You & Your Body Image

ImageI know most people do not like their body. According to an article by glamour magazine that surveyed 300 women of all sizes found…Our research found that, on average, women have 13 negative body thoughts daily—nearly one for every waking hour. And a disturbing number of women confess to having 35, 50 or even 100 hateful thoughts about their own shapes each day.

Psychology Today said, currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders. 

WOW!! that is some serious stuff. Not too surprising, but I still don’t think that most women understand that the majority feel the same way—there is always something we don’t like in the mirror.

MY BODY IMAGE. When I was in High School I was this little thing (under 100 lbs) and even on my wedding day everyone raved about how tiny my waist was. I grew up with people wondering if I had an eating disorder (which I didn’t) but it definitely didn’t help my self-esteem having people accuse me. I had one of my boyfriends mother’s flat out ask me if I had been throwing up in the bathroom after a meal we had just all enjoyed at a restaurant. Talk about embarrassing. No, just a small bladder. I had camp leaders tell me I exercised too much when I went on a hike with a couple girlfriends. Sure, I was small, but I honestly didn’t have an eating disorder.

I truly didn’t even understand eating disorders until I was in college and it seemed all the boxes of cereal we were buying were gone–quick. One of my room mates would binge and purge and she would spend an hour in the shower, my heart sank for her. Then I began to understand a couple of my younger sisters had the same problem. I ached for their emotional emptiness, but I truly did not understand.

My body issues have evolved over having a daughter and gaining 60 lbs, my husband’s porn problem (that mentally & emotionally messes with you), having people say, “Didn’t you use to be a hottie” , a brother telling me that I “use to be skinny like his wife”, my Mom talking about how skinny she was & then telling me “you’ve gained weight”, never feeling comfortable in a swim suit, not liking pictures of myself and no one taking pictures of me….It can mentally mess with you. But, I also haven’t liked having my picture taken. Who does?

 

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BEGIN TO SEE SOMETHING YOU LOVE. Well, I just recently came across some good info. to share with you about body image, taking a good look at yourself in the mirror and finding the little things you do like and allowing those to shine.  I just listened to a podcast with Vivienne McMaster, she has a blog called “Be Your Own Beloved.” Don’t you just love that name. It just sings to the soul and you want to know more. She has an amazing story of self-loathing, depression and beginning again each day to try and find something beautiful in nature, your surroundings, yourself. Here is her site http://www.viviennemcmasterphotography.com

BEGIN AGAIN. The funny thing is, I just began to take a couple pictures of myself last week. I always frowned at “selfies” as vain, too me.me. but I am slowly beginning to see that just a little picture of your feet, your hands touching a flower, your face at an angle you like—can lead to little bits of self-love. You can find something you like about yourself, so if you have a hard time looking at yourself in the mirror, begin again. Take a little step, a little snap of your camera phone and find a little piece of yourself that you lost. Hopefully, little by little we will all begin to focus on the truly beautiful things we see—in ourselves.

 

BEST BEFORE AND AFTER I recently had this video sent to me from my sister–it is great–check it out.

http://www.upworthy.com/the-story-behind-one-of-the-best-before-and-after-photos-ive-ever-seen?g=2&c=ufb1

 

DOVE BEAUTY PATCH If you haven’t seen this video by Dove–Dove Beauty Patch–check it out. So good!!

 

Here are some final thoughts from celebrities..

.ImageImageImageImageWell, I hope all of this info. will make you take a step in a better direction for yourself. That you may find some little something about you that you can love. When we begin to truly see things we can love—that will spread and that will be a Bea-YOU-tiful thing.

Peace and lots of LOVE to you.  -Heather

 

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Live your DASH

In the states today is Memorial Day, so I thought about the gift of being alive, having this day, remembering those we love and appreciating this moment. There is a beautiful poem by Linda Ellis that I wanted to share, incase you have never heard it. Here is a short film that shares this beautiful sentiment of living your dash. Enjoy.

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Here is the link: http://youtu.be/zsY6UrFIsNs

 

Enjoy today.

Peace to you. Heather

Heaven is Closer than we think

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I do think Heaven is closer than we have any idea, who is to stay. I recently went to see the movie “Heaven is for Real” and it was an amazing story full of heart, seeking truth, faith, hope, wonder…many emotions. It made me look at myself and wonder what I would do if my young child had gone through a similar experience. 

The closest experience I have ever had to heaven was when my brother was 16 years of age and was fighting demons daily. I could tell you a little bit about dark angels because I was living with one at the time. My brother had a darkness, a frightening reality of desperately wanting to leave this world, so much that he had conversations with me about how he would take his life. I was only 17 at the time and the discussions worried me to my core and I did not know how to deal or help him.  

One night I came in my front door from a date, it was late & I heard the garage door open. I looked outside, the door was closed, no one was in the garage. I was puzzled & my mind raced remembering my brother telling me how he would take one of the cars and simply drive off a cliff. Right then, I heard the garage door again. I looked into the garage and saw my brother sitting in the drivers seat of our mini-van. I didn’t hesitate, I jumped in the passenger seat and began to find out what he was thinking. There was a eery, darkness in his eyes, a gloss that seemed to be distant and he seemed to not even be there. I was worried and I began to get emotional, begging him to stay, knowing what his intentions were, I told him I wasn’t leaving & buckled my seat belt. He glared at me with no emotion on his face, “there are other ways.” Right then, I knew I was fighting an endless battle. He was right, there were many ways he could take his life. I seemingly talked him off a ledge and convinced him to come inside the house with me. He took off down to the basement where his room was. I ran upstairs in a panic & woke my parents begging them for direction, and emotionally pleading that he was going to try and take his life. My Dad went into the garage and came back upstairs, “he won’t be going anywhere,” he replied. I laid on the floor listening to every movement in the basement, praying inside, unsure of what we could do. All sorts of unsettling images filled my heart and soul & I was afraid of what may happen. I kept praying. 

Suddenly, the door to the garage slammed. Me and my Dad just sat there motionless, just listening and then a car engine fired up and screeched out of the garage. My Dad literally flew over our railing and raced out the front door. I watched in fear as my brother sped down our street in our brand new Ford Taurus. My Dad was dazed and confused because he had disabled the starters in both cars.  My parents and I didn’t know what else to do, we held hands and began to pray. Honestly, the only thought I remember from that prayer was when my mother said, “You know when every sparrow falls.” That one line did give me a little peace & I was able to go to sleep that night. 

The next morning, I jumped out of bed and ran to my parents, “have you seen him?” My Dad told me that he had come in early and just had a gash on his head, but the car was in the canyon. I couldn’t believe it. I went down stairs to find my brother lying on the heater with a blanket over him. I asked him if he was okay & he showed me the gash on his head. I was grateful he was alive.

The police searched the canyon for hours & when they did find the car, it was totaled. A dime that was on the car floor was actually bent in half. It was a miracle that my brother was alive. 

When I asked my brother what happened, all he could tell me was he remembered driving down the canyon and the song “Devil inside” was playing and he drove off the cliff. He didn’t wear his seat belt thinking that would help end his life, but ironically when the car rolled it threw him out into a snow bank. My brother was wearing shorts and a light parka, was knocked unconscious & woke up in a snow bank. The only thing wrong with him was a headache from the gash on his head. He literally walked from the canyon floor up to a road & luckily a delivery truck was coming down the mountain from a nearby ski resort. The guy gave him a ride home.

The point of my story–if there are dark angels, there truly are angels of light, right. If miracles happen, then heaven is there helping us along. ABSOLUTELY.

 

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I wanted to share some other angel stories to show that heaven is truly closer than we think–enjoy.

AMAZING YOUNG ARTIST: This story was a side story in the movie “Heaven is for Real” but it is an amazing story, so I thought I would add the link from the story done on CNN. AMAZING. Just watch.

 

ANGEL STORIES: Here is a link to some angel stories from guidepost http://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/angels-on-earth/guardian-angels   –take what you will. Read what inspires, there may be a story that touches your heart and places a little piece of heaven where you need it most.

ANGEL QUOTES:

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-Peace to you. Heather

The ‘Golden Lists’

ImageFor Mother’s Day I took the day and spent the entire day lounging with my little family. It was the best Mother’s Day yet!! There is something in gifting yourself a day, not feeling pulled or manipulated into having to be somewhere else. I wasn’t selfish about it, I just gifted my husband’s mom an earlier Mother’s Day dinner and figured I see my mom every day (since she lives with us), so I decided to take the day and do nothing but be with my two favorite people. It was priceless, reading sweet letters they wrote me, enjoying meals together and then just popping in a few good movies that we thought would be enjoyable. It was a touch of relaxation and togetherness that we all needed.

One of the movies we enjoyed was called, The Ultimate Life. My favorite part—‘The Golden List’– I loved seeing a man wave his finger in the air as if writing a letter to God, thanking him for at least 10 things from the day!! Sure, we have all heard over and over about the gift of gratitude, but you can never hear it enough. I find that when I am not keeping a gratitude journal or golden list—my life definitely shifts and things are tougher. There is a key in having an attitude of gratitude, so ‘the golden list’ was a good twist.

 

ImageTO SEE: This especially rang true when I heard the following story that was shared by my sister. My sister has been going through a divorce & it has been tough on her whole family, so she was humbled by the following experience. My sister works in an eye clinic & a women came in for a scheduled appointment, she was about my sisters age (34) and as they sat and chatted in the waiting room my sister realized that this woman too was divorced and had a son that she was raising. They talked about the challenges of going through divorce, especially with children, but my sister was struck with a grateful heart when she heard this woman’s son was autistic. My sister couldn’t even fathom how it would be to raise a child with autism and be divorced. My sister was grateful to have two healthy kids. My sister watched the woman go in for her appointment and wondered why she was in their office. Most of the people who visit the eye clinic are in for cataracts, meds for vision problems because of old age, etc. but this was a young woman.

Further into the visit my sister sat in on part of the woman’s visit as the doctor told this woman she would never be able to drive again. The woman had a vision disorder that took over most of her eyes, so it would be like having two nickels covering your eyes and you could only see slightly from your peripheral vision. My sister’s heart sank again for this woman. How could she raise a child, especially an autistic child and not be able to see or drive.

As my sister shared this story, everyone’s heart broke a little at the thought of how this woman would be able to handle such a trauma. It made us all realize how blessed we are & it was a definite item on our ‘golden list’ before bed last night…”the gift of sight’

 

 

ImageTO RIDE: This is a personal story that happened last week while I was bike riding with my eleven year old daughter. My daughter struggles sometimes with gratitude, so I find myself on occasion sharing stories, insight, life lessons, hoping they will sink in eventually. While we were biking my daughter started to get mad, frustrated and started yelling, “this is so stupid. I hate this!” I have a really hard time with negativity and poor attitudes, so I chimed her on, “You can do this, we are more than half way. You are doing great.” She continued with the complaints, so while we were riding I shared with her a story of a close family friend. This is what I told her..”Kate, you need to focus on being grateful that you can even ride your bike, that you have strong legs to bike and dance and walk…we had a guy we knew who was struck with an illness and was going to loose one of his legs and you know what happened?” Kate begin to wonder, “what?” she inquired solemnly. “He decided if he was going to loose his leg that he was going to enjoy his last ride & biked all the way to the hospital where they were going to amputate it. He knew that would be his last ride with both of his legs. Can you imagine how he felt? I want you to bike and feel your strong body and be grateful that you can ride, that this is not your last.” She was quiet the whole rest of the way home.

 

ImageWhat a humbling thought. We take so much for granted, even just being able to walk, to see, to hear, to taste yummy food, to be free…free to pray, free to read any book, free to your own opinion. We are given so many gifts each day and we fail to miss them if we don’t take the time to look around, to truly take in the gifts, to get grateful and make a special ‘golden list.’

What will be on your golden list for today?

Are you going to look at your fingers differently & admire how they can type, mold bread dough, hold your child’s little hands, turn the key in your car, plant flowers, feel textures.

Are you going to look at what you see differently…are you going to enter a shopping store through the garden center to see the beautiful details, are you going to walk through your yard and look deeply at the colors, are you going to take the time to see the stars or a sunset or just gaze into someone’s eyes that you love.

Are you going to look at moving your body differently…are you going to stop putting off that bike ride or go on a walk at lunch, what about walking to work or the grocery store, what about that exercise class you have been putting off because you will feel silly—move before it gets harder, don’t take movement for granted, get out and take your kids on a walk or run, appreciate all the details within that lift your arm, that signal your brain to look left or right, the nerves that are so tiny, but make up a huge system that makes you move. Your body is a miracle.

Are you going to look at what you hear differently…don’t curse the morning bird song, listen and enjoy, when your baby cries be grateful she is breathing, listen to beautiful music that soothes your soul, appreciate the artists that were inspired to create such a gift for you to hear, listen to the waves crash, when it rains stop and listen to the patter on the roof, turn the television off and just listen to the silence, listen to the leaves move within the trees branches…

There are so many things to think about: the food we taste and enjoy, having running water, food in abundance, nature, learning and growth, laughter, inspired people, television shows that inspire good things, the quick access of so much information on the internet (there are so many good things–dont focus on the bad stuff :), new experiences, places to always aspire to go, life lists, people we haven’t met yet, lifelong friends, memories, beauty, sunlight, moonlight, animals, health, home, family, so many things…what will yours include? TODAY.

Hope this post gets you thinking about how you are blessed and gifted with so many golden promises.

Peace to you. -Heather

 

Parenting with Spirit part II

Here is my second part of highlights from the book, Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett. I jump all over with the ideas I liked and wanted to take note of, so bare with me & take what you want, with the understanding that there is so much more contained in the rest of her book. This is just a glimpse of goodness!!

“Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.” -Julia Cameron, Artist’s Way

Taken from the book Parenting with Spirit by Jane Bartlett:

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Encourage your children to take a short moment of calm before they begin their creative pursuit. This may take the form of a little prayer or simple breathing exercise. 

Invite your children to draw a picture or play a piece of music as part of their nighttime prayer ritual. [I think this would be a good daytime prayer activity as well] They could draw a picture of those things that they want to say thank you to God for, or  a picture of those who are in special need of God’s love right now. They could choose to play a piece of music tat sums up the spirit of the day. 

Use your children’s creative work when you hold family rituals. If you are celebrating spring, this is the time to get your children to paint daffodils or whirl around the hours to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.    [I have a picture my daughter drew right now on my fridge that is a piece in ‘perspective’–I look at it and remember to always keep things in ‘perspective’]–

Place your children’s creative achievements somewhere special.This lets your children know that their art is worthy of this very special place in the home, and helps them make the connection between their creative life and worship.

Encourage your children to express their feelings about nature. When you go to the park or out into the countryside, take art materials with you so your children can express their experience of nature through images or words.  

[I have been drawn to Andy Goldsworthy’s art lately—he has such a way of using rocks, colorful leaves, space, twigs, etc to create amazing pieces of art from nature. You could take your kids out and collect items to create your own natural creation]

When your children’s artwork becomes explicitly sacred in this way, be extra mindful about the ways in which you respond to it. Treat it with care and reverence, for it has emerged from a very tender part of their being–their soul. By letting them witness that their soul creations are worthy of your complete, loving attention, you are conveying to your children the powerful message that they matter very much.

 

ImageGlorify God in your BODY:  The physical fitness, suppleness, and energy are all God’s gifts to children, and as spiritual parents we must provide ample opportunity for them to enjoy what they have been given.

Yoga: Children’s yoga teachers say that the practice, as well as being good for fitness and health (it’s particularly helpful for asthma), sharpens a child’s ability to focus and helps to develop self-discipline–both essential for the spiritual path. The meditative aspects of yoga enable children to become aware that they have an internal life, “which really helps children get to know themselves.”

Family Walks: Walking in nature is one of the most popular ways in which to relax and feel connected to creation; it is something that we naturally seem to want to do to calm and renew ourselves.  

[I can chime in on the importance of family walks: we have a beautiful, natural path near our home and when anyone in our family is stressed or in need of any kind of relaxation–the path is the cure. It is easy to get lost in the leaves swaying, the bird songs, the way the light plays, etc. There is a healing that nature holds & our soul connection finds peace abundant.]

 

ImageThe importance of PLAY: the word “silly” derives from the Germanic selig, meaning ‘blessed.’ 

Silly games to play with your children before they grow up: toe game “this little piggy went to the market”, Splash tag: an outdoor game in which the person who is ‘it” tries to catch others by hitting them with a wet sponge, make crazy hats to wear to dinner, jump waves at the beach, paint crazy faces on each other or do shaving cream beards, blow up balloons and keep them all going up in the air, balance a ball on your finger, etc.

Vacations: When we go away we have the opportunity to experience life differently. From a spiritual perspective, think of your family vacations no as an escape but as an arriving. If you have been living in a flat and meaningless way, this may be the antidote that you all need. Don’t just take your bodies on vacation; take your family soul too.

 

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Practice Loving Family Discipline:

In it’s origins “discipline” comes from the Latin word for “instruction,” and a “disciple” is a student under the leadership of a teacher. For me, child discipline is more about training than punishment; used wisely it is guidance to ensure that childen become the best human beings they can be.  [I LOVED this!! I thought this made such great sense—you don’t need to use harsh punishment—loving guidance]

Quiet time: “Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of the gods,” -Ralph Waldo Emerson   This could be parent quiet time and also family quiet time. Spritual practice for Parents: Sneak a minute of silence into your life as part of your daily routine. If you look for it, sixty seconds of quiet can be found in the most unlikely places. You might find it at your desk before you start work. Or it could be while waiting for a saucepan to boil, or in the car after you have dropped off all the kids. 

[in our home quiet time can be a half hour of reading or just listening to quiet music, turning off the television, the electronics and just being still for awhile. Slowing down, having moments of quiet is so necessary to find any space of calm or spirit].

 

She has so much more including the importance of cutting down on tv time, pets, the importance of nature, community, big questions, manners, and so much more. If you have liked the information that I have shared in the past two posts–I would suggest buying her book and helping it nourish every part of the necessary needs of your family.

Have an amazing day. Thank you so much for taking the time to invest in this little blog. It means so much. Thank you.