Browsing Tag

self image

depression, Guest Posts, Self Image

Metamorphosis: A Growth Chart of Myself and the Natural World in Snapshots.

December 18, 2014


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By Melina Papadopoulos.

Like many eager young students, my understanding of metamorphosis began with the charming story of the caterpillar, almost always fairytale-like in its delivery. Its beginning urged me to sympathy, portraying the caterpillar as a lonesome, unsightly creature who spends his days lounging on dandelion heads or in the green shadows of jungle gym tunnels. By the end of the story, my eyes widened with wonder. After a long season of deep slumber in a self-constructed chrysalis, the caterpillar emerges, now butterfly, now winged, soaring, a beautifully fragile flourish of flight.

It is worth noting, however, that metamorphosis is not exclusively a mechanism meant for “upgrading biologically” in a purely aesthetic sense. To quote marine biologist Jason Hodin, metamorphosis is a “substantial morphological transition between two multicellular phases in an organism’s life cycle, often marking the passage from a prereproductive to a reproductive life stage.” But perhaps I would delve into the whole process more intimately, unravel it until every creature that metamorphoses can find itself between the growth spurts, the transitions of transitions.

Suddenly—

Tadpoles are tempted from the water with the promise of legs. Their metamorphosis begs for beginnings; a clutch of quavering eggs stares up from the murky shallows of the pond, like the many glaucomic eyes of a fitful sea monster. Metamorphosis aches for resolution. Before it can allow the frog to learn of the land, it must snuff out the youthful tail and sculpt all that remains into a more dignified asymmetrical rump.

More important, metamorphosis challenges old identities while new ones form beneath. In his book The Mystery of Metamorphosis, Frank Ryan explains that at one point organisms were classified only by their adult forms. He goes on to explain the major flaw of this classification system, “that many larval forms just did not fit in with the extrapolation of the tree of life based on the adults.” Such observation is astute because it acknowledges that an organism’s identity encompasses its whole life cycle, not just the end of it, after it has fully shed away its old skin, corrected its awkward gait. Life cycles shape children into adolescents, adolescents into adults, tissue by tissue, organ by organ. But it is a mere shaping and reshaping, not a rebirth, not a revival. In the hands of metamorphosis, everybody emerges with his own creation dust in his eyes.

In the hands of metamorphosis, nobody is ever complete.

Continue Reading…

Guest Posts

To Be Made Whole.

November 5, 2014

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By Melissa Chadburn.

My weight fluctuates a lot— I’d say I gain and lose between 20 and 30 lbs. every year. I think there is a story my body is trying to tell. I think perhaps my body is storing too much pain at times.

The things that weigh on me:

The time I wanted back in with my foster family— so I met my foster parents at their job at the ad agency and gave them a presentation on why they should let me come back. The presentation was complete with ways I would financially contribute to the household, and ways that I would be good, and how no one would hardly notice me.

I only ever hit my mother once. It was a reflex. She was in a wild angered frenzy and threw a T-shirt at me. It had my favorite Superman button on it. A metal button the size of a cheeseburger. Somehow the weight of it landed on my nose and I bled. The shock of it all— my crying the blood, she ran to me, full of remorse. The second she was close I socked her in the stomach. Her face, the face she showed me, is the one that haunts me. My face and her face are so similar that the punishment is simple, it’s the look I give myself when I think no one likes me or that I’ve done wrong. Continue Reading…

Guest Posts, Inspiration, Self Image

The Frenemy in the Mirror.

September 12, 2014

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By Georgia Kolias.

I walked through my bedroom door with a pile of laundry in my arms, clean clothes destined for dresser drawers. On leaving the room, I realized that my four-year-old daughter was standing in front of the full-length mirror. When we bought our house, we realized the previous owners must have been giants. The bathroom mirrors were high enough that I could only see my head floating up around the bottom of the medicine cabinet door. There were no other mirrors in the house and that suited me just fine. Looking at my body in the mirror was not usually something I wanted to do. Not because I have an unusually horrific deformity that I can’t face, but just because mirrors are a tool of the devil. You can either become bewitched by allowing yourself to feel validated and worthy because you like what you see, or they can become instruments of delusional torture in those moments when you aren’t feeling your best, your clothes feel awkward on your body, and the unavoidable critical voice in your head narrates rude descriptions of your flaws. Continue Reading…

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To Be and What Not to Be: On Having Lupus.

July 22, 2014

By Carin Enovijas

A few weeks back I posted an angry little rant about the wonder and horrors of Prednisone, a corticosteroid drug, scornfully dubbing it “better-than-dead-Pred (BTDP).” While I still believe that it’s better to be alive upon this mortal coil than not to be, I must concede that I underestimated the bitter sting of the many slings and arrows I so glibly described as BTDP’s “side-effects” such a short time ago.

Lupus is responsible for the auto-immune driven ITP (ideopathic thrombocytopenia) that is devouring my blood’s platelets. The treatment, high, prolonged doses of Prednisone has now manifested something called Cushing’s Syndrome which is responsible for side effects such as Moon Face, Buffalo Hump, muscle weakness and spasticity, bone and joint pain, weight gain, dramatic mood swings, insomnia, irregular heartbeat, blood pressure swings, blurry vision, acid reflux and ulcers…just to hit the relevant highlights. It’s hard to believe that Hamlet had no ken of modern day pharmaceuticals when he questioned whether ’tis better to “bear those ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of.”

Continue Reading…

Inspiration, Owning It!, Self Image

What is True About YOU?

December 22, 2012

I get emails daily. Really beautiful, humbling, sometimes Oh My God, this is making me bawl emails. I can’t always respond but I always read them at least twice. A while ago I posted some questions on my Facebook as I do often. I asked What do people tell you about you? What do you tell yourself about you? What do you know to be true about you?

Below is an email I got from someone who has given me permission to share. I will omit her name, however.

I love you all.

~~~~

Jennifer, I’m too shy or maybe too private to post to Facebook; although, I really would like to try and answer your questions. It’s mainly for myself that I would like to answer the 3 parts of your question:

1) what do people tell you about you?

2) what do you tell yourself about you?

3) what do you KNOW to be true about you?

People tell me that I’m a sweetheart, very loving, friendly, spiritual and they can tell me anything. They also tell me that I always know what to say when they need help! My fiancé and partner thinks I’m extremely intelligent, good to the core and made for him. People tell me I look way younger than my age and I’m beautiful.

 I tell myself that thank God I have taken the right paths in life to change my life around and become the woman I am today at 65. I finally realize that I’m a great Mother, Grandmother, partner and friend and that I treat all people like they are important, whether it’s the cashier, mail carrier that I stop to chat with or the woman carrying her Hermes bag! I also tell my self that deep down I am fragile, but on the outside I am a very strong women who knows how to survive.

What I know is the truth about me is that I am truly very vulnerable, I know that I am very pretty and don’t look my age, but feel that is a curse as well as a compliment, I want to grow old gracefully and want to experience aging without feeling that I’m being judged every step of the way because I too will look old any day now. I also know that I am much brighter that I ever thought I was and very grateful that I have come so far in my life. I am also grateful for the gifts that have come my way from the universe and I’m trying to live my life as the best person I can be and yet be a little bit naughty at times. I wish I had a better sense of humor and knew how to laugh out loud and be able to cry out loud as well.

Jennifer, thank you for all of your postings, I have become a fan of yours because I am too a yogi and love all of your spiritual thoughts. Love, J. your fellow yogi

seek-truth1

 

I would love to hear below YOUR answers to the 3 questions. Don’t be shy! Happy Holidays. I love you guys.

Eating/Food, Inspiration, Owning It!, Self Image

If You Are Looking For Hope, You Must Read This.

June 14, 2012

How honest are you willing to be with yourself?

I am going to share some stuff with you from my upcoming book.

Some deeply personal stuff.

The reason I am going to share this deeply personal stuff is because I have become an Inspirational Speaker, a force of Positivity, a Mentor, and someone who loves themselves. I lead sold out Manifestation Yoga® Retreats and workshops around the world! And, I want you all to understand just how dark my life was, just how much I overcame to be exactly where I am right now, just how far I have traversed through very muddy terrain.

And where am I?

I am at a place called Happy.

It’s unsettling to look through these old journal entries and not be able to recognize any part of me, but it is also extremely exciting not to recognize any part of me. This looking through my past business is firming up my knowing that I am exactly where I am meant to be.

I hope it inspires you.

It certainly inspires me to see how far I have come.

I will be damned if I cannot provide hope for anyone suffering RIGHT NOW.

If I made it to the other side, which I indeed have, YOU can too.

I was severely anorexic and depressed for years on end. Please read this earlier post to understand more.

I hope that you read the journal entries I am about to show you from years ago and feel a surge of Hope. 

How can you not feel hopeful?

I want you to know how sad and unhappy and anorexic I truly was so you can really appreciate where I am in my life right now. How I got so un-stuck. 

You will, of course, have to buy my book…..

It’s hard for me to look at these old posts but I want to share them with you. There are pages and pages and books upon books of saying the same things over and over and over….

Look at me now.

I made it, guys.

I made it.

Hearing Loss, Self Image

Dreaming Perfect.

June 10, 2012

Last week I had this dream I was perfect.

I was tall and leggy. I had sweet, brown-colored skin and light eyes.

I had perfect hearing.

There was no ringing in my ears, so when you told me things like: Your coffee is getting cold or My name is … or I love you ~

I understood you.

I was happy in this dream.

Of course, I didn’t realize I was happy.

I woke up and tried to get back into the dream, but, as you know, that is impossible.

I almost got there, but in the new version of the dream I was short and fully deaf, instead of partially. Everything else was the same as the first dream.

I thought about the dream all day.

I realized later that day that maybe I wasn’t happy in the first dream, after all. Maybe I had just assumed, in that brief moment when I woke by my alarm, and I couldn’t get back, that I had been happy, since it’s our nature to assume that what we can’t have is better.

I have gotten over my height, my skin color, my weight, and the fact that light eyes got passed over on me.

I have not fully accepted my hearing loss.

Oh, what it would be like to hear a whistle!

A bird. Ice clinking in a glass. The television. My own yoga teacher. My own breath. Someone saying my name as a whisper.

As I sit here and listen to the ringing in my ears that never goes away, I fall into a state of meditation, as if my tinnitus were actually a constant “Om” in my head instead of torture.

Then it hit me like a ton of bells ringing. This package of me, the sum total of all my parts, is greater than my hearing loss. I am normally terrified of equations, but as soon as I stop and think about the mathematics of myself, I know that I have accepted my loss indeed. I realize that this profound hearing loss, which causes me so much pain and aggravation—so much sadness and loneliness—also causes me so much love.

I had never thought of love quite like that. As if it were an effect that had been caused by something. I always thought it was just something like the weather—it just was. Like love just appeared one day like the wind, and we accepted it as Nature just doing its thing, running its course. We don’t question love most days. I love my mother, I love my husband, I love my students. It just is. This I know.

But there is a cause and effect.

My hearing loss has caused me love because people have been drawn to my compassion, which is my loss transformed. I have been able to turn my deafness into my grace, and that grace has opened me to love I never dreamed possible.

So today I change my mind. I accept this thing about myself that I once hated. By doing that I allow other things about me to shine. Those things, like my sense of humor and my touch. My vision beyond what my eyes can see, and my kindness. My philosophy of “If you fall you must laugh” was born out of not being able to hear. You can’t take life too seriously.

I mean, how can you, when you can’t hear most of it?

My hearing loss has allowed me to laugh at myself, which in turn has allowed others to laugh at themselves.

What a gift!

I had a dream last night and I was me in the dream. Regular old me. Mostly deaf, kind of clumsy, hazel eyes, pale skin, silly. In it, someone leaned over and asked me if I was happy.

I laughed and said Of course I am happy. Why wouldn’t I be? Now pour me another glass of wine.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
**Post originally appeared on Positively Positive where I am proud to be a regular contributor.

Jen will be leading a Manifestation Yoga®  weekend retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, Massachusetts Feb 1-3, 2013. 

 

Guest Posts, Self Image

The Magic from Within. Guest Post by Curvy Yoga aka Anna Guest-Jelley.

January 10, 2012

Dear Manifesters, today’s guest post is by the lovely Anna Guest-Jelley, founder of Curvy Yoga.

From the Curvy Yoga site:

Curvy Yoga is about living in your body – plain and simple. (Except that, it’s totally not.)

As someone who has been on 65 diets in my life, I actually find embodiment, or really getting grounded and listening to that inner voice, to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it’s also the most transformative (notice I didn’t put that in past tense – the process is very much ongoing!).

Having dealt with a serious eating disorder myself, I  found it refreshing to see someone so honest out there in the yoga world in regards to body image, weight, and the process of learning to love oneself. Anna’s voice spoke to me so loudly that I asked her to guest post. I found myself constantly drawn to her so it seemed fitting that she be a part of the Manifestation Station.

It’s a brilliant essay and the timing is impeccable as she speaks about why she, at first, was skeptical of “manifesting”. Just yesterday, at lunch with a friend, he told me of someone who was critiquing “manifesting and the whole trend of manifesting.” I semi-laughed as I thought to myself “There is a trend? Is it ‘trending’ on Twitter?” I simply know it is a word I found helpful to embody what it is that I am doing in my own life so I named my company that and am attempting to share it with whoever is interested. If it is a trend, well, better that than texting and driving, Ugg boots or botox.

Enjoy Anna’s essay and be inspired to live in your own body and embody your own truth. 

Gorgeous Anna Guest-Jelley

The Magic From Within by Anna Guest-Jelley.

I’m just gonna be honest. Until recently, I thought manifesting was a crock of you-know-what (feel free to fill in the blank here with your favorite expletive because, well, I’ve probably used them all).

The reason why I didn’t believe in manifesting? I believed in something else.

Hard f’ing work.

Vision Boards 

I really do kind of hate to admit this now, but whenever I used to hear someone talk about manifesting, I’d roll my eyes. I did this despite the fact, of course, that I (secretly!) love making vision boards. And somehow, every few months, without ever looking at it consciously after I finished making it, I’d catch a glimpse of my board and realize everything on it had come true.

But I shrugged that off.  I figured I made that stuff happen – nothing more, nothing less. My thoughts weren’t involved, the universe wasn’t involved, it was just all me. Off my own (often breaking) back.

As the daughter of two parents who value work above pretty much everything, and a well-known (at least by the friends and family who I made time for) workaholic myself, I just couldn’t believe there was any more to life than working it out. All of it.

Bitten in the Butt

That is, of course, until I was forced to come to terms with two things simultaneously – how all my hard work was killing me (pretty literally) and how I had slowly and gently begun to set intentions that were seeping their way, wordlessly, into my life.

Here’s how it went down – first about the work: I was working a busy-scheduled, always-politicking, constant-“emergency” kind of job. And my health spiraled down. And down. And down. I got to the point where I wasn’t sure what it felt like to not be anxious. I had to start wearing a nightguard I was grinding my teeth so much. By some miracle, I took a deep exhalation one day and realized that I was holding so much tension in my belly, as though guarding against life, that my stomach was hard like a brick – and not in an abs-of-steel kind of way.

I eventually realized that continuing to work this job would mean (a) becoming a person who I hated and (b) dying young. So I chose Option C: quitting. And I did. And wouldn’t you know it? My jaw released its death grip in a week or less. I remembered what it felt like to digest my food well. And I was able to wake up without butterflies in my belly.

Taking the Credit

I’d really, really like to be able to take the credit for making this bold decision. But alas, I really can’t. The reason I was able to do it was because for about a year (again, totally secretly!), I’d had that change on my vision board, and I’d been quietly, internally setting things in motion to be able to feel okay with doing it.
Because the me from a year before? There’s no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that she could have released a “good” job with a steady salary and benefits. Even if the alternative was bleak.

But the me from right now? After working with my thoughts, and putting out the intention and doing the internal and external work to support it? Yeah, I was ready to make the leap.

And what I realize now is that, while I’d always dismissed manifestation as too magical for my liking, I forgot how the real magic comes from within.

Anna Guest-Jelley is the Founder of Curvy Yoga, where she writes and teaches about yoga and embodiment as the foundations of a live well-lived (and body well-loved). She is also the co-teacher of 30 Days of Curvy Yoga, a course on crafting a yoga practice for your unique body and needs. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Daily Manifestation Challenge, Manifestation Retreats, Mindwebs

Who Would I Be If Nobody Told Me Who I Was? The I Am Question. Daily Manifestation Challenge.

October 14, 2011

What a powerful question! Who would I be if nobody told me who I was? 

I first heard Wayne Dyer ask the question at one of his conferences. Who would you be be if nobody told you who you were? in his shorts and cute little flip-flops. Holy Sweet Baby Moses, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know who I’d be. 

At that time the question blew me right out my seat. I came back fully inhabited as somebody else.

You mean I get to decide who I am? I get to say who I am in the world rather than simply letting someone tell me? What the what?

For a long time I let the people around me dictate who I was. Sure, I was dealing with depression but the constant reminder that I should smile more, that I was so sad all the time actually had the effect of keeping me in that space. Eww. So I decided that was who I was. Sad and depressed. Woe is me Jen P. And that was that about that.

I also have a severe hearing problem and before people knew that fact they would think I was an airhead, someone who was eternally checked out. You kind of start to believe it after a while. I’m just a dingbat. Enough people tell you what and who you are and what do you know? You start to decide it’s the truth! You start to accept that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Ain’t so! You get to decide as many times as you like just who you are. I was a waitress kind of pretending to be an actress and now I am a yoga teacher and a writer. Not pretending.

And guess what else? I decided that I am not an airhead, I simply CAN’T HEAR!

Despite what the world told me about who I was and my character I chose differently.

I just love that Einstein quote above. It makes me feel sad for someone so close to me who was abused and believed that they were worthless for a very long time.

As I said in my poem “How To Make A Life” you get to decide over and over, as many times as you like, as many times as your socks, just who you are.

I lead an exercise in my workshops and retreats where I have people finish the sentence I am _____.

You cannot finish the sentence with: I am fat, I am broke, I am tired , hungry, bored etc.

It has to be something powerful. Something that you truly believe you are despite all the buts and ifs. If you’ve thought of yourself as ” just a mom” for years (and I know many who have thought themselves that even though the “just” makes me cringe), especially if you have done that, this exercise is profound.

You are the one making the rules.

You get to finish your I am-ness with whatever you like.

Why not? You are the creator of your world.

So here’s who I am. At least today: I am a healer. I am a writer. I am inspired. I am inspiring. I am powerful.

My exercise in the workshop is a bit harder. You say it aloud and then pick someone in the room and tell them your I am-ness before you look in their eyes for 3 minutes straight, without saying a word. It’s no joke! Some people weep. Some laugh. Some want to crawl out of their skin and beat the sh*t out of me.

But all know that the person looking in their eyes sees them exactly as who they said they were.

I am.

Who are you?

Be brave.

I dare you.

Today’s Challenge is the question: Who Would You be if Nobody Told You who you were? YOu can add your response below in comments. I encourage you to finish the sentence I am ________. Fill it in with something powerful and inspiring. 

Beating Fear with a Stick, Mindwebs, Self Image, Things I Have Lost Along The Way

A Parable

October 8, 2011

On the way back from Santa Fe yesterday I sat on the plane looking through my computer at some old notes. Some from 10 years ago, and frankly, I didn’t recognize the person who had written the words on my screen. In some dark recess of my soul, sure. Some dusty region of my being, yes maybe. In some moldy corner, the remnants of that girl still exist, but holy sh#t, am I glad she is gone! I am glad she no longer owns the lips that touch my coffee cup every morning. I am glad her brain was replaced by the one I am now in possession of.

I was reminded of the lyrics to Amazing Grace:

I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Truthfully, I was a little sickened as I read some of my old stuff. I got out my little compact mirror from my bag to make sure my face was still there.

It was.

I felt an ache for the girl whose words I was reading. How could that have been me? Me, who is a successful yoga teacher and loves herself ( most days.) Surely this is some kind of mistake and I picked up someone else’s computer. Horrified, I put the stolen computer back in my bag.

I took it back out of my bag. It is indeed mine. I own it. I am the sole owner of those crappy insecure negative journal entries. My name is Jennifer and I am a recovered negativaholic. I am a recovered jerk junkie. I am a recovered low self esteem user. I am a recovered I-think-I’m-fat-aholic as well as exercisaholic.

How did I have time to be so many things? I must have been so busy.

In fact, I wasn’t.

How could I have been busy with all my mental energy being taken up on what was wrong with me?

I bring it up now as a parable.

Against all odds, I came out on the other side. I killed the witch and I am living happily in my home with my seven little men. Ok, that’s a fairy tale, but you get the point.

And, they may not be seven little men, but I did marry one amazing man.

This parable has a moral as most parables do. (At least that’s what Wikipedia told me as I was confused between parable and fable. I have no talking animals so I suppose I am a parable.)

A parable is a short tale that illustrates universal truth, one of the simplest of narratives. It sketches a setting, describes an action, and shows the results. It often involves a character facing a moral dilemma, or making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences. Though the meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated, the meaning is not usually intended be hidden or secret but on the contrary quite straightforward and obvious.

The universal truth: everything I was telling myself I firmly believed ( I was fat, not good enough etc) and yet wasn’t the truth at all.

In fact: it was a big fat lie.

The setting: my mind.

The action I took after many years of starving myself and being depressed and dating someone who didn’t appreciate me was: I changed my thoughts.

It took time. It took a lot of time, some yoga and a great man. It took also: finding my bliss. It took learning how to manifest what I want into my life without being attached to the results.

The meaning of this parable is obvious: You get to decide who you want to be. You get to believe it. Or not.

For a long time I was looking to be saved. I wanted security. I wanted nothing to change and no one to leave. Sigh. I wanted what stays.

Bigger sigh.

I used to feel like I was always losing and gaining weight, that I was a constant up and down, a monster, that I was literally unrecognizable from the day before (that bitchy and unreliable “Body Dysmorphia“.) I was obsessed with the idea that I was always changing. I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to stay the same and never ever change. I wanted to be safe.

Forever.

So I look back at the old me without being too naive in realizing that it has been the same me all along. I learned whatever lessons I had to learn and am still learning, sometimes over and over again. If I let myself, I could easily slip into her skin. My skin.

But I ask you, why on earth would I want to? She may be ten or fifteen years younger but I am wiser and kinder. I now love myself deeply. Like my beloved wine, I have gotten better with age.

Guys, it’s like this. Sometimes you can see everything at once. Your whole future mapped out, veins raised and ready. This is the geometry of your life: blue, irreversible, ingrained. It’s like how your eyes adjust to things, how you can see part of the moon when it isn’t really there. It’s like that with your mind. Adjust to the belief that you are f#*king awesome. See everything at once. All your glory.

The moon’s fullness still faintly visible, a whisper in the ear of the hard arc that hangs like it’s missing something, a part of itself. Waiting out it’s own cycles.

Except you’re not missing anything of yourself, nor were you ever.

Go grab a camera and take a picture of your face.

Frame the photo.

Make a note to self that says: ” Dear Self, Thoughts become things. Choose the good ones.”

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