Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Theme

What do you do to mark the New Year?  As one year closes and the new one stretches out before us I always feel as though I should be doing something to mark the crossover.  The older I get the more true it becomes.

I've done resolutions.  I find them depressing.

Each year, my husband and I set goals for the year- family, financial, social, personal... and we post them, review them and track our progress as the days and months tick by.  But that's more to keep us on track through the year and doesn't scratch my itch as far as rite of passage for the New Year.

In my younger years, I went to this Unity Church Burning Bowl Service.  It's very ceremonial and was gratifying.  There's some guided journal prompts and you're encouraged to put in writing the situations that you feel you need to let go of as the New Year arrives and the old one fades.  Each person present is able to put their papers into a large bowl that holds a flame and your cares go up in smoke.

This year, I'm working a combination of the two things... planning and ceremony.  Instead of resolutions, I'm going for a 'theme'.    I'm still ironing out the theme, but like all New Years resolutions, it revolves around leaving 2014 better than I entered it.  I think that I'm going with a theme of 'Enjoy'.  That seems to cover a lot of territory and allows me to focus on joy and being present in the moment.  That in turn covers eating healthier, moving my body in ways that feel good and taking care of myself in general.  Something that I haven't been all that great at lately.

So, on New Years Eve, I'll be having my own midnight ceremony at the fire pit in my back yard.  Marking the change in year.    Attraversiamo, my friends.  Let's cross over.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Put down the yardstick and back away

I so know better.   Honestly.  I've been in a bit of a stuck place in the last few weeks.  Well, more of a stuck place/pity party really.  And it all comes down to measuring measuring myself and my efforts at community building against those of the big league-rs like Kelly Rae RobertsMelody Ross and Jes Baker   In a 100 million years I will never be the best Kelly Rae or Melody or Jes.   What a ridiculous and futile thing to do.  I know better.

Even though it's uncomfortable, I need to be gentle with myself (my new mantra) and let things unfold as they are meant to.  When I think things should be moving faster, more followers, more shares, more comments, I need to remind myself that Kelly Rae moved along in very small steps as well.

I need to remember that I have made magical, unforeseeable things happen in my life.  Ask me sometime about when I 'secreted' my way to a free trip to Paris for my 30th birthday.

I need to remember that I have done other things in my life where I had no idea what I was doing and I was scared to death someone would figure out I was a total fraud.  Like that time I ran off an worked in pictures for a few years before coming back to the real world.  I started out completely green and ended up being the only local that the studio took with them when they moved on to the next location.

I need to remember these things.  I need to put away my yardstick and allow the magic of my life to unfold in it's own time and space.  The Universe did not bring these amazing role models into my awareness for no reason.  Not just into my awareness, but in fact, into my path as I'm lucky enough to call Jes my friend and will be making my way to Brave Girls Camp this summer, where I'll spend a few days with Melody.  But the Universe surely didn't put them in my path to judge myself against either.  Nay, nay Miss Hannah.  Role models are for inspiring you, and for helping to fill your bucket.  And I'm grateful for that.

I'll leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt... 'Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are.'  That's where I am now friends.  Moving forward with what I have, from where I am.  I hope you'll join me somewhere along the way.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Calling on your courage

(internet image- source unknown)

Last night unbeknownst to me, I got a splinter in my finger.  All evening, I rubbed and fidgeted with the spot, kept trying to figure out what I had done to it.  It was so sore, I just couldn't imagine what I had done.

This morning, in the light of day, I could see it was a splinter.  Without a moments hesitation, I went about finding a needle and my reading glasses and I summoned that moment of courage that you need when you're about to dig a splinter out and I just did it.  As soon as the splinter was out, my finger felt better.  The pokey spot from the needle was still sore of course, but immediately there was relief from the ongoing tenderness was gone right away.

I got to thinking about the fact that we easily and readily summon the courage to deal with little problems like splinters- even we know exactly what it's involved and that it will be painful, right away.  No one walks around with a splinter, knowing it's there and doesn't do anything about it.

Why can't we be that courageous with other things in our lives?  Things that nag at us, causing us pain and discomfort for years.  I think sometimes we pretend we don't see the thing causing us pain.  Sometimes we acknowledge the pain but deny that it's having any impact on our lives.  I utilized a combination of the two for years.   I know I'm not alone.  Women carry all manner of burdens throughout their lives, weighed down by the pain.

In the best of scenarios, at some point we find our moment of courage, when we find the needle and take that first step to begin digging out the splinter.  That's the moment when we the tide turns, we know that the digging and pain will be worthwhile.  Our bravery pays off, the splinter comes out and we are forever changed, but we are stronger.

In the worst of scenarios, we never find our courage.  We live our lives smaller than we might be, living our lives a little closer to home than we might otherwise.   What a shame that is.

Today, I wish you courage to take that first step.  Shine a good light on the problem, dig in there and get it done.  Whether you do it by yourself, or talk it through with your bestie or a good therapist... find your courage and get it done.  And then you can get on with your life...a bigger, better, more beautiful you.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let's all stop hating our bodies shall we?

I've been struggling for a while with something and haven't quite been able to nail it down.  My friend Jes' poster project helped me put my finger on it.  Everywhere you turn there's news about the obesity epidemic.  Everyone wants to stamp out obesity.  The First Lady has launched a war on childhood obesity... the magazines in the checkout lane preach it, your employers insurance company is working on it... it's everywhere.

I regularly find myself, a fat woman, at work and my co-workers around me are having discussions about obesity and what we can do, as a girl serving organization, about it.  And I sit there, fat... and silent... trying to figure out how I feel about it.

It may sound like semantics, but here's my issue.  If we were sitting around discussing how to teach girls to love moving their bodies in a way that feels good to them, or teaching them to listen to their bodies signals about satiation and feeding their body in a nutritionally sound way... I could engage and get behind that.  But, my team mates, who I know love and respect me, are talking about eliminating obesity.  I am obese.  Despite my best intellectual efforts, that translates for me into 'You are unacceptable.  We must figure out a way to keep little girls from growing up to be like you.'  There it is.

Now, the paradox for me is that if I could wave a magic wand and not be fat, I would absolutely do it.  I would wave that same magic wand over children everywhere and make them all not fat as well.  Yes, in our society... I too would like to keep little girls from growing up to be like me.  I'm often ashamed, I'm insecure far more often that any woman should be.  I have times that I look in the mirror and nasty thoughts immediately flood my mind.   But, try as I might, ever since I regained the 117 pounds I had previously 'lost', my magic wand is busted.  I'm fresh out of magic.

I'm here to tell you we're fighting the wrong war folks.  If we teach our little girls (and ourselves) to love their bodies unconditionally, if we teach our children that all bodies are to be celebrated, and cared for... we won't have eating disorders, we won't have the self-loathing that permeates our society.  If we preach health at every size and take on the food industry we might be able to take back our media and our country.  

The war our country is fighting is obesity, and the enemy is fat people everywhere.  The war we should be fighting is about hatred.   The enemy we should be fighting against is big agriculture and it's the media.   Big agriculture brings us food that isn't good for our bodies that is far cheaper than healthy food that is.   It engineers food in ways that make it all but irresistible.  The media teaches us to be insecure in our bodies, to fear being fat and to hate those who have the audacity to take up more space in the world than they should.    And it teaches us that fat people are to blame for our skyrocketing insurance costs.   Conventional wisdom is that the obesity crisis is to blame for rising numbers of people affected by disease.   The scientists at health at every size have some pretty solid research about the effects of weight cycling on our bodies... effects like hypertension, diabetes...  If you're interested, you should read the book.  I'll leave that part of the war to the scientists who are smarter than I am.

So, you'll find me here in my little corner of the world, working in a largely female organization, in fact the worlds largest girl serving organization... fighting the good fight day after day.  Recently a wonderful woman I know told me that my journey toward body acceptance inspired her to tuck her shirt in (something she hadn't done in years) and have a hard conversation with a girl (struggling with self image) about how and why the girls body is as beautiful as any other.  That my friends feels like a little victory in a very big war.    Let's all stop hating our bodies shall we?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Survivors Voice- a long ago Thanksgiving blessing

This morning a long ago memory came back to me as I was thinking about this weeks holiday.  After I had disclosed the sexual abuse from my childhood to my Mother (in my late 20's), the year rolled around and Thanksgiving was approaching.  Our family tradition was that my Mother, Brothers and I take the Thanksgiving meal to my Grandparents home to be together.  My Grandfather was the perpetrator against me.

At this point in my healing, I couldn't even conceive of the possibility that 'we', or even I didn't have to make this trek.  I thought that my world would unravel if I did not keep it spinning as usual.  Part of what was so awful for me over the years was this and other visits to their home where I had to pretend everything was 'normal'.  My Mom and I had not yet disclosed the abuse to my brothers so they were unaware of the tension that was brewing for my Mom and I as Thanksgiving approached.

I was terrified, Mom was filled with rage,  but we packed up the turkey and off we went to Apache Junction.  That day my Mother was my hero.  She could have out performed any linebacker in the NFL.  She maneuvered herself throughout the house and throughout the day putting herself between him and me and my Grandfather never had the opportunity to lay a hand on me.   No welcome hug, no kiss hello/goodbye... nothing.

I'll never know whether my Grandparents or my Brothers noticed anything odd that day, but I got through it because of my Mother.  I don't know how she did it.  It's true that years before, my Mom missed the fact that I was in danger when my Grandpa was arrested for 'bothering' some neighbor children and she didn't keep me safe.  But, she was there for me that day and indeed every moment after I disclosed the abuse to her.  And for me, as a survivor, that made all the difference.

That was the last time any of us ever set foot in their home.  Not long after that, we did tell my Brothers and the news did not tear the fabric of our family as I was so sure it would.  It's funny (odd, not funny ha ha) what we make up in our heads as kids about what will happen if we tell.

I give thanks for the courage I found in myself through the telling of my story all those years ago.  Stand in truth of your life friends it feels amazing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In the flow... Synchrodipity

Lately I've been absolutely marveling at the 'coincidences' that have been popping up in my life.  Some, small and seemingly insignificant, others larger and more meaningful.  I suppose everyone experiences these things at different times in their lives.  These kinds of moments are known by many names, synchronicity, chance, happenstance, serendipity.  I decided to look up some of these definitions today and they all have different meanings, but all are sort of in the same ballpark and people tend to use them interchangeably.  When I was poking around the internet, I found this combination-- synchrodipity and love the definition:

Synchrodipity--A delightful unfolding of events or manifestation of intention that seems to be evidence of a benevolent Universal intelligence or inter-contentedness of all things.  Also, the sense of well being that results from the common experience of being in the Flow.    (Slade Roberson)

As I celebrate my 48th trip around the sun today, I'm keenly aware of being in the flow right now and I'm filled with gratitude.  Here's to another year.  God willing, I'll be more open to the flow, to love and to being a better human being each day I'm here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Survivors Voice (possible triggers ahead)

I've been feeling lately like I've not been doing enough in the survivor community.  So I decided that I'm going to write a series of blog posts speaking in my survivors voice, sharing my story.  I write not for your sympathy, but to shine a light on the issue of child sexual abuse.  I write so that you can understand the dangers.  I write so that you will understand that it is possible to survive, heal and go on to thrive in life.  I write so that you will talk about this issue with your kids, your friends and your family so that it is no longer a taboo subject.  So, I ask that you not avert your eyes and look away.  Read, ask questions and speak out.  There are children who need your help right now.

When I was about 5 years old, the sexual abuse began.  The perpetrator was not a creepy guy at the park or someone hiding in the bathrooms at the mall.  My perpetrator was my beloved Grandfather.  He continued to molest me until I was about 12 when for the most part I grew adept at avoiding situations where he could get to me in private.  Even that strategy wasn't foolproof as he was pretty brazen and would attempt to put his tongue in my mouth in front of others when saying goodbye as my Grandparents got in their truck to head home from a visit.

My Grandparents were dedicated to my brothers and I.  We traveled all over the state camping together from the time when each of us was a little baby.  I absorbed the family lore that my Grandpa was the worlds greatest and I was such a lucky girl.  I never said a word to anyone.

As I grew up and into my adult years, there was not 15 minutes in my day that I did not think about it, about what he did to me.  When I look back through my old journals, they're full of me trying to say 'it' didn't matter, that I needed to forget about it.

When I was 24 my life and my secret began to unravel.  Something I saw on television triggered me and I was unable to keep quiet.  When I say unable, I mean it was like trying to hold back vomit one night and I said to my Mother, 'you know how you always said how lucky we were nothing bad ever happened in our family?' and she said 'who was it?'  It all came tumbling out. When I was finished, she said 'it's not your fault', and then 'you're not the only one'.

It turns out, that my beloved Grandfather was a classic pedophile (by my calculations, having upwards of 10 victims I know about for certain and probably many more).  He had in fact been arrested years before for molesting numerous neighborhood children.  The adults in my family knew about the arrest, but had been shocked by it, didn't believe it and didn't really question the safety of me and other girls in the family.  It was a different day back in 1978.  That forgotten arrest came back to my Mom as soon as I disclosed.

That confession was marked the beginning of my healing.  The knowledge that I wasn't the only one, was extremely powerful and in fact was a gift that many survivors don't get.  It was proof that my story was true, and validation that those kids all those years ago were telling the truth then.

I did heal.  It didn't take forever.  I lead a normal life, seldom dealing with the after effects, but once in a great while something does come up.  In future posts I'll share more of my journey into healing and wholeness.  I hope that somewhere out there someone finds strength in my story.

Our secrets are what destroy lives.  I don't know that we're ever going to rid the world of this horrific epidemic, though God knows I'm a warrior in the effort.  But I can stand in the truth of my past and use my voice to help others understand the real dangers that threaten the safety of our children.  The better prepared adults are of the reality of this issue, the safer kids will be.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Something I read in the Huff Post got me thinking today.  Before I'd even finished the blog post, I'd decided to create a new life management system, sort of a 'Care and Feeding of Timalee' plan.  It's been a long time in development, but then all the best systems have.  Like Weight Watchers, there may be a slightly new version out every year around 'resolution' season.  It's a plan I can live with and re-join anytime if I fall off the wagon.

1- get enough sleep
2- strive to be fully present in all emotional states (not just pleasant ones)
3- reach out on more days than not
4- eat foods you like, and choose real food more often than not
5- be thankful for the body you live in, you only get the one
6- find ways to move the body you live in that you enjoy and do it often
7- zero tolerance on crappy self talk (body related and otherwise)
8- stay proactive about nurturing my marriage
9- drink lots of water
10- good sex, coupled and otherwise (thanks Huff Post for permission to say that!)
11- take risks, especially when afraid to do so
12- nurture creativity
13- manage the drudgery of household tasks so that weekend time is for fun
14- live within my means
15- minimize mainstream media's influence in my life
16- listen to music I love every day
17- check in with my body before, during and after eating to fine tune to it's needs
18- schedule and take regular getaways with my hubs
19- regularly partake in reflective practices

I've been saying for a long time, that I know intuitively how to care for myself, I just need to find the 'give a damn switch' and flip it.  Something deep inside myself feels like I just did.  How odd, that after waiting years for it to happen again, it should happen on a random quiet Saturday afternoon after waking from a nap, house quiet.    Or then again, maybe not so odd.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Women you should know... Hedy Lamarr

           (salon photo)

'If you use your imagination, you can look at any actress and see her nude.  I hope to make you use your imagination.'-- Hedy Lamarr

Quick, for what was Hedy Lamarr best known?

Born in 1913 in Austria, this beauty was part of the golden age of Hollywood.  She was a box office sensation sharing the stage with the likes of Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy. 

What you probably don't know about her is that in 1942 she and her friend, composer George Antheil, received a patent for an idea that was originally hers.  It was a method of radio signaling that would eventually make way for spread spectrum and frequency hopping, necessary for the wireless communication we enjoy today.  

The pairs intention was for the US Military to use the technology to interrupt the path of torpedo's in wartime.   The Navy met the idea with opposition and did not pick up the technology until 1962.  In 1998 the pair received some recognition for their work.

The next time you pick up your iPhone or iPad... you can thank this amazing woman.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Measuring beauty

The other night at a community event my sweet husband said something that was a compliment, was intended to make me feel good and ended up giving me something to think about as I observed a range of inner emotions for the rest of the evening.

He looked across the crowded room, saw a woman we both know- a woman that is by media standards, a beautiful woman... a woman I consider to be a physically beautiful woman.  After a few minutes of conversation, he glanced back at her, turned to me and said 'overall, you're really more attractive than she is'.

My instinctive, instant reaction was 'Aw, honey... really?  Thank you!'  For a few minutes I was riding a high.  I imagine that all women love to be told their partners think they're beautiful.  Then another thought began to creep in.  'Who is he to measure one woman's beauty against another?'

I spent the evening paying attention to my thoughts.  I wondered how I can gently move my man toward enlightenment about the destructiveness of this kind of thing.  I thought about the part of me that was instantly delighted at first at the suggestion that I might be more attractive than this other glamorous woman who is thin and willowy.  I didn't come up with any answers though.  I just gently observed and kept all my thoughts to myself.

Then, the next day the Universe gave me an even bigger thump on the side of the head to get my attention.  At a gas station, I said to my husband, 'take a look at the cashier... doesn't she remind you of (another woman we know), only prettier?'  Doh!!  Me.  I said that.  And he called me on it.  'Honey!', he exclaimed, shocked.  I hadn't meant anything mean or destructive any more than he had the night before.  But I had to own it.  Who am I to measure one woman's beauty against another?

Now who's looking for enlightenment?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Do I want to be right, or at peace?

"Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know."   Pema Chodron

Ah yes, my old friend ego popping up to re-teach me something this week.  I sure wish I could learn the lesson and be done with it.  In a sure sign of progress however, I find I am able to recognize that growing edge more quickly these days.  Then I can ask myself that defining question... 

Do I want to be right or do I want to be at peace?

These days, I'll take peace any day.

Has your answer to this question changed as you've passed through different phases of your life?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Making space for something new

It's been an interesting couple of months for me in bringing Beautiful You into reality.   It's been whispering at me for at least a year.  It's taken courage and a willingness to open myself to feeling vulnerable to allow it to be.

The opportunities to squash the whispers are plentiful.  When I look at the blog-o-sphere it's can be pretty intimidating.  "Who am I to think I have something to say?" is the thought I have to keep flicking off my shoulder.  But, then I think of my cheerleaders, my partners in this and the inner wisdom that I believe is present in all women when they get quiet and still and it's getting easier to flick that doubting voice off my shoulder.

When I turn and look back at my path so far, there are little pivot points that in hindsight, I can see have been small steps in the journey leading me here and into whatever Beautiful You becomes.  The Universe has been putting so many 'coincidences' in my way that it's starting to be really laughable (in a completely wonderful way).  When I was reflecting on all these small steps I happened on this from Kelly Rae Roberts.  Just when I needed to see that a woman I admired didn't get there overnight... there it was.  

I'm starting Brene' Browns- Oprah Life Class this week and need to set an intention.

  • My intention is to make space for the Beautiful You project to come fully into being. 
  • I intend to clear out doubt and insecurity to make space for me to embrace vulnerability.  (They're not the same thing... insecurity and vulnerability) 
  • I intend to embrace the fact that there's so much to learn in a place that's completely new to me.  
  • I intend to give my self the grace to let it unfold at a pace that allows me to learn and make mistakes as I grow into this.

What's whispering at you that you haven't been paying attention to?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Women you should know... Bobby Gentry

Owing to a weird coincidence last weekend where I heard the 1967 #1 song Ode to Billie Joe twice in less than 24 hours I've been a little obsessed with Bobby Gentry of late.  So, that's my introduction for today.  If you count yourself a feminist today, you stand on the shoulders of Bobby Gentry and countless other women like her.

Bobby Gentry (a stage name) came from a poor, rural background, much like the characters she sang so soulfully about.  She had a powerful voice and the ability to write haunting narratives.  One of the most remarkable things about her that I've discovered in my obsession is that she was one of the very first women in country music to write, perform and produce her own materials.  In these earliest days of feminism, this was a real success.

Ode to Billie Joe was the 'B' side of a record that quickly rose to #1 and spent 4 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.  The album replaced the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's album for a time at the top of the US Chart.  The haunting story of Billie Joe's suicide captured America's attention and debate raged about the meaning behind the song and just what was thrown off the Tallahatchie bridge.  PS... it's a real bridge.  The artist herself had this to say about the underlying themes of the lyric:

Those questions are of secondary importance in my mind.  The story of Billie Joe has two more interesting underlying themes.  First, the illustration of a group of people's reactions to the life and death of Billie Joe, and it's subsequent effect on their lives, is made.  Second, the obvious gap between the girl and her mother is shown, when both women experience a common loss (first, Billie Joe and later, Papa), and yet Mama and the girl are unable to recognize their mutual loss of share of their grief.

Ten years later Ode to Billie Joe was made into a movie and perhaps the most interesting thing about that is that it was directed by Max Baer Jr. who played Jethro on the Beverly Hillbillies.  (I'm not kidding).

The other Bobby Gentry song you might recognize is Fancy, but you probably heard Reba singing it.  Gentry had this to say of 'Fancy'...

"Fancy" is my strongest statement for women's lib, if you really listen to it.  I agree wholeheartedly with that movement and all the serious issues that they stand for-- equality, equal pay, day care centers, and abortion rights.

One of her last public performances was Christmas 1978 on the Johnny Carson show.  She retired from public life and is presumably living her life in LA.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Step into the flow

I am by nature a planner.  I go on trips with my spreadsheets and travel documents in hard copy and I leave duplicates at home for whomever might need to know where I will be on any given day.

But every now and again, I squirm out of my comfort zone and spend a weekend or so in 'go with the flow' mode.

This weekend held many blessings for me as I just allowed myself to be in the flow of life.  My husband and I set out for an overnight getaway.  We experienced the wonders of a small town.  A church rummage sale where we found popcorn balls that took me back to my own youth.  The church ladies in Safford always made the best popcorn balls.   We enjoyed the miracles of the earth in a geothermal hot spring soak under a beautiful wide open sky.  We strolled the antique store, browsed a farmers market where an acapella group sang softly in the background and most importantly enjoyed each others company.

It's so helpful sometimes when we're stretching our wings on a growing edge when it turns out so remarkably wonderful.  It makes learning the lesson that much easier.  Am I transformed into a free spirit who always drifts with the wind... no, but I will remember my lesson and remember to step into the stream of life more often.

What persona do you need to remember to try on sometimes?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The color purple...

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.  People think pleasing God is all God cares about.  But any fool living n the world can see it always trying to please us back."

-- Alice Walker, The Color Purple

The other night I spotted this beautiful flower on my way into a restaurant at 7:30pm. As I stopped to snap a picture with my phone, my husband asked with an impatient sigh, 'what on earth are you doing?'

I have never forgotten the quote above from Alice Walkers' wonderful novel  The Color Purple.  I try never to walk past the color purple without at least pausing to appreciate it.  So, there in the dark, I stopped to appreciate and take a pic.  Any fool can see that God is trying to please us back.

Visit us at Live Beautiful You on Facebook to share your pics of beautiful moments big and small.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Women you should know... Toni Blackman

On Wednesdays I'm going to introduce you to some fabulous women you should know.  To kick off, please meet Toni Blackman.   I can give you a standard introduction, she's talented artist who breaks cultural barriers in her work, she's beautiful in all ways, in her work and her life she lifts up the boats of all women.  But you can read all that in her bio on her website.

I met her at an adult Girl Scout training in New York.  She was there to help us find our voices.  That's one of her passions... helping women and girls discover their voices and use them to speak out in the world.    We were shown this intro before she spoke.  I think you'll love it and you'll love Toni as much as I do.

Here's to finding your voice!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


This thing enough-ness is a scourge on our society.  I don't know a woman who doesn't battle it at some point or another.  I'm no exception, and it's something I actively work on.  The feeling that we're not enough may be around our spouses, our jobs, our kids.  It also comes at us almost 24/7 from the media.  It's no wonder we make ourselves nutty about it.

Magazines covers stare at us from the checkout at the Grocery.  The same magazine cover may preach both self acceptance and the latest diet.  We go online at the end of the day to decompress. We sign on to Pinterest or Facebook and browse through hundreds of pins and updates.  We're inundated with thinspiration posts to 'help us stay motivated' but instead they likely eat away at our self esteem.  There are 100's of recipe's with beautiful images of food or craft projects we'll never get to that would make Martha Stewart feel intimidated.  At work, we don't want to call in sick even though we are because we're afraid of what others will think.

The thing I'm realizing about enough-ness is that enough-ness is entirely about the person on the other side of that judgement.  Whoever created the standard or is doing the measuring, is the one holding the enough-ness.  If I'm not enough for someone, it's really all about them and their expectations and not at all about me.

Where it really gets tricky is when we buy into it.  And again and again, we do.  We take it in, we take it on and it affects us to the core of our being.  The damage comes when we adopt it as a belief and begin to behave as though it's true... as though we are not enough.    It's difficult and time consuming to undo when you eventually get around to realizing and internalize that it's a big lie.  When we process it through with a therapist instead of our BFF, it can be expensive too.  Just saying.

I know someone whose business card reads 'What you think of me is none of my business'.  I love that.  It's so true.  It's also hard to remember.   What helps you to remember that you ARE enough?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Emotional sideswipe

Do you ever have times when someone says something so unexpectedly upsetting in the course of casual conversation that it feels like you've been sideswiped?  It happened to me this weekend.  In the course of a perfectly lovely day off and I'm still thinking about it a few days later.

I sat there quietly for a moment and the words that wanted to come out of my mouth were all started with 'well you...'  As a sign of progress in my self work,  I didn't reply with a list of character flaws of the other person.  I took a deep breath and said 'When you say something like that, what is it you hope to accomplish?'

When I had determined that there was no hurtful intent in the comment, I turned my thoughts to whether the comments were true and if true, is it something I can live with or something I want to change about myself.  I don't have answers yet, but I'm really proud of myself for not lashing out, not going into shame and not deciding I was a horrible human.  I was able to stand proudly in my magician energy and go inside for the truth.

It's all about progress not perfection people... try to hang on to that thought the next time someone sideswipes you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What if it's not true?

My daily reading talks today about rejecting any form of fear and anxiety.  FEAR is sometimes said to be false evidence appearing real.  I try to remember that when I feel it creeping up for me.   As you head into the weekend, join me in staying present to any type of fear or anxiety that try to insinuate their way into your being.  My wise friend Hildy taught me to ask "What if it's not true?"   That usually helps me to snap out of it and open myself to the other possibilities.  What do you do to loosen the grip of fear?


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Shouting at the wind...

There's much today about which we can debate, be angry, be defeated by.  This is especially true if you allow yourself to be subjected to the 24 hour news cycle and all the talking heads.  They're happy to tell you what you should be angry about, afraid of...

I invite you instead to reach inside yourself and find your giving place.  It's a perfect time to give of your time, talent and treasure to others.  If enough people do it, perhaps we can cause a cosmic shift in the universe.  It's not hard, you don't even have to go out of your way.

When you find yourself at Jiffy Lube, or Brake Max pick up a gift card for an additional service and send it to your local women's shelter.  There's almost certainly a woman there who needs it and can't afford it.  Go shopping with your kids and put together a birthday celebration box for a children's shelter.  It's hunger awareness month, perhaps you can contribute to your local food pantry.

If you don't have treasure to share, perhaps you could volunteer at your local PBS station as they raise money to stay on the air.  Make some homemade dog treats with your kids and take them to the Humane Society.  Find a local issue that your family is passionate about and advocate for your position at your city council or other governmental entity.

Find your giving place.  On a day like today, you'll be glad you did.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Circle of Women

There's something so powerful about sitting in circle with women.  I'm blessed to be able to part of a facilitator team for a women's retreat.  Together we have had the opportunity to provide an introduction to circles to many women who hadn't ever experienced this feeling of community before.

So, what's the magic in those moments?  Is it all participants being equal?  Is it each having the time they need to speak what needs to be spoken?  Perhaps it's the special gift one gets from witnessing the stories of other women.  Each woman's words, each woman's story stands on it's own... not to be contradicted, or supplemented or retold by anyone else.  

Tomorrow it begins anew.  We gather again with a new group of women.  We'll all settle in, unplug from the workaday world, from kids, from all our devices.  I'm headed for a beautiful weekend and I hope that you are too.

What will you do for yourself this weekend?  Set your intention and post it here so we can support you.

See you next week.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

No good reason...

I was shopping at Target today when I happened on this fabulous item.  For a moment, right there in the aisle, my inner child ("I want it!")and my grown up ("It's $20 bucks"..."What on earth would we do with it"... "Where would we wear it?" waged a little battle of wills.

Sadly the grown up won and I decided to unobtrusively (ha!) snap a quick selfie for posterity and posted it on Facebook with the status "I wish I could think of one good reason to buy this"...   
It took 35 friends to give me a virtual thump on the side of the head to remind me that "Because it makes my heart happy" is a perfectly good reason in and of itself.

I have smart friends.

I'll be heading back to Target.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mindful Moments

I'm working on mindful moments this week.  Maybe you'll join me.  When you're paying attention (and of course that IS the whole point after all) being mindful takes something ordinary, something often overlooked into something special.  Last night I was cranky as I trudged off to the spare room to sleep, my husband sleeping loudly and soundly, thanks to Ni-Quil in our bed.   As I slipped between the sheets I also slipped into a mindful moment.  My legs slid this way and that.  I stretched all my limbs like a starfish experiencing the luxury of having the bed all to myself.   Mmmmm.   Pay attention in your own life this week and see what you discover.  Post a comment.  I'd love to hear.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oh! The lure of a new self help book

So, I held in my hands a little while ago a new self help book.  It was sent to me as part of some pre-work for an upcoming mini-conference.  As I read the back cover and the preface, I was suddenly aware of some distinct feelings washing over me.  Anticipation, hope, a feeling that maybe this time it will be different.    Maybe this time it will 'take'.

What is that?!  I almost felt like I was about to go on a second date with someone.  Doesn't that strike you as screwed up?  Isn't that totally coming at life from a perspective that says I'm damaged goods?    I don't know.  It was a really strong feeling and I was acutely aware of the fact that I own quite a number of these kinds of books.  All of which I remember feeling that same feeling and now they sit on a shelf... some of them read, most half read... a few I never did read.

To paraphrase a question from a favorite poem of mine... How might your life have been different?  What if you had a place to belong... unconditionally loved and supported by a gathering of women.

For me, I might not feel like I came from the mark down rack... like if I just took the right class, read the right self help book... I could figure it all out and be enough.

How might your life have been different?