http://imgur.com/gallery/TWhC7

“Be afraid of the unknown!”, we are constantly told. How did this message seep into so many of our minds? A couple of weeks ago I looked up to see clouds in the shape of two elephants – I saw a mother elephant walking behind her baby elephant. The baby’s face was full of curiosity and wonder as she was running ahead to explore the unknown. The mother’s face was full of fear, mouth open as if calling out to tell her baby stop moving forward into the unknown. The mother elephant was teaching her baby to replace curiosity of the unknown with fear of the unknown. These elephants in the clouds are a beautiful parable for what we are all constantly being taught by our culture.

We live in a culture that controls us by keeping us in a constant state of unease, repeatedly telling us that something scary might happen if we stray away from what we already know. In this toxic culture we are taught to always feel the sense of fear nipping at our toes. Paradoxically, in my experiences it is the people with the most physical safety and financial security who are often the most afraid. Fear is no longer an emotion reserved for occasions like being chased by a bear. Fear is now an emotion associated with things like peering into our own minds, or – even worse! – allowing others to know who we really are. Fear is even an emotion that arises for many when they even consider giving themselves permission to relax. My friends, this is not a natural way to be!

Many of us have lost contact with one of the central features of being human – to be curious, to find happiness in the journey, to grow new possibilities by exploring the unknown (both inside and out). Part of how our culture lures us into feeling a constant background noise of unease is by tricking us into believing that we can find safety in our lives. If we just cross every “t” and dot every “i” then we can finally relax and get to know ourselves, having arrived at the finish line of knowing everything is going to be okay. We lose contact with our drive to be curious each time we believe that the oasis of security exists just beyond the next ridge in our life.

Here is what I can assure to you. Life is indeed not safe. You are definitely not going to make it out alive. Everything is not going to be okay. As a mentor used to say, “We are all pre-diagnosis.” We will all move through times in our lives where we experience grief and loss and uncertainty. That is unavoidable. But if we are protective of our natural drive to be curious, we can also experience awe, gratitude, enoughness, connection, and contentment. We must – at least occasionally – allow our curiosity to lure us into running straight ahead into the unknown (possibly with eyes a bit wider than usual and hands held over our heads to eradicate the last traces of fear in our hearts – at least that is my preferred method). Lucky for us, we are surrounded by examples of how to honor our curiosity over fear. If you don’t have a baby in your life to show you the way then a quick internet search for videos of your favorite baby animal will provide you with an equally wise guide.

 

Beautiful post from Kasey Edwards.  Worth the whole read.

But I was wrong, Mom. Now I understand what it’s like to grow up in a society that tells women that their beauty matters most, and at the same time defines a standard of beauty that is perpetually out of our reach. I also know the pain of internalizing these messages. We have become our own jailors and we inflict our own punishments for failing to measure up. No one is more cruel to us than we are to ourselves.

A great post about the harm of fat talk.:   http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/fat-talk-compels-but-carries-a-cost/?smid=pl-share

Why oh why is it considered being a good friend to put yourself down in order to help your friend feel better?  That’s like a friend saying she is thirsty so you help by pouring your glass of water on the ground.  People – we can and must do better – out of respect for ourselves and for others.

My only critique of this great post is in response to the following:

Dr. Corning said that to break the cycle, a person shouldn’t engage. But particularly for younger women, it’s hard to say something like, “Hey, no negative self-talk!” or “Why do we put ourselves down?”  Instead, for adolescents, she suggested, “Keep it light; it’s not a moment for major social activism. Teenagers can change the topic. They do it all the time.”

Yeah, it is hard.  LOTS of things about being a teenager is hard.  LOTS of things about being a grown up is hard.   Let’s respect the young women in our lives enough to help them learn effective communication skills while they are young.  It only gets harder to voice our truth as we get older if she haven’t started building the habit while we were young.

“Why do we put ourselves down?” is a great response.  Or perhaps, “I think you look freaking fabulous.  Those jeans are missing out.”   :)

 

Yep

April 19, 2013

what screws us up

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/super-soul-sunday.html

Brené Brown on Super Soul Sunday

Okay folks, set your tivos for 11amET/PT this Sunday. Oprah has another great Super Soul Sunday coming up this week.  Brené Brown!  Fist pump!  This episode is not to be missed. (Okay, or to be missed and watched on the internet later.)

Authenticity Advice from A Vulcan

Long before Brene Brown came on the scene, Dr. Spock (okay, Leonard Nimoy) was on making the case for connection with others starting by letting go of who we want to be and embracing who we are.

spock advice 1

spock advice 2

Don Miguel Ruiz will appear on on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday this morning at 11 am EST.  I can’t wait!  Click here for Oprah’s webpage for the this episode.

What a great way to start National Eating Disorders Awareness Week:  Jennifer Lawrence is so unexpectedly fierce.  She has said a lot of awesome things about loving her body, despite being considered “obese” by Hollywood standards.  I loved watching her in this clip above.  She is just being her goofy, relate-able, human self even when the environment pulls for outward beauty and the illusion of perfection.

Jennifer Lawrence, you can be my wing man anytime.

Find ways you can be involved National Eating Disorders Awareness Week here.

jennifer lawrence

Transitioning Into You

February 20, 2013

Annika Penelope Gives Us A Peak Behind the Curtain

This blog post by Annika Penelope – read it!  She is wonderful at communicating the cultural pressures that we ALL need to get over before we can be happy with who we are. Yes, it’s about her transition.  Trust me – this post is also about something much more universal. It is about the cultural pressures we all face to be someone different than who we really are.  You will be glad you read her writing regardless of your own relationship with your gender.

Eating Disorders and Transitioning Genders:  What We ALL Can Learn From These Experiences

Of course recovering from an eating disorder and transitioning between genders are two completely different experiences.  Completely.  So don’t get me wrong when I talk about the things that I have learned from working with people on these two unrelated topics.

It is precisely because they are such different experiences that I find any similarities in these paths to be remarkable.  We live in a culture that thrives on making us feel bad about ourselves.  We are bombarded with advertisements, airbrushed images, reality TV shows, and so much more, all sending messages that beauty equals happiness, and anything less than a continual quest for physical improvement is akin to sin.  This cultural pressure to focus on our appearances – specifically to focus on continually “improving” our appearance – takes a toll on our self-esteem.

Recovering from an eating disorder and successfully transitioning share this one thing in common:

Success requires finding and then tossing out the pressure our culture can put on us to be someone who we are not, in order to finally love who we are.

The Culture Of Authenticity

The first step in escaping the death grip of our cultural pressures is to recognize that there is no right way to be a male or female.  Each one of us finds a new way to be the gender that we are.  Some gals love flamingos and pink.  Some gals are pilots.  I know one gal who is a pilot AND loves flamingos and pink.  Is she less of a female than me for working in a largely male dominant profession?  Is she more of a female than me because she likes pink flamingos?  Of course not.  As Annika says in her post, “You deserve to live an authentic life.”

  • Living authentically means recognizing that our cultural does a poor job of telling us how to live authentically.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that how someone else chooses to dress or what they choose to do has nothing to do with what is right for you.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that there is no one point that we are all moving towards.
  • Living authentically means recognizing that you choose what is right for you and your body.  Even if it is scary to let go of pressures to be something else.  Especially if it is scary to let go of pressures to be something else.
  • Living authentically means letting go of the idea of life as a destination, and begin to enjoy the journey of becoming.

The Only Way Is Love

February 14, 2013

Lynne Hurdle-Price at TEDx-Women 2012

It seems fitting to share this post on Valentine’s Day, a holiday that can be so distracting from what love really is.  Starting my morning with this talk felt like a serendipitously poetic antidote to the trappings of this holiday.

Lynne Hurdle-Price starts strong and ends stronger.  While this talk is about bodies, it is also about something much bigger and profound. If you happen to be human then this talk is well worth watching through.

I want this woman to be my friend.  And dance partner.