Today I turn 39 years old. One of those precarious numbers that have one feeling perched on the edge of a high dive pulling you into the next decade of life, whether you are ready to jump into those waters or not.
One of the ways I wish to celebrate another glorious year of life is to become my own best friend. To treat myself as kindly as I treat those I love. To seek out the beauty I see in so many others within me.
I have been taking a series of healthy cooking classes with Monika and a lovely holistic nutritionist named Carey Peters. I adore Carey because her philosophy on nutrition is as much about nourishing your soul as it is nourishing our bodies, a theory I couldn't agree more with. Her holistic practice is called Elevate. How delicious of a word is that?
In the raw foods class that Deni and I just took, Carey discussed the idea of being your own travel companion. She posed the question, and hilariously illustrated with a bit of role-play, if we were embarking on a cross country road-trip who would we choose to be in the car alongside us for hours at a time? Would you choose the person who says things such as: You look fat. Why would you wear that? I don't know what possessed you to choose that color of lipstick. That idea is stupid, who do you think you are? You can't do that, you are not smart enough, talented enough, creative enough, brave enough... Or would you choose the person who says things like: You look so cute today! What a great pair of shoes! And your hair? To die for! Your idea sounds wonderful, you are truly creative and talented, let's make it happen. You are truly divine, talented, sexy, juicy, gorgeous, fabulous. I love you.
Obvious choice, right? But think about the inner dialogues we have with ourselves. Which statements above sound closest to your own inner dialogue? As much as I have become more self-accepting of myself though the years, I struggle constantly with my own inner dialogue that says terrible things about me on a daily basis. Things I could never imagine saying to a close friend but find it acceptable to say to myself for whatever reason. Why is it so easy to see the pure beauty in others but when it comes to ourselves our own beauty is harder to find, hidden behind all those streams of negative dialogue?
My soulful, comedic and wise friend Kristen says that when we do this we are tuned in to the radio station, KFUCT. So how do we turn off KFUCT with all it's terrible negative messages and tune into something more loving and positive? How do we truly understand that we are perfect exactly as we are in this moment? One suggestion that Carey gave to the class is to keep a gratitude journal.
Many of us keep gratitude journals, myself included, but I noticed that the journal she was talking about was different. This gratitude journal is specifically about our physical selves rather than all the external influences we are grateful for. The challenge is as follows:
For thirty days write down ten things every morning and ten more things every evening that you like about yourself, and that you are grateful for, physically or personality-wise, embracing the quirks, and so-called flaws, taking those voices we hear on KFUCT, reversing them and seeing them in a new light.
Carey confessed to the class that coming up with twenty new and kind things to write down and say to herself each and every day for thirty days was not at all easy and one of the scariest and most difficult challenges she had ever done but helped to nourish her in countless ways, allowing herself to be her own traveling companion on that cross-country road trip. She said it changed her life. She challenged all of us in class to do the same for ourselves.
As a gift to myself coming into my 39th year, I am taking on this challenge for the next 30 days. I invite anyone to take this journey for themselves as well and become your own best friend and traveling companion. If you do, let me know in the comments along with a nice comment about YOU.
As a gift to you, I leave you with an excerpt from a wonderful-sounding book called Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself by Patricia Lynn Reilly. I first heard of this book through my inspirational friend, Denise. I still don't own the book, but on her blog last year Denise read from the following words, which I love, in her own sweet and yummy voice which you can listen to here.
Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.
Imagine a woman who has acknowledged the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.
Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.
Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body's rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.
Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life-energy disguising the changes in her body and life.
Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.
Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her own life and capacities.
Who remains loyal to herself, regardless.
Imagine yourself as this woman.