Before We Get the Opportunity To Change Anything, We First Get the Opportunity to Love It

Life lessons on self-love and self-acceptance

I had a dream several years ago that I was describing to my doctor what was hurting in my body by describing the one thing that wasn’t: my toes.

Then I woke up and as I went to stretch my stiff joints and aching muscles, I felt it….my freaking toes were throbbing. Continue reading “Before We Get the Opportunity To Change Anything, We First Get the Opportunity to Love It”

There is NO Excuse for Neglecting Yourself (let me show you)

selfneglect

Your idea of self-care might be as simple as showering when you’ve got little ones crawling the walls. It might be as basic as drinking enough water or remembering to eat. It might be as nurturing as a massage or some quiet time to yourself. But how it looks is inconsequential to your willingness to make it happen. Continue reading “There is NO Excuse for Neglecting Yourself (let me show you)”

Free To Never Notice

Self-Love Wisdom

I shaved my head again last week.

It wasn’t in a moment of enlightenment or courage this time. It didn’t bring with it all the ecstasy and liberation. This time it was done out of frustration toward myself, almost like “pulling my hair out”. I had noticed how attached I had become to my hair, how much I cared about how it was looking, what it portrayed, and what others might think about it. Continue reading “Free To Never Notice”

Why is it so hard for you to receive?

Why is it so hard for you to simply receive?

I wander around department stores about once every 7 years, as evident by the two gift cards I’ve been carrying around for nearly that long. It wasn’t for a lack of trying that they hadn’t been spent. Justin and I had looked, but we don’t tend to find much of ourselves on their shelves.

But my wallet needed cleaning out and the summer heat and humidity is sneaking up on us, and I set upon it, determined to spend these damn cards, knowing (hoping) I’d at least find a cami or a tank top.

(Shopping is always an experience in itself for me. I could probably write about it alone, but that’s not what stole my attention that day.)

I found what I had been looking for, and with a armful of stripes, totaled up my swag to find it just exactly what I needed to spend to get rid of these damn snowmen and Santa’s I’ve been carrying around for nearly a decade.

I was wrong. Four dollars left on one card.

I’m not taking this thing home. I’ll find something in here to spend it on.

I was only about halfway down the main aisle when I stopped myself.

This is stupid. I’ve walked these aisles. I found what I want. I don’t want anything more.

So I walked back to the register to pay it forward instead. There was a woman there with her teen daughter, their items being totaled. I honestly didn’t expect the conversation that followed.

“Excuse me. There’s not much on this, but I’d like to give it to you.”

“Huh? Oooooh, no, no. I couldn’t take that from you.”

“No, really. It’s not a big deal. It’s only a few bucks and I won’t use it.”

“No, I wouldn’t feel right. You’ll regret it.”

Uh. What? Although my knee-jerk response flowed out without pause, my head got a little stuck on that phrase of hers. I’ll regret being kind?

“I live an hour away. It’s taken me 7 years to spend this much, and I’m not going to be driving out here again for $4.”

“No, no, you keep it. I couldn’t possibly…”

At this point I was pretty much over the debate.

“Seriously, you’re doing me a favor.”

And I placed it on the counter and walked out. As I walked to the truck, Life spoke so loudly in my ears that I almost acquiesced to the urge to turn back and repeat them.

Why is it so hard for you to receive?

Life is constantly walking up to you, trying to give you a gift of generosity, a show of love, the tiniest token of how much you are held and supported. If you can’t receive with gratitude something as small and meaningless as a little plastic card today or a compliment tomorrow, how in the world do you expect Life to be able to pour out the ocean of goodwill into your heart that you so deeply deserve?

How is it that you can expect the young person standing next to you to learn to receive with graciousness, to reach out for support when she’s depressed or has her hands full with a new baby or God forbid, is sick and hurting? What do you tell her every time you tell yourself no, you couldn’t possibly, it wouldn’t feel right?

That you’re not worthy? That others will regret showing you kindness? Who told you this bullshit story and why in the hell do you decide to believe them still?

And then Life turned the tables and asked me, why is it so hard for you to give?

Whether it was $4 or $400, it didn’t matter. Why do you diminish it, take the focus off the act of kindness, and pretend the recipient is doing you a favor? Why do you insist that what you are giving means so little? Why do you put a monetary value on kindness, instead of honoring the act for what it truly is – something that runs so much deeper to others than some service to you.

This isn’t about you. It is about what Life wants to show someone else, and you let your own discomfort get in the way of the words that really needed to be heard; words of self-worth, and a message from the Universe that kindness comes in seemingly small, unexpected ways. This wasn’t for you to value or devalue, but simply to allow.

How many times have you felt the words play on your tongue, the uncontrollable desire to walk up to a stranger and tell her she’s beautiful or that Life is working magic for her as we speak? How many times have you talked yourself out of it for no other reason than you put your own head in the way? You made it about you – how you’ll look, what others will think of you – instead of surrendering to the flash of revelation lighting sparks against your heart.

There is nothing to be uncomfortable about. Nothing to argue or debate. Nothing to be embarrassed for. Speak the words rubbing against you, share what you are called to share, and let the Divine decide where the chips will fall. Let a greater Mystery guide a conversation you yourself won’t fully see.

Let it all go. Let yourself receive, and let yourself give, without all your damn excuses.

On Showing Up and Rocking It (The Ricki Lake Recap)

The whole story is up on the blog in about 5 minutes (link in profile). @ecowomb #rickilakegreenshow

It’s Saturday, two days after the show, and I’m still not totally with it. I’ve slept umteen hours and am still finding my footing, but I wanted to get this whole experience down before I forget it.

To answer the most frequently asked question first: The airdate is April 17th on Fox, and you can signup here or here to get a reminder or watch the video we capture of it.

The overarching vibe of the entire experience: amazeballs.

I realized long before the show that this wasn’t about being on TV, or connecting with the beautiful Ricki (whose work I admire anyway).

This was about me.

It was about making a declaration to myself of self-approval and nonjudgment. About surrendering my desire to control and perfect, and instead forgiving myself my perceived shortcomings and “not enough-ness” by allowing myself to just own Who I Am.

It felt like years of Digging Deep all culminating in front of a live studio audience.

And it was magical.

Of course I did. So did my mom. #rickilakebitches

Ahem. My driver. Armen from Armenia. He was awesome. So was his car. #rickilakebitches!!

Curled up in a bathrobe. #DiggingDeep and swimming in Balance EO. Feeling so ready for this gig. Heart and soul all in. The taping is at 12:30 Pacific but I'm accepting good vibes all morning! #rickilakebitches!!

Continental brekkie, #paleo style. And there's a Lyfe Kitchen and a Chipotle nearby. Perfection. #rickilakebitches!!

 

I knew going into this that my shit – some really old shit, too – would surface. I knew I’d have the opportunity to be nervous, scared, and self-deprecating. I knew I’d hear some old stories in my mind, way too much criticism, and a lot of negativity from my mouth.

Because I knew this as a very real possibility, I made up my mind to go into it full of intention and awareness. I spent an hour or more every day with those stories and voices. I embraced this as the opportunity it was to step into my Self. I turned off the habit of keeping myself outside of things, keeping my focus on the outer, or keeping myself busy in the superficial, and I allowed myself to turn inward completely, to own what surfaced, and to spend the time necessary to make peace with it.

And I’m damn proud of myself for it.

Sometime last week the words came to me: “I am not doing this for anyone else. I am up there for an audience of two – my Spirit and the Spirit. This is for us to celebrate my own ability to love and live. This is a milestone in the agreement we made for this life.

I know it probably makes little sense, but this whole thing was not really about sharing green living or what we do. Those were just the bonuses, the icing on the cake.

This was about me celebrating Life and embracing self-approval.

I had voices rise up, and I chose to answer each one with love and affirmation.

I had fear surface, and I chose to respond with a reminder of my Truth.

I had doubts pop in, and I surrendered each thought that didn’t come from Spirit.

Surrender.

Surrender surrender surrender.

If it hadn’t been the work I’ve been doing with that Guiding Word this year I may not have gotten up there and rocked it so thoroughly and completely.

Surrender didn’t mean giving up, or saying no, or taking the easy way out. I wasn’t surrendering my desire to feel confident and calm and excited on the show. I wasn’t surrendering this wonderful opportunity.

I was surrendering every negative thought or expectation.

I surrendered every idea that I was going to sound like an idiot, every worry that I’d mess something up, every thought that I had to be some conventional idea of perfect (as well as every after-thought that because I can’t possibly be perfect I might as well not even try). I surrendered every idea that I knew what needed to happen, I surrendered every expectation to perform or force it to come together, and I surrendered every temptation to be something or someone I wasn’t.

I showed up fully. Fully in my body, fully in my heart, fully in my spirit. I did so without apology for what I need and without trying to fit a box. I owned Who I Am and what I do without backpedaling or making excuse. I felt confident and comfortable just Being.

And it felt amazing. Which meant I was free to experience some amazing things.

It meant jumping on the bed in excitement.

Again, of course I did.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant wearing clothes that felt good on me and doing my own makeup, so I could get up there in my own skin.

The hair and makeup crew.  #rickilakebitches!!

Me and the mama. Represent.  #rickilakebitches!!

It meant laughing and being silly with friends backstage.

Chillaxin with the EcoWomb crew! @ecowomb #rickilakebitches !!

It meant dancing behind the stage to get myself ready and doing a little strut-dance as I walked out to greet the audience.

It meant smiling big, and cracking stupid jokes, and not really remembering 90% of what I wanted to emphasize, and still rocking my socks off.

It meant hearing my name from across the restaurant later that evening and looking up to see it was Ricki waving to me, and getting another opportunity to hug her tight and thank her for everything she’s done (and is doing) in this world.

End of the day, me and my mama decided to go have tea while we waited for our car back to the airport, and we hear someone call to me from across the restaurant. The beautiful earthy mama @rickilake was there just when i was lamenting not getting her phot

It meant CELEBRATING and JOYFULNESS and FUN.

It meant being damn proud of myself.

Me and Angela after the show

I had nerves and I surrendered them. I had fears and I released them.

I had self-judgments and I freed myself from them.

I walked-strutted-danced onto that stage in total confidence and self-approval, without any fear or butterflies. I instantly forgave myself for my mistakes and imperfections and I just loved all over myself for having the courage to say Yes to this opportunity and the openness to work through all that Life gave me the opportunity to DIG IN to.

I didn’t share much about green living, really. It was all over too fast.

But I shared the whole of my heart. I allowed my light to shine, and I shared myself.

And that’s what makes this thing a wild success in my book.

That’s why I know I rocked it.

Organic Wisdom :: What’s Pouring Out?

I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

What you pour into a relationship, pours out.

If you pour in empathy, love, compassion, patience, support, generosity, kindness, strength, self-respect…you will slowly begin to see those things pouring back out from those you love.

What you pour into a child, pours out.

If you pour in autonomy, respect, honor, presence and engagement, passion, kindness, generosity, honesty, stability…you will witness the growth of a child who pours that back into their world and your relationship.

What you pour into your work, pours out.

If you pour in passion, authenticity, boundaries, honesty, a desire to make a difference and thrive, trust, trust, and more trust…you will experience work that fulfills you and allows you to thrive in those things and abundantly.

What you pour into your own heart, mind and body, pours out.

If you pour in kind words, gentleness, self-respect, compassion, forgiveness, acceptance, fun, generosity, nourishment and nurturing…you’ll feel alive, vibrant, joyful, beautiful, worthy and at peace with Who You Are.

But here’s the catch.

If you do this just to get what you want out of your body/self or others, the whole thing crumbles.

Give because of Who You Are and who you want to be. Not to manipulate, but to love better.

6 Signs of a Truly Happy Woman

Years ago I use to look at so many women and think they were so happy.

I’d wonder what their secret was to having that much joy.

Mama break in the jacuzzi. Love my tribe.  <3
Jacuzzi break with my spirit sistahs. Some deeply happy women, these ones.

As I grew to find and experience my own joy, I took another look at those women I had admired and was surprised at what I saw. From a different vantage point, there was a hollowness in their life and an emptiness in their words. I suddenly saw the harshness of their jokes or comments (about themselves or other women) and the lack of peace that I found comes with real joy.

Then as I began coaching, I spent a lot of time helping women DIG IN beneath the surface to find that ability to thrive.

And as I watched them rock things out in their lives I found a few things to repeat themselves, patterns of happiness and consciousness and confidence and the ability to truly thrive.

If you were to ask me what real happiness, serious joy, true thiving looks like, this is what I’ve seen.

6 Signs of a Seriously Thriving, Happy Woman

  1. She has space in her life for her own sadness, anger, frustration, sorrow: Women who seem “up” all the time are the ones I’ve come to worry about the most. Some of those women are battling with a belief that no one wants to hear from them unless they’re happy, and so they put on a mask in an attempt to gain approval. Others need to stay “up” all the time to prevent their world from crumbling. But truly happy women embrace their experiences of sadness, anger, frustration, sorrow or pain with authenticity and gentleness. They don’t hide how they feel, although they don’t project it onto others either. She doesn’t blame her emotions on others, or expect others to fix it for her. She simply sits with what stirs within her, examining it when necessary, trusting the ebb and flow of it without worry that it will overtake her. She knows that to experience deep joy she must learn from deep pain without drowning herself in it, without attaching to either, but simply trusting the process of life.
  2. She celebrates the beauty of others: You won’t find a truly joyful women with a critical eye towards others. No snarky remarks about other women; no judgment. Honesty about her experience of others, yes; but only in how she is experiencing it and what it is meaning to her. Criticism and negativity toward others is a poison that kills joy in mere moments. A truly joyful woman shares concern and compassion and naturally notices and celebrates the beauty, not the mistakes (or what she perceives as mistakes).
  3. She automatically assumes the best in others: A really happy woman doesn’t spend time taking shit personally. She knows it’s not always about her; in fact, it’s rarely about her. When someone says something or does something, she doesn’t take offense. She takes a stance of curiosity, assuming good intent and quieting any negative thoughts her mind sputters out. She asks genuine questions and continues to offer compassion and a desire for connection. She doesn’t spend a lot of time stewing over the incident, but simply addresses what she senses needs her attention and releasing all else.
  4. She only sees comparisons in terms of inspiration: No jealousy. No sense of competition. No criticism. And no self-judgment either. This goes back to #2, seeing and celebrating the beauty in others. But when that beauty stands out, she also tends to use it to inspire herself to her own greatness. She turns it into a reason to celebrate what she CAN do, instead of feeling guilty or less-than over what she’s yet to do.
  5. She dwells on what is and sees the beauty of the moment: Shit happens and she knows it. She doesn’t go into denial (see #1), but she does amplify the good wherever she can see it. She knows her energy is fullest when she is ready to turn her intention and attention to gratitude.
  6. She speaks her mind and with honor towards others: She doesn’t hold back her convictions or her heart and soul. She speaks what’s on her heart, and listens to the deeper experiences of others; she’s willing to have her mind changed, but only if it’s Truth that is resonating with her. And she doesn’t take it personally when someone disagrees, or even gets upset. She just keeps shining in her Truth with kindness and compassion, unapologetically. She doesn’t argue because she has nothing to prove and she knows when to walk away and when to stand her ground.

The more conscious I became of these patterns, and my own painful patterns, the more I began to practice them.

Because that’s the other thing I’ve found: These signs were not symptoms of already being happy.

They were practices to choose and create happiness.

Ask Yourself: Which of these resonate with me?

 

Organic Wisdom :: How do others love and honor you?

Every Friday or so I intend to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts and feelings on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

Oh man, this was a difficult one for me to embrace.

But the words kept coming back to me, looking me square in the face and gently nudging me to take accountability for the relationships I helped to create.

“Others will love and honor you how you love and honor yourself.”

It was asking me for the raw truth, to look at how I’ve shown others my own value…not in my demands or retorts or reactions, but in my deeper responses.

This was my request from Life to DIG IN to the ways in which I had not – still have yet – to learn to love, honor, forgive and accept myself.

:: Each time I was hurt by another, I was shown how I hurt myself.
:: Every time I thought I was being neglected, I saw how I ignored my own heart, body, spirit.
:: Each unkind word began to resemble my own unkindness in my thoughts.
:: Every time I thought I was being taken advantage of, I saw how little I did to honor my own needs.

(The same would be true of showing me how well I love them, which also came back around to love me. Because the only time I struggle to love others is when I’m first struggling to love myself.)

The truth is when we love and honor ourselves one of two things will happen:

  1. Like a mirror others will reflect the same love and honor. They’ll see the strength and beauty of our spirits and never assume we are worthy of anything less.
  2. Or, others will do the best they can with the tools they have. But we’ll feel so full of love and acceptance for ourselves that their attempts will have no impact on our ability to remain centered, in peace and compassionate toward them or us.

You want to know how well you love yourself? Look into the eyes of the mirrors in your life.