Monday, April 22, 2013

The Girl's Guide to The Universe

An excerpt from my upcoming gift-book for girls.

You are a beautiful being, unlike any other.

In all the history of the world, there has never been and never will be anyone exactly like you. This makes you very special! No matter what you may think, like a snowflake you are beautiful in your own unique way. Everyone has their own beauty. It may not be traditional beauty, but it is your beauty.
Learn to celebrate and treasure the ways that you are different. These are the things that make you YOU. Do not compare yourself to others, especially not to the glossy magazine covers with air-brushed pictures of models or actresses. These are completely unrealistic representations of "beauty." Comparing yourself to others in any way is pointless and only brings unhappiness. Keep in mind that the definition of what is "beautiful" and "desirable" is subjective and varies greatly from country to country, village to village, and even person to person. "Beauty" truly is in the eye of the beholder. All that really matters is what you think, what you believe about yourself. The people who matter will see your soul, and treasure you for the unique, special being that you are! Life is not a beauty competition. It is about being the very best version of YOU that you can be.  

 It's OK not to know.

It's OK to not know who you are and what you want yet. That's what your 20's are for. Like the transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, you are still in the process of becoming who you will be. You are learning to transition to the "real world," away from the protection of your parents, learning to spread your wings and fly. This period of your life is a time to learn balance, self-discipline, and how to take care of yourself in every way. It is a time of discovering who you really are and finding out what you really believe.

During these years, you are like a piece of artwork still being "created," and you are the creator. This time is for experimenting with life, deciding what works for you and why, and what doesn't. Many lessons will be learned, including some painful ones. Do not beat yourself up about making mistakes, that's what this time is for. The important part is to learn! No experience is wasted, if something is learned in the process.

Live, love, learn! This is the purpose of life.

You are not alone.

Everyone goes through difficult times while growing up. If you have gone through painful experiences, know that you are not alone. Everyone has insecurities, some are just better at covering them up than others. Often the ones who seem the most confident, the most "well-adjusted" are actually the ones who are just the best at acting as if all is well. Science has shown that the teenage brain is still forming and at the same time is overloaded with the effects of hormonal changes. You are going through a period where you are literally not yet in your right mind! This means that everyone your age is going through exactly the same process, whether they show it or not.
If you are worried about the future, fearful about whether you can make it in the "real world," understand that this is completely normal. Going out on your own is like being at the top of the worlds' largest roller coaster, it's absolutely thrilling and completely terrifying at the same time!
Know that this time of life will pass, and you will be fine.

Life is a classroom.

There is no instruction manual for life. We are meant to learn through trial and error. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone experiences difficult times. What counts is not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up! Challenging times and experiences are what enable us to grow. They shape us, and make us stronger. Author Richard Bach writes "There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands." When faced with a challenge, remember to always look for the gift.

Your life is a tapestry that you are weaving, made up of the decisions and choices that you make, as well as the consequences of those decisions and choices. Do not allow challenges or even failures to define who you are, or what your future will be. You don't know how strong you can be, until you have no other choice. There will be times when the world does not seem fair, but you can rise above the difficulties. By surviving the challenges, you will become smarter and stronger, more ready and able to do great things!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Taking Back Your Power!

"What happens to us externally does not determine our internal condition. It is what we tell ourselves about what is happening externally that determines our internal condition."

I find this quote to be extremely profound. In essence it is saying that it is not what's going on around us that causes us emotional stress and pain, but our own internal dialogue about what is happening. This also means that no one can hurt your feelings, without your permission! If the actions of another cause you pain, you are allowing it to happen, by "buying into it." Sound crazy? Let me explain.

The reason the words and actions of others have power over us and the ability to hurt us is that they touch a nerve deep inside us. This nerve is connected to an old wound that still needs to be healed. This wound usually occurred during childhood, when someone close to us did something to us, or said something and in that moment we decided it was our fault. We took on the guilt and made an assumption or decision about ourselves, most likely some version of "I'm not good enough", "I'm not worthy of love", or "I'm not perfect, therefore I am not lovable" (thanks to my dear perfectionist mother, this is my personal recurring one.) Once this decision about our own value and worth is made, we live the rest of our lives with this underlying, negative, severely-limiting, completely false self-belief. We move through life viewing all of our experiences through this filter, with our ego actually looking for "proof" to support these negative self-beliefs, and using it against us to keep us isolated and alone. It's only through learning self-love and acceptance that we can change that old belief structure, reprogramming our thoughts and redefining the "filter" that we experience life through.

In reality, the actions taken by another person are 99.9% about them, their mindset, their fears, their "stories" in their heads. But we are egocentric beings, and so we tend to take things personally even when they aren't about us. What happens is that in that moment when something is said to us, or done to us that touches that nerve, our ego sneaks in and uses it against us. It starts whispering what I call "scary stories" such as "See? I told you, you're not good enough!" Or "See? You're not lovable/worthy of love."  It is actually this internal dialogue that is causing the emotional distress and pain, not the actions or words of the other person! Whatever the person has said or done, it has touched an old wound in you, causing the ego to rear it's ugly head.

Here's an example: Perhaps you have a boss who rules through fear and intimidation. She is constantly finding fault with everything that you do. You know intellectually that you are very good at what you do, but her repetitive nit-picking makes you feel like an inadequate and incompetent five year old. This causes you to be upset and feel badly because her criticism is activating an old negative self-belief of being "not good enough" and the ego is seizing on this opportunity to push you into fear. Quite simply, her words are causing you pain because on some deep level you believe them! She is reinforcing something deep in you, a negative self-belief that you have "bought into", and this is where the disconnect from love is occurring. This moment, when you begin to feel this emotional pain is actually a red-flag that LOVE is needed! This is the moment to change your internal dialogue. Instead of telling yourself "See? I knew it, I'm not good enough!" and making yourself miserable,  this is the moment to step in and say "It's OK, because I KNOW I'm good enough! I am a being of beautiful light and love! I may not be perfect, but that's OK, I'm awesome just the way I am! And I LOVE ME!" This will enable you to return to a sane place, and to view the situation rationally. By removing that knee-jerk emotional response you are able to see that likely it is her own issues that are being projected onto you, and you can choose to not let it affect you.

I think every human being on the planet has ingrained in us some degree of "I'm not good enough" or "I'm not lovable", which gives the ego a weapon to use against us. I think the only solution is to change our inner dialogue with ourselves and pour love on it, to DROWN it in love!! If you truly love and accept yourself, flaws and all, and believe in your basic "goodness", then no one can hurt you emotionally, because you will be able to see that whatever is going on, it's not about you! By changing what you are saying to yourself, about yourself in those difficult moments, you will be changing what you are feeling, shifting from fear to love, pain to peace. Through self-love you are taking responsibility for, and control over your own feelings.

I know this concept may be hard to grasp at first, but it is so powerful. Once you learn to see and love your own divine goodness, and release those old notions of guilt and unworthiness, you gain the ability to stand strong in yourself and to not take on the negativity being projected by the words and actions of others. By rejecting fear and choosing love, you are taking back your power!

Love and light to all.