Beauty Basics

Hey there lovely,

Would you agree with me that we are, indeed – ALL IN THIS TOGETHER?!

THIS, being life; THIS, being a journey of faith and a walking out of LOVE – a love for others as well as a nurturing love for our little old selves.

Male and female – we are creatures of habit – and some habits keep us safe and protected while others are for strength and conditioning.

My virtual hug for you today is wrapped up in a short little video I made for a health forum called, Body by Design. I am so blessed to be a part of a community that is dedicated to promoting health and encouraging the practice of maintaining it – not just physically – but also emotionally, spiritually, and relationally.

Here is my piece on creating daily habits that support a healthy mindset – xoxoxo

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When it’s OK to be a relentless butthole

I dream about the day when it doesn’t take an alarming diagnosis for us to stop, look around, and assess the quality of our life.

We are just fine with shutting people out of our life, until tragedy strikes and we have no one to walk alongside us.

We are just fine eating poorly, until we are officially charged diabetic, then we begin taking seriously what we put in our bodies and start taking better care of ourselves.

We are just fine with our mediocre life and our mediocre relationships, until we are diagnosed with Cancer, then all of a sudden we have a great desire to live the life we truly want to live, and only do it alongside a few *quality* friends.

Everything is OK until we get that official report telling us it’s not OK and it’s time to do something about it.

Truth is, everything was not OK, we just got comfortable with not Ok, and not OK eventually turned into good enough.

One compromise after another and we are deep in a life that we never *really* wanted. One cigarette after another, and now we are chain smokers. Never thought about that in high school, did we. When we started smoking, it was just Ok.

Year after year of OK leads us down the path we never *really* wanted to travel on.

Cancer grows like that, you know.

One cancerous cell, overpowering and attaching itself onto other cells – growing larger and spreading out with each union – until one day you go to the doctor to investigate a small lump. He reveals a large tumor hidden beneath the surface.

Conflict in relationships is similar.

One small disagreement between a friend or family member, left unattended, layers itself on top of one offense after another; growing the conflict larger and spreading it wider through gossip and passive aggressive behaviors. Until one day your friendship breaks apart and dies.

What if we saw conflict – however small or ridiculous – as cancer? What if we saw the potential of life or death in the way that we dealt with it?

Cancer, left unattended, kills. Conflict in relationships, left unattended, kills.

What if we chose to fight for unity just as passionately as we fight for life after a cancer diagnosis?

Here’s something you may not understand about fighting cancer: while the medicine, radiation, chemotherapy and surgery are the weapons that remove the cancerous cells, your responsibility is to focus on using the weapons that are necessary for infusing LIFE: creating a culture of PEACE, maintaining an attitude of JOY and strengthening yourself in the FAITH.

This is the real war on cancer. Doctors battle against DEATH (cancer). We fight for LIFE (hope).

All sides must work together, it’s a team effort; a united front.

I came to understand this while fighting alongside my daughter. We were a holistic family, we owned a wellness clinic. At first, we began fighting against the medical system, questioning everything and doubting their dangerous treatment.

When we finally recognized their heart was FOR life, we began to trust. Trust brought us peace and enabled us to walk hand in hand with their methods. Unity. Same mission, different assignments.

You see, there was a conflict going on in my daughter’s body. Some cells were fighting FOR life and there were cells fighting FOR disease. It wasn’t until all parties came into alignment to fight FOR life that we began seeing great progress and eventually won the war on cancer in her body.

If we would see conflict as just as dangerous, just as life-threatening, in relationships, we would begin working harder, fighting more fiercely and giving all we have, to maintain UNITY.

Instead, we see conflict as two faces. One is you and the other is me. This is where we get tripped up. The enemy loves to put a face to our pain; we just have to agree with him and then point our finger at them. Truth is – conflict is just feelings and emotions that rub against each other wrong. It’s how we handle these feelings and emotions, how we respond to them that determines if a relationship will survive and thrive or lie down and die.

Who, after being diagnosed with cancer, says, “Oh well, guess I’ll just sit here and wait for something to change.”

Absolutely not. We look for a cure, we search for treatment, and we change our behaviors and adjust our lifestyle – all in hopes of staying alive.

A friend and fellow cancer survivor calls himself “a relentless butthole”. He will pursue life, pursue friendships and relentlessly express his love and concern for you, whether you like it or not. I get that. Who doesn’t want friends like that?!

Because that’s what survivors do: we fight to stay alive.  So many people have learned how to fight hard *for* life. That’s why I believe we are able to fight FOR unity. But first we must become united in cause, committing to the cause – it has to be of value to us, the relationship has to be of value to us.

The greatest way to communicate someone’s value in your life is to commit to fighting FOR the relationship.

What about you – are you in conflict, and are you fighting FOR what you value or are you laying down and waiting for something to change on its own?

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Jog the single track

You know what really gives a bully power over you…the feeling of entrapment.

You are cornered in the school playground, trapped at the dead-end of an alley, forced to live in the same home or your path continually intersects with someone and cannot be avoided. When you feel you are between a rock and hard place, this is what enables bullying behavior to prevail. Entrapment.

I’ve been there many times. I would quickly assume the victim position to receive the taunting, not believing there was a way out, just looking to hurry up, get it over with, and walk away with minimal discomfort. I learned to stand up for myself and began pushing back – and the funniest thing happened, my bully retreated.

Turns out, most people who bully you don’t know what to do when someone stands up to them, because so few are willing to.

Shortly after, an even greater oppressor came onto the scene, looking to push me around: my ownfeelings and emotions – I began kicking my own ass.

There within the confines of my own mind, I allowed painful memories, negative thoughts, and low self-esteem to have their way within me. I had unknowingly given them full permission to make a home in my head, dance on my heart and come and go as they please – in and out of my mouth at any given time. My body had become a chamber, a holding cell that enabled the hurt within my feelings and emotions to bully me into submitting to their demands.

As hopelessness increased, the chemistry within my body shifted and changed, causing any solutions for clarity and rescue to decrease. This slowing down began to narrow my thinking, leading me to a place of limited possibilities and little opportunity.

As the victim of my own self-inflicted wounds, I had once again “assumed the position”. But this time the bully was me.

And just as the way out is to either face it and fight, or look for a way out, we must learn to take a stance of defense in the war on our minds.

This is when it’s time to go for a jog. Jogging our memory reminds us of who we really are. This is not a run, where we focus on the physical movement and direct our thoughts to the just keep moving forward mantra. Jogging is a form of running, but at a slow, leisurely place. Jogging also means to rouse to alertness; to remember; to activate.

I took a jog the other day, not one inspired by a drive for fitness, but as a way to release stress and gain clarity. I filled my ears with songs declaring truth and power; I filled my heart with gratitude and thankfulness; and I filled my body with fresh air that stimulated my thinking.

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No one is magically exempt from conflict, but I’ve learned that how we deal with it and how we respond to it, are what determines its positive or negative effect over us. Going for a jog, or jogging our memory, rattles around the things that are stuck, bringing to the surface the cream of the crop – the best of the best; the truth of who I am, whose I am and who God is, in my life.

I believe the jogging trail we must first start on is the single track. The trail with room for only one set of footprints; no lover to hold hands with, no friend to chat with, no one else to follow and no one to lead; just you and your Creator. No looking to the left, to the right, looking within or looking down. Where your gaze is on the path and your focus is on Him.

The single track is wide open with freedom; no filters, just straight from the source. On the single track with God nothing else has room to stand – fear, doubt, worry – none of these will prevail.

  • A quick jog reminds us of His love for us and His power within us.
  • A quick jog reconnects our hearts to His, re-aligns our trust to Him, and renews a right mind.
  • A quick jog rustles up the truth, dislodges fear and shakes it off of us.
  • A quick jog induces the remembering, the recollecting and the re-aligning that needs to take place in order for us to stand victorious.
  • A quick jog sweats out the toxins within our feelings and emotions, taking captive what is restricting our joy and keeping our peace from residing.
  • A quick jog is a power walk, not because you are walking swiftly and forcefully, but because you are moving the physical as a declaration of faith in the spiritual: the infusing of His power into your mind and the restoring of your spirit to its rightful posture of truth.

What needs a quick jog today for you? Where can you shake up what is possibly taking your thoughts captive? Who do you go to in your first defense against conflict and stress?

You are more than a conqueror. Believe this. Tie up your laces, go for a quick jog and remember who you are.

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When it’s time to put a cape on it

Remember Aron Ralston, the guy who went hiking alone and got stuck between some boulders, pinning him into a hidden rock crevice? What an amazing story. The dude went through such physical and emotional trauma. He even spent some time grieving his situation with a tearful goodbye video to his mom!

But then, something wild overcame him, something instinctual – his will to survive kicked into high gear and he mustered the courage to whittle away at his arm with a pocketknife until he freed himself and was eventually rescued.

Wow!

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, right? He straight picked up his mat, sans forearm, and walked.

Makes me think about all the times I’ve been sitting in something, maybe some sort of emotionally painful situation, and its like I’m waiting for my “mat” to turn into a magic carpet and begin moving itself – leading me up and out of this suffering. Whether it be a physical or relational healing or anything I find my mind continuing to agonize over, I begin feeling paralyzed in it.

But the truth is, I am able to move.

It may take unpacking a few heavy loads of obligation, perhaps releasing some baggage of shame or possibly letting go of something I’m clutching onto that is preventing me from movement – but I must not stop laboring – my will must survive in order to move my weak heart towards the healing she so desperately hopes to grow into.

This is what fighting for life looks like.

You know what happens when you don’t fight? You don’t move. Stagnant living; the place where unhealed, and infected wounds fester. Growth happens here too, but in the wrong direction.

While being treated for Leukemia, my daughters fight was to remain healthy and hopeful while the chemo was doing its job.  My responsibility, fighting alongside her, was to create a culture of health and an environment of hope so she didn’t have to work as hard.

Her will was to survive; my will was to help her fight for survival, which meant setting the atmosphere, controlling the climate, feeding her nutritious foods and establishing myself as a protective guardian over her mind, body and spirit.

This is what fighting for another persons life looks like.

We cannot move their mat for them, but we can fight alongside them. We can help clear any fog of confusion they are sitting in, move away any debris standing in their way, or simply just sit and listen – feeding them with truth, encouragement and help promote an environment of hope around them.

Many of us will never have to fight like Aron Ralston did that day in the canyon, but at some point, we will all be faced with a fight – for hope over hopelessness; for unity over division; for love over animosity; for survival over destruction.

But first, we must be willing to fight.

I used to have a bully continually come up on me in the playground. I would see her coming and quickly assume the position: scurry to the ground and lie on my back with my feet up in the air. If I was into jujitsu this totally would have made sense, but the truth is, it was a paralyzed stance of surrender from a weak-willed victim.

Thank God I’m not that same girl anymore. I’ve learned how to defend myself. I’ve also learned the value of defending others. I’ve practiced fighting FOR life, fighting FOR unity and how to guard and defend my treasures, such as family, friendship, hope and faith.

Being paralyzed on your back is not your destiny. It may be your current situation, but it does not mean you are meant to stay there.

Ephesians 6 are my power verses. They remind me of Wonder Woman and the battles that are unseen, but extremely dangerous. They also remind me that I have all that I need to fight them. They help me to believe in the power within me, channeling my inner Diana, Princess to the Amazons, to defend my identity, protect the gifts I have been given and to guard the truth that has set me free.

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That chapter in Ephesians is yours, too. What picture does it paint for you – what woman appears in your head while reading about the armor? Maybe its SheRa, or Catwoman or even Lara Croft?

Believe in this girl. You are able to do great things. You are able to fight against anything that threatens to crush your spirit, steal your joy or destroy your relationships.

Because the only difference between being able and being capable, is putting a “cape” on it.

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