A few weeks ago, I tuned into one of Jay Shetty‘s Live Q&A on the HuffPost Rise page. He was talking about Purpose and he mentioned a story about 3 men who were working at a construction site. This is actually a popular story often offered in motivational talks and, when I looked it up for more clarity, I had no problem finding various versions. But essentially, it is this:
A man walked up to a construction site and came across a rather grumpy-looking man, working half-heartedly. When asked what he was doing, the working man said, “I’m laying bricks.”
The man passing through kept going and came upon another man who seemed to be working a little more diligently with a slightly better attitude. When asked about his work he replied, “I’m building a wall.”
The first man kept going and saw a third man, smiling, whistling away, doing the same work but doing it purposefully and with obvious pride. When asked about his work he replied, “I’m building the most beautiful cathedral in the world.”
Three men doing the same work but with totally different attitudes.
A couple things struck me as I heard this story:
Looking at the big picture is motivating and even empowering. Some of my tasks may be menial, but they all add up to something greater. Cleaning bathrooms, for example. Organizing closets. Filing receipts. Developing a system. If I know WHY I’m doing these things and really want the desired outcome, I’m more motivated to complete the job with less irritation.
How I talk about my task at hand determines how I feel about it – and maybe even how I feel about myself. Am I a brick-layer, or the builder of the most beautiful cathedral in the world? I get to decide. Am I a frumpy stay-at-home Mom, or am I a Domestic Goddess? And if I am the latter in either scenario, how does that make me feel? It’s interesting how our language affects our perception.
Have you heard this story before? What does it make you think about? I’d love to hear in the comments!
I think we were 11 when my best friend and I decided it would be a good idea to go on a diet together. Sipping Orange Julius at the mall, this was a casual conversation – as though we were deciding what movie to go to, or whose house to hang out at. I don’t remember the rest of what we said, or the diet for that matter; when I look back on that memory it’s as though I am floating above us, watching these two young children who had this idea that their bodies needed to be changed. I’m disconnected from those them in one way, but in another way there’s a part of me that still houses that little girl.
Four pregnancies, 3 children and a quarter of a century later, life has changed my body for me. I have been all kinds of sizes in my last 8 years of motherhood: an entire range from underweight at the time I conceived my first baby, to the heaviest I’d ever been in my life after eating my grief when I lost my third baby. I started my 4th pregnancy at that I-can’t-believe-this-is-me weight and the numbers on the scale went up from there. Two years post-partum, I still look in the mirror some days and ask, what the heck happened? I have a couple pairs of jeans in my closet that I hang on to…just in case my renewed commitment to Zumba and smaller portion sizes allows me to slip those on. Maybe that will happen. Maybe it won’t. I’ve come a long way from thinking a diet is the answer to the perfect life.
If I were to see that petite, long-haired beautiful soul nibbling on the straw in her smoothie, sitting with her bestie on a Sunday afternoon at the mall, I’d walk straight over and throw my arms around her. I’d probably frighten her with my intensity, and she’d probably think I was overreacting (it’s just a diet…everyone goes on diets) but I would hold her until the words came. And this is what I’d say:
I know how much you hear about diets and that big bodies are not beautiful. I know how nervous you are that you are going to explode one day into this enormous size even though right now you look in the mirror and think with relief, my legs are long and thin. I know people remarking about how skinny you are freaks you out because one day this whole thing could backfire and you could end up being the opposite of all those comments. It’s hard when you look at all those models in the YM magazines and read about blonde haired, blue-eyed twins who are 5’6″ and slim. You look in the mirror and you see a dark-haired, brown-skinned girl with hair growing in places you don’t want it to. I understand.
But let me tell you what your life is going to be like when the number on the scale reaches a point you had no idea it could get to: you will be 35 years old and have just given birth to your third child. You have 3 kids: girl, boy, girl – exactly how you’ve imagined your whole life. You’re married to your best friend who thinks you’re the end all be all. Together you have weathered parent deaths, a miscarriage, career changes, cross-country moves and many more great adventures. And you laugh (at each other, at life) every day. And you’re the heaviest you’ve ever been. You’re a writer. Holy crap – a writer! And now that you have your 3 babies you can consider new directions for the future, while you stay home and become this domestic goddess. (Don’t laugh – it’s a work in progress, but you’re actually enjoying it.) And you’re the heaviest you’ve ever been. And you get up on stage, you love the microphone, and you talk about all those important things that you tried to talk to your friends about but they looked at you strange. Like cultural-bridge building, connecting with yourself through writing and all these other ideas that made you feel like the odd one out all the time. That’s your work. And you’re the heaviest you’ve ever been.
Do you understand? The number on the scale, the fact that your thighs brush together and wear out your jeans…that changes nothing about your beautiful soul. And it doesn’t stop you from letting yourself shine. You should make healthy choices as often as you can so that you can do what you love for as long as you’ve been given the time, but at 37 you have no qualms about drinking a hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle right after a Zumba workout. You find such gratitude in these pleasures. If you’ve learned nothing else, you’ve learned that life is short.
Your size and shape changes nothing about who you are.
So, finish up your Orange Julius and get to your movie. Keep swimming and playing the piano and reading and writing and thinking and talking about current affairs with your dad. Keep caring about humanity the way you do. That’s what the world needs from you. That’s it.
My friend, Joyelle Brandt, calls herself an ‘artivist’. I LOVE that word. It’s the core of my conviction that art is necessary for civilization – because art creates change. Art shines light on different perspectives that make you think, that challenge how you see things now, and inspire you to be a part of the solution.
When I met Joyelle for lunch last summer she was practically glowing when she told me about founding the Love Your Body Summit. Joyelle is a singer, songwriter, guitar player, author and a mother; there’s literally nothing she can’t do with her creativity. I was excited to learn how she was using creativity to make social impact in her areas of passion. Here’s a quick but wonderful interview of Joyelle which will give you a taste of what she’s about, what motivates her to speak up about body image and why you might want to check out the summit:
As an ambassador for the summit, I’m happy to share this information with you.
As well, I’m giving away one ticket to the event – and it’s so simple to enter to win! Just leave a comment with one phrase or key message that you would tell your younger self about body image or self-love. I will randomly pick a winner; the winner will have 24 hours to reply to my email before another winner is selected.
The contest ends one week from today: Tuesday January 19 at 8 pm PST.
The Love Your Body Summit
Feb 6, 9am to 4pm
What: An inspiring day of speakers, joyful movement, music, art, and self reflection designed to empower girls and women to love their bodies!
Where: Inlet Theatre, 100 Newport Drive, Port Moody
Are you worthy of the goals you have set? Are you worthy of the dreams that give you butterflies in your tummy? Are you worthy of the love you seek? Are you worthy of the time to take care of yourself and do what makes you happy?
How you answer these questions is important. I know you know what you are supposed to say (that would be ‘yes’), but does that ‘yes’ resound in your core? Do you say ‘yes’ with certainty or do you hesitate a bit? Do you say ‘yes’ but then somehow sabotage situations so that you remain distant from your goals, dreams, time and love?
It’s the new year and like everyone else, you’ve probably thought about how this year is going to be different. You say that January mantra of ‘new year, new me’ or ‘this will be my BEST year yet.’ Maybe this will be the year you launch your career or business. Maybe this will be the year you find someone who treats you well. Maybe this will be the year you get your health back on track.
The thing is, believing you are worth it is that piece of the puzzle that needs to be there for the whole picture to fall into place.
My friend, Dr. Saira Sabzaali, is transformational when it comes to unearthing your beliefs and shifting them so that they serve you better. I know that because she’s not just my friend but also my counsellor. I’ve sat with her 1:1 and worked through blocks that kept me from feeling present in my relationships, and she helped me work through fears that were preventing me from feeling peace within myself.
I also attended a workshop she held on Passions; it was just the right amount of structured introspection and spontaneous discussion that came out of the group interaction. She’s an engaging speaker with powerful messages and so many people have benefited from her work. That workshop allowed me to see the role of following my passions in my life and I still apply the tools she gave me. I feel really lucky to have her in my life!
Being a mom of 2 young kids, Dr. Saira can also empathize with many of us who struggle to find balance between ‘doing’ for the family and ‘being’ who we are outside of parenthood. She brings that empathy to all of our conversations and I know her clients and workshop participants appreciate being understood.
So, I’m really glad she is starting her workshops up again now that her youngest is a little lady, and she is bringing everything she has learnt and experienced to her new workshop series: The Journey to Wholeness.
Here’s a blurb from her brochure that best explains the upcoming workshop on Worthiness.
“How can you change a situation where you feel small?
How can you feel ‘worth it’ in the midst of world change, community upheaval and family discontent? Is strong personal value and high self-esteem even attainable when things around you are changing so quickly and constantly? We know intellectually the importance of worthiness, yet so often we doubt, ignore or belittle ourselves and our own inner compass. No matter what your story or the challenge you are looking to overcome, an answer is here!
Join us for a day of learning about worthiness and its impact on healthy human development. Come ready to learn and challenge your assumptions about why you are how you are!”
The workshop is going to take place at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, B.C. on Saturday February 6, 2016 from 9 am to 5 pm.
Tickets are regularly $150 but for my readers, Dr. Saira has offered a discount of $25. Simply call 604-339-7862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention you are a Let ME Out!! reader.
This offer is valid until Wednesday Jan. 6 at 9 pm PST.
There’s enough love to go around. You know it, I know it. And, if we’re lucky, we feel it often. We find love in our: partners, children, family, and friends. We get warm ‘hellos’ and genuine compassion from other people in our lives, too. Maybe even from our favourite baristas or librarians!
And we give love back to those people, too. We show them we care with our actions, words, thoughts. In little ways and big ways, we work hard to make others feel loved and cared for.
But are you saving some of that love for someone really special?
Are you saving some of that love for YOU?
I have written a lot about self-love, and that’s because it was one of the driving forces behind starting this blog. I was ready to love myself again. To be who I am and not apologize for it. To say, “My happiness is worthy of time spent on my passions. I am worthy.”
In the 3 1/2 years since Let ME Out!! began so much has happened. This concept of self-love has returned time and time again when I was least expecting it. In times of frustration, exasperation, and exhaustion I have had to remember to treat myself well. Incorporating ‘something’ into my day just for me was enough to feel like I was doing that.
Sometimes that ‘something’ is spiritual: sitting in silence, getting to a yoga class, or listening to devotional music. Sometimes that ‘something’ is physical: dancing around the kitchen, taking a little extra time in the shower, or getting an extra hour of sleep.
And sometimes…that ‘something’ is just plain adding some beauty into my life! I’m drawn to things that exude a natural beauty. I don’t like flashy and showy, but simple and elegant just lights up my heart.
In the spirit of self-love and beautiful things, I want to share with you something I have a growing collection of – little treats I give myself just because I work hard, love hard and give hard. Just because I am ME.
Brooklyn Designs Jewelry has been my favourite jewelry line for years. In fact, online and in real life, you have probably already spotted these jewels on me! (Keep reading for a chance to win your own beautiful bracelet!)
Like this ring:
And these earrings and bracelets:
Oh, and these earrings and necklace:
I think you get the ‘picture’.
I love that Brooklyn Designs is nature-inspired, fit for any occasion and affordable!
Today, to celebrate YOU, Brooke and I have teamed up to offer you the chance to win this beautiful bracelet, Desire, from her amazing collection! Simply enter to win via the Rafflecopter below which closes at 10 am PST on Monday February 9, 2015. I will contact the winner who will have 24 hours to respond (or I’ll have to choose another winner – sorry!) Contest is open to Canada and U.S. residents.
Even if you don’t win the bracelet, you are still a winner! Brooke is offering 15% off to all my readers from NOW until Monday February 9, 2015. Simply use the promo code 15LOVE at checkout!
Yesterday, I ran a workshop called Commit to a Balanced 2012 (and Do Away with Resolutions!!). A wonderful, warm group of fabulous ladies joined me for the afternoon; we cried, laughed and worked our way through an enormous amount of material. The workshop was designed to help participants identify their own personal motivation style and thereby understand why past resolutions haven’t worked. Each participant then had a chance to determine what their lives look like on paper, in terms of how much time they spend on 6 important areas and make commitments in areas that required more focus.
To make a commitment that they are more likely to keep, they learned the following:
1. To use the motivational method that best suits them and
2. Most importantly, to make commitments to themselves from a place ofSELF-LOVE!!
You try it. Make a statement about something you would like to add in your life and then ask yourself, “Why do I want to add this in my life?” If the answer is anything except “I love myself and am worth being loved and taken care of”…then re-evaluate your need to focus on it.
For example, one workshop participant suggested she needed to add more to her “spiritual” life and felt she should be going to church more often. When I asked her why she wanted to go to church more often, it became clear to both of us that her reasons stemmed from a place of guilt. That is not a commitment made from self-love, it is not self-serving and it will a) not stick b) not add anything to her life except stress and c) not really give her the spiritual connection she is looking for.
It sounds simple and like something we should all be able to do, but it’s a challenge for most of us. To really love oneself often requires a lot of peeling away at layers and removing harmful underlying beliefs that we have accumulated over our lives. But this workshop was a step in the direction of change and progress, and a reminder that support is available when you are ready to take those steps.
Because self-love is the basis for making all areas of our life work (and this is something Louise Hay writes about in her book, You Can Heal Your Life), it is important to understand what it is and what it is not.
Self-love is not being selfish. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of selfish is: concerned exclusively or excessively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for others.
Loving yourself or believing you are worthy of love has no relationship to being selfish – there is no disregard for other people, just a kind regard for yourself. I would even say that the more you commit to acts of loving yourself, the more loving energy you put in to all of your relationships, interactions and activities.
What are YOUR thoughts? How often have you struggled with the notion of self-love being selfish? We all have at one point or another. What we learned at the workshop is that when we share these experiences, they are easier to understand and work with.