I showed one of my Positive Living groups the following videos. For those who’ve already seen (or couldn’t be bothered watching) them, the first one is about how we perceive ourselves, how we hone in our flaws and imperfections, and how we don’t see the beauty that other people see in us.
The second is a spoof on the first and I cried actual tears, it was so funny.
Afterwards, we drew pictures of how our souls might look like. I instructed the class not to think too much, to just go with the feeling. Below is a picture of my soul, drawn my me.
Then, I told the class to draw a picture of how they feel the soul of the person sitting beside them might appear. I reminded them not to worry about it being a work of art, to simply allow it to flow. Because I was teaching, I was sitting at the top of the room so there was no way my partner could have seen the picture I had just drawn of my own soul. Five minutes later, I was presented with this.
We squealed in disbelief and hugged. We had drawn almost the same image of my soul, except she had made it bigger, more vibrant and even more beautiful. And it’s not unlike the Sacred Heart, which is regularly depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart shining with divine light. Maybe it’s not so unusual to imagine a glowing heart when connecting with one’s soul but nobody else in the class drew a heart for themselves or for anybody else.
This was a great exercise and I thoroughly enjoyed drawing like a little kid, totally absorbed in colour, connection and creation. Why don’t you try it with your children, partners or friends? You’ll be amazed at what manifests.
Posted in Random, Spirituality
Tagged art, beauty, body image, children, classes, coincidence, colour, comedy, connection, creativity, dove real beauty sketches, dove real beauty sketches - men, drawing, imperfections, inner child, laughter, positive living group, self-criticism, self-love, soul, spoof, synchronicity, teaching
I turn off the tap and sweep the water from my body using my hands. I saw an ex-boyfriend doing this and I continue to do it long after we’ve broken up. I step out of the shower and start to think of all the other habits I’ve caught from former boyfriends and even old friends. How I no longer close my bedroom curtains at night. How I add paprika to my scrambled eggs. And how I know that a glass of milk with dates (the dried fruit, not a rendezvous with a potential love buddy) is a surprisingly delicious combination.
I’ve held on to these things because they make sense to me. Because I’d rather not have puddles on my bathroom floor. And because I love to look out at the stars and wake to the morning light. But what about the habits and beliefs I’ve latched on to that definitely aren’t serving me? The ones I thought were a part of me but that actually came from other people. From parents, partners, teachers and friends.
Are the beliefs that are running our lives really ours? The ones that instruct us on how to look, feel and behave, and on what to do, say and even like. Are these second-hand belief systems right for us at all?
It’s time for a spring clean. A thorough clear out. Pick up and inspect each belief. If it makes you feel good, keep it. You can reexamine it in another while. If it makes you feel bad, chuck it. It was never yours anyway. Once you’ve decluttered your headspace, make sure to only decorate it with things that are authentic and functional. Things that make you smile. Living with yourself will be a lot more pleasant once you’ve feng shui’d your mind.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged be yourself, belief systems, beliefs, change, declutter, feng shui, free your mind, habits, headspace, life, mind, relationships, self-acceptance, self-love, thoughts
I just received a gift. A big one. I am shocked and delighted. And I can see how much pleasure these extremely generous people are deriving from my reaction. Yet there is an element of resistance within me. It’s like I feel it is unfair for me to be presented with this when other people would have to work hard to get it.
For the past number of months, every morning before I get out of bed and sometimes before I fall asleep, I’ve been giving gratitude for all the wonderful aspects of my life. For those who haven’t heard of the law of attraction, the theory is that whatever you put your attention on multiplies. I don’t believe it’s really about material manifestations. Rather, it involves generating more of that beautiful feeling of gratitude, and this means creating more things in your life that you’re grateful for.
So even though I hadn’t specifically asked for this, and a part of me feels oddly guilty upon receiving it, my attitude of gratitude is working. Clearly, I have issues I need to be aware of. So I can start believing I deserve good things in my life. So I can understand that guilt is a useless, destructive emotion. So I can realise that things don’t have to be difficult. And so I can stop caring what others might think of me. If I manage to achieve all that, who knows what other exciting surprises are just around the corner.
I want amazing things for you too so I suggest that you start practising gratitude daily. Keep a gratitude journal or mentally list off a number of things you’re thankful for each day. And watch the little (and large) miracles that come your way. Enjoy. You deserve it.
Posted in Positive Thinking
Tagged acceptance, confidence, difficulty, generosity, gift, gratitude, guilt, law of attraction, life, manifestation, miracles, positive thinking, present, self-love, self-worth
Since injuring my back at the gym on Sunday, I’ve had to take it easy. This means not doing my usual workout routine. And it’s been hard. I joined the gym in January and, while I signed up because I enjoy exercising and sweating and being healthy, I’ve also delighted in toning up, wearing tighter outfits and having people tell me that I look amazing. Who wouldn’t, right?
Part of me knew that I shouldn’t put too much value on my physical appearance. It’s dangerous attaching how good you’re feeling to something so transient. And another part of me told myself to relish it while it lasted. Which may also be saying something about an unconscious belief that good things don’t last very long. But that’s another day’s work (or blog post).
So, I haven’t been able to hit the gym this week and I noticed my mood dipping a little. I started wearing looser clothing as though I’d gained weight in just a few days. Another reason for feeling out of sorts was that I’d been, quite literally, stopped in my tracks. I had to accept the situation and understand that these things happen for a reason. There was a learning here somewhere (lots of lessons, in fact) if I were to cease feeling sorry for myself long enough to go looking.
Gretchen Rubin writes about the “broken windows theory” of policing, which holds that when a society tolerates minor crimes such as broken windows, graffiti and drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes. Rubin suggests that this can also be true on a personal level. These are the signs of disorder that make you feel out of control and overwhelmed. For me, they are not leaving the house all day, not getting my class preparation done and not exercising. Rubin says that enforcing small signs of order makes us feel more in control and happier.
The theory makes sense and it’s great to get things done and to look after yourself. However, this does not mean being rigid. Sometimes, we have to let go of control or we’ll end up miserable. Life happens. We cannot base our happiness on how we think we should look or on how much exercise we feel we should be getting. If we have too many “broken windows” and those shattered panes are destroying our inner peace, we need to look at building the inner peace and self-love and to hell with the windows for a while.
This week, I’ve been watching TV series Girls. The main character is a 24-year-old writer who’s carrying a bit of extra weight. She gets lots of men and struts around naked. The more I’m watching, the more I’m used to seeing a fleshier actress. This goes to show that the more exposed we are to skinny celebrities, the more we believe that this is the way we all should look. It’s refreshing to watch a show where the characters’ appearances are a little more normal. Even the sexiest female character has a bit of belly and often doesn’t wear a scrap of makeup. And she’s still a beauty. A natural one.
In one of the episodes, leading lady Hannah admits that she’s just like everyone else, that she wants to be happy. That she feels alone. And that she’d been trying to control the way things happened and how she was feeling. Isn’t that why we do what we do in life? To feel happier, less alone and more in control? Why we diet and exercise? Why we purchase new clothes and cut our hair? Why we study for exams and work? Why we save money and buy houses? Why we search for partners and start families?
But beneath the need for happiness, connection and control is a longing for love. And where better to begin than with yourself? Just because. No only-whens and only-ifs. Unconditional love. If you had that, you wouldn’t need to do anything, have anything or control anything. It wouldn’t disappear as soon as your job or relationship ended. It wouldn’t crumble when you gained weight or grew older. It wouldn’t elude you until you had a house and a successful career. It would be a part of you always. It is you. You’ve just forgotten. It’s already there. And it strengthens with use. Today, instead of going to the gym, I choose to exercise my unconditional love. It’s tougher than any workout but the reward makes it so worthwhile.
Posted in Modern Society
Tagged acceptance, alone, back pain, behaviour, beliefs, body image, broken windows theory, broken windows theory of policing, celebrities, clothes, control, crime, diet, exercise, family, girls, going with the flow, gretchen rubin, growing up, gym, happiness, health, injury, inner peace, learning, lena dunham, lesson, loneliness, mental-health, models, mood, overweight, overwhelmed, partner, perfection, relationships, rigid, self-love, sex, skinny, society, surrender, tv series, unhappiness
I woke up crying. I had just dreamt that I heard that a guy I’d met a couple of times last summer was coming over to my family home. It was late, I was in my pyjamas, I looked tired and wasn’t wearing any makeup. I quickly threw on a bra and T-shirt and started applying some makeup. My brother ran upstairs, grabbed something and said, “We’re going out.” I heard the door slam. I stopped putting on makeup. My sister came into the bathroom and announced, “That guy is hot but they’re gone to a night-club.”
I exploded: “I am so angry with both of them. I put on a bra! And makeup.” My sister scrunched up her face. I continued: “He obviously doesn’t care about me. I feel so alone. I just feel awful.” I knew that I was overreacting, that this shouldn’t make me feel so bad, that this was a core issue that kept resurfacing. My sister hugged me.
As I lay there early this morning, I realised that this went deep. I also recognised that, if this was a core belief of mine, it would continue to come up in relationships with men, and even with friends, family and the larger whole. I would create situations time and again that would “make” me feel unloved and alone.
As I was preparing for a Positive Living class yesterday, I remembered this quote by Anaïs Nin: “We see things not as they are but as we are.” In other words, we tend to view things from our own perspective. What’s happened in the past can colour things for us in the future. I guess it comes back to living in the present moment.
I don’t know how to shift this completely but I do know that awareness is crucial. If a scenario arises again where I feel this way, I will be able to see that it could be my stuff and not the other person or circumstance. I can decide to release these emotions, to let go, to stop replaying the old record because it’s not relevant any more. Already, I am loving and caring about myself. I am opening myself to love and connection. I am aware and awake and I’ve stopped crying.
Posted in Love, Personal development
Tagged anaïs nin, anger, awake, awareness, beliefs, connection, core issues, dream, emotions, family, feelings, friendship, future, letting go, loneliness, love, past, perspective, positive living, present, relationships, release, self-care, self-love
The more I speak to people who are brave enough to be honest about how they’re really feeling, the more I realise that we are all the same. We all go through tough times. We all struggle with fears and insecurities. We have all gone through or are currently going through periods when we feel depressed, hopeless and unable to cope.
Many of us struggle with our inability to be “perfect”. We believe that we must achieve, accumulate and gain approval in order to deserve a space on this planet. We beat ourselves up, even hate ourselves, when we think that we have failed. We feel lost and alone. We disconnect, shut ourselves down and close ourselves off from love, both for ourselves and for others. For when we don’t love ourselves, how can we possibly love one another?
It’s sad that many of us feel alone in this world. We fear that there is something wrong with us, that we have messed up, and that we must try to fit in. But how can we fit in with something that is just an act? It’s all an illusion. We are human. We were born into this life perfect and we spend the rest our lives struggling to come to terms with that reality. We battle against it. We rage so hard against ourselves that we look for the quickest way out of our self-inflicted hells. We turn to drugs, alcohol, overwork, unhealthy relationships, anything, to forget how bad we’re really feeling. To avoid the real reason for our suffering. To blame anything or anyone other than ourselves for not living life to the fullest. Until we cannot kid ourselves any longer. Wouldn’t it be easier if we accepted that we deserve love just because? The mere fact of our existence is enough to merit self-acceptance.
I’d love to take the whole world in a giant embrace and tell you all that you are okay. That you are not alone. That everybody feels bad sometimes. That you are magnificent and miraculous. That life can be wonderful. That if we all dropped the bullshit act of pretending, there wouldn’t be so many people who punish themselves for being less than society’s idea of perfect. But I can’t. Because everyone has a journey. Because everybody has their personal lessons to learn. Because I’m not a preacher. But I am a human being who has been through some really rough times, who’s struggled with a lot of the things I’ve mentioned above, and who still does sometimes. I am also an example of how, once you let go, open up and surrender, you can connect, enjoy, live and love.
This Christmas, consider the fact that everyone has a story that they may never tell you. Most people have been hurt and continue to hurt themselves over and over. But if we open our wounds to one another, we can finally start to heal.
Merry Christmas, my beautiful readers. I am delighted to be able to connect with you all. I am full of gratitude. I am also constantly learning. Right now, remember all the things that you are grateful for. Give yourself the gift of self-love this Christmas. And allow yourself to connect with your fellow human beings. We are all in this together.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development
Tagged addiction, approval, battle, christmas, courage, depression, difficulty, emotions, failure, fear, feelings, gratitude, honesty, humanity, illusion, insecurity, mental-health, openness, perfection, reality, sadness, self-acceptance, self-love, sharing, struggle, suffering
There is no better spiritual practice than doing the things that make you happy. Happiness is your meditation, your mantra, your prayer. Laughter is your therapy, your medicine, your exercise. Self-love is the only diet you need, the best relationship you can have, and the greatest education you can undertake.
You don’t need rules, regulations and hardship to achieve happiness. Do what you love. Live your joy, your enthusiasm, your inspiration. Anita Moorjani tells us to be ourselves, recognise our magnificence, and live our lives fearlessly. There is no better message. It is so simple. If we understood this on a deep level and really believed it, we would never need another self-help book.
Robert Holden said: “You will never become happy. You can only be happy.” Stop striving for happiness. Be it. Don’t wait until you’re on holiday or in a relationship or earning enough money before you’ll allow yourself to feel happy. As the old adage goes, “There’s no time like the present.” I say, There’s no time but the present. So give yourself the gift of happiness right now.
Life doesn’t have to be as difficult as we make it out to be. If your raw food diet is making you miserable, the thought of meditating for an hour is bringing you out in a sweat, your stack of still-to-read self-help books is putting you under pressure, and the gym is about as alluring as a garlic-smothered crucifix would be to a vampire, give yourself a break.
Wander around the library and treat yourself to that novel everyone’s been raving about. Bake carrot cake muffins. Dance. Sing. Paint. Swim in the river and feast your eyes on the ocean. Travel to foreign cities and sample their culture, their language, their cafés. Give someone a hug. A real hug. Spend time with friends and be present with them. Laugh. Cry. Play with your children. Light a fire and watch a wonderful movie with a sweet mug of tea. Go hiking in the mountains. This is your life. Be yourself and do it your way. Love it. Live it. Do it now.
Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized
Tagged anita moorjani, being present, diet, family, friends, fun, happiness, hardship, health, laughter, life, love, meditation, robert holden, self-help, self-love, spirituality
Below are some simple, speedy ways to uplift yourself… instantly!
- Smile (Simply put, this will tell your brain that you are happy.)
- SIT UP STRAIGHT (When you’re depressed, you slouch. Change your posture, change your mood.)
- Get out in nature (Energetically speaking, nature has a high vibrational frequency, which will override the low frequency of a bad mood.)
- Put on your favourite tune (And dance!)
- Read an inspiring quotation or watch an encouraging video (Buy a calendar that has a daily quote or subscribe to a blog / YouTube channel / Facebook page that posts regular uplifting updates.)
- Write down five things you are grateful for
- Say (aloud) five things you love about yourself
- Light a candle
- Take a few deep breaths
- Put on a slick of lipstick and your favourite perfume / your best shirt and sexiest aftershave
- Buy yourself a bunch of flowers (You’ll smile every time you walk past them because 1. they’re beautiful and 2. they’re a reminder that you’ve done something wonderful for yourself.)
Do one of these things right now and observe the change in your mood. Then, work your way through the list. Soon, you’ll be doing these things automatically because feeling good is so natural. Enjoy!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Posted in Health, Personal development, Random
Tagged beauty, breathing, depression, encouragement, energy, facebook, frequency, gratitude, happiness, health, inspiration, joy, light, music, nature, posture, quotations, self-love, singing, smiling, thich nhat hanh, vibration, youtube