Mind, Beauty, Spirit with Celebrity Makeup Artist Michelle Phillips

We are among the first generations of women who have the ability to be or do anything we want. The women before us fought long and hard so that we could lead countries or corporations, or stay home as mothers and lead our families and communities. We are stronger and smarter . . . yet we are lost! We’re stuck between what we could be and what we think we should be, searching to balance that with our femininity. We’re grasping to attain our ideal of beauty with the belief that if we could just find the right hairstyle or finally fit into the latest fashions, everything else in our lives would fall into place.

I believe there’s something more to achieving the balance between inner strength and outer beauty. You just have to know where to look. . . .

If you’ve lost touch with the woman you wanted to become physically, emotionally, or spiritually, it can affect every aspect of the way you look. Let’s not waste time on a makeover, though—let’s go for a transformation. Are you ready to create your ultimate life?

It’s time to make the connection between your outer appearance and your deep inner self. By doing so, and expressing it in all of your everyday actions and choices, you’ll radiate a beauty that can’t be outmatched. I believe that by rediscovering and defining who you are on the inside and what you most want out of life, you will reveal to the world what makes you uniquely beautiful. This is the basis of the Beauty Blueprint. Every woman has one, but not every woman recognizes what hers contains.
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I spent the first part of my career behind the scenes of TV and movie sets as a celebrity makeup artist and learned quite a few lessons about true “beauty” in the process. As my career progressed and I moved in front of the camera, speaking to women’s groups, I learned even more. What made the deepest impression on me was the realization that the nature of what makes us beautiful goes well beyond our exteriors. It’s passion and compassion . . . it’s our love, laughter, tears, and sorrow, and how we combine it with a nurturing strength of spirit. Our beauty shines when we allow ourselves to revel in these qualities and share them with the world. It’s in these moments that we are all radiant and exquisite. But how do we women reclaim this authentic beauty?

I started to discover the answer to that question while on my own journey. Through my experiences, a shift of awareness occurred. That’s when my mission in life became crystal clear: I had to share what I’d learned by helping other women rediscover and express their true beauty. And so, as part of my dream to inspire others, this book was born, a “Beauty Blueprint” that would allow me to help women experience their own profound shift.

By creating and living your unique Blueprint, you’ll find that once again, or perhaps for the first time, you will walk out the door every day with your head held high. You will be more confident about who you are, what you stand for, and where you are heading. In turn, people around you will take notice and deeply appreciate you for all your beautiful qualities.

Change is always possible—in fact, it’s inevitable. My first question for you, then, before we get started, is this: Are you going to fight change or embrace it? Because you can become whomever you want to be. Believe it! You can become the woman who doesn’t just turn heads—you’ll become a woman who touches hearts as well!

To achieve this, I’ve included the three things needed for change and growth: a plan, support from others, and inspiration. Join my network and I’ll help you put together your own Blueprint, which is your plan. I’ll also show you how to establish your own support system, and I’ll provide a healthy dose of motivation and encouragement in the process.
Along the way, I’ll share the inspirational stories of friends and clients who have identified and attained the goals they deeply desired, in spite of the obstacles that cluttered their paths.

Now, if you’re ready to transform beyond anything you could have dreamed of, let’s get started. It’s time for you to become the woman your granddaughters will tell their granddaughters about. It’s time for you to become an extraordinary woman from the inside out!

Go to http://www.michellephillips.com and sign up for the Mind, Beauty, Spirit Network to receive free classes, videos, and articles to support you in creating the life and look of your dreams!

Is it time for a “Spiritual” Spring Cleaning?

By Celebrity Makeup Artist, Life Coach, and Bestselling Author Michelle Phillips
spring cleaning

Nature has a beautiful way of cleansing to purge what is no longer serving it and make way for renewal. Old leaves fall off and gentle winds carry them away to help the trees gather water and brace for the cold. With the spring thaw comes a flurry of new foliage to cover the bare branches and the growth starts anew.

In many ways, we as people have adopted a similar schedule for our own cleansing and renewal that follows nature’s calendar. We use this time each year to go through drawers and closets to clean out the clutter, dust the nooks and crannies, and give things the “out with the old, in with the new” spirit.

On a similar note, I have seen through my career as a makeup artist that much of the beauty on our skin comes from treating it with the same reverence; cleansing and gentling exfoliating off the old, dry layers and allowing the new, glowing skin to surface.

It makes me wonder though, if taking such care of our external selves is so beneficial to creating beauty in our lives, why should we stop there? Let’s keep going with a spiritual and emotional tidying up that truly sets the stage for a period of growth in our lives. Much like pulling out the couch to find life-sized dust bunnies, we might be surprised what we find by searching deep areas of our lives that may not get the attention they should.

Here are some places to look to start scrubbing away the negative in your world:

List your positives. Sometimes when there is clutter on our furniture we only see the mess. The same goes for when we focus on the negative aspects of our lives. Our failures, etc. By listing your positive influences, accomplishments, and qualities, you polish the plusses to shine beyond the clutter.

Nourish your spirit. Too many of us have influences in our lives in the form of books, TV, and movies that become the prism that we see the world through. And unfortunately today, so many of these media sources are dark and negative. Take the time to find and enjoy positive influences on a regular basis to bring a more peaceful outlook.

Plant the seeds for growth. Have you always wanted to take an art class, dance lessons, or try meditation? Rather than continuing to stagnate or grow in directions not of your own design, list the top ten things that you love to do and then start doing them. Make no excuses. When we begin to incorporate the things we love to do and experiment with new things on an on-going basis our lives become full of joy, happiness, and beauty.

While the first part of my career may have focused on outer beauty, there was a point where a shift was created. An awakening to the connection between the beauty of our inner spirits and what we radiate out to the world became clear.

By taking the time to nurture your spirit and cleanse yourself of negative influences, you clean space for more beauty to come into your world! Happy cleaning!

Your Significant…Self? How To Be The Best YOU For Any Relationship

That famous country song said we were looking for love in “all the wrong places” but maybe we were actually looking in all the wrong ways. You might have a “list” of what you are looking for in your ideal mate or you might be looking for that special someone who “completes you”. In the process you might be bringing in that same person who we may think is our type yet the reality to finding love successfully may be asking the question, “What type are we?”

Before you put on your Friday night best or log back on to your favorite hook-up website again let’s take a minute to look and feel your best about the most important person in the next relationship, YOU! It is absolutely true that we attract what and who we are in to our lives. When it comes to bringing in our friendships and romantic relations what we radiate is something I call, “The Law of Attractive”. It is the true beauty that can’t be painted on or pumped up in the gym, instead it is the kind of amazing that, when you have the confidence to let it shine, will bring in the perfect person who compliments you not completes you.

I recently had a client I was coaching and after we conquered her work fears she said that her next goal was to get back into a relationship. Of course, no one who wants a relationship truly wants just anyone, they want Mr. or Ms. Right! And most of us know in our hearts exactly what that means, when someone asks we unfurl that dreaded “List”! It is the magic, 10-foot long scroll with every physical, emotional, and spiritual quality that we think we need in a mate to be happy. I asked her what was on her list and she rattled off things like; patient, extroverted, and easy-going. I have to back up by saying I had already been working with her for a few months, and, while she was working on herself currently, she was none of those things. So when I asked how her manhunt was going she said sadly that the people she was dating were none of those things. Shocker!

So where do you start? Think about the phrase, “He” or “She” is a good match for me. You don’t match socks by finding some that go nicely with each other, you match them by finding two that are as close to each other as possible.

– Make your list. Make a note of all the attributes you would find important in a long-term or forever type relationship. Be sure to list more than just physical qualities like dark hair and full lips, the values that you find important such as; honesty, integrity, loyalty, and compassion, will play a much bigger role in the long-term success of your partnership.

– Check it twice. Before you start on your scavenger hunt for love, check the list once for yourself first. If there are areas that you find important in someone else think about if you have them. If you don’t, there is nothing wrong with taking some time to work on you.

– Pay close attention to who is naughty and who is nice. All too often when don’t stick to our list out of fear of rejection, (something), or maybe just a physical connection that we mistake for love but the whole time the alarms are going off inside us to run. Trust your gut here and know that when the time is right for you and that special someone it will work out.

While there may not be a club, church, or online dating site to find true love there is one place that holds the magic of cupid’s arrow, your heart. Find that and honor it and you will be fully capable of loving someone else. Love and be loved, it starts with you!

Michelle Phillips is the author of the bestselling beauty and self-esteem book, “The Beauty Blueprint- 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of your Dreams” (Hay House) is now available on major book sites. You can listen to her live onMondays at 12pm est on www.HayHouseRadio.com . She is also a regular guest on the national TV shows, The Daily Buzz, GalTime, and Daytime. www.michellephillips.com

Breaking the chain of low self-esteem

breaking-chain-low-self-esteemEverything we are and everything we desire stands on the foundation of self-worth that we build from within. The value that we place on ourselves in the marketplace of life dictates the quality of relationships we will have, the pay that we will receive for our services, and resonates out to our family in friends in ways that will affect generations. It is for all of these reasons and more that we build that foundation strong and tall and lovingly reinforce it every day.

Recently my friends and I celebrated the life of an amazing woman who was truly an inspiration for us all and who so beautifully illustrated the importance of creating our personal value. The day my friend Jan realized how her low self-worth was allowing her abusive marriage to continue and how that relationship was affecting her children was the day that she said enough and left. She took her kids to a shelter and started over with the desire to always be treated the way she deserved.

While living her new, higher-valued life Jan gave back to others at every opportunity. Whether it was the Red Cross, YMCA, or abuse shelters, she was always showering others with love and telling them they were worthy of more.

Eventually she started her own organization that supported foster children who had been abused or neglected. Through dedicating her life to children who felt they had no hope she helped them realize they already possessed every ounce of worth and potential needed for beautiful, abundant lives. The legacy she leaves behind doesn’t just live on in the kids and young adults whose lives she touched but in their children and children’s children. By empowering just one person to a stronger sense of self-love you afford them the opportunity to change every life they touch.

Where does this change all truly start though? How do we break the cycle of bad jobs, bad relationships, and stop passing down a belief that lives that are beneath us are acceptable? By reclaiming and building our self-worth we free ourselves from the chains that hold us back from living with purpose and joy. The next step is demanding that value be honored in every aspect of our lives. By asking for what you are worth you teach others how to treat you and model to your kids the importance of valuing themselves.

To start the self-worth ball rolling take an inventory of your amazing, positive qualities.

What are your strengths? What are the personal qualities that define you?

What are some achievements you can look back on with pride to remind yourself of what you are capable of?

How did you feel when you achieved those things? Try to remember by putting yourself back in that place of accomplishment.

Another great tool I suggest using is to think of how your best friend would speak of you, if needed, ask them. We can all think of an endless amount of beautiful things to say about someone dear to us, start by giving yourself that same amount of love.

The most important thing of all though is to pick your moment to ask for what you’re worth. Whether it is in your relationships or your job, the day or minute you make the decision to say to the world, “I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, and deserving of everything I desire” is the day it will start coming your way. And it is the day you break the cycle for generations by inspiring others to start construction on the foundations of their beautiful lives.

Inner Peace on Earth- for a truly beautiful Holiday

For many people this season it’s difficult “to be jolly”. Financial woes, loss, loneliness, and family stress can feel like weight of a heavy snow more than ever around this time of year. By the way, if you broke in to song with that first sentence, this may article may not apply to you but read on…

Something that you hear a lot around now is “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men!” More than any other times of year, around the Holidays we tend think about what we can do to better the lives others. If you are struggling with ways to find your own peace though, spreading peace to others can seem out of reach. So how do we remedy that in time to have a great Holiday? I believe the cure lies in one of my favorite phrases, the change we want to see in the world starts with us. Once you have inner peace it becomes easy to be one person or one family making a difference in the lives of others by word and deed.

Now we’re on to something but, again, where do we start within ourselves is the next question.

I come to this with kind of different angle given my particular area of expertise as a Beauty and Life Coach. While millions are constantly searching for an outer “fix” the real connection to harmony and beauty is feeling bliss on the inside and radiating that out to the world. I believe that much of the inner turmoil and lack of peace that we experience comes from allowing ourselves to be caught up in superficial things like material possessions, and not living according to our authentic beliefs.

Even before thinking of the gifts you would like in your life, start finding your peace by thinking of those you already have. Your gifts can be your beautiful smile, radiant personality, intuitive feeling and deep connection to those around you, constant optimism, or just about anything else. By taking this mental and emotional inventory you remind yourself of the value that you already hold rather than thinking there must me something more. That is the point after all, that you are already more than enough! All too often we think of ourselves in terms of the “mizpah”, the beautiful necklace that we give each other as friends. It’s that heart that is broken and each of us takes half to symbolize the eternal bond with the other. The true gift is in letting yourself be complete and giving your whole heart to as many people has you can throughout your life.

We can also achieve peace by remembering that we are all gifts to the world. We are such wonderful gifts in fact, that we should be re-gifted often. And as those gifts we are not our wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows, we are a joy-filled bundle of beauty and divine purpose!

When something or someone is true to their purpose and simply enjoys being they are a source of beauty for the world. Before waiting for New Year’s resolution season, take some time to explore what it is that brings purpose and joy to you. Consider what you would be doing in your ideal job, relationships, and personal life, and how living that true to them would bring beauty to your soul. Now take that a step farther and actually write that down and create your special “gift list”. There is something about the process of putting pen to paper and seeing your dreams in front of you that helps bring them to reality.

Have a wonderful, and beautiful, Holiday and I look forward to being an inspirational part of your journey in the coming year!

Written by Bestselling Hay House author, TV & Radio Host, Celebrity Makeup Artist and Life Coach Michelle Phillips

The Power of Perspective

Have you ever felt like no one understands you? That no matter how much you try to explain what you mean, no one seems to get it? You feel frustrated and think, If I understand, why can’t they? This is what I went through during the first 18 years of my life. I saw things in a way no one else could and had trouble getting others to view them from my perspective. While I felt completely alone and misunderstood, I only realized later that most people experience the same thing that I did at some point.

Most of us have a deep desire to be understood, and while we often expect others to fully comprehend what we’re saying and see things our way, this is actually impossible. We all possess a unique perspective that cannot be shared or replicated. No two people see the world in the exact same way.

This can be quite frustrating, especially when we’re trying to communicate how we feel, what we see, or what we’re experiencing. But, if we’re able to understand the power of perspective we can find ways to get around this frustration.

To help further understand the idea of perspective, try imagining your life as a movie. Let’s call it My Life. In this movie, you not only play the lead character, but you are also the writer, director, cinematographer, and producer. After all, this is your life.

Everyone else in your film is a secondary character and plays a supporting role, and some people play more important parts than others. Every character has a unique vantage point or perspective from which he or she sees the script, sets, cinematography—everything about it. However, since it’s the movie of your life, you get to direct all aspects of each individual’s performance. You get to tell the story of your life through your eyes only. You interpret every scene through the lens of your camera.

Now to complete this analogy, all of the secondary characters (your parents, kids, siblings, teachers, friends, and so on) have also created their own movies, each called My Life. They have the lead role in their own movies and work as producer, writer, and director. In each of their films, you act as a secondary character, and it’s their turn to direct you. You can probably understand that the perspective you have as a character in someone else’s story is very different from the one you have in your own. Hopefully this illustrates how complicated things can get when you interact with so many different people, all of them directing their own life movies, all at the same time.

Can you imagine watching one of your scenes where a particular event is playing out, while simultaneously watching the same scene in someone else’s movie where you’re in a supporting role? Anyone seeing these two take place at the same time would quickly realize that while they are both about the same event, they each interpret the situations and emotions in entirely different ways. No two movies will ever be the same, because no two perspectives are ever identical.

One of the reasons I always use to butt heads with other people was because I believed they should see the world as I did. Instead of trying to understand things from their points of view, I assumed that with enough persuasion they’d finally come to see things as I did. My obsession with being right often prevented me from shifting my perspective to incorporate their thoughts and opinions. As a result, I was constantly getting into power struggles, unwilling to waver in my views.

It was only when I was able to admit that everyone sees life through a difference set of lenses and no one perspective is ever right or wrong that my relationships began to transform and I finally began to feel the true freedom that I had been longing for my entire life.

It’s unreasonable to expect others to accept or consider our perspective if we’re not willing to do the same for them. The truth is that the world isn’t really “as it is,” but as we see it, and we all see it differently.

Take Action Challenge:

Do you try to make your way THE way? Do you seek validation by trying to be right? Do you expect others to get where you are coming from but aren’t willing to see their side of the story? Are you tired of having so much conflict in your life? For the next 7 days, try walking a mile in another person’s shoes. See life from a different perspective than your own. When you get to know where a person is coming from and what they have gone through, the more you understand why they think, speak and act in certain ways. This new understanding grants you the ability to respond with WAY MORE compassion and empathy instead of anger or frustration. When you practice the power of perspective you WILL eradicate all conflict from your life, once and for all!

**Part of this blog is an excerpt from Michael’s new book Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living (Hay House, Oct. 1, 2012)**

Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network (YWN), an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. YWN specializes in creating and implementing wellness programs in schools and organizations, while providing additional programs and training online (www.ywnambassadors.com). After positively transforming his own life at the age of 19, Michael is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. He contributes a fresh, young, authentic voice to the field of wellness, and is rapidly becoming a youth-wellness expert. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be officially released October 1, 2012 with Hay House. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca.

Miracles Can Happen – TRUST

My last day of work at Head Start was on Thursday, August 2, 2012. I had the opportunity to see Michelle Phillips own the stage as our guest speaker and watch her facilitate workshop sessions for our staff. To be able to see staff that I have worked with for over six years go through the Beauty Blueprint Process and their reaction to the process was so neat to witness and watch unfold. Their eyes lit up, they felt empowered, valued, and motivated to take action. It was so fun to watch after going through the process myself.

My supervisor said some closing words of gratitude to me at the end of Pre Service. She gave me flowers and a photo album with personal notes from staff. To have Michelle with me on my last day of work and to start the Coaching Circle retreat that weekend was the perfect time to celebrate the closing of a significant chapter in my life and my 39th birthday. A huge part of my identity was stripped away and to have so much love and support around me was a blessing in disguise as I even turned a year older, closer to 40.

We smiled, we talked, we shared, we laughed, we cried, we stayed in the present moment and we healed ourselves and one another. I got a lot of take aways from the weekend and these are just a few:

To know that all will be OK. Sometimes and at least for me it feels good to hear it from another person as a reminder.
To laugh. It is so important to not take life so seriously and radiate not only your laughter out to others, but also notice what happens when the laughter affects others or situations around you. The more positive you are, the more positive things will be around you.
To have fun, be silly and not act my age. Ahhh, tubes and placebos can go a long way and reminded me, as well as gave me permission to be a kid again.
To take time to explore. To be open to receive the messages that are coming to you based on individuals in your life, opportunities that arise, or situations that occur in your life.
To trust yourself, seek clarity and not rush it. When you get clarity and you take your time to work through the emotions and situation at hand (whatever that is) you are most likely to be doing something that you love to do that is aligned with your spiritual truth, as well as your value system. The values that I selected out of Michelle’s book and that are the top three: Security, Connection and Spirituality. You can never go wrong with trusting what your heart is telling you to do regardless of outcome.
To voice my fears and not be scared to let others know. To surround myself with supportive people. communicate my needs, be able to talk to others about what I am fearful of and allow myself to be vulnerable. When you open yourself up to others it is so freeing not only for yourself but also an opportunity for others to give back to me.
To network and learn. To take this time to observe, listen, receive the messages or signs that are coming to me and learn, as well as grow from each person or experience will only help to become a better me.
Just over a year ago, I embarked on a new adventure and opportunity to join Michelle Phillips first Coaching Circle for Woman. It was one of those decisions that I made in my life without even thinking about it. I continued to participate in her circle of support up until tonight which was my last one. Another chapter in my life closing in my life out of many.

All of this is a true testament to the miracles that are occurring in my life each and every day. I went with what my heart was guiding me to do next. You can never go wrong with that. I learned in Michelle’s Coaching Circle throughout this year as another big take away, that there is no such thing as failure only outcomes. Regardless of what those outcomes are, you learn and grow from them. Making room for the new-OH the possibilities are endless.

The Beauty of Freedom

In addition to celebrating Independence Day, this year we are also exercising the freedom to choose our next President. No matter which side of the political fence you are on that freedom is certainly worth appreciating. After working for all of the major TV networks and world leaders during election years I am very excited to announce that I have been chosen to be the Head of Makeup and Image for the Republican National Convention in Tampa! They will have me leading a team of makeup artists and stylist to ensure that candidates and supporters we have to choose from will have a polished, professional image.

Which brings me to my next subject…

Are you making a strong first impression?

Whenever I am hired for my image services it’s rarely to make someone look like a glamour queen. In the case of the upcoming RNC I will be tasked with helping people achieve what we should all be going for; a look that is knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy.

Studies have shown that we have exactly seven seconds to make a first impression. More importantly, we have seven seconds to make a GREAT, and lasting, first impression.

After reading that your mind might be drifting off to taking a mental inventory of your closet thinking, if I were headed out for a big interview or to potentially meet Mr. or Ms. Right I know exactly what I would wear. Then you may think, but if the person or job was meant for me should it even matter what I was wearing? The answer there would be yes…in a way.

Whether you are entering the job market, looking for a mate, or creating personal or professional relationships of any kind, making positive imprint relies as much on the emotions you are wearing as the clothes you pick out.

While many stylists put all their effort-and yours-into creating an outward image, what I would like to concentrate on for a minute is your inner image. By knowing who you are spiritually, emotionally and physically you will create the image you want to project on the outside. Doing this will make your look about so much more than just well-thought out fashions or the ideal haircut: it will be about radiating your uniquely beautiful qualities in a way that won’t just turn heads, you will turn hearts!

To get started it’s time for a quick and honest assessment. Think for a minute about how others see you. Do people find you sincere, interesting, open, or engaging? If not, it might not be your wardrobe but rather something in the way of a vibe you are putting off? So before you put on your clothes every day, figure out if you are already dressed with enthusiasm, excitement, and an overall positive outlook or are you stressed, overwhelmed, angry, fearful, or lost? By acknowledging any of the issues that you may be dealing with you can strip away any unintended negative messages you might be projecting.

Next, when it comes to your clothes, I tell my clients to think of dressing for a job interview, every day. However, don’t think of it as getting “dressed up,” you are dressing to move up! Too many of us have gotten a bit too “casual” and wonder why we are getting passed up for promotions or treated beneath the level of person that we are. In order to be treated with the respect we so richly deserve we have to remember to present ourselves that way physically and believe it our hearts.

There are many ways to express who you are in your wardrobe, the most important facet to remember is to dress in a way that is appropriate for your profession by choosing clothes that will have you are perceived as; knowledgeable, credible, and trustworthy.

“People who dress in a professional manner everyday are twice as likely to be promoted and earn up to 20% more income.” – Social Psychology Quarterly

The market for a job or a mate is truly only as hard as we want it to be. The next time you are headed out the door, take a second to think about the fiery passion for life that burns within you. Open the door to your heart and let the world gather around your warmth.

written by Bestselling author, Celebrity Makeup Artist, Radio & TV Personality Michelle Phillips

Quick 5-Minute Meditation for Dispelling Depression, Anxiety, and Fear

In our modern day world where high stress is the norm, our brains have not yet learned to differentiate a real threat from a perceived threat, so any stress kicks the brain into “fight, flight, or freeze” mode. The results? Symptoms that mirror or include anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. This can be devastating and debilitating to deal with, but there are a lot of coping skills that can help us retrain our brains and bodies to react differently.

Meditation is a great tool to use that can be done anywhere by anyone. Studies have shown many benefits, including: decreased blood pressure; increased oxygen to the cells; slowed activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear; and a shift in brain waves from the stress prone right frontal cortex into the calmer left frontal cortex. This literal shift in brain wave activity accounts for the shift in mood that meditators experience.

One of the easiest meditations to do is a Kundalini yoga meditation I call “555”, which usespranayama, or controlled breathing. This meditation can be done in as little as a minute, but anywhere from five to ten minutes is ideal.

  1. Find a comfortable position for you. Straighten your spine.
  2. Place your palms upward.
  3. Gently release your tongue from the roof of your mouth.
  4. Inhale for a 5 count.
  5. Hold your breath for a 5 count.
  6. Exhale for a 5 count.
  7. Repeat.
  8. As you are doing this, you are also invited to do a body scan from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. Notice any areas that are holding tension and breathe into these areas.

As we practice our meditation and breathing, our mind may wander. We may lose focus or lose count. That’s okay. Just bring it back to the breath.

April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW is a writer, speaker, and integrative practitioner who brings a unique voice to the field of health and wellness by combining traditional evidence-based techniques with ancient practices such as yoga and newer findings in contemplative sciences. She has been recognized as a part of “Generation Inspiration” and is also named as one of 20 Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance and WIE Symposium, presented by Donna Karan and Arianna Huffington. You can follow April on Facebook or Twitter. Visit http://www.beingandwellness.com to learn about services she offers, including Reiki & coaching, or http://www.verbalvandalism.com to check out her latest written works.

Am I Pretty?

am-i-prettyIn a disturbing new trend thousands of girls as young as 11 and 12-years old are posting videos on YouTube asking the question, “Am I pretty?” This public call for validation shows a dangerous lack of self-worth and an unhealthy focus on outer beauty at an early age.

Am I pretty? The answer is YES!

As a Celebrity Makeup Artist and Life Coach I have been working with people for years to build their ‘beauty’ from the inside out. Usually though the questions of; “Am I pretty?” “Am I good enough?” or “Am I worthy?” don’t really start to weigh on us until life as taken its toll a little bit more. Seeing such a display of low self-esteem at such a young age though really troubles me so I feel strongly that this is a topic that needs addressing.

Whether it is the images in the media, social networking, or increased peer pressure, people, especially teen girls, are feeling pushed to look and act a certain way. One of the things they don’t understand is that in trying to find acceptance online they are opening themselves up to even more negative influence. The relative anonymity of the internet creates a breeding ground for hostility and hate resulting in wave of hurtful responses to their videos. Not to mention the fact that online predators are constantly lurking, typically preying on girls in this exact age range.”

To remedy this I suggest a variety of solutions.

– Monitor your child’s internet usage! The web is just that, a dangerous place for those that get caught up in it. There are just as many physical and emotional hazards to be found in the virtual world as there is in the real world.

– Talk to your kids about their ‘beauty’. Have your child create a list of their most beautiful qualities; their values, dreams, and maybe even throw in some physical attributes they love as well. By working to build a foundation for what makes them uniquely beautiful you create a source for real and lasting self-worth.

– Model strong self-esteem yourself. Even with all of the other sources of information your kids have access to you are still their biggest influence. By relating to them your self-worth you are instilling that same value in your kids.

Most important is have as open a line of communication with your kids as possible. And when the question “Am I pretty” is ever asked by you or them, the answer is always “Yes!”