A Journey to Liking Myself

Ten years ago I couldn’t stand to be alone. My kids were 10 and 12 and when they were in school I would go walking or shopping or call my mom. I didn’t like to spend time by myself. And if I WAS alone I had the TV playing or music on but never, ever just quiet.

Why would a person NOT like spending time alone? I mean really? When I am alone I can eat whatever I want without anyone looking at me funny. I can watch crappy, sentimental TV or dance around my house naked. It’s pure freedom!

I think the honest answer is that I didn’t like myself very much. I had everything a girl could want: A husband who supported me, two kids, a couple of dogs, the white picket fence. But I just wasn’t happy.  I was fat and lonely and the negative voice inside my head was loud and opinionated. She kept telling me what I “should” be doing. She yelled that I “needed to” be the perfect wife, mom and home-maker. I could never measure up.

I also didn’t know who I really was. I was just going along in life but I wasn’t really engaged. I was busy trying to be who I thought other people wanted me to be. I gave someone else all the credit for the good stuff and blamed myself for all the bad stuff.

Today I’m a hot mess. I’m a glitter-filled, bundle of energy and joy, who can’t wait to get up in the morning and encourage, uplift and sparkle on everyone I meet. I LOVE life and all of it’s possibilities. I can’t wait to find out what good stuff each day is going to bring and what I will learn from it.

But how did I get from there to here? That’s a really good question. It was a really long process. I started by taking care of myself. I used to be last on the list and that’s not a recipe for success. So step one was that I moved myself to the top of the list and started exercising and eating better.

Step two was that I started listening to the smaller voice that whispers inside of me instead of the loud, bitchy voice. And know what? The quiet voice had the best answers:

Go take a long, hot bath, It’s ok to take care of yourself for a change.

If you don’t want to do something say NO – don’t just say yes because you think people will judge you.

Start speaking your truth. If people really love you they will listen.

Stop apologizing for things you’re not really sorry for or things that you didn’t do.

It’s ok NOT to be friends with people you really don’t like.

Forgive yourself – yes, even the really crappy stuff you did.

Step three involved a lot of self inquiry. I asked myself really deep questions about what I believe, how I want to live my life and whether it was ok to be miserable all the time or make some changes that would lift me up. I had to examine everything that I had held true for over 40 years and come up with answers that truly reflect ME.

I wish I could have liked myself more earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time. But that’s what life is all about right? I am learning lessons along the way? Sharing those lessons with others? Being REAL and Sharing the uncomfortable stuff because we ALL have crap we deal with.

I hope if you’re suffering today with not really liking yourself that you can find some small thing about yourself to appreciate. That you can find a way to start taking care of yourself because NOT liking yourself is very lonely and it affects all of the people in your life.

I can’t wait to see you fall in love with yourself! You can do it!

Hugs, Dawn

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Miss Apprehension

My eyesight is terrible! I wear contacts to help me see things that are far away – which is a good thing when driving on the roads in Southern California! I also have glasses in case my eyes are tired of the contacts. But if I want to see up close I must have bare-naked eyes. Then I can see from my nose to about arm’s length. After that the world is a blur!

How is your eyesight? Do you feel like you see things pretty clearly? If I stood next to you do you think we could see each other? You might be able to see my face but do you think you could see my intentions or the desires of my heart? Would you be able to read my body language and see what emotions I’m dealing with or would you just see a middle-aged woman looking back at you?

The problem with most of our communication with other people is that we experience things through our own “lens.” This lens consists of every interaction we’ve ever had with other people. Each of these interactions leaves a film or scratch on the lens. So when we look at a new person, new experience or new situation we have to look through this dirty, scratched and warped lens.We can’t help it. It colors everything we see.

That being said, do you think you see things clearly?

What do you see in these pictures?

Do you see people who need help? Or do you feel disgust or fear?

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Do you see something that makes you feel proud? or anger or frustration?

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Do you see a happy celebration? Or trash from the Ocean?

It all depends on your point of view doesn’t it? It all depends on your lens. What you have experienced and seen. So if you are ONLY seeing the bad, ugly, angry and fearful part of the world, it may not be that the world is really all that….It may just be that you need to clean your lens…Or get new glasses!

With much love – Dawn

Happy Tools

I’m happy most of the time. In fact, I’m so cheerful that occasionally it irritates people! I have normal emotional ups and downs but after thinking about it, I realized that I’m happy about 85% of the time. I have been really, really unhappy before though. In fact, I spent a year in clinical depression. Depression so painful that I didn’t want to breathe anymore. It was awful. So I work really hard NOT to go back there.

My favorite tool to keep me on the happy side of life is to count my blessings. I try to find at least five: I have love in my life, I have a place to live, I’m healthy, I’m doing something I really like and My kids still say, “I love you mom!” When I’m having a really rough day my list looks more like this: I’m breathing……I have gas in my car…….UMmmmmm….I have coffee…. squirrels are cute… I like the blue sky…. But at least I can still find five things!

My next best tool is to move (sometimes drag) my mind into the present moment. If I am busy worrying about something then I am NOT present. I’m really in the future making up stories about what “might” happen and then making myself sick over it. If I’m thinking about something in the past I’m not present in this moment either. When I finally bring myself to this moment I can see that everything is fine. I’m ok. Life is good and I don’t have anything to complain about.

Another tool that I use is exercise. I am a yoga instructor so I practice some kind of yoga daily. Yoga helps me get in touch with my body and my mind. It helps me “burn away the crazy” and also produces ‘Happy” endorphins in my brain! I also like to hike, ride my bike, swim or paddleboard. Any kind of exercise is helpful!

An often used tool is to talk to others about what is bothering me. It can be a professional counselor or a really good friend. But it needs to be someone I can be brutally honest with. Someone who will just listen and not judge. This person/or group of people can take some time and trial and error to find! Unburdening myself in this way takes a ton of weight off of my soul and raises my happiness level by leaps and bounds.

Hugs or hand holding is a great way to boost my happiness level. Humans are made to be in connection and communion with others. Being able to hug someone – tight, or walk around holding hands is an essential part of how we are made. If you’re not with a partner right now, go get a massage. Appropriate touch through massage can be a very worthwhile thing in your life. It is especially helpful for senior citizens who have lost their partner in life.

Going outside is probably one of the most underutilized ways to boost your happiness level! Our bodies need the vitamin D that the sun gives our skin. At least 20 minutes a day outside is recommended. I lived in Seattle for most of my life and there is not enough sunshine there but being outdoors at least gave me fresh air, green moss under my feet, huge pine trees to smell and ocean views. The sound of the waves can be a great meditation tool!

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So, if you’re feeling a little out of sorts please try one (or all) of these Happy Tools! Life is good. It’s difficult sometimes but it’s worth it. Every day.

From My Heart to Yours!

The Most Important Part of Your Face.

I remember being a little girl watching my mom put on lip gloss. She got really focussed. She looked in the mirror and puckered her lips just so. The gloss always smelled really good – like berries or candy. Then she would mush her lips together making sure both lips were covered. Every once in a while if I was very good, she would let me put some on too!

That’s how I learned that my lips were the most important part of my face. The part that deserved the most attention. It didn’t matter if I was out playing on my bike or in a fort in the dirt…my lips should always be pretty and glossy and smell like candy!

Then as a teenager I started to get pimples. Like every other teen I was the victim of unscheduled eruptions that ruined my whole week. From watching everyone else,  I learned to cover my face. I used foundation, highlighter and powder to try to make my whole face look uniform. No big red swollen spots Here! No Sir!

That’s how I learned that covering up my face was the most important part. Don’t look natural. The more makeup the better. At work, at school, on a date….my face should always been that perfect shade of non-shiny beige.

Recently, my eyes have caught my attention. How did I get those dark circles? And why are my eyebrows looking so pale? I guess It’s that grey hair creeping in. I use a little concealer under my eyes although it’s hard to find stuff that doesn’t settle into my wrinkles. And draw on some eyebrows…quick!!!!

That’s how I learned that my eyes are the most important part of my face. The part of my face that I wish still look young. The windows into my older soul. The part of me that looks back at me in the mirror. My eyes that change color with my mood. Grey when I’m upset and blue when I’m happy.

From someone who has been there, please know that it really doesn’t matter if you are wearing fruity smelling lip gloss, or if your makeup is covering your zits. Whether your eyebrows are on fleek is of no concern.

What really matters is that you use your mouth to speak words filled with loving kindness. That when you do speak, you speak to everyone…the homeless, the singled-out, the nerds, the popular kids, the people who seem ok but really aren’t, the ones who need you to tell them, “You are not alone.” That you use your words to speak out against injustice and hatred. And that you also learn when NOT to speak…that’s a tough one.

It’s important that you use your face to be real. No hiding, no wearing a mask, no pretending to be something you’re not. “Perfect” is not the destination. We need you to be YOU. Because you have an individual purpose that no one else can achieve. Turn your face towards those who need to be seen and heard. Face the crowd. Face the Music. Let your face be your autobiography!

And finally, work to SEE people for who they are on the inside. Look on others with patience.  Look through their mistakes and into their hearts. Look for the silver lining. See what is good in the world and find grace for each and every soul you meet.

And then you will be truly beautiful…..

 

 

Going Gray…scratch that…SILVER!

O.M.G. My hair is really going gray…ummmm I mean silver! I decided a couple of months ago that I was tired of the incessant color, grow out, hide my head routine and that it was time to let my natural color shine! But to be really honest, I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I didn’t know if I’d freak out and start coloring again or if I’d be able to remain brave!

What really surprises me is that I’m fine. I’m not freaking out. I’m not feeling older. I’m not feeling self-conscious or worried at all. I’m actually enjoying it! I don’t know why I didn’t do this much earlier!

I started coloring my hair when I was about 30. I remember going to the salon and crying in my chair because I was going gray and I didn’t want to look old! My stylist was patient with me and gave me some golden highlights which were supposed to make me feel better and they did for a while. But very quickly I had mostly blondish hair and when I looked at photos I didn’t recognize myself!

So after that I decided to color my hair dark brown. I used an at home single process – Clairol #120. It was my go-to color for years and years.  Until this year. I’m going to be 50 this year and as you can see my hair is really silver so every time it would start to grow out my roots would be very visible. That combined with the fact that I needed to color every three weeks really began to wear on me!

On top of all of that, as a yoga instructor and motivational speaker I am always talking about authenticity, about loving yourself as you are, about being the REAL you….and I didn’t feel like I was doing that. I felt fake, pretend and like I was hiding behind my hair color. I don’t want to do that anymore.

So here I am in all my glory. My crown is totally silver. It feels like I’m stepping through a new threshhold….one that will burn away all the chaff. Into a place where My body, my mind and yes, even my hair will be gloriously me – ALL me. No additives, artificial colors or preservatives! LOL

Now my eyebrows…..that’s another story…..:)

Wild Carrot Herbals – You gotta try this!

I’ve been on a crusade lately. I want to eat food that is fresh from the garden or farmer’s market. I want to use Essential Oils as natural remedies for health and skin care and I want to use products for my body that are a combination of all things good: fresh, healthy, holistic and clean. And Wild Carrot Herbals is all of the above!

I first became acquainted with this company a few years ago while working in a yoga studio in Stanwood, WA. I fell in love with the Wild Rose Eye Cream and also their “Lord, my hands are so dry!” lotion.

So I looked them up online and found out that they offer a Sampler Pack by mail. For only $5 I received this great packet of trial size products.

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In it I found good things like Luminous Lemon & Lavender Eye Brightening Cream and Gaia Goo Healing Salve (say what?) Borage Butter Cream (sounds like a dessert) and even Hemorrhoid Healing Salve – glad I don’t need that today. LOL.

Every email I received was signed with “Love and Blessings” from the owner and I found myself looking forward to checking my email to see what I would find there – THAT doesn’t happen very often with companies that email me – how about you?

In the world of Sacred Commerce they are doing everything right. They are a small family owned company in rural Oregon. Their packaging is made from recycled materials. They make everything from scratch and package it in small batches. Everything has an expiration date – because it’s FRESH and organic.

But more than anything I love this company because of the way they make me feel. I feel like I am a valued customer and that I am furthering the ethics that I choose to live by….by working with them…..AND that’s the kind of company I want to purchase from.

Why the name Wild Carrot?

from their website:

“According to the ‘Flower Essence Repertory’, by Patricia Kaminsky and Richard Katz, Queen Anne’s Lace flower essence harmonizes both ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ energies, so that one can stay connected with the Earth, yet also be emotionally clear and objective in one’s spiritual insight and vision. The Queen Anne’s Lace flower (aka Wild Carrot) helps to ground and stabilize, as well as to refine and sensitize the soul’s ‘clear-seeing.’

See you way clear to the Wild Carrot Herbals company. I promise you’ll be glad you did.

Peace, Love & Namaste – from Dawn.

Looking for Love

My daughter loves elephants. I took her to Thailand last year. She met an elephant and fell in love. So from that day on elephants were her THING. She came back home and started to see elephants everywhere! Stuffed ones at Walmart, porcelain statues, funky elephant T shirts, cell phone covers, jewelry and even elephant candle holders!

This phenomenon may have happened to you as well. You want a boat – so all you see are boats everywhere you look. You want a puppy and it seems like your Facebook feed fills up immediately with people giving them away. Or you need a dining room table and a perfect one magically appears on craigslist for free!

Funny things happen when we desire something. It’s as though the mere act of focussing our attention makes there be more of that thing! It’s as though we are pulling those items closer with our metal power. Imagine Magneto from the Xmen –  arms outstretched pulling  everything he desires toward him!  But it’s no super power. It’s real. Our mind focusses on what we want and brings it to our attention and then our attention expands.

I’ve been focusing my energy on Love lately. I want more love in my life. I want my kids to have it. I want it to be my go-to reaction and I want others to make this choice too. So I’m not surprised that I see love everywhere. I see hearts in plants, the word LOVE scrawled on walls, Love poetry, graffiti and even in the trunks of trees. Was all this LOVE here before and I didn’t notice it? Did my “looking for it” cause the Universe to create more of it or am I just crazy?

Well, I might be a little bit crazy but the truth is that all this LOVE has been here all the time. I didn’t create it, I am just more aware of it now than ever. Maybe because I need it or I choose to believe in it. Maybe because I share it with everyone and maybe even because I am a part of it.

I believe that we are part of a wonderful creation. I believe that we share energy with everyone and everything around us and I believe that what we focus on expands. I know people who watch the evening news every day and all they see in the world is fear and worry. I know people who are so unhappy with their reality that they stay high most of the time. I know people who are so afraid that they carry around not one but two guns!

So choose your focus…..set your attention….I challenge you to choose something good like love, hope, forgiveness or health and see what happens. Let me know how what you are looking for expands for you!

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