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Postaday prompt: Can’t Stand Me – What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

Having had my own weekly radio show I adapted to the sound of my own voice rather quickly. I am often complimented on my calming tone when I teach yoga, and in general, and so I accept that my voice is ‘nice.’

Seeing myself on video holds more of a charge. For me it’s my posture sometimes, although that has improved greatly since committing to a regular yoga practice, mostly it’s a reminder that the outside packaging still does not match the inner spirit. There’s still work to do.

I have couched my soul in its journey long enough. I have hidden my heart’s true desires behind protective layers of fat that require further protection and hiding from boxy, loose clothing. Mostly now I’m comfortable in my own body. I feel when it’s off, when it needs to lose a few pounds – like now – and I feel when it’s in optimal condition. It’s familiar and comfortable, we’ve been together a long time.

Then I see it. Caught at a weird angle in a photo or moving in a video and I think, ‘Who is that?’ I don’t think it’s ego or even an unrealistic idea of what I should look like. I think it’s that my spirit is so young and playful, ready to travel, ready to go, ready to try new things. It’s an athlete and a daredevil. What it’s encased in betrays all of that.

The outer shell is soft, a little too round, hiding muscles and litheness beneath. It could be sitting on a park bench feeding squirrels perfectly content, when the inner me is on its way to zipline or snorkel or catch a plane to an exotic location.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with myself and a formidable group of women on letting go of image, but the truth is, it’s a part of our culture and therefore our DNA. We have to come to terms with it rather than ignore it or sweep it under the rug.

In doing this work, this little social experiment, I have discovered that those with the “best” bodies are hardest on themselves. There is one woman who is heavier in the hips and thighs with a perfectly flat stomach and beautifully shaped arms and she wishes for thinner hips. I can’t imagine her any other way. She is perfect for her. Another is dismayed by her inability to gain weight, when what I see is the best physical expression of the woman beneath the skin.

I have become quite adept at seeing what each individual is supposed to look like. What their best most natural weight is supposed to be. And so many people are already there, struggling for someone else’s version of perfection. For some it’s carrying a little weight, for others nearly bone thin works best.

For myself a couple sizes smaller, not thin. Healthy, sporty even, or dare I say, pleasantly average. Then, I will be ready for my close-up.


21 Day Body Love Challenge – The Eyes Have It

little gigi

My eyes have always been my favorite feature. No matter how young or old, thin or not so, I have always been complimented on my eyes. It is an accident of birth that I have blue eyes. Everyone in my family has them. They are also shaped like everyone’s in my family which is to say, eye shaped. Not too big, not too small, just right for my head.

Eyes are the windows to the soul. At the very least they can indicate the level of life or crazy in a person. I’m sure you have looked into someone’s eyes and had the following experiences:

1. You can’t look away. There’s depth and love and you can see right through to their soul and their soul is your soul. Or perhaps you’re drunk.

2. You can’t maintain eye contact. There’s something judgmental and disapproving in their eyes and it makes you extremely uncomfortable. Or maybe you’ve been drinking.

3. You look into someone’s eyes and it’s vacant. No one is home. Energetically they have checked out. Or maybe they’re drunk.

All drinking aside, I’m sure you’ve had incredible experiences looking into another’s eyes. Felt things that you can’t explain, a familiarity, a jolt of energy, even love, even from a stranger.

If you are someone who simply cannot look another in the eye, start by looking yourself in the eye in the mirror. A person who does not make eye contact is generally thought of as untrustworthy. Maybe. I also believe there are a lot of people out there that don’t have the first clue who they are and they are scared to death they will  learn that they are bad people. This is almost never the case. So gaze deeply into your own eyes and fall in love!

I am an extremely visual person. Most people will tell you they are too. And it’s true for many, but I seem to have a keen connection between what I see and what I remember. Not photographic or eidetic memory, but certainly situational. And daily, not just big events.

It’s my super power. One of them, perhaps the most impressive.

For instance, my husband will leave his keys on my dresser, which he almost never does. I notice them there, without really paying attention. The next morning as I am journaling or maybe fresh out of the shower he will shout from the front door, “Hey,” unable to finish his sentence before I respond, “On my dresser.”

Clairvoyant? Yes, in the truest sense of the word – clear sight. I cannot predict the future, except to say I see many more opportunities to amaze my husband and some of my co-workers with the location of their lost objects.

My eyes are sensitive to light. This is true of people with light eyes. The less pigment the more sensitive. Same with skin and hair. I’m a little like Casper the Friendly Vampire. White hair, pale skin, light eyes, ghostly white, hissing at the sun until I can hide behind sunglasses.

At high noon in the middle of summer I will close my eyes against the brightness if I don’t have sunglasses. This does not bode well for the other drivers. So I must have many pairs of prescription designer sunglasses. It can be no other way. It’s a public safety issue.

As I get older my eyes are beginning to look more like my fathers. My eyelids becoming heavier, hooded making my eyes appear smaller and tired. Or like I just woke up after sleeping on my face for 12 hours. Unlike my dad, I can use a few magic wands, known as concealer and mascara to create the illusion of well rested eyes.

I like the wrinkles around my eyes, they convey a life lived happily. When I was young I couldn’t wait to have those little lines on either side of my mouth. I thought a nice set of smile lines with a matched set of crow’s feet made people look friendly and approachable. And I could see nothing wrong with that.

Still don’t.

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.” – Charlotte Bronte


21 Day Body Love Challenge

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I love my body. Everything about it. When was the last time you said, thought or heard another WOMAN say that about themselves? To be fair, self-loathing isn’t exclusively a female sport, but we certainly hold all the ribbons.

In recent months I have seen many responses to the model thin body. There are documentaries coming out and seeking funding that celebrate the female form, whatever shape that form has taken. There are rebuttals to perfection in blogs, rants on Twitter and even infomercials on the beauty of “regular” women.

The director/producer of the documentary on women’s bodies, seeking funding, went out on the streets and queried over 100 women in all shapes and sizes and when asked how they would describe their bodies the most common response was, “disgusting.”

This makes me very sad.

My body is flawed, much of it my own doing or not doing. I have scars, stretch marks, cellulite, wrinkles and sagging in new places every day. I have hated various parts of my body but that didn’t make things any easier. I have loved parts of my body to firmness and thinness, but that was fleeting when my love of Christmas cookies trumped my affection for thin thighs.

In part I think my argument with my body is not the shape so much as the knowledge that I am not doing all I could to improve my shape. I eat chocolate, drink wine and don’t move nearly as much as I plan. But still I have to reconcile myself with this physical form that houses the me that thinks, talks and sees things uniquely. So much emphasis is placed on being different, why has none of that been applied to the female form?

Now I find myself in a place of the compassionate observer, mostly.  There is still much I’d like to change about this meat suit gifted to me, but maybe I’m not supposed to. Perhaps this body, just like this, is here to teach me and others something. What if this body is the vehicle that will take me to the super-consciousness highway and where along the way I can pick up a few hitchhikers?

If I am truly God in disguise, then perhaps it is my mission to love the wrapping, love the cover of the book so that it can be opened and what’s inside can be read.

You are God in disguise or Divine consciousness in disguise or the Universe made manifest, or a dog in human clothing. I don’t care how you choose to look at it, what words you use, what belief system you have, you must just know that you are perfect and a reflection of divinity.

For the next 21 days I am going to explore this gift that has allowed me to travel, make a baby, snuggle my kitties and puppies, do yoga, dance my ass off, swim competitively and stumble and get back up. I am going to call out the Divine cells, one at a time until we are all on the same page. I will work with one piece of the puzzle at a time starting with my foundation – my feet, and ending with my salvation – my heart.

Care to join me?

Use it or lose it; your life that is.

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The other day as a friend and I were chatting, she began to tell me about her sister. They had grown up in the mid-west and her sister chose to stay there. She had picked the wrong man, stayed with him too long and had two kids in the process. She had taken a job in a factory and worked there for many years to support her children after she divorced this wrong man. She was remarried now to a nice enough guy and she was, you know, just making her way through life.

Those last six words hit me like an arrow to the heart. “Just making her way through life.” I don’t think this is why we’re here. Any of us. We all have days or even weeks we’re just trying to get through, but there are people who LIVE there.

How can that be?

Everyday I hear someone say, “I hate my job. If I could just win the lottery, I’d be set.” But that’s not true. They have chosen to play small. They probably don’t realize it, they’re held down or back by fears that aren’t even theirs. Someone in their past taught them that the responsible thing to do was to provide for their family, create security and do good work. That’s all true, but they likely framed it in such a way that meant, it doesn’t matter what your calling is, what you’re drawn to, what lights your soul on fire, there’s plenty of time for that after the life-leaching world of punch clocks and pensions.

But that’s not true either.

Every time we engage in something against our authentic selves we lose a little life force. There may be time after work, after retirement, but the spark is gone, the energy depleted. If you feel it now, now is the time.

I think this goes beyond perspective, beyond belief systems. If you feel, ever, that you’re meant for more than whatever you’re doing, and you don’t act on it, you are living out of alignment. You are ignoring your higher self. And she will come back over and over again, eventually with a vengeance until finally she either gives up, withers and dies or you have no choice but to listen.

Catch the whisper, follow the thread, see where it goes. You can do this AND have a job. For now. Maybe you’re calling is something you can do right now in your present situation. Maybe it’s outside that box. Only you can know. That’s between you and her.

I once asked a friend who was working really hard at conceiving a child, why she wanted children. She looked at me dumbfounded. It wasn’t a judgment or challenge and she didn’t take it that way, she had just never thought about why. So let me ask you this: Why, then, do you want to live? We spend millions of dollars keeping ourselves alive for what? Because we’re afraid to die?

A fear of death is simply a fear of a life unlived.

No one sits around aspiring to just exist. Marking time as if time served gets us a gold star on some universal report card.

Consider that this life was given to you, entrusted to you. Your job is to use it. How, is up to you. Maybe it’s to be a great parent, supporting and encouraging your children to become the very best, useful versions of themselves. Maybe you’re to save the lives of others through medicine, psychology or just plain old love. Maybe you are to discover the mysteries of the universe, the secrets of history or the exact location of the g-spot.

Your main purpose, I suspect is to love and uplift others. The good news here is that you can be short, tall, skinny, fat, blind, deaf, physically or mentally challenged. You can begin right now, even with your current job or situation. Your work then is to find that thing that cracks open the shell of fear gripping your heart and lets just enough light in to remind you that your only real job is to be you and you ARE love.

This is not some fancy notion. And you don’t have to walk around with a beatific smile, donning long robes, gliding a few inches above the floor. Although that could be fun. You can be sarcastic. You can swear. You can eat too much chocolate. You can smile at a stranger. You can paint. You can write. You can applaud a friend’s successes and hold the hand of a dying loved one.

Know that the organization of your cells is uniquely yours. Own that. No one else can do things exactly the way you can. And. You. Are. Needed.

You are necessary.

We need you to use your life. Declare yourself an agent for change. Even if it’s just a change in your perspective. Forget talking about people or even events, discuss the big ideas, consciousness, unconditional love, compassion, or as Marianne Williamson has suggested, “loving the world back to health.”

Don’t just exist, that’s easy. You were made special, beyond existing. You were made to love.

[Photo: The butterfly represents transformation. I believe they are so abundant because we need this constant reminder that we can transform our lives or our perspective at any time, with each breath. Look down, are you on the right path?]

21 Day Challenge – Day 17 – Overwhelm

Hole in the sky IMG_2029Sometimes when I overwhelm myself – and let’s be honest only I can overwhelm me and I am really good at it – I just look at the sky. Ironically it grounds me. Maybe it’s the literal act of looking up. I could gaze at it for hours, getting lost in the speed of clouds and changing light.

For a whole year I posted a photo of the sky everyday on Facebook. I gave it different personalities that made glib and snarky comments. When I stopped, way more people noticed than I would have expected. People love the sky.

Every possibility, every wish, every desire is held by the sky.

On a dreary day recently I was riding with a friend who was mired in a case of the blues. The sky outside  mirrored her mood; full of rolling white gray clouds with dark edges racing past one another. Then, for less than a minute there was a gap in the clouds that allowed the smallest, brightest blue patch to emerge. There was so much information revealed in that spot of sky.

This little patch of blue had a big story to tell.

I had been studying yoga – the philosophy every bit as much, or maybe more than, the postures – for several years. In yoga “pure consciousness” is a hot topic. It’s everything. The true self. One of my teachers describes it as capacity, like the sky. The sky allows clouds and airplanes and birds to pass through it without changing it. We, on our soul level, are like the sky.

This is a big concept to fathom. It is difficult to imagine the size of something without edges, without boundaries. The mind wants to put a limit on things. But like the sky, consciousness is limitless.

The clouds do not change the sky behind it. The smoke, smog and rain only temporarily cover the sky, but it is always there and always blue.

The true self, pure consciousness is always there, unchanged, unspoiled, perfect. It merely becomes hidden beneath fear, worry, anxiety, feelings and emotions, by the need to be right or seen, by the ego.

The tiny patch of blue sky tells my friend that the clouds of sadness are temporary. What it tells me is that there’s no need to become overwhelmed.  The true self is always there, resting in awareness. Without edges.

[Photo: Taken this morning. At least six months after that gray day.]

21 Day Challenge – Day 2

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As Day 2 of the challenge comes to a close I am once again filled with gratitude for this community that is building to support an Enchanted way of living.

I awoke with a sense that magic was in the air once again. There is something very powerful about declaring intentions without any goal in mind other than lighting your own fire.

Intentions differ from goals. Goals are quantifiable, they have an end point. Intentions are a way, a how to be in life. There is only one intention, there can be many goals.

Here’s the thing, if I set a goal to lose 20 pounds, what happens when I lose those 20 pounds? What’s my incentive to keep the weight off? Health, new clothes, there are many perfectly good reasons to keep that weight off.

But let’s go a little deeper. Why do I want to be healthy? What is the point of being 20 pounds lighter and healthy?

Stay with me.

What if, instead I had an intention to become more alive in my everyday life? Perhaps that would be enhanced by losing 20 pounds. Being lighter could absolutely help me become more alive. But so could journaling, traveling the world, doing something everyday that scares me just a little. So it becomes less about the goal of losing 20 pounds and more about what supports my intention to become more alive.

There is forgiveness for not losing weight or meeting a goal, as well as room to make decisions that may be more aligned with my journey. What if I was invited to a dessert tasting party at the top of the Empire State Building? Would I pass because I couldn’t risk my diet? Or go, because when will I ever get that opportunity again? I’ll let you figure that one out!

In the long run I want to be healthy and lighter to live this enchanted life fully. In the short term I can find magic in the everyday and begin to raise my vibration and feel my intention. It’s the process, the journey that is magical. I don’t want to miss it.

So this challenge is about setting that steadfast inltention, creating the north star that will guide my every decision.  It is stating “THIS is how I want to live,” then creating the steps to get there. It is becoming aligned with the true Self.

[Today’s photo: As I was driving to a private yoga lesson this morning I spotted an amazing photo op, but I couldn’t take it because it would have made me late. I assumed there must be a better photo waiting for me. As I pulled onto the dirt road to my client’s house I spied this beauty perched down a driveway. We’ve met before. As luck would have it, a car was coming the opposite direction so I turned down the driveway to allow it to pass and snapped off a couple shots of my old friend.]