"The body is a sacred garment. It's your first and last garment; it is what you enter life in and what you depart life with, and it should be treated with honor." ~ Martha Graham
Which comes first, learning to love our bodies or possessing a positive body image? The body is, quite literally, our vehicle for being, giving, loving and feeling. If you don't possess a positive body image – and most of us don't – learning to love your body can help you develop one. "If you can learn to like how you look, and not the way you think you look," Gloria Steinem assures us, "it can set you free."
The time has come for us to realize that until we work on increasing our self-esteem by loving ourselves in small ways, we can't begin changing ourselves for the better in big ways. We must start by choosing to break the self-destructive cycle of unrealistic expectations, especially our own.
I am so happy to finally see women gracing the pages of magazines in all colors, shapes and sizes. Sadly, the media has done a good job at airbrushing, sculpting and chiseling away at the real women – the woman that is living her life from the inside out. The woman who is taking care of her family, working, cooking, cleaning and walking the dog. The woman who comforts you after a bad day.
My sister, your beauty shines from within. That's where true beauty lives.
Start today by throwing out the world's irrelevant idea of beauty. It never existed anyway! Beauty is born within, and it's up to us to nurture. Cleopatra celebrated her authentic beauty by the ways she painted her face and styled her hair. That was her signature. In the middle ages, women padded their bellies. Don't wait for the world to celebrate you. Find what you appreciate and focus on that – let the rest take care of itself.
Take time each day and tap into your own transformative power. Nourish your body and your spirit by the foods you eat, what you read, think and meditate on. Turn down social media. Slow down and remember to breathe in deeply, breathe in fresh energy and positivity, breathe out tension and stress, let something go.
Rediscover how good it feels to simply move about – stretch, dance, walk, skip and smile. Pamper yourself in the clothes you love, quiet time for yourself to become grounded and centered. Take care of your skin with simple beauty rituals.
"A woman's relationship with her body is the most important relationship she'll ever have. More important than husband, lover, children, friends and colleagues. This isn't selfish - it's just fact," health and fitness expert Diana Roesch tells us. The body is, quite literally, our vehicle for being – for giving, for loving, for moving, for feeling – and if it doesn't work, it's fairly certain that nothing else in our lives will work either.
Today, choose to consciously love and honor the sacred garment Spirit provided for this lifetimes journey and embrace the beauty within...I see and honor the beauty within you!
"But if you have nothing at all to create, perhaps you create yourself." ~ Carl Jung
Do you remember what you were doing the weekend of August 16-17, 1987?
Perhaps you were part of the thousands of people who gathered together to hold hands while inviting world peace and harmony. People gathered at power points across the globe: the Great Pyramids, Machu Picchu, Mount Fuji, Greece, California and Arizona.
This time was known as the 'Grand Trine,' when all nine planets were in their astrological fire signs and positioned precisely 123 degrees apart from each other.
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I stayed with my sister in Redondo Beach, and together we gathered with our hearts open wide where the Pacific ocean met us at the boardwalk. It was a beautiful day and a memory I will keep forever.
I believe that is what most of us want, and it's important that we keep looking to the good in ourselves and others.
There are many ways to develop our insight and achieve harmony through the divine grand trine of mind, body and spirit. "In undertaking a spiritual life, what matters most is simple," master teacher Jack Cornfield reassures us in his book A Path with Heart. "We must make sure that our path is connected to our heart...no one can define for us what our path might be."
How do you discern your own truth?
We must allow the mystery within to guide us. When we are still and listen deeply, we will know if we are following a path with our heart, even for a moment. Our heart holds our strengths and vulnerabilities, our character and beliefs.
Each of us is born with an extraordinary gift and opportunity to express it in our daily lives. When we make a choice to honor each priceless gift, we participate in the re-creation of the world.
When we follow our path from the heart, we are living in the truth of who we are and what we offer out into the world each and every day. Even if we think we're just planting a garden, tending house, teaching a class, painting a picture or cooking a healthy meal for a loved one. It's not about what we are giving but the spirit in which we are giving it.
Our hearts connect us to all of life...
May your heart be full and shine brightly with gifts of gratitude, blessings, peace and harmony!
How can we enjoy zen and maintain our spiritual self-care and daily mindfulness?
A day represents the microcosmos of your entire life, so it's important to make mindfulness a habit to live your life to the fullest each day.
It is here, living amongst oak-studded hills, that my ritual of walking meditation begins. Life in the country has a way of slowing you down. There is a stillness in the air, a soft light as it brushes the trees with rolling hills, pastures, vineyards and open sky for miles upon miles. All that can be heard are the occasional hawks soaring overhead.
As we set out for our daily walk (my 4 fur babies), I feel "light," knowing there is no destination, simply a romp in nature beneath the gentle light of the ever-present sun. Each step leads to a letting go of any needs or to-do lists.
It feels as though my feet once in motion find a pace all their own – there is no effort being made, simply breathing in the fresh, dry air. The sound of the road base beneath my feet is a familiar one and reminds me of summer day hikes in the Sierras.
As we reach the far end of the property, the shade is a welcome respite for the dogs and myself. We find a smooth patch of grass to linger, dream and soak it all in.
As we begin to make our way back to the ranch house, creative plans and visions seem to appear from out of nowhere.
Even if for only a little while, stepping away from the mundane and daily repetition of work and plugging into nature is a reset for the mind, body and spirit.
Walking in nature allows us to shift our focus away from distractions and instead find reverie. In this heightened state of presence, we become more self-aware, and we can establish a deep sense of peace and clarity.
Oftentimes 15 minutes is all we need for a reset, so I hope you'll join me in moving your body!
Moving Meditation Field Guide
"If you seek creative ideas, go walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk." ~ Raymond Inmon
There's seems no better a time to honor the Earth than in the season of Spring!
Spring shines her light on new life. Ideas are born, plans are made, another cycle is complete. The Native American tradition bows to each of the directions: life's cycles and the circle of life without beginning and end. A beautiful guide for living.
Join me in a circle as we place our feet on the Earth and our hands in Namaste.
As we face the north, visualize the color red.
The north brings cold winter winds, yet these winds are cleansing. They cause leaves to drop and the Earth to rest beneath a blanket of snow. If you can face these winds (like the buffalo), you have patience, strength and endurance. North represents the trials we must endure and the cleansing we must undergo.
Face the east and visualize the color yellow.
East is the direction from which the sun comes and symbolizes Spring. The light dawns in the morning and spreads over the Earth. This is the beginning of a new day. After a long winter, a renewed sense of life emerges, symbolizing new life and growth. It is also the beginning of understanding because light helps us to see things the way they are.
At a deeper level, the east symbolizes wisdom. Often we pray in the morning, facing the dawn asking for wisdom and understanding.
Face south and surround yourself with the color white.
Because the southern sky is when the sun is at its highest, this direction symbolizes warmth, growth and ease. The sun's rays are powerful in drawing life from the Earth. Warm, pleasant winds arrive from the south.
As we face the west, visualize the color black.
To the west, the sun sets, and the day ends. The west is the source of water, rain, lakes, rivers and oceans. It's the source of replenishment that has no end. The west symbolizes letting go, an ending before a new beginning.
As we enjoy the light of Spring, imagine the seeds you wish to plant and nourish. Write them down, say them aloud to yourself. Then plant these seeds in your heart...in a gesture of renewal, self-compassion and love.
"The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where Love resides." ~ Audrey Hepburn
It is through the heart that we see the beauty in life, the mystery and the glory of discovery...through the untouchable, immeasurable and often unseen. That special moment when your heart skips a beat. You didn't see it coming, but your heart did.
What does it mean to follow your heart, to look within and discover what is true? To find what gives your life meaning and purpose. If I were to ask, "How do you make decisions, from your head or your heart?" how would you answer? Don't overthink it.
From a young age, we were not encouraged to trust our inner knowing, yet when it hurt deep inside, we began to close off parts of our hearts in order to feel safe. But in closing off our hearts, we close off love.
So often, to protect ourselves from the vulnerability of feeling our feelings, the mind attempts to control the heart. But the thing is, the heart is not ruled by mental logic. The heart was not born to be controlled.
Because the mind speaks the language of thought and the heart speaks the language of emotion, the mind often struggles to make sense of the heart. The heart must be honored, trusted and expressed in order to build a lasting, deep relationship with oneself.
How often do you listen to your heart, trust your heart, and in doing so, honor your authentic self?
How often do you have a sense about something or someone?
It's as though you have the answer but don't know where it came from.
Together let us gently place both hands over the heart, connecting to the heart center, the center of the wisdom body. And as you inhale, just notice how the body, the chest rises into the hands. As you exhale, feel how the hands soften and melt into the body. Let the arms be symbolic of the extension of the heart.
It is only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we are able to feel the full expression of the heart. For a few moments here, notice if you can feel your own heart energy circle and cycle back into you, in a gesture of renewal, of restorative replenishment, self-compassion and self-love.
You are safe and can ask your heart anything. Listen to the heart. It knows...