Setting my Standards

I’ve been wondering…. who sets the standard of “beauty”?

Who says it’s shaved legs?

  1. the photos in fashion magazines?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who don’t dare miss a day of shaving their legs?
  4. the men who require their girlfriend or wife to shave her legs?

Who says it’s high heels?

  1. the corporations who sell high heels, but could sell something else if they chose to?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who wear high heels because they ‘want to look sexy’ and don’t think they do in flats?
  4. the men who give lots of attention to women wearing heels?

What do you actually want to wear on your feet? For comfort’s sake? For safety’s sake?

Have you ever actually tried growing out your leg hair? Have you tried loving yourself despite long hair on your legs? Have you? Because I promise you it is possible.

Here’s my proof.

DSC_0313

I’m heterosexual, and brush my teeth every day, and love myself completely. It’s totally possible- in fact, it’s true. And I spent 6 months without shaving.

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If it hurts, Stop.

I do yoga. My yoga teachers are always quick to tell us that a stretch is a good thing, but pain is not. If you have pain, move back out of the yoga pose.

Me? I like to push myself. I want to be the best, the strongest, the most admirable. I want people to notice me and how well and fully I can do the poses!

And then I end up hurt, annoyed, injured and recuperating because I pushed past my limits and ignored my body’s messages to me.

What I’ve been learning recently while getting back into yoga is that I don’t have to push so hard to be strong. It’s actually much more intelligent to resist pushing and just do what still feels ok for me physically. I feel like this is a lesson applicable to all areas of life. Rather than go-go-go and hit burnout eventually, how about a slow-and-steady pace? Burnout is so unnecessary.

So recently I’ve been working on listening to what my body is telling me. I’m backing off when I feel pain and sitting down when I get dizzy. Not perfectly, of course, because it takes time to make a change in habits. Every time I am able to let myself off the hook for that pose I just can’t do, I see it as ‘returning to the path’ like in mindfulness meditation. It’s a moment of successful practice of being kind to myself.

I discreetly told my yoga teacher about what I’m doing, that I was in a car accident and I’m trying not to push myself too hard. When she asks if I can deepen the pose, I respond honestly “no, I can’t,” if that’s the case. As a result, I’ve done yoga more often lately.

I am hoping to encourage you to join me in this practice of paying attention, and backing off when you reach your limit. I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I’m the only one who knows what I need, and how to take care of me.

I am Not a Victim

Sitting and waiting for a terrific storm, fearful and unprepared, is like waiting for something bad to happen to you without seeking ways to protect yourself.

The storm which is moving up the East Coast of the U.S. as we speak gave just enough warning for some of us to prepare; whether that means leaving to stay with relatives further inland; or buying batteries, food, water, and fixing up the basement so you can sleep in the safest part of the house.

What I can’t understand is not preparing at all- sitting and waiting and fearing. Quoting the numbers of people who’ve died, or that this storm is supposed to be bigger than ‘the Perfect Storm;’ how does that help?

As a powerful woman, I know I can do things for myself in everyday life to prepare for the hazards of the world. I can…

  • Take a self-defense class (or two, or three) to have a basic clue of how to fight back if I was assaulted, and some confidence in my ability to do so, to decrease fear.
  • Avoid unnecessary risks: I park in well-lit areas and go with friends if I’m going somewhere at night. I call someone to let them know I’m on my way home. I don’t buy gasoline at night if I can help it.
  • I cultivate in myself a positive attitude of optimism, because my thoughts create my reality. What people focus on is what they tend to draw toward them. Currently I’m focusing on respect, light, blessings, and honesty.
  • If my instincts tell me someone’s behavior is ‘off’, I do not owe them anything. I do not have to respond to their inquiry for directions, nor their request for friendship, nor their offer of a job. I do owe it to myself to listen to these instincts I have, designed by Nature to keep me safe.
  • I give myself positive messages about ME, so I don’t have to rely on someone else for them. After all, other people have their own desires and motivations. Why give someone else the power to tell me how to feel about myself? That’s dangerous, and I don’t accept it. I provide my own positive self-esteem.

“I am not a victim. I deserve love and respect, and I have them from myself. I treat myself well. I am strong, capable, and prepared to meet the world on it’s own terms.”

Last year’s Halloween snow.

I’m feeling good about lovingly preparing myself for life’s storms.

This post describes what I’ve been experiencing this week. It is freak-out week, indeed. Blessings on anyone who is going through the same. And anyone who’s not.
I’m feeling good about solidarity… and hanging in there.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Let me ask you a personal question.  Do any of the following sound like you right now (although a few weeks ago you were fine, or certainly more fine than you are now)?

  • exhausted, for no apparent reason
  • achy and unwell in a very non-specific way
  • restless, or feeling like you want to run away
  • scattered
  • teary, for no apparent reason
  • easily triggered into old ‘stuff’
  • anxious, for no apparent reason
  • unable to make decisions
  • suddenly overwhelmed
  • wanting to cry or scream or punch things
  • panicking about decisions you have made
  • irrational
  • arguing with loved ones
  • worrying about things you haven’t worried about for years
  • dealing with issues you thought you’d resolved or worked through
  • bogged down with fear, guilt, or other negative emotions
  • feeling massively hormonal although it’s not your ‘time of month’

It’s not just you. My inbox is crammed this week with emails from people who are…

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Evening Mantra

When your day is done tonight and you get home, you can tell yourself,

“I did well today. I am successful. Now, I can rest.”

And feel good about all the difficulties you made it through, all the hands you held and eyes you smiled into. I’m feeling good about accepting that my part in life is to see it for what it is; difficult and wonderful for everyone.

What it means to be a ‘Goose-Girl’.

Grimms’ fairy tales include one called ‘The Goose-Girl‘. I always liked this one and recently I decided to figure out what is so psychologically-rooted and numinously-appealing about it. The analysis will make more sense to you if you read the story at the above link, first. I do a bit of dream-analysis, and can see where this interpretation somewhat mimics the vague language of dreams.

My analysis:

The story indicates that the queen mother’s love for her daughter gives the young princess her strength and power. When the girl allows herself to be mistreated (despite the fact that she knows better) she gives up her power.

First to leave her is her strength, followed by her status, and finally, her freedom to speak her truth.

From there, she begins to work at something which does not suit her, which she was not meant for nor brought up to do. Some of her qualities are recognized by those who are on the same footing as she used to be, though she is a mere shade of her true self.

She is clever enough not to be completely parted with her strength, her knowledge of herself- and this consoles her.

Lower beings wish to clutch at her secret gifts, but she keeps her gifts close. Those jealous lower beings ultimately lead to her help, because they make it obvious who she truly is. Though she has lost her power to speak, those of much experience can hear and see what others cannot. This is how she finds her way back to herself.

Tricksters who would steal power from others bury themselves in trouble, and cast their own harsh sentence.~

What does the trickster signify, who steals the princess’s place from her? This thief of life steals what rightfully belongs to the young woman, who is journeying out in the world for the first time. Anyone who denies a woman power, status, and freedom to speak takes on this role of ‘thief of life’.

Unwillingness also steals strength, status, and speech. Unwilling to… speak up, on the part of the princess, and to work, on the part of her servant.

So, to be a Goose-girl means to allow oneself to be mistreated, to be compliant to the point of self-denial. Losing oneself, there is so much more to lose than it originally seems, and the way back is found through the wisdom of those who have life experience, and who are listening.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief foray into my mind, and those of the Brothers Grimm. I’m feeling good about learning life lessons from fairy-tales.