The journey of embracing one’s self for who you really are isn’t just an item on the to do list that gets checked off all neat and tidy one day and you never have to look back. Embracing your self, finding and engaging in your passion, raising your voice, these things take time, focus, energy, gumption. Last year, I encouraged you to try on five resolutions for 2008. This year, I asking you to add 3 more tools to your repertoire.
Enjoy some body work. I was an overworked and exhausted second year teacher and coach when I scheduled my first massage. I didn’t know how I could afford $60 for an hour of work but my body hurt so much that I didn’t know what else to do. That hour did more than just restore my muscles. It restored me. Now, massage is a regular feature of my self-care regimen, and I encourage you to make it part of yours, too. A study done by the University of Miami School of Medicine’s Touch Research Institute revealed that a 30 minute massage every other week boosts overall body satisfaction, no matter your shape or size. Resolve to: schedule a massage. If it’s too expensive for your budget, consider asking for a gift certificate as a gift, booking a thirty minute session instead of an hour, or calling a local massage school to ask about their practice sessions which can often run a third of the average price for an hour massage.
Invest in someone else. Sometimes we get so absorbed in our own world that we lose perspective. We become consumed with our bad haircut, acne, uninspired wardrobe, or whatever else is plaguing us and lose sight of the world outside of us. Sometimes I think self-consciousness is almost a luxury, an extravagance we get to plague ourselves with when life isn’t filling up our attention otherwise. But, everywhere, everyday, there are so many people who do not have the luxury of time or energy to become absorbed with their bad haircut because their lives are faced with challenges that we will never know. Micro-lending allows everyday citizens to make a loan to someone in the developing world to support his or her small business. As a micro-loan, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan to the sponsoring organization, the lender receives her money back to transfer back to her own bank account or to reinvest. Kiva is one of the companies uniting people from around the world with one another as lenders and entrepreneurs. On its site, you can find photos of entrepreneurs, descriptions of their businesses, and their plans for their loans. Partnered with microfinance institutions in each participating country, there is significant expertise in the field and assurance that investments are handled responsibly. Sometimes it is helpful to get away from the little thing that is bothering us to take a look at something bigger. Resolve to: visit Kiva.org and review the profiles of entrepreneurs from around the world. Make a $25 investment in one whose story particularly strikes you. Print out the story so that you can be revisit it whenever you like, return to the web-site periodically to monitor your entrepreneur’s progress, and enjoy the satisfaction of having grown your connection to the world.
Find your theme. I have had many theme songs, poems, etc over the years– slices of words put out there by someone before me that capture who I was and where I was at the time I discovered it. In high school, my themes were songs by Tracy Chapman, the Indigo Girls, and REM. In college, my theme was Desiderata, written by Max Ehrmann in 1952. It began…
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans...
For some of my twenties, my theme was The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
Having a theme or song can be a touch stone. A place to return to when you need centering and grounding. What’s your theme? Find it, enjoy it, embrace it, bringing it out when you need to put your feet to the ground and rememember who you are.
Cheers to loving your body, investing in others, and remembering your truth. Happy New Year!