4 Enlightening Questions to Ask Yourself RIGHT

These enlightening questions are designed to help you do some serious soul-searching in the name of purpose and fulfillment. When I say ‘enlighten’, I mean to bring light to. I mean to put your mental spotlight on the real issues and roadblocks of your life and in your behavior, so you can figure out how to make real change occur. I mean enlighten, as in to illuminate your potential and identify ways to access a more powerful you.

Do I deserve what I want and dream of?

Not in terms of skills or knowledge, those can be acquired. We’re talking about in terms of worthiness. If you can’t simply answer the question above, rephrase it by asking “am I afraid I’m not worthy of the things I want?”. The answer is that yes, you are worthy, but you might bestanding in your own way by believing you’re not. If you believe yourself unworthy of your own greatness, what would it take for you to become the version of you that does deserve it?

When and Why *EXACTLY* did I make the decision I’m not good enough?

It’s easiest to answer this question by going back through your own past, and identifying the exact moment you made the decision “I’m not good enough”. We get all of our beliefs from our experiences. Somewhere in your past is a moment (that will probably be an experience of pain or embarrassment) in which you made the decision “I’m not good enough”. Analyzing that moment will help you see what justification or reason you came up with as to why you’re not good enough.

And if you can see the lineage of your belief “I’m not good enough” through your past, try it with other areas you feel limited like career, relationships, etc. Follow it back to the first moment you can remember in which you made a belief-creating decision because of an experience.

What are the fears that are holding me back?

Being trapped in the cage of fear is the most uncomfortable, unproductive place we can be. So break free! Identify the worst case scenario and the best case scenario, and really look at whether you might still be better off even if the worst case scenario was the result of your making changes. This is often the case with taking risks , because the worst case scenario still gets us out of our current rut. It still leads us forward, and at least allows us to break free of the paralyzing cycle of ‘what if?’

What would my Highest Self do right now?

Describe exactly what she says, does, believes, and feels like. Identify how she would make other people feel. What would she try to accomplish? What’s the difference she would make in the world? How would you feel if you chose to act as her right now?
Answering these will help you create a lifestyle that fosters your highest potential from the moment you wake up to the moment you doze off to sleep again.

If you found these questions and tips helpful,
check out our article on the
8 Toxic Thoughts you Deserve to Let Go Of.

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7 Empowering Thoughts to Tell Yourself Next Time You’re Stressed

It’s only Tuesday, and you’re likely still drudging through the priorities and responsibilities Monday had to bring. But when it comes to to-do list, nothing is less empowering than getting down on yourself. Acting with fear, trepidation, and worry wastes valuable time not just in the workplace, but in your personal life. In fact, worry might be our biggest waste of time not only because it takes up space where we might be dreaming up solutions, it zaps our energy. So instead of filling your mind with diminishing messages of fear and doubt, replace those negative thoughts with more positive and constructive ones that will fuel on the path to success:

EMPOWER Yourself Through Stress:

“I trust myself to find the solution“

You don’t have the solution right now, or at least you don’t have it in your hands, which is why you’re stressing. The truth is, you don’t have to have all the answers, you just have to be willing to go out and look for them. Trust yourself to find the solution, fix the problem, figure it all out as you go along, rather than putting the stress on your shoulders to be superwoman.

“Asking for help does not diminish my worth”

Why are we so afraid to ask for help? And that is coming from a woman so stubborn once during chemo that she actually sat in the hallway alone because she was too afraid and embarrassed to tell her family she needed help getting to her bedroom without getting dizzy and falling. Asking for help does not make us weak or needy; it makes us good collaborators. You can learn from others only when you open yourself to them. Don’t see asking for help as a cry for help. See it as an opportunity to learn from someone else while ensuring the quality of what you offer is up to par.

“Every obstacle has an expiration date”

Realize that this stress and this problem won’t last forever. Time will pass, you will move on. It might be awful to deal with right now, but this too shall pass.

“I am stronger than my fear“

You have two choices in every single moment of your life: to act from fear and limit yourself, or act from love and possibility and get on with it. Miracles will truly occur when you choose possibility and love over fear. Fear keeps you in a cage, love and possibility will open you up to opportunities and creative solutions. You can still have fear, you just can’t act from it.

“I believe in myself”

The old saying goes you teach others how to treat you. So even if you have to fake-it-till-you-make-it with this positive affirmation, USE IT. Believe in yourself, and teach others to believe in you too. Just like that first thought up above, it comes down to trusting yourself to figure it out as you go along.

“My joy is not affected by my circumstance”

Joy and gratitude come from a woundless place in our souls that simply cannot be affected by our struggle. This is a great point put across by the wonderful Shawn Achor; joy is something we can feel even in the midst of pain and suffering. We can be grateful even as we struggle. We can rejoice and choose to be happy even everything goes wrong in our life. Accept and appreciate the part of your soul that cannot be wounded.

“I have value and purpose”

What you do, what you say, what you believe, and what you contribute is absolutely valuable because you are the only person that could offer what you have to offer. Be confident in what you create and contribute. See the value you have, believe in that value, and you’ll inspire others to do the same. Your purpose and feelings have just as much worth as everyone else’s, so the key to this is both compassion for others and a relentless respect for yourself and your potential.

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What Depression CAN and CAN’T Do In Your Life

Midweekend, when the revelry of everyone I know would be at it’s height, barreling over with all the excitement of a child’s birthday party. But rather than toasting the chill bottle drips of summer beers or even laying listlessly in a park – an activity I could have done alone, for free, at a moment’s notice, AND in my pajamas – I’m at home in bed. I’m alone, again. I lay my head down on the cool pillow, and empty room save for the crowd of thoughts and worries I’m creating. My depression tells me to get comfortable, don’t fight it, we’ll be here together all night…

If you are someone who has depression, you might be aware that it affects twice as many women as men (a devastating 2:1 ratio that won’t won’t analyze today.) You might also know that one in every 33 children, and one out of every eight teenagers, are affected by depression, again we won’t analyze the why’s of that conundrum.(via)  And you might also be aware of depression’s negative affects on the rest of your health: sleep abnormalities, muscle tension, lack of energy…but if you have or know someone with depression, then you also know the cloud it builds around your ability to use these facts for treatment or prevention. Knowing it’s common, knowing it’s a chemical imbalance doesn’t make it any less emotionally painful. It’s just that powerful.

Depression is like a ghost: an unseeable but clearly identifiable presence. The only problem is, it’s a very clever ghost who loves to taunt you. Depression makes itself known and will even let you know how to kill it, knowing full well you’ll have little to no strength and willpower to do so.

Acknowledging Depression

I devote my life to writing self-help and personal development articles, and as such I’d undersand if you assumed that I’m never depressed. The opposite is true; I’ve fought depression on and off since cancer. I wasn’t surprised to find that 25% of cancer patients experience depression (via). Mine came after; the pressure to live fully after something so transformational was daunting. Not unlike people who’ve achieved success (Donald Miller discusses depression after publishing a New York Times bestselling book in The School of Greatness Podcast), I had trouble understanding why I’m still here and what to do with my life after the greatest achievement of my life. I know you’ve wondered the same, which is what the articles on this site aim to address in a variety of ways.

Despite that it’s my life’s work, even I have trouble creating the kind of space around depression necessary to keep from punishing myself for it.

The worst thing you can do with depression is guilt yourself for having it. Depression feels awful enough; don’t tell yourself your wrong or bad or unworthy just because you have it.

Acknowledgement is a strange sensation with depression, because we want so badly to add a solution if we’re going to acknowledge a problem. If we’re going to say ‘yes, I have depression’, then we want to follow up with a ‘so I’m going to do ____ to help myself”. For a moment, acknowledge that the first step isto acknowledge. The first thing you can do in depression, and it takes a while, is to simply realize and digest the fact you are in the throes of depression, and allow that space to have a little breathing room before expecting it to go on a marathon of recovery.

Working with depression

There is no depression cupcake delivery service. It’s not easy to call in work depressed; bosses rarely understand that. There is no all-knowing guru you can phone up to say “hey, today’s a rough one, what do you have for me?”. Your friends probably won’t understand why sometimes you can’t even take leaving the house even if it is to see them, and that needing to be alone doesn’t diminish your love for them. When the weight of it becomes so mighty that the present moment cements me into a state of fear and the simplest, typically joyous acts become unbearable (seeing friends, enjoying conversation, the ability to wander through my own thoughts), there are a few things I rely on:

I can’t stop the ugly, terrible thoughts that depression conjures up in my own mind. But I can tell them to shut the hell up and to go sit in the corner. They aren’t any smarter or more powerful than me, they are just louder and more rude.

Meditation offers me the strength to venture back into my own mind, and that’s a vital step for me. In depression, the mind is the scariest place you can be, because that’s where the ugly truths and feelings of unworthiness are sprawling themselves like hungry lions, waiting patiently to devour you should you have the guts to walk in. But you have to walk in. And you have to tell those lions, those ugly thoughts, to sit the hell down and shut the hell up. It takes practice, trust me, but gaining control of the lions can have profound effects. Not only because being able to control and silence your thoughts again gives you the power to reassess this moment, placing fear back in it’s cage rather than allowing it to make decisions for you, but because getting back to this very moment is the only way to tap you back into joy, presence, and peace. Joy and peace are only in the here and now.

If you’re interested in meditation, there are some great guides in podcasts available right now. Deepak Chopra is great for presence, and there are also more spiritual guides out there. I’m also offering a super simple class if you’re interested, you can check it out here.

As simple or obscure as this might sound, sometimes I have to parent my depression like a mother would a very stubborn child. I have to cry because I wish it would behave for me. I have to feel it’s pain. I have to respect that it does in fact exist, is in fact a part of my life. And then I have to keep it from making decisions because it makes very bad, selfish decisions that ruin my health. Depression making decisions is the equivalent of a child; it will always want candy before dinner and will cry until it get’s it.

Depression doesn’t have the ability to tell you what to do or how unless you offer it that power. The more power you give it, the stronger it seems to become, but even that is often out of our control. When I think of my depression like a child, I don’t hate it so much. I can drag the little brat out of the house every once in a while. I may not enjoy it, but at least I can get to a place where I forgive…forgive myself, that is. Forgive myself for having depression. Forgive myself for any time I allow it to overtake my power. Forgive myself for sometimes even needing just to indulge in it, be alone in bed on a Saturday night with it, because I’m just too tired to fight it. Just for a night.

Feeling Love and Joy in Depression
If you’ve visited this site before, you know that I believe, absolutely and without a shred of doubt, that life is miraculous and beautiful and that we, as humans, are full of the power and potential to be happy. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to be happy all the time. I may write self-help and life improvement tips, but it’s because I acknowledge that sometimes simply existing is incredibly difficult and gut-wrenchingly painful. I think that’s what gives me an advantage: I can’t solve all your problems (and let’s be honest, no one can), but I can help you love life anyway. I can help you see beauty in all of it.

Now, over a decade since cancer and having dealt with depression for longer than that, I realize that depression and happiness aren’t even necessarily polar opposites. Depression is simply a state my mind must cope with, a condition of genetics, that I don’t have to judge and I don’t have to see as the robber of all my joy. And I can still get moments of joy and happiness and I sure as hell have the ability to be grateful despite depression.

Best of all, now I know that I can still love even in depression. I can still care for others, even myself and my own body, in depression. I can still see the wonder of life: the divine and perfect design of nature, the comforting way that seasons change, appreciate art and music, experience the incredible and overwhelming pleasure of serving others…and I can do all that in depression. I may not be excited or energetic or altogether very proud of myself in that moment. But I can still feel gratitude for the profundity of life itself. Depression can’t take that away.

So if you are feeling depressed today or going through a state of depression right now and wondering what the hell you’re doing wrong, take a breath and know that you’ve done nothing wrong. You have nothing to be ashamed of. You are simply in a state in which you must work a little harder to make it out of. And when you do, things will be even more illuminated, because darkness only makes light shine brighter. Because life is not full without the spectrum of all emotions. Because you are patient, and resilient, and the fibers of your being are made of a love energy that is strong enough and powerful enough to help you forgive this state and forgive yourself when it’s over. Forgiveness isn’t always about something being wrong and saying it’s ok. Sometimes, to forgive is just to give forth love, surrender, peace, and put something to rest once it has died and it’s time to move on. That time will come.

And lastly, know that you are not alone. Even the happiest, most grateful people who are surprised and humbled to even breathe every day (me) can and often are depressed. It doesn’t take away your power to love and be loved. You and I will make it through.

How to Choose Happiness Over Fear

Just saying you have the power to choose happiness over fear isn’t going to be enough to convince you. Luckily, the story of my cancer diagnosis is a special one, one that I think perfectly prefaces this week’s topic:

I was lucky enough to have my parents tell me the news of my diagnosis. I wasn’t in a doctors office, or told by a man I hardly know. I was in their kitchen. I was sitting down with them. And they were crying, understandably, because there is no easy way to tell your youngest child and only daughter that, at age 17 while the world still waited ahead of her, her life was in severe danger, and there was nothing they could do about it. It was a first for us all; me in having the opportunity and agency to take my life into my own hands, and them in having to admit for the first time that they could not control my life or my safety.

They said it clearly: “you have cancer” but the words were lost on me. I did understand, though, that the fight to survive was upon me. And that they were scared shitless. Being that I respected and admired them both so much, I knew immediately that it was my time to utilize all that they had taught me.

“Well, ok” I said to them. “We’re gonna do this. We’re going to fight it. But we’re not going to do it with fear or in the dark. We’re not going to be scared or avoid talking about the elephant in the room. We’re not going to cry or be mad. We’re going to go in, we’re going to do the treatment, we’re going to do whatever we have to do, and we’re going to stay happy and hopeful and together. We’re just going to get it done and make it as good of an experience as we can.”

It came down to the fact that not only did I not want to see them this way, but I didn’t want my fight against cancer to look like that conversation. It wasn’t how I wanted to feel during treatment and it wasn’t how I wanted people to talk to me about it. Thus, we set off together, my family and I, with a commitment to meet the darkness with light, the uncertainty with hope, and the fear with love and acceptance.

Mom and Dad having fun in wigs

There were nights when cancer and circumstance tested my resolve. There was physical pain. There was good news and bad news. There were breakdowns and breakthroughs. There were hours spent with my head in the toilet, my mother by my side. But that same night, just went my nausea started to subside, the sun rose through the bathroom window. There was always light to be found in the darkness, if only we would look for it, wait for it, and believe in it to find us eventually…

There is something I know for sure in this life: everything comes down to how badly you want it. The career you dream of comes down to how hard your willing to study to get it. The dress size you want comes down to how badly your willing to sweat for it. If you want the cupcake more, you’ll get the cupcake. If you want excuses more, you’ll get excuses. If you want absolutely anything, it all comes down to how badly you want it, and how hard your willing to work for it in every decision, in every single moment.

The same goes for things like peace and happiness. They are not things that comes along when we are least expecting. They are things we choose, from a deep seeded place within our souls. They are traits that we create and manifest outwardly regardless of the situation at hand, not ones that find us and strike us like the flu. (Coincidentally, as proof, you can be very happy and at peace while enduring the flu.) When we chose to create them and thus manifest them, we must be willing to accept the built-in life balances that come along to test our diligence.

These ‘tests’ are the daily struggles that come along and seem predestined to assess our worthiness. They are not intended to be cruel. They are humbling, we can be sure, but they are not malicious. They are simply life’s balancing system They are the proof of yin to the yang; they are scales and measures that attempt to restore the status quo to what it was or has been, and thus you to what you have been till now. If you attempt to change your life, fully expect these challenges. Fully expect the doughnuts at the office to look especially tempting. Wholly and readily expect critics to be especially cutting. Happily and willingly expect time and nature and friends and your own ego to test you to your brink. Because if at any point you are attempting to change your life and thus this world, in big or small ways, you will need to grow stronger through every little test along the way in order to make the shift. Tests are signs that your work is resulting in change, and thus you must press on.

A recent New York Times article cited that in writing our own life story, we can analyze and adjust our own feelings toward ourselves. In laying down on paper our previous actions, we can not only better understand our behaviors, but we can create an honest dialogue with ourselves about how and why we are who we are. Many people found that rewriting the story helped them to feel happier and more fulfilled.

The same goes for being the author of the yet-to-be-written. Taking the pen in your hand and, with consciousness, writing the next chapter is a choice. You must make the choice to write the story you would like to live. You must be willing to sit and listen to the call of the universe, to endure the test of writer’s block to unleash your greatest personal legend, as Paulo Coelho would say. You must fiercely choose to be the author from here on out, answering to the greatest potential within your being, and choosing to be at peace, choosing to be happy.

It truly is a choice, this life, this happiness, this peace. Things will never go ‘your way’ unless you make them do so. Unless you make the choice to create the reality you want, you will suffer at the hands of discontentment, and disconnection, writing in your own unhappiness and pretending the author was someone or something else.

Whether you’re the girl who wants to lose weight, or the girl that wants to be a singer, or the girl who wants to run for state office or fight racism or fly to space: You will get what you want most. What you want most will come to you. Through your actions and through your every thought, in the words that you speak to others and to yourself. In what you believe you are worthy of. In the way you hold yourself and the way that you treasure your dreams. You will get what you want. If you want more to live in fear, you will do so. But if you want most to live your dream, you will have it. The universe conspires, again as Coehlo says, to help us in our endeavors, whatever they may be.

And if you want to be happy, if you want to have peace, choose it. Live it, breathe it, never blame anyone else for your not having it. Create it, keep it, treasure it, and never stop choosing it. Then when you have it, you’ll know you alone earned the right to it.

On Purpose: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Practicing

The internet is a veritable buffet of quizzes, questionnaires, and slideshows purporting to help you understand yourself: What your hair says about you, what sunglasses are best for your face, how the shape of your nails reveals your personality (yes, that’s a real one!). But how do you know which ones to take seriously, and which ones to disregard? Setting aside the truly ridiculous – looking at you, nails – there is some clarity to be found in self examination sites and even quizzes, even of the purely physical kind. My favorite includes working with the chakras.

If you’ve never heard of chakras, they are an Ayurvedic tradition common in yoga and meditative studies that looks at the body from seven sources of energy. The word ‘Chakra’ translates as wheel or disk, and the idea is that every physical body has seven areas of concentrated energy. The reside mostly along the line of the spine, all the way up to the top of the head, and are often illustrated as seven disks vertically aligned with different colors associated.

Does the body actually have seven spinning energetic disks inside? No, of course not. But that isn’t the point. The point is that these seven chakras provide a road map for the mind to see where it might grow stronger, resonate with a particular ideal, or simply examine how your intentions might be unfolding. For example, there is said to be a ‘throat chakra’, or an energetic source at the throat. The color of this chakra is blue, and the power of this chakra is the ability to vocalize wants, needs, and beliefs, and speak with clear intention and authenticity. This chakra is the metaphorical representation of the mindful intention of cultivating the power to speak your truth with clarity and conviction, that matters. Strengthening this chakra with emotional and physical activity – yoga poses, meditations, and affirmations that bolster courage – serve to condition your conscious mind into being more aware of this trait, and building confidence in your abilities.

Why does any of this matter? Because the act of self reflection and examination are the onlyways to enrich your personal talents and abilities, so as to evolve into the kind of person you aspire to be. Think of it like a weight lifter who squats in front of the mirror: to monitor form. Becoming great – whether in career, personal life, hobbies or goals – requires attention to detail. It requires that one honestly appraises weaknesses not as failures, but as chances for growth.

Let’s say you are training for a marathon. First requirement, of course, is practice. Then comes refining and conditioning areas in which you are weak. It is absolutely necessary to analyze areas that might be keeping you from the next level or completing the marathon. To do so you must be honest in areas that need improvement, crucially examine technique or form so that you can build up yourself to be stronger. This is self examination. And it’s applicable in any area of our life we wish to improve.

What studying your Chakras does for your mind is similar to taking a long bath and reflecting on a hard day. Or conversing with a trusted friend about a personal struggle. Or meditating. Or looking over an article you’ve written with an editor’s critical eye. The form of the reflection isn’t as important as the occurrence of reflection itself. They are all examinations that requires honesty, and are rewarded in opportunities for improvement.

Here is what you need to know:

You are a busy woman in a demanding world. Regardless, do not get so caught up in getting things done that you neglect time to reflect on areas that need your attention.

In whatever ways and practices that work for you, make sure you are taking time to check in with how you feel about yourself and what you want to become.

Be diligent in your commitment to self-examination, not because you believe yourself to be weak, but because you believe in your ability to grow even better and stronger.

And as you do so, be as honest as you are kind, forgiving, and compassionate. Empoweryourself, not take away your own power.

What does is look like to self-examine in a compassionate way? It means as you reflect on areas in which you need to improve, you are kind and forgiving of your own shortcomings. Being critical does not mean you need to be rude or insult yourself with messages of “I’m not good enough”.

Your practice might simply begin with questions that help you gain clarity, such as:

“Where do I feel I could offer more in my personal or professional endeavors?

What actions could I take that would make me happier?

Where am I letting fear prohibit me from trying something new?”

If you’re setting aside time to reflect on your day, don’t jump to beating yourself up. Instead, be honest about areas in which you could have or should have taken a different approach, and make a commitment to use this experience as a lesson. None of your reflection and examination has to have disciplinary punishment.
Be kind. Be honest. And be encouraging of yourself to see any weaknesses as areas to improve, and your willingness to bravely look at yourself as proof of your own incredible power.

If you’re looking for more information on Chakras, start with this article from MindBodyGreen.

photo: simple weekend outfit (modified) by Geneva Vanderzeil apairandasparediy.com via Flickr (source)(license)

Believe in Yourself: The Secret of the ‘Work In Progress’

We get a lot of readers asking for advice on how to ‘believe in yourself’. And what I can say is that it’s less about the accomplishment and more about the progress. Here’s how I know:

It is believed to have taken Leonardo da Vinci four years to complete the Mona Lisa, though some historians say he may have been working on the piece until as late as 1517 (a total of near 15 years).  Even today, many of the painting’s admirers debate the subject; Sigmund Freud once suggested that Mona Lisa was an interpretation of da Vinci’s mother, Caterina, meaning it took much longer than four years to prepare for the portrait. Or maybe not: some believe Mona Lisa was actually a self-portrait of the artist himself, rendering the painting a riddle as well as a masterpiece. (via)

Even more perplexing is that, according to his contemporary, da Vinci walked away from the portrait before being satisfied with it. Giorgio Vasari is quoted as saying:

“after he had lingered over it four years, [he] left it unfinished”.

Can you imagine an artist looking at the Mona Lisa and believing it to be ‘unfinished’? Leonardo is even said to have regretted never finishing a single project he started. (via) Quite an interesting prospect, given that works like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are regarded as some of the most respected and visited works of art in the world, isn’t it?

The first devices using the essentials principles of rocket science are said to have occurred in 400 B.C. Three hundred years later, they were again employed by a more advanced Greek mastermind, only to be again experimented with, changed, and improved upon for a few hundred years until the first true rocket was invented by the Chinese in 1242. In the 1700’s, Sir Isaac Newton came on the scene and offered his expertise to the science. (via)

Flash forward to present day when, even after a heart-wrenching disaster on national television in which the shuttle Challenger exploded upon blast off, sending the country into a state of shock, we are still working on, experimenting with, and completely fascinated by rockets and their possibilities…

What does this mean for you?

Even after walking away from it, da Vinci regarded one of the greatest pieces in art history as ‘unfinished’. Not a failure.

Even after hundreds of years of study (and a few fatal disappointments), scientists are still committed to seeing how far humans can go.

Life is about progress, not accomplishment or failure.

If you keep looking at your life like it’s a problem you need to solve rather than a possibility you could achieve, you’re living in the state of the ‘fixer-upper’. You see your entire life as something terrible that happened in the past (the break up, the job loss, the cancer) that you are still trying to clean up, get rid of, get past, move on from, and fix. The state of the fixer-upper is: viewing your own life and potential as something limited in potential because of what has already happened to you. As we’ve discussed many times here on HerAfter, we’ve all faced our own battles. We’ve all had our hardships from childhood, teenage years, our early 20’s. We’ve all faced bad relationships, gotten fired, lost people we love. You  have absolutely been through a struggle that is unique to you, that placed hardships upon you that you didn’t deserve. Still, if your past struggle is your present reason for why you CAN’T, then you are living your life like it’s a fixer-upper.

Your past struggle has, no doubt, had implications on your present day. The difference between treating yourself like a fixer-upper instead of a work-in-progress is whether you let the past limit what you’re able to do in the future.

The work-in-progress perspective understands that unless you experiment with something, you’ll never understand how to perfect it. The work-in-progress isn’t afraid to try different things, isn’t even afraid to fail, because she understands that only in attempting can a person understand if something is possible or right for them. The work-in-progress looks forward at how they’ll achieve what they desire, while the fixer-upper is busy looking backward at all the reasons their failures mean they can’t move on. The work-in-progress understands that yes, life is messy and mistakes will happen and sometimes those mistakes might be embarrassing. But success often takes more than a day, a year, or even hundreds of years in the case of the rocket. When you’re guided by the dream of the future rather than the pain of the past, incredible things are possible.

The only thing impossible is for everyone else to understand the path that you are on. Don’t worry if other people can’t understand the areas in which you experiment to find your best self, your science for the rocket toward your potential. Only you can understand the method.

Even while you’re marveling at her past accomplishments, she’s looking to her future at what’s next…

It all comes down to whether you believe in yourself. Believing in yourself all comes down to whether you believe more in your past or your future. If you believe in your past and your beliefs based on your past (“I’m not worthy” “I’ve failed” “I’m not good enough”) then you’ll never reach a point where you believe in yourself enough to progress forward. You understanding of what you’re capable of has to be based on openness, willingness, experimentation, possibility, rather than fear, the past, hurt, wounds, or anger.

So what does this have to do with da Vinci walking away after four – or 15 – years? Well, sometimes (and you might not be able to see it in the moment) walking away at the right time can offer divine solutions. It might not feel so hot when you’re walking away from that relationship, or leaving that job, and feeling like you could have/should have offered it more or tried harder. But sometimes, if you listen to that guiding intuition, even when it looks like a mess in the moment, you can realize later that it all happened exactly as it should have, perfect in it’s imperfections. An influential masterpiece that progresses in life, just like you.

On Beauty: The Selfie, and Beauty vs. Vanity

**all photos in article are self-taken; also known as ‘selfies’**

I take great measures to pamper myself in the sanctuary of my own home. Like a devotional practice on the yoga mat, I believe it strengthens my personal sense of beauty, and of self esteem, to lovingly care for myself. As such, when the house is quiet and solemn, I’ll take a long bath, soften the spots of skin the world has hardened, and paint my fingers and toes. It may seem trivial, but aren’t these – our hands and feet – the most important and devoted tools in our everyday lives?

There is nothing wrong with honoring, praising, and rewarding our physical forms if it is done as a practice of gratitude rather than discipline or guilt, or in an attempt to gain worth. If it is an act of exposing rather than concealing, that is to say exposing one’s unique beauty rather than hiding one’s flaws, then it can bring a small sense of peace and deep inner love. More poignantly: Self love for the temple.

in love and light

This is the fundamental difference between ‘beauty’ and ‘vanity’. Vanity is an act of boastful, exclusionary exploitation. Beauty, conversely, is founded on respect, on acceptance. It is our gateway, our everyday peek into the divine perfection of the universe.

Vanity points the lens at our outer appearance. But that lens cannot see deeper than the skin.

Beauty points the lens from the inside facing. It can see far beyond vanity, from deep within the eye to far beyond the stars. That is why beauty has such a profound effect; when we see it, we are reminded of the divinely balanced and endlessly bountiful map of existence.

Allowing ourselves to see our own, individual beauty from our faces to our toes and sharing that beauty, whether through a glimpse of ourselves in a ‘selfie’ or our work and actions in the world, connects us (and others who are perceptive enough to see it) to something much bigger than ourselves. In fact, it is only when we are able to see and appreciate the beauty in ourselves that our ability to see the individual beauty of others is exponentially increased. As we become more beautiful (yet not vain) and present within our bodies, so does everyone around us. The energy of happiness to be in your own skin is playfully contagious.

The next time you see a picture of a person, of a place, of an action or being or moment, distinguish it as beauty or vanity. And next you share your own face with the world, say through your own ‘selfless’, do so for the beauty of your soul rather than your skin. The difference will be remarkable. No likes needed.

Beautiful Confidence: Become a More Confident You

Beautiful Confidence:

How to be more confident, build self acceptance and
become who you were MEANT to be

The latest E-book from HerAfter it OUT TODAY! Full of practice tips to help you feel more confident and build a habit of confidence, stop blocking your future with your past, and so much more. Filled with insightful tips, practices and practical guidance Beautiful Confidence offers the kind of down-to-earth, motivational advice on self esteem you’ve been looking for.


Before we begin, please make a pact with me that you will be open to yourself. In some of the chapters, you might face some harsh truths about your own past, about you really want in life, and ways that you’ve been blocking your own power to love, heal, and evolve. It won’t always be pleasant, but the truth will set you free, as they say. So be open, even when it hurts. Even when it’s uncomfortable. The result, beautiful, is that you will discover and strengthen a new version of yourself, one that is an embodiment of the unique truth spoken from her soul. One that takes on the world. One that can love more, live more, do more, be more, create more, share more, offer more, and realize more. It will be so worth the work!

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