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.