Mantra Monday: “I Honor the Power Within Me”

This week I focused on my solar plexus chakra. This chakra is located around the navel area and is associated with confidence, empowerment and self-assurance. The solar plexus chakra is mostly thrown off balance by SHAME. This can leave one feeling doubtful, without a strong sense of self or lacking in assurance. On a physical level, this can produce digestive issues, problems with the liver or ulcers.

solar plexus

This is one of my stronger, balanced chakras, but it has not always been that way. I think as a woman, shame can be a stronger force. It is not always encouraged or taught to speak up for yourself or feel confident in who you are. I feel it is almost discouraged at times to feel good about yourself and it’s automatic to downplay or refute compliments.

mean girls I have worked hard to re-train my brain and gut instincts to know that I am enough. I am confident and happy with who I am. I have work to do still and I will always try to improve, but I am OK with being imperfect. I am confident in myself and continue to honor the power within me.

I chose Dancer’s pose for the solar plexus chakra. This pose looks very pretty and effortless, but it takes strength and balance. The standing foot needs to be firmly ground into the earth. You keep the hips level, while lifting up the foot. It is a deep backbend and chest opener, while the shoulders, head and mind stay relaxed. I feel this a wonderful metaphor for what it’s like to be a woman. It can be a huge balancing act of putting forth an effortless, beautiful image, while exuding great amounts of strength and balance behind the scenes.

I Honor the Power Within Me This week can you practice honoring the power within you? Can you remind yourself that you are enough? Can you unapologetically embody our strengths, flaws and confidence?

Honor the power within you.

Mantra Monday: “I Allow Myself to Feel Pleasure”

This past week’s focus was on the Sacral Chakra. The Sacral Chakra is associated with pleasure, creativity and sexual energy. When this chakra is too closed, there can be repression, suppression of creativity, a sense of being out of touch with sexuality or a denial of pleasure. This chakra can also be too open and one can be overly sexual and too free in their creativity, without the balance of being grounded to reality.

I find most of the time, my sacral chakra is pretty balanced, but can be knocked off and closed down when I am feeling tense and putting too much pressure on myself. The main culprit that attacks this chakra is guilt.

From a woman’s perspective, I think women particularly have a hard time keeping this chakra in balance. Generally speaking, I think guilt can often creep in when we want to give ourselves time to experience pleasure and explore our own creativity.

Personally, I struggle with allowing time to do things completely for myself. I feel GUILTY when I want to take a day alone, when I want to not talk to my family and would rather attend a yoga class (alone), get a massage or simply read in bed.

However, I have found that those moments alone to basque in simple pleasures or let my creativity flow through journaling or blogging keep me balanced and calm. When I have denied myself these joys for too long, I feel tense, frustrated and easily irritable.

One of my absolute favorite yoga poses is specially for this chakra. It is Goddess pose, which is done by turning the corners of the feet in opposing directions and sinking down into the hips, with a stable pelvis. Once the legs feel solid, various options can be taken with the arms. I like moving my arms around sometimes and letting the creative energy flow around my body, or settling in to a mudra with my hands.

I Allow Myself to Feel Pleasure This pose does have a feminine flair. It is truly opening to the sacral chakra (which is on located in the lower abdomen) and takes solid strength in the hips and groin. It can look very pretty, but it is also a very strong pose that takes focus, stability and strength. I believe this describes women beautifully. I love how solid I feel in those pose, yet free to move and flow.

What keeps your creativity, sexuality or pleasure from freely flowing?

Fun with Make-Up

I love make-up. I have an unbalanced relationship with make-up.

I am working on it.

There have been times in my life where I wore tons of make-up. I explored why in this post and realized I was trying to cover up my insecurities and self-doubts. I would spend more time painting my face than exploring my heart and doing the work that made me feel OK with or without my make-up.

Then there came a point where I threw out all my MAC make-up because it was tested on animals and I started all over again. For about a year, I wore pretty minimal make-up and spent a lot more time working on my inner beauty.

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I am slowly re-building my make-up collection with some great cruelty-free brands (Too Faced and Kat Von D being my new favorites) and having fun with different looks. I have been reminded how fun make-up can be for me, but I still remind myself that I should not be skipping my morning meditations to have time to contour. This may have happened last week.

Here have been some of my favorite new looks:

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Just kidding. That was me after hot yoga. That class made feel pretty amazing though.

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Too Faced’s Cocoa Contour is featured here, as well as their eyeshadow and blush from Le Grand Palais palette. I love how the blush in the palette gives a natural glow and there is just enough color pop for added FUN!

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This is my chola look and inspired by Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Vampire. This look says, I am educated but still down for shit.

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This look features Obsessive Compulsive’s Cosmetic’s stained gloss in Hedonist. I wore all black to a wedding but made up for it with a colorful face. My message was, I hate weddings but that’s no excuse not to look amazing.

I will keep seeking a balanced relationship with make-up, but still keep the process fun and versatile.

FUN

Mantra Monday-“I Have the Right to Be Here”

I have been all about my chakras lately.

Well, for quite some time now. I elusively heard that term tossed about before, but never quite had an understanding of these esoteric, invisible, spinning energy centers within the celestial body that connected with physical and emotional issues. If this sounds crazy and a little too far out for you, I understand. I felt the same way, at first. Until I realized how much they made sense and I could see the connections for myself. I begin to identify issues I had with some of my chakras and when I put my focus on working through them, amazing things begin to occur.

This article is a great introduction to the chakras. In the next seven weeks, I decided to devote my beginners yoga class to working through each of the chakras through yoga poses and will share them here, with mantras. The first is the root chakra.

The root chakra is located at the base of the spine and is associated with your ability to be grounded and secure. Fear, abandonment and a loss of security can throw the root chakra off balance and leave one feeling as though they do not have a safe, secure place in this world. You can answer the questions at the end of this article, to explore if your root chakra is blocked.

I always thought my root chakra was pretty stable and balanced, until I got a new job a few months ago.

In my new position, I felt myself second guessing my decisions and experience. I felt my confidence waning and wondered if I had a right to even be in this position.

I recognized what was going on a few weeks into the new job, and started asserting my right to be there. When I started having doubtful and fearful feelings, I would feel my feet under the ground beneath me sink into the earth growing roots into my new position and recite to myself “I have the right to be here.”

I Have the Right to be Here

I realized big life changes throw me off my stable ground and when something is new to me, it shakes my confidence. I feel nervous, I worry about asking for help, I feel uncomfortable and constantly worry if I am doing the right thing. I need to ground myself to new situations better and remember that my experience and skills gives me the right to be there.

Mountain pose (Tadasana) is my favorite way to assert this right. This powerful pose is the foundation for any standing pose in my yoga practice. I feel unshakeable in this pose. As the sides of my feet line up with the sides of my mat, I feel balanced with the earth. As I spread out my toes to connect to ground I feel the roots take hold. As I engage my core and relax my shoulders, I feel both powerful and peaceful at the same time. And, I remember, I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HERE.

The Anti-Slut Shaming Podcast

As I talked about in Monday’s post, shame has been on my mind a whole lot lately, particularly, the shame that we as women allow ourselves to feel in relation to defying gender, societal or religious norms. I think sometimes we hold ourselves to an unrealistic and unfair standard and when we fail to meet it, we let shame creep in and diminish our self-worth.

GWF

A few months ago, I discovered the Guys We Fucked podcast and have been binge-listening to past episodes. The podcast is hosted by Corrine Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, two New York based comedians who decided to start an “Anti-Slut Shaming” podcast and interview past guys they had fucked. Not only do they interview guys they have fucked, they invite guests on with interesting, honest stories to tell. Corrine and Krystyna are attempting to remove the shame from “sexual exploration” (the term they use to replace “sluttiness”) and speak aloud things so many women are thinking.

Through the honest sharing of topics that range from; one night stands, rape fantasies, masturbation, open relationships, stripping, sex addiction, femesculation (a brilliant term Krystyna invented meaning feeling less like a woman), molestation, depression, suicide, transgenderism, polyamory, etc., the ladies create an open, safe forum to explore, without shame or embarrassment, experiences that many of us may be curious about, but feel ashamed or wrong for contemplating.

Some of my favorite episodes have been incredibly informative and insightful. One of the first I heard was “He Was 13 and You Were 5?” The male guest that day had been molested as a child, and was reflecting about how this affected his adolescent and adult relationships. I found his insight pretty fascinating. I think this is something that unfortunately, happens way too often, but is not often explored and talked about because of shame.

Another episode that I found informative was “Too Late for Plan B, Too Early for an Abortion?” The guest on this episode had an abortion using the abortion pill and described, in detail, her experience. Again, this is not something that is generally talked about for fear of shame. I thought it was incredibly brave of the guest to talk about her experience and could be helpful to anyone considering this as an option.

Episodes that I am looking forward to listening to are entitled: “How Did Being A Pimp Affect You Emotionally?” “Tim Curry Hit on Your Dad?” and “Did Your Wife Know You Were Gay?”

Corrine and Krystyna do inject humor and a lightness that is needed at times, but they also have created a platform for honest, open and intelligent rhetoric on a broad range of topics. They encourage truthful, empowering conversations and normalize women as sexual beings with varied preferences.

If this sounds interesting to you, check them out on SoundCloud or iTunes. I would love to know your thoughts on their podcast!

Mantra Monday: You Are So Worth Loving

you are so worth loving

You are so worth loving.

Did you know that? Did you forget it somewhere along your journey? Have you lost hope that it’s true? There have definitely been times in my life when I did not believe I was worth loving, or not as much as I used to be.

I had a few conversations this week that showed me I am not the only one who has felt this way. I was able to share and connect with some important women in my life who have also felt unworthy to be loved. I am sure men feel this way, as well, but I think this is particularly a problem for women. Particularly, around the experiences we have had that have caused SHAME, and subsequently translating into feelings of diminished worth and an overall “no-good-ness.”

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we let other people do this to us? Why do we let societal expectations, gender roles and religious norms dictate the way we feel? As logical, intelligent beings, we often realize that these thought processes are harmful, but as emotional beings, all those expectations (and failing to meet them) can be extremely hurtful and led to feelings of unworthiness.

Other people’s stories of diminished worth have been on my mind and heart and led me to reflect on times I have also allowed my own light to dim. I think about times when my SHAME has held me back from speaking up when I needed to, held me back from moving forward in relationships, career and personal growth, led me to make destructive, unhealthy choices because I was “no-good” anyways.

The time in my own life when I felt the most SHAME was after my divorce. I married far too young and was a divorcee at the age of 26. I was oh, so embarrassed that my poor choices were on display for everyone to see. I was ashamed of my lack of good judgment. I was afraid that people would think I did not hold marriage sacred. I was worried that I would never love again or be worth of love.

Slowly, I begin to heal and re-build up my worth. I learned from my mistakes and caught myself before I made them in future relationships. I got real, ugly, gut-wrenching, in-my-own-face-honest with myself about my own pitfalls and hang ups and starting working through them. I meditated, cried, journaled and continued to call myself on my own bullshit.

I realized I was still worth loving.

And, so are YOU.

Music Monday: Theme Song of 2016

I like to start off my year by picking a theme song. Along with setting my intentions for the year, I like to choose a song as a personal ballad to play through my head as I move towards my intentions.

This year, I intend to move towards more intensity in various areas of my life. I have treated myself with a lot of care, softness and healing in the past year, because I needed it. I still reserve my right to use these methods when I need to, but I feel ready to move on and turn up the heat in my life.

In 2016, I want to sing more in my car.

I want to push myself more in my workouts.

I want to go to more hot yoga classes.

I want to say yes more, but still assert my right to say no.

I want to make the most out of my time alone in the mornings.

I want to read both for fun and for knowledge.

I want to become a better yoga teacher.

I want to infuse passion into my career.

I want to strengthen my personal relationships and move them past the point of shallow conversations. I want less pleasantries and more honesty. I want to decrease any conversations based on toxicity or negativity.

I want to stop relying on negative coping mechanisms and be brave enough to cope honestly with my issues and stress.

As I reflected back on my favorite books of 2015, I realized I was gravitating towards women who garnered their strength from vulnerability and honesty. I spent the past few years opening up, finding peace with my own vulnerability and decreasing my shame in my own perceived “weaknesses.” I feel ready to now emerge into the strength and embody the lessons I have learned from the hurtful moments of my life.

The song that will rally me along is Fleetwood Mac’s “Golddust Woman.” Partly because I want to picture myself as Stevie Nicks wearing this super fun hat:

super fun hat But mostly, because I interpret this song about a woman who is not to be messed with, a woman who will not be stopped or driven off her path. A woman who rocks on and does not fall in line to anyone’s limitations of her.

Rock on, gold dust woman will be pumping through my veins when I do not want to go to the gym, when I would rather sleep in or when I want to hide from myself. I am ready to embrace my strength and be brave.

What is your song for 2016?