Tag Archives: inspiration

WARNING: this is my body, not yours!

Stella Boonshoft’s blog, The Body Love Blog, has gotten a lot of well deserved attention over the past few days. If you haven’t heard, she posted a scantily clad photo of herself showing off her body. Stella explained, “I found that after years of struggling with my body image that really there was no way to justify the bullying and the torment I endured as a child and as a teen.” She went on to say that, “we don’t have the authority to make assumptions about other people’s health based on the way they look. And I finally came to a place where I was really happy with the way I looked… I wanted to give a message to the bullies who had tormented me that it didn’t work.”

Stella’s blog post:
WARNING: Picture might be considered obscene because subject is not thin. And we all know that only skinny people can show their stomachs and celebrate themselves. Well I’m not going to stand for that. This is my body. Not yours. MINE. Meaning the choices I make about it, are none of your f****** business. Meaning my size, IS NONE OF YOUR F****** BUSINESS.

If my big belly and fat arms and stretch marks and thick thighs offend you, then that’s okay. I’m not going to hide my body and my being to benefit your delicate sensitivities.

This picture is for the strange man at my nanny’s church who told me my belly was too big when I was five.

This picture is for my horseback riding trainer telling me I was too fat when I was nine.

This picture is for the girl from summer camp who told me I’d be really pretty if I just lost a few pounds

This picture is for all the f****** stupid advertising agents who are selling us cream to get rid of our stretch marks, a perfectly normal thing most people have (I got mine during puberty)

This picture is for the boy at the party who told me I looked like a beached whale.

This picture is for Emily from middle school, who bullied me incessantly, made mocking videos about me, sent me nasty emails, and called me “lard”. She made me feel like I didn’t deserve to exist. Just because I happened to be bigger than her. I was 12. And she continued to bully me via social media into high school.

MOST OF ALL, this picture is for me. For the girl who hated her body so much she took extreme measures to try to change it. Who cried for hours over the fact she would never be thin. Who was teased and tormented and hurt just for being who she was.

I’m so over that.

THIS IS MY BODY, DEAL WITH IT

Stella, you are right! Your body is her own, your body is beautiful and you are stunning! Thank you for your courage!

And for everyone else… let’s be inspired!

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wabi-sabi

“Wabi Sabi is a way of life that appreciates and accepts complexity while at the same time values simplicity. It nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. To accept these realities is to accept contentment as the maturation of happiness, and to acknowledge that clarity and grace can be found in genuine unvarnished existence.” ~ Richard R. Powell, Author-Wabi Sabi Simple

Let’s break it down.
Wabi is the quality of simplicity and naturalism.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. As things become more used and weathered, they become more beautiful.
Wabi-sabi celebrates transience and imperfection.

Wabi-sabi does not resist the simple realities that, “nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.” This aesthetic does not strive for perfection or endlessly attempt to change or manipulate these ideas. So if we adopt these ancient Japanese principles, we must shift our perspectives.

Anxieties about not knowing if something will last forever may subside with the acknowledgment that nothing is permanent.
Energy spent on trying to control and prevent change and growth will be reserved by embracing the reality that nothing is finished.
Desperation to claim perfection may fall away by seeing perfection in imperfection.

Life is filled with the unexpected – both exciting and challenging. We cannot avoid this but what we can do is have some control over how we experience things and how we move through the world. I offer you the challenge of integrating wabi-sabi into your life and into your view of the world. Notice what shifts for you internally and externally.

Now go, show off the patina on your collar and celebrate your imperfections! You are stunning!


you’re a rockstar!

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Consistently I hear both men and women struggle to speak positively about themselves. While on the contrary, I’ve watched the ease with which they rattle off a litany of negative things they feel about themselves.

Somehow it has become taboo to think highly of oneself – or at least to admit it. Words like narcissist, conceited and egotistical are thrown like darts toward anyone who dares flaunt a pride and appreciation for oneself. True that there are narcissistic, conceited and egotistical people out there but this is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon.

I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as HEALTHY NARCISSISM. Owning your self worth, achievements and holding yourself in high regard are all incredibly healthy things. Within balance this looks like self-confidence, feeling good about yourself and having a solid sense of self!

Hold onto your seat because I’m also here to tell you that there is such a thing as HEALTHY SELFISHNESS. Mmm hmmm, that’s right! It is this selfishness that helps us maintain boundaries, healthy relationships and self respect.

Dig as deeply as you need to and make a list of the things that make you as awesome as you already are. I’m not kidding. Get a pen and piece of paper and start writing! It’s all yours. Own it. Flaunt it. Be proud!

You are a rockstar! So hold your head up high, rock steady and most of all, own your fabulous self!


go ahead, break some rules!

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Rules and structure are great things. They can help keep anyone balanced and organized and sometimes, they just keep us sane! However, it is when those rules and structure turn into rigidity that things get sticky. Rigidity spirals into all-or-nothing thinking that can keep you locked into an inflexible state or way of being.

“I must…” “I can’t…” “Always…” “Never…”

When things threaten this black/white thinking, it is a slippery slope that moves quickly into anxiety or panic. Suddenly you realize that the structure you’ve employed to keep you feeling balanced, organized and in control has become out of control and problematic.

Consider the thoughts and belief systems that go with these rules. Likely, they are great examples of extreme unrealistic thinking (e.g.: if i eat/do this today then my entire body/day will be ruined).

Begin to notice where this exists in your thinking and in your life. What are the roots of these thoughts and ideas? Why did you create them in the first place? What would it be like to change your thinking? What would the risk be? What are you afraid will happen? What would the reward be? What will you gain by becoming more flexible? Start challenging these faulty cognitions with the objective reality and notice the disparity. Then, take a leap of faith, pick one thing to challenge and buck your system!

You made these rules. It is time to start breaking them!


get uncomfortable

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“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

“Nothing happens until something moves.” – Albert Einstein

All too often we find ourselves within the confines of our comfort zone wondering why it is that we feel bored, stuck, depressed, frustrated or 1,000 other things. We wiggle around that little circle (see above) and try to figure out how to make it work or feel less depressing. We may figure out a few things but many times that’s not enough.

Change and growth are lifelong processes. Inevitably the passage of time (and the process of growth) leaves us feeling dissatisfied with the status quo and envisioning a compelling newer version of ourselves and what we want in our lives. This is exciting stuff! Magic happens when things move (for a reminder of some science behind the magic, click HERE).

Change can be scary, too. Within trial and error there lies the risk of failure (in my opinion, another opportunity for growth) and there is no recipe for success. Knowing that you are enough, despite your successes or failures, is a critical piece of the foundation that is necessary for resilience. A healthy support system and a fan base rooting for you (which might include friends, family, significant others, etc.) can also be significant source of strength and support.

Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and enter the place where the magic happens. What have you wanted for yourself? What did you want to try? What did you want to change? Allow yourself to try new things, to aspire to new goals and to do this without judgment. Don’t think about it, trust your instinct and let yourself fly!


happy independence day

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Happy Fourth of July! Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, declaring the United States independent from Great Britain. It’s typically a time of celebration, barbecues and the quintessential fireworks.

Today I implore you to create your own personal independence day. Declare your independence from the things that hold you back.

Take time to consider what keeps you feeling stuck. Decide what you would like for yourself.
Some examples:
I will share my opinion.
I will pay down my debt.
I will be kinder to myself.
I will create daily “me time.”

Remember, it’s not about luck or willpower. Set your intention.
Some examples:
I will share my opinion with others instead of going along with decisions made for me.
I will pay an additional $100/month to my outstanding credit card debt.
I will begin each day with a healthy, self-affirming mantra.
I will make sure that I actually take a lunch break instead of working through it.

Get to it and allow today’s fireworks to also be a celebration of YOU!


everything begins with an idea

Had this not been a statue, I’d swear that an idea was being born!

idea – (as defined by miriam-webster)
1. an entity (as a thought, concept, sensation or image) actually or potentially present to consciousness.
2. a formulated thought or opinion

idea – (as defined by the urban dictionary)
1. usually something stupid that pops into your head right before you get hurt
2. a thought, plan, notion, anything that is conjured up in the brain and sometimes put into action and/or shared with the rest of the crowd.

I agree with all of the above. Particularly, the part about getting hurt. If we let our minds play, we will quickly notice that we’re full of ideas! The difference between ideas we pursue and ideas we never share comes down to some sort of financial and emotional cost/benefit analysis. The financial analysis speaks for itself but it’s the emotional analysis that has much to do with our choices. What will others think about my idea? Will my idea be successful? Will my idea fail? What if my idea is not good enough? Perhaps there grows a fear of an assault to one’s self-esteem.

Martha Graham said, “first we have to believe, and then we believe.”

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”

Woody Allen said, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”

Thomas Alva Edison said, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

We have to find belief in ourselves from the very place where our ideas are born. We have to take risks and reach beyond our comfort zones to grow stronger, wiser and more satisfied in our lives. The next time your little yellow light bulb goes off, embrace it, explore it and take it seriously. Reengage with your creative, inventive and playful self!


laughter

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Robert Frost said that “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” When you consider the many things that laughter does for us, e.g.: relaxes the body, exercises the lungs, reduces stress, improves heart functioning, increases blood flow, boosts the immune system and releases those feel-good endorphins, Mr. Frost was probably right!

There certainly are many serious times and events in life. However, if we take a moment to step back and gain perspective, we may realize that many of the things keeping us from being lighthearted just aren’t that serious!

Did you know that the average person laughs 15 times a day? When was the last time that you really let yourself go and laughed so hard that you cried? Or that you laughed so hard that your belly hurt?

Today, make it your job, your intention, to get silly, to play, to let yourself be tickled and to let out a good laugh. Then, do it again, and again, and again!


look around. be amazed.

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I was walking with a friend and pointed out a sculpture in the shape of a rabbit. She turned to me and said “you have the eyes of a three-year-old!” This is one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

When did we stop noticing the little things that surround us? At what age did we abandon our childlike curiosity? How frequently do we take a moment to step out of the whirlwind of our adult lives, unplug ourselves from our technologically rich surroundings, to breathe, find balance and nourish our souls?

Take a moment to watch the children around you; take some time to see the world through their eyes. Notice what they notice, what they think about, what makes them smile and giggle. Consider the power in simplicity.

What can you do to make your life less complicated? Simpler? Or at the very least, what can you do to create some easier, playful moments for yourself? Schedule it in if you must. Do what you need to do to make it happen every day. It is worth it. You are worth it. 


whatever happened to recess?

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Do you remember having recess in school? That period during the day when you got a break and everyone went outside, ran around, played on equipment, played tag or simply made up a fun game? When did recess disappear from your schedule? Do you miss it? What do you do for play in your life today and how often do you make time for it?

Plato said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Play decreases inhibitions and allows for your authentic self to shine through.

Brian Sutton-Smith said that “The opposite of play is not work, it is depression.” Indeed.

Why do adults need to play? Play provides the critical space for the use of imagination, creativity and mind/body integration, while fostering the development of physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Play is instinctual and can make us happier, more flexible and more resilient in the world. And let’s face it. Play is good for the soul! Play decreases stress and increases empowerment and pleasure in life.

Today I invite you to consider reintegrating the idea of recess into your days. Every day. Yep, that’s right. Every day. Do something that feels fun, playful, uninhibited and free once a day and take note of how it feels, as well as the cumulative effect on your body and soul. Off you go, play away and have some FUN!