As this is the holiday season, I gave some thought as to what might be an appropriate post for “The Healing Project.” While for many people, this is a joyous time of year, for countless others, it’s a time of stress and despair. As I am not a particularly religious person (I always call myself “spiritual but not religious”), I have had to give some consideration as to what this time of year represents to me. In this post, I share some of my personal insights on Christmas and the holiday season and what I consider to be the greatest lesson for this time of year.
As Christmas approaches, we start to see the holiday decorations in the stores and television and newspaper ads for gift suggestions and sales. We are told to show our love for those in our lives by buying them the “perfect gift,” often at a premium price. Since many people are already strapped for cash in the midst of the recession, the stress induced by the pressure to buy is higher than ever. We wrestle with questions of who to buy for, what to buy and how much to spend. We rush out to crowded shopping malls and comb the packed aisles and racks in search of a gift which will either serve to express our love or fulfill an obligation. Most of us don’t stop to wonder, “Is this what Christmas is all about?” Religious or not, we can probably all agree that Christmas has been distilled down to a shopping and buying related event in this country for many people. If we think about it, we may consider it a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.
To my one and only miraculous body,
It has taken me over 44 years to truly appreciate and accept you. I am writing this letter as a way to express my appreciation and ask for your forgiveness for my past indiscretions.
For most of my life, I have waged a war against you because you didn’t look the way I wanted. I’d look in the mirror and lament what was wrong and missing; that was all I could see. I was upset that I didn’t have the body of a supermodel and didn’t possess many of the attributes deemed desirable in our society. I didn’t have blond hair or blue eyes and my hips and thighs weren’t slim and narrow. I cursed my natural curves and did whatever I could to completely obliterate them.
NOTE: This post was originally published on my previous blog, The Healing Project. It’s hard to believe, but it has been 6 months since I started “The Healing Project.” My first post was made on February 3, 2010, and outlined my quest to heal my health and my life over the course of one year. …
Those of us who grapple with body image issues tend to spend a lot of time and energy focusing on our physical imperfections and lamenting all the things we feel are wrong or missing. We are often so keenly attuned to the perceived negatives of our physical being that we completely lose sight of the many positive aspects inherent in having a body.
Today, I completed exercise #3 from “200 Ways to Love the Body You Have.” This exercise, simply titled “Gratitude,” challenges us to list all of the ways our bodies serve us, those things we wouldn’t be able to experience if we didn’t have a body. Surprisingly, I had no trouble at all creating my list and within a short fifteen minutes, I had listed 25 blessings for which I feel gratitude toward my body.
My list mostly encompasses the many joys of experiencing life through the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
This post represents my first exercise from the book, “200 Ways to Love the Body You Have.” Taking the author’s suggestion, I opened the book to a random page and let my intuition guide me in selecting the perfect exercise for me at this point in time.
I couldn’t have selected a more perfect exercise to start on my journey to finally love and accept my body!
First Exercise – Body Love Goals
The exercise I selected was #146, “Body Love Goals.” This exercise involves writing about my vision of what it means to love my body and to live in peace and harmony with it. In following the instructions, I completed the following sentence in as many ways as came to mind: “I’ll know that I love and accept my body when…”
I just spent over a week without speaking. No, I didn’t go to an ashram or a silent retreat; I simply had no voice for nine days. My laryngitis was related to the flu virus that I mentioned in my last post and although it wasn’t unexpected, I never thought it would last so long. However, since I am a big believer in the messages of our physical ailments, I decided to look for the meaning and lessons of my “week of silence.”
What Does Louise Hay Say?
As a first step in my search for answers, I referenced “You Can Heal Your Life” to see what Louise Hay had to say about laryngitis. While I generally recognize myself and my situation in her remarks, I was left with a huge question mark on this one.
Today’s post focuses on a concept introduced by author Dennis Prager in his book, “Happiness is a Serious Problem.” I highly recommend this book as a concise and extremely informative book on the often elusive subject of happiness. Dennis presents a number of life-changing philosophies in his book, but one of the best is the concept of the “missing tile syndrome.”
Imagine this Scenario…
Imagine that you are in a dentist’s office having your teeth cleaned and are thus focused on the ceiling above you. As you glance around the room, you notice that one of the ceiling tiles is missing. Although the majority of the ceiling is pristine and perfect, you would likely be transfixed upon that one missing tile for the remainder of your visit.
As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on what is missing instead of on what is present. That is fine for ceilings, as they can be perfect. The danger is when we apply the same focus and filter to our lives…
Most of us have things about ourselves which we don’t like or even hate, and we often waste a lot of time and energy resisting or fighting these things. For most of my life, one of my “hates” has been my hair. I have very thick hair, so thick that hairstylists have often commented that I had enough hair for two or three people. In addition, my hair is naturally wavy and predisposed to frizz, tendencies which are intensified by the humid Southern California weather.
Resisting What Is
My God-given hair was not the type of hair I wanted. I wanted the straight, sleek hair of a Scandinavian girl – or Jennifer Aniston. I have been fighting my hair texture for as long as I can remember with countless hair products, daily flat-ironing, and a multitude of chemical processes. None of these armaments ever worked to my satisfaction, so I continually searched for the next best thing.
I want to briefly interrupt my discussion of Louise Hay’s Key Principles in order to share a personal practice that has made a big difference in my life. I will return to the Key Principles in my next post…
I’ve often heard that the biggest key to happiness is gratitude, and I don’t doubt that. When we are present to all that is wonderful in our lives, it’s difficult to feel depressed and despondent. As I look back on my life, I can see that even in my most difficult times, I still had a lot to be grateful for in my life. I just had to look in the right place! It’s all about focus and attitude, I’ve learned.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
To help me to stay aware of the many blessings in my life, I started to keep a Gratitude Journal a few years ago. I confess that I haven’t always been consistent with this practice, but when I’ve maintained my Gratitude Journal, it’s helped me to be more positive and upbeat. Here’s how it works…