a great deal of pain, but decided a change of scenery was in order. Patty and I had begun to develop a strong friendship and later, a romance.
I used the little money I'd saved to fly with Patty to Arizona. We found a beautiful book we began to read together- both trying to heal the loss of Peter. It was called, "You Can Heal Your Life." I thought the title was cheesy but I was drawn to the beautiful art and color that graced every page. Literally, the pages taught me that every thought we think creates a reaction in our bodies. The author, Louise Haye, used this process successfully to bring ease to huge groups of people experiencing HIV.
The companion book has some simple affirmations and thought swaps you can try to replace the negative with healthier seeds. I began to do that very thing. Every day I would repeat, "All is well in my world" when I felt anxious. I wanted to be stronger, so I thought, "My body is a machine that runs with ease." Other examples from the book are:
My energy level is low.... I am filled with energy and enthusiasm.
I get one illness after another.... Good health is mine now. I release the past.
My back gives me constant pain... Life loves and supports me. I am safe.
These headaches never go away.... I no longer criticize myself; my mind is at peace, and all is well.
In short time, I was on a path to thinking healthier thoughts and making more healthy choices. What we think becomes our words, what we say becomes our action. Our actions become our character. I wanted mine to be strong and energetic, so I chose that. It became my truth. Later, I heard the phrase, "What we feed grows." I use this with my children often. I use it with myself.
Listen carefully to your thoughts and your feelings. Can you replace a thought like "Heart disease runs in my family" to ,"I am not my parents. I am healthy, whole and complete." For more positive words to nurture your health, message and I'll post!
So, it’s true. I am SLOW. I am not talking a little lagging. Picture my internal modem has been unplugged. Ever since I was little, I’d get lost in the shower. It’s been five minutes, I SWEAR. Nope. 45. Picture- the car runs out of gas waiting for me kind of slow. I blame it on undiagnosed ADD. I have zero natural concept of time. I hyperfocus and I flow, but I don’t hear the ticking of the clock. Molasses in January is an understatement.
Still, I’ve learned, trained myself and continue to push the fast forward button on my internal speedometer. Having an exceptionally organized wife helps, too. I’ve learned a lot from her.
More productive than the average Mama Bear? Maybe. I don’t want to compete, but I needed a catchy title. Did it rope you in? Good. Here’s what I mean by productive. In the course of a typical week, I’ve squeezed in 5-7 workouts, written in my book, blogged daily, graded my student’s essays, worked a teacher’s schedule (no- we don’t leave it ALL at in the classroom), tapped into my spiritual practice daily, supported my two children who have sports twice a week and all the other typical kid schedules- and - oh wait- did I take time for my partner (hmm… there’s always room for improvement). AND, I haven’t gone totally insane yet. I’m not saying or claiming it’s all pretty and perfect. I’m also not saying you have to do ALL that. BUT, if you have goals for your health, your personal passions, and anything that you’ve daydreamed about fitting into your day- you might appreciate these 5 tips for busy and slothful moms.
Here are 5 steps for doing more in the same amount of time.
So, here’s the BIG trick. You look for the BLOCKS in your week and in your day that are set aside for YOU! Patty and I have found that we can schedule 2-3 blocks for one another to focus on our dreams during the week. The other person is in charge, the kids are at baseball, or they are told it is “work time” so we keep to this plan. Because we laid the foundation by sharing our family values, our vision and our schedule with the kids at our family meeting, this is achievable.For more on how to make the most of your time blocks and achieve in 12 weeks what takes others a year, I recommend a book that transformed my habits. It’s called, The One Thing by Gary Keller.
Every day, post your affirmation and your first step toward that vision you had for yourself at the top of your squirrel schedule. Where and when will you squeeze in that joyful moment- that work needed to get to that joyful place? If you need to learn a new skill to get to that vision, when can you fit that learning in? Car rides are a favorite time for me to listen to audiobooks and Podcasts. In fact, my PodCast is designed to be the length of the average commute. If you’re never without your children and Frozen II is constantly on repeat in the car, you might need to schedule to wake up thirty minutes earlier or to work while they nap (please don’t feel pressure to do it all if you are a new mom- your goal is to survive and help your child survive the day).
For more information, please feel free to comment. I draw from some amazing authors and thought leaders. I am happy to share what I can!