My whole life for as long as I can remember I have had a deep and primal internal drive whose job it has been to propel me forward... into the next job, house, or project. This drive was like a motor with the power and throttle of a speed boat, almost always on, sometimes in neutral (not often) and never completely off to just float in the water. It was constantly moving under the surface to do better, be better and have better.
I received a lot from this motor, for years it had been necessary for my survival. It propelled me out of a small-minded suburb... into college, later graduate school, then up the corporate ladder, out to California and eventually it catapulted me into the courage to leave my six-figure job to pursue my passion to teach, write and speak about self-love (a passion I only found on one of those rare occasions I let myself float with the motor off.)
But somewhere in the past three years, I began to see the cost of the continuously running motor, and I began to see the deeply ingrained patterns that ran me ragged...
COST: I had become the gas station slave to my life (and this motor),,, I worked harder and more than I had to because I had to fuel the motor with MY energy. This meant I had to work almost all the time. Sure I could take short breaks but I had to be ready to go back to fueling because eventually the motor would need more fuel, and as the gas attendant I was the only one to do it, in my mind. My internal psyche was hard wired to believe that I had to put the energy into my book, courses, websites, or whatever wouldn't generate the energy needed to sustain my life and my business. I had tons of faith in the universe to provide me opportunities, to show me the way and to be there when I fell... but I did not trust (or know how to trust) that it would do the majority of the fueling for me.
PATTERN: I have to drive and strive in order to survive. This "Carrot Chasing Pattern", and all Carrot Chasing Patterns keep us always chasing 'tomorrow' for the day 'when' XX will be true. Up until my early 30s, I had chased the carrot of happiness, the belief that a new house, job or anything external would make me 'happy.' At the age of 33, when I finally gave up that carrot and got that happy had to come from inside of me, I started chasing another carrot... I have enough of XX to finally relax, breathe, let go. For me that looked like beliefs - many subconscious, some not -- like "If I got XX book sales, or get on national TV or have XX amount of money then finally I wouldn't feel this massive pressure to strive, drive and make my life, my dreams and my intentions happen.
But the truth is that just like my happiness, the day that I will finally feel like I can relax, let go, breathe and trust that I am indeed taken care of will never come from an external measure like money, time, or achievements. It has to come from inside of me first. If I believe somewhere inside of me that I have to drive and strive to survive, I will continue to push myself until I fall over in exhaustion (which I have.)
We all have these self-sabotaging patterns, beliefs and habits that drive us, that take us away from what our hearts and souls truly want, the problem is that most of us have no idea that they are the one fueling that motor that never seems to shut off. The way I found this striving/driving carrot chasing pattern - and the way I find most of my patterns is through one of my 40-day self-love practices, this one called the Summer of Self-Love, designed to teach women, including ME, how to release the self-sabotaging pattern and pressure off of having to do, be and have it all... and replace it with the self-loving habit of "Receiving"
Here is how it happened...
On Day 7 of our RECEIVING practice, my power boat hit a brick wall. I awoke with an excruciating pain on my left side. I NEVER get sick, but on this day my body said different. I sat up, ouch! I got out of bed and couldn't stand straight... I crawled back into bed, totally confused.
I looked over to my partner Noah's nightstand and his deck of Doreen Virtue's Angel oracle cards lit up as if to get my attention (oracle cards are decks of cards in which each card contains a message, piece of wisdom or inspiration.) Now, I NEVER use his Angel cards. But then again, I was having a NEVER kind of day, so I reached over (ouch), opened the box, held the Angels in my hand and asked, "Angels, what do I need to "do" to RECEIVE today?" The card I pulled was, no kidding, "CLEAR YOURSELF... ask the angels to absorb any toxic energies you have absorbed." Hmmm. that made sense! I clearly had some toxins stuck in my kidneys making the left one hurt like heck.
Over the following 2 days, I visited my acupuncturist, drank weird herbs, slept, got angry that I was sick, blamed myself for being sick (yes, I get mad at myself for being sick), and the evening of third day, at the urging of my girlfriend to just let myself be sick, I finally surrendered and gave myself permission to ENJOY being sick, in bed. Within 24 hours, I realized three things:
1. I had been getting the message to slow down since we started the receiving practice, but I couldn't find the throttle to turn off the motor. I didn't know how to slow down to the speed the universe was asking me to, so I smashed myself into a brick wall (aka ouch side pain.)
I have had a pattern for my entire lifetime that I no longer need, and that I am finally ready to release. My pattern, tied to my basic survival, was that if i wasn't striving or driving then I was not surviving. I released that pattern and in it's place, I installed the belief that I am a finely tuned instrument in the universe's orchestra, and I know that as such I am always taken care of. I will play my best, take care of myself so I can play with the most power possible, and that is very different energy than striving.
I love floating. I remember as a kid, that I had a hard time learning how to float, I always sank. I think I had a hard time trusting that I could float on my own. So one of my favorite things to do at our summer cottage became to get on one of those big plastic floats, float in the lake in the sun, knowing that I was held by the float and it by the water. Only then could I relax. I was only 7 - patterns start early!
We all have patterns that keep us from receiving... that keep that striving, driving, surviving, motor running.
I INVITE you to ask yourself these two questions to uncover and transform your patterns so that you too can learn a deeper level of trust and open yourself up to receive.
1. What is/are the underlying motivation, fear, or belief that keeps you driving, pushing, striving, always doing, or trying to make it happen? Think back through your life and look at the circumstances and experiences. You will find you answer there. Pick one pattern and make the choice to shift it. Once you bring it to awareness, the universe will meet you to help you make the shift.
2. Can you float? And do you? Do you spend ample time floating, and do you trust the universe to hold you up when you do? What beliefs and patterns can you shift or embrace to give you more floating time and more access to the universe fueling your tank?
I will leave you with this thought... a wise, happy and wealthy man once told me that the key to success was to spend your energy getting to a stream that was already running and then allow that stream to carry you. People who work way harder than they have to, and put too much pressure on themselves, he said, those are the people who spend all their energy trying to create their own stream.
So this summer, I invite us all to paddle over the stream that is running fully with the energy of the divine feminine and masculine, and let them be the fuel that powers us as we play as finely tuned instruments in their symphony of life. I'm here on my float, trusting, paddle on over!
On June 22nd, I along with hundreds of women started on a 40-day virtual retreat called the Summer of Self Love... our mission? To take the pressure of having to do, be and have it all off... and to apply instead the power to RECEIVE all the love, happiness and peace we work so hard to attain.
You see, we are achievers... we've been bred to believe that we have to do, do, do, and we do, we are great doers! We get more done than most, and we do it well. We have big hearts and lots of energy so we give a lot - to the people and things we love and care about. BUT the truth is that we are NOT great receivers.
We work harder than we have to. We are more comfortable doing than being. We are pros at driving and striving, novices at relaxing and allowing things to unfold. We believe we have to make it happen. And we are tired. Exhausted.
Isn't there a different way?
In the past three years, I have been on my own personal mission to find this way... as a woman dedicated to bringing more and more self love to myself and to the world, I am convinced that we have created lives that are unsustainable (and not self-loving... and while we all want to take care of ourselves, we find it almost impossible.
The truth is that the hippies of the 60s really had something right - all we really want in life is peace, love, happiness and freedom. It's why we all work so darn hard, isn't it. But what I have discovered over the past three years is that we never fully open to receive all that we work so hard for. Why? Cuz we are blocked.
Following are seven blocks I discovered after spending one year and 40 days learning how to receive. As you read each one, notice which you employ the most, and then use the questions at the end of this posting to start transforming your non-receiving pattern into a self-loving Feminine Super Power of RECEVING:
7 WAYS WE BLOCK TO RECEIVING...
Chasing the Carrot Syndrome. Always living for the day I will be X. Happy, thin, in love, etc. You are always in the future. You are future focused, not present focused. It's like being at the best 4th of July Fireworks, and thinking about your Christmas presents - you miss the fireworks, and feel unfulfilled.
Force vs Power. You rely totally on your man powers to make it happen, instead of your feminine super powers. You control. You are always moving and doing, because you are used to pushing. And when you are always pushing there is no space for anything to come in. This is like the woman who goes out search for a man, instead of putting out the vibration for him to come into her life. She has a plan, a strategy, she's on the dating sites, she uses a lot of her own energy to make it happen. She doesn't listen to her intuition or have any sense that there are things outside of her control. Now compare that to Sophia Loren, who uses her feminine power to the millionth degree. She just stands there, vibrates off energy, and attracts men to her, little effort, no sweat... even at the age she is today! Talk about Aphrodite energy.
Energizer Bunny Syndrome. Cannot Turn Yourself Off. You are always going going doing doing so again there is NO space for anything to come in. And you are the one doing it all, till you drop. Ex. You have a mind that always moves. You can't relax. In fact relaxing makes you twitch. You don't know how to "be", and maybe even see the value in 'Being', after all how much can you really get done if you are being? (hint, alot!). You may also be the type of person who thinks they can't meditate. You are addicted to doing.
Disconnected from Source. There is an abundant universe that wants to give you many many gifts. When you think you have to do it all on your own, when you don't have a daily practice where you connect to source, when you don't operate on faith, or are over attached to outcomes, you are out of the flow, and you are not receiving all you could. When you cut the flow off you have to work way harder.
Atlas Syndrome - Over-responsibility. You take everything on because you can do so much but then you end up with the entire world on your shoulders. You see something that needs to be done, so you do it. You volunteer even though you are already busy. You overcommit and then stress out because you have so much to do (although you always get it done.) Often, you think you are the only one that can do it right. You pride yourself in your maniac multi-tasking abilities. And then you get mad and burnout, because you know what, carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders is too heavy, even for you.
Master of the Universe Complex. You try to control it all. Organizing it. Covering all the possibilities. You don't let anything fall through the cracks, and you'll work extra long and hard to make sure everything nothing can go wrong. Trust, Surrender, Accept, are not words you live by. You may be prone to stuffing your feelings... don't have time to fall apart. You would rather know exactly what is going to happen, plan for all possibilities. You really aren't into allowing things to happen. Stepping into the unknown is not your favorite thing to do.
Closed Heart - to yourself or to others. Your heart isn't open fully to give or receive love. You've built Fort Knox around your heart. You've learned to protect yourself. Vulnerability is not your strength and you aren't even sure if you would want it to be. No one, not even you, gets totally into the softest parts of you. And when it comes to loving yourself, lets just say that if people could see how mean you are to yourself, they would call the authorities.
WHICH BLOCK DO YOU HAVE... then ask yourself the question?
What is the benefit?
What is the cost?
What is the truth?
What is the consequence of admitting the truth?
I invite you to become aware of which of these blocks show up in your
life... the entire 40-day practice of the Summer of Self Love is built
to open up these blocks. You can learn more about the practice at www.summerofselflove.com
I've never been a big breakfast person, but over the years I developed certain A.M. habits that seem to fit my sensibility and my body needs, or so I thought. The whole-wheat bagel with butter and agave. The scrambled egg whites (okay well sometimes just whites). The organic turkey sausage patties, never links, from Whole Foods. Yummy vanilla granola with a dollop of Nancy's organic yogurt and a squirt of Agave. Way better diet than the Coco Puffs and Snap Crackle Pop I was brought up on, and way tastier than the Cream of Wheat my mother tried to force feed me during the cold winter months growing up in Chicago.
And then I met Shakaya Breeze (her name even sounds like a shake!) I am not sure how it even happened. What started as a phone call inviting me to be on her super duper wellness tele-series as a guest -- which I did and loved -- turned into her daring me to try her raw shake recipes and drink my breakfast. All this before she even knew that I had been contemplating doing a cleanse and a 40-day self love practice called My Body is My Temple. I took her challenge as a sign from the universe that something needed to change. And I didn't like it.
I told Shakaya, "Sure send me the recipe and I will think about it..." while at the same time underneath my calm and graceful consideration of her invitation, my inner self was screaming in my head, 'Are you flipping kidding me?? Drink our breakfast. No way. We don't do that. We will starve. Our stomach will go crazy by 9am. Only crazy dieters drink their breakfast. We need solid food!' My inner self, scared to death of starvation, kept going, "You don't like raw food. It makes you sick. Every time you try it you feel funny. Shakes are good for people with different body types than you." Now she was getting rational, sneaky.
The truth is I was totally freaked out about the idea of drinking a shake every day for breakfast. Which is exactly why in the end, I took Shakaya up on her invitation (remembering that I love living by invitation!) One of the big reasons I decided to do the 40-day self love practice of My Body is My Temple is because I wanted to challenge all of my beliefs about food. I wanted to rewire any food patterns that were no longer serving me. So even though I didn't want to admit that I had negative food patterns running my life... when my inner self went bezerk and started spewing fear all over the place at the idea of giving up solid yummy staples in exchange for a shake I had no choice but to face the truth. It was time to trade in my breakfast sausage for a shake.
And here is what I learned:
I won't starve. Turns out I can get just as much if not more protein plus other good things for my body by slurping through a straw.
Super foods. Who knew they existed? Chia seeds. Maca powder. Cacao chips. Coconut water. Kiwicha. I found an entire new section in the grocery I never about. These foods go right in the shake and are like super powered with energy that go directly into my cells, making my temple really happy. There's no super food in sausage!
Shakes are meant to be chewed not slurped. I put apples, cacao chips and other things that let me kind of chew my shake, which tells my brain something different than if I just drink it. So it does fill me up. Don't know why it works, just does.
Makes traveling easier not harder. I had to go to NYC for 7 days and was a little concerned I would have a problem doing my shakes, but then I found "NAKED"... not me naked, but the brand of shake. Can pick it up at lots of convenience stores, groceries, etc.
It's faster and it's portable. Enough said. 21st century woman, of course i love this.
It's been way over 40-days now, and I am happy to report that after my 40-day practice of ONLY having my breakfast shake / 7 days a wee, I committed a very self-loving act... I changed my practice to 6 days of breakfast shakes, and one day of whatever I want for breakfast, usually on Sunday. Today, Sunday I had a poppy seed danish, a latte, and what else, but two breakfast sausages!
I invited Shakaya to be my first interview on the My Body is My Moving Temple series on Self Love Studio. To get the free download of our interview, visit http://www.selflovestudio.com
And if you dare to trade in your version of sausage, here are three fabulous Shakaya Breeze recipes...
CREAMY-DREAMY CHAI-LATTE-CHINO TRY TO CONTAIN YOUR EXCITEMENT! This is better than STARBUCKS! I've never drank coffee, but this is so AMAZING it will DELIGHT your tastebuds and soothe your nerves.
1 C raw Cashews 2 C Water 1 frozen Banana 4 pitted Dates or 2 T Honey 1 t Vanilla Extract A few pinches of CARDAMON, CINNAMOM and NUTMEG Blend away to HAPPYLAND...;)
BREAKFAST HAPPINESS IN A BOWL
1 C Almond Mylk ½ C Goji Berries ½ C Chia Seeds 2-3 T Agave Nectar or Maple Syrup pinch Sea Salt pinch of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamon drop of Vanilla ~optional
Pour the mylk into a favorite bowl and add sweetener to-taste along with salt, spice and vanilla. Add goji berries and chia seeds, stir and let set about 15 minutes until it is like tapioca. This is comfort food for the soul and will spread a smile across your heart!
DESSERT SHAKAYA'S KEY-LIME MOUSSE PARTY FOR ONE PARFAIT
3 Limes squeezed 2 Avocado ripe and pitted and peeled 4 T raw Honey A dash of Vanilla 1 C fresh or frozen Berries
PROCESS everything but the berries until creamy and smooth. Layer in a pretty glass with berries in the middle and on top. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Sooooo sweet and tangy, this dessert is a delicious little guilt-free splurge, and you deserve it!
Only a week into the My Body is My Temple self-love practice I've come upon the most disturbing realization.... I've been scheduling my body out of my life for years. No wonder I don't ever feel like I have 'time' to do the things I need to take care of my body... it's only when she acts up or doesn't perform that I pay any attention to her at all.
WOW! Sitting here with this realization of my self-created self-love sabotage, how I wish that I could blame the fact that I never have time for my body on some all-powerful Calendar God who has taken control of my calendar, making it impossible for me to find me time... and making it inconvenient at best to find time to take care of this thing called a body. But the fact is that it is I, me, Christine, who over and over again seems to schedule myself right out of my own life.
That became crystal clear to me last weekend when I found myself at my acupuncturist office on a Saturday morning. I really needed to be in that office four days prior, on Wednesday when the immense pressure and tight stress that had been sitting in my shoulders for days, suddenly moved its way into the entire right side of my body, from my finger to my toe, causing my arm and leg to feel like dead weights vs. healthy active limbs. But when I looked at my schedule and compared it to the open office hours, there was no space for me. My calendar was full of commitments to other people... all great stuff, and all things I love, but all things that meant there would be no time for my body until Saturday.
So my temple and I did the best we could, asking my generous guy Noah to give us spontaneous massages before bedtime, just to do something with the stuck energy sitting in our body. And on Saturday, I made it to see Dr. Feng, After many needles, he said what he often says to me, wise man that he is, "Christine, you must take care of yourself too. When you give and give to everyone else you will have nothing left for yourself.' "Yes, Dr. Feng," I thought, "I have heard that before." But this time I went on to think, "Well, why is it that those words never make it past the Taoist zen of his office?"
And then the Calendar God spoke... or maybe it was my Inner Wisdom that responded, "Uh, because you never schedule yourself into your life. You schedule yourself out of your life, by scheduling everyone and everything else in first." Ahhh! Ancient Chinese Secret! Yes, I get it.
Seeing my life through this new self love lens of "My Body As My Temple" suddenly I got something that I had been missing about this sage advice from Dr Feng. While I was vastly improved on taking me time to do something I enjoyed, I hardly ever took time explicitly for my temple.
My Epiphany... taking time for ME wasn't enough, i have to take ME Temple Time too!
The 40-day self love practice of "Taking Care of ME" that I did from January through Feb 13th had made an impact: I improved at taking ME TIME when it came to 'doing' something I want to do. I could read a book, or start work a little later without guilt.
it didn't address taking care of my BODY, she was still an after thought.
Scheduling time to take care of my body, to do the things SHE wants and needs, hmmm, that hardly ever makes the list. In fact it only seems to make the list when my body and her needs have reached the place of dire straights. Like, my toenail polish is currently half missing... my dentist appointment rescheduled twice.... my refrigerator on it's way to barren... and don't get me started on the underwear again...
And wait, the self-sabotage becomes even more clear... when I walked out of the treatment room at Dr. Fengs on Saturday... I approached the receptionist and said with pride, "I would like to schedule my next appointment with Dr. Feng" (thinking to myself, okay Calendar God, we are going to schedule this temple first!)...
"In fact," I went on to say with pride, "I would like to schedule my WEEKLY appointments for the next month to support My Body as My Temple self love practice."
Her face smiled, my face smiled, both full of happy at the thought of my body receiving such love. And then... my Iphone emerged with news that announced, "You can't do Tuesday, you can't do Thursday, you can't even do next Saturday... you have no body time availability to see Dr. Feng for a week and a half!"
How can that be I thought as I looked again and again at the days and times, asking that poor receptionist at least 10 times, so when again are your office hours? Again and again I searched, and there was nothing. And that is when it struck me...
Christine, you have scheduled yourself right out of your life!
And you know, as much as I hate to admit it, that statement is true. If I am honest, then I have to admit that I have never made my body a priority. It has always been a "thing" I needed to take care of.... And usually only after it acted up in some way. You think I would have gotten to see Dr. Feng if she hadn't started acting up this week. Honestly, no.
And that makes me sad. 1. That I would think of my body as a thing vs a temple. 2. That I would call her an 'it'. And 3. That I haven't made her ME TIME a priority.
Well thank goodness for this 40-day self-love practice, My Body is My Temple!!! Because now I am actually aware of a pattern I didn't really understand. Yes, I am much better at taking ME TIME, but wow, I still have some shifts to make in ME TEMPLE TIME.
So you know what my first action was after I sat their frantically trying to find 'time' on my Iphone calendar while the very very kind receptionist watched me, "I surrendered. I said, okay, next week is what it is. And, the week after I start my ME TEMPLE TIME with Dr. Feng weekly. And I scheduled my body right into my calendar for the entire month of April! And then, wait, I went one step further, I came home and instead of picking up my computer and going right to work, I laid in bed and let the magic of Dr. Feng Temple Time soak in. I am shifting... more self-love on the scene!
Trading 40-Days of Sacrifice for 40-Days of Self-Love!
I had a revelation today on Lent that has nothing to do with religion, but has everything to do with using the power of the universe, or as I am referring to it this year... SOURCE. Remembering that this is the year I use the energy of the season vs. trying to be my own generator system, I saw a great synchronicity between three things - Madly in Love with ME Day, Lent and self love.
First Lent -- Growing up Catholic, I was taught that Lent -- the 40 days of time before Easter -- was all about giving up something you loved for 40-days, a personal symbol of sacrifice. Now I am not sure if I translated that correctly or not, but when I look back at the things I usually gave up - sugar, alcohol, smoking, lying -- what I see now is that what I always gave up was something that wasn't good for me anyway. And although at the time (because I had these not so good habits) it really did feel like some kind of sacrifice. But, what is SO apparent now is that what I was giving up wasn't a sacrifice, I was releasing a bad habit, and that was really good for my soul! The truth was that these substances or behaviors I lived with the other 320+ days of the year, kept me separate from the universe, source, god, whatever you want to call it, and without them I was better off.
Second Madly in Love with ME Day -- What I didn't know growing up - but that I know and use now in my self-love teachings - is that the number 40 is SUPER powerful and it has nothing to do with religious background. The yogis, metaphysicians and brain scientists all agree that if you can do anything for 40 days, you can change patterns, break habits and free yourself. On February 13th - the international day of self-love - I asked every woman in the room with me at the Claremont Resort and Spa to take the challenge of doing a 40-day self-love practice called "Taking Care of ME" which is a practice that makes it easier for us women to take care of ME as well as make a difference and take care of what and who we love -- without exhausting ourselves or feeling guilty.
The practice is this: Every morning before you get out of bed, ask yourself the question... "What do I need to do to take care of ME today?" And whatever it says... you have to do it! No matter what. Especially if feels like 'no way I don't have time. It's the only way to break the crazy patterns in your head.
I myself finished this Taking Care of ME 40-day self-love practice on February 13th (I'd never ask you to do anything I hadn't tried first) and it has changed my life!! Doing this practice broke some pretty deeply ingrained patterns in me. Of course I knew I wanted to take care of myself - we all know that. But my brain couldn't seem to find the 'time.' The problem I learned was not 'time' ... the problem was deep conditioning in me that stemmed from a basic lack of trust that if I wasn't 'DOING' it, it wasn't happening. After 40 days of challenging myself to do life differently, my brain now understands that when I take care of me, stop doing, create space and relax, I get more done because the universe chimes in and helps (along with lots of other people!).
Self-Love, Lent & 40 Days -- So now back to this energy that is SO available for each of us right now - no matter what your beliefs or background are.,I say, lets use Lent as a 40-day period that can be about letting go of patterns that are not self-loving. Let's make it about letting more love into our lives vs. all that hard work, toil and sacrifice business. Many spiritual leaders say that LOVE is the most powerful thing in the universe... not misery or suffering. That LOVE has the potential to change the world, and therefore each one of our lives.
So when you look forward at the next 40-days, what pattern do you want to let go of ... or what energy do you want to invite in to your life... that will bring MORE SELF LOVE to you?
How about the Take Care of ME self-love practice?? or I'm doing a 40-day practice of RECEIVING, where I am repatterning myself to be a better receiver, by using the lens of "Am I receiving?" for every request, offer or situation I find myself in. or A 40-day practice of the Comparison Diet, where you give up comparing yourself to everyone else, including yourself. No judgments or comparisons, just self-love.
Whichever practice you choose, I invite you do so from the energy of self love vs. sacrifice. The energy in which you do anything has the biggest impact on the outcome... just think about it... how much happier and successful are you when you do something out of love vs. when you have to give something up?
Give yourself the gift of the self-love, starting today... and we'll all check in with each other along the way, celebrating in 40-days with the rebirth of a greater SELF than when we started.
The unsustainable lifestyle of the modern day
Feed the kids.Get a raise.Loose the weight.Clean the
house.Wear the lingerie.Whew!It is tiring being a woman these days.We have more opportunities, self-confidence
and independence than any generation of women before, yet something isn't
Why is it so
exhausting?And why do we
always feel like we can never catch up?
Being the recovering achievement junkie that I am, as well as a woman on a quest to really understand all the ways women love and don't love themselves this is the answer I have come up with...
all know that the earth needs to be sustainable in order to survive, we've
failed to realized that WE need to be sustainable in order to thrive. We -- our bodies, our minds, our spirits - are NOT SUSTAINABLE based on how we live today, yet we think we should just be able to downward dog, multi-task or prioritize our way out of this... and it's not working!
Think about how many times you've said to your
girlfriend, "I'm so overwhelmed" or "I'd love to but I don't have time." Or
even worse, remember the times you didn't reach out and instead went to that
dark place of feeling super alone, like the entire world was on your shoulders.
Women today face pressures like no other
generation. We have more opportunities but not more happiness. A recent study
by Time Magazine showed women today are no happier than women were in the
1970s, before the women's movement and equal rights.
Does that mean that equality was bad?No, the feminist movement was hugely
important to raising the standards of life for women around the world, and like
anything it had unintended consequences which we now have to deal with so that
we can figure out what is right for today's woman."
The unintended consequences:
many roles. Mom. Money Maker. And Major Caretaker. 40% of women are the
major breadwinners in their families, and 55% report that they still take care
of most of the responsibilities at home. So you can understand why...
Are Running Themselves Into Exhaustion. It's estimated that 80% of women are so
overworked and stressed that they suffer from adrenal gland fatigue, whether
they know it or not. Women slough off or mistreat the symptoms like weight gain, fatigue,
insomnia, depression, cravings and mood swings, and then, because they aren't
listening to their bodies warning signals, they end up with serious health
concerns like auto-immune and thyroid disease.
Can Women Do About It?
been said that women will change the world, and I firmly believe that, however,
we won'tchange anything if we
don't take care of ourselves first! And we need to support each other to do so.
So this year, I am daring every woman to make 2010 the year she takes care of
herself as well as everything else in her life... without exhausting herself in
THE DARE : a 40-day Self Love Practice
kick off this dare, on February 13th, the international day of
self-love (a.k.a. Madly in Love with ME Day), I'm asking you to commit to a
40-day self-love practice called Taking Care of ME. Every morning for 40-days
before you get out of bed, ask yourself, "What do I need to do to take care of
me today?" And then listen. Whatever it says, you have to do it. Take a nap.
Start work at noon. Whatever.
Why? I know that you want to take care of
yourself, but your brain tells you that you don't have time. And time is so not the issue! You literally need to
reprogram your brain to have new beliefs that support you taking care of you.
Beliefs that you can rest, relax and take care of you... and everything will still be taken care of. Brain scientists, yogis and metaphysicans agree if you can do anything for 40
days you can change your habits.
Do you dare???
MY DARE: What I learned from doing this dare.
I've been doing this self love practice for the past 36 days, and honestly, there have been days it has really kicked my butt! Especially the day it said, 'Do Not start work til noon' and I said, "Are you crazy?" I have a presentation, a zillion things to do and then some. But I made the pact with myself so I had to do it, and I did, and what happened? My entire presentation downloaded into me while I was sitting in the sun at 11am, my intern showed up and did a bunch of stuff, and all the pieces fell into place.
I have been learning to trust. I have been rewiring very deep beliefs that if I don't do it, no one will. If I don't do it, my life will fall apart. And I've come face to face again with my achievement junkie who runs me harder than anyone else ever could.
out this clip from ABC-TV where I talk about my 40-day Taking Care of ME Dare.
I wouldn't ask you to do anything I hadn't done myself!
It's day 15 of my 40 day self-love practice of Taking Care of ME first, and I have to laugh. I often call myself a recovering achievement junkie because I am still recovering. Case in point is that not only I am on this 40 day practice, but I added another 28-day practice to it, LOL! I rationalize this by saying that I'm not doing the practices to achieve anything, but to actually make myself happier.... so that means that it's not junkie behavior right??
So to get to the point and the AHA that I am just dying to share with you! So my second practice has been to embody the quality of IMPECCABILITY. Which to me takes the quality of meeting your commitments, doing what you said you would do, basically having integrity at a whole new level. There is just something about the word impeccable that doesn't leave any room for wiggle. If you say it will be there by noon, by noon it is. If you say within 24 hours, within 24 hours. No wiggle.
And while that may sound restricting and like it adds way more pressure than one would want to put on themselves, especially during a 40-day take care of myself practice, I have to tell you it's actually been liberating and really eye opening. So much so that...
I think I've found yet another key to why we as women often end up last on the list and find it so hard to take care of ME.
We like to say YES! And we don't like to say no. You get an invitation to dinner. A girlfriend invites you to a drink. Your mother asks you to go shopping. Your boss asks you to take on a new project. A colleague asks for an hour of your time for brainstorming. Most of the time you say YES, right? Unless you are totally stressed out, and then you decline, but only after you've completely explained how overbooked you are. We are givers and that is a great thing, however, most of us give more than we have to give. We give and give until we have nothing left. We say YES when if we were really taking care of ME, the answer would be, "Thank you but no." Whether we are afraid we won't be liked, we don't want to let the person down, or we feel like we 'should' be able to do it all... our inability to say no costs us a lot on the taking care of ME scale.
We overpromise and then push ourselves to deliver. I had a male boss once, Joe, a white-haired man 20 years my senior. And Joe had three rules, which he shared with our team via a power point presentation when he became our leader (seriously). I'll save you the entire presentation, but I will share this one rule with you that he lived by ... "Always underpromise and overdeliver." Viola'... because they you will always give them more than they want with less effort from you. And he did it, all the time. Me? When someone asks me when I will get back to them, or when I am giving someone the timeframe in which I can complete something, I fail Joes' advice more often than not. The overpromises fly out of my mouth while my body and intuition are saying, "NO! Make that date later in the week... make that turnaround time 2 days later," my ego mind overrides them and like the achiever it is, picks a date that will make me work harder than anyone but me expects me to.
We have the power to take care of ourselves, we're just not using it! The interesting thing about these two AHA's is that I've known all of it for many years. But I never ever connected them to my ability, or non ability to put taking care of me first, to make taking care of me easier.
But by doing these two practices together, I really got that I have the power to make taking care of me easier or harder by what I commit to. And much of the pressure I put on myself, is just that, pressure I put on myself. When I am making promises to do a favor or complete a task... or am agreeing to a deadline... or making plans with a friend... they don't have crazy expectations of me in most cases, they just want to know what I can feasibly do. And whatever I tell them, they will react to and assume to be true. If they need something more they will ask. It's not my job to figure out what they need and the overcompensate and overstretch myself to provide it. It is my job to take care of me, and taking care of me means showing up as the person that I want to be in this world and making sure that she is taken care of.
Impeccable and Taking Care of ME, the How to... I am committed to both, and I invite you to try both too, so that you can feel good about yourself, and feel good inside of yourself.
1. Like being impeccable. Live by the energy of impeccability and let yourself feel how great it is to be able to do exactly what you say you will do. How good it makes you feel to give to others what they need when they need it... but this time, you are going to do it because you've made a promise to yourself to be impeccable, your actions come from a place of integrity and honoring of yourself. They don't come from the place in you that wants to please someone else, or are afraid of making them mad or having them not like you, or because you think you should be able to accomplish the task. 2. Check in with yourself before you say YES. If you've made a promise of impeccability you want to set yourself up to be successful and that means taking the time to decide what you really want to commit to -- without fear that what you are asking for is too much. You ask for what you need and let people come back to you. This is about checking in with your intuition before you say Yes to anything. Trying to schedule a meeting or respond to an invitation to a party? Stop. Check in with your intuition. When you force it what is the answer? When you act from the truth which feels easier and more spacious, what is the answer? This is a skill you're going to have to develop over time. The goal is to find the spacious feeling inside your body and act from there. It's funny, but true, that your body always knows, you just need to learn to listen to it. 3. Make your sustainability a priority. When committing to something really check in to see how this would affect your energy levels. What do YOU need right now and what will you need then? I declined a dinner invitation to a friends birthday party not because I didnt want to see her but because I needed to recharge me that night, and although I wanted to appear like I could do it all, I needed this time for me. So instead, I went to her house for 3 hours in the afternoon for a more intimate gathering, more relaxed and still got to give her love. I made my sustainability a priority, and guess what, she's still my friend!
Make this the year you take care of YOU! so that you can reach your dreams, make a difference, be there for those you love and not exhaust yourself in the process.
There are thousands of women taking this challenge this year, and you can join us!
It's day 11 of my self-love journey of taking care of me first, and my answer of how to do that today is that I need to write this blog, today for me and for every woman and girl out there in the world who doesn't know or have self love or understand why it truly matters.
Last night I was in a room full of 50 women talking about self love, what self love is, what self love isnt, and why self love really is the answer to getting the relationships and love we want in our lives. And it was great! The women who came up to me after the interview told me of their own journeys to love themselves and what an impact it had on them. They told me of the work they were doing in the world to support other women... coaching women through divorces... supporting women in abusive relationships... filming a documentary on the desire for forever love. Work they could only do after they themselves had learned to love more of themselves. Leaving me even clearer that self love is so NOT selfish... that actually loving ourselves allows us to help, inspire and support other women and girls around the world to find safety, peace, and love.
Now I compare that blissful experience to the one I had this morning at my dining room table in which I was really saddened by these very different responses from women I received in the last two days:
I had reservations in calling you because of all the self love stuff that is on your website. I think self love is pretty hippy dippy.
Is Madly in Love with ME Day about masturbation?
Self love isn't for me.
These answers befuddle me. And they make me sad. What about self love is hippy dippy? Why do we think masturbation when we hear the words self love? And masturbation in this case isn't said in the kind of way that masturbation is good, but in that it is dirty. How can self love not be for you? Would you ever tell your daughter not to love herself? Don't we want our girls to respect and honor themselves so deeply that they take care of themselves... that they only have relationships that respect them... that they love their bodies for exactly what they are... that they love themselves for who they are... AND don't we want that for ourselves, and for every other woman in our lives, and in the world?
I think we do... I think we do want these things for ourselves and our girls. Do you want these things for yourself? for your daughters, nieces, godchildren, and for the world?
Up until recently, self love has been a word reserved for therapy rooms or spiritual circles, not a topic for conversation at the dinner table or among mothers and daughters, or even girlfriends. Most of us don't know what it means, nor do we know how to find it. And if I am honest, if you had told me 8 years ago when I was still neck deep in trying to find my happiness through my career titles, the size of my house, and getting my fiance to love and see me, I would have thought the same kinds of things. Self love would have felt totally irrelevant at best and it would have sounded like a dirty word at the worst.
As I sat at my dining room table today, being with the sadness I felt about the fact that women today still have these responses to self love, as if it is a luxury or nice to have, vs a critical component to true happiness, I remembered, "Oh yes Christine, your life mission, to reclaim the definition of self love for every woman and girl. And today in 2010, that journey has just begun. It's your job to share what you've learned over the last 8 years, and keep learning... going from a woman who thought she loved herself to one who understands that self esteem is not self love... and that without self love, happiness, success, a great relationship, and a career that you love and that loves you back, is not attainable.
If you are not sure whether or not self love is for you... here are 4 reasons why it's critical. If you have self love...
You won't have abusive relationships or toxic friendships. Women and girls who love themselves would never stay in a verbally, emotionally or physically abusive relationship. 1 in 3 girls will be in an abusive relationship by the time she is 20, 80% will go back. Women who love themselves know they don't need the love of another to survive, so if they find themselves in these situations, they leave. Women who love themselves don't stay friends with people who drain their energy or that are not supportive. When a woman really loves herself she doesn't attract 'negative' people into her life any longer.
You won't beat yourself up for everything you're not. Women who love themselves never compare themselves to other women. They don't judge themselves harshly. And they don't focus on what they should have done but didn't do. They are able to accept the person that she is right now and love that person, not for what she gets done it a day, or for what she accomplishes but just because of who she is.
You'll be able to take care of yourself, as well as everyone else, without exhausting yourself to do it. Women who love themselves believe and trust that if they take care of their bodies, their health and their needs first, that they will be able to do everything that needs to get done in a day to take care of their jobs, families, communities and responsibilities. And they don't feel guilty for doing it. Women who love themselves do not take on the burden of everyone elses life or problems, and they don't try to control everything around them. They are not martyrs or victims to their busy lives. They refuse to be busy. And they refuse to let themselves become exhausted. They are able to create a harmony in their life that make their life run for them, not them run through their lives.
You'll take care of your body because you realize that it's what allows you to do what you love, not because you need tight buttocks. Women who love themselves understand that their bodies are like temples on loan, structures that need to be adored and taken care of, vs. shifted and shaped for appearances sake. She exercises, eats well and cares about her health not because she needs to lose 10 lbs, have flat abs or keep up with the looks of younger women. She does these things because she loves her body so much she wants to take care of it... the weight loss and the youth are the outcomes, not the drivers. Self Love is the source. It's a big mental shift that women who love themselves understand, and women who drive or abuse themselves and their bodies without compassion don't.
Those are only 4 of many many more reasons why self love isn't a luxury, a dirty word or something that's 'not for you.' If you truly want to help women and girls around the world, love yourself first. If you want to raise daughters who make great choices, love yourself first. If you want to be happy in this lifetime before you die, love yourself. If you want to experience great love, love yourself first. And if you need help doing it, join me and other women who know the power of self love at www.madlyinlovewithme.com
It's self love practice day #10 -- and the pratice i chose for these 40 days is the self love practice of taking care of me first. On this day I awoke to find myself feeling the burden of the day... before the alarm even went off in the very comfortable bed I slept in, down-comforted bed in a hotel room in LA. I had of course set my alarm on my iphone 30 minutes prior to my wake up call at 7:30am, and I had also of course scheduled a phone meeting at 8am, a breakfast at 9am, and a video taping a noon - with somewhere in there doing my hair and makeup.
See, I said I was a recovering achievement junkie! So when I woke up this morning, and man did I want to hit snooze for two more hours, I made it to the shower, washing my hair with peppermint shampoo and thinking to myself my daily question for the next 40 days, "What do i need to do to take care of myself?"
Well for the last 9 days the answers have been things like take a walk, do yoga, start work at noon, but on this day, full of things to do, those answers were not an option. So what was the answer?? After toweling off and I walked around my hotel room like a white-toweled-headed yogini, pondering this reality, "Christine, your day is packed, there isn't any space to take a nap, go for a long walk, so you better figure out a way to take care of yourself while being in the doing."
So after said phone call (which was lovely), and 5 minutes before meeting said publicist, I sat down for 3 minutes with my crystals (of which I always travel with and which sometimes make for interesting security check point adventures) and I closed my eyes, tuned into source and asked the question again, "What do I need to do to take care of myself?"
Here is the answer i got, 'Yep. Lots to do. Do it from your heart. Do it from your essence." Then the voice went onto say, "If you do this, you won't spend your fuel, we will fuel you." Okay, so that was sounding good! I get fueled by the universe vs me doing the gassing up. Ok, so it gets better.... and then it said 'Christine, when you get home at 9pm, rent Julia and Julie and love watching it. Noah is gone for the weekend, it's just you, the dog and the Julias."
So that is what I did... I did everything from my heart today... had a great phone call, did my makeup and hair, had lunch with publicist, and the best of all, showed up for my friend Carol Allen top notch vedic astrologer http://www.loveisinthestars.com and 50 women taping this rad DVD and CD series about attracting the love you want. I LOVE spending time with women and these women rocked!! We wrapped at 6pm, I was on a flight at 8pm, watched the Js and now here with you.
I am full of energy, and its 1:08 am -- (which btw is the most magical number in the universe, google 'the significance of 108' for more info).... because all day I was full of heart and therefore magic happened. I could write you a list of all the great things that happened today because I chose to come at them from WHY they were important to me vs. having to complete a task. And in that, I found space to take care of ME --- success on day #10 of the self love journey.
So on those days of yours when they are jammed packed, how can you still find the space to take care of yourself? One way is to start by coming from your heart and letting yourself be fueled by source vs. using your energy to do it all.
When I used to think of the word liberation, it brought to my mind images of the feminist movement, women wearing and burning bras... or images of other populations of our society who at have been suppressed and oppressed and have risen to fight for and claim their freedom, their liberation. It always seemed like a word that should be applied to a group of people, not a word I would use to describe myself. And when you look at the definition you could assume that to be true...
But LIBERATION is really a word every woman should be able to say and claim, because from a self-love perspective is means to be FREE to express YOU... a major Madly in Love with ME milestone of self-love. Whether you know it or not, you have your own version of 'bondage' that keeps you from liberation -- not in the kinky sex kind ladies but in what I call the 'robes of repression' kind... robes that we've picked up along the way, robes that tell us to be good girls, stay composed, act like a lady, keep our feelings bottled up, play smaller, not boast, and the list goes on and on. Those robes are heavy and they keep your soul and spirit from being free to express yourself with wild abandon... without the need of a substance to help!
My Liberation AHA! The sad fact is that most people are trapped inside themselves, dying to get out... NOT liberated. I really got this lesson when I went to my first retreat in California. 25 people over 4 days at an ocean front beach retreat center. There was journaling, talking, going deeper, all that great head and soul searching stuff I was totally cool with. But then at night, there came the dancing. Free form dancing with soulful music, pieces of fabric and total permission to just let loose and not a drop of alcohol in site! Oh how I wished for a glass or two of Pinot just to oil the uptightness my bones had been trained to hold.
The dancing was the kind of exercise where one person at a time gets up and joins the circle when they feel the groove, one by one until the whole room is dancing. Of course you don't have to participate, and that night I didnt. Not because I didnt want to, but because I couldnt move. My butt was stuck to my chair, no matter how badly inside I wanted to dance. I remember it so vividly, even though it was six years ago. I sat there watching this beautiful 6-foot tall blond English woman named Joanne -- who reminds me much of my friend Elayne, also from England, a dancer and a performer at my upcoming Madly in Love with ME event. I sat there watching her move, twist and express her body with total freedom, as if she was one with the music. She was so, so, so LIBERATED! And I sat there memorized by her, wanting to get out of my chair, wanting to express myself that way too, but I couldn't move. It felt as if I was stuck inside myself crying to get out, but so darn repressed and stiff, scared to let myself move that way in a public arena that wasn't a dance club. So I remained an observer.
When I got back to my room, I made a promise to myself that by the end of the weekend I was going to shed my robes of repression if it killed me! If given the chance again, I would at least get up and dance. And by this same time next year I would be FREE enough to dance like the stunning golden dancer of a woman I had observed.
Here is a picture of what I looked like at the end of that weekend...
And Here is a picture of what I looked like last year at the Madly in Love with ME Self-Luv-apoolza while Elayne, aka as Kalila was performing her Shakti Dancing....
Clearly, I have been liberated!! That night I noticed that while I was now free of all robes of repression, free to move my body and my shakti in all kinds of directions, there were many more women who stood there watching the liberated bunch dance. And it made me sad. It made me sad that in that moment they were unable to let themselves go, to liberate their spirit to move with this powerful music that was calling all of our souls to move. I know that some of women really didnt want to dance, but I also know that there were women in that room who were laden down just as I had been with the robes of repression that stopped them from being free. In that moment, I decided then that at every Madly in Love with ME event from that day forward, I would do my best to create experiences that gave women permission to throw their robes of repression to the curb and freely and fully express themselves, without the need of our friend Vino.
And there is no need to wait until then. You know how much I love to take a dare and give them out. SO this week I dare us all to liberate ourselves through the power of dance and moving our bodies to the soul and groove of the energy that flows through us. What does that mean???
DARE: Get your groove on.... do the liberation dance. You, your body and music that moves your soul. 1x a day let yourself go and dance freely to the music. Can even be one song. Just let yourself go, no repression, only liberation. I'll be listening to my self-love song sister, India Arie. Look at that face... her spirit and soul are liberated. Now it's our turn!