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Love Your Body. Love Your Soul.

Wednesday, October 18, is LOVE YOUR BODY DAY, a day established by the NOW Foundation to remind each of us that our value is not measured by our willingness to embody beauty standards.
In celebration and solidarity, I am sharing The Body Warrior Pledge, from Day 2 of Beautiful You, to inspire you to make a conscious commitment to be  your own self-acceptance champion.
The Body Warrior Pledge
Take a moment to read through this pledge and embrace one of these tenets that can most profoundly offer you peace right now if you set your intention around moving towards more fully embracing it.  As you need to, return to this guidance, reminding yourself that you can, indeed champion you.

Help Hurricane Maria Victims in Puerto Rico

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As many of you know, Puerto Rico, a United States Commonwealth, was devastated by Hurricane Maria.  My family is from Puerto Rico and aid and recovery are slow.  Many had stockpiled supplies to last them weeks but those weeks are now drawing to a close and grocery stores are not restocked, cash is hard to get, and there’s really not much hope in sight if we wait for the government to work it out.
I believe that the most profound way that we can support our Puerto Rican neighbors is directly, person to person, so I want to share two Amazon Lists whose supplies will go directly to affected communities and help families that are having a hard time receiving aid otherwise.
If you would like to help families in the Quebradillas area, you can select items from this list. 
If you would like to help families in the Aguadilla area, you can select items from this list.
The recipients are family members and are committed to sharing supplies with their neighbors to help them all endure the tragedy of this natural disaster.
Thank you so much for your love, light, and support!

Take gentle care

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  It is hard right now, friends. So hard, I know. But I do believe there is more light than darkness, that lightness can extinguish the dark, and that we can make more light. We are in this together. We can make way. Hug your people. Reach out to those far away. Ask your representatives for what you believe we need. Make your love visible. Shine light. Together, we can do powerful things.
But there’s one more piece to shining your light.  You have to take care of yourself.
At times like these, we often go into chronic vigilance. We take in as much information as we can so that we are informed, and aware and we do as many things as we can to help the situation which is incredible in many important ways but if we only stay in this gear, we cannot sustain it. Since every single one of us is necessary for the world’s healing, we need to take care of ourselves. Please make sure that you are practicing self-care in abundance.
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Your self-care actions don’t have to be huge. Tiny little moments of care- stretching, taking a break from the media for a little bit, plenty of water, a walk around the block, journaling, time with a pet, hugging someone, pausing to eat, etc. All these things nourish you. Taking time to sustain yourself offers all of us sustenance over time. Every day, as you do what you must, understand that taking care of you is a must too.

Take gentle care, dear friend.

Living whole-hearted

Many people have come this way in the last few days because of my recent talk as part of the Self-Acceptance Summit so I want to share a post from a few years ago that details the Whole-Hearted Continuum I created for myself to promote more whole-hearted decisions that promote a self-acceptance practice that is rooted in the fact that I am enough (we all are!) just as I am not and not because of how many things I do or how many times I say yes to other people.  If this post lights you up and you want some advice on saying no, check out Talking You Into No and How to Say No!

 

not saying no to yourself

 

I believe that the world is full of need.

I believe that we are all here on purpose, that each one of us has a fundamental gift to give that is essential to healing this world.

I believe that it is imperative that we live our purpose.

I believe that by living our purpose, we heal the world and ourselves.

I believe that because we are here on purpose, we have to get really clear about what we say yes and no to because we only have so much time available to us to do the work that we are meant to be doing in this world.

I believe far too many woman say yes to far too many things, spreading themselves too thin to have the impact they not only want to have but need to have.

I believe it is time to change that.

I believe that we must say no in order to say yes.

I believe the time is now.

Let’s do it.

The Wholehearted Continuum

For years, I had two standards for  whether or not I said yes to a commitment.

1.  Was I technically available?  By that I mean, was the time of the commitment itself open in my calendar?  If so, I quickly moved to standard #2.  I didn’t think about whether or not I would have to break land-speed records to get to my next commitment or whether or not I had the time to do the prep work.  If the time itself was available, then that was enough for serious consideration (by which I mean, time to ask myself question # 2).

2.  Could I technically do it?  Note that I did not say ably.  So, was the question whether or not I could participate in the school bake sale or car wash?  Well, if the time was available, I couldn’t deny that those things were things I could technically do it.  I didn’t ask if they were things that I derived any pleasure from, if there were others who might be better at it or anything like that.  As long as you weren’t asking me to fix your car engine or cure cancer, I could probably technically do it (even if the it in question was something I didn’t like doing) and so as long as my calendar was open, I said yes.

And then, sometimes, the dread began.  I didn’t want to do the prep work.  I didn’t want to leave my boys (the big one and little one).  I didn’t want to get dressed to go or do my hair.  And then I would go and have a lovely time and, on the way home, I would say, “See!  You had such a lovely time.  You have the worst attitude ever.  You should improve it.”

But, eventually, I had this breakthrough thought:  I have a lovely time wherever I end up.  I am kinda wired to have a good time.

That a-ha moment along with another one that came when I realized that I was putting off all of these projects that were so heart-centered to me in order to make times for these invitations that I was getting to participate in things that were heart-centered for someone else made me realize something:  I wasn’t living my life purpose.  I was defusing it.

And I needed a new standards for discerning whether or not I said yes or no to an invitation.  No longer were my two questions– am I technically available and can I technically do it- enough.

So I asked myself how I wanted to feel when I was doing something.  The answer?  WHOLEHEARTED.  I really, truly wanted to be in with my whole heart.

Then I asked myself what wholeheartedness looked like for me.  Turns out: being happy to be there wasn’t enough.  The wholeheartedness, for me, needed to start much earlier.  And so I created The Continuum of Wholeheartedness for myself to better discern when and why I should yes or no to a request (when my calendar was really open).

Exercising the Continuum of Wholeheartedness

First, I need to be thrilled to be asked.  You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone asks you to do something that doesn’t sound all that appealing to you (and you start thinking, as you scroll through your calendar, please let it be that I am not available).  Yeah, that feeling is NOT thrilled to be asked.  If I have that feeling from the outset, I have to say no.

Next, I need to be happy to prepare.  So, let’s say that someone asks you to do something that you really are genuinely thrilled they thought of you to do it. Now, move to the next standard.  Do you have room in your heart, mind, and schedule to prepare for it?  If the prep work is going to leave you ragged at this particular time, and make other parts of your life hard (you have to stay up late, wake up early, skip workouts or other self-care or even alter important commitments you have made to others), then you have to say no.  When you are operating wholeheartedly, the prep work will feel thrilling, even if it is a stretch for you.  If it doesn’t thrill, don’t do it.

The third standard is a good tell for me.  Will I be alright with getting ready for the experience and leaving my peeps to go?  I like being with my boys.  I like wearing my crazy curls on top of my head.  I like wearing slouchy jeans and blousy shirts and looking like a bit of an in process artist.  A lot of places that I am invited to don’t exactly call for that look.  So, am I cool with cleaning things up a bit and saying good-bye to my peeps to go.  If I am, then I totally know that it is wholehearted.

The fourth standard is one that is important to ask but, to be honest, never the one to base MY answer on– will I be joyful while I am there.  The truth is that I am joyful MOST wherever I end up.  But not everybody is and that is not even true for me everywhere (I will never be joyful in a great big event designed for networking) so I ask myself that question.  Can you see yourself feeling joy while you are fulfilling this commitment?  If the answer is eh, maybe or no, then your answer needs to be no.

The fifth standard is inspired by a friend of mine who will compliment a hard-worker by saying, “Oh, she’s a trash mover!”  I once asked her what she meant by that and she said, “There are two kinds of people after an event. There is the kind of person who is totally engrossed in cleaning up.  She’s carefully folding the linens, making thoughtful stacks of what goes where and isn’t afraid or above taking out the trash.  Then there is the other person who stands around and talks and acts above it all.”  I don’t know about you, but I want to be a trash mover and it is a good litmus test.  Being a trash mover requires BIG BUY-IN.  So when I think about this standard, I am inclined to ask myself, “Can I see myself being as excited to clean up after this commitment as I am setting up?”  If yes, then yes.  If no, well, then no.

And then there is standard number six: excited to bask in the afterglow.  Will you be peeling out of the parking lot asap, putting the commitment in your headlights, trying never to think about it again or will you be like, “wow. Wow. WOW.” afterwards.  Will your mind be percolating?  If you anticipate, percolation, then yes is best.  No percolation?  You know what to do.

The Continuum of Wholeheartedness has worked wonders for me.  It has made me think more deliberately about how to use the finite amount of time and energy I have available to me and has made me more discerning about when I say yes.  The great reward to that is that I am able to live even more on purpose and when I live on purpose, I actually make a greater difference in this world?

Can you see The Continuum of Wholeheartedness working for you?

Getting Wholehearted

Rosie-Molinary
Date: Tuesday, September 12th
Time: 7pm-8:30pm CST **PLEASE NOTE THE TIME ZONE**
Where:Anywhere you please. All you need is a computer or phone to attend class.
Are you a chronic YES-sayer? Has this somehow become more hurtful than helpful? Has your arms open-wide approach somehow encroached on your ability to set boundaries? Yeah, we get it. Join radical self-acceptance champion and author, Rosie Molinary, in this class as she helps you learn why saying no to non-ideal opportunities is an essential self-acceptance practice. She will unveil powerful tools to help you discern your boundaries and review empowering ways to say no to too many commitments while positively maintaining your relationships. Ultimately, you will walk away understanding how saying hard nos in order to embrace profound yeses allows you to more intentionally live a life of purpose.
REGISTER 

How to Improve the Most Important Relationship in Your Life

SAS Image

Do you struggle with self-judgment? Does the voice of your inner critic speak loudly of your ‘flaws’?

You’re not alone. Even people who’ve had years of practice with meditation, therapy, and self-improvement still struggle with the most important relationship we have—our relationship with ourselves.

That’s why I joined the conversation in the Self-Acceptance Summit, along with 30 world-renowned teachers, to give you the tools and knowledge to transform the way you treat yourself every day.

Register for the live broadcast at no cost here:

Self-Acceptance Summit:

How to Overcome Self-Judgment and Live a Life of Bravery, Compassion, and Authenticity September 11, 2017 through September 20, 2017 

 When we accept ourselves, we become more courageous and capable of doing good in the world. I hope you’ll join us for this extraordinary gathering of teachers as we learn to change the way we treat ourselves—and everyone around us.

Register for The Self-Acceptance online training summit  and be sure to tune in for my presentation, titled Radiate which airs on September 15th at 8 pm EDT.

P.S. Sounds True is offering their One-to-One gift program, which will send a copy of the entire summit to a person in need when you purchase the upgrade package. You can learn more here

Real Talk in Parenting

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Join my friend and colleague Réa Wright for a series of intimate conversations with Me and other remarkable mothers, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and 3 amazing teenagers. We will be diving deep to explore what it means to be an authentically connected and engaged parent and why it’s critical to walk the path of self-discovery and healing as a parent. Join us here for FREE.

Your Longings Made Manifest

 

The semester started on Friday.  Here is the letter I read my body image students at the end of class.

LongingsMadeManifest

Yesterday, you looked in the mirror, and, instead of your inherent greatness, you saw flaws.  You saw things you wanted to change and not everything that made you powerfully, wonderfully, uniquely you.

Last night, in a deep conversation with your friends, you had a powerful thought, the kind of thought that would have changed the whole conversation, maybe would have changed you, but you doubted yourself and so you swallowed it inside of you.  Tucking it away, forcing it out of your mind, so that great big belief would not threaten your status quo in its hunger to get out.

This morning, you walked to class and compared your body to someone else’s.  Your body, a body that has worked so hard for you, that has allowed you to experience every good thing you have known, a body that has kept you going through all the hard stuff, through all the difficulties that have been thrown at you.

And then you walked into our shared space, a space that I hope will become a sanctuary to you, a place that I hope will quiet your inner critic enough so you can see the fabric of which you are made, you can recognize your worth, you can embrace the idea that you are just fine as you physically are right at this moment- not just because that is true, which it is- but because you come to understand that what the world most needs from you is not your trappings but your longings made manifest. 

If you yearn for art to be inspiring or children to feel loved or food to be breathtaking or houses to have souls or communities to have gardens or technology to be accessible or music to have your unique viewpoint or patients to have soulful care or records to be broken or whatever else it might be that speaks to your soul, I want that for you, too, and I want our space and time together, our journey, to be one that supports your recognition of your worth, sparks your awareness that the world needs you and your unique solutions and galvanizes you to embrace what you have to offer.

Today, you will tell me your name, your major, your graduation year, your hometown, the last great book you read, and why you chose to take this class.  You will say you needed Body Image class for your Women’s and Gender Studies minor, for your art major, for your public health concentration, because it fit into your schedule, and, maybe, just maybe, if you can muster the courage to say these words, because you knew when you saw those two words on the course guide that you wanted desperately to have a different relationship with your body and your soul.

And here is what I can promise you.  I will do everything I can to see you, to hear you, to understand you, to help you to understand yourself, to empower you to see your greatness, to inspire you to understand that while you are lovely because you are uniquely you that it is more than just your loveliness we need—that we need your fire, your passion, your purpose.  I will remind you that our bodies are ever changing and so to build a foundation of our worth on what we physically have to offer right this minute is to invite disruption over and over again.  And I will implore you to understand that your soul will always lead you right, will always let you blossom, will always let you shine.

On the day you last walk out of our sanctuary, I hope that you leave this space with your eyes up, ready to recognize and greet those who approach you not just because you know that other souls should be seen but also because you understand that to hide your soul from us is to deny the world of one of its greatest gifts- you.

I hope that you will be able to meet your eyes in the mirror and see purpose and clarity and passion and self-acceptance staring back, that you will treat your body like a guest of honor to your life because it has served you so well so far and you want to continue on that journey, and, ultimately, that you will not hesitate to give the world everything that you uniquely and powerfully have to offer. 

Welcome.  I am so glad you are here.  I am honored to walk alongside you.  I cannot wait to see where we are going.  Let’s get started.

After Charlottesville

DSCN36179 years ago today, we learned about this baby boy and, in that moment, our hearts clutched around him, somehow convinced that we were meant to be together.  That first day, we were so absolute, so steadfast in figuring out what we needed to do for the adoption that no darkness entered in my mind. And then, the next day, the darkness arrived. Were we fools to bring a baby boy from Africa to this country, to possibly subject him to racism, something that he might be more protected from in his country of origin?

Stricken, I called one of my dearest friends, one to whom I could always talk candidly about race and ethnicity and she heard me out through my sobs and terror. She relived the personal- my own experiences with being spit at, shunned, profiled and belittled for my brown skin, and the more political with me, helping me to move through the hard stuff to remember our interconnectedness, my own growth, when others stood beside me through the hard stuff, when I stood up for others. On the other side of that conversation, I felt compelled to choose hope, to choose faith and love and progress and connection.

A few months later, Barack Obama was elected president and I went out and bought a newspaper to put in a keepsake box for the baby we would soon bring into our lives.  And, then, as my years as a mother ticked by and as often happens when there is historic progress, there was a backlash to that election. Backlash too numerous and vast to number here but it has been harrowing and heartbreaking over these years to watch the beauty of otherness- whether it be race, ethnicity, religion, gender, orientation, and more- be devalued, vilified, condemned, and erased.

We were on vacation at our favorite beach last week when news broke about Charlottesville. Overwhelmed by my feelings, I concentrated on the little boy in front of me and I was reminded of a scene on this same beach when the boy was a toddler.

He was at the age where his exuberance exploded out of him and had to be shared. Most days on the beach, we were positioned right by the families we had seen all week. Dear friends were with us and we played bocce, built sand castles, jumped waves, and collected seashells with the children over the course of each day.  One day, there was a change in the groups around us. A group of younger adults with a confederate flag sat down and one of its members removed his shirt to reveal a confederate flag tattoo. Of course, our exuberant boy chose that one man for show and tell that morning, running towards him with every seashell find. My stomach churned as I went after my little boy and redirected him.

“We got you,” our friends said, putting their arms around our conspicuous little family with our three distinct ethnicities, loving us through the discomfort, making sure that our belonging was clear to those around us, easing our alienation and fear.

This is what alliance looks like.  Whether it is in the quiet of a friend moving closer to you and putting his arm around you when you feel vulnerable or in the energy of a group of strangers standing up for what is right, we have to use our access to bridge distances, offer companionship, insure protection.

And so here I am, exactly 9 years later, tamping down my own fear in order to once again choose hope, to choose faith and love and progress and connection.  Thank you for being connected to me. Let’s keep extending our hand.

The Kids are Alright Spring 2017 Part II

Devin

At the end of each semester, my body image students write a process paper where they synthesize their learning- both personal and academic- for the semester. These papers are always a delight to read and there is so much wisdom in them that I just have to share a fraction of it (with my students’ permission, of course) with you. Here, some wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.   

Love is within; it is something that no other person can provide, no material object can eternally cover. Self-love is the root to success. In order to make it in this world we have to be willing to stand outside of the norms of hating our bodies, and, with a bold face, start a revolution of loving ourselves. I now take every day not as just a blessing to be thankful for, but I also look at each morning as a new way to spoil my body. I don’t necessarily mean by shopping for new clothes or getting all the new makeup, but instead I mean thinking of new ways to spoil my inner and spiritual body. What grains can I eat to benefit my physical body today? What time can take out of my busy day just for meditation to spoil my spiritual mind? My life is different because I no longer look at my body as a decoration, but as a working machine. ~Sarah

One of the main ideas I will keep with me from this class is the concept that beauty is not defined solely by physical appearances. Considering what I truly believe are beautiful traits or characteristics was different and somewhat difficult at first. I felt as though everyone, including myself, was conditioned to believe that beauty is solely how symmetrical your face is and how white your teeth are and how slim your waist is, but I have learned that it is truly so much more. I believe that to be considered beautiful someone must be positive and enthusiastic. I am also attracted to intelligence because I love being able to hold conversations with people who are articulate and knowledgeable. Discussing my definition of beauty with other people was refreshing and empowering as it opened my eyes to the fact that I meet my own definition of beauty. ~Samantha

So many times in this world we are judged for the length of our eyelashes and expected to keep contained the unique qualities that make us who we are. There is no rationality to judge and yet we all do it, every day. We don’t know what our side-glances and backwards comments do to another individual. We have no idea what is going on in that person’s life and how they internalize our silly judgments. Honestly, we all need to feel accepted. But there is no one path to acceptance. There’s no “perfect” skin color, face, body…perfect doesn’t exist. Trust me, that’s not a bad thing. Unique exists though…Stop comparing, stop envying, and stop judging. Devin

Life is tough, society is tough, and, with bad things going on around me, my focus on myself should be positive. In the midst of all things bad, I can be good. I am good. That is what I learned from this class. I learned that things happen in life and people say things, influences influence you, but at the end of every day the only opinion of yourself that matters is your own. Molly

Thankfully, I believe the world is promoting uniqueness more and more each day. Beauty is not something we earn, not something we can apply on our faces and not something we must work on. Beauty is something each one of us already possess. Devin

One of the things that surprised me those most this semester was what one of our guest speakers said, she said “I realized that there was one day in my past where I looked my best and I never knew it. I never took advantage of it then”. That was when I realized that I do that. I get stuck in constantly judging myself and comparing myself to others when I could just love myself for who I am right now. I do not know what tomorrow will bring, what could happen to me or what my body will be like in the future, so shouldn’t I enjoy the things that my body can do right now? I can run and jump and hike and swim, things which not everyone can do and I am blessed beyond belief to be able to do those things right now – so why am I not doing them? This was my “aha” moment. The moment when I realized that who I am right now is a blessing, not a curse and I should love my body accordingly.  Rachael