The Miracle of a YUMMY Body – Guest Post

This is re-posted from my friend Leah Carey’s online Miracle Journal. Her original post is here; you can find her full journal at www.TheMiracleJournal.com. She posts a miracle every day on her journal.

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By Leah Carey

If you’re familiar with my book Transforming Your Body Image, you know that it is the chronicle of my own journey from feeling “Fat and Ugly” to being okay with my body just as it is and helping others to do the same. In that book I wrote,

“As long as I keep my focus on being healthy, my self-image is not tied to my weight. My weight still fluctuates, but it’s not the end of the world, because I’m busy being the best person I can be!”

This is absolutely true…AND there’s more to the story.  I have good days and I have bad days.  There are days when I look in the mirror and think, “I look really cute today” and that is a HUGE miracle, because for 20+ years I thought I looked hideous.  But there are other days when I look in the mirror and think, “Who dressed you?  You look so washed out.  I wish these pants looked better on me…” and more.  Feeling better about myself doesn’t mean feeling perfect.  It means that I can look in the mirror and feel positive about what I see.  But there are still days when I’m not completely in love with what I see.

Then there are times like the last couple of days.  It has been a perfect storm of body appreciation.  On Tuesday night, I played in my closet with a friend, creating new outfits out of the same old clothes – she put things together that I never would have imagined.  She got me looking at the same clothes in new ways.  It was amazing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working through a workbook that’s about opening my heart and inviting in new love.  Yesterday’s exercise was about appreciating my body.  The instructions were to stand naked in front of the mirror and focus on each part of my body.  At each part, I was to apologize to it for the negative thoughts that I’d held about it, tell it something I appreciate about it, and then thank it for something – from the feet to the calves to the knees to the…well, you get the idea.  I’ve done mirror work before but something about the way that this exercise was laid out and explained felt completely new to me and I felt my energy changing as I did it.

By the time I got to my face and head, I had a thought that was so new – so completely revolutionary – that I actually started dancing around in my bedroom in front of the mirror…and that thought was:
“I HAVE A YUMMY BODY!!!”
WOW!!!

Later in the day I stopped in to my friend’s consignment clothing store (see why she’s the best person to play in my closet with?!) because she had just received several fitted blazers that were exactly the type we had determined I needed in my professional wardrobe — hello, miracle!  As I was trying them on, another customer came into the store and these two women – one a good friend, the other a person I’d never met – started commenting on my “luscious” curves and what a beautiful womanly body I have.  All of this without me saying a thing about the work I had done that morning.

Truly amazing.  What a miracle.

Do you have any suggestions about things that help you to feel good about your body?  If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!  And don’t forget to head up to the “Share Your Miracle” tab and let me know about the miracles that have been happening in your life!

If you’re interested in the mirror exercise, you can find it on Day 32 of Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas.  If you’re interested in my book, Transforming Your Body Image, you can find it here.

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Leah Carey is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share. workshops. Her mission is to help people share their stories as a vehicle for healing old wounds and finding their own inner resilience. She facilitates workshops and gives lectures throughout the US and Canada. She is online at www.leahcarey.com.

Hay House Radio – Jan. 24, 2011 show

This Monday we’ll discuss the meaning of true beauty. I’ll be speaking with guests Carnie Wilson and Asia Voight.

Join us at 12 PM EST/9 AM PST for The Beauty Blueprint on Hay House Radio.

Click here to listen live – http://www.hayhouseradio.com

Carnie Wilson is the daughter of Beach Boys co-founder and mastermind Brian Wilson and a member of the Grammy Award-nominated group Wilson Phillips. She has been very public about her battle with Obesity. Carnie, in her own words, is simply “a go-getter.” “I like to work,” she explains. “I don’t like to stop moving — like a shark! But at the same time, I never do something unless my heart’s in it. I can’t be fake. I really go by instinct, and it seems like everything I do has to have some kind of message behind it.”

Carnie  is raising awareness for Autism.  She has seen first hand the challenges that children with Autism and their families go through.  To help Carnie in her mission  log onto http://www.theangelsmall.com/cwilson/

Find her online at www.carniewilson.com.

Asia Voight is an internationally known Animal Communicator, teacher and speaker, who has worked with over 40,000 animals in the last 13 years. Asia’s work has been featured on ABC, NBC, and Fox TV. She has graced the covers, of many publications such as Brava and Women Magazine, the front pages of the Wisconsin State Journal and the Fitchburg Star with her amazing personal story and words of animal wisdom. Asia has published a chapter in Crossing the Rubicon: Celebrating the Human-Animal Bond in Life and Death, an inspirational and uplifting story of the healing aspects of her Animal Communication work. Find her online at www.AsiaVoight.comClick here to read her guest contribution to this week’s blog.

Fire Red to Carnation Pink: Uncovering Inner Beauty

By Asia Voight

“Some day my daughter is going to be Miss America!” my dad boasted to other parents waiting outside dance class. Standing beside him my leotard glimmered in bronze over my long smooth legs. Every daughter wants to make her father proud. Believing that outer beauty reigned supreme, and that one day I would be Miss America, I signed up for every lesson that would get me on that national stage. Gymnastics, modeling, piano, cheerleading, singing and baton twirling lessons filled weekly schedules. Determined to please my family and make myself a star I pressed hard to excel.

By my teenage years, the momentary highs of my many accomplishments were followed by a deep sense of shallowness and darkness that lingered inside me. And at night I became haunted by a re-occurring dream where layers of bizarrely expressive African looking masks came off my face only to reveal nothing but a void, a black space. I began to see myself as empty and hollow, a mannequin of changing masks. The positive outward appearance and talents of my waking self was intended to bring me love and acceptance but instead, it brought about a severe disconnection between my outward persona and what I felt. Until one day, I found myself on my knees in prayer.

“God, show me how to be real. I’m sick and tired of feeling like a hollow shell.” Like a small tornado my prayer swirled up to Heaven.

In my early twenties, a speeding semi driver crashed his rig into my van and into my dreams of beauty. Trapped inside the van, a raging fire closed in on me. Managing to wriggle my body through the partially open driver’s side window, I jumped into an inferno of flames and miraculously made it to the other side

As days and weeks passed, lying immobile in my hospital bed with 72% of my body charred, I watched lovely new skin begin to form over raw flesh.  Maybe I still can be Miss America, I thought. However, all hopes cast off with this new skin as it became twisted like roots and vines. The skin fit so poorly over my bones and muscle constricting my every movement. I could not even wipe my own tears away. Hope ebbed away as each new scar formed. All the softness and gracefulness of my skin and body had been burnt off and taken with it the only avenue to love and acceptance I had known in the world.

“It’s time to look,” a staff nurse said. She handed the mirror to me but I would not take it from her.

“No!”

“Your going home soon, you have to look, “ She jetted the mirror in my face.

“I want to remember myself as beautiful,” I kept my eyes closed.

“You have to face the truth,”

“I’ll do it on my own.”

Later that day, shuffling weakly with the use of my cane and a grip on the wall handrails I made it to the bathroom. Once in I closed the door behind me. Elated to have accomplished my longest walk since the accident I relished a moment alone. This euphoria didn’t last long. Seeing the large wall mirror caused me to break out into a cold sweat. Can I do this?

Cautiously peeking out one eye at the top of my head in the mirror I let out a sigh, Not so bad, I Initially thought. Scanning down the rest of my face I grasped the sink’s edge as both eyes fixed upon my neck covered in a speckled, discolored skin-graft that looked like dead bare chicken skin. Steadying myself against the vanity, hot tears streamed down my cheeks like water down a tumbled mine shaft.

Any illusion of beauty gone, I set into hating the hospital staff, and made God an enemy of mine. Doctors call this healing? God betrayed me by keeping me alive for this. Death would have been the miracle here. I am utterly worthless now. Hideous.

My anguish only deepened as the staff got me ready for the day before leaving intensive care. My nurse gave me a package – a Jobst pressure garment used to compress raised scars. Painfully, the tight nylon-like suit stretched over my thin-skinned legs, torso, and arms – at the bottom of the package, a facemask. Refusing to put it on the staff held vigil at my bedside. My shouts of “No!” and “Get that away from me,” would not deter them. Finally giving in, the mask came over my face like a suffocating white sheet placed over the dead. The binding magnified my shallow breathing as the Velcro at the back of my head became fully attached. The nurses walked away pleased at saving my face from contracting, while I disappeared under the restricting tan mesh and ceased to exist.

The next day they wheeled me from the hospital to a vehicle waiting to take me to the airport and eventually my hometown. A staff nurse handed me a laminated card. If anyone around me were to become overly frightened I could show it so they knew I was not a bank robber or dangerous somehow.

Sitting in a narrow wheelchair on the airport runway, the crew and my mother cautiously lifted me up the airplane stairs. Rounding the corner into the aisle, the piercing stares of alarmed travelers bore into my eyes. Tightening my throat to stifle tears, I put my head down until landing. Upon arrival at O’Hare Airport with one more flight home, my mom wheeled me through the crowds to our next gate. A stranger faced us; I shielded my heart ready to be confronted by her glare. Instead she pulled a flower from her purse and looked deeply into my eyes. My breath sucked back into my chest as our gazes locked. Mouth agape, I reached out for the flower. I felt her heart open like the pink carnation she handed me. Smiling through my Jobst mask my heart lifted.

During the next few months of recovery it continued to be painful turning over in bed and reviving my paralyzed leg, but the image and sensation of the unknown airport traveler continued to give me strength to progress with my physical therapists. Likewise, meeting new people in the hospital became easier as my skin and body continued to heal. Now it was time to take my new face out into the world.

I no longer wore the mask and yet I continued to be self-conscious about the red scar that covered the left side of my face, and the graft on my neck that looked like a patchwork quilt. I drove into my old neighborhood and pulled up to a favorite hangout. My heart raced in my chest as I thought, What if no one likes me anymore? Or worse, they don’t want anything to do with me since I’m not pretty. I sat there for long moments of breathing and searching for my confidence to take this step out into the unfriendly world.

Then the image of the pink carnation sprang from my mind, energizing me like new blood. And I heard an angel speak to me through the darkness like one of the caring night nurses; “Inner beauty and love shines out as attractiveness, be this splendor and wear it on your face.”

Every cell of my body savored this declaration and I found the courage to walk into my old haunt. And to my amazement, familiar friends from my past gathered around with hugs and kind words! Looking deeply into their eyes I witnessed authentic beauty reflected back to me as if each of them had handed me a pink carnation.

About Asia Voight

Asia is an internationally known Animal Communicator, teacher and speaker, who has worked with over 40,000 animals in the last 13 years. Asia’s inspiring work has been featured on ABC, NBC, and Fox TV, as well as, countless radio interviews like the Rick Lamb Show and dressage rider Jane Savoie’s tele-seminar. She has graced the covers, of many publications such as Brava and Women Magazine, the front pages of the Wisconsin State Journal and the Fitchburg Star with her amazing personal story and words of animal wisdom. Asia has published a chapter in Crossing the Rubicon: Celebrating the Human-Animal Bond in Life and Death, an inspirational and uplifting story of the healing aspects of her Animal Communication work.

Speaking in front of thousands of animal lovers, Asia is often a popular keynote speaker for countless events like the Midwest Horse Fair® in Madison, Wis., where she has delighted audiences with her on-the-spot personal readings, humor and warmth.

Also, a popular teacher in her Animal Communication workshops, Asia generously shares her skills by gently guiding course participants on how to connect with one’s own animal companions, through exercises and guided meditations.

Beauty Meditations

Women longing for inner and outer beauty are invited on a personal devotional journey with author and speaker Ginger Garrett who offers expertise, encouragement, and biblical guidance. Readers will gather life-changing insights alongside practical ways to nurture their spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

Meaningful meditations and compelling prayers that speak directly to what women are experiencing will gently guide readers to discover how:

  • beauty and radiance begin in the soul
  • joy, laughter, and friendships restore a youthful glow
  • simple steps lead them to reflect the beauty God sees in them
  • inner and outer transformation happens when shame and secrets are released
  • kindness to themselves and others starts the journey to loveliness

Readers will enjoy and benefit from Ginger’s vulnerability and expertise as they explore the unique relationship between worshiping our Creator and caring for ourselves.  To order a copy click here

Getting back on track

Every January we start off with the best of intentions.  We make goals for better health, financial security or any number of things but by this point in the New Year a lot of people have fallen off of the resolution wagon.  So do you just give up and try again next year? I say NO and here are some ways to keep you going…

First off, how do we get off track?

Anytime you set out on a new course there is always a chance that things may not work out the way you planned.  Unfortunately, when we get fixated on how we think success should look and how fast it should come, we tend to give up at the first speed bump.  Then we feel as if we have failed and it’s a vicious cycle of beating ourselves up…and feeling worse off than we did before we set the goal…

How do we stick with our new goals?

Plan on falling off track! It’s normal.  The trick is to say, no worries, I am going to start over     with more determination this time

Set goals that are more realistic this time around.  I think we set huge goals for ourselves and when we don’t see results right away, we get frustrated and quit.  Set the big goals but with milestone goals along the way to continually feel a sense of accomplishment while keeping your eye on the prize.

When you write down your goals, does fear come up for you?  Write down the fear. Then once you look at that fear, write down what doesn’t scare you about it.  (Like when you lose 20lbs you will feel better, have more energy, not to mention a huge sense of accomplishment).

The important thing is to not be unnecessarily hard on yourself.  You’re human, with the best of intentions, but lending your voice to the chorus of negative voices in your head will definitely not help encourage you towards your goals.  This year, take small steps to create your most beautiful life!  If you need some support, call me on the radio and we will work through it together.