It’s Not Who You Are, But Who You Think You Are Not…

It’s alarmingly easy to beat oneself up – never mind our own inner dialogue, society is ever-imposing “shoulds” on us. For example, it’s difficult not to associate one’s worth with one’s work when the first question anyone ever asks when meeting for the first time is, “what do you do [for a living]?” 

I recently was discussing this with someone – the idea that when we have a certain job or title or paycheck, we feel better about ourselves. When we are looking for work, out of a job entirely, or even trying something new later in life, there’s a sense of unsuccessful.” Why is that?

There’s a huge pressure to live up to this unspoken-but-understood standard when, in truth, it’s nothing more than a society-made, human construct. Certainly that depends on where you live, but as tech has gotten bigger, and more is thrust onto our psyche…it’s tough to ignore the global definition(s) of success. It looks a lot like ostentation and pop stars from where I’m sitting. But in my heart, I don’t actually believe that’s the way it is…or should be.

I struggle with this one myself – big time. I beat myself up for choices (past tense) that I need to completely let go of – the past had its place, and…it’s done with. I sit there in a funk questioning my contribution to life in general…and then I get the glimmer of “I’m doing pretty damn well!”

I remind myself of all the good that I do, including giving back to others for no other reason than I care. I am not able to say I have some remarkable title, I’m not paid to do the work, I’m not a celebrity…(all things I know I currently am NOT)…but what about the true value?  Those facts don’t have a right to determine my self-worth, my success (in my own eyes or those of others), or my validity as a wonderful human being. And such facts have no right to determine yours either.

We are all on a different path, and we have no way of knowing how the journey will end. But while we are trodding along, we need to remember all the GOOD that we do, and all of the ways in which we DO contribute – to ourselves, our lovers, our society and community. We need to remember that a definition of a word to one person may differ from our own – sometimes wildly. That’s okay.

If it takes a mantra, self affirmations, meditation…whatever…that’s all well and good. Just make sure the reminders are FREQUENT. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and pace of “today” but we are with ourselves 100% of time. As such, we deserve to feel good about who we are, and what we do…and we need to let go of all those things we aren’t (because…that isn’t part of the equation for a reason.)

We don’t need to impose any other false limitations on our lives… We deserve to live and love life fully – whatever that means to us. Success is not black and white, and it isn’t up to someone else.

We are so much more than we often give ourselves credit for and we must remember…leading by example means we set the tone as much for ourselves as for others.

Be more gentle with yourself today. Write down, or speak aloud, all the “AMAZING” that you represent. The energy we put out, and the things we tell ourself in the silence are the very foundations of our own success.

 

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Nutrition Humor – Ordering At McDonald’s

I exhausted drive-thrus as a kid on my way to ice skating or dancing (or home afterwards!) and I feel like it’s alarming this is still going on.  Get with the times, fast food joints!  We’re in generation iEverything!

There’s An App For That

Ever stood in line longer than necessary because a younger cashier is struggling with basic math functions?  It isn’t a matter of being rude…it’s a little bit frightening!  So much is done for people by way of apps in daily life that they are beginning to lose the ability to function without a device. . .

SCARY, don’t you think?!

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Taking a Moment With Mindfulness

Many years – moons ago, it seems –  I was introduced to the concept of “mindfulness.”  I’d been practicing mindfulness most of my life without realizing it…and I hadn’t realized, because I’d not always *quite* had the hang of it. Still, I was vastly more spiritual than I had words to explain, and my ever-wandering mind, and proclivity for all thing magical, led me – both knowingly and not – down the path.

After at least a decade and a half of Alexander Technique, Craniosacral and Somatic work, EMDR, Brainspotting, Martial Arts, and countless spiritual endeavors, I fumble a little bit less. . .  But I’m still learning, and have leagues yet to go – lifetime pursuit, as so many things are.

But it isn’t required that we are necessarily graceful with it.  Fluidity comes with consistency, and mindfulness is very much a way of life.  It is therefore a quotidian ritual of sorts that we evolve with, and as a result of –  to expect mastery instantly is almost an injustice, as the (sometimes clumsy!) journey is what facilitates learning at the deepest levels.  It’s not unlike meditation – widely known to be a challenge at first – as it becomes smoother with time.

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Life these days feels intensely hectic – I want to say more so than ever but I’ve only know this Earth, and time, for 38 years!  The influx (and imposition – *cough* *cough* social media!) of technology has created a reality in which “connectivity” is at the ultimate high. 24/7, to be exact.  There are many blessings born of such advances, but there are also massive changes afoot – ones which I daresay are reprogramming human beings at the most fundamental level.

We are all born with a magical capacityALL of us.  We all have the ability to tap into the same natural resources that have allowed us to survive as a species from the beginning of time.  But it feels frighteningly apparent that even children – generally more adept at awareness than overly-conditioned adults – are also losing the ability.  

It isn’t just about looking down at a phone while crossing the street – awareness out the window and then some!  It’s also in losing the ability to “read” others – the read the non-verbal cues, to FEEL, to SENSE… Children drown nearly as much in the virtual world these days, to the degree that even THEY don’t see the full picture anymore… 

Scary thought…

The good news?  That extra-sensory ability never truly goes away.  What’s happening is more that we are – byproduct of a civilized, modern society – conditioned OUT of our natural abilities.  Our senses become duller because who needs to be aware of danger when getting dinner involves takeout, or benign shopping aisles?!  

Oh, and that “6th” one?  It gets completely shrouded by all the noise.  Sadly, modern man somehow thinks a 6th sense is actually supernatural.  Ever notice that animals have it?  Right…well. . . *reminder* : we ARE animals.  We have it too.  Just —> noise, noise, noise! 

Enter mindfulness.  

The practice of mindfulness brings back the precise moment in time in which we find ourselves.  For me, it is seeing each letter as I type my words, hearing myself speak them as they form, seeing the pause of my fingertips, hearing the  music that is playing in the background…

Human beings have always projected ahead, and reflected on the past – for instance, planning a hunt to gather food, and drawing the hunt on the walls of a cave after the fact.  But nowadays, that practice is so multi-fold that stress tends to weasel its way in to the process, leaving us frazzled and forgetful of the moment we are actually IN.

When we DO take a deep breath…and take the moment in…our heart rate actually slows down with us.  Our very life force, how about that?

Mindfulness is the place in which perspective is purest, in which our emotions no longer control us (this is a wonderful practice for anger and the anxiety-prone), in which our innate magical abilities awaken.

It can have other great effects too – we might actually enjoy our food, eat less instead of devouring (I’m guilty of that!) It gives stress a swift kick for a time too (something we all need!) Mindfulness can catch us in the act of judging, or just before an argument that we needn’t have… It helps us to become better all around.

Mindfulness is like the free gift of wizardry!  We have the power to create, to subdue, to awaken, to affect, to manifest, and to see.  Our feelings are deeper, our heart unfolds, and suddenly. . ?  It’s like we are truly alive.

At a time of the year when life is particularly stressful – and focused on the superficial in many ways – take a moment (or, better…SEVERAL) and relax into your breath. 

Feel.  

Sense.  

BE.

The magic will do the rest.

Blessed be,

❤ 

La Roche-Posay Wearable UV Patch

High tech is hitting skincare in yet another innovative way.  My UV Patch – a sticker with a thickness of half a strand of hair – is designed to become a “second skin” the moment you apply it.  

Christian Kettiger / La Roche-Posay

Christian Kettiger / La Roche-Posay

Now the patch isn’t used in PLACE of sunscreen...its purpose lies in measuring the amount of UV you are being exposed to.  There are a number of products being marketed which do the same thing, but they differ in that they are more like technologically-advanced jewelry – a bracelet or band, as an example (not so unlike fitness monitors.  not necessarily bulky, but still an obvious wearable with weight.)

These slim stickers also have the advantage of being able to work with product – you can apply your sun protection over it without any issue.  Wearers can get their UV reading in 1, 2, 3!  The sticker will change color, indicating your level of exposure.  All you need to do is snap a photo of it and upload to get your stats (so yes, you will need an App for this.)

The idea behind My UV Patch is to give you a better sense of what you are being exposed to on a regular basis, presumably encouraging you to take appropriate preventative measures going forward.

It is still in Beta, but I’m curious to hear more about it.  I do hope they accept some feedback in the meantime – I don’t think most men want to traipse around wearing a heart sticker, frankly.  And to be honest, neither do I.  Maybe they’ll make skull-shaped ones?!  

MUFE HD Concealer

If any of you are big fans of Makeup Forever’s HD updated products, you will be thrilled to know the concealer is online at Sephora!

sephora.com

sephora.com

Per Sephora and MUFE:

This newbie features “an Anti-Dark Circle Complex with Radiance Booster” designed to “support collagen to refresh and awaken the undereye area. A long with filling and smoothing fine lines, its lightweight formula is infused with Pure Focus Pigments that reflect light to erase shadows, while the hylauronic spheres prevents moisture loss.”

The formula is, as with the other Ultra HD items, “designed for 4k technology. With 4k technology, the next generation of digital devices will display images with unbelievable detail, stunning clarity, and heightened color than existing HD technology. Completely invisible under the latest, ultra-magnified resolution, these innovative formulas look completely natural on camera—and to the naked eye.” 

sephora.com

sephora.com

There are 10 shades in all:

Color Correct: neutralize dark circles with a peach shade: 
R20: Light 
R22: Light to Medium 
R30: Medium 
R32: Medium to Tan 
R40: Tan 

Conceal: brighten and awaken undereye area: 
Y21: Light 
Y23: Light to Medium 
Y31: Medium 
Y33: Medium to Tan 
Y41: Tan 

 

Visiting Avalo

I recently took a much-needed trip to my best friend’s farm – what a departure from the nuttiness around here! Avalo Cat Sanctuary is an official non-Profit (501c3) created to “make the world a better place for Cats through Care , Compassion and Companionship.” Animal lovers of any ilk will appreciate that foundation. ❤

Avalo’s goal is simple:

To be the best guardians possible for domesticated hybrids and small
exotic felines that have particular needs, require medical attention or
can not stay with their human guardian for whatever reason.

I’ve mentioned Avalo before...a few times…and I no doubt will again – it is, always has been, and always will be my second home.  The one place I can actually sleep better than when I AM home (which, for me, is incredibly noteworthy!)  

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Kemisi’s enclosure (outdoor portion)

My friend Michelle is hands down one of the most amazing people I have ever met – she would feed any of her 114 cats, or 13 horses, before feeding herself…and, minus her husband a student or two, she does this by herself!  (She also teaches Parelli Natural Horsemanship, at which she naturally excels, hence the horses!)  

While I have no knowledge of the goings on (regarding horsemanship) myself, I am a former competitive figure skater, a competitive ballroom dancer, classically trained / performing ballerina, and a current martial artist and lifter – so I can see the difference(s) a mile away.  I see her with her students, and I see her with her horses – it is like watching a dance. 

She has no idea that I’m writing about her, by the way…she would never ask.  Michelle and I are the kind of people who don’t like pushy individuals – neither of us can stand proselytizing, imposition, or sycophants.  But I like to share what she is doing because it is truly, sincerely, AMAZING.  And I just had the fortune to be there – at a time when I REALLY needed a break.  

Avalo is home to my beautiful F1 Chausie, Kemisi – as mentioned in other posts, I had to rehome her (to my great devastation) along with my male, Khonsu, some years ago.  My career in Fashion was soaring…but the more-and-more frequent trips to China were frankly painful for my felines – they wouldn’t eat, they’d get depressed and lethargic…it was awful.

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The process of finding the RIGHT guardian(s) was arduous, felt nigh impossible, and is far too complicated to get into here… But let’s just say, Michelle was the light at the end of my tunnel!  

Khonsu and Kemisi have an indoor and outdoor enclosure that Michelle and her wonderful husband, Steve, put together.  We worked on the outside, which was emotional and fulfilling at the same time – it is a perfect space for them and, minus a few large Southern spiders, I LOVE hanging out in there! 😀

My little man would have been ten and a half – he passed in September last year.  Kemisi is also ten and a half, and I was overjoyed to see her – she looks as beautiful as ever.  The wonderful thing about the outdoor portion – at Avalo – is that there aren’t just snazzy little bugs flying about, or varying weather to sniff at… There are tons of cats running about!  While she is never particularly thrilled – Kemisi always was a bit territorial! – she loves to see who’s running by, and what antics are taking place in neighboring enclosures (with other Chausies and Jungle Cats), or with the outdoor “kids” as they fly by.  

I managed to hose down my iPhone while filling Kemisi’s fish pond (fear not, she never troubles the fish, but rather prefers to drink from a pond than a bowl! 😉 ) But in a way, having less connection and down time was a GREAT thing! I have always been a believer that time in Nature is one of the most rejuvenating things a person can do for him or herself – no devices, no social media…just good friends, quiet time, animals…and the natural world around us.  It isn’t only for us Empaths and energy people either – I sincerely believe ALL human beings need that “down time.”

I scheduled a bunch a posts prior to leaving…enough to carry me a day or two after I got back.  Technology allows us to stay on top of the more hectic Life of 2015, if absolutely necessary…but we can do that without taking away from our recharge time.

Owning and maintaining a farm is HARD work, but for Michelle, taking care of all those animals is her “peaceful time.”  Cats are sent to her because they have behavioral issues, injuries that others would euthanize over (I’m sorry, but the handful of three-legged cats around?  They are having a BALL – loving Life, enjoying their surroundings, and managing just as well as the others!!)  

She also has more hybrids, like my babies, some of whom are larger and unhandleable (There are Asian Leopard Cats, a Serval, a Caraval, Bengals, and other Chausies, as well as a feral cat or two.) But for her, it is a joy – to know she has touched the lives of those animals, and been a guardian to them for whatever time they have, is the biggest gift in the world.  

Avalo is a Sanctuary not only for the animals there…but for her…for me…for anyone blessed to spend time there.  

And blessed is exactly how I feel when I am there.  ❤