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manifest: an invitation

Manifest

 

Are you ready to identify and embrace your soul’s deepest intention?

Do you long for the time and space to pay attention to what matters most to you and what you most need?

Would you like to gently but thoughtfully create a plan to manifest the life of your choosing?

Do you want to intentionally pay attention to your body so that you can manifest a feeling of wellbeing and wholeheartedness?

Then our invitation to manifest is for you.

At this two and a half-day retreat, we’ll spend our time together filtering out the excess noise while identifying and embracing just what our intention for ourselves is.

We will forge a deeper awareness of what our body and souls need through yoga and meditation in order to have a greater sense of wellbeing.

We will discover and claim what we hope to manifest in our daily lives so we can return home with a sense of peace and possibility.

tea

 

 

October 16-18, 2015

Davidson, North Carolina

Davidson Village Inn

DVI

The town of Davidson is an adorable southern town just a short drive from Charlotte, North Carolina. The town is best enjoyed on foot, and features quaint shops and great food. The Davidson Village Inn is Lake Norman’s only boutique hotel with intimate rooms and a focus on comfort and exceptional customer service.

blossoms

 

Retreat Schedule

Friday, October 16 – An invitation to intention
2:00-4:00pm – Register and settle in
4:00-7:00pm – Introductions, insights and exercises that explore intention, including a gentle, 60-minute yoga session
7:00pm – Dinner in town

Saturday, October 17 – An invitation to attention
9:00am-12:00pm – Insights and exercises that explore attention, including a morning yoga session focusing on mindfulness
12:00-1:00pm  – Lunch (provided)
1:00-3:00pm – Creating your manifesto: a declaration of your intentions & attentions
3:00-5:00pm – Free time in town
5:00-6:30pm – Gentle, grounding evening yoga practice
6:30pm – Dinner in town and free time

Sunday, October 18 – An invitation to manifestation
9:00-10:45am – Mindfulness practice, declarations of our manifestos, and practical action plans
10:45-11:15am – Yoga session
11:15am-12:00pm – Closing Attention Circle & goodbyes

GET ALL THE DETAILS (fast– there are only 16 spots for this destination retreat!). 

The Kids are Alright Part 2

inside youAt 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. Last week, I shared the first installment of wisdom from my students.  Here are some more wise words from my students this semester. May they give you hope and inspiration the way they did me.   

 It’s not okay to bash ourselves just like it’s not okay for us to bash other people. These bodies that we were given are gifts, they aren’t meant to be criticized, bashed and destroyed. They’re meant to be cherished and loved. Not all of us are going to look like the models we see on TV, we aren’t going to all have flat stomachs, but we’re all made unique in the way that we should be. We’re all blessed with something about us that is beautiful and rather than point out the flaws that we think we have, we need to focus on the things that can be perceived as wonderful. ~Kaitie Beth

With a new perspective on body image, I am now able to appreciate the fact that each and every body, paired with a soul, serves a unique purpose and therefore is meant to look or operate differently than others. Rather than judging the people around me, I am able to celebrate the diversity of my peers and find value in the features that make us all irreplaceable. ~Amanda

Throughout this body image course and my Beautiful You journal process, I have come across concepts that have really made an impact on my body image growth. One concept being, that my body is my vehicle. That metaphor in itself has changed the way I view my body drastically. Because my body is my ONLY vehicle, I need to take care of it. I do not need to be body shaming my only body, I do not need to place the blame of my unhappiness on my body and my body does not define who I am or what I have to offer. My body is simply the vehicle that allows me to function, express myself and achieve my goals. 

Another concept that was reinforced that changed my perception of my body to a more positive one is that my body is… a canvas. Yes, I have crowfeet around my eyes from where I laugh and squint and yes I have stretch marks and yeah I have moles but they are all beautiful. Everything I name and more is the art on my canvas and that art is what makes me a unique individual. Those “imperfections” should be celebrated because those “imperfections” prove that I am an alive, breathing, functioning being of worth and value.  ~Wynter

Beauty is not defined by skin, confidence is not found in peers, and identity is not gained from the latest trend.  ~ Shannon 

it is time.

compassion

We think the way we talk to ourselves is no big deal.

We think that it is just a way of motivating ourselves, a way to keep our egos in check, a way to practice humility.

We think it inspires.  But it doesn’t.

It damages, breaks us, belittles us.

And how we feel about ourselves matters to everything. 

We think that being inspired is someone else’s birthright.  We think that feeling on fire isn’t something we deserve.

But we are wrong.

Feeling on fire isn’t just our right.  It is our responsibility. 

The world is brimming with need, with aches, with problems.  We all know this but here is what we may not yet know.  It is not hopeless. It is not up to someone else to fix it.  We- every single one of us- is an integral part of meeting this world’s needs.

Our relationship with ourselves matters because when we are self-accepting, we can focus on what we most have to give.  And what we most have to give is always aligned with what lights our fire and when we are self-accepting, aware, and passionate, we are fully able to be on purpose.  When we find ourselves living on purpose is when everything profoundly changes—for us and for the world. 

It is time for you to feel the profound peace of self-acceptance. 

It is time for you to intentionally embrace your passion. 

It is time for you to live on purpose. 

And it starts for you at Passion. Purpose. Peace.

Time and spaces are running out.

Learn more.

The Kids are Alright Spring 2015 Part 1

This world needs you

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 (and look for more words of wisdom next week).   

We as individuals and as a society need to take a hands-off approach with bodies. In class you stated that this society has a real problem with thinking that it’s ok to judge other peoples’ bodies. I completely agree with this. Truthfully, what right does anyone have to make assumption or comments about others’ bodies? Your view that bodies are simply vehicles for us to experience life has really begun to change my view of myself. I want to begin to give my body a break and to be only thankful for all the experiences it allows me to have…. I am guilty of focusing on others appearances and bodies. It is something that I have done subconsciously, much like your example of the girl who bought a magazine every day thinking that if she could just find one person in them that looked like her, she would be able to stop her eating disorder. Although I do not have an eating disorder, my train of thought is the same when I focus on other’s bodies, “if I could only see someone who looks like me, I would be ok with myself”. This is a toxic train of thought, because of course that isn’t true! Even if by chance we do find someone who looks like us, one person will never be enough and we will continue to look for other people. This is because we cannot be validated by others, we must be accepting of ourselves and comfortable in our own skin to terminate such a terrible train of thought.

~Elizabeth

I entered this class, along with many others I am sure, with the misconception that thin equals healthy. I was rather surprised to learn that the most healthy, longest living people are those who are overweight—not ideal for the industry, but perfect for fighting diseases and being nourished. I do not know how, but it never occurred to me before this class that every physical body is different and unique, with its own needs, fluctuations, and predispositions. It is a waste of time and energy to struggle to look like the people on television and in magazine because genetics and large teams of professionals/Photoshop are responsible for creating these false images that are fed to us as realities. I have always been a firm supporter in the idea that changes in habits and lifestyles are the key to health. We, as a society, ought to be focusing on being healthy beings and respecting diversity, rather than striving to be skinny or attractive.

~ Amanda 

Something that I know and understand now is that as women, we are all different and we all experience life differently. So many factors play into this: your race, ethnicity, how you grew up, socioeconomic status, genetics, and the list goes on. Even though we are all different and experience life differently, we all have the same battle in a sense. This battle is how the world we live in tells us how to be, how to dress, how to look, and how to live life as a woman. Though we are so different and unique, this unites us as women. Understanding this has given me the realization that instead of being so “catty” and judgmental of each other, we as women need to support each other and stand up together in this world that is telling us “we aren’t good enough” and to instead choose to encourage and tell each other that we are good enough.

~Allison

The one time throughout the semester that I really had an “aha” moment happened while I was writing the assigned paper, “Body Image Autobiography.”  When answering the questions for the paper one question in particular really stood out to me; “What is the first positive memory/moment you have of your body?”  At first I was at a loss on how to answer this question.  I then remembered learning to ride a bike when I was younger and how proud I felt that I could accomplish such a task.  After I answered this question and wrote about it in my paper, I was really shocked at how much has changed when it comes to how I view my body.  Something so simple like learning to ride a bike once made me so proud of my body, and now I am constantly speaking negatively of it.  This question helped to remind me what is actually important when it comes to our bodies.  Our bodies are amazing for so many reasons.  My body allows me to ride a bike, or go for a hike.  My body even allows me to swim in the ocean and do yoga.  Sometimes I get so caught up in all of the “flaws” I see when looking at my body, that I forget to thank it for all that it does for me.

~Katie 

a letter to my body image students on our last day of class

the world is aching for you to show up

From the beginning, you have been something special.

Individually eager, earnest, invested.  Collectively trusting, comforting, accepting.

You have shown up.   Every single class.   Not just physically (but that, too, never have I had a class with better attendance) but emotionally.  Telling your truths. Crying about them.  Getting up and hugging each other through the tears.

Together, we have forged something so special- the kind of thing we will each tenderly remember, quietly feel gratitude for, bittersweetly miss.

And, for that, the very first thing I want to say to you is thank you.

Thank you for showing up—for each other, for me, and, most significantly, for you.

And thank you for HOW you showed up- for each other, for me, and, most significantly, for you.

While what we have had in this classroom has been something really special, here is what I want you to understand: what we had was special because from the beginning, you were something special.  I’m not talking about from the beginning of this class.  I’m talking about from the beginning of your time.

This is what I don’t want you to miss:  the feeling you had in this class wasn’t something that we accidentally crafted.  It was not a mirage or, even, a fluke.

The feeling existed because you showed up.  All of you.  The truest parts of you that have wondered in the past if there was room for you in this world and, in this space, you got your answer.  A resounding yes.

The world is not just ready for ALL of you.  It hungers for you.  And when you show up real and true and authentic, you are offering a gift.  The gift of your amazing depth and character and strength and truth telling.  The gift of your soul.  The gift of seeing and being seen.

When you show up true, the world vibrates.  And that vibration heals.  And healing opens up all sorts of possibility.  That is what you felt in this space and you can replicate that anywhere.  As long as you continue to stay true to you.

There are a multitude of sins we can commit against ourselves in a single day, hour, minute, if we aren’t careful.

We practice neglect.  Ignoring our needs.  Acting as if we shouldn’t have them.  Acting as if they make us too much.  You have needs.  And they and you are not too much.  Meeting your needs allows you to sustain yourself.  And sustaining yourself allows you to love what you love.

We practice density.  Seeing lies and manipulations when we look in the mirror.  Using unkind eyes to shame, unkind words to punish ourselves.   Remember you are meant for your own unique expression.  What makes you YOU is no accident.  And what you have to offer is something this world needs.

We practice scarcity.  Thinking there isn’t enough goodness in the world for everyone and that we are the ones too late to the table.  But this is not true.  The only limit is your imagination.  You are enough.  You are never too late.

We practice denial.  Ignoring or belittling our sweet uniqueness- that smattering of freckles across your nose, the deep cocoa of your skin, the glorious fullness of your hair, the way you can sing like the angels, the way you comfort with humor, the way you encourage with company.  The rich character that you have spent your whole life developing is an instrument to offer this world.  Your unique offering is meant for an urgent need.

For 15 weeks now, you have practiced not committing any of those sins over the space of three hours every single Friday morning.   When negative thoughts derailed you, you came back to yourself, began your practice anew, understanding these essential truths about life:  it is all journey, we are always practicing, we can make a new choice at every single moment.

And so here is what you must now understand: what you created and practiced here was no novelty.  What you felt here- for yourself and for others- is not dependent on your being in this space.  You can treat yourself this way anytime.  You can recreate this community anywhere.  It only takes the courage to show up as you.  To be real.  To speak your truth.  To let others know that your vulnerability is meant for building community, not walls.  You have everything you need inside of you.  You always have.   And, now, what you need to know is that the world is aching for you to show up this way everywhere.  It won’t just change you.  It will change everything.  You are the one the world has been waiting for.

   ♥

 At the end of each semester, I write my students a letter that is unique to their class.  This was the letter for my body image class this semester.

Want to read some past letters?

The world needs your lightness 

We hunger to be known.  

Answer the call into your own greatness 

Radiate Love 

Do the world’s work 

And here is the letter I share with them on the first day of school.  

 

You are meant to be boundless.

We know they are false images.  Those photographs in magazine that make us think,

I wish I had those eyelashes. 

I want skin like that. 

What do I have to do to get a thigh gap?

Faith Hill

We know they are false images.  Deliberately photo-shopped into an impossible outcome so that if we buy into them, we have to engage permanently in body projects.

We know they are false images.  And still sometimes they tease us, call us to them, tempt them.

Think of all the work you put into talking yourself out of what they are selling because, deep down inside, you know that it isn’t real.

And, now, I want you to think about another false image.

It is the image you have of your life at 22 when you are looking forward and thinking “I’ll be married by 28, have the dream home by 29, have my first kid by 30, make partner by 32,  be done with having kids by 34, be back to my pre-baby body by 35.”

After sharing with you last month about an honest conversation I had with close friends about feeling disappointed in our lives or like under-achievers, so many women have approached me to share their own disappointments.

And what has struck me by those conversations is that no one is disappointed in the choices that they had to make in order to see their parents’ through a terminal illness or support their child through a challenge or rally around their partner in a work or personal crisis or navigate our own health crisis.  Nope, those decisions were the right ones.  It is just that in the midst of living through those difficult circumstances, making those epic decisions with our heart in our hands, we were still supposed to work our way to the corner office, be named a New York Times Bestseller, have another child, build the dream house.  We were still supposed to achieve the vision we imagined at 12 or 22 or 32 or 42 or 52 when our imagination was in a vacuum and there was no weather, no real lie in there to set things off course.

As I have had these conversations, it has occurred to me that these visions we have for ourselves can sometimes, if we hold them too tightly, move from encouragement to damaging.  They move from aspirational—which is what every single magazine editor will tell you is what their images are meant for: just to inspire you to your own best- to castigating.  A record of what we were meant for and failed to achieve.

Our visions, sometimes, hurt us as much as photo-shopping does.  Our visions, in fact, can be photoshopped—erasing away the real curveballs of life (as opposed to sunspots and wrinkles).

Have your visions for yourself actually brought you shame because you have held them steadfast even though you had to swerve to meet life?

It is time to change your relationship to your visions.  It is time to understand that visions are only meant for inspiration and that they cannot know what your path will be and where you might need to rest or offer assistance or change course.  Our visions are vital suggestions, giving us valuable information about who we are when we are having them but not necessarily who will be as we journey there.

boundless

And so is here what I want to remind you.  Where you end up doesn’t matter nearly as much as the journey.  Our journeys are, in fact, the goal.  And if we point our compass north and say, “I’m aiming for New York City” but, eventually, find ourselves satisfied in Philadelphia, we aren’t failures.  We’ve honored our journey, played to our current truth rather than old rules.

What vision do you have for yourself?  Is it one rooted in who you want to be or what you must do or have?  If the image you have for yourself is confining or shaming, it is not meant for you, dear friend.  Because you are meant to be boundless.

You can always make a different choice.

Unknown

This is how it starts.

We are unhappy about something (our education, our bodies, our relationship or relationship status, our careers, etc.).  We decide we are going to do something about it.  We lay out our plan.

Sometimes, the plan looks like:

I will read a lot about this area.  I will see what resonates with me.  I will patiently but tenaciously keep trying.  I will do my best but give myself grace if something doesn’t work with the initial plan.   I will continue to monitor my self-care as I take on this goal.  If something doesn’t feel right, I will gently reassess and come up with a new approach that is more in line with what I want to feel and how I want to live.  I will not judge myself harshly.  Every action is a celebration.  I will not grip tightly on reaching the final result and will honor the journey because I understand inherently that it is all journey.

A show of hands now from all the people who operate this way.

Wait.  Where are the hands?  WHERE ARE THE HANDS?

Okay, I’ll give you another option.

Sometimes, the plan looks like:

I will  gather some ideas that have seemed to work for others.   I will adopt those ideas like absolutes (I will make an A in every class, I will never eat a carb again, I will always wear make-up and do my hair, I will quit my job and immediately draw in 5 figures with my new business idea) and then I will boss my way to them every single day.  Get queasy during that intense cardio workout?  I will drill sergeant my way into submission.  Don’t wake up early enough to perfectly blow out my hair?  I will shame myself in the mirror.  Because those things will show me.  Those things I say will motivate me.  They will make me change.

Does this strategy feel a little bit more familiar to you?

Sadly, dear heart, it is familiar to too many of us—the irony being that it very rarely works.

When we talk that way to ourselves, we create fissures in our core.  The more we do it, the bigger our breaks become.  Until we are walking around in pieces, unsure of why it is we cannot realize this damn goal.

What is wrong with me, we wail.

And, yet, there is nothing wrong with you but how you treat yourself.  Your only mistake is not honoring and embracing the tender brilliant person that you are.

But then, at that point, it feels like the habit is too natural.  It feels like our way of being.

I don’t even know how to talk to myself differently, we think.  I do not even know how to treat myself differently.

And so the problem seems insurmountable.

But it is not.

Because the problem is just a habit and that habit—of talking to ourselves in that way, of treating ourselves that way—was born from a choice.

And you can always make a different choice.

Today, you can choose to not have an adversarial relationship with yourself any longer.  You can choose to talk to yourself differently.  You can choose to be more gentle with your expectations.  You can choose self-care and self-kindness and self-acceptance.

Then you just begin: talking to yourself in the voice that you have reserved for those you love because you deserve to be your own personal loved one, coaching yourself the way you would a best friend, encouraging yourself the way you would a sister, thinking through solutions like you would a niece or daughter.

And when the awful voice returns—because it will as it would rather not lose its megaphone in your life—you just look at it, making piercing eye contact, and say,

“I have made the choice to have a different relationship with myself.”

You may have to tell the voice that 100 times before it grows tired of your new persistence and uproots itself, moving away from your brain because you will no longer tolerate its bluster.  You may have to coach the new voice into doing its best work for you.  You’ve got this.  You can try.  Whatever you do, is okay.  I believe in you.  And then one day, it will no longer need your coaching.  The voice in your head will organically be your own encouraging champion.

A self-acceptance starter kit

self acceptance starter kit

“If I could just change this one thing, I would be so much happier.”

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard this (and, heck, thought this).  And, yet, research shows that changing one physical thing about ourselves doesn’t actually equal happiness.  While cosmetic surgery patients might be happier with an individual body part post-surgery, that satisfaction doesn’t always translate to a better body image or a happier life. The reality is that happiness is an inside job.  Changing your body won’t bring your more smiles and laughter.  Changing your mind will.  While there are many mindset strategies I like to teach to help people embrace self-acceptance, this little starter kit can help you improve your relationship with yourself.

REALIZE THERE IS NO PERFECT AND NO PERFECT EITHER. Eighty percent of women feel worse about themselves after looking at beauty ads. Yet more than 20 billion dollars is spent a year on beauty ads. Those beauty ads often have a formula: select a model that less than 5% of the world resembles, shot the model with the best make-up, hair, and lighting possible, then alter that photo with editing software to create a literally unreal image to project to women so they feel inadequate and buy the product being sold. But we weren’t designed to look alike. We are each meant for uniqueness, and our uniqueness is neither perfect nor imperfect. We are individualized for a reason and embracing that individuality is really what is beautiful.      

DEFINE BEAUTY FOR YOURSELF AND THEN APPLY IT TO YOURSELF.  When I was interviewing women for Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina, I asked each one if she was beautiful. Very few said yes. Then I asked each woman how she defined beautiful. They often said strong, passionate, and caring. I would then point out how they had embodied those traits during our interview and they would be so surprised. We define beauty very complexly and apply that definition to the people we love. We then use a completely different definition, one that is perpetuated by the media and not even real, to compare to ourselves. Today, define beauty for yourself and see yourself through that definition.

PRACTICE SELF-CARE. One way you can begin to feel more at peace with yourself is by taking better care of yourself. Do one thing every day, no matter how small, to care for yourself. Common self-care prescription items include making time for exercise (anything from walking to yoga), drinking plenty of water, journaling, meditating, stretching, talking to a friend, reading for pleasure, or getting bodywork like a massage, pedicure or facial.

PLUG INTO YOUR PASSION. We are all here on purpose. Each one of us has a unique role we are meant to play in the world, and it likely has nothing to do with the way we look. What gift are you meant to give the world and in what way? It is close to impossible to care about your frizz or wrinkles when you are engaged in something that gives you meaning. Find what you love and make sure that it is a regular part of your life.    

Want to learn even more about self-acceptance and living on purpose?  Join me for Passion. Purpose. Peace in May.  The early bird special ends on April 15th

Dream Big with us!

run big dream big

 

We do it because wellness matters and because breaking big goals down into little steps is a valuable lesson and because there is nothing quite as gratifying as crossing a finish line that felt far away when you started.  Every April, for six years now, we have run a 5k with the Circle de Luz girls because we want them to know that when they set a goal, it can be accomplished with some grit, a little sweat, and some good old fashioned cheering each other on.

Our annual Run Big Dream Big race does more than just teach the girls to set goals and cross finish lines.  It also allows those of us who support Circle de Luz to raise funds for our valuable programming (we offer over 50 programs a year to our hijas and their families!).  This year, for the first time, Happy is joining me in the run and, together, our goal is to raise at least $800 for Circle de Luz.

You can  learn more about our work through this video.

Can you help us cross the finish line with our goal?  To make a contribution, donate via CrowdRise   or by mailing a check made out to Circle de Luz to Circle de Luz PO Box 2 Davidson NC 28036.  Just put Rosie Molinary RBDB in the memo line.  Your contribution is a tax-deductible donation and you’ll receive a receipt for your records!  You’ll also have our unwavering affection!

Thanks so much for  your support!

what are you meant to make visible?

make visible

 

Happy is on Spring Break and so I am taking the time to distill this week but not before sharing this lovely quote with you that so spoke to me I had to capture it in some sort of graphic image.  I’m thinking this week about what I want to make visible in the world right now and what the best expression is for me to bring light to what is inside of me.  I hope you, too, will call out what you are meant to create, offer, and make visible.

If it is spring time where you are, may the sunshine be plentiful, the inch worms scarce, and the pollen non-debilitating (I know that’s almost an impossibility but I hate to wish away the pollen totally since it’s part of the cycle of life).  And, for all of us, may the sunshine from our soul and allow us to live on purpose.