The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi


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Self Love Celebration Month – Days 2/1 – 2/6

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I apologize for jumping ship on my Think Kit posts,  I get really ambitious and think that I have time to do all of this fun stuff and then reality sets in and I realize that I don’t have enough time to accomplish all that I want.  I thought the Think Kit post prompts were brilliant and quite helpful though so I have saved them all and will be using them to write throughout the year (hopefully just the next few months).

February has been coined Self Love Celebration Month by the amazing and wonderful author of Madly in Love With Me, Christine Arylo.  On February 13th, women (Love Ambassadors) around the country will be hosting Self Love parties and a special (free!) Self Love Concert will be hosted in California and accessible via the internet for us all to enjoy.  I really wanted to host my own self love party here in Indianapolis but realized that I don’t have enough resources (time and energy) to do so this year and it would just once again overextend me which is not a loving thing to do to oneself.  So… I decided to celebrate in my own way by posting a post a day on my Facebook page on the topic of Self Love.   I will post my Facebook posts here for you all to enjoy since my Facebook page is private.

Self Love Celebration, Day 1:

As I feel more safe and secure within myself,
my relationships become more safe and secure.
As I trust myself and the choices I make,
my connections become more trustworthy.
The more faithful I am to myself,
the more my world reflects that fidelity.
As I honour myself,
my interactions in the world become honourable.
And I realise that the Universe is an honourable place,
Of which I belong.

~ Sidonie Bouchet © October 25, 2011

www.soletosoulsex.com

Self Love Celebration, Day 2:

“The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself.What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Self Love Celebration, Day 3:

Affirmation:

I Love me as I am.

I Love the dark side of me.

I Love the unlovable parts of me.

via one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Love.   You can read the entire post from that day, Loving Yourself When You Don’t Want To.  Great tips and reminders there that in our moments of our darkness or perceived failures is when we need to love ourselves the most, not just the parts where loving ourselves comes easy.

Self Love Celebration, Day 4:

Christine Arylo, author of Madly in Love with Me has a free self love kit. Visit the link  and you can download yours! I don’t care what gender, sexuality, age, religion, or political orientation you are we all deserve and need to love ourselves. You are the only one who lives in your head and heart!

One especially difficult day I did a google search on how to build self esteem and discovered Christine’s amazing free guide on self love. Her self love kit is what started this journey for me last year and it was the perfect little seed to start growing my self love tree.  Download your, Free Self Love Kit and get started! 

Self Love Celebration, Day 5:

Today, I’m excited to tell you about the free Self Love Concert taking place on 2/13/13 that you can tune into via the web. Throw a party and invite your loved ones or celebrate with a party for one. The concert will address the topics of taking good care of yourself, stopping the negative self talk and comparison, loving your body like a temple, and how to attract in loving relationships. Imagine if we taught the young generations this principles as children, don’t you think we’d have a profoundly different world?

Register for the Free Self Love Concert!  2/13/13

Self Love Celebration, Day 6:

Be your ideal best friend or partner to yourself. Having a rotten day and everywhere you turn there’s nothing but criticism? Feeling alone because there’s no one to turn to? Be there for you. If you’re upset, listen to yourself. Be patient and allow yourself to express the emotion that you feel and provide encouragement and support to yourself as you would to the people you love the most. Don’t berate yourself for being upset or tell yourself it’s unwarranted and uncalled for. You wouldn’t want your loved one to treat you that way would you? No, you would want a kind compassionate ear to listen, encouraging words of support and guidance, the knowledge that you were in the company of someone who gave you unconditional love and support in your failures and triumphs, and for your feelings and thoughts to be acknowledged and seen as valid and worthy of being heard. Love yourself enough to be that person to yourself and show yourself you are worth your time.

I hope that you have found these tips to be helpful.  Love to all. 🙂

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Think Kit Day 4: My Wisest Decision of 2012

“I found that every single successful person I’ve ever spoken to had a turning point and the turning point was where they made a clear, specific, unequivocal decision that they were not going to live like this anymore. Some people make that decision at 15 and some people make it at 50 and most never make it at all.”

 

– Brian Tracy, (via @thedailylove)

 

By far the wisest decision I made this year was to quit smoking.   I wrote about quitting in my post, “How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey”. Quitting cigarettes was more than just a step to become a healthier person, quitting was the first step in building my self esteem and learning to respect and love myself.   In quitting, I chose for me.  I made myself more important than a habit and proved to myself that I have the willpower, strength, courage, and tenacity to overcome difficult obstacles. I learned that I can be there for myself and support  myself and I don’t need a toxic substance to be my comforting friend.  I can be that comforting friend for myself.  Quitting started a domino effect of developing healthier lifestyle habits and was the catalyst I needed to stop self sabotage and jump on the boat of self love.  I quit in April and I’m proud to say that seven months later I haven’t had a single puff.

 


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Book Review: Amazing Adventures of a Nobody

Photo of Book Cover

amazing adventures of a nobody: a life-changing journey across America relying on the kindness of strangers

by leon logothetis

I discovered that this book existed a month or two ago when I read about it on the author’s twitter profile.  I immediately had to request it from the library and began to read the book in all of my free moments.  My review is going to be a bit of talking about the story and my personal experience in reading the book.  First, I had a few commonalities with the author and I discovered this in the introduction.  We both spent days in childhood on Greek islands (not the same one), we both work (past tense for him, worked)  in our family business, and have both been on personal journeys to find more fulfillment in life and a sense of purpose.  (His a literal journey, mine an internal journey.) These commonalities made me instantly feel a kinship with the author and made the story hit closer to home.   I commend Leon for having the courage to make this journey.

The title is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll expand.  This book is a series of tales and adventures that take us through Leon’s journey from New York City to the Los Angeles sign equipped with nothing but a five dollar a day allowance.  He didn’t have a cellphone, a car, or a credit card.  The journey forced him to connect with people and rely on the kindness and generosity of “strangers.”  This is a book about human connection and how the journey to find oneself  really and ultimately ends in the discovery that who we are is intrinsically connected to everyone else.   This book brings to light some issues that I think are very prominent in American society and tells them in a very organic and unintentional way which is the beauty of this book.  There wasn’t a political agenda or personal agenda to seek out certain people.  He was at the mercy of whoever came his way for help and for conversation.

One of my favorite passages that sets an example of the fast paced disconnection of our society happened in a conversation Logo had with Gene Adams, “And all along the way, we have connected less and less; talked less and less. Now, we don’t talk at all. We don’t see the point. Now, the journeys are just about speed – getting someplace as fast as possible.  Efficiency is the enemy of connection.”  Gene was referring to the evolution of transportation and travel.  In days past, people conversed during travel and they had more time to get to know one another. The majority of people I know nowadays are grateful when they sit next to someone on the bus or plane and their fellow passenger doesn’t talk to him. This conversation was a refreshing reminder that things have not always been this way.

The book is filled with tales of adventures and colorful characters. I’m not going to tell you about those because I want you to read for yourself but there are some very interesting encounters.  There are also plenty of highlights of acts of kindness and complete strangers placing their trust and at times homes in the hands of Leon.  He is helped by all ages and races.  He is helped by humanity as a whole, not fragmented into racial or socioeconomic sectors.  In our society I think things like race and socioeconomic class are major factors into dividing us as a people.  There are perceptions that those who have more are more worthy or better than those who have less.  I loved how his journey helped show a story of a humanity that highlighted the similarities instead of the differences.  I’ve included some of my favorite passages and excerpts from the book to give you an idea of what the story is about in a nutshell.

p. 132  “Finding human connection in small ways is the only way to solve the bigger problems.  I used to feel each man was an island. How wrong I was. We are not.  In fact we are tethered to each oher with invisible bonds that no man or circumstance can break.  Our ability to function successfully in the world depends on our ability to connect with each other.  We are one.”

p. 230 “There was nothing I could not do, nothing we could not do if we learned to trust each other, nothing we could not change if we learned to ask each other for the strength we did not have alone, nothing that we need fear if we have each other.”

It gets better..

p. 231 “We’ve defined greatness as wealth, fame, power, influence.  But true greatness is simply goodness. There is nothing more powerful, nothing more truly great, than helping a human being in a time of need.  In our small acts we become great to one another. Each of us has the intrinsic potential to be immense.

Those excerpts are just a few gems from this book.  There’s a fantastic paragraph at the end of the book that I so desperately want to share with you but I think it best if you all just pick it up and read it for yourselves.   I laughed and I cried and was ever so grateful that Leon made this journey and wrote this book and that it enabled me to vicariously experience the journey.  After reading the book I was reminded that it’s not the literal destination or the road that’s traveled but the steps along the way that are what shape the journey.  I highly encourage you to read this book and if you do I’d love for you to post your thoughts and experiences in doing so in a comment below.

Enjoy!  Let us walk the path that makes us happy where we’re guided by inspiration and see what wonders we may see and the people we may meet along the way.  We must also remember that there are many definitions of ambition as well and that being kind and good is a worthwhile ambition.


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POETRY/PROSE : The Meaning of Life

What life means to me.  Enjoy.

Life is about learning
learning to live versus living to die
finding what makes you happy
following your heart
and developing your talents
and always, always taking a stand for what you believe in
even if everyones opposed
because if you dont
who will you be when your alone in the dark?

– Written by Me, 2007.


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Happiness lies beyond the illusions

Photo Credit – FlickrCC – baejaar

The author Billy Mills wrote about the eight lies of Iktumi in his book, Wokini.  Iktumi, in the Lakota tradition is figure who is a liar or trickster.  The eight lies of Iktumi  prevent happiness and can even ruin a person’s life.  I’m sure we’ve all fallen victim to these invitations to self-deception.  We cannot change the past, but we can change how we look at the present.

1. If only I were rich, then I would be happy.

2. If only I were famous, then I would be happy.

3. If only I could find the right person to marry, then I would be happy.

4. If only I had more friends, then I would be happy.

5. If only I were more attractive, then I would be happy.

6. If only I weren’t physically handicapped in any way, then I would be happy.

7. If only someone close to me hadn’t died, then I could be happy.

8. If only the world were a better place, then I would be happy.

Photo Credit: FlickrCC – donireewalker

How could you change your thoughts so that you are not falling victim to the illusion? It’s very easy to find things to be angry and frustrated about.   There are days when I feel like I hear and see 2% positive and inspiring conversation, and 98% complaining and negative conversation.  One look at your social media stream and it’s probably full of complaining and snarky comments.  It’s no wonder with this type of attitude prevalent in our society that we also have the largest rate of anti-depressant use in the world and that the majority of the people I know use alcohol or other stimulants to “have a good time”.  Our society is focused on the shallow and material, and largely condemns that which has substance.  (We are a capitalistic, so this is not a shocker.)  I personally have lived many, many dark years where I went day to day angry, resentful, depressed, and in a lot of emotional pain because I believed in the illusions that were being sold to me by everyone around me.  I thought that happiness was a place I’d arrive to one day when I’d healed from the scars of my life, found someone to share it with, and/or had reached a point where I didn’t have to be so budget conscious that I stressed over every dollar spent.  I finally hit a point where I was just plain tired of it all and realized that happiness is a choice.  We can choose to be stressed out over the events of our lives or the lack that we see, or we can choose to be happy about all of the wonderful positive things that we have.  It can be a very hard battle and it requires a daily commitment and there are days when you’ll fail, but you have to get back up and keep trying. I’m not saying that you stop trying and cast all ambition aside, but instead to not let whatever it is you desire be the only path to happiness.


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WISDOM: Doses of Inspiration

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.“- 

I subscribe to several sites that send daily (or weekly) inspiration emails that give me strength, hope, and guidance as I travel down my life path.  These emails generally focus on building confidence, keeping motivation going, and encourage  self love.  Receiving these emails in my inbox has been a great comfort to me and has provided me with a daily dose of inspiration and wisdom that provide me positive food for thought and encouragement to keep in the forefront of my mind as I go through my day.  Many days I feel as if the emails have been written just for me as they address topics that I’ve been struggling with, maybe you’ll feel the same way too.

I hope you enjoy them, subscribe, and I hope they help you as much as they have me.

DailyOM – You can subscribe to a daily general inspiration and a specialized inspiration for each horoscope.  These emails address subjects pertaining to the body, mind, and spirit.  This website also offers online courses on a pay what you can scale, which is marvelous for those on a budget and for those who are feeling generous.

The Daily Love – If you follow me on Twitter you know I retweet The Daily Love tweets all the time.  This email is a “daily multivitamin for the soul” and focuses on achieving your goals, relationships, and being your authentic self.

Tiny Buddha –  This is really a weekly dose of wisdom, but there’s so many great articles included that I keep it in my inbox and read them throughout the week.  Tiny Buddha offers “simple wisdom for complex lives”, and has the added bonus of giving you a free e-book on 92 life lessons when you sign up.

Wishing you all the strength, hope, and inspiration to dream and to achieve your dreams.


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LIFE: Love thyself

I have wanted to write about being yourself and the importance of doing so, but the words just wouldn’t come out.  Then I realized that I had already written about this topic in November of 2009, not that it is not important enough to repeat again, but not now.  If you would like to read that post and more on this topic go to Fly Your Own Course: Having the courage to be yourself.

While my thoughts were musing and circling around about being myself I realized that there is one important element that it would be near impossible to truly be yourself without.  That’s loving yourself.  I’m not talking about arrogance or being cocky or even egotistical.  Think more along the lines of believing in yourself, having self-confidence, and enjoying your own company.  Often we look outside of ourselves for things that we should be looking inside of ourselves for.  We tend to be mirrors for each other reflecting to one another what we project or projecting our own problems onto other people.  Therefore we seek out people, or people come our way to teach us more about who we are and how we are behaving.    Instead of looking for someone else to complete us we need to focus on completing ourselves.   Life really isn’t a fairy tale where Prince Charming will come and rescue us and sweep us out of indentured servitude or awaken us from a deep slumber.  We must do these things for ourselves and be our own best partner.

Give yourself the unconditional and perfect love you seek.  If you can’t accept yourself with all your past mistakes, perceived flaws and imperfections then you’re probably going to look for someone else to validate you.  Recently life has brought a few situations my way to help me heal some of my past scars even though at the time it felt as they were being ripped open and I was being torn to shreds.  Out of necessity I try to look on the bright side of life because I’d be endlessly depressed and quite fatalistic if I didn’t.

“I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” -Antonio Gramsci

I started looking into the situations that I was encountering with people and seeing how my behavior contributed to the end result and what I needed to learn from the experience.  I try to live authentically and be the genuine me, but I realized that without loving and accepting yourself as you are there isn’t any room for the self to explore, try new things, learn, succeed or fail.   I had forgotten to love and nurture myself and was resenting the people that I was giving my time to because they weren’t doing anything to help me nourish and replenish myself.   I was mad at them because I felt like I was the only one doing all the effort and they were getting my time and energy in return.   While this may seem completely obvious, I assure you that even though it seems like common sense I don’t believe it’s that common anymore.

Lesson 1 – You must take care of yourself and give your body, mind, and soul the nourishment and sustenance that it needs to thrive or at minimum survive.

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”
~ Barbara DeAngelis

So, loves, let us all remember to be our own best lovers and remind each other of the beauty that lies within each other and within ourselves.