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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.

passion. purpose. peace. a retreat

passion.purpose.peace

Are you ready to finally quiet the self-doubt that has stopped you from creating the life you want?


Do you want to reconnect- or connect for the first time- with what you find life giving so you can live with passion?

Are you eager to claim what your purpose is in life and realize how you want to live it?

Do you need time and guidance to really help you breathe, think, dream, and plan for your best life?

Are you ready to make this moment YOUR time?


Then Passion. Purpose. Peace is calling for you. 

At this two day retreat, we’ll spend our time together filtering out the excess noise while identifying and embracing what is most true for you in how to live authentically and create the life you want.

We will forge a deeper self-awareness, practice greater self-acceptance, and examine your self-care in a way that empowers you to be your greatest ally.

We will discover what you want your legacy to be and how to live in a way that aligns with who and how you most want to be in the world while allowing you to creatively express your passion and purpose in a personally crafted mission statement and manifesto.

You will be guided in creating an action plan that guides your wants and needs at a pace and in a way that is just right for your life.


Ultimately, you will leave Passion. Purpose. Peace invigorated, focused, and clear with a sense of confidence in what you uniquely offer the world and a vision for how to live on purpose in an authentic, whole-hearted way.


 May 29-30, 2015     Click the date for more information.  Use EARLY at checkout for $25 off until April 15.  Spaces limited!

What do past participants have to say about their Passion. Purpose. Peace experience? 

The Passion Purpose Peace retreat was truly a transformative experience. As a young woman, it was an amazing experience to get together with women from all stages in life and talk about what it means to have purpose and to uncover it. It is a really cool thing to learn that we’re all just trying to figure it out and you can be just as unsure about what comes next at 22 as you are at 42! Rosie’s techniques and resources allowed us as a group and individuals to move beyond fear and uncertainty and to focus in on what matters to us and why. Once I understood what I actually want out of my life, and not what convention, or magazines, or fear want my life to look like, the retreat propelled me into a space where I could grasp those newfound realities and turn them into meaningful and manageable action steps. What I really liked though is that the learning experience was balanced. We all had a ton of energy as we were revisiting the passions of our youth or early life or discovering emerging passions and patterns, but a large chunk of the day was focused on self-care. It is easy to go headlong into a dream or goal and then to get burnt out, but we learned in the retreat to stay grounded in wellness and self-awareness in order to make our changes sustainable.  This retreat was one of my favorites that I have attended and I don’t think it will be topped soon.   Jaime Zito

I am so grateful for the retreat and all that it offered. Rosie’s message is exactly what I needed.  Rosie’s story is inspirational and through that I was able to find my own story. The real story, not the one I have imagined through others’ eyes. Mine. I have new tools to continue the search growing ever closer to my truth. I am excited about the possibilities and I look forward to the next retreat.  Tonya Rush

On the Road Again (or some tips for working in self-care when you travel)

you are here update

Most of us struggle with self-care when we’re right at home.  Put us in an airplane and fly us half-way across the country and self-care goes completely out the jet window.  It just seems too complicated to work in when our usual resources aren’t at our fingertips.  But, if you are anything like me, you land back home sick and tired and realize you actually didn’t have the time not to take care of yourself while you were on the road.  Want to create a strategy for self-care while you are traveling?  Try these four steps.

Know your minimum and ideal self-care so you can strategize for the road.  What do you need at the bare minimum to be reasonably well mentally and physically?  Write a list. My minimum self-care includes six hours of sleep per night, exercising at least 3 days a week, ten minutes of pleasure reading before bed, drinking at least 50 ounces of water a day, having a reasonable daily work plan, and working minimally on the weekends.

What is ideal for your self-care?  For me, it includes these tweaks or additions:  eight hours of sleep a night, at least fives days of exercise a week, limited sugar and caffeine, and sitting outside for at least five minutes daily.

When traveling, pre-plan for how you will get in your minimum self-care or in what areas you can hit your ideals.

Know your travel absolutes.  What are musts when you travel?  For example, I can only sleep in a dark, cool, silent space so I don’t take red-eyes.  I don’t love carrying a lot of stuff that I won’t use so I pack pretty minimally.  I hate doing my hair while I am out of town so I usually take the time to blow out my hair before I leave town so that I don’t have to carry all the hair cream in the world to manage the curls or put time into my hair while I am away.  Whatever happens to be true for your needs when you travel, write them down and keep them in mind when you make plans.

Look ahead and plan accordingly for travel.  Every trip is unique so consider individual nuances. What amenities are available to you?  What do you need in order to give yourself at least the minimum self-care you need?  When I fly, I buy the biggest water available as soon as I cross through security. I also pack healthy snacks in my bag because I am not sure when I’ll get a chance to eat (and what will be available to me).  I book hotel chains that I am familiar with so I have sense of what breakfast will be or what amenities I’ll have available to me.  I might get all my workouts in before I travel so I don’t have to worry about them while I am on the road.  Thinking it through beforehand insures that I don’t return home run down.

Have some fun.  Travel shouldn’t be without some fun so try to incorporate some things that add to your sense of well being while you are on the road that you cannot do as easily as home.  I devote at least half of every flight to reading, something I don’t have as much time for at home.  I go to bed earlier since I don’t have to rush around the house completing chores after my son’s bedtime.  I try to see long distance friends.  Incorporate unique things that will boost your sense of wellbeing while you are away and you are far more likely to return home energized rather than exhausted.

you have to keep moving forward

you have to keep moving forward

It is the night before our college graduation.  We gather on the porch of our apartment, boyfriends ditched for the moment, to imprint one more indelible memory.

I grab paper and pen and quickly build out a MASH (Mansion-Apartment-Shack-House) board.

Marriage options?  I ask, pointing to one of my best friends.  We call out names, recalling epic past crushes, honoring present partners, and throwing in someone terribly inappropriate for laughter, groans, or one more wash of embarrassment.

We continue with other categories: number of children, where we will live, careers, cars we will drive, ailments we will suffer (our irreverent humor at 22 not caring that we might be tempting the fates) and more.  And then we laugh our way through each one of our findings.

You are going to marry Alex and live in a shack in Bolivia (keep in mind that MASH does not know or care about what countries are landlocked) with your 5 children where you will be a surf instructor suffering from a goiter who drives a Volkswagen Thing.

We double over laughing at our predictions until the music calls us out into the night to say goodbye to our classmates, to dance one more time with those loves we have that we think we’ll end up marrying (our MASH results be damned), to whisper goodbye to this life and hello to the one we are transitioning into, to say see you later to each other.

*

Almost twenty years later, we gather every spring for a couple days to catch up.  In our hearts and heads, we are still 22, still girls just trying to find our way, still so fresh-faced and naïve and vulnerable.  And, yet, we are acutely aware that while we still feel like those girls, we are no longer them.  It startles us to realize how some 20 year old must see us today.  As old, adult, boring.  But you never saw my MASH board, we want to tell them.   The possibility and irreverence and crazy, crazy love captured there are our underpinnings.

*

This year, we have gathered in Washington DC for our two lightning fast days together.  On our full day together, we walk the monuments, taking in FDR, Eleanor, and Thomas J., and Martin.  And it is there, in front of Martin Luther King Junior’s memorial, our mouths gaping at the exquisite rendering that something clicks into place.

Isn’t it incredible to think that all that good he did was in his thirties?  Lylen asks.

Later, we are sitting around once more, not unlike how we did years ago on our apartment porch, our conversation meandering from base to brilliant, irreverent to vulnerable, our confessions coming in short order until we begin to admit that at this point in our lives, we thought that we would be somewhere else already.  Not geographically, necessarily, but in our careers, in our accomplishments, in our impact.  We are startled at the way that family crises and children have uprooted us, knocked us straight off our feet not for minutes or moments or months but for years.

We look at each other, shocked that the other feels this way.  We label her accomplishments.  We tell her what we don’t think she’s seeing and, yet, we know that while we each see what the other is saying, we also see what the 22 year old us saw and we know there is this part inside of us that calibrates just how upending family tragedy or turmoil has been for us and it is keeping score against what we thought could happen by now.

I tell them how my students always write in their body image autobiographies that their vision is ‘simply’ to do better than their parents, to have it easier than their parents.  And I tell them how it is such a bittersweet thing for me to read—sweet because I am so touched by what they perceive as their simple desire and bitter because I remember being right where they were and then, here I am, twenty years later, startled at how hard life is, how much it asks of you, how we don’t know that asking for the simplest things—a better, easier life than our parents had—is actually asking for everything.

And, then, after we have told each other over and over again, I didn’t know you were going through that, I didn’t know you felt that way, I am so sorry, I am so proud of you, we recalibrate.

There are {hopefully} so many years left in our lives.  There is time left to do the good we are meant to do in this world.  There is time left to take ourselves and our dreams to the next level.  And, this time, we get to do it with an awareness of how incredibly strong we are, with a deep appreciation not just for what we have weathered but how what we weathered made us better.

We name what we are thinking about for our futures, not like we are playing MASH and tempting the fates to choose for us what we will have in our lives, but like we are owning our personal power and choosing for ourselves.  We let our twenty-two year old selves go and welcome our truth, our experience, our amazing present self to the forefront, inviting her to do whatever it is she wishes without the pressure of expectations that exist in a vacuum and while standing upon the scaffolding that a beautiful yet difficult well-lived life builds.

Cultivating a Real and Generous Teacher Presence

As many of you know, teaching is at the cornerstone of how I live my purpose in this world.  I love teaching because it facilities powerful emotional connection, it allows me to always be a learner, and because it is a laboratory for our inner-connectedness.  Most of us are teachers in some way, whether formally or informally, and I am honored today to introduce you to Jennifer Louden, a teacher and creator, who is sharing some of her thoughts on teaching and an opportunity.

Jennifer Louden

***

Think back on the teachers you’ve had in your life. Some come to mind immediately for their realness, their generosity, a certain quality you may not be able to name but you could feel. Maybe it was your fourth grade science teacher. Maybe it was someone teaching you how to care for yourself in a workshop. Maybe it was a parent teaching you to ride a bike. Whoever they were, they were present and you could feel their presence.

To be an inspired teacher – who does not burn out – cultivate your own real and generous presence. Doing so will feel good to you and it helps your students learn by creating a compassionate, safe learning environment and igniting the parts of their brain that need to be taken care of for learning to happen.

Here’s a few ways to deepen and enrich your teacher’s presence – try them out and see if they work for you:

•       Before, during, and after teaching, check in with your mind, body and emotions.

Ask yourself questions like:

Am I breathing? (Breathing deeply is helpful.)

Can I relax my jaw, eyes, belly, hands? (Let down your guard.)

Am I speaking to myself kindly?  (Self-criticism cuts you off from your students.)

What do I need right now?  (Your needs count, including going to the bathroom!)

Teaching on line, it’s easy to think your body and emotional state don’t matter – but that’s so not true!

•       Shift into an open, self-accepting state with an open, self-accepting mind. As much as you can.

 Be on the lookout for tension in your body and use that as a sign to take some full breaths and let go of any judgments that may have come up about yourself or your students. Letting go of “How am I doing?” and “Why aren’t they getting?” is a huge part of being present to what is unfolding and thus being able to respond to it genuinely.

•       Find meaning in what you are teaching – the material matters to you.

Take the time, especially when preparing, to connect to the material you are teaching and let it inspire you. Come down from being “the teacher” and be a student as you prep – let fresh insights noodle you or gratitude you know this stuff. You can recall when you first encountered these ideas, and how wonderful that was for you. You can recall students who have been changed by this material when you previously taught it.  All of these will help you find fresh meaning, and teach with more purpose and energy.

•       Savor moments of joy, a rush of “This is so cool!”

Forget being the teacher who appears cool or “this is old hat” – an outmoded model that doesn’t serve. Share your enthusiasm in the moment – and that includes during writing  or recording an audio or video if you teach on-line. Trust yourself and fly your freak flag!

•       Stay connected to yourself and your students – abandoning neither.

The adventure of intimacy with students can be a crazy pendulum that swings wildly between two extremes.

At one end, you might maintain a cool remove, protecting your own energy. You sacrifice being warmly available to your students and the learning that comes through lively engagement. At the other extreme, you devote yourself to being completely available to students, but sacrifice your own well-being by meeting all your students needs and wants. Burn-out anyone?

Both of these extremes are born from avoidance: The distant teacher is attempting to avoid being sucked dry or feeling invaded.  The over-available teacher is trying not to let anyone down or leave her or his needs unmet, and wants everybody to like him or her.

Instead, recognize it is impossible to meet everyone’s needs. You get to say “We don’t have time for that” or “I’ll be teaching a class on that next time” or simply “No.” You don’t have to answer impossibly complex or out of line emails, for example.

•       Genuinely care about your students – they can bug you but you consciously work to find some love.

We all encounter difficult students. Try looking for something you can love about him or her before you respond on a call, in an email, or on forums. Maybe you like her avatar or how he uses emoticons, or her backpack or his mohawk. Finding something to like and appreciate fosters compassion and takes (some) of the judgment out of your encounters, which allows you to maintain control of the learning situation for all your students, without shaming anyone or having that subtle edge of your voice.

***

I hope these ideas invite you to play the next time you teach. Presence changes everything. It awakens your creativity, your patience, and allows you to be fed while you feed others through your teaching.  It’s not always easy but it is always rewarding. Thanks for reading this!

Best-selling author and personal growth pioneer Jennifer Louden is the creator of many things, include the popular course TeachNow. With 1160+ alums, TeachNow empower people who need more confidence, more income, and more power in their teaching – no matter the subject or level of experience. Join Jen for a free sampler of TeachNow March 19th at http://www.theteacherspath.com  and walk away with 7 actionable ways to dissolve sticky obstacles to teaching… now.

 

5 books for your self-awareness and self-acceptance journey

five books

In 1996, my college roommate and best friend gave me a gift that would change the way I approached life.

The Artist’s Way is billed as a twelve week course in discovering and recovering your creative self.  Doing the work laid out in this book fueled my self-awareness and helped me get incredibly clear about what I had to offer the world.  Because of this book, I realized how central writing was to my understanding of myself and critical in the work that I wanted to do in the world.  It inspired me to go get an MFA in Creative Writing.  I still do exercises from this book and constantly recommend it (I recommended it just last week to a student at Middlebury College when I was speaking there for Eating Disorders Awareness Week).

Thinking about the difference The Artist’s Way has made in my life inspired me to share with you some books that greatly encourage self-awareness and self-acceptance.  Are you looking for a book to gently inspire your personal growth, deepen your self-knowledge, and/or lead to motivation or acceptance?  Try one of these.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

Considered the seminal work on the creative life, some people may see themselves as not creative and think this book has nothing to offer them, but it does.  Divided by weekly themes over twelve weeks, this instructive book gives your profound exercises to discover or recover a sense of safety, identity, power, integrity, and more.

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

One of the most profound things we can do in this life is release guilt and shame and allow our vulnerability to actually be a gift to ourselves and to the world.  We build the most profound connections at our most vulnerable, and Brown uses her years of research to teach us how to practice daring greatly while inspiring us to have a new perspective on life.  Readers will especially enjoy the Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto and the Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto.

Yogalosophy by Mandy Ingber

Yogalosophy is an action plan to re-pattern habits, develop positive self-talk, and channel emotions while using  intention, yoga, music, reflection and, if you would like, food as tools.  There’s an overview in the beginning and then a day by day plan with detailed instructions and photos for guidance.

The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte

Part inspirational guide, part instructional workbook, The Desire Map shows you why how you feel matters and then guides you in claiming what your core desired feelings are in a fun and thorough workbook.  Ultimately, the idea is that you choose how you want to feel in life and then make choices in your life that guide you to those core desired feelings over and over again.

Beautiful You by Rosie Molinary

Since The Artist’s Way got me started on this deep self-awareness work, it seemed appropriate to include my contribution to this effort on this list.  Drawing on self-awareness, mind-body, and practical techniques, Beautiful You is an action plan to give women what they need to champion and fully live their own lives.  Every day starts with a short inspirational essay and is followed by one action to take that day.  With experiences ranging across ages and experiences, Beautiful You is a choose your own adventure to build your self-awareness and self-acceptance.