Louise Hay is true beauty!

Me and Louise
LIKE MOST PEOPLE, I first came in contact with the work and spirit of Louise Hay at a difficult time in my life. Although I was living my professional dream of being a celebrity makeup artist and stylist, there was a nagging emptiness in my personal life that I hadn’t put my finger on. That was until the day I was drawn into a bookstore with a little extra time on my hands.

I had no idea what led me to that store any more than the divine hand that guided me to a copy of You Can Heal Your Life.  I had never heard of Louise Hay, or any other Hay House authors, yet as I flipped through the pages her words touched me like no other book ever had. From the moment I opened the cover I couldn’t put it down. It felt as though she was speaking directly to me, touching me in a way that didn’t just encourage and strengthen my mind, it validated and invigorated my soul. I felt as though everything I believed spiritually, but had previously questioned, was ringing true through the power of her words. These were beliefs that I had discounted up until that very moment because they were so different from those everyone around me held. Wrapped in Louise’s words I had found freedom, security, and a spiritual home.

Along with discovering the strength of my authentic self came the realization that I did not truly love who I was. On top of that, I was in a marriage with someone who did not love or honor who I was and definitely not who I was becoming as I grew.

I continued on the path of self-discovery, though, by reading more Hay House books and attending workshops. After eventually leaving my unhappy marriage, and still in the depths of the soul search, I would have another more personal and divine encounter with Louise.  When a mutual friend invited me to the I Can Do It Event in Tampa to meet Louise, I jumped at the opportunity.

Even a brief “audience” with Louise was life changing, and while my career was taking off in the ways I had always dreamed it would, Louise’s spirit and words were guiding me in a new direction. I knew what I was truly intended to do, along with focusing on external beauty as a makeup artist, my calling was to be a teacher and help people bring true beauty to their lives. I was to help others feel this beauty by learning to love themselves the way I had from Louise. I created a vision board with the picture of Louise and me in the very center and the journey began.

Two years from then I would take my seat at the Speak, Write and Promote Event in Boston, moments later to be joined by Louise herself. From the first time I picked up her book to the times spent with her today, and now as a Hay House author. I cherish beyond words the guidance her spirit has been to mine.  To be a part of the Hay House family and for my message to have the endorsement of trust that comes with her name brings tears of joy and gratitude I could never truly express.

What I Gave Up Because I Felt Fat

By Melissa Kathryn

scaleHave you ever stayed in because you felt fat? Missed a party, didn’t go on a date? Even worse, declined going on a trip or vacation because you didn’t like your body and the thought of being in a bathing suit put your mind into a complete frenzy?

I recall several instances in my life where I did not go on trips, made up excuses to not go out and didn’t attend parties, date or events because I “felt” fat.  I look back now and I get frustrated at the experiences I could have had.  Instead I chose not to go, which is essentially choosing isolation.  What happened next? I would feel even worse for not going, which would lead to emotional eating, then self loathing…and the cycle continues.

Does this resonate with you? Can you recall a time when you chose, willingly to miss out on life because of your weight?

By staying in isolation, by choosing to say “No” to life, you are missing out on life, living and experience joy.  It is through isolation that we continue to deprive ourselves of happiness.

Here are simple steps that you can do to ensure you stop missing out on life and start living it!

  1. It begins with Self-Acceptance – start to learn to love yourself and your body exactly as it is.  Weight is weight, you are you are your core – you have to begin by loving her (your body) and accepting her no matter her size, shape or the way she looks.
  2. You body is your temple – care for it. It provides you with everything you ask it to do.  Be kind and loving, nourish your body with movement and food.
  3. Say “YES” to life – be you and the rest will come.
  4. Recognize that “You” are judging yourself, whatever thoughts you have, they are not the thoughts of anyone else.  Work to get out of your head and into your heart for yourself.

Once you do this, the fulfillment you will find from the pleasure of being around others and the experiences you will have, food and your weight will become an after-thought.

Sit, Stay, Heal!

sit-stay-healNegative emotions are not fun to feel. They hurt. Oftentimes, to avoid feeling the pain, we will numb ourselves and stop feeling all together- or we will mask our pain by engaging in unhealthy habits like excessive eating, spending, drinking, or drugs. We may feel hopeless or that these feelings will never go away. Darkness, doubt, and fear may have become our constant companions. We may even come to identify with them and hold on to them because it’s all we know.

These feelings can “go away”. We are not victims to circumstance and feelings- we are creators and we can be choose to be victors instead of victims. We can choose to continue to allow our negative experiences to create our reality or we can work through these feelings and invite in experiences that feel better energetically.

Instead of rejecting our negative feelings or energy, we should explore these aspects of ourselves. It’s time to get comfortable with our discomfort and make friends with it. These moments are teachable moments and they are an incredible growth opportunity.

We need to learn to sit with our discomfort and we need to learn to stay with our discomfort so that we can work through it. Think of a puppy whom you teach to sit, stay, and heel. This is your invitation to sit, stay, and heal.

Think of the warm feelings of loving kindness that you would feel towards a puppy and extend those feelings to yourself. (You deserve this!) Think of the patience you would have for a new puppy as you are teaching him new tricks. You wouldn’t get angry because he can’t sit on his first try or because he can’t stay for more than two minutes right away. Not at all! Instead you would praise him for the 30 seconds he managed to do. You would delight in the fact that in a few days from now he manages a whole minute. You would enjoy the work of teaching your new pupil as well.

Treat yourself like that puppy. You know he’s a baby and you treat him accordingly. As a species, we humans are babies in our evolution as well. Have patience with yourself. Enjoy working with yourself. Learn to sit with your discomfort; learn to stay sitting, and you will teach yourself to heal. You will teach yourself how to transmute these feelings into opportunities for growth and positivity.

Happy healing journey to you!

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 Verbal Vandalism to check out her latest written works. She is now taking on new Reiki clients.

By April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW

The Surprising Side of Shame

surprising-side-shameAn excerpt from “The Beauty Blueprint 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of Your Dreams” written by Michelle Phillips (Hay House Publishing 2011)

Dealing with your shaming voices from the past will lead to happier, healthier relationships in the present. Researchers have shown a link between shame and negative relationship behaviors such as anger, irritability, indirect hostility, resentment, and a tendency to blame your partner for various things. Dealing with your shame won’t just set you free to love yourself—you can freely and fully love others as well.1

“The Beauty Blueprint”

Exercise: Silencing the Voices

Take out your journal and try to recall all the inner dialogue that ran through your mind as you were creating the parts of your Beauty Blueprint. For each bit of inner dialogue, answer this question: What was the true intent behind the statement? Here’s a story to help you get the gist of what I want you to do. . . .

I was working with a client shortly after her husband left her. After completing her Beauty Blueprint, we went shopping to create a new look to match her new life. After trying on several flattering outfits, however, she looked dejected and stared at the dressing-room floor.

“I have to tell you something,” she said. I braced myself because, by now, I’ve learned that clients who are making bold changes also confront even bigger fears. “I think my stomach looks terrible in all these clothes.”

“What?” I gasped. “You look incredible! You have a great body. Where is this coming from? What is the voice in your head saying exactly?”

“It’s my ex’s voice,” she confessed. “He told me that I was getting fat, and he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore.”

“What was his genuine intention behind that statement?” I asked.

“To hurt me, I guess.”

“So, it wasn’t true, right? He only said it to upset you. Do you see the difference?”

She nodded, and relief washed over her face. The inner voice that had damaged her so deeply wasn’t true, and now she saw it for what is was: a lie.

She stood up straighter and smiled, and I knew she was on her way to becoming a free woman.

Now it’s your turn to do this exercise so that you can finally be free of any shaming voices that hold you back. And even if the original intention was positive—as a way to protect you, for instance—the result may still be the same. This exercise enables you to observe this dialogue for what it truly is and no longer allow it to control you.

Learning to Forgive

Once you start identifying and disarming your shaming voices, you need to go one step further. If you’ve been hurt or have suffered, you need to forgive the people who planted those voices in your mind. Freedom comes with forgiveness. However, this doesn’t require you to speak to certain individuals or open the door to old relationships. Forgiveness is simply a decision you make to let go of the past. This is for you, not anyone else.

Exercise: Write Your Letter

Any lingering negative feelings from the past are often signs that you need to forgive someone or something. If you’re always replaying hurtful words or painful situations in your mind, you need to identify someone or something to forgive.

You can do so by writing a letter that will never actually be mailed. (You can write as many as you need to!) So grab a pen and paper, and pour your heart out. Tell the person exactly what he or she did and how it hurt you. Was it a hurtful word, deed, or a cruel tone that you remember most? Don’t try to justify or minimize it. How did that person’s words or actions impact you then, and how do they impact you now?

One of the letters I wrote went something like this:

I forgive you for being so cruel and degrading in your words, and hateful in your tone. I felt abused and unloved, and sometimes I still hear those words in my head today. But I am ready to be free.

Next, write down your decision to forgive and let go. For example: “I release the pain I once felt, I release you, and I send you a blessing of love and light.” It’s not enough to simply forgive. I believe you must also make an offering of love. Forgiveness releases, but love heals.

Now you’re going to burn your letter. (Some people prefer to tie their letters to balloons and release them into the sky.) The reason you don’t mail your letter is because going back to the offender can sometimes stir up more chaos and hurt. Remember, forgiveness doesn’t require a confrontation or conversation; you’re not condoning what happened. Forgiveness is something that happens inside you.

So, over the stove, on the backyard grill, or in your fireplace . . . just let it burn. As the smoke rises, ask that this person be blessed and find peace. Visualize your forgiveness extending into the sky and beyond. What is forgiven is finished. Those voices, once dealt with and forgiven, can no longer hurt you or hold you back.

“The Beauty Blueprint”

The Law of Attractive Positive Impact

law-attractive-positive-impactYour 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

February 28th Radio Show-Raising Beautiful Children

On today’s show we are talking about raising beautiful children.

If you have been a frequent listener to the show you know when I say beauty I’m not talking about making sure your kids are in the latest fashions or have perfect haircuts….I’m talking about raising them to be positive people with a strong and balanced sense of self-esteem.  The kind of people that will help us create and foster true beauty in our world.

As a mom, a step-mom, and at one time was a single mom and  know that while we may need work to put a roof over our heads or provide food, our most important job in life is parenting our kids.

Join me and my guests, Dr. Wendy Walsh, Jan Horn, and Sandi Schartz.  Together we will share some valuable tools parents can use to help balance and reduce stress in their own lives and in turn empower their children to create their own beautiful lives.

Tune in live by logging onto www.hayhouseradio.com on Monday February 28th at 9am Pacific Time/12noon Eastern Standard Time.  If you missed the show, you can listen to the show in the archive section.

Some info on my guests:

Dr. Wendy Walsh is a journalist, a psychologist, and a mother.  You may have seen her on TV as she is a contributor to CNN, The CBS Early Show, The Today Show, Lifetime, and many more. www.drwendywalsh.com

Jan Horn is the Executive Director/Founder of Blooming Place for Kids.  Jan and her staff are deeply committed to improving the lives of neglected and abused children by giving them hope for their own future through programs developed to build leadership skills, self-confidence, good moral character and values.

Blooming Place for Kids’ residential camp promotes positive values and encourages teamwork, sharing and individual growth.

A PLACE TO DREAM . . . to GROW . . . . . and just be a KID!!!  www.bloomingplaceforkids.org

Sandi Schwartz is an educator, author, radio show host, and inspirational speaker with over 40 years of experience in the field of child development, Sandi combines the best of traditional wisdom with a depth of spiritual awareness, delivering a powerful message for parents. Her most distinguished honor was from the Governor of New York State for leadership and courage in her work with children and families in the aftermath of 9/11.

Sandi’s Leading Edge programs for parents and educators have received international acclaim.  She consults with parents in many countries and her weekly radio show, Leading Edge Parenting, is heard around the world.

For More Information About Leading Edge Parenting or to contact Sandi for consulting, speaking, or to receive her free daily love nuggets, go to www.sanditeaches.com

After working in the beauty industry as a make up artist and stylist for celebrities, I can tell you- first hand- that the women who sat in my chair did not look nearly the same as they did once they had an army of stylists, lighting experts, photographers, and then computer experts create their on camera look.

With so many girls comparing their looks to those of the models and actresses they see on TV, in the movies, or magazines, it is important that they understand that what they see is not reality. What we do need to see is the beauty inside of us all. While working to help my own daughters develop a positive outlook on their beauty inside and out, I encourage them to focus on all of their unique qualities. They are uniquely beautiful and it is important for them to take pride in their kind nature, compassion for others, their gifts, and talents. These are just of a few of the things that make them truly beautiful.

I am posting this video to show our girls what goes on behind the scenes to make models and on camera personalities achieve the looks that for 99% of us is unobtainable.

Hats off to the Dove campaign for their continued effort to help real women and young girls love who they are for their own unique beauty!

February 14 – The Most Beautiful Date You’ll Ever Have

The day of love is upon us and it’s time for the most beautiful date you’ll ever have…YOU! Love is the light that reveals your beauty to the world!

My guests will be Leah Carey and Michael Chase.

Leah is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share. workshops that help people to share their stories as a vehicle for healing old wounds and finding their own inner resilience.

Leah writes a daily Miracle Journal where she recounts the miracles she finds in her life each day. I’ve re-posted her entry “The Miracle of a YUMMY Body” – about loving her own body with all its feminine curves – on my blog; also click here to read a perfect Valentine’s Day treat, “The Miracle of Amazing Men: In celebration of the male spirit“.

Leah’s blog is at www.themiraclejournal.com. Find information about her book, “Transforming Your Body Image” and her workshops at www.leahcarey.com.

Michael is affectionately known as “The Kindness Guy” and he is one of today’s most powerful voices for creating a kinder world. At the age of thirty-seven, Michael ended an award-winning photography career to begin The Kindness Center. His book “Am I Being Kind?” is set to be released by Hay House Publishing on April 15 and is now available for pre-sale at Amazon.com.

From his “24 Hours of Kindness” events to his “Caffeinated Kindness” days, Michael brings the message of kindness to cities and towns around the country. He is dedicated to doing small acts of kindness for others and has made it his life’s mission to spread kindness across the globe. His passionate keynote presentations have inspired thousands by revealing the secrets to true happiness and how we can all create a better world. Valentine’s Day is one of Michael’s favorite days of the year because it’s a day when we focus on the best in each other.

Find Michael online at www.thekindnesscenter.com.

Thanksgiving Dinner – The Sitcom Sit-down

The holidays are almost here and in theory they should be a time of great joy as we spend precious moments with the people we cherish. Unfortunately for a lot of us that time falls squarely between a sitcom and full-blown horror flick. If they were still making Peanuts cartoons but with a more modern feel, for many of us it would probably be something like, “It’s a dysfunctional family dinner Charlie Brown.”

Whether you are hosting the family dinner or just attending somewhere else, for some reason what should be a safe haven of love and support gets turned into a place you have to emotionally toughen up before walking in the door. If it’s not the delicious aromas of turkey and pie that makes you take a deep breath before ringing the doorbell, what is it?

For starters, you have relatives or friends that can’t be invited at the same time as others, you’ve got an uncle who it’s in everybody’s best interest if you water down his drinks, and there’s always at least one person you know is going to pick apart your life like a buzzard working on a piece of emotional roadkill. The latter can be particularly disturbing when most of us are not facing the easiest of times. All of this leaves Thanksgiving with the potential for the turkey to be stuffed with massive drama!

Before you give it all up and resign yourself to the kiddy table, let’s look at some ways to make the most of these times with family and friends.

First, let’s remember that it is just that, time with the people that mean the most to us. These are people that we know will be there for us through thick and thin. As for Uncle Larry, continue to sneak in the watered down drinks, and if family members are feuding, remember-it’s not your problem. Like I tell my kids, don’t get involved in the drama, and move away from any negative situation.

As for our own worry about being shamed for some of our unfortunate situations, let’s start by not making this a day of playing make believe. It’s time for a little honesty. I’m not saying decorate your house with your dirty laundry but if you’re going through hard times of any sort be honest about them. We stress ourselves out so much with the energy it takes to be “perfect” for the people who should understand us most. To get through any crisis in life we need support. As much as family can tend to judge us and be critical they are there for us. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
Don’t’ be afraid of your family, they really do want to see you succeed. If you are really anxious about the inquiries that will be made by some people who are really labeled as “judgmental” in your tribe, pick up the phone before the big day arrives and let them know what you are going through. While you’re at it, tell them that you are hoping to gain their support and understanding. Many times the people closest to us think they are taking care of us by “fixing” our problems. Let them know if you are just looking to vent, a shoulder to lean on, or maybe not fixing but some positive ideas to guide you through the situation. Hopefully this will lead them to support you in a positive direction and help them keep their negative comments to themselves.

If we can set boundaries and remember what and who are really important in our lives we can get beyond the drama to the love and laughter that should fill our lives more than that extra scoop of mashed potatoes ever could. That said, remember to take time to go around the table to give everyone a chance to talk about what they are truly thankful for.