Owning Your Beauty

For many women, we focus on what we don’t like about our looks, rather than what we do like.  We tend to be hypercritical… and Mama Gena wants to change that!

I’m in a book study group and we are working our way through Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts by Regena Thomashauer.  This week we’re on Lesson 6: the Womanly Art of Owning Your Beauty.  One of my favorite exercises at the end of the chapter has us tell ourselves out loud several times a day “You are beautiful” and for extra points she suggests that we look in the mirror, say this and then wink!  You have to try this!  It makes it seem so saucy and sassy to punctuate the affirmation of your beauty with a wink!

I’m really enjoying this book  Mama Gena has us tap into pleasure… and desire… and sensuality.  We are all Sister Goddesses!  If you’d like a fun book that’s a change from tomes on relationship theory, give this book a good read.  You’ll be glad you did!

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Cultivating Shame about our bodies for profit… now for men, too!

As women, many of us are very critical of our bodies.  We have an idea of what we “should” look like, and the belief that we are not attractive unless we conform to the cultural stereotype of beauty.  I think this is starting to change and most of us realize that the models portrayed on the fronts of magazines have often been Photo-shopped.  We have been trying to live up to an impossible ideal.  Despite some increased awareness, millions and millions are dollars are made by companies who profit on perpetuating the belief that we need to look better in various ways.

In my experience, men tend to be more accepting of their bodies and don’t have the level of shame around them that many women do.  Well, guess what – now men are learning that there is something wrong with them too!  A local spa has been promoting hair removal for men with the slogan, “Because you’ll never hear a woman say, ‘I love a man in a fur coat.'”

I know someone who thinks her husband is totally hot – because he has a lot of body hair and is bald.  To her, that is desirable and attractive.  I think she would say that she DOES love a man in a fur coat!  But my point is that there is a profit to be made by planting the seed that there’s somehow something wrong with us that needs to be fixed.  Maybe it’s a hairy back.  Maybe it’s cellulite.  Maybe it’s gray hair.

Let’s raise our awareness and just say NO to profiting from cultivating shame about our bodies.  Let’s celebrate natural beauty, and be grateful for all the gifts our bodies give us.  When you think about it, it’s really quite miraculous!

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In Praise of Black Licorice!

I’m always interested in articles with a twist.. so check out this one about black licorice and its effect on a woman’s libido!  http://health.howstuffworks.com/sexual-health/sexual-dysfunction/licorice-effect-natural-women.htm

For most women, at least some connection is also necessary to get us “in the mood” but if we can supplement this, why not?  My favourite black licorice is Panda because it’s a natural one.  I’ll never look at a box of Panda licorice in the same way again!

Enjoy!

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True Love – Part 2

Yesterday in my blog I talked about having come across a wonderful treasure: Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.

Today, in Part 2 I will share with you some of the highlights of the second section of the book called “The Practices of Love.”

In the “Love Yourself” chapter she says,

All too many of us consider love to be the miracle by which, finally, we will become complete human beings.  This is the fixer-upper notion of love, the idea that we are not all right as we are, but if we can just get loved by somebody, then that will prove we’re ok.”

The truth is that to love someone else, and to be loved, we have to love ourselves first.  She talks about loving yourself enough to be authentic: having the courage to say what you feel and ask for what you want.  She suggests ways to cherish your beloved – like criticizing only in private, behaving yourself in public and praising the ordinary.  Many times we are so focused on things from our point of view that we forget to be compassionate toward our partner and what he/she may be going through.  Another example of loving behavior is to depart and reunite with loving gestures.  I have a friend in her late 70’s and her husband is in his mid 80’s.   They greet each other with a hug and a kiss and when they part, they do the same.  So often it’s the small gestures that mean so much.  It’s easy to take our partner for granted but making time for loving actions goes a long way even after decades of marriage!

Tomorrow I will talk about the third section of True Love called “The Transformations of Love.”  Stay tuned!

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True Love

I love bookstores.  I especially love the “relationships” section!  Yesterday I was browsing in a local bookstore (Russell Books on Fort St. in Victoria BC) and came across a sweet book by one of my favourite writers on love: Daphne Rose Kingma.  This little gem is called “True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.”

On page 2 of the Introduction, this paragraph caught my eye:

“We have been taught to balance a checkbook, stamp out ring around the collar, and put together a gourmet meal, but we have never been taught how to create a truly loving relationship.  Instead, with the help of romance novels, popular music, and the movies, we imagine that without any effort on our parts love will solve all our problems and make all our dreams come true.”

She talks about how love is a labor of love, and is also an undertaking.

The first section of the book is called “The Conditions of Love.”  Here the author gives us some down to earth reminders such as the danger of assumptions, that relationships have seasons and that everybody is wounded (“The Torn Ear Theory of Love” in which she shares her unconditional love for her cat Max after he was in a fight and got the battle scars!)  What I really like about her approach is that she busts the myths of romantic love and paints a picture of “true” love which is lasting and deeper than the infatuation many of us think will last forever.

I will share some of the highlights (from my perspective) of Section 2: “The Practices of Love” tomorrow!

Have you read this book?  What did you learn from it?  Please share your insights!

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Two keys to reducing suffering

There are two habitual reactions that many of us have can greatly increase the suffering we experience in life.  One is taking things personally and the other, which is related, is interpreting others’ behavior.

Recently, a friend of mine was sharing with me that a co-worker was acting rather cool and standoffish with her.  In the past, my friend had seen that this indicated that the co-worker was upset or annoyed… and my friend didn’t know what she had done.  She wracked her brain trying to think of something she’d said, something she’d done…  Then it turned out that my friend’s co-worker was anxious about an upcoming meeting, and it had nothing to do with her!  When she asked me if I thought she was too sensitive, I responded that I think she fell into the trap we all do, from time to time, of thinking that it’s always about us.  Think how liberated you would feel if you could detach from thinking it’s about you – and to choose not take on other people’s stuff!

Related to this is the danger of interpreting others’ behavior.  How often have you started telling yourself stories about another person’s motivation, or imagined what is going on in their head … and then found out later that you were totally wrong?  One of the tools I use in coaching my clients is a “perception check”.  When you feel triggered you tell the person what you are imagining and how you feel as a result… and you check it out with them.  So often what you think is going on is completely different from the other person’s reality.  It’s always safer to ask than to assume!

I invite you to watch for these habits: 1) taking things personally and 2) interpreting others’ behavior.  With awareness you can break through these patterns and live with much less suffering!

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7 Weeks to Attract the Love of your Life?

Katherine Woodward Thomas starts a live online Calling in “the One” course this evening.  I’m a Certified Calling in “the One” coach and I know how valuable this program is.  I have to admit that I feel a little uncomfortable with the claim “7 weeks to attract the love of your life.”  In the marketing it is implied that if you take this course, you will find your true love right away.   When I work with people, I like to clarify this a bit.  I can’t guarantee that you will find the love of your life in 7 weeks if you mean a beloved partner.  What you will gain after 7 weeks of this work is a much deeper insight into yourself.  You will learn more about your limiting attitudes and beliefs, you’ll learn some great communication skills and you will be much better prepared for love.  Yes, you will attract the love of your life… and the love of your life is YOU!

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Fun with Online Profiles

I enjoy reading through online profiles. The approaches are so different: from deadly serious to wild and crazy! I wanted to share a couple of funny moments from recent profiles written by men. I don’t think they were meant to be funny but they cracked me up! One said, “no drug addicts or vegetarians” I laughed out loud that they’d be in the same sentence! And I saw one this morning in the “first date” section where he’d written, “phone call to select a compromising place for dinner.” Now I think he meant that he and his date would discuss the venue and be flexible… but what came out wasn’t quite what he intended, I’m sure!

Have you seen anything funny in a profile lately that you’d like to share? This could be a lot of fun!

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Are you looking for a partner or a project?

Sometimes it’s tempting to see the potential in someone and to believe that with the appropriate encouragement, love and nurturing the rough diamond you’re dating will become the man of your dreams! I’ve been there, done that, and let me tell you… it doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve him. I have come to realize that what you see is what you get. When you approach dating with a clear list of requirements, needs and wants you can see whether it’s worth investing time and energy into getting to know someone better. Who is he right now? When you focus on the potential rather than the “actual” you are setting yourself up for taking on a project. Is that really what you want in your life? What I believe is that having a partner, not a project, is healthier for both of you!

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Giving up the need to be right

How would you life be different if you were willing to give up your need to be right? In relationships it’s very easy be become attached to your way of seeing things or doing things – but in the long run where does that get you? In Nonviolent Communication we say, “Do you want a case or a connection?” In my own experience, differing opinions or beliefs are often due to a misunderstanding. When potential conflict arises my first step is to ground myself so I’m not reactive Then I become curious and explore the situation with my partner. Very often, it’s just that we have different information. By approaching the situation with openness and curiosity we are able to diffuse any potential conflict. Being able to do this requires that we let go of our need to be right and become open to a dialogue with the other. This is one way to build relationships, not to destroy them.

Do you struggle with needing to be right? What does needing to be right serve you?

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