Self Love: Have It? 3 Steps To Get It.
I replied, “You just know.”
The moment I realized I loved myself was at a party with some of my girlfriends. The ladies at the party were part of my addiction-support group. We’d seen each other through all kinds of addictions like drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, you name it. For years, we’d been on a serious journey seeking self-love. Towards the end of the party, the hostess brought out a platter covered with fluffy pink cupcakes. I grabbed one, took a bite, and offered the rest to my friend. My girlfriends stopped and stared in shock.
How the hell can you possibly take only one bite and not want more!,” one said.
Without hesitation, I replied, “I love myself too much to eat the whole thing.” There, I realized my self-love.
I didn’t love myself overnight. I’d spent years avoiding my true feelings and the issues I’d acquired throughout my life. Through a serious dedication to change, I resurrected my relationship with myself.
How did I get here? The answer is simple. I showed up! One day at a time I showed up for my inner journey. Each day, I added new tools, meditated longer, prayed more and changed my mind. And, I continue showing up everyday. I continuously add new layers of love to the miraculous relationship with the woman that is me.
If you’re ready to put down that cupcake and love yourself, you can start showing up today. The first step is to be willing. With the slightest willingness, you will receive guidance to move forward. Begin now, by saying out loud, I am willing to love myself, today. For the next thirty days, recite this affirmation. Post it on your wall, your mirror and by your desk. Put it everywhere. Make the daily commitment to be willing to love yourself. By simply setting this intention, you are one step closer to self-love.
Second, get clear about how you’ve been un-loving towards yourself. Are you possibly overeating, drinking too much, staying in a bad relationship, reciting negative mantras in your head? Make a list of all the ways you’ve mistreated yourself. Carefully, look at the list and ask, Would I treat someone I love that way? Each time you act in a self-loathing way ask yourself that question. By calling yourself out, you witness your negative behavior and stop identifying with it. In the instant that you choose love over negativity, you create a shift and get one step closer to self-love.
Lastly, simply just hang with yourself. Once a day, spend ten minutes quiet and alone. Turn off your phone, stop tweeting and start chilling. Listen to your thoughts and check in with your body. Simply be aware of what your inner guide (~ing) is saying to you. When I practice this exercise, I hear awesome stuff. For instance, today I heard my ~ing say, “Go lie down for an hour and rest. You need it!” Had I not stopped to take the time to check in with my ~ing, I’d have never heard what I truly needed. Slow down and listen to the voice of your inner guide. This will get you one more step closer to self-love.
These three steps are a great start to any self-love journey. Be willing to affirm your desire and slow down enough to listen to the loving voice of your inner guide. One day at a time, you’ll get closer to the most rockin’ relationship with yourself.
Anyone who knows me has seen the ring I wear on my left hand. It is the ILoveMe ring which acts as a gentle reminder to love myself and others. My dear friend Arielle Feirman designed this ring and named it with me during a meditation. Check it out: Bewellwitharielle.com
Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life, Spirit Junkie and the forthcoming book Miracles Now (published in April 2014). Gabrielle is also the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.
Redesign Your Life
I was speaking with a client the other day, and she was overwhelmed. She said she comes home from work, and her mind is still racing with news headlines, work overload, and day-to-day tasks. Simply put, she could not relax. I’m sure you can relate!! I think every one of us, no matter what phase of life we are in, is busy with lots to do and lots on our minds! Whether working inside or outside of the home, with children or without, married, single, man, woman, busyness has become standard in the fast-paced, always connected world we’re in!
Believe it or not, busyness can be fun, too, if you learn to embrace it, and find your own sense of balance! Since we spend so much time at home, positive energy and balance can easily begin there, just by creating your ideal living space to fit your budget. Being positive will open the door to amazing things, so follow these simple tips to “redesign” your life!!
Set the Stage First things first, go through your surroundings and take inventory! Is there a room that you aren’t crazy about? wallpaper that’s screaming 2 decades ago? a light bulb that just doesn’t seem bright enough, or maybe a bit too bright? It doesn’t cost much to slap on a coat of paint, or replace bulbs and batteries for a fresh, updated look, and you’ll feel so much better! And, if design isn’t your thing, flip through a magazine to find a picture if a room you’ll love. Recreate the look yourself, and you’ll save tons!
Choose Colors Carefully Keep in mind colors affect us more than we think! Pick colors that are conducive to what you want your space to be. If you want a serene room, stray away from red! Red is an energizer and may even stimulate your appetite! Greens are calming colors, perfect for a spa-inspired setting. Or, if you want a cross between calm and amped up, choose a shade of blue!
Tackle Your To-Do List We all have mental to-do lists, but now’s the time to put it on paper and check it off! Make a list of the things that have been on your mind, like organizing a closet, filing cabinet, or drawer. Tackle the items one by one. Clearing clutter clears your head, too!
Store No More! Our closets, garages, and basements are havens for hidden treasures we may have written off too soon! You can go green and save green by refurbishing old furniture (it’s amazing what furniture treatment and new hardware can do!), using old clothes to cover pillows, pocketbooks, or accent your windows! Get creative, and you can design a whole new space with items you already own!
Organize to Organize If you’re trying to get organized, it may be overwhelming at first. Start simply by getting 3 bins together: “Use, Donate, Shred.”
Items in the “Use” bin should be put to use now! Donate unwanted items by picking an organization of your choice. Many even offer free same-day pick up services, as long as you pick up the phone to call them!! The only items we should be tossing are paper such as non-essential paperwork. Shred private information and recycle it!
Article By Jennifer Tuma-Young
Instant Mood Boosters for the Winter Blues
So, it’s cold and wintery here in the big city. And, I know this time of year can be tough- the holidays are well over, the bills are now coming in, the days shorter…I get it. But, I actually love this time of year because it means wearing comfy slippers, sitting by a crackling fire and cuddling to keep warm. There is always a bright side if we look for it. Here are 3 more instant mood boosters to kick the winter blues to the curb…
Tip #1 : Get Moving & Have Some Fun
When we take ourselves too seriously, we can end up in a rut. In the winter, it’s easier to drift into depression, because it’s colder and days are shorter. But, there’s so many fun things that come with cold, ice, and snow, so take advantage of them! Build a fire, and read firside stories, or look at family photos. Go ice skating, even if you’ve never done it! Wear padding and fall with the best of ‘em. Use the snow for a snowball packing party, making snow angels.
Often when I find myself moving toward a funk, I do something super-silly to get myself out of it. So, jump up and down, sing loud in the shower, do a tumble salt! Just make it a point to do something fun and take advantage of the season, instead of drowning in darkness!
Exercise also is a great remedy. It releases endorphins, lifting our mood and instantly making us feel better. Not to mention that done regularly, exercise increases our strength, self confidence and physical and mental health.
Tip #2: Make Your Home a Little Brighter
If the darkness is bringing you down, simply add more light to your space by changing your lightbulbs! Go green by switching them out with energy-efficient ones, and you’ll feel better just by turning on a brighter light. Make sure that your blinds are letting natural light in, and, if the walls are covered in old wallpaper or paint that just isn’t your style, this is a great time to tear it down and put on a fresh coat of a nice light-reflecting color! You can also simply brighten up your space by adding accessories that sparkle. Winter is the perfect time of year for using “crystal” accessories because they add an “ice” effect. You can even replace a light fixture, add pillows that pop, picture frames that glitter.
Tip #3: Warm Water with Lemon Works Wonders
If you’re feeling like you’ve added some pounds over the holidays, you are not alone!! The average American gains 7-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years alone. So, flush out the toxins with a cleansing drink!! I love this, because it’s not about deprivation it’s about adding something in! Just by adding warm water with lemon to your daily intake (8-8oz. glasses) you can easily lose 5 pounds of trapped bloat and flush out fat and toxins in just couple of weeks!
Does Your Libido Need A Boost?
Being a holistic health counselor means I discuss many aspects of my clients lives, including…. yes, you guessed it, their personal lives. Erectile dysfunction affects up to 30 million American men according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, and 43 percent of women have reported some sexual dissatisfaction, including low desire. There are many factors that can “turn off” our sexual appetite such as stress, lack of energy, fatigue, depression, anger and worry.
Many times a low libido for both men and women can be helped by simply exercising. Yes, exercise increases our circulation by pumping blood and oxygen through our bodies and releasing “endorphins” or feel food chemicals. Certain yoga postures (shoulder stand for men and butterfly pose for women) done before sex are known to be fantastic enhancers.
Believe it or not there are several foods (besides oysters) which can also possibly increase your sexual appetite.
1. Almonds – loaded with omega-3’s which can help our brains function better.
2. Avocados – also contain omega-3 fatty acids, plus there texture can be quite sensual.
3. Celery – contains a small amount of androsterone (male hormone thought to arouse women).
4. Chocolate – It is true, the way to a lover’s heart is through chocolate. It contains phenylethylalamine ( a chemical that is increased when we are in love). Just make sure it is at least 65% cacao.
5. Figs – high in amino acids and thought to increase sexual stamina, maybe because they also can be seen as sensual.
6. Folic Acid – foods rich in it such as organ meats, asparagus, egg yolks and whole-grains have been considered aphrodisiacs.
7. Ginseng- stimulate the adrenal cortex which is where male sexual hormones are produced.
8. Nutmeg – according to Daniel Amen, MD, author of Sex on the Brain, nutmeg is used in Indian medicine for enhancing desire.
9. Oysters – high in zinc, which is associated with male sexual levels. Maybe Casanova was onto something, eating 50 oysters a day for dinner.
I mentioned figs and avocados are sensual foods because of their texture. Bananas, carrots and asparagus could also be considered sensual. You might want to avoid heavy meals, such as pasta or fried foods) and lean more towards lean meats and vegetables. If you are looking for non-food ways to set the mood try some scented oils or candles. If it’s food you crave, use a food scented candle such as vanilla or pumpkin pie. Sometimes all you need is a romantic gesture or special place to increase your sexual appetite. There are many ways to light your sexual fire: sensual, romantic, chemical or energetic. Just remember to relax, exercise, have fun and incorporate some of these libido boosters into your life!
MomStyle: 5 Ways To Beat The Cold With The Kids In NYC
So, it’s FREEZING here in NYC again, and that means no braving it on the playground. Having the temps drop means having to figure out indoor spots to entertain the littles. There are always the great standbys like The Museum of Natural History and Children’s Museum of Manhattan, but here are a few of my neighborhood favorites (& ways to save when visiting).
CMA- The Children’s Museum of Art offers classes and activities for children of all ages. Kids can paint, color, play in their bouncy ball gym and enjoy creative art exhibits. Thursday afternoons are “pay as you wish” and a perfect opportunity to visit and check out the offerings.
Karma Kids Yoga: I LOVE my yoga and Karma Kids has the most offerings for the little ones. With two studios centrally located not far from Union Square, they offer kids yoga and dance classes, mommy & me and pre-natal classes, and fun events and themed classes like Shark Yoga and Pajama Glow-In-The-Dark Yoga. They also have a great FREE story time twice a week and discounted community classes.
Integral Yoga: Another great yoga class for kids. Instructor Lakshmi Pidel takes toddlers (and moms) through simple poses using singing, music and props to enliven the experience. Classes are 45 minutes and just under $20. You can also try it out for FREE (first timers only), and the studio is included in my favorite yogi money saving resource, the Yoga Passbook, so you can access two more classes using that.
NY Public Library: The NYPL offers a variety of toddler and baby classes and story times. The Hudson Park branch used to be our go-to (they had a great big play area with lots of toys), but they are closed for renovations until spring (hmgh) so we’ve been heading over to Jefferson Market for story time which is a fun hour of stories and crafts. Libraries throughout the city are a great FREE resource and programs are offered throughout the year.
YMCA: I wish I had known all the great stuff the Y offers sooner! They have programs for kids– from swim to dance to pre-school prep classes, all at a very competitive price– in fact cheaper than anywhere else around the city. You can sign up for classes alone (most require commitment for a term), or join as a member and take advantage of the gym, pool and other amenities. My local Y is super nice with state of the art work out equipment, group fitness classes and (most importantly) Child Watch services that allow parents to drop off their little ones to be watched while they work out…for free.
Want more MomStyle? Check outMommyhoodTake1.com
How To ACTually Make Your Desires Reality
So we’re nearly one month into the new year…how are you doing on those resolutions? Bottom line is about 90% of all resolutions fail, so perhaps it’s time to try something new this year. “Act as if” your goal has already happened instead! Instead of saying what you “will” do in 2014 – you will switch careers, you will lose weight, you will fall in love – visualize and EMBODY what you “will” look, feel and act like when these dreams come true! How will you carry yourself when you are healthier and love your body? How will you feel when you’re blissfully in love? What will you need to do to own to do this new career?
This week, I bought hot pink PurposeGirl sharpie markers to do book signings – acting as if my book is already published and I’m on tour! Years ago, I was still in corporate marketing, but I set on path to my dreams of being in the media by buying a fabulous dress for the Emmy’s! I’m not yet up for an Emmy, but, I’m on my way with my new Dr. Oz work and on my regular work on Sirius Radio. Buying that dress set me in motion toward my dream of inspiring millions! And this has helped my friends and clients too! One client said she was working toward a career in museums and found herself connected to top folks in the industry. After giving her this tip, one of my friends introduced herself as a personal shopper (instead of a lawyer) at a networking event and the next thing you know, she has new business cards.
Watch this week’s PurposeFull message to ACTUALIZE YOUR DESIRES!
It may sound crazy, but acting as if the dream has already happened begins to create the path to actualizing our dreams because you are creating neural pathways that begin to believe that the dream has already occurred. Acting as if sets you in motion to greater and greater action! Plus, by acting as if, you tell the Universe that you’re ready for the next step.
So, how can you “act as if” to make your dreams come true? Watch this week’s PurposeFULL message for more tips and WHY “acting as if” is SO important!
I’m ready for a big 2014 – and acting as if it’s already happened! First step for me – actualize the luxury vacation I need! I’m off to Turks & Caicos tomorrow!! While I’m away, I hope you live purposefully, love yourself and love life! Here’s to YOUR success!
Happy actualizing, my friend!
Carin Rockind (aka “PurposeGirl”) is the Woman’s Positive Psychologist. She is a life and career coach, motivational speaker and author. Her philosophy is simple: we each have a unique purpose on earth and we’d be happier if we were living it! As one of only 250 people in the world with her masters degree in Positive Psychology, the scientific study of happiness from Penn, her work is grounded in science yet fueled by love, spirit and lots of crazy life experiences. For more, check out www.purposegirl.com
If You Vision It, It Will Come
If one more loon tells me they have a vision board, I might lose it. Everyone and their best friend’s brother has one, it seems. Umm. Including me.
I signed up for a visioning workshop this past weekend put on by Kristina Leonardi, one of my favorite career coaches. I’m guilty; I’ll admit I like the idea of vision boards. If you can see it, you can believe it, right? And as soon as you believe, you can begin manifesting those visions. You’ve read or heard about The Secret; you know the drill.
Kristina’s workshop was based on the book Visioning: Ten Steps to Designing the Life of Your Dreams by Lucia Capacchione. Here’s how it worked. About 17 women gathered in a space, each equipped with bunches of magazines, tags, scissors and glue sticks. For about an hour, we sifted though O Magazine, Self, Cosmo, Yoga Journal, cutting out every image that grabbed our attention. In silence, no less, with instructions not to over think it too much. A hard task, especially for us ladies.
Kristina insisted we use our right brains instead of our left. She explained that we use our right brain for our intuition and creativity, but our left brain is analytical, practical and used mostly for survival. In our city, we overuse our left brain and give it way too much power.
So there I was, flipping through mags and squinting my right eye in an attempt to squeeze something out of my right brain. I must have looked pretty awkward, but nobody was about to comment in a room of silent women, so what did I care?
At the end of our day, everyone presented their collages. Mine looked pretty serene in comparison to the others. But, then again, I am looking for peace of mind; isn’t that what this blog is about? I cut and pasted a lot of greenery, lovely homes surrounded by lush nature, anything and everything yoga, and empowering statements like Be 100% You! I also couldn’t resist an image of a bride in front of a hot dog stand, getting proposed to with a hot dog! Don’t ask what that means!
I’m supposed to look at my board every day and wait for something to happen. “If you can dream it, you can do it!” Kristina wrote on our take-home flyers. “Your collage serves as a motivational magnet. Pay attention to clues and opportunities, and take action based on vision. The courage to grow is noticed by the Universe.”
OK, then. Here I go. My vision board is propped up on my armoire so that it’s the first thing I see when I wake. I’ll just have to hide it when guests come over, because I cannot have them thinking I’m one of those sweet loons!
It’s strange, though. Ever since the workshop, I’ve been really craving hot dogs.
Top Photo: Flickr
Check out Ilana’s blog, Downtown Dharma for more zen tips in the big city.
Love In The City: Dating Dos & Don’ts
I came across a cool blog called, Hilarity in Shoes. It’s written by a single 36 year-old girl who’s tag line is: ”Voice of a slightly bitter generation. Dating, mating, relating, and medicating in D.C.” Hysterical, I thought. It reminded me of myself a few years ago — the neurotic dater, never happy with any guy I dated. Now I’m the neurotic girl in a relationship at times, but that’s another story for another blog.
I recently had lunch with a friend who is in her early forties and got married just a few months ago. A couple years ago, we would meet every week and read through the book, “Calling in the One” together. Over coffee and sushi we both worked through our “issues” and eventually attracted good men in this city. At our lunch, we reminisced about how many walls we had up and attitudes we carried around with us as we dated.
Many single girls go up to my friend now and ask her, “How did you finally get married at 40?!” “What magic did you pull out of your skinny jeans?” Of course, we both have many lessons to share! Here are a few:
Don’t Think You Know it All: Stay open and present on your first date or two. Don’t assume you know EVERYTHING about the guy, just because he’s a banker or teacher and does that thing with his hands. Don’t peg him into a category– you will just cut yourself off from possibilities. Instead, let him show you who he really is and surprise you! Stay open. No one is always what they seem — especially on the first few dates!
Don’t Lie to Yourself: Many girls say they want to be in a good relationship, yet they keep dating the guy who is ready to run for the hills at any moment. You know, the guy who says he’s going to call, but doesn’t. The guy who tells you you’re really hot, but isn’t ready for a real relationship, and god forbid, marriage! You obviously don’t really want a relationship yourself if you’re dating the unavailable guy so get real and honest.
It’s All About You: The only real relationship is the one with yourself. Treat yourself how you want to be treated. You come first. Everything starts with you. How many different ways can I say this? The guy is just a mirror, showing you how you really feel about yourself. Perfect the relationship with yourself (or get as close as possible) and find happiness on your own, then it can bleed into your relationship. Clean your side of the street first!
Dating is a fine art in NYC. As much as I love Hilary’s blog, don’t get stuck in the negative chatter. There are great men in this city. You can find love at any age. Everything is possible! Say that fives time fast, 20 times a day and you won’t need the medication. Though a little bourbon every now and then doesn’t hurt.
Top Photo: Flickr
About the author:
Ilana Arazie is a documentary filmmaker, video producer and blogger. She blogs weekly at her own DowntownDharma.com, which is featured on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. Arazie is known for keeping a video camera on her person at all times – sometimes in the strangest places – in order to capture footage for her syndicated inquisitive video series, Downtown Diary. Her stories have been featured on the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Travel Channel, Gawker, Yahoo and other media outlets. She lives in peace in NYC.
Solace In The City: Meditation Hot Spots
Seems like everywhere I go, people are talking up the topic of meditation. People want to be able to sit still but have no idea how to start. They hear it’s good for you, like vitamins or massage, but are anxious about how it all works.
You would think that sitting still and quieting your mind is the most effortless thing we can do, but for quick and speedy city people just the thought of it alone gives us anxiety!
I’ve sampled many meditation groups and sessions in this city and know what I like. I believe it’s best to start out meditating in a group, before you purchase a CD and do it at home yourself. Once you get into a meditation groove in a group, then it’s safe to take your practice home. Until then, everything in your apartment will be distracting!
Meditation relieves your worries, puts you in touch with your intuition, increases your happiness, and keeps you centered. No wonder it’s getting so much of attention. I personally do a double dose when I’m feeling especially moody. Look out! Here are some ways to reap the benefits of meditation in the city:
Ishta Yoga – Take a meditation class with Yogi Alan Finger 5:30 pm Monday and Wed or 9:30 am Tuesday and Thursday. It’s easy to follow with Yogi Alan Finger and a great way to get started — be prepared to do a few yoga poses before the meditation begins. Then you can buy Allan’s CD and do it at home.
Dharma Punks – Free meditation sittings on Tuesday nights for the hip, downtown East Village crowd. Everyone is welcome though and look forward to a large group. Meditation is followed by a Dharma talk by a punky spiritual leader with tattoos and all.
Shambhala Center – This Buddhist retreat in the middle of the city offers free meditation sessions and classes. They use a traditional Buddhist method where your eyes are half open — which can be hard. But you can also meet with a meditation counselor there to check in at any point to get help with your specific practice.
Bhavani Lorraine Nelson at Kripalu – Bhavani Lorraine does an amazing meditation workshop three times a year the Kripalu retreat in Massachusetts. Find out when and where she teaches on her website here. Once you take her fabulous workshop, buy her CD and continue the peace at home.
Also, to stay motivated at home, take the Chopra 21 day meditation challenge. It started about a week ago but you can sign up late and start it any time. It is a daily online recording about 15 minutes long.
Enjoy the silence!
Check out Ilana’s blog, Downtown Dharma for more zen tips in the big city.
A Spiritual Diet
Confession time: I just ate a grilled steak and cheese sandwich for lunch, followed by carrot cake. OK, so I shared the carrot cake with a friend. And beta-Carotene, even when processed into bits, counts for something. Right?
Twenty guilty minutes later, I find myself cozying up to the book “A Course in Weight Loss” by Marianne Williamson at Barnes & Noble — all the while secretly hoping the first chapter would read “cheesy meat, butter and cake fat are your friends!”
Not quite. Marianne Williamson is one of the first self-help spiritual authors who made it mainstream with her best-selling, loved-by-Oprah book “A Return to Love” — basically the CliffsNotes version of “A Course in Miracles.” I read “A Return to Love” two summers ago, when I was hopelessly single and sharing a Hamptons house mostly filled with somewhat anxious, 30-something bachelorettes. It was my beach bible and helped me find an inner calm, especially when the ovary freezing conversations came up at breakfast.
Now Williamson tackles weight loss in her latest book, which not surprisingly also has been embraced by Oprah, a woman who has seen numbers large and small on her own scale. The book doesn’t pitch a specific diet or share nutritional techniques. Rather, it encourages its readers to love their inner selves and allow their outer selves to take shape automatically. It sounds much easier than Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig to me.
“Neither poor diet nor lack of exercise are the cause of your excess weight,” Williamson writes. “Mind is the cause; body is effect. The cause of your excess weight is in your mind. The cause of your excess weight is fear, which is a place in your mind where love is blocked… The purpose of this course is to root out your fear, and to replace it with an inestimable love… Only the power of love can overcome the power of hate, and make no mistake about it: your unhealthy eating is an act of self-hate.”
Williamson offers 22 spiritual lessons for addressing your weight forever in this book. One of her lessons teaches you to love the not-thin you — she even suggests you write her a letter. Because she won’t go away until she is listened to. (Oh, snap!)
And since she is known for giving amazing, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures, I was excited to have the chance to see her speak at the B&N this past week. An attractive, petite little thing, this spiritual way to diet clearly works for her. She’s soft-spoken, but her words are powerful and moving. When I got home, I took out my carrot sticks started writing my letter.
“Feel free to continue eating cheesy meat and cake,” I wrote my less-than-perfectly-thin self. “Just make sure it’s food that you’re really hungry for, okay? And pay attention to what you pull out of the freezer — strangely, it might look and feel like ovaries.”
Top Photo: Flickr
Check out Ilana’s blog, Downtown Dharma for more zen tips in the big city.