I discovered Gala Darling and her Radical Self Love project a few months ago. I’ve been hooked on her silly, joyful, fluffy but meaningful posts and pics ever since. Her message of gratitude, self-love and joy is so empowering and uplifting. We live in a culture that is chock full of self-loathing, greed, insatiability, body image distortion, competitive comparisons, celebrity obsession, self-denial and shame. It’s really sad and in some way, it’s addictive and contagious. Yuck.
We could perhaps attribute our neuroses to the media, our society, our parents, whatever, that doesn’t really matter. Blame is pointless. At the root of the problem is the material condition of human nature and our tendency to look for all love, fulfillment and happiness outside of ourselves. This just doesn’t work.
We search for affirmation and appreciation in temporary, fleeting things – in people or objects – we cling to this rather than turning our attention within to the beautiful Divine love – the perfect jiva – spirit soul that resides at the center of every living thing.
Yoga is a practice of turning within and reorienting your awareness to your True Self, the Sat Nam, the spirit soul, your perfect essence!
Along the way, in this path towards self-realization, one of the most important tools you have is gratitude. Giving thanks with sincerity and humility opens doors and opens hearts. If you want to learn how to love yourself, you have to be able to look around with open eyes and realize all the blessings that you have been given and then express your appreciation. There is love all around you and within you if you turn your attention to it.
I was trained by my mother from an early age at the dinner table to share something for which I was grateful. I still do this. Often Fiance Yogi and I will go for an evening stroll and I will ask him what he’s grateful for, what he’s looking forward to, and what is exciting him about life right now. I listen and then I share with him my answers to those questions too. It’s a really nice way for us to communicate our joys and passions with one another. It’s especially helpful to be asked these questions on days when you are feeling maybe a bit bummed out or apathetic because it nudges you to open up a bit, look deeper and remember how blessed you really are.
Along my path towards self-love and balance (so basically ever since I was a kid), I’ve engaged in many different techniques and practices. I make no qualms about it – I’m one big hot mess. I’ve seen way more therapists, healers, astrologers, psychics, doctors, energy-workers, psychiatrists, nutritionists and shamans than most 25 year-olds out there. Some of those people have been helpful, some harmful (uh, hello antidepressants! bad idea!) and some just didn’t get me. Oh well. What keeps coming back to me is that the work that needs to be done is my work. No one can instantly fix me or cure me. I need to take responsibility for my health, my healing and my happiness.
What helps me do that? Well, yoga obviously, but also meditation, visualizations, relaxation techniques, essential oils, a healthy diet, hot baths, massages, adventures, chanting, raw chocolate, journaling, smoothies, snuggling, pranayama, long walks, saunas, tea, deep breaths, swimming in the ocean, Reiki, prayer, good communication and cooking creatively among other things.
One tool that I’ve recently started using with regularity is EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique. I used this with one of my therapists a few years ago but I never really learned how to do it by myself. But, inspired by the fantastic Gala Darling and her own personal stories of healing with EFT, I decided to give it a go and it is awesome!
EFT is very simple. Basically, you think about something that you want to release and you express it terms like “Even though I have this habit/feeling of….I deeply love and accept myself”. Meanwhile as you are repeating this phrase (out loud is best, but you can say it internally too) you tap your fingertips with a firm but light touch through a sequence of energy points on your body.
These points relate to specific acupoints and energetic meridians just like those used in acupuncture or jin shin acupressure. As you tap, you stay focused with your intention and your affirmation and you just breathe! You can do the series multiple times or just once through. I’ve been doing it once through 2 or 3 times a day for different things. It’s a nice way to just re-set yourself and relax the holding on negative thought patterns and behaviors.
For more information on how to do EFT and what it really is ….
Please CLICK HERE
I started a few weeks ago by tapping about my nail-biting habit. I’ve been a nail-biter since before I can remember and this bad habit has caused me a lot of sadness and shame. Occasionally I’ve been able to stop biting for short periods of time but I always come back to it. Nothing has helped, not even that nasty-tasting stuff that some people use. But, I did a few rounds of EFT on this habit and I haven’t felt the urge to bite my nails in over 2 weeks. Whoohoo! In fact, my nails are getting so long that I need to go get another manicure to keep them in good shape before the “official” wedding manicure. Oh goody!
I’ve also been tapping daily about my weight/body image/disordered eating stuff. I use all those terms because there’s no simple way to diagnose my “issues”. As much I would love to share this lovely image with you that I’m perfectly healthy and balanced and never-ever care about my weight, that’s just not true. Although I am naturally at a healthy weight and I eat a clean vegetarian diet, I still struggle with feeling inadequate, ugly, fat, ruined, all that lame self-worth stuff. I just realized the other day that I’ve been struggling with either anorexia, bulimia, binging, overeating, undereating, over-exercising, disordered eating, self-hating and all that stuff for 13 years. Wow.
When I realized that for half my life my body has been my worst enemy it made me literally say out loud “Whoa! I do n0t want the rest of my life to be engulfed by all that!”
I’ve obviously known for year that I don’t like this sh-t, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent so much time/money working with different healers and therapists, but I feel like I’ve come to a turning point with all this. Perhaps until now I wasn’t truly deeply ready to let it go. Letting go really is a choice. Perhaps, like so many people with an illness or victim mentality, I felt too identified with my disorder to let it go, out of fear that without it, I wouldn’t really know who to be.
Now I feel this deep urgency that healing needs to happen. In fact, just that is making space for it to happen. There’s no more time to waste hating myself, or obsessing over what I’m going to eat on vacation 3 months from now (I seriously do that even though I know it’s pointless!). FY has reminded me many times that I don’t want to be carrying this negativity in my body if I want to have a healthy and happy baby one day (which I very much do want!). And it’s so true, especially if I have a daughter – I do not want my unresolved body issues to be passed down to her! I do not want another 13 years to pass with me constantly nagging myself about not being thin enough. It’s exhausting!
Preparing for this wedding has forced me to really look at myself, my fears and my desires closely. I know that I want to approach my fiance on our wedding day as my very best self. As my most loving, open-hearted, compassionate, beautiful, strong, empowered and graceful self. I want to enter into our union as clear-headed, conscientious and joyful as I can be. I don’t want to be carrying around all my old sh-t as I embark on this fabulous new adventure!
So, not only have I been very busy planning all the minute details of pulling off a whole weekend of events, I’ve also been very focused on taking the absolute best care of me – taking care of my body but also taking care of my mind and my heart.
I’m not claiming that the EFT magically healed my eating disorder overnight. I think that something as viciously and deeply imbedded into my psyche is going to take time to lift and release. But, I do feel some profound shifting occurring. I feel more openly accepting of myself. I even occasionally catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and can say with all sincerity, “You are actually really quite beautiful.”
All the stress and anxiety that was riddling me these past few months about the wedding, our big move, buying a new house, getting new teaching positions etc., seemed to have just melted away in the high desert sun of California.
All I can say about this is – I AM SO GRATEFUL TO FEEL SO FREE!
I am so blessed.
In 3 weeks I get to marry my bestest friend in the world and that is super awesome.
Moral of the story – give thanks, love yourself and try EFT!
Thank you for reading.