People who know me now would never guess it, but I was really serious for most of my life.
School was serious business.
Competing in sports and dance…serious business.
Teaching and coaching… serious business.
Being a mom… really serious business.
You get the idea.
I was really hard on myself (sound familiar?). If something didn’t go perfectly, I perceived it as a failure. Life wasn’t a bowl of cherries, that’s for sure.
Then I read a book called The Art of Possibility.
A new concept was introduced in those pages: Rule #6.
Rule #6 meant “Don’t take yourself so blankety-blank seriously.”
There were no other rules. No #5 or #7. Just #6.
I liked the idea of this new rule. I didn’t quite know what to do with it, but it sounded appealing.
A few years later, I attended two personal development courses called Enlightened Warrior and Wizard. Something amazing happened at those camps.
We did exercises where people looked...
Growing up as a dancer gave me a multitude of experiences.One of them was a poor body image.
I spent a lot of time disliking my reflection in the mirror. I constantly compared my body to those of the other girls in my class. They were all so skinny and I was not.
A friend once told me that her mom said I was “pleasantly plump”. I disregarded the pleasantly and focused on the plump.
When I was in grade 9, I experimented with how little fat I could eat. In grade 10, I experimented with how little I could eat period. It felt powerful to see my weight drop on the scale.
I also added a lot of physical activity to my life. I played on the volleyball and field hockey teams, I continued to dance and I joined the track team. I rode my bike or rollerbladed to school. In the evenings, I did calisthenics and step aerobics.
You would think that with all that effort and focus, I would be pleased with my reflection.
Nope. It was never good enough. My body may have been really...
Have you ever felt unappreciated?
Do you remember a time when you just wished someone would notice all the effort you put in?
Do you give a lot of time and energy to others because you're trying to prove something?
If you would have asked me those questions a few years ago, the answer would have been yes and yes and yes.
I used to long for someone to tell me I was doing a great job.
I used to pine for compliments.
The older version of me went out of her way to impress people by going above and beyond, every single time.
It was exhausting.
Then I learned a really important lesson. (and I'm going to share it with you right now!)
If you want acknowledgment from others, you must give it to yourself first.
Paradigm shift, right? Or maybe you knew that already.
Either way, we can always use a reminder.
Once I began acknowledging myself, I filled up the emptiness I didn't even know I had.
It was like there were holes in me and I kept reaching out, trying to find pieces that...
Oh my goodness, it's been awhile! It's my intention to write to you once a week. I just checked the last time I wrote. January 18! That's definitely not once a week. It's not like I've been doing nothing though.
Since I last wrote to you, I:
Those were the highlights.
There were also some not-so-highlights:
One of the most important things I've done for myself in the past few years is learn how to use my mind to my benefit.
Did you know that you have around 60,000 thoughts each day, and over 90% of them are the same thoughts you had the day before that and the day before that?
For most people, this is not good news.
That's because our brains are hardwired to focus on the negative. This hardwiring used to be important in terms of our survival. Consider this scenario from our long ago ancestors.
Someone from the tribe eats a new plant and then gets really sick. Thankfully, due the brain's hardwiring, no from that tribe will eat the plant again because they were able to make and remember the connection: eat that plant = get sick.
As a species, we have mastered survival. Many of us have created environments and living conditions for ourselves that are downright comfortable.
However, our minds still focus on the negative.
Have you ever gotten a whole bunch of great...
As I was thinking about today's post for Courageous Self-Care Foundation #5, I kept hearing the Lion King song "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" run through my head.
There's one line that goes:
... the world for once in perfect harmony
with all its living things.
(Yes, I did just sing the song out loud here at my desk; it's such a classic-for me at least.)
What would it be like to be in perfect harmony?
I have an unusual answer for you.
To me, perfect harmony would be if each human being could embrace both their masculine and feminine energies and learn to concsiously choose when to use each one. That would be a sweet, sweet symphony.
Because if each human being stopped fearing the feminine and could harness their masculine side when necessary and then their feminine side at other times, seriously people... the world would be glorious.
We would have a world full of whole people who aren't trying to fill their empty spaces with someone else. Each relationship...
Madonna could be the poster child for the 4th Foundation of Courageous Self-Care.
Why? Because it's all about Full Self-Expression. (You know the tune... Express Yourself Hey Hey Hey Hey!)
We've been going through the 12 Foundations of Courageous Self-Care (kind of like the 12 days of Christmas, but all the gifts go to you and there's no pear tree).
If you missed any of the previous Foundations, simply click the links below:
Now, about Self-Expression. Our innate nature is to expand. We expand most fully when we are on purpose, feeling fully alive and showing up as exactly who we are.
In my opinion, our most important journey in this lifetime is finding out who we are, discovering our gifts and talents and sharing them unabashedly with others.
Can you imagine what life would be like if that were the case? Oh my gosh... life would be...
It's a great day to learn about freedom!
Freedom through Forgiveness is the 3rd Foundation of Courageous Self-Care.
Now, about Forgiveness and Freedom...
I love this expression about Forgiveness; blaming others is like drinking poison and expecting them to die.
If we're holding onto grudges towards others, or ourselves, we are draining away precious energy. It takes so much energetic tension to blame and to hold onto things that happened in the past.
Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.
My favourite forgiveness practice is the Ho'Oponopono, an esoteric Hawaiian Healing System. I made a video about it that you can watch here.
In my experience, the most powerful forgiveness experience is when we choose to forgive ourselves. We can be mighty hard on ourselves, right?
How are you doing with your thoughts and words about time? In the last post, I talked about the first Foundation of Courageous Self-Care, which is essentially treating time like your friend. If you missed it, you can read it here.
Today I have another juicy secret for you about Courageous Self-Care, which just so happens to be Foundation #2.
Take a big breath so you're ready to receive this earth-shattering news...
Gratitude Changes Everything
Ok, so this is not new information for most people. However, when you decide to devote more of your energy to actual gratitude practices, your life truly does change for the better.
I've been speaking with women recently about gratitude and asking them what their gratitude practices are. Mostly, they say things like, "I say thank you," or "I try to feel grateful throughout the day."
Those are great places to start. And here's your chance to take it a step further.
Gratitude has a magical energy. When you express gratitude to something or...
It's been over a year since I started developing the foundations of Courageous Self-Care. Initially, I thought there were 7 foundations, which would have been nice because they could have aligned with the 7 chakras.
That didn't work out.
As my awareness of self-care expanded, 3 more foundations were revealed to me. "Well, that will work nicely," I thought, because we humans like the number 10 a lot. We have 10 fingers and 10 toes, so we like the number 10.
A few months ago, I started writing this particular post. I even titled it the 10 Foundations of Courageous Self-Care. However, when I got to the 10th foundation, there were some ideas that still wanted to be expressed.
As it turns out, there are 12 foundations. Who knew?
As far as numbers go, 12 is still a good one because now there is a foundation for each month of the year. Hooray! All is well.
Over the next few posts, I'll be sharing with you the 12 Foundations of Courageous Self-Care. Rest assured, they...