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.

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.

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.

What do you love about yourself and why?

This article was sent to me by Angela Jones, a plus size model whose passion is to help women break free of trying to be “perfect” and embrace their own true beauty.  I loved this article so much, I asked if I could post it on my blog to share with all of you~

In  Love and Beauty~

Michelle Phillips

Natural Beauties…by Andrea Dodd

That was the premise of our evening. Angela and I – giddy to induce an awakening, or enlightening at best; planned the second event of it’s kind, for Plus Size Models Unite. Our lovely guests offered their vulnerable hearts in the truths they imparted on the topic… what they love about themselves. What they would tell their 13-year-old selves. How do you define beauty?

Looking around the table, I was amazed at the purge of innocence. We all seemed to struggle with the first question… but allowing time to let it resonate offered real definition. If only this event was nationally recognized… what a beauty movement it could be.

As our evening progressed, our purpose broke the surface. Walls fell. Honesty rose from depths… some harder and darker than others. But, the climate was safe, radiating with an energy of feminine confidence. An understanding. We are all susceptible to the societal and cultural biases of the way a woman’s body “should” look. Some able to see through the noise. Some, if affected at just the precisely impressionable moment; are left forever fighting for clarity. So many factors shape a woman’s paradigm of beauty. Consequently, a softening of current “beauty” standards must occur. What we love about ourselves has to become the topic–not what we despise. Let the change we fight for be noble, not superficial.

Our daughters are watching.

I propose acceptance and truth. It’s there that we will find peace with our perfect imperfections and embrace our natural beauty.

Andrea Dodd

What do you love about yourself and why?

My face tells you exactly what I’m thinking~ my eyes really are the window to my soul. My smile is my truth. I love the physical strength of my body, and my endurance of my soul to obtain peace and live there ~ gratefully basking in my blessings.

How do you define beauty?

Confidence. Grace. Healthy mind and body. A strong laugh. Good posture. Defining best attributes in style and make-up. Never excusing flaws.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

Be a little more daring. Don’t worry so much about your frizzy curly hair and crooked teeth. You are strong and loving. Your body is exactly as it should be and you’re loved because you’re YOU. And, one day you’ll have a fame-worthy smile, so say’s your best friend you just met, 12 years later.

Heidi Brager

What do you love about yourself and why?

I like my eyes. They link me to my family. I can express my moods with my eyes and how I make them up. They can be innocent or they can be smokey and sultry. They can be tired and sad or delighted. The eyes are the windows to the soul.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is how you feel. How you carry yourself. I love seeing women discover their own beauty when they see themselves in a new way or through a new perspective.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

Stop trying to be something you’re not. Own who you’re feeling you are. One day you’ll be happy that you are you. And, don’t get in that tanning bed!

Jill Kramer

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love that I know I’m a good person. I’m real, honest, and I laugh a lot and I pay attention to the little things. I listen when people talk, and I believe that day+day+day=your life. The little things matter. I want to make sure the people in my life know how amazing they are and how happy & lucky & blessed I feel to have them in my life. I want to make them feel unique and special.

How do you define beauty?

Real, true, honest beauty shines from within. Real beauty is honest and real. Good, sincere, genuine people are stunning. With a sense of humor, and passion are beautiful. Be passionate about what you believe in and who you are. Beauty follows.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have goals, be curious-but enjoy and savor each and every day along the way. Take time to find beauty, happiness, laughter & joy in the smallest, most simple things. Worry is the misuse of imagination. Laugh. Be trustworthy. Have integrity and be true to yourself. Seek wisdom in the ages but look at the world through the eyes of a child…see its beauty.

Kelsey Schalock

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love my freckles!! I think what makes me unique and special is my ability to make people laugh. I try to find the best in any situation.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is something that can only be found in the eye of the beholder, but to me, a beautiful person is someone who is down to earth, full of life, caring, and courageous.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

I would tell myself the sky is the limit.

Cortney Covert

What do you love about yourself and why?

I like that I’m compassionate, sensitive and I like that when I put my mind to something…I can do anything. I’m a good mom and very loyal.

How do you define beauty?

Being confident, and secure in who you are and just truly be a good person.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

Don’t sweat the small stuff and embrace your body. Don’t worry what other people think and be confident in who you are as a person. Always love yourself.

Nicole Firestone

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love that, as I get older, wrinklier, and flabbier, I become more content with who I am. I trust my instincts more. I like my eyes. I think their honest and patient. Special ~ I have an insatiable desire to understand the human soul.

How do you define beauty?

Confidence. The willingness to take chances knowing you’ll look like a fool. Admitting your mistakes ad imperfections. Humility mixed with reason.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

No matter where you go–you’re always there! Sooner or later, you have to really dig deep and face yourself. Also, be kind to yourself. You are your own worst enemy and the best friend you’ll ever have.

Trust yourself.

Sarah Howell

What do you love about yourself and why?

I love my eyes and arms. Why? My eyes were something I grew up hating and my arms…I grew to love my arms. They are like my grandma’s big and buff and it reminds me how hard of workers we are. My eyes are from my mom. When I see them, I think of her. I’m a survivor. I’ve been strong my whole life.

How do you define beauty?

Your soul! What is in your heart. Everyone is beautiful in a different way. Whether it is your eyes, lips, butt, etc. everyone has something that makes them unique and beautiful…everyone.

What would you tell yourself at the age of 13?

Stop worrying about what other people think you look like. Love what you have been given. We are all beautiful!

A Case of the “What Ifs”

Isn’t it incredible how fear can nearly paralyze us and it isn’t until we really hit a major crisis that we see how strong we are? Strength comes from many different things. Mainly from going through a lot of negative experiences and through the process of overcoming these experiences we gain more strength and learn how to be tough, be strong, and plow through.

However, a lot of us still have fear to take the next step in life that is needed to go in the direction that we truly want to go in. This does not involve the type of strength that appears suddenly when hit with crisis. Most of us don’t take the steps necessary to go for our dreams because we think we are not going to be strong enough to take on what it involves to go there. Or we are afraid of failure? Or success? What if? Attached to outcomes…we all want things to turn out exactly the way we see them…but what if they don’t? Do we have the strength to handle that outcome? Do we have the strength to make it through if it is harder than we thought? What if people around me think I am crazy? What if my spouse doesn’t like me anymore because I am doing things differently? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I take time away from taking care of everyone else? What if I appear selfish? Am I being selfish?

First of all, stop and think of all of the things that will be positive about the changes you will make. Write them down. What if it does create everything you have always wanted? What if your journey takes you in a different direction than anticipated, yet it is still better than where you are now. What if your new experiences create such positive energy and excitement despite the difficulties that come with change? What if you find that you are an even more incredible person than you ever thought you were capable of becoming? What if you do have the strength to handle anything that comes your way? What if people turned around after you started your journey and noticed how incredible your life is becoming because you took a risk, believed in yourself, and no matter what, the process made you stronger, created positive change and now your friends and family are coming to you for advice on how to improve their lives? YEAH??? Well, I can tell you that most likely the positive things that I just mentioned will occur. Now are you scared? If you only knew what you truly are capable of…you would never fear again.

6 months to live – try 4 years and counting!

One of the greatest inspirations you could ever have to be a better person and give back is my friend Lori Zudell. She has been one of the guiding lights in my life and I hope her story will be for you as well. Upon coming up with the idea for the show, “Courage and Grace”, I could think of no one better to highlight than her!

Diagnosed with colon cancer and given 6 months to live, today she not only is she alive… she THRIVES!. And that was 4 years ago. Since the taping of this interview she has gone on to do amazing things in the area of Healing Arts. Check out her website http://www.helpingyouthrive.com . This is one of my stories from the Courage & Grace Series. If you have a story of Courage & Grace to share. Please make a post or contact me.