A Lesson in Self-Love



Woman_Enjoying_CoffeeThe other day my 12 year old daughter asked me who I love more: Her and her sister, or myself.

I had to pause for a minute, with the millions of appropriate responses running through my brain.

Is this a trick question?

If I say I love myself more, will she be offended? But if I say them, what lesson am I instilling? That we should always put ourselves second to others?  I took a deep breath and answered truthfully, “Of course, you two.” My daughter gave me a look of slight disappointment. “You know mommy,” she scolded, “You should really love yourself the most.” 

Deep sigh.

Indeed, she had been listening to the lesson I had been trying to impart, but I apparently I had not. It was true, I always put them first, followed by me, as a close second. 

As a woman, this is definitely a challenge, and as a parent, even more so. We know we would give the moon to our children if we could, or take a bullet, etc. [insert your favorite cliché here]. Many marriages and relationships suffer because children are placed first, sacrificing important intimacy with our spouses or significant others.

lovely_flowersThe truth is self-love is the ultimate first. If you can’t learn to love yourself the most, how can you expect your children to love themselves first? I’ve told myself this truth over and over again, but never truly let the fullness of in sink in, until now.

Raising daughters is challenging on so many levels, especially in the sense that I don’t want my girls to make the same mistakes I did, or suffer any self-esteem issues that so many young girls face.

I finally had to face the reality that no matter how hard I may try, I cannot protect them from the world. In fact, I would be doing them a disservice, and at the same time shielding them from developing their own strengths.

So many adults, myself included, deal with self-judgment, negative self-talk and doubt on a daily bases. If we want our children to learn to love themselves, then we must model it for them first and foremost. I truly love the beautiful lessons my children teach me. We no longer live in a world where the parents always are right even when they are wrong. It’s ok to be called on our shit by our kids from time to time, even if they don’t realize how profound their words can be.

Pastel HeartThe lesson in all of this is simply: learn to love yourself. I know it sounds like a broken record (or as my youngest calls it, an old-timey CD player), but learning to love and honor yourself is the only thing you can do before you can truly love others, even your children.

My 12 year old wrote this poem for a school project, but her ulterior motive was to give encouragement to her little sister, who was feeling down about herself at the time. I wanted to honor my lovely and wise tween and share her poem here:

 

You Are Wonderful

by Isabelle Atha

Life is full of ups and downs.
It’s like a rollercoaster.
But, no matter how much life shoots you down, just stay positive.
People will say “you can’t” or “you won’t”
Well, you are full of potential and you can.
In your lifetime, people will deny your ideas, call you names, and make fun of you.
Those people are just jealous of you.
If you let these mean and hurtful comments get to you, you’ll start to think “I can’t or “I’m dumb.”
You are extremely capable and smart.
However, here are some things you aren’t:
You aren’t worthless, you aren’t the worst person in the world, and you aren’t hated.
You are an amazingly talented and kind human being.

                         

There is no time like the present to start this work. With the full moon approaching tomorrow (July 1st), check out this great blog from the gifted astrologist, Cindy Morris, on how to use this energy to tap into loving yourself.

And finally, my last words on the matter (as I often need to hear them myself): Be ever so kind, gentle and compassionate with yourself.

 

Two-Tip Tuesday: Meditation Made Easy



People often tense up when they hear the word meditation. It can seem like a completely daunting activity, which requires aPurple Flowers with Floating Candles image | Rejuvenate with Healingperfectly clear mind, and the ability to twist yourself up into a pretzel.

If you haven’t heard it already, I’m here to tell you that it is simply not true. Meditation can be as uncomplicated as you want it to be. In fact, you may not realize it, but there are activities you are already doing that are indeed a form of meditation.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get you going. Even if you don’t have a meditation practice or have no interest, these are easy, useful techniques to bring yourself into a state of calm and relaxation.

If you want to learn more about how to create this calm in your inner world, work with your own energy, and increase your intuitive skills, join me this Thursday, from 7-9, online or in person for the Energy Balancing & Healing Workshop.

Breathing

I know suggesting the idea of following your breath can sound like a broken record, but it truly is the easiest way to calm the nervous system quickly.

Try this different technique when you have a quick moment. Sit in any comfortable position (or stand, or lie down, or whatever feels good).

Take a deep breath, and when you can not longer inhale any more air, pause at the top of your breath and count to five. You can count in your mind or even use your hand and five beautiful fingers for assistance.

As you exhale all of your air, pause again at the bottom of your breath and count to five again.

Repeat several times and you will begin to feel your body and mind coming to a much more relaxed state. You will also find that your mind doesn’t have as much of chance to wander as you are focusing on counting.

Do not try this technique if you have any lung issues or if you have anxiety that comes up with holding your breath. You can always adjust the time of your counting, but if you feel panicky, try just counting your inhales and exhales without holding your breath.

Exercise

This is a friendly reminder that meditation does not need to be a seated, focus on your breath, drive yourself batty with your monkey-mind activity.

There are many ways to add meditation into your daily life and exercise or any physical activity is one of them. It doesn’t have to be running or physically strenuous to reap the benefits. Find something you love. It could be walking, swimming, yoga, weights, cycling or whatever.

Acknowledge that time as a gift to your body and spirit. People exercise for many different reasons, but the next time you are getting physical, set the intention that this can be a meditation practice for your mind as well.

Meditation is all about being present in the moment. There is no better way to be present in your body than when you are moving it, in one way or another.

Listening to music is always helpful, but just once, try it without. You may hate that suggestion and that’s ok, but I challenge you to try it once and see what you notice about your surroundings. Listen to the birds chirp or the breeze rustle the leaves. Or maybe hear the sweaty, grunting meat head in the gym.

Let me know how this goes. I would love to hear from you!

Feng Shui for Spring



Tulip_floriade_canberra

Spring Tulips

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation. The trees are showing their tiniest first buds, the sunlight lingers a little longer each day, and in general, the weather is much more cooperative. Taking a cue from Mother Nature, this is a perfect opportunity to clear out the depths of winter and invite fresh spring energy into your space. Here are a few of my favorite feng shui ideas to freshen the energy in my home and life.

Declutter

  • Do an overall scan of your house and take it one room at a time. What are you ready to let go of? Perhaps it is just as simple as a candle that invokes a negative memory. Perhaps it’s a painting that you are just tired of. Forget the fact that you spent a lot of money framing it. If it’s time to go, let it go. Clean out your pantry, medicine cabinets. Throw away anything expired or ignored. Clean out the literal and figurative cobwebs, no matter their location.

Open your windows

  • If the weather is nice, open all of the windows in your house. Open the front door and any other doors to the outside for a bit, and take a minute to envision your home or office filling up with fresh spring air, clearing out all of the winter stagnation. If you can leave the windows open all day, do it!

Re-evaluate your clothes

  • If you have a spring bucket of clothes stored somewhere, bring it out. As you add springier clothes to your closet and remove the heavy winter gear, I challenge you to get rid of 5 items of clothing. Maybe it’s something you haven’t worn in a while. It could be something you love, but need to face up to the fact that it has lost it’s shape and just doesn’t look nice anymore. I like to use this time to evaluate both warm and cold weather clothes to see if they still works for me. If it doesn’t, toss it!

    tub_o_flipflops

    My favorite flip-flop bucket emerges from the basement

Move things around

  • Sometimes a small shift in decor, or maybe furniture can make a huge difference in space renewal. I spent a weekend re-hanging paintings in different areas of my house and was amazed at how much better I felt. Not only that, but I realized how they could serve better in another area of the feng shui bagua. And wow, what a difference! A friend came into my house the next day and said my home felt different. She recognized that it didn’t look like anything new was added; it just felt different, better.

Bring in fresh flowers or plants

  • This sounds cliché, but spring is truly about growth and renewal. What better way to honor this by adding live foliage. If you have a brown thumb, never fear, try something small and fairly easy like bamboo (I say fairly easy because it is possible to kill bamboo, yes, I’m speaking from personal experience).

Re-connect with nature

  • Go outside and be in nature. Even if this means just walking in your back yard with bare feet, so you can feel the first green blades of grass emerging. Go hug a tree. Yeah I said it, hug a tree; don’t be afraid to be the crazy person in the park. You’ll be surprised how good it actually feels. Winter is fabulous for cocooning yourself inside, but now it is time to get out and breathe the fresh air. If you have a windowless office, it’s even more crucial to get outside when you can. Even if you don’t smoke, take a “smoke break” and soak in a little vitamin D.

Whatever your spring rituals may be, now is the time to invite in new energy. Please share a comment and let me know some of your favorite ways to invite spring energy into your home and life.

Happy Spring Equinox!

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