Archive for November, 2009

30 nov

The First Secret of Change

happier_confidencePeople Who Successfully Navigate Change Have Positive Beliefs

Your biggest need right now is to develop new beliefs about yourself, about the particular change you are facing at the moment and about life in general. Nothing will have a bigger impact on the way you handle change. What you are saying to yourself right now is this. Your inner dialogue is your biggest enemy. For many of us, life has challenged some of our strongest beliefs: A corporate job is safe; divorce will never happen to me; and, if I exercise I will never get cancer and so on.

When life turns out differently than what we have always believed, it’s hard to accept, especially when it also involves an inner identity shift. It ranges from “I am employed” to “I am unemployed.” “I am married” to “I am now single.” Beliefs are your foundation for going through change. So identify which ones are helping you now and which just perpetuate your current fear, doubt and impatience. We are all obsessed with knowing how things are going to work out. Becoming good with uncertainty will put you way ahead of the crowd at any time. After all you really don’t know how things will work out.

As Einstein said, “the most important decision you will ever make is whether you believe you live in a friendly universe or an unfriendly one.” In other words, is life on your side or against you? Responding to any of the changes you are going through now first requires positive beliefs about change and life.

I have the privilege every week of interviewing people going through change. I do this for my show, ChangeNation (www.changenation.com), and I always ask them the same three signature questions at the end to discover their path through change.

First, what is the belief you go to in times of change? Answers I get range from “this will pass, things work out in the end, I will get through this, I’m not alone, I have faith.” You too have an overarching belief that has taken you through tough stuff in the past. What is that belief for you? Now is the time to find security in that belief.

Secondly, fill in the sentence, the best thing about change is…. Make yourself answer this one.

And, finally, what is the best change you’ve ever made? Think back. What has been extraordinary is that the big majority of my guests always say their best change was a hard one. Yes, their best change was their hardest change—a divorce and the good that followed, getting through a loss and transforming their lives, being laid off and finally pursuing their dreams.

So, you can draw a little perspective from thousands who have gone through change successfully. They are all optimists.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 30th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in

30 nov

There Are Gremlins in My Gym Bag

I don’t know what goes on in my gym bag at night – there must be gremlins. When I finish my workout, I neatly roll my earbuds around my iPod and put it back in my bag. When I take it out each morning, the earbud cord is tied in knots, the hair gel container is open and I have only one white sock – grrr!

Here’s the issue. Day in and day out little nuisance things happen to us – little things – you stumble, drop some papers, take a wrong turn, lose your cellphone connection – gremlin things – nuisance things. But for many people, these are “melt down” events. In our busy and over-scheduled lives, little events become big events. And when already frazzled, a truly large event now becomes completely unmanageable.

My family has the “klutz” gene. I inherited it from my mother—she doesn’t think she has it but I see it in action all the time—and have passed it successfully to one of my three kids. We get “gremlin” events all day:

- The cover will stay on others’ Starbucks cups – not ours.

- We’ll guess on one exit on the highway over another and choose the wrong one and need to turn around.

- We’ll reach for the ketchup on the table of a restaurant and knock our silverware on the ground, or get our sleeves in the salad dressing.

I am not looking for sympathy (this may be why we don’t get invited to dinner very often). Rather, it reminds me are human and sometimes just say the wrong thing, knock something over, show up late… But if we get upset by these events, they can actually negatively impact our health.

In 2004 Dr. Robert Sapolsky published a book titled, Why Zebra’s Don’t Get Ulcers. In it, he presents that animals and humans are equipped to handle both calm and danger. The parasympathetic system runs all of the routine internal body systems, day in and day out (periods of calm). The sympathetic system is designed to help us survive in a period of danger, stress or euphoria, and interrupts the parasympathetic system.

I am not a scientist, so here is my simple summary of his findings. When we are calm (we are not affected by the “gremlin” or stress events), our internal maintenance systems respond – the heart slows, allows normal blood flow to all of the routine life systems – digestive, circulatory, excretory, reproductive… life stuff. We maintain our bodies internally – we stay healthy.

But when we get upset (the brain senses danger -big or small), it activates a fight or flight response. Blood is called from the maintenance systems and is now directed to organs that will increase our ability to survive (blood vessels are constricted raising the speed and force of the heart’s contraction, widening air passages to the lungs, dilating the pupils for increased perception, releasing glucose into the blood for quick energy, and shifting blood from the intestinal tract to the heart and muscles – paraphrased from How We Live by Sherwin Nuland). We are now ready for a fight or a flight.

Here is the point. The body is designed to handle a temporary fight or flight response. Animals know this. And according to Sapolsky, when the lion gets his prey, or the zebra gets away, the fight or flight response ends and the body resumes its normal response. But humans are different. When we experience recurring gremlin events, we move our systems into a state of perpetual stress; we constantly signal to our bodies to be ready to fight or hit the road. And when this happens, the regular, healthy and maintenance functions of the body are interrupted. The result: ulcers, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses.

How we perceive events activates emotions; emotions activate neurological and biological responses in our body. We must train ourselves to manage our emotional responses to all types of events – to know what is danger and what is only a nuisance – to stay healthy and sane. The body is not designed to live in a heightened and perpetual state of fight or flight.

So when gremlin events happen, my kids and I are getting better at shrugging and saying, “I am playing my humanity card. We laugh and move on. Maybe we are good at this because we get so much practice. But we have learned that gremlins in the gym bag, or wrong turns, or spilled coffee is nothing to lose one’s cool about. Not only do we know it is part of being human and will likely happen again, but it also negatively affects our health. We’ll save the big response for legitimate major stress or danger.

Life throws out small tests to get us ready for larger ones. Manage your responses and use fight or flight only when it is needed – the body was designed that way. Learn from the Zebras – they don’t get ulcers. They don’t let the little stuff – the gremlins – get them down. That way, when they need to run, they are really ready – and they survive. And at every other point, they are loving life.

Posted by Jay Forte on November 30th, 2009 in Family, General, Health, New Directions | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , ,

26 nov

Twelve Signs of Spiritual Awakening

By Geoffrey Hoppe and Tobias

1. Body aches and pains, especially in the neck, shoulder and back. This is the result of intense changes at your DNA level as the “Christ seed” awakens within. This too shall pass.

2. Feeling of deep inner sadness for no apparent reason. You are releasing your past (this lifetime and others) and this causes the feeling of sadness. This is similar to the experience of moving from a house where you lived in for many, many years into a new house. As much as you want to move into the new house, there is a sadness of leaving behind the memories, energy and experiences of the old house. This too shall pass.

3. Crying for no apparent reason. Similar to #2 above. It’s good and healthy to let the tears flow. It helps to release the old energy within. This too shall pass.

4. Sudden change in job or career. A very common symptom. As you change, things around you will change as well. Don’t worry about finding the “perfect” job or career right now. This too shall pass. You’re in transition and you may make several job changes before you settle into one that fits your passion.

5. Withdrawal from family relationships. You are connected to your biological family via old karma. When you get off the karmic cycle, the bonds of the old relationships are released. It will appear as though you are drifting away from your family and friends. This too shall pass. After a period of time, you may develop a new relationship with them if it is appropriate. However, the relationship will be based in the new energy without the karmic attachments.

6. Unusual sleep patterns. It’s likely that you’ll awaken many nights between 2:00 and 4:00 AM. There’s a lot of work going on within you, and it often causes you to wake up for a “breather.” Not to worry. If you can’t go back to sleep, get up and do something rather than lay in bed and worry about humanly things. This too shall pass.

7. Intense dreams. These might include war and battle dreams, chase dreams or monster dreams. You are literally releasing the old energy within, and these energies of the past are often symbolized as wars, running to escape and boogiemen. This too shall pass.

8. Physical disorientation. At times you’ll feel very ungrounded. You’ll be “spatially challenged” with the feeling like you can’t put two feet on the ground, or that you’re walking between two worlds. As your consciousness transitions into the new energy, you body sometimes lags behind. Spend more time in nature to help ground the new energy within. This too shall pass.

9. Increased “self talk.” You’ll find yourself talking to your Self more often. You’ll suddenly realize you’ve been chattering away with yourself for the past 30 minutes. There is a new level of communication taking place within your being, and you’re experiencing the tip of the iceberg with the self talk. The conversations will increase, and they will become more fluid, more coherent and more insightful. You’re not going crazy, you’re just Shaumbra moving into the new energy.

10. Feelings of loneliness, even when in the company of others. You may feel alone and removed from others. You may feel the desire to “flee” groups and crowds. As Shaumbra, you are walking a sacred and lonely path. As much as the feelings of loneliness cause you anxiety, it is difficult to relate to others at this time. The feelings of loneliness are also associated with the fact that your Guides have departed. They have been with you on all of your journeys in all of your lifetimes. It was time for them to back away so you could fill your space with your own divinity. This too shall pass. The void within will be filled with the love and energy of your own Christ consciousness.

11. Loss of passion. You may feel totally disimpassioned, with little or no desire to do anything. That’s OK, and it’s just part of the process. Take this time to “do no-thing.” Don’t fight yourself on this, because this too shall pass. It’s similar to rebooting a computer. You need to shut down for a brief period of time in order to load the sophisticated new software, or in this case, the new Christ-seed energy.

12. A deep longing to go Home. This is perhaps the most difficult and challenging of any of the conditions. You may experience a deep and overwhelming desire to leave the planet and return to Home. This is not a “suicidal” feeling. It is not based in anger or frustration. You don’t want to make a big deal of it or cause drama for yourself or other. There is a quiet part of you that wants to go Home. The root cause for this is quite simple. You have completed your karmic cycles. You have completed your contract for this lifetime. You are ready to begin a new lifetime while still in this physical body. During this transition process, you have an inner remembrance of what it is like to be on the other side. Are you ready to enlist for another tour of duty here on Earth? Are you ready to take on the challenges of moving into the New Energy? Yes, indeed you could go Home right now. But you’ve come this far, and after many, many lifetimes it would be a shame to leave before the end of the movie. Besides, Spirit needs you here to help others transition into the new energy. They will need a human guide, just like you, who has taken the journey from the old energy into the new. The path you’re walking right now provides the experiences to enable you to become a Teacher of the New Divine Human. As lonely and dark as your journey can be at times, remember that you are never alone.

Copyright 2001 by Geoffrey Hoppe, Golden, CO. Prepared in collaboration with Tobias of the Crimson Circle. Please distribute freely for non-commercial purposes.

Posted by First 30 Days on November 26th, 2009 in New Directions | 1 comment

24 nov

The Power of Gratitude

mike_robbinsI’ve been speaking and writing about gratitude for almost ten years now – and I’m still amazed at how challenging it can be for me to focus on what I’m grateful for at times (especially when I’m feeling sorry for myself or complaining). I’m also blown away by how powerful and transformative gratitude is when we choose to pay attention to it, experience it, and express it.

I met a man recently who had been in prison for almost thirty years. When he was asked what he appreciated most about being out of jail he said, “Seeing the stars, listening to children laugh, and hearing dogs bark.” Wow – think of all of the simple things we take for granted that we could choose to be grateful for each day.
What are you grateful for? How often do you ask yourself and others this powerful question? Sadly, many of us don’t take the time to ask or answer this question on a regular basis – especially in the midst of these difficult times.

Hopefully, you and your family will spend some time acknowledging what you’re grateful for this week on Thanksgiving and over the next few weeks during the holiday season. However, focusing on gratitude is something that we can do all the time, not just on special occasions or during the holidays.

There are many reasons (i.e. excuses) we have for not focusing on what we’re grateful for:
• We’re too busy and stressed out
• We’re waiting for things to work out “perfectly” (which they almost never do)
• We don’t want to brag (especially these days with lots of people going through tough times)
• We focus on what needs improvement, the many things we still have to get done, and all of the “bad stuff” in our lives, about others, and in the world
• We feel funny about it or get embarrassed expressing our appreciation

While all of these “reasons” make sense and are understandable, they simply and sadly get in our way of tapping into one of the most powerful emotions and states of beings we have access to the power of gratitude.

I saw Jack Canfield, author of The Success Principles and co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, on Larry King Live a few years ago. He said that gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.
Gratitude not only makes us feel good, it’s also one of the greatest attractors of abundance, love, peace, success, health, connection, and more. The more we focus on what we already have, the wonderful aspects of our lives, and what we appreciate; the more we end up having to be grateful for.

Stop for a moment right now and think about some of the things that you’re grateful for in your own life. Make a list – either in your head or on paper. We each have so much. When we take the time to acknowledge our many blessings, we utilize the power of gratitude in a way that benefits us and those around us in a profound way.

Create gratitude practices

We can expand our capacity for gratitude in our lives by creating simple and genuine practices. It doesn’t really matter what we do or how we do it, just that we come up with easy and meaningful ways to focus on what we’re grateful for all the time. Below is a short list of some different possible gratitude practices. Pick one, use many, or choose something else:

• Write cards or emails expressing your gratitude for others – and do this for no specific reason or occasion
• Meditate/pray and focus on what you’re grateful for
• Have everyone at the dinner table share something they’re grateful before you eat (or go around in the car or other times you’re together with your family and play this “grateful game”)
• Ask people what they’re grateful for (and/or ask this question as part of your outgoing voice mail message)
• Use a “gratitude journal” and write in it regularly

While so many of us understand and know about the power of gratitude, it’s the practice and expression of it that really has impact. When we take the time to think about, feel, and express our gratitude and appreciation for life, others, and ourselves – we can literally transform our lives and relationships in a beautiful way.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

Posted by Mike Robbins on November 24th, 2009 in Family, Global/Social Change, New Directions, Relationships | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

24 nov

5 Tips to Rock the Recession and Break the Body Blues

LauraFenamoreWhen I finished my E-book, Inventing Change from the Inside Out, earlier this year, I KNEW that one important thing it provided was good, loving advice to weather life’s ups and downs. As a mentor in body image mastery, I hear every single day about the struggles my clients face prioritizing healthy food and movement in their lives. You can do something to change this now!

Investing wisely in yourself is the one place you cannot lose right now. I want nothing more than to support my friends and clients in their effort to practice the very best self-care possible at this time and be empowered to handle the rest of the world, no matter what circumstances may be around them.

You CAN begin your own new life and ensure that the recession stays OUTSIDE your door. You can use this time to take courageous steps and focus on your INSIDE life and your body’s health. You can buy the one thing truly worth having. TIME.

The election: Empowerment
The recession: Wisdom
The banks: Inner Peace
The war: Good Health

It can be almost impossible to prevent the barrage of the world “out there” from eating us alive. Remember though, the one thing you can and must control is taking good care of yourself. We all know intellectually that during scary times like this, we need to take care of ourselves – more than ever! Yet what we tend to do is seek numbness through unhealthy distractions. Today, what do YOU choose? Here’s five tips to survive and THRIVE right now.

  1. Can’t afford to eat out? Stay at home and eat great living food. (In fact, EAT LESS!)
  2. Can’t afford the gym? RUN (or speedwalk) everywhere.
  3. Can’t afford your cleaning lady? Clean everything yourself – a great workout!
  4. Can’t afford gas? Spend ONCE and learn to maximize movement every day.
  5. Can’t afford new clothes? Do the above and fit into the old ones!

Listen, we all know the one thing that is abundant in our economy right now: fear. Refuse to give into that fear. Remember, how you feel is an inside job. Do anything you can to be empowered, inspired and open to opportunity right now. Stand outside and drink in the changing seasons. Welcome the new life happening all around you. This is a period of rebirth, and you can watch the fears literally melt away like clouds floating by or leaves falling to the ground. The world is revolving and it will be next week and next year and for a long time to come. What YOU do with YOUR life RIGHT NOW is where you need to be.

Stand right in this moment and breath. Invite the universe into you. Feel its abundance awaken your cells and fill them with life. Feel your breath fill you with inspiration and faith. Today I can live a healthy, empowered life. Today I choose to LIVE fully and to honor my body and soul.

And today, you have an army behind you. I am here, praying for your well being and supporting you. Reach out for encouragement and inspiration to embody your health and your highest efforts in self-care. It is available for free in any given moment. Email me and I will let you know how to find it.

To you!
Laura Fenamore, Body Image Mastery Mentor
www.OnePinky.com
Laura@OnePinky.com

Posted by Laura Fenamore on November 24th, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

23 nov

A Thanksgiving State of Mind

Another tough year. And I hear it from many people, “what do I have to be thankful for?” Lost jobs, lost houses, lost this, lost that. But there have always been tough times and there will always be tough times; no one ever said life would be easy.

I used to think that if you were good, bad things would not happen to you. Seemed reasonable – you should be rewarded for being good. Then, after lots of years of the planet, I realized that is not how it works. Instead, life just happens – and it brings some easy times and some tough times. The same way weather brings beautiful days and powerful storms. It just happens – it is part of nature… it is part of life.

But here is what we need to remember. As things happen, they are neither good nor bad; how we perceive them and how we choose to handle them is what determines the good or bad. We choose to see each event as a means to something better or as a defeat. We choose to use each event to learn, get better and come out stronger or complain, check out and give up. We choose to be grateful or ungrateful. Events just are. How we respond comes from our state of mind. Optimism is a state of mind. Thanksgiving is a state of mind.

I do a lot of business coaching. And in today’s recession, much of my coaching focuses on helping organizations optimistically approach their work environments to invent, find and implement opportunities. Ordinary companies complain about how tough things are; they spend their days whining about the recession and how it has made things worse. These organizations find it very difficult to find opportunities for growth or success. They choose not to see them. Extraordinary companies always focus on seeing value, finding opportunities and remaining optimistic. The use the tough times to regroup, redefine and restructure to come out stronger and more focused. They envision success. They respect, appreciate and are grateful for their employees and customers. They have a thanksgiving state of mind.

Life is as it is. Nature is as is. We get what we get – but we have an amazing resiliency to respond. And it first starts with an attitude of optimism, energy, gratitude and thanksgiving.

Ask yourself:

Do I appreciate what I have, who I am and my ability to make choices?

Do I realize that life happens and it is up to me to make it great (and there is always something good in every circumstance – I just need to get better at finding it)?

Do I realize that great events let me catch my breath, laugh and love so I have the energy and strength to handle tough events that require more effort, more thinking and more resolve?

This week we celebrate a “day” of Thanksgiving. Yes, I look forward to celebrating with family and friends on a day we carve (I had to say that) out as a formal day of gratitude. But I won’t forget thanksgiving is really a state of mind, and as such, should guide my daily outlook and approach. Join me. Make giving thanks your state of mind.

Posted by Jay Forte on November 23rd, 2009 in Family, Health, Relationships | No comments

21 nov

Character Is Our Bailout

I’ve known Gary King for over 15 years and I can say he is one of the wisest, kindest human beings I know. He also has a transformative message for the world right now. He is a world-class speaker on the subjects of honesty, forgiveness, self-esteem and character. I’ve invited him to share a preview of his upcoming book with us. This is never before been seen in writing so enjoy! His message is so timely I made him do this!

Read

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 21st, 2009 in Ariane, New Directions | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,

21 nov

What Makes a Gift Is the Act of Giving and Receiving!

SarahMariaThe holiday season is officially upon us. The history of this special time of the year is one of gratitude and giving. ‘Tis the season to be Jolly, right?

For many, the modern holiday season is often marked by stress and anxiety, strain and worry, apprehension and insecurity. Dreaming of the season rarely conjures up the overflowing peace, joy, and love that come from true thanks and true giving.

Here are a few common stressors that might be draining your joy this season:

• Not enough money to buy the things you want for your friends and family. With the economy still reeling from the recent setback, are you concerned about not having enough cash this season?
• Family dynamics that would cause even the most saintly to cringe – will Uncle Fred ever quit asking you why you are still single???
• Concern about weight gain – how can you ever say “no” to Aunt Betty’s pumpkin pie?
• Travel, snow storms, work deadlines – for many it is a busy and overwhelming time of year.

No matter the particular situation you find yourself in this season, you can effortlessly glide through the holidays with peace, joy, and love. There is just one secret to unwrap, one small shift in awareness that will transform your time from one of worry to one of peace, from one of constriction to one of freedom:

Realize that everything in your life is a gift. Recognize that every single experience that shows up in your life is a gift.

What makes a gift a gift is the act of giving, as well as the act of receiving. Gifts are freely given just as they can be effortlessly received. You can accept the gift, whatever it may be, beautiful or ugly, painful or pleasurable. Investigate it, admire it, cherish it, inquire into it, and when it has served its purpose you can let it go. Just as it freely came, it can freely go. And as you let one gift go, as you let it return from whence it came, another gift will come flowing into your life with astonishing speed. This is true gratitude – to experience everyone and everything as a gift to be cherished, loved, and ultimately let go.

Use this season as an opportunity to practice seeing and experiencing everything in your life as a gift. Are you wanting to experience joy and love? Give joy and love to everyone you meet. Are you longing to experience happiness? Create happiness in the world around you. You will come to discover that giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. Freely give; freely receive.

Ask yourself – what in your life is a blessing? Literally, count your blessings and make a list. Say them out loud with family and friends. This activates gratitude and releases those feel good feelings in the body. Then counter it with introspection on current life challenges. Write or talk about ways to improve these challenges and find the positive aspects. Focusing on what you have learned from the challenge will help. Discover the opportunity inherent in any setback. Recognize both blessings and challenges as gifts. Both bring their own insight; their own magic.

As you discover the answers to these questions, you will experience the peace, the joy, and the love that is the hallmark of the holiday season, and, in fact, the potential of every day of your life.

Remember that everything you experience is calling you home – calling you home to the reality of your true nature, the reality of your perfection, your beauty, and your grace. When you see this, life will no longer be a struggle.

So this holiday season, if you notice yourself feeling stressed, worried, or anxious, take a few moments to close your eyes and breathe. Become mindful of your blessings whatever form they may take. Say thank you and move forward giving others gifts of love, affection, and appreciation, for as you give, so shall you receive.

Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her five-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, so that true and lasting healing can occur. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her website at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on November 21st, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in

21 nov

You Are Not Alone: Struggling with Negative Body Obsession

SarahMariaHave you ever looked in the mirror and been dismayed by the cellulite on your thighs or the wrinkles around your eyes? Have you thought about buying a new bathing suit but cringed at the idea of looking at yourself in the dressing room mirror? Have you ever longed to be taller, thinner, younger, or stronger?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. In fact, you are among the 80 to 90 percent of women, and growing number of men, who dislike their physical appearance and are dissatisfied with their bodies. Body hatred has become an epidemic of unfathomable proportions in this culture.

How does this dissatisfaction manifest itself in your life? In more ways than you might imagine. Beauty and body size are often associated with success—in romance, business, or any other facet of life, and if you don’t think you meet society’s “beauty ideal,” you may feel inadequate, ashamed, and embarrassed. Consciously or unconsciously, you suffer unnecessarily because you don’t think you are beautiful enough, thin enough, or good enough to live the life of your dreams, the life you deserve. You accept less, much less, than you truly want, need, or deserve, because you feel inadequate about your body and yourself.

The truth is that your sense of inadequacy is an illusion, or more a delusion. Yes, it’s true. Many Americans suffer from this grand delusion: If I am not thin/tall/toned/beautiful/young enough, I can’t live my life fully or realize my dreams. Rather than truly loving our bodies, minds, and souls, we want to nip and tuck, slice and dice, starve and purge our way to being adequate. We think we need to change something about ourselves in order to be deserving of love, attention, and affection.

What Is Negative Body Obsession?

This deluded sense of inadequacy has a name: Negative Body Obsession, or NBO. NBO is a condition marked by a near-constant critical rumination on one’s appearance. Though NBO has yet to show up in the psychologist’s bible Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it is a very real, very prevalent, and, dare I say, nearly ubiquitous condition in modern society.

Do You Have NBO?

How do you know if you are suffering from Negative Body Obsession? No blood test will tell you; it’s a matter of evaluating your feelings and reactions at certain moments. For example, Negative Body Obsession is the:

• Sigh of resignation when you notice the wrinkles around your eyes
• Grimace when your best friend gets a boob job and you wonder if you should, too
• Feeling of defeat when you realize your high school jeans no longer fit
• Panic you feel when you realize you ate too much at Thanksgiving dinner
• Anxious thought that you must maintain your physique in order to get the relationship or the job you want

NBO is any and every thought, feeling, and action that makes your sense of self-worth dependent on your physical appearance. It is the thought that implies “If I am thin, I will be beautiful.” It is the outlook that says “If I didn’t have these wrinkles, I would be attractive.” It is the voice that says “If I lose weight, I will feel good about myself.” It is the feeling that if only you were taller, thinner, younger, or stronger, you would be more deserving, more attractive, and more lovable than you are right now.

Making Improvements to Your Body for the Right Reasons

Let me address a potential point of confusion from the get-go. The problem with NBO is not that it makes you want to change, per se. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to get stronger; to become healthier; and to feel more radiant, beautiful, and alive. In fact, your desire for improvement can serve as an impetus for tremendous growth and development.

NBO creeps in, however, when your desires for improvement are motivated by a gnawing sense of inadequacy, a subtle belief that you are not quite wonderful the way you are. When your desires come from this place of inadequacy, your attempts to fulfill them are often thwarted or require tremendous effort. When you learn to fully befriend, accept, and love yourself, on the other hand, improvement can happen with patience, ease, and grace. When improvement comes from a place of acceptance and perfection, your potential for growth is unlimited. We’ll talk more about this later.

Isn’t NBO Normal?

Negative Body Obsession has become such a mainstay of modern culture that you may think it’s the only way to live. Many hardworking, bright people would agree with you—I have met some of them, in fact. As part of my own journey away from NBO, I had the pleasure of working with two different psychologists, both of whom I respect tremendously, at two separate times in my life. When discussing my concerns and angst about my body, they both told me that all women (and a growing number of men) in modern society struggle to some extent with dissatisfaction with their bodies. I was not surprised to hear that; I’d heard friends, family, and coworkers complain about their bodies, too.

What did bother me was that their statements implied that NBO was just the nature of life in modern society. It was just something I’d have to learn to live with. I could choose to continue my unhealthy obsessive angst or settle for a milder and more acceptable general form of dissatisfaction. Either way, love of my body and complete freedom from physical dissatisfaction was not mentioned as an option.

Although their insight and expertise helped me tremendously, there was always a small voice inside me that yearned for something more. Part of me knew that even if this discontent was “normal,” it was not natural. There is nothing natural about:

• A gnawing discontent with your physical appearance
• Wanting to be somehow different so that you can feel beautiful, desirable, and successful
• Feeling dissatisfied every time you look in the mirror
• Believing that life would be better if you just weighed a little less or looked a little younger

On the contrary, what is natural is:

• The unshakable knowledge in your inherent beauty, goodness, and strength
• Experiencing yourself as inherently perfect
• Experiencing the peace and bliss of your own being
• Knowing that you are absolutely lovable in this very moment

So yes, Negative Body Obsession is “normal” and very common. But it is anything but natural.

The above is an excerpt from the book Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently by Sarah Maria. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

The book outlines her five-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her website at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on November 21st, 2009 in Health | No comments Read related posts in

19 nov

Pamper Yourself

SarahMariaGone are the days when self-pampering was considered overly indulgent, self-aggrandizing or narcissistic, right? Well, if those days aren’t quite gone for you, hopefully they will be gone by the time you finish reading this post. So, here we go:

Many of us have been raised with what I call delusional thought patterns. These are any thoughts that prevent us from knowing and experiencing ourselves as the inherently beautiful, perfect, glorious beings that we are and always have been. These are the thoughts that make us think we shouldn’t pamper ourselves. Maybe we don’t quite deserve it. Maybe we haven’t worked hard enough. Maybe we will do it after we have finished this project, perhaps after we take care of everyone else. Maybe then we will pamper ourselves.

Here are some of the stories you might be telling yourself:

“Pampering myself is too expensive.”
“I should be working instead of playing.”
“I should be taking care of the kids.”
“I don’t really need whatever I think I need.”
“I don’t deserve to give myself what I really want.”
“I should be exercising.”
“I should be doing something productive.”

As if pampering, love, affection, adoration, as if any of this had anything to do with merit! It does not. You don’t deserve to be pampered because you have earned it and more than a baby deserves to be fed, clothed, and changed. Consider a baby. Would you ever say, “okay, I am going to feed you because you have been a good baby”? You would be completely deluded. You feed a baby simply because that is what a baby needs when she is hungry.

And yet this is the way we think we should love ourselves as if love and pampering should somehow be based on merit. We think that somehow we should only pamper ourselves when we have done something to deserve it. Wrong! There is no reason to deserve pampering. There is simply love longing to be realized. In the same way you would feed a hungry baby, so too should you give yourself what you need and honor your brilliance for what it is. You should give love and pampering to yourself with unlimited abandon—joyously, endlessly.

And how do you pamper yourself? Give yourself what you need in each moment—moment by moment. Do you need rest? Plan for rest. Do you need inspiration? Read the books that feed your soul. Do you need relaxation? Get a massage. Do you need clarity? Spend time in silence. Do you need support? Reach out to friends and loved ones. In each moment, your life will tell you what you need. Listen. Listen and follow its guidance, the inner-wisdom that is always at your disposal. In every single moment, you have everything you need to give yourself what you need in that moment.

There is nothing more important than your well-being. The better you feel the more you can live the life you want to live. You cannot climb a summit if you are feeling depleted. You cannot conquer your inner-demons with a fragile and exhausted mind. The most effective people are not those who have been denied love, either by themseves or by others. Study after study demonstrates that the healthiest, most effective people are those who love with abandon. Deserving to be loved, pampered, and cherished doesn’t end when we become adults.

Consider this quote from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, who has influenced me most profoundly and whom you will see me quote often, since his wisdom is worth hearing again and again and again:

“The unlimited is already perfect. You are perfect, only you don’t know it. Learn to know yourself and you will discover wonders. All you need is already within you; only you must approach yourself with reverence and love. Self-condemnation and self-distrust are grievous errors. Your constant flight from pain and search for pleasure is a sign of the love you bear yourself; all I plead with you is this: make love of yourself perfect. Deny yourself nothing—give yourself infinity and eternity and discover that you do not need them; you are beyond.

You are love yearning for the perfectly lovable, and you, yourself, are the perfectly lovable that you long to experience. Give to yourself with unlimited abandon and you will discover that what you once considered selfish turns out to be the epitome of selflessness, for when you know yourself as love, you love everyone, unconditionally, unboundedly, eternally. You will discover that there never was anyone more deserving of love than you, no one more perfect than you, and no one to love other than yourself. Perfect your love of yourself and you will love everyone and no one perfectly.

Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her five-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, so that true and lasting healing can occur. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her website at www.sarahmaria.com and www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on November 19th, 2009 in New Directions | No comments Read related posts in