“If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. ” ~ Kristin Chenoweth
Here we are in the season of giving gifts of love to that special someone. How ‘bout we extend the idea of whom we consider special to any delightful person we want to say, “Hey, I love you.”
After years of making pretend that Valentine’s Day wasn’t happening, I realized this way of coping was actually taking more energy and created yet another experience of feeling different and left out. I shifted and chose to claim the day of hearts and chocolates and make it my own celebration. Dress it up to suit how I experience love – ANY kind of love.
I wasn’t in a romantic partnership for a number of years and was fortunate to have a dear friend with whom we started the tradition of sending each other Valentine’s Day cards. This offered me a different way to experience Valentine’s Day that felt connecting and sweet. This special exchange with my friend opened me up to possibilities. To the idea of considering what works for me around holidays – was I choosing how I wanted to celebrate, or was it being imposed on me? I began to check-in with what is meaningful to me around these celebrations and create my own rituals that add value to my experience and are a true expression of what matters to me.
Remember the tradition of giving all your classmates valentines? We could have quite a conversation about the pros and cons of that ‘homework assignment’, but for now, let’s focus on the sweetness of sharing our love notes. Being able to sprinkle love on all of our classmates, maybe mixed in with a little extra something for the schoolmate who stirred up dreams, hopes and curiosities.
Whether you get that valentine or not, this year, I encourage you to step into loving yourself even more than you ever have. Even if you have a romantic partner. The idea that ‘you have to love yourself before another can love you’, actually holds a lot of truth about being human!
What I do know is the more I loved myself and the more capable I was of trusting that someone could love me the better chance I had of choosing a partner who was truly worthy of my love.
Before figuring out this self-love stuff, my picker was way off.
Let’s choose to keep it simple. If you want to engage in Valentine’s Day this year stay focused on love – love for yourself, what that means to you. Notice where love shows up. The feeling may show up as appreciation, gratitude, warm feelings and big heart connections.
Love yourself. Love a friend. Love a stranger. Love your dog. Love your cat. Hand out any type of flower you love, gorgeous gooey chocolates and loving notes of appreciation. Give your pet a treat. Buy a loved one lunch. Find love in places you haven’t been looking. Consider who you love and why. Can you feel it?
Say, “Howdy, I love you,” to your best buddies. Send a card and a token of love.
Ready? Share the love!
With Love ~ Nomi
“There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.” Mary Lou Kownacki
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.” Christina Baldwin
We have arrived at that time of year when we get inundated with dieting ads and marketing emails that shout “now is the time to fix yourself”, claiming: “WE have the answer to getting your dream body!”.
What if instead, you listened to your inner voice? To your body’s own internal wise woman that guides and reminds you that your answers to care and truly love yourself and your body are right here, inside of you.
I’m inviting you to find her. Pick up a journal… and write, scribble, free-associate, draw…take the time to get quiet, write, and listen.
When you write in your journal, don’t worry about making sense. The pages of a journal provide a safe place for you to speak, to express, to dream, to conjure, to actualize. Writing your gorgeousness into words through this activity can take just a few moments in a day, drop-ins during your week, however often and for however long works for you.
Journal writing is therapeutic. It can clear and organize your jumbled thoughts, release feelings, or simply provide a space to have an inner dialogue. The pages of a journal are also a place to jot down your sleeping dreams, your life dreams, to plan, and to even make lists about what matters most to you. Not boring lists like ‘I need to do the laundry’, but lists about what more you want to invite into your life now and in the future. NOT resolutions! Rather, musings, intentions and desires, that don’t have a deadline attached to them.
I’ve started journals umpteen times. Each journal when started is chosen to take me through an important phase of my life. Questions are popping up quick and loud and I get that it is time to ponder in a journal. I’ve never been a daily journal user, rather they hang out waiting on a shelf for those moments when I need to close the door, get quiet and just write. I ponder in my journal in spurts and go back and forth between them, often picking up a journal I’ve had for years and adding questions about new stories. Sometimes I revisit the old stories and consider if they are complete – are they offering up new questions.
Some questions definitely beg an answer and even call to be revisited over the years. Other questions find answers in one page or even a sentence.
I know many who use their journals on a daily basis. It is part of a daily ritual or devotion for them. A way of capturing the choice bits of awareness that follows them from a dream into a state of waking. Or, the writing helps them ground and arrive to each new day. It is a beautiful and sacred ritual.
Have you considered a daily practice of writing? Has it always been something you have wanted to do for yourself?
You can start with a daily practice of writing whatever comes up – a download or picking up your journal with a specific question that you want to sort through. Maybe you feel a question brewing that wants to be asked but, it’s not quite clear. Write down the question, try not to judge, just write whatever comes next, then next, then next even if it doesn’t make sense to you.
The answer may not be clear even when you feel done. Just by starting your inner dialogue you have invited the conversation to continue past the point of putting down your pen. It has been awakened – the answer may arrive and coalesce in a form that doesn’t seem like it came directly from your original question, but it’s there and guides you. Maybe even inspires a clear choice leading you to a decision.
Journal your questions. Write every question you have, let go of needing answers right away. Accept that some questions are just for asking and others inspire further exploration. We can have an infinite number of questions but not need them all answered. Some are for now, others for us to revisit later. A journal provides a canvas of sorts where we can store these thoughts. A home for safe keeping. A place to honor our personal process.
The questions can return when we least expect them. Journaling helps us develop more mindfulness and an ability to better hear and recognize when the questions are asking to be honored.
If you find yourself wanting to write about what you want to focus on this year I suggest not holding them as resolutions or rules, things you get to beat yourself up with in December 2018 or throughout the year. Instead, let your inner Wise Woman speak, the one who cares for and nourishes you.
And, if writing from a stream of consciousness or jotting down your thoughts doesn’t quite work for you, here are some prompts or ideas to get you started. The prompts may even trigger your unique questions or stories to start writing in your journal.
What do you like about yourself?
What do you want to celebrate about you?
What brings you joy?
What do you need to know? Is there something that eludes you?
Is it time to ask bigger more evocative questions?
Ask your body to talk to you. What does it want or need? (more sleep, touch, movement, to feel joy???).
What allows your body to relax?
What do you like about your body?
What does your body allow you to experience?
Step inside your vortex of wisdom, soak it up, allow the answers that live inside of you to emerge and guide you on the pages of your journal!
“Documenting little details of your everyday life becomes a celebration of who you are.” Carolyn V Hamilton
“Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” ―
It’s a little practiced fact that true gift giving begins with honoring yourself. This is not something we usually spend much time considering in the rush of the season. In fact, where we are on the spectrum of self love and care often comes last right about now.
Yet, if we don’t pause and think about what is important to us, it can be harder to choose gifts for others.
Let’s take a moment to breathe and muse on this for a second (really, you CAN take a moment!). What does it mean when you give a gift to someone? Consider these questions: “If I want to give thoughtfully, then what are my deepest intentions for what I choose to give?” and “What do I want my friend to ultimately receive?”.
When I began thinking about gift giving this season, I found myself instead writing about the importance of giving to yourself. It all starts there.
One by one, each of us can make big changes in this world by first going inward. Taking care of your spirit, by divining what is important to you, and by doing what is needed to make that possible. The ripple effect of each of us taking care of our inner landscape is profound. It leads to finding your personal joy, growing your self-esteem and stepping into your self-worth.
Falling in love with ‘you’ will inspire big change all around you.
So, how does this show up in the real world? You know, the one whizzing by us right now.
I think of how much nicer I am to those I meet in my daily rounds of life when I take better care of myself. When I stop to listen to what I need. To what makes me happy. To what gets me excited. When I step into more courage and push a little bit each day through the stuff of life that feels hard, scary and confusing, I’m amazed by the shifts.
You don’t need to make big leaps. Change happens in the smallest and tiniest of increments. I have witnessed that in my own growth process and in my clients.
Sometimes it feels like I changed in a flash. But, when I stop and consider the umpteen steps I took to arrive at a big aha, to a place of much satisfaction, its quite magnificent to look back and celebrate the journey. The many choices required to arrive at this place.
And, there’s an art, a knack, even a process to this. What’s yours? For me, it takes tools. Through my journey, VoluptuArt became more than just objects and art, but that very tool I needed to reflect, to be present. The art becomes a talisman, a touchstone and offers the potential to make a difference in someone’s life, but always beginning with what it means to me – to you.
It begins with intention.
First, think about what the piece says or speaks to. Consider what it is encouraging you to find and see in yourself or hope for the person you want to gift it to. Think about what will these pieces evoke. What will they inspire? How will they bring more grounding to home, work, personal and creative spaces?
Imagine this…and, try it with me:
What are you saying by gifting a piece of art with an image of Frida Kahlo? What does Frida mean to you? I think of her courage, her brilliance, her creative spirit and her ability to rise up. I am moved when I see her face. I feel her depth and am reminded to feel my own depth of vision, possibility and purpose and most importantly to connect to my own sources of courage.
Consider what you want to wish for your friend when you give her a gift from VoluptuArt. What is your intention? What do you want to write in a card? I choose cards with the hope that our customers will feel drawn to take a moment to handwrite a wish for a dear one. And, many of our cards take care of the greeting, offering wishes of love, friendship, encouragement and inspiration. Just signing, “love….” can be perfect and enough.
Next, reflect on how gifts affect you. How do you feel when a friend offers you a gift that is thoughtful, supports who you are and makes you feel seen and known? Maybe it is a gift you would never think of giving to yourself, yet, would not hesitate to give to a loved one.
Why is that?
Pause and wonder for a moment: Is it hard to consider what you want? To give yourself pretty things? Pieces of art that decorate your space and define who you are?
Our offerings can inspire you to take care of yourself, your needs and your desires. Guiding you towards more self-exploration and embracing whatever is inside that wants to wake-up in you.
Be a gift to yourself – to the world.
“Dance to the music of your own life in love with your body. It is your teacher, healer, and challenge. It is your faithful companion for the length of your days. Love your body. Regardless. And so it is.” Patricia Lynn Reilly
These are loaded questions and we need to come together and bring them to the table, so, let’s start talking about them now.
Most women struggle with a distorted experience of their body. We need support to shift the way we see and experience ourselves. This is where body positive art comes in. It offers you mirrors of how your body looks, inviting you to become more familiar with your body. Slowly coming round to truly meeting yourself in the mirror. These images can inspire you to feel good in your own body, giving you permission to breathe, to let go, to accept and to be loved. To get beyond what your body looks like. To just be in your body.
When you look at this image of Maya, what comes up for you? Some images may embarrass you, even make you feel ashamed if you resonate with them. You might even turn away. Is it uncomfortable to look at Maya and her roundness, her nudity? Does nudity make you uncomfortable? When you see folds of voluptuous skin and fat do you feel judgment? Does using the word fat make you uncomfortable? Does it feel odd, even wrong? To me the word fat is very body positive, it’s just a neutral word. It just is. My body is fat.
Did you know you can use body image art to track how you are feeling in your body? What comes up for you when you look at the images? Your thoughts about your body? Body sensations? Consider how you can feel supported by these images. How they can help you realize that you are not alone with your challenging experience of your body.
We need to practice. Be consistent in making efforts towards healing the negative imagery we’ve been surrounded by for way too long and instead surround ourselves with new possibilities. Surrounding yourself with new, positive and loving imagery is a sacred and self-loving practice.
Here are some ways to begin to use body positive imagery & language:
Set up an altar to your body. A place in your home that offers imagery and fire (candles) to honor your goddess self, your body, your spirit. Offering you a place to visit daily to be reminded of what is possible, how loving your body is a reality that is available to you.
Surround yourself with goddess art. Goddesses are mirrors for shape and form. Bodies that look different than what is reflected in our culture. These goddesses look familiar to many of us. They offer truth and grounding in claiming our curves, our bumps, our strength.
Use words that remind you to breathe, to love yourself, to step into your bigness of spirit and body at whatever size it is. Words that offer support, guidance & wisdom.
Our artists who create body positive art want to inspire you to expand your vision of your beauty and your essence. These artists are courageous in expressing their joy, hopes and visions towards inhabiting the powerful and self-loving feminine. They are offering imagery that supports your journey of healing.
All of these ideas and offerings are in service of uplifting you. How you feel about you is going to change how you move through the world, through your life. Look for images that reflect back what you need, that help you. These images can shift how you feel. What you see. The body represented in the piece of art may not be yours, it can still inspire potential for what you can feel about your body.
Feel pride. Feel joy. Honor your body!
I invite you to share below in the comments whatever came up for you while reading this post. You are welcome to share with us what has helped you to create a more loving relationship with your body. These types of conversations need to happen in order for us all to heal and transform.
Note: This is a weight-neutral space. Please do not share or engage in any conversations about weight loss.
The “VoluptuBLOG Conversation” is beginning. A space for us to gather, for you to receive, for the witnessing and sharing to happen and to grow.
We are creating a whole new experience for you, our beloveds, at VoluptuArt. Our mission has always been that art is more than something we sell. The deepest intention and hope is that surrounding yourself with body positive and self-esteem art offers you opportunities for opening to new and positive experiences in how you see and experience yourself.
Our VoluptuBLOG is dedicated to the artists and values that are needed here and now, and to bringing together a community experience where we can share the wisdom of healing, body image and so much more with our members.