Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Accept Your Body - Change Your Life

image courtesy tqn.healing

This past weekend I attended an intensive seminar on Body Psychology taught by Erin Byron, director of the Yoga Life institute in Ontario, Canada and a yoga therapist who got her masters in studying the benefits of gentle yoga in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. It was 18 hours long spread out over the course of 3 days and it was... intense. AND truly one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. (I'd say it's one of the top 3 peak experiences I've had so far!) We did slllooowwwwwww movement, breathing, lots of resting and relaxation, journaling, creative drawing exercises, body scans and visualizations. We shared our experiences in large and small group activities. It was healing on every level (physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually) and it was great to be honest with and connect to others about our journeys in accepting our bodies and our pain.

It's hard for me to explain what I experienced this weekend, even though I have pages and pages and pages of notes and journaling activities and drawings (we drew images of what the pain in our bodies looked like from the inside.) What I learned this weekend was through direct experience and therefore no words I have can adequately capture the healing that took place. Much of what I learned though was trusting how wise and all-knowing my body is and has always been since before I even came out of my mom's belly. We often to do not listen to our bodies. In fact, we are programmed to not listen to our bodies. Yet, our bodies are so much more wise than our minds, than the collective mind (otherwise known as - "what everybody else is doing")! And after this weekend, I realize that ignoring my body is what causes mental sickness and illness. Likewise, thinking and holding negative thoughts about my body causes physical pain in my body.

image courtesy Dove Campaign, Love Your Body

Our bodies are our greatest teachers; they already hold within them the wisdom we need. We do not need to search outside of ourselves for anything; all of the information we need is already in our cells, our organs, our tissues, our internal worlds. Accepting our bodies and listening to our bodies is paramount to our health. Our bodies are always whispering to us, pay attention and listen closely.

YES, we are more than our bodies and our minds - lots more. Our deepest Selves (the Truth) transcend our physical sheaths and our mental turbulences AND we have bodies and minds. Can we accept this? We must. We must accept this truth, that we go through life having a body and a mind AND that our deepest Self is beyond body or mind. Trusting that life is deeper and greater than what we can think of or touch or smell or feel or taste or see or look like or wear, is important to our health as whole beings. We are not yet beams of sunlight wafting through the air, we haven't left these bodies. For now, they are our homes. So we are here to nurture them, take care of them, cradle them, protect them and listen to them. We must accept these simple truths:

We have bodies.
We have minds.
Our bodies experience pain WHEN our minds churn with negative thoughts.

Try this. Say the statement below outloud or quietly to yourself three times or more.

"I deeply and profoundly accept my body and its functions."

How does that feel in your body? To say that? Maybe you do not believe that statement yet but it is ok. You have planted the seed and the seed will grow in time, with practice, patience, loving kindness and nurturing. Write it on a piece of paper. Tape it to your mirror or right beside your bed in a place you can see it first thing in the morning.

image courtesy

Be aware of all the negative thoughts and beliefs you have about your body, what has happened to your body and what your mind does to your body. Just simply be aware. Be aware of what it feels like in your body to think negatively and try replacing the thoughts with kindness. Kind thoughts create peace. And inner peace is our true Self. Stay connected to your true Self by regulating and staying aware of the mind's thoughts.

We often have the thought, "when I look like the models in the magazines, then I will feel at peace." This is not true. Or, "if I look perfect and like a movie star, then I will be loved or feel loved." Or "if I get all straight A's then I will get a high-paying job and afford nice things and then people will love me and I will be happy." This is not true. It is not true because love and peace and happiness are not emotions that anyone or any one THING can give you. It is self-generated and comes from the Self.

No one can make you feel lasting peace (or lasting sadness for that matter.) Certainly not some guy or some girls that tell you you are beautiful or become your friends/boyfriend simply because you "look good" according to one body structure. Those people are wrestling the same alligator-thoughts in their minds because, and here is another truth, each of us has a different body structure. And yet the magazines and the models all fall within the same category of body structure. Are you willing to accept that? Are you willing to accept what Hollywood and Haute Couture and the media are trying to brainwash you into believing? That ONE body structure is beautiful? Hell. No. Protect your body. Protect your mind. Wake up to the truth.

image courtesy Dove Campaign, Love Your Body

Just like you choose healthy foods most of the time, CHOOSE to consume health, truth and wholeness. Surround yourself with those who have a healthy attitude towards beauty. Have and share meaningful experiences. Try something new that isn't exercise related. Do gentle hatha yoga. Breathe. Enjoy and relax around food. Let go of perfection. Let go of control. Allow yourself to soak in the richness of simply being. There is nothing you need to change. Nowhere you need to go. There is nothing "wrong with you" that needs to be "fixed." You are whole and perfect as you are right now. That is the Truth. Whether you believe it yet or not, it is true.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food for Thought

photo courtesy

How plastic water bottles can be used as lightbulbs

Honest sex education in highschool *psst, if you're from the area it's about a high school near the Main Line

Life and death at this moment

Would you dare?

Have you forgotten who you are?


A gorgeous one shoulder dress (2x on sale!)

Attention Knitters: Penguins need sweaters

A tree tunnel

*I must note that some of these links were sent to me by dear friends and wonderful people. If you guys are reading THANK YOU for letting me spread the cool news you found. Feel free to e-mail me interesting links/information you find that you would like me to post.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

You know I know how....

To make 'em stop and stare as I zone out... (the club can't even handle me right now.) So that's why I created this sauced up mix. So that I can jam out and dance in the privacy of my parent's basement. Which I do. Frequently. Alors, on danse!

Alright - Pitbull ft. Machel Montano
Alors on danse -Stromae ft. Kanye West
We Found Love Remix (DJ Reidiculous) - Rihanna
Bon, Bon - Pitbull
Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
Waka Waka (Estos Es Africa) - Shakira
Loca (Spanish Version) ft. El Cata - Shakira

Friday, November 11, 2011


How funny is that video!! On this awesome day I wish you all double rainbow happiness!! :) :) Enjoy!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weekend Bits

Wall, NJ sweatshirt that Sam let me borrow :)
The Neely's Chocolate Molten Lava cake that we made
Seashells from the seashore
Bike riding

Chocolate Molten Lava cake all dressed up
Apple Butterscotch Sweet Rolls from King Arthur's "The Baking Sheet" magazine

Cousinhood of the traveling pendant :)
Beach scenes

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Mental Map

Anne Emond
I've never been to Europe. I've never been anywhere outside of the country besides St. Croix and the Dominican Republic. But I have been to all the places above - hundreds and hundreds, even thousands of times. Currently am in some of those places. But the place I'd really like to be (yes even more than Europe or in the warm ocean of Jamaica) is the floating down the River of Pleasure in the Small Things... always. And do you know what? it's possible to be floating along that river MOST of the time. I'm still trying to figuire out how. But last night in yoga I got to experience a taste of it.

My teacher began the class with an allegory from a story in the Upanishads (which are, basically, ancient Indian texts full of stories that try to figuire out what the "true self" is) and it goes a little some like this (insert a little rap jingle here)...

The allegory is that the SELF (*not to be confused with your mind's conception of your "self" or your ego)  is a rider in a chariot. It does nothing but witnesses and enjoys the ride. The Body is the chariot in which the Self rides and resides. The Intellect is the charioteer. The Mind is the reins. The five Horses are the five senses.The paths of the chariot are the sense objects.

This means that the charioteer/driver (the INTELLECT) is in control of the reins (the Mind.) Sometimes it feels as if we don't have control over our minds or the thoughts and feelings we have but we do. The intellect is something deep within us. In school I thought the word "intellect" meant the same as the word "intelligence." This is because I overused the synonmym button on Word to write papers faster and according to Word's synonym button "intelligence" and "intellect" were the same and whenever I overutilized one, (see what I did just there?) I would use the other word to look smarter. I thought that since intelligence was something certain kids were, like Scott who, poor guy, had elastic at-the-bottom fake jeans but who was absolutely brilliant in science because he knew EVERYTHING in our textbook, then intelligence was something you had to work at. Intelligence/intellect meant studying history, writing papers, doing algebra etc. etc. But intellect isn't something you learn in a textbook. You can't memorize intellect. It's not a matter of being "smart enough" to have it and it isn't something that someone else tells you.

The Intellect is something deeper than the concept of intelligence that I thought it was and is, in this case, closer to wisdom. It is an intuitive knowing and internal compass that rests at the bottom of our spines and knows all, understands all and is good. We can trust our Intellect (or whatever word you would like to describe it - intuition may work better for you) to control our minds from thinking negative, fear-based, untrue thoughts all of the time. Sometimes when I become distrustful of myself it's because I don't think that anyone is really in control here. I feel like I am just this body and then separate from that I have this crazy mind that produces thoughts. And my conception of my "self"? Well it's just images that my mind churns out, images from facebook, images/feelings/thoughts from childhood et cetera. But the SELF is beyond the mind. The mind can't grasp the Self because the Self is much deeper. The mind tries to make words and images to understand the Self but the Self is wordless, image-less and greater. The Self is beyond anything the mind can produce.

Always remember that a deeper wisdom beyond your conception is always in control. A good wisdom. A knowing wisdom. A wisdom you can trust to control your mind. A wisdom that wants you to enjoy the ride of life. So what are you fighting against? Go with the flow of life, float on the river of pleasure in the small things.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

OMG Mindy, I heart you

Will someone PLEASE be my friend and block my computer from Mindy Kaling's blog? My work productivity level just dropped about an average of 10000 points.

Actually, lets just all be unproductive together, cyberly (is that a word?) ... prepared to get sucked into the Mindy vortex... muahahah (evil laugh)....

I give you.... my current KrYpToNiTe (aka, Mindy's blog)



Weekend Bits

Light-up Halloween necklace
Closest to Italy I will come (this month) - an authentic Venetian mask! from... wait for it... Pier 1!
Snow on pumpkins and mums is almost as weird as snow on sand at the beach, yeah?
Glittery fake eyelashes from Halloween Adventure (*that were seen by me and only me.) Thanks, snow.

Poley on his way to a Masquerade Ball (he's cooler than me, did you know?)
Ma petite fleur, Alina!
"Snraining" (snowing/raining)
A beautiful Halloween card from 2 very special people :)

A mask & a gift for Sara Liz's Mischief Night Birthday Party! (masks were required)
Opa in an Obama mask (See above^)
Home-made pumpkin protein bars from Mama Pea (mine are darker/grainier because I used scottish oats)

And in the spirit of Halloween, one of my favorite Broadway songs from Phantom of the Opera, "Masquerade"