Monday, July 21, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ When I Loved Myself Enough



When I Loved Myself Enough began as one woman's gift to the world, hand made by Kim McMillen and given to her friends.  As word spread, its heartfelt honesty won it a growing following.

The introduction to When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim McMillen begins this way:

For many years I lived with a guarded heart.  I did not know how to extend love and compassion to myself.  In my fortieth year that began changing.

In April of 2009 I had turned forty.  There were events going on in my life at that particular time that were very difficult.  In May, just weeks after my birthday, I won this book from a web site called Intrinsic. It was mailed to me all the way from Australia, yet in some ways it seemed more like a gift from the Universe, as it contained a message I so desperately needed to hear. 

The author's introduction continues:

As I grew to love all of who I am, life started changing in beautiful and mysterious ways.  My heart softened and I began to see through very different eyes.  

My commitment to follow this calling grew strong and in the process a divine intelligence came to guide my life.  I believe this ever-present resource is grace, and is available to us all.

For the past twelve years I have been learning to recognize and accept this gift.  Cultivating love and compassion for myself made it possible.

The following steps are uniquely mine.  Yours will look different.  But I do hope mine give voice to a hunger you may share.


I ended up gifting this book to about fifteen women the summer of 2009.  I wanted to share the profoundly simple message it contained within with both friends and family.  
Self Love by Rhonda Gray
Embrace All That You Are With Self Love by Rita Loyd
Expressions of Self Love by Rita Loyd

And so it begins...

When I loved myself enough
I quit settling for too little.

And so it continues...

When I loved myself enough
I came to know my own goodness.

When I loved myself enough
I began taking the gift of life seriously and gratefully.

When I loved myself enough
I began to know I was in the right place at the right time and I could relax.

When I loved myself enough
I felt compelled to slow down - way down.  And that has made all the difference.

When I loved myself enough
I bought a feather bed.

When I loved myself enough
I came to love being alone, surrounded by silence, awed by its spell, listening to inner space.

When I loved myself enough
I came to see I am not special but I am unique.

When I loved myself enough
I redefined success and life became simple.  Oh, the pleasure of that.

When I loved myself enough
I came to know I am worthy of knowing God directly.

When I loved myself enough
I gave up the belief that life is hard.

When I loved myself enough
I came to see emotional pain is a signal I am operating outside truth.

When I loved myself enough
I learned to meet my own needs and not call it selfish.

When I loved myself enough
The parts of me long-ignored, the orphans of my soul, quit vying for attention.  That was the beginning of inner peace.  Then I began seeing clearly.

When I loved myself enough 
I quit ignoring or tolerating my pain.

When I loved myself enough
I started feeling all my feelings, not analyzing them -- really feeling them.  When I do, something amazing happens.  Try it.  You will see.

When I loved myself enough
My hear became so tender it could welcome joy and sorrow equally.

When I loved myself enough 
I came to feel like a gift to the world and I collected beautiful ribbons and bows.  They still hang on my wall to remind me.

When I loved myself enough
I learned to ask 'Who in me is feeling this way?' when I feel anxious, angry, restless or sad.  If I listen patiently I discover who needs my love.

When I loved myself enough
I no longer needed things or people to make me feel safe.

When I loved myself enough
I quite wishing my life looked some other way and began to see that as it is, my life serves my evolution.

When I loved myself enough
I began to feel a divine presence in me and hear its guidance.  I am learning to trust this and live from it.

 When I loved myself enough
I quit exhausting myself by trying so hard.

When I loved myself enough 
I began to feel a community within.  This inner team with diverse talents and idiosyncrasies is my strength and my potential.  We hold team meetings.

When I loved myself enough
I began walking and taking the stairs every chance I got, and choosing the scenic route.

When I loved myself enough
I became my own authority by listening to the wisdom of my heart.  This is how God speaks to me.  This is intuition.

When I loved myself enough
I began feeling such relief.

When I loved myself enough
The impulsive part of me learned to wait for the right time.  Then I became clear and unafraid.

When I loved myself enough
I began leaving whatever wasn't healthy.  This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits -- anything that kept me small.  My judgement called it disloyal.  Now I see it as self-loving.

When I loved myself enough
I gave up perfectionism - that killer of joy.

When I loved myself enough
Forgiving others became irrelevant.

When I loved myself enough 
I started writing about my life and views because I knew this was my right and my responsibility.

When I loved myself enough
I began to see my purpose and gently wean myself from distractions.

When I loved myself enough
I learned to say no when I want to and yes when I want to.

When I loved myself enough
I could see how funny life is, how funny I am and how funny you are.

When I loved myself enough
I recognized my courage and fear, my naivety and wisdom, and I make a place for each at my table.

When I loved myself enough
I started treating myself to a massage at least once a month.

When I loved myself enough
I realized I am never alone.

When I loved myself enough
I stopped fearing empty time and quit making plans.  Now I do what feels right and am in step with my own rhythms.  Delicious!

When I loved myself enough
I quit trying to be a savior for others.

When I loved myself enough
I lost my fear of speaking my truth for I have come to see how good it is.

When I loved myself enough 
I began pouring my feeling into my journals.  These loving companions speak my language.  No translation needed.

When I loved myself enough
I stopped seeking 'experts' and started living my life.

When I loved myself enough
I could be at ease with the comings and goings of judgment and despair.

When I loved myself enough
I quit having to be right which makes being wrong meaningless.

When I loved myself enough 
I learned to grieve for the hurts in life when they happen instead of making my heart heavy from lugging them around.

When I loved myself enough
I forgave myself for all the times I thought I wasn't good enough.

When I loved myself enough
I began listening to the wisdom of my body.  It speaks so clearly through its fatigue, sensitivities, aversions and hungers.

When I loved myself
I quit fearing my fear.

When I loved myself enough 
I quit rehashing the past and worrying about the future which keeps me in the present where aliveness lives.

When I loved myself enough
I began to taste freedom.


And so it ends...
When I loved myself enough
I found my voice and wrote this little book.


I have included much of the book in this post, but not all.  There are more nuggets of wisdom in the book that you may wish to explore on your own.
Do you find yourself connecting with some of the author's statements?  Which ones?

Try writing some of your own declarations by starting with When I loved myself enough...

The author shares at the very end when she loved herself enough she found her voice and wrote this little book. What would you do if you loved yourself enough? 

If you were going to write a book what would you call it?


A message from the author's daughter Alison McMillen ~ January 2001:

My mother died in September of 1996, at he age of 52, only a few short months after writing this book.  She was not ill and did not know that she was going to die.  Her death was sudden and it deeply shocked everyone who knew her.  It has been very difficult for me, as well as her friends and family, to cope with life without her.  She died too young, and I am aware of her absence every waking moment.

One thing that has made grieving for her more tolerable has been this book.  Following her lead, I continued to publish it out of my home.  It has been extremely rewarding work.  I have received countless letters and phone calls from people all over the world who have been touched by the wisdom of my mom's words.  They tell me that they feel as though, through the book, they have come to know Kim McMillen.  I could not agree more.

This book is my mother.  It's message is what she spent years meditating on, reading and writing about, and experiencing.  It is everything she believed in, and everything she brought me up to believe in.  It is her autobiography, her declaration, her soul.

Even though she didn't know she was nearing the end of her life, she knew on some level that she had to express the things that she had learned to be true.  After many years filled with self-doubt and self-criticism, she decided to devote herself to finding self-compassion.  When she did, and was able to write her findings down for others to read, her life was complete, and sadly came to an end.  



I have a constant ache in my heart, a longing to see her again in this world.  She was an amazing mother, friend, writer, business consultant, chaplain, river runner, dog lover, neighbor and woman.  Although I miss her terribly, I am comforted by the knowledge that, as this book is the truest expression of who my mom was, in its continued existence what she had to offer to the world will live on.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ Love Letters

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Love letters.  I have written my fair share.  As a long time lover of snail mail and years of living long distance from a few of my beaus I have spritzed letters with perfume and imprinted them with ruby red lipstick.  Yet not all love letters need be of the traditional romantic genre. Throughout the years I have also sent hundreds (maybe thousands) of letters and cards to family and friends that were infused with my love.  While living overseas in France for a year and a half, prior to having access to email and phone calls being prohibitively expensive, I wrote many long letters to family members and college friends back home.  I would even find amusing images in magazines and tear them out and make my own envelopes.  Right now just thinking about it makes me want to make some again.  I have not forsaken snail mail as I still adore it as much as I always have, but I do know that the long letters I used to write are more abbreviated notes added to sweet cards I buy from local stores or artists I admire.  

How long has it been since you sent a "love letter" to a family member or friend?  

Learning about a project called More Love Letters that was created by Hannah Brencher has me contemplating again the power of a longer letter to connect, express thoughts and feelings, tell a story, inspire and spread loving energy around the world.  I first learned about Hannah Brencher through her TED talk.  Here is the video where she shares how already being a huge fan of love letters, as this was her own mother's way of communicating with her long distance, that upon bottoming into depression after college she began writing love letters and leaving them around the city for strangers to find.  


After watching Hannah's introduction to More Love Letters in her own words I encourage you to visit the web page for this movement.  It has been beautifully created and executed.  



The world doesn’t need another website. It doesn’t need another app or a network.
What it needs is really basic. Simple. Bare-boned.& often forgotten in the race to get followers, likes & status.

LOVE. Pure, old-fashioned, never goes out of style Love. Ridiculous, oozing, cannot pack this thang into 140-characters kind of love. Fearless, bold, unstoppable love.
And that’s where we come in… We’re going to tell you that we leave love letters all over the world for others to be blessed by. We’re going to ask you to write letters for Love Letter Bundles for people you’ll probably never meet.  We’re going to invite you to nominate someone you know for a Love Letter Bundle. You are going to think we are a bit crazy. A tad loopy… But let’s be honest,  you’ve been looking for a website that leaks love all this time.

Fair warning, we could really care less about love letters.
We’re only interested in you. The cracked parts of your own story & how you can use them to lift someone else. It’s about how each of us can morph our lives into love letters… lamps… lanterns… to light the paths of others who needs kindness and love today.

It’s official. Now, more than ever, the world needs more love letters. So get involved. Check out the current letter requests. Join our subscriber list to never miss a beat.
Your cursive means the world to us.


I read through some of the Requests for Letters.  One in particular moved me deeply.  Here is the description taken from the site:

R E N E E

please mail all love letters by July 15, 2014

A loving daughter wrote into us requesting letters for her mother. She wrote “My mother is undergoing an enormous transition period. At the age of 32 and happily married, her husband and my father, passed away in a tragic car accident on Valentine’s day that year. She was left with 5 kids under the age of 7 to raise on her own. My twin brother and I were just 8 months old. My mom just turned 60 and finally retired after 28 years of bouncing around jobs to provide for her family. The first time in her life she has no kids to take care of, no job to report to, and she is finally free. And she is scared. No one needs her, which is what most of her identity has been defined by. My mom needs a love letter that will inspire her to live again and finally, learn to take care of and love herself.” Join us in writing a letter of love & encouragement to this awesome mother.

PLEASE MAIL ALL LOVE LETTERS TO:
Renee’s bundle
c/ o Hilary C.
4505 Avenue A
Austin, TX 78751

Whether or not you feel inclined or inspired to join the More Love Letters official movement, consider right now making a commitment to send some love letters.  How about you send one today or this week?  How about a commitment to sending one or more a month?  Will you send it to someone you know or will you leave it on a chair in a cafe, on a shelf at a store, in a dressing room, or on a park bench?  The ripple effects of sending out love on a physical piece of paper can have more impact and power than you can fully grasp.  

If you do send out a letter (or two or three or four...) consider sharing about how taking such action impacted you.  What feelings did it invoke?  What stories unfolded?  What did you find yourself sharing?  Where did you leave it or send it?  Did you send it to someone you know or did you prefer to leave it for a stranger?
notecards

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Naked Vulnerability

CC Magazine Logo (1)

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Come read my latest article called
Naked Vulnerabilityin Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.


I sat in the creek, sweet water gurgling and caressing my naked body.  I gazed at the greenery, the light reflecting off the water, and felt the very chilly water pour over my thighs, while the gentle breath of warm air on my face and shoulders offered a stark contrast.  Under the canopy of tall trees and dappled sunlight it was easy to feel small, but in a good way, in the way you feel awe struck and full of wonder about the breathtaking beauty of our planet.  Nature often has that effect on me, but to experience being completely naked and so remarkably peaceful as I listened to the natural sounds of birds and the water, was spiritually soothing and uplifting. Harmonizing with the rustling of leaves and the babbling water flowed the spoken word of a sacred water dedication,

Water Spirits know this child as your sister…
Give her the ability to flow in life’s stream…
Great Spirit, this child is of the people…
guide her to always walk in beauty
.”

Come read the entire article over at Cosmic Cowgirls Magazine.
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Dos Aguas photo by Michelle Fairchild

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ The Summer Day


"Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"


grasshopper

The summer solstice took place this weekend and the above reading of the poem The Summer Day by Mary Oliver seemed so fitting for this weeks Mojo Monday.  Ahhh summer.  It may not be just like it was when we were children and had summers off from school.  Except for the school teachers out there, most of us work through the summer, taking vacations here and there.  Maybe we go tent camping or travel to lakes, oceans and rivers and stay in cabins or resorts.

Did you celebrate the Summer Solstice?  Did you do happen to do anything special that day?  

My first day of summer was partially spent at nearby Whiskeytown Lake, a favorite place to relax, swim and play with the family and friends.
Brandy Creek beach at Whiskeytown Lake
Brandy Creek beach at Whiskeytown Lake

In the early evening we headed over to partake of some of the Sundial Bridges' 10th Anniversary celebration.  On the solstice there was a flash mob dance to the song Happy right on the bridge at 6:45 pm.  That was then followed a couple of hours later by an astounding performance by Bandaloop on the Sundial Bridge.  They performed their aerial dances to the accompaniment of a local orchestra.  

Bandaloop collage
Last night watching these amazing athletic sky dancers perform, while local musicians played skillfully I felt in awe, of not only where I get to live, but the ingenuity and creativity of us humans. It was a perfect evening and I felt inspired and happy that it is summer.  While I don't get the summer off, there will be regular lake trips, outdoor water aerobics at the local aquatic center, growing veggies in our garden, the wedding of a dear friend, a trip to Ashland with my hubby to see a play and a family camp trip to the coast.  I find myself wanting to soak up all the goodness around me and simply marinate in it.

What summertime happenings bring you happiness? Do you have any special summer plans?

Here are a few videos from the Bandaloop performance.  I wanted to share as it truly was a beautiful thing to witness.

Here is a video showing the first performance by three Bandaloop dancers. This video captured the whole performance.


This next video is the second performance with four Bandaloop dancers who dropped from the top of the dial.  This video capture a portion of the performance.

 

This final video was the grand finale featuring the woman in white and the dramatic long white scarf that floated and danced against the darkened sky so very beautifully.


Wishes for a summer of love.
In closing, consider this 
rephrased question taken from Mary Oliver:
Tell me what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious summer?
Summer Solstice Mandala 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Visionary Dreaming


Crystal Charlotte Easton is a Metis Artist born and raised 
in Fort St James BC, in Carrier Territory-Northern BC (Canada) 
and she is currently living & raising her family (6 children) 
on a farm on Vancouver Island.
She has the opportunity to attend a month long course in Italy 
in July at the Vienna Academy of Visionary Art.

She is very close to achieving her fundraising goal
and has 11 days remaining.
Charlotte is offering beautiful gifts in return for 
every single donation.
Come visit her fundraising site by clicking here.

Crystal painting
Crystal painting

We All Have A Role to Play by Crystal Charlotte Easton
We All Have A Role to Play by Crystal Charlotte Easton

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mojo Monday ~ A Blessing for One Who Is Exhausted

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A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

--by John O'Donohue, syndicated from awakin.org, Jun 02, 2014

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

exhaustion

Have you ever felt completely exhausted?

Was it a phase or a short lived experience?

Did something in particular spark the exhaustion?

Did you wade through it until the feeling passed
or did you take concerted steps to regain your vitality?

When times of malaise come to pass do you sit with it
or takes steps to transform the feelings?

Exhausted