Where did our pores go?!

The other day a thought came to me – where the hell did pores go? Flipping through magazines, I see makeup ads, skin cleanser ads, lotion ads – and it seems like somehow all of these models are missing pores! How strangely inhuman.

Isn’t it silly that we aspire to be something that isn’t even real? It’s like the magazine ads are saying “Buy this product & you too can get rid of those dreaded pores!”, or “use this lotion & you too will have a computer generated complexion!” & I just find it so silly & absolutely hilarious – & yet it’s a huge problem in our society.

When we look at these images, we don’t see them for what they really are, we see them for what we think we lack in ourselves. It’s the perfect form of advertising: make people feel lesser by comparison in order to sell a product that claims to produce the results they desire. It’s a sad truth, this is a business world & the way to sell is to make people feel as if using your product will better their lives in some way. It’s evil, yet brilliant, and the result is that millions of people are constantly comparing & creating negative associations towards themselves as ads are continuously shoved into their faces, showing them what they don’t have.

We don’t see it that way as consumers. As consumers, we live in our own little worlds, & we just want to be happy, we just want to have what it takes to reach our personal goals. Over time our happiness has become dependent on what we lack/have – but really, true happiness is a state of mind, it does not go beyond ones self. Our goals have also changed, instead of creating goals for ourselves, we create goals based on the ideals that have been influenced by society, and our business world. These ideals originate from this picture depicted by ads & society, that tell us who we think we should be. Products don’t sell by showing you that you are whole as you are, they sell by creating false feelings of lack within/without & then offering a solution, whether it be a “quick-fix” or long term.

From my understanding, ads have a huge impact on the human psyche. They change the way we see happiness, they change the way we see ourselves, they change our goals, they set our ideals, they change how we see other people and we bring them into our interior worlds without noticing the influence that they have on our minds. It’s actually very fascinating, because we take these ideals & we spread them, creating societal norms.. that simply originated from one person’s desire to sell their product.

In the business world of consumerism: you will never have enough, & you will never be enough. It’s a never-ending cycle: influenced feelings of lack that lead to the purchasing of a product, followed by feelings of temporary fulfillment/happiness, and then the crash that leads us back to those feelings of lack – persuading us to once again buy or invest into the next big product in order to regain that temporary fulfillment, & so forth.

The best way to deal with this, and to get a grasp on reality, is to find a place of happiness within yourself. Find that place of wholeness, and of completeness within you. Start looking for absurdity in what you’re exposed to. Giggle at the pore-less models, and realize that a lot of these societal norms & expectations are ridiculous; live for you.

We’re human, we’re flawed, we’re messy & we’re never going to be happy 100% of the time. Do what makes your heart sing, & nothing else matters, because you create your own happiness. As long as we’re trying to live up to societal expectations, we’ll always feel incomplete, because we’re ignoring who we truly are for the image of who we think we should be. Be raw, be real, be authentic & be yourself completely, with all of your eccentricity. Never apologize for being you, and never feel as though you aren’t enough as you are: because you are your world. Love who you are & “Be who you are & say what you feel”, because that is where we find our strength, our health, and our happiness.

Beautifully Raw

People always seem to be amazed that I can write well & I think it’s because when I talk, my words lack substance. I just can’t seem to find the means to express myself in words; they come out in jumbled letters, they don’t roll smoothly off my tongue, and they come in a random order – mostly due to my mind trying to make sense of my own jumbled thoughts as they float to the surface.

When I have a blank surface before me, whether it be a text message, an e-mail, a piece of paper, this blog, etc. a light flickers on, because now I can observe the words as they come out, and keep track of the thoughts that quickly surge through my mind & then dissipate into the abyss. Oftentimes when I try to talk about my passions, I lose myself trying to keep up with what’s going on in my mind, and that’s why I love writing.

My style of writing is flow. It’s uncut, it’s raw, it’s littered with imperfection, into a beautiful mess of words & jumbled phrases. I’m like the abstract painter, I take what’s in my soul & jumble it together to make a picture. 1 rule that I have with my writing: I never plan, and I never go back. My writing is momentary expression, it’s here & now, it’s what I feel in this moment. If I go back & change something about my words, I’m distorting my own flow for the sheer appearance of something more “perfect”.

I’m not really one to fluff myself up, I’m kind of real that way, I give you me in this moment. My writing is like a rough & uncut version of a song. It’s not perfect, it’s not even necessarily “good”, but it says something & I think that’s all that matters. Being a good writer doesn’t make you an artist, there’s a difference between well formed words & phrases, and loosely strung together phrases that contain meaning. I don’t like going back because than I’m returning to a past self, a self that I’ve released onto the paper already. When I go back, I’m distorting my own image; which brings me to my point:

I think that our society lacks appreciation for raw expression. We’re too caught up in the un-real, in perfection, to realize the beauty of flaw & distortion. We use photoshop, we use recording devices & computers, we use editing programs, we let editors tamper with our minds, we trace, we fake it, we don’t give ourselves to art – we dedicate ourselves to perfection.

In my opinion, the greatest art is imperfect, just as the most beautiful people are also imperfect. Great art has freckles, wrinkles, crooked teeth, stumpy fingers, and blemishes. We don’t really appreciate the beauty of perfection, we aspire to become perfection; I think that naturally we appreciate the beauty of imperfection. Our drive for perfection is a symbol that we have gotten away from the essence of who we are, trading it in for artificial and man-made.

If you take a look at nature, it’s totally imperfect. It’s messy – not every leaf is perfectly the same, not every tree grows straight & tall. Nature is complete imperfection, but you know, those crooked trees still find the sunlight, those imperfect leaves still sway in the wind – I guess what I’m trying to say is that nature is still indescribably beautiful even in all it’s imperfection. Those crooked trees bring character, as do the knots in tree trunks & the warped ground. Nature is perfect in it’s imperfection.

If you walk into a man-made park, it’s nothing like walking into the forest. T
The trees are positioned to grow a certain way, there’s pathways, there’s grass & flower beds, and sure it’s beautiful: but it is incomparable to the art that nature creates within itself. This thought is what brings me to the conclusion that imperfection exceeds perfection. Perfection is a man-made concept, it’s artificial, it’s beautiful, but it’s not raw & pure. There’s something much more captivating about a raw beauty than a perfect beauty, because when we actually see perfection, it looks alien.

Everyday, while scrolling through my Facebook feed, walking past the grocery counters, & watching TV, I see pictures and images of beautiful men & women. These men & women are flawless, and to be honest, it almost scares me. They have no marks on their skin, no smile lines, no freckles, they’re like an empty shell, a perfect exterior with no character. These people aren’t real, they’re computer generated, they’re distorted, they’re reconfigured & man-made, sure they look tantalizingly beautiful, but empty.

In real life, I bet they’re beautiful. I’ll bet they have smile lines, maybe they snort when they laugh, & glow when they’re happy. We can’t see that in the pictures & the images, and I wish that was how they were portrayed. I wish that as a society we could recognize the beauty in flaw, I wish that we’d expose our rawness rather than cover it up with something artificially created.

Raw is beautiful.
Free expression is beautiful.
Flaws are beautiful.
Being who you truly are, is beautiful.
Purity is beautiful.
Appreciating yourself, is beautiful.

Let’s recreate the world, and make it beautiful, lets recreate how we see ourselves, & fall in love with all the flaws in our creations & in our creation itself. We are human, we are nature, we are starstuff & there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

The Art of Movement

Yoga is miraculous, because it encourages stillness, peace and tranquility – but not through being sedentary. Yoga encourages stillness through movement, through contorting the body and dancing in the moment, which is absolutely remarkable. We can go to a yoga class, and come out feeling relaxed: even if there is a pool of sweat on our mats & a flush to our skin; we observe a stillness, within. Yoga is a practice that is all encompassing, it is beneficial for mind, body and soul – true yoga requires us to engage all of these wonderful tools.

Yoga has taught me, and continues to teach me, the art of movement. If we observe a child, they are constantly moving – jumping around, grabbing their feet and exploring what their bodies can do. A big question that I have, is why does the movement stop? Why do we grow sedentary? What is our affliction with movement?

Is it because we’ve lost our ability to have fun? Have we ceased to find excitement in simple exploration? Have we lost touch with our senses?

Perhaps it’s a combination; it’s like we’ve forgotten how awesome our bodies are able to feel. With a decrease in movement, movement seems to become more difficult, and when we grow sedentary due to our busy lives, we give up – we’re “too old”, or “too sick”, or “too busy” to move: and it’s nonsense. Moving doesn’t mean that we have to run a marathon, or perform strenuous activities, it’s simply body exploration. We move because it activates our organs, it gets our blood pumping, it releases tension, it releases feel-good hormones, it motivates us, and mostly it brings us to presence.

When I’m irritable, stressed out and tired: I have two options. A – I can sit on the couch with a tub of ice cream and watch a sit-com to distract me from life, or B – I can go for a hike through the forest and give myself to life by encompassing the moment and breathing in the fresh air, bringing me a sense of accomplishment and peace. Naturally, I’ll make excuses and dream up limitations of why option A is the better option. “I’m so tired”, “my back aches”, “then I have to prepare”, “not today” etc… but at the end of the day: option B will provide me with more fulfillment. Option B will get my brain going, it will help me to release that pent up stress, and afterwards? I’ll feel so much better.

Perhaps you don’t like walking, and to that I ask why? Maybe you’ve just been doing it for so long, that you don’t see the beauty in this fabulous ordinary. A good way to fall in love with movement again, is to bring up your imagination. Going for a walk simply isn’t just going for a walk. When you go for a walk, you can be exploring a distant galaxy, you can be observing all of the beautiful colours that make up the world, you can take a trail you’ve never taken and pretend that you’re on a distant journey to find hidden treasure.

And here it hits me: we’ve forgotten how to pretend, and we’ve mistaken pretending for a childish attribute – limiting movement and brushing off the ordinary as mundane. Movement has become a chore, because quite frankly: we’ve forgotten how to explore. We’ve suppressed our inner child, who lives in wonder and marvels at the world. We’ve forgotten how to live in the present, we’ve succumbed to our stress, our dissatisfaction and perhaps even a loss of hope.

My answer to this, is yoga. You might have a different answer. Yoga is the medium through which I connect with my inner child in order to find wonder and beauty in movement. I move, because I want to move, because it feels good, because it releases endorphins and because my body can do amazing things: not because I have to move, or want to lose weight or want to be seen a certain way. I think that our reasons for moving, and our intentions behind our movement, are everything. Why would we do something continuously, or force ourselves to do something, that we don’t love? I think that the art of movement, is in learning to love what your body is able to do, and finding joy in exploring – with that inner child.

They say “use it or lose it” and this rings very true when it comes to movement. As yogis, we say “you’re only as young as your spine is flexible”, which shows us how lack of movement actually degrades the body. Our bodies are built to move, they yearn to move and explore. We remain youthful, energized and inspired through movement.

Remember that small simple movements are better than no movement at all – you can sit at your desk and wave your arms and wiggle your toes. You can stretch and reach for the sky and you can engage your muscles at any time. Everything counts, all movement is beneficial, especially when it is performed with a present and explorative state of mind.

Be fluid. Be happy. Dance through life. Use your imagination. The world is yours to explore.

Namaste.

The Artist Within

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.”
~ Chuck Klosterman

I think a lot about love; in my beliefs, it is the foundation to everything. Many people spend their lives searching for love, they look for it in other people, they look for it in art, they search for it in books, they seek it within desire; & it’s beautiful.. it’s like we’re caught up in something that we know nothing about, searching for something that’s right before our eyes & seeking that which we already are.

When I think of love some words come to mind: growth, acceptance, compassion, recognition of the divine and soul connection. I think that the spiritual path is such a beautiful personification of our quest to find love, as it is about letting go and letting your petals drape behind you; blooming into the world and exposing your very soul: peeling back the layers to uncover your truest essence.

I’m kind of a romantic: for me, everything comes back to love. I like to know what people are thinking, how they feel about life, their deepest desires, what drives their passions, and what they want to gain from this experience. I love depth, but many are afraid of depth – because it makes them vulnerable, it makes them human.

It makes me wonder: when did we decide that it isn’t okay to be human? When did we decide that it is better to live in fear, to pretend, than it is to expose ourselves completely and let the waves of this experience crash into us – carrying us through an ocean of infinite possibilities, outcomes and experiences?

It all comes back to that self-love, appreciating the artist behind the canvas, and being confident in ourselves. We crave love, but we fear vulnerability – and love does make us vulnerable, but when we build a love within ourselves that supports and nourishes all that we are, we stop relying on others to love us unconditionally. We start to create that unconditional love within: which allows us to accept the love from other people without feeling vulnerable: because we have access to infinite love within our own being.

We are capable of receiving the love that we are seeking, we just have to realize our value. Since our love for others comes from recognizing ourselves in them, we must learn to truly love ourselves in order to properly love, and express love for those we love. We also have to keep this in mind when receiving love from others, they can only give us the love that they receive from within themselves. If someone hurts us, it is not because we are unworthy or undeserving of their love (we are totally deserving, we are beautiful imperfection); but perhaps it’s because they do not know how to love themselves, or even, because we don’t recognize that we are worthy of their love.

As I’ve mentioned before, I believe that all love comes from self-love. This is why, on my path, I focus much of my growth on building my self-image and self-focus. I aim to love myself, and to be the receiver of my own divine self-love. I lived for many years, trying to hate myself into becoming a person that I could love, but I already am a person that is deserving of love: I just need to change my mind.

Be Gentle

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“Be gentle with yourself”. Being gentle with yourself, is an awesome way to cultivate self-love. Imagine for a moment, that you are your own child – would you talk to yourself differently? Would you treat yourself differently? Would you feel hurt by your words and actions? We often bash ourselves unconsciously, we say things that we don’t like about our bodies or our minds: but how does the affect us on a deeper level?

I find that when I consciously “bad-talk” myself, I can feel the sting of my own words – it hurts, I’m hurting the person that loves me the most. By growing conscious of how we treat ourselves, we start to realize how much of our stress, pain, anger, agitation and sadness comes from within. How will we ever feel good enough for the exterior world if we are constantly telling ourselves that we aren’t even good enough, for us?

I’ve often heard the statement “compassion is incomplete unless it includes compassion for self”. I find that the best way for me to create compassion for myself, is to picture myself as separate, as a vulnerable child, trying to discover the world. Another way to cultivate this self-compassion is to realize that you are deserving, and maybe you’re imperfect (what is perfection anyway, besides for an ever-changing perception?) but it doesn’t matter: because in actuality: you are a beautiful experience.

By remembering that this life is only temporary, and that there’s so much to live for, to learn and to experience: we become more aware of how we experience. The experience is everything, and you are a beautiful little fragment of consciousness that has a wonderful opportunity to experience itself – through that which is you. Cherish the experience and cherish yourself: for you are infinitely beautiful. Be gentle with all that you are, because self-respect and self-love, will ultimately take us to liberation and divine presence.

Namaste & Love.

I Appreciate You

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You deserve your love in every moment. You deserve to feel whole and beautiful as you are: simply because you are already whole & beautiful as you are. The best way to spread love, it to be love; “be the change that you wish to see”.

I was always the person that wanted to help people – to save everybody else, but what I didn’t realize is that first I need to save myself. Self-love is our greatest tool for accessing joy, for understanding ourselves, and for helping others. Be a ray of love in the world, love all that you are, and others will follow. Always remember how beautiful you are. I am grateful for your existence, and I might never see your face: but your soul is my own.

Namaste.

Na Na Na Boo I’m More Enlightened than You

I’ve really been wanting to revisit this topic. I wrote about something similar in my post “you’re not a true yogi if…”, but I feel the need to revisit this and dig deeper into what I feel, is a real spiritual-mess.

I think that the whole “I’m more spiritual than you” behavior is so ironic and contrary – it’s so blasphemous, yet I see it EVERY single day:

“You eat meat? – well you’re going to hell. Your spirit is un-whole & you contradict “ahimsa” (non-violence). I’m a vegan so, I’m more enlightened & closer to spiritual fulfillment.. obviously you don’t care about your body or the earth.”

“You don’t wake up at 4am to meditate? Well you’re undisciplined. I wake up every day at 4am for MY practice.. obviously you aren’t serious about the spiritual path”.

“You get upset sometimes? I’m above feelings – I’ve mastered my ‘human’ emotions. Clearly you haven’t gotten to MY level of enlightenment.”

“You go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing – but it’s wrong. I’m living the right way.. but you, just keep on destroying your body and the earth. Not like I care, I’m whole and definitely more spiritually advanced – you just aren’t at my level.”

When I see things like this, I just want to say, “HELLO! PEOPLE WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”. To me, this is violent behavior. It’s disrespectful, it comes from a place of ego. Instead of sharing with people, you bring them down by showing them how much better you are at living. To me, that isn’t very spiritual at all. I think that enlightenment and spirituality come from making bad decisions, by messing up, by making the ‘wrong’ choices: because it’s all about the journey. It’s all about learning & uncovering your own truth.

We all have different backgrounds, different knowledge & a collection of different experiences. I feel like that is something a spiritual person (and every person, at that) should always keep in mind. Honestly, I catch myself doing the above sometimes (maybe not to the same extremity) – but I understand how it can be frustrating to feel like you are watching the world crumble around you. I preach about eating organic, I preach about yoga, I preach about kindness, I have opinions – I talk about what I think people do wrong (take this post for example), but with this, I desire to create more consideration for others within our earthly-community.

One thing that I’ve learnt is that spirituality is not perfection. Perfection is an ego-thing, (not to say that the ego is bad by any means, it makes this human experience). To me, being spiritual means that you are a human being that takes full responsibility for your mistakes (& human-ness) and works each day at experiencing and making discoveries/connections. When we think that we have reached enlightenment, it is a sign that we have much more to learn. The learning never ends – but that doesn’t mean you should be disheartened, or discouraged, the fact that we have so much to learn is invigorating and exciting, there’s so much infinite potential, things to know, discover and experience! It’s beautiful.

I’m a spiritual person, but I’m also human. I can be immature, I make mistakes, I mess up, I get taken over by emotion, I get taken over by ego, I can be mean, I’m far from perfect, I don’t always think things through, I have temptations and desires, I’m not always present, I’m sensitive.. and it’s okay! I’m also whole, beautiful, perfectly imperfect, walking potential and experience – I am joy, I am nature, I am radiant, I’m wrong, I’m silly and I’m a yogini. I’m learning, growing, becoming and transforming with every step and with every new day.

With this post, I ask you as a reader, to be considerate of others. We are all on our own paths and no path is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. I like to say that we are all on one big spiderweb, no one person is higher or lower or better – we’re just in different places, we have different views, but together we are one. If you truly care about helping others, ditch the ‘holier than thou’ attitude and instead share your knowledge and experiences, remembering that not everyone will agree with you. If you’re confident with your own path, you’ll probably be more welcoming towards diverse views and experiences. “Sharing is caring”; explaining your views is much more effective than bringing down another for not having the same views – there’s no need to be defensive, true passion comes from a place of love. If you’re passionate about your views, by all means share them! Just respect the fact that we are all in different places, and remember that love is our greatest connecting force.

Namaste.

A Love Story

I nervously look into her eyes; as she stares back into mine. With those big beautiful blue eyes, she gazes into the very depths of my soul; the very core of my being. The physical layers, the thought layers, and the expectations peel away, leaving only her soul staring back at me through the mirror. “Why do you want to hurt me,” she asks. You can sense the pain in her eyes, in her face and in her posture. I feel remorse, her pain is my pain, her sadness is my own. “What have I done to you? Why am I not enough? Why can’t you love me?”, these words echo through my mind. I respond, “I don’t know how to accept your love, I want your love, I crave your love, but I feel as if I am undeserving.” She reaches out to me with her loving eyes, I can feel her warmth radiating throughout my being, she truly wants to love me. She truly thinks that I’m deserving.

I feel overwhelming compassion, as I continue to gaze into my lover’s eyes. How could I have gone so long, without recognizing her beauty? How could I have ignored her pleas to feel my warmth, my love, my respect? I had built walls, to block her out, to keep her quiet, because I truly had thought that a more beautiful person existed for me: and that person wasn’t her. I had refused to gift her my love, out of fear that she wasn’t worthy, out of fear that she would also break my heart: but it was me who had been breaking my own heart all along.

She loves me, even though I have tortured her: mentally & physically. She thinks I’m beautiful, even though I’ve told her that I’m fat and ugly. This soul of mine, has little interest in human vanity. She thinks I’m remarkable, even though I’ve told her that I’m crazy and destined to fail. She continues to reach for me, as I continue to build the walls that keep her out. She offers me infinite love, trust & respect, I offer her resent, pain and loathing. “Why won’t you let me in?”, it’s because I fear that I’m unworthy. My mind tells me, that I’m no good for her, that I’m silly to think that she could ever love me completely.

I don’t know if I can love her, when I look at her, I see everything that I wish I could change. I see everything that I think is wrong with me. I don’t see her for the beauty that she is, I see her as a walking projection of all my insecurities. She is love, and I am fear, but yet we are the same, we are one. She is me, and I am her. The only difference is that she chooses to love me, and I choose to resent her.

Sometimes I can feel her within me. She is my fiery passion, she is love, she is overwhelming gratitude and appreciation. She is wonder, she loves nature, she sings and she dances, she is youthful and beautiful to the core. She wants me to love others, she is not selfish – she wants me to share my love with everyone. She is peace, and tranquility, she is serenity and infinite potential, she is indescribably beautiful; yet twisted in my eyes – because of my perceptions of her. I have convinced myself that she is the illusions that I project onto her.

Her love is more than I could ever ask for. To accept her love, I have to tear down the walls, break the chains, and open my heart. Perhaps doing this will make me vulnerable, but to become my truest self is my definition of freedom. It might make me sensitive, but to feel at all is a blessing. I know that if I can open the doors & accept her love, I will feel whole. I will have the companionship of someone who would do anything for me, because she is me. She is my best friend, my soul, & the essence of who I am. To have her gaze at me with adoration is bliss, because I’ve felt unworthy of her for so long.

I guess I didn’t realize how important our relationship is, and how influential our union is on my well-being, all of my relationships, and my life in general. The girl in my mirror, she’s my universe. She is all I know for now, and I depend on her – for survival, for experience and for peace of mind. I couldn’t live this experience without her. I depend on her, in order to experience joy, and pain. I need her, in order to experience the sun on my face and the wind in my hair – the caress of another. I need her, to write, to love, to feel, to have senses, and even to have illusions. Illusion is a beautiful thing, because it allows us to see from so many different perspectives and to be human, it allows us to discover love and create these characters – these people that we sculpt ourselves to become.

Love yourself and all that you are. You’re worth your love, you’re worth the title of ‘beautiful’ – you are a miracle. Stare at that person in the mirror with love, feel their soul, and remember to have compassion for them as well. You wouldn’t treat a lover in harmful and upsetting ways, so why would you treat yourself poorly? I strongly believe that our first true love is that reflection in the mirror. How we treat ourselves sets the foundation for how we treat other people. Every though that we think, has an impact on our minds & bodies – choose lovely thoughts. That lover in the mirror, is your everything. She or he is your home, at least for now. Take care of your home, love yourself and all that you appear to be and spread that love.

Write a love story.

Namaste.

A Self-Love Quote

“I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.”
Margaret Cho

You are beautiful ~ not for how you look, or what you do or what you think, you are beautiful because you are whole. You are infinite potential, ever-changing & indescribable. You are beautiful because you have the power to believe in your own beauty. You are beautiful, because you are alive. Life at a glance, is a seemingly impossible thing – where did it come from? How did it come to be? How did you come to be? Did the universe dream you into existence? No matter how you got here, for some reason you are here, and you are alive. That is immeasurably beautiful in itself.

Have a beautiful day, & appreciate all that you are, and all that you are becoming.

Namaste.

Thoughts on Self-Love: My Journey

I wanted to create this post about self-love to clarify my own thoughts & perhaps even to help others ignite that flame that begins their journey inward.

For years now, I have unconsciously loathed myself. I’ve never been good enough for my expectations, I’ve never been who I want to be, I’ve never liked my body or my mind, it’s been complete darkness. About a year ago, I started opening myself to the world, I started putting my heart into what I do, and trying to understand the world around me. When I was living that darkness, I felt so alone, I felt like no one understood my struggle, I felt.. insane. If you’ve seen the movie ‘the Titanic’ at one point, Rose says something along the lines of “it’s like I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs and no one can hear me,” – this was my life.

When I lived in that darkness I hated everyone. I hated people because they all looked happy, they all seemed secure with themselves, they didn’t seem to be tortured by their own minds, like I was.. needless to say: I was oblivious to the world around me. I was so caught up in my own hurt, that I didn’t notice the other people were also hurting, and furthermore I didn’t notice how much I was hurting other people. I was reckless & insecure, totally immersed in my own self-inflicted hell. I used to sleep all the time, I was always exhausted, feeling the need to escape. I was totally reckless, I made stupid decisions – because I simply just didn’t care.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been meditating since I was ten years old, I had attended numerous spiritual retreats, but for some reason I couldn’t escape my own darkness: I felt like I just wasn’t good enough, that for some reason I deserved the pain.

Moving forward I started realizing that it wasn’t just me who was in pain, I started waking up to the fact that all these other people were also in pain. I started seeing through who they were pretending to be, and noticing myself in those around me. My compassion for others started blooming immensely, but the pain continued. I still felt unworthy, I still felt unfulfilled, but I had been pulled out of my darkness by realizing that I was responsible for my own feelings.

I could go on for days about how I came to the conclusion that I needed to love myself. My partner influenced me, yoga influenced me, I was influenced by some of my experiences, I was influenced by my desire to help others – but basically I realized that I had to walk this journey for myself. Nobody or nothing was going to walk this journey for me, because my journey is my responsibility. The trouble is putting this thought into action, how was I going to love myself, the person I had been loathing for so long?

I started reading articles about self-love & searching for the magic in the ordinary. I started investing myself into things that I enjoy, like writing, hiking & yoga. I started letting myself feel, without judgment or criticism, in order to understand where that feeling came from and embrace it: using my feelings to understand my self.

Remarkable change didn’t come overnight, a year later I still struggle with my perceptions, I still struggle with body-image, I still encounter that darkness & depression that was once my every day life: but it no longer who I am. I’m still insecure, I still struggle with finding things to appreciate about me, but I’m blooming and growing every day.

I’m going to talk about some things that I’ve started doing to strengthen the relationship that I have with myself.

– I started reading books on mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ a Buddhist monk who really emphasizes the importance of mindfulness in every day life. I started practicing this mindfulness.

– I fell into my yoga practice, letting go of the judgements I have about my body & just letting myself simply feel what was going on both internally and externally, I started learning how to feel & realizing how good my body and mind is capable of feeling.

– I started noticing when I would say mean things about myself or to myself, I’d feel the reaction within and notice how it made me feel both internally and externally – my words stung. The person who is supposed to love me, is the person who has been hurting me for all this time, I was breaking my own heart, without being consciously aware of the detrimental effects that rooted from my words, thoughts and actions.

– I started being honest with myself & the people in my life, in order to understand other people & myself, I would have to be able to communicate my thoughts and feelings openly and honestly.

– I started focusing on observing people without judging them. In doing so I started to notice why people are the way they are vs. how much I dislike how they are. In turn, it has allowed me to open doors and to be able to connect with other struggling souls.

– I started enjoying my own company, listening to music and singing, baking, cooking, cleaning: I decided to make it fun & enjoy the quality time spent with myself.

– I realized that I’m human too. I’ve started nurturing myself, and having compassion for me. I’ve always been fairly compassionate when it comes to other people, but realized that compassion isn’t complete unless it includes compassion for ones self.

– I made the decision that I’m going to do it for me. Instead of working on myself in order to appeal to expectations that others have for me, I decided to instead follow my passions and come to fulfillment for myself. Kurt Cobain has a famous quote “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” I think that when our driving force is to gain other people’s acceptance, we miss out on the opportunity to be the best versions of ourselves: because we are striving to be the vision of someone else.

– I have started complimenting myself. Instead of automatically looking for the flaws when it comes to my mind and body, I look for what I love. I hold on to what I love about myself, and let that be who I am rather than basing myself off of my perceived flaws or what I don’t like about myself. I practice loving me in subtle ways that make a huge difference at the end of the day.

– I’ve taken steps to realize that I don’t need to be perfect in order to be whole. I have this amazing body, this beautiful machine that is all mine to use, I can use it to create and explore and fall in love. I have this amazing mind that I can use to process the world around and within me. I can use this fabulous mind to create beautiful things, to think of worlds unknown, to explore the human senses & wonder. I have these emotions that bring me back to the moment and teach me about life, I have these senses in order to taste, touch, hear, smell, and see! I have these wonderful organs and cells that work to keep me alive all through the day and through the night. I am beautiful.

– I’ve started truly looking at the world around me, and noticing the beauty in every day life. I started noticing how admiring a sunset can bring me back to the moment, out of my emotions and out of my head, grounding me in the present. I’ve started looking at the world through a different lens, appreciating it’s beauty & the mystery that it is.

– I’m forgiving myself. I forgive myself and others more easily. I realize that like me, others have their own insecurities and stuff going on, I forgive them for being human. I forgive myself, because I am deserving of forgiveness: I’m only human.

– I realized that I can’t help others without helping myself first. I’ve always been driven to help people, to make the world better for someone else, but without helping myself how am I supposed to guide others?

– I’ve realized that self-love is the foundation for all love. Self-love overcomes insecurities, it allows us to see ourselves in other people. Self-love is a foundation for compassion, and understanding. Self-love strengthens our relationships, because when we can’t be secure with ourselves, how are we going to be secure in relationships with other people? Self-love promotes kindness, and growth, and wholeness.

I think that self-love is the force that will change the world. Self-love is knowing that you are whole and appreciating who you are, & all that you are. Self-love is giving yourself to life, giving yourself to the natural flow and immersing yourself in this experience. Self-love is doing what you love & following your passions. Self-love is taking risks & knowing that every experience no matter how painful, will help you learn and grow. Self-love is a blooming process, it’s something that we have to work on every day, as individuals. Self-love is believing in yourself, and knowing that you’ll be there for you when life is rough. Self-love is breaking those chains and limitations that you have built for yourself, and letting that self be free. Self-love is being who you truly are, in the most authentic way, no matter what anyone else might think. Self-love is letting your crazy out, it’s throwing away the mask and showing the divine being that lies underneath. Self-love is freedom.

I hope that with this post, I inspire people to start that journey of self-love. For me, self-love is the foundation of this experience. Being able to love & trust yourself, will allow you to take pride in who you are. Every person that reads this (and every person that doesn’t) is whole, and completely deserving of love. Every one of you is beautiful in immeasurable ways. Life should be a celebration of yourself, when we can learn to celebrate ourselves, we can start to celebrate each other. Self-love is the best love that you can offer yourself, because you won’t ever run out of the love that you have to give. Self-love will give you the tools to get through this with a light heart, and a spring in your step. Always remember how beautiful you are. We are all walking this path together.

Namaste.