Thursday, 29 May 2014

A Beautiful Teacher.



May we all shine as brightly as Maya Angelou. A true inspiration. 
“I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Imperfect beauty

About 8 months ago I was struggling with an unknown sickness that caused me to react to food. I found myself throwing up a different times through out the day and night. At first I though it was food poisoning or a cause of the stomach flu. When it didn't go away and my health continued to decline I finally realized something else must be going on. Digestive issues have always been apparent in my life, however this was different.

I started loosing weight fast, that happens when you can't keep food down and I eventually became fearful of eating all together. I finally (with some pushing from my husband) went to the Doctor and was rushed through different test, including a CT scan.

Through out this process I kept my sickness quiet, as I was teaching yoga along the way and didn't want to worry any of my students or colleagues. The interesting thing about this experience, is that as I was loosing weight, I kept getting comments from my students on how "good I was looking" and questioned what I was doing to "look so fit". What I really wanted to say was "throwing up after every meal". It was the truth, I was sick and couldn't keep food down and for some reason people were seeing this as looking good, or being more fit. It happened so often that I began questioning how people perceived me before I was sick and became anxious about gaining the weight back.

I believe at some point in most peoples lives (both men and woman) we have felt insecure about our appearance or dealt with body images issues. As a child I remember watching my mother (who is incredibly fit and still has 6 pack abdominals) complaining about the size of her thighs or commenting on the calories of particular food at the dinner table. I also remember a boy at school telling me that I would be "a lot prettier if I didn't have freckles or glasses" (all things I couldn't change), so inevitably became incredibly aware and insecure of my external appearance. These experiences (and more) drove me to question my own body and if I looked good enough.

Last week I spent 4 days in palm Springs with 25 amazing woman. Woman who were all intelligent, thoughtful, funny, articulate and beautiful in their own authentic way. Each of them had a unique sense of style which in turn allowed them to express themselves through clothes in their own authentic way. There was no woman there with the same figure or build, yet each beautiful from head to toe. You could tell some were confident with their appearance and others that were more hesitant.

I sure don't have all the answers when it comes to resolving societies obsession with external beauty and how the media is portraying beauty, however I see the value in continuing my self love practices, and work daily with acceptance and gratitude. I do this not only for my sanity but also so I'm able to model a healthy figure and mindset for my daughter, who watches my every move. I choose not to watch the news, and stay away from fashion magazines. I look for the good first when I undress in front of the mirror and be mindful to stand tall when I stroll alongside the swimming pool in my bikini. I resist comparing myself to other woman (this is a hard one), especially those who obviously are built differently than me. I'm enthusiastic about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which include daily movements that encourage joy, playfulness and a sense of well being. I eat food that nourishes my body and fuels me for the day and am mindful of the power of my inner conversations and mind chatter, which allows me to see the choices I have in thinking/feeling a particular way about my self. In other words, I am not my thoughts and the way I speak to  myself matters, so being sensitive to the inner relationship I have with myself allows me to shift from negative self talk to a more positive dialogue.

Brene Brown says that shame can not exist if we speak our truth and connect with others by sharing our stories and be vulnerable with each other. It's not easy to speak about your insecurities, or share your feelings about your appearance. Yet, it's a lot scarier to keep holding it in and secretly beating yourself up. So how about this summer, instead of stroking the demons within every time you pull out your swimsuit or encourage hate filled criticisms or unrealistic comparisons, what if we started a conversation about our true feelings towards our appearance and started the process of making peace with where we are and choosing to look for the beauty in all aspects of our Self. Commit to healthy, well balance habits that speak to our heart and acknowledge the innate beauty within each of us. Encouraged other woman to do the same, by continuing to share your story and supporting each other in recognizing their beauty along the way. This won't always be an easy task and will be a process that you're continuing to "work on" for the rest of your life, but I'm hoping to spark something within you that sees the value in changing the way we feel about our appearance or maybe the way we perceive beauty.


"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." Confucius

With you on this path, sharing from my heart to yours,
Lauren


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Clouds


After dinner my two children were playing football in the backyard while I cleaned up the kitchen. By the time I went out to call them in for a bath they were laying in the grass, on their backs, holding hands and laughing. They were cuddled up watching the clouds go by and chatting about what they saw. They were also laughing very hard. Totally present in the moment and in each other.

Finding happiness, it is simple. Love, laughter, and presence is right here for us. It is in the moments that we are still, that we lay in each arms and simply look into the sky. The moments that we laugh.

On this long weekend I hope you take some time to be still, to be dreamy and to also be silly.

With Gratitude,
CJ



Thursday, 8 May 2014

Fear vs. LOVE - 5 ways to shift from fear to LOVE

Fear vs. LOVE (5 ways to shift from fear to LOVE) Written by Wendy Weymann

Have you noticed there is a lot to be afraid of these days?  Lately I’ve been noticing a lot of people are struggling with fear & anxiety, I also notice it’s really easy for me to get caught up in the downward spiral of fear & negativity.  One thing my yoga & meditation practice has helped me with over the years is the ability to shift from fear to LOVE. So in honour of sharing what I know to be true, here are 5 things I do when fear starts to take a hold of me:
1. Do yoga :: I carry a lot of stress & anxiety in my physical body, if I go to yoga it always helps to release it. 

2. Take a deep breath & repeat this phrase :: INHALE, EXHALE. Everything will work itself out.

3. Trust that the world is an inherently good place :: my kids are teenagers now & I have to keep reminding myself of this every time they go out on their own.  There are always more good people than baddies, in the midst of every human tragedy good people always step up & help.

4. GRATITUDE :: I’ll write a gratitude list, think of 3 things I am grateful for right now or I have friend that I sometimes text what I’m grateful for & then she hits me back with what she is grateful for – it helps. (hit reply to this email & tell me what you’re grateful for = I’d love it if my inbox was filled with gratitude)

5. Face your fear :: it’s tempting to get into denial or avoidance but when I face the fear I can usually let it go & keep moving forward.  Someone I love could get hurt or get diagnosed with cancer, I could lose my job & face financial ruin and, and,  and…..once I really figure out I’m afraid of  it usually takes the power away from it.  A good friend of mine said that whenever she gets in the fear state she also tries  to remember that something really amazing & great could also happen.
So here's to making the shift,

Namaste,
Wendy

 Wendy is a yoga and meditation teacher in Abbotsford, BC, Canada and has a number of yoga and meditation classes up on YOGO.tv. To do a class with Wendy, click here. 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Simply


As I searched for inspiration for my post this week I kept coming back to a word. Simple. It seems that life has gotten unnecessarily complicated and in my own life I am often searching for simplicity. I was having a hard time putting my thoughts into words until I opened my daughter's journal from school this afternoon.

It read;

Things that make me happy. I am happy when I dance. I am happy when I hug Mommy. I am happy when I play with my brother. I am happy when I read a book. I am happy when I am at school.

Things that make me sad. I am sad when I fall down. I am sad when other people are sad. I am sad when I have to leave my brother. I am sad when other people are hurt.

It is so simple, these things that make her and so many of us, happy. Dancing, love, playing, reading and learning. They don’t cost money or require anything other than simply showing up and being open.

It is sad when we hurt, people leave or other people are hurting. It is. That is life and we can do our best to simply live in a way that brings peace to others and ourselves but it is not complicated. It is simple.

May you all find happiness in the simple joys of life.

With much gratitude and love for the many teachers I have in my life, including my two children who simply teach me lessons every day,

CJ