Monthly Archives: May 2015

What Does Trusting Your Intuition Have to Do with Self-Love?

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leg girl draws in the sand heart

I was just asked to speak at an on-line women’s retreat, Woman Unleashed. As I love the host and her message and we’ve worked together before, I immediately said yes. She told me the topic of the series was trusting your intuition and asked me what I wanted to talk about. I responded immediately: self-love! That’s when she asked me, “What does trusting your intuition have to do with self-love?” My answer: Everything.

Let me break it down for you.

You know my story: 24-year battle with endometriosis, infertility, osteopenia, and an eating disorder that culminated in a 6-month cosmic 2×4 in 2013 that turned my life upside down. Remember the whole “had a midlife crisis, changed my career trajectory, wrote a book, birthed 2 websites, got a divorce, moved, broke my heel for the second time in a year, turned 40” thing? Yeah, that. Pay attention: this is where the self-love part comes in. As I watched all of this unfolding (at times it felt so surreal that it really did seem like I was but a pawn in my own life), I realized something: I didn’t love myself. I don’t mean in the narcissistic “I am so great” kind of way, but in the basic I didn’t trust, honor, or respect myself. I was my own worst enemy, extremely self-critical and intolerant of my mistakes. And though I did honor my intuition and make those major life changes, it was with a one-foot-in-one-foot-out mentality. I worked myself to the bone to make all of that happen, but I didn’t trust myself. I wasn’t truly allowing things to unfold. I was fighting against the Universe kicking and screaming the whole time.

It took me another 6 months, but I finally got it. You can’t fight against the Universe and expect to win – or even keep your sanity! You know that saying, “Everything happens for a reason?” I used to roll my eyes when people said that. Now I smile and say, “Yes, it does.”

And that’s the beauty of life. Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens for you. Just when you’re ready to throw in the towel and give up, something happens that you never would have expected – something that kicks you in the butt – but that you needed to grow and evolve.

But perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far has been to love myself. To realize that I am a worthy person, not for what I can do for others, but for who I am. That we are all beautiful and unique and we all have gifts to share with the world – sometimes these gifts aren’t what we necessarily would have chosen for ourselves, but they are still gifts.

My friend and colleague Lisa Marie Rosati likes to say, “Your mess is your message.” That could not be more true for me. Sometimes Universe sends challenges your way not just so you can learn from them but so that others can learn from you. So that you can pass on messages of hope – be the beacon for someone else who is going through a rough time.

So what do you do when that Cosmic 2×4 comes your way and shakes you to your core? You listen to your intuition, that’s what. Your intuition will never lead you astray. It may tell you to do something unpopular; you might not always like what it has to say, but believe me when I tell you that it has your best interest at heart.

Do You Trust Yourself?

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Thinking young woman with yes or no choice on grey background.

Do you trust yourself? I didn't – not for the first 40 years of my life. I was always looking for an external source of approval that my ideas were sound, that I'd done the right thing, that I was good enough.

I used my mistakes (translation: opportunities for growth ;)) as proof that I couldn't trust myself. When confronted with a decision, I would do one of two things: 1) make an impulsive decision and then second guess myself, or 2) look back on my life and think “I can't make a decision because when I do I always screw it up.”

Neither of those views were healthy – or helpful.

In the past few years as I've healed my relationship with myself, I have begun to learn how to trust myself and my decisions again. I am going to give you few questions for reflections that will help you learn to trust yourself again. I hope they serve you.

  • žWhat is my true purpose in life? – Now just sit and wait. You might be tempted to write down what you are currently doing or what you think you should be doing. Don’t. Just wait and let whatever is going to come out of you flow.
  • žHow am I fulfilling (or not fulfilling) my true purpose in life? – Again, just let the words flow onto the page.
  • žWhat’s one thing I can do today to move me toward my life’s purpose? – This does not have to be something huge like quitting your job or getting a divorce. We’re talking baby steps here. The key is to do this exercise every day, knowing that each baby step is taking you one step closer to what you were born to do, who you were meant to be. And it may – or may not – be anything like what you thought it was going to be. That’s okay. Be patient with yourself.
  • What is my life vision? In an ideal world, what would a life in alignment with my true purpose look like? Again – just let the words come out of you. Even if they sound far-fetched, even if they sound ridiculous (use your cancel button if you start to doubt yourself). It’s your dream, your life vision here. There is no such thing as far-fetched or ridiculous.
  • žWhat’s one thing I can do today to move me toward that ideal life vision? – You knew this one was coming. Again, we’re talking baby steps here.
  • What can I do right now to show myself how much I love and appreciate myself? – This one usually throws women for a loop, and is the most important question on the list. Let me explain. As women, we are nurturers, givers; yet, we rarely take the time to give to ourselves, to receive love. But here’s the thing: you can’t serve your true calling or live your life’s purpose when you’re running on empty. You can’t take care of your loved ones when you have nothing left to give. This is why flight attendants tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you put one on your child. You need that oxygen to be able to help your child, just like you need to take care of you so you can take care of everyone else. So, I ask you again: What’s one thing you can do right now (because we both know if I said ‘today’ you’d put it off and it would never happen) to show myself how much I love and appreciate myself? It’s called self-love and self-care. And there is nothing selfish about it.

The key in answering of these questions is to silence the “good girl” voice – the voice that tells you how you should be based on what other people think. Instead, let the answers bubble up from your heart, your inner goddess, your connection with Divine.

Let me what you found out!

How I Sneak in Self-Care

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I've been  getting a lot of questions lately about self-care. I think, as women, many of us were raised to view self-care as selfish. We typically put ourselves at the bottom of our list – if we're on our to-do list at all.

But that doesn't work. As Wynonna Judd once said: “You have to fill your cup. You then give away the overflowing, but you keep a cupful for yourself.” And no, it’s not selfish to want to take care of you. It's like the old oxygen mask analogy on an airplane – put your own oxygen mask on before you help others with theirs. If you don't have oxygen, you can't be of service to others. Self-care is your oxygen. It's essential to your survival. If you don't take care of you, you’ll have nothing left to give. It's your job to make sure your cup is overflowing (in other words, no one is going to do this for you).
I encourage you to make sure that you get what you need on all levels – physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally – every day.” –that’s keeping your cup full. But how do you do this when you're so busy?

Start with 5 minutes a day. You can't tell me you don't have 5 minutes – get up 5 minutes earlier if you have to. Once that feels good (which I promise, it will!), then try 10 minutes, then 20, then 30. You get the idea.

What are you supposed to do to take care of you? Only you know what makes your soul sing, but here are some of my favorites:

  • Start your day with your favorite mantra or guided meditation – I start my day with a 10 minute guided meditation. I've been doing this for years and I love it!
  • Create an environment that honors you – I surround myself with windows, positive affirmations, my vision board, and pictures of things I love.
  • Make time to do the things you love each day and don’t let your endless to do list get in the way. – this is where that 5 minutes comes in. 🙂
  • Don't overbook yourself and learn to say no. – I am the Queen of overbooking myself. So I started scheduling my me time in so I make sure it doesn't fall off my radar.
  • Eat regularly. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat nourishing foods. I prefer to eat 5 times a day to keep my blood sugar regulated.
  • Listen to your body. – It knows what you need. If you're hungry, eat. If you hurt, stop doing what's causing you pain
  • Engage in positive self-talk – remember the sticky note challenge?
  • Unplug at least an hour before bed every day and preferably, don’t plug in until you’ve been up for at least an hour every morning – No checking email first thing in the morning while still lying in bed. Your brain needs time to unwind and time to wake up before you barrage it with your to-do list.
  • End your day in gratitude – I've been keeping a gratitude journal for years. There's always something in your life you can be grateful for.
  • Take at least one complete day off every week. – As a workaholic I struggle with this one, but I feel so much better and recharged when I do.

That's my list. What's on yours?

What are Your Bare Minimums?

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to do listApril was a crazy busy month – the kind of month I used to pride myself on because I could look at my accomplishments – everything I had achieved at the end of the month: launched an ecourse, held 3 sales calls, recorded 10 or so interviews, and received three awards – on top of my normal daily tasks. But at the end of the month, instead of feeling proud, I felt lonely; instead of feeling accomplished, I felt overworked and overwhelmed. Once again, I had done such a good job teaching everyone else how to be, that I forgot to Be myself.

So this past week, as April turned to May, I took stock of my life – looked at my goals – personal and professional. Took a hard look at my life. And this is what I figured out: Yes, I worked so hard that I won three awards in one month. Yet, while I am proud of my accomplishments, they came with great costs. In getting my needs met, in finding myself through work, I also lost myself. Once again I let someone else’s expectations define who I am and what I do. I forgot that I was a person of worth just because I’m me. And I was saddened. Because I did it again; because I thought I knew better. Because I fell into a trap of my own making once again.

So I sat down and wrote myself a love letter. It didn’t start out that way. I had intended to do some release work and write a letter to my ex. But as I wrote, I realized the person that needed to hear this most was me.

What came out of it was this. A self-care list – one that would assure I didn’t have another crazy busy month like April. A list that put me at the top. A list that prioritized my needs above others. Will I win any awards by following my own list? Probably not, but I will have my sanity, my sleep, and my sense of self at the end.

Bare Minimums

Daily

Eat 5-6 nourishing meals

Move my body

Am asana, pm asana, savasana

Two 10 min meditations/day

Unplug by 6 pm at least 5 nights/week

Sleep 8-9 hours/night – in bed by 10pm weeknights

Dance practice

Journal am and pm

Weekly

Workout 5/wk

Cardio for 20 min 2/week

One self-help course/module/week

At least one whole day off/week

Challenge food

Connect with moon

Monthly

2-4 massages/month

Pedicure

Full moon, new moon

Month at a glance

Biz course

Quarterly

Half day biz retreat

2-3 day weekend/mini vacation

 

A Love Letter to Myself

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Portrait of romantic young woman writing in a diary lying down over the grass. Relax outdoor time concept.

Dear Mary,

 

Sometimes you don’t know who you are until you lose who you are. And I did – with my ex-husband Jeff, with my ex-boyfriend Rio. I think I might have caught a glimpse of myself when I was 40 – just a brief one – in between healing from my divorce and running into the arms of another man that I hoped could fix me – and do a better job than my ex had ever done at it.

Of course that notion was fundamentally flawed – you cannot fix what was never broken to begin with.  But I didn’t get that – not for a while. I thought I needed a man – to fix me, to ‘complete’ me. I’m not sure where I got this idea – maybe from all of those fairy tales I read as a child. And so a few months after my divorce, I started looking. I assured my friends, my therapist, myself that I wasn’t looking. That I was taking much needed time to heal, to be. That the men I was talking to were just for fun – that nothing was serious. That was why none of them lived in my town – I could flirt without the vulnerability of getting my heart broken. Of course, it didn’t work. Not truly. Because I was lying to myself; I was still looking, searching for that one man – my Soul’s Mate, my Twin Flame, my other half. The man who would see all of my flaws and love me anyway. The man who would complete me, heal me.

I thought I met that man. And in some ways I did. He was exactly what I needed at the time. I thought he was the “one.” He wasn’t. But I couldn’t see that because by then I had lost myself again, was trying my best to please him, was clinging to him as though he was my life’s blood, was living someone else’s life.

But as I started to realize that he wasn’t the one – which became even more apparent when he stole some of my things and fled to the arms of another woman – I realized something: I’m strong, much stronger than I thought. I’m brave, more courageous than a soldier facing battle. In fact, I am a Goddess in my own right. I always have been – I just buried that part of me on the inside, left her tucked away in a dark closet where no one would ever see her. For fear I might upset someone, cause someone pain, be judged. And all of those fears came true – I upset myself, I caused myself pain, and I judged myself harshly.

But that’s all in the past now. So my dear I need you to know this:

I’m finally coming home – to the me I was meant to be. And let me tell you something: she’s pretty awesome. I think you’ll like her.

She’s a little taller than me, wears her head held higher.

She’s a little more outlandish – it’s that purple streak in her hair and wildly colorful outfits that don’t always match.

She’s confident – in her abilities, her beauty, her intelligence, herself.

She doesn’t need a man to complete her or to give birth to prove her worth.

She sits high on her throne – not as a Princess waiting for her Prince, but as a Queen, sovereign in her own right. She rules with an iron fist and an open heart. She is wise, kind, and gentle, but cross her and you will know her wrath. Her judgment is swift, final, and absolute. Yet, she is very forgiving and compassionate and will give anyone a chance to prove their worth, their capability, their loyalty. You are truly innocent until proven guilty in her eyes. But those eyes – oh those eyes – they see into your soul. So don’t bother trying to hide from her because she Sees you. And she loves you anyway.

She is the one you’ve been waiting for.

 

If you could write yourself a letter, what would you tell yourself?