Body Positive

This is Me

How are you doing, Beautiful? If you read last week's post you know I was feeling a little low...I talked about "waiting it out" which is something I've really learned to do when things feel a bit hard.

I'm feeling much better! On the upswing! But now here's the rub--I've been sitting in front of my laptop for hours writing and deleting, writing and deleting...because basically I'm like, "What the f**k do I want to say this week???!!" It's not that I don't have any ideas! I HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS! Ha! And that is kind of freezing me up!

Curious what my ideas are? Here's a little brain dump for you:

  • Women's hormones and the patriarchy.
  • History of the Goddess and how the church systematically repressed positive female images through hundreds of years of propaganda (that lead to what many scholars call a gender genocide with the burning of "witches").
  • How women's obsession with our looks and our bodies is absolutely a tool to hold us down and hold us back--as if the value we bring to the world is how we look! (It was not always this way. There is another way!)
  • The fact that woman are told we are crazy and unpredictable but how that is total bullsh*t.
  • The rules we are taught as women (for example "Everyone else's needs are more important than yours") and how those rules are not even things we are aware of and yet they totally define our lives, rob us of our own personal desires, subjugate us, keep us feeling guilty, and absolutely hold us back.
  • How the construct of the patriarchy has diminished the feminine and that as a result the world is wildly out of balance and we are, in fact, destroying it.
  • Fear and love. We are either acting from fear or coming from love. This is everything.

So many other things. I need time to sort through them all and figure out how and even why I want to talk to you about them.

EVERYTHING in my heart is about busting out of these chains that bind us as humans, so we can BREAK FREE, LIVE FREE, AND HELP HEAL THE WORLD.

Who am I and what do I want to do with my life? This is a question that so many of my friends (men and women alike) and clients are asking. I mean, TRULY WHO AM I??? Are we even allowed to be asking that? I believe if we're not asking that, we aren't asking the right questions. Everything comes from that starting point.

So in the spirit of BREAKING FREE I'm sharing this with you today because, honestly, this video MOVES ME. I cry. It is such pure joy and freedom and busting out from the chains that bind us! I hope you feel the same way. The little speaking exchange at the very beginning just gets me in the heart.

This is Me with Kaela Settle and The Greatest Showman Ensemble

 

 

 

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one'll love you as you are

But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become)

I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is me

and I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) 'cause there's nothing I'm not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
This is brave, this is proof
This is who I'm meant to be, this is me

Look out 'cause here I come (look out 'cause here I come)
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I'm gonna send a flood
Gonna drown them out
Oh
This is me

 

Love you,

Elijah

Women, Our Bodies, and Beauty

I was talking to a colleague the other day:

"Women don't want to feel beautiful. They just want to lose weight. My heart breaks every time I hear this. They only allow themselves to feel beautiful (briefly) if they are 'perfect'...but 'perfect' really never comes. Most days women just beat up on themselves."

I teach women HOW TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL. But I've literally had women tell me they'd just rather lose weight. I believe the world is dying for the Feminine right now. Women need to throw off the shackles of body and beauty image and take their rightful place at the table--to be IN THEIR POWER--not worrying about their thigh gap.

We are only operating at a fraction of our possibility.

My dear, beautiful women: the reason you don't feel good in your body is NOT because you don't have a beautiful body--it is because you've NEVER been taught HOW to feel good in your body. We women, almost from birth, have only been taught how to fee BAD in our bodies.

Do you get that? Do you get that the water you've been swimming in is poison to your sense of well-being? (And by the way, this is by design.)

Our bodies are a battle ground and we take on that battle ourselves. We subjugate ourselves. We beat our bodies into submission.

Transformation occurs when we see the paradigm we are living in for the abuse and oppression that it is and we reject it. We claim our bodies as our own. We recognize their magnificence and we recognize the years of abuse that we and society have heaped upon them. From this place we can learn to adore and appreciate our bodies. And from this place everything begins to shift: what we put into our bodies and what we put onto our bodies becomes an act of beauty, respect, and adoration. How we move is different. How we hold ourselves is different We are in tune with ourselves. We are embodied and no longer disconnected.

Women are good at love.

Love is the most radical act of all.

Start with yourself.

 

SOUL SONG SUNDAY. THIS IS POLITICAL. Watch this, listen to this, like it's your job.

Mary Lambert - Body Love (Part 1 & 2)

 

Mary Lambert - Body Love (Part 1 & 2) Lyrics

I know girls who are trying to fit into the social norm
Like squeezing in last year's prom dress
I know girls who are low rise, mac eye shadow, and binge drinking
I know girls that wonder if they're disaster and sexy enough to fit in
I know girls who are fleeing bombs from the mosques of their skin
Playing Russian roulette with death; it's never easy to accept that our bodies are fallible and flawed
But when do we draw the line?
When the knife hits the skin?
Isn't it the same thing as purging
Because we're so obsessed with death
Some women just have more guts than others

The funny thing is women like us don't shoot
We swallow pills, still wanting to be beautiful at the morgue
Still proceeding to put on make-up
Still hoping that the mortician finds us fuckable and attractive
We might as well be buried with our shoes and handbags and scarves, girls
We flirt with death every time we etch a new tally mark into our skin
I know how to split my wrists to reveal a battlefield too
But the time has come for us to reclaim our bodies

Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral
Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say,
"I only know how to exist when I am wanted."

Girls like us are hardly ever wanted, you know
We're used up and we're sad and drunk and
Perpetually waiting by the phone for someone to pick up and tell us that we did good
Well, you did good.

I know I am because I said, I am. [3x]
My body is home [2x]
I know I am because I said, I am. [3x]

Try this
Take your hands over your bumpy love body naked
And remember the first time you touched someone
With the sole purpose of learning all of them
Touched them because the light was pretty on them
And the dust in the sunlight danced the way your heart did
Touch yourself with a purpose
Your body is the most beautiful royal
Fathers and uncles are not claiming your knife anymore
Are not your razor, no
Put the sharpness back
Lay your hands flat and feel the surface of scarred skin
I once touched a tree with charred limbs
The stump was still breathing
But the tops were just ashy remains
I wonder what it's like to come back from that
Because sometimes I feel forest fires erupting from my wrists
And the smoke signals sent out are the most beautiful things I've ever seen

Love your body the way your mother loved your baby feet
And brother arm wrapping shoulders, and remember
This is important

You are worth more than who you fuck
You are worth more than a waistline
You are worth more than beer bottles displayed like drunken artifacts.
You are worth more than any naked body could proclaim in the shadows,
More than a man's whim or your father's mistake
You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 4
You are no less valuable as a 32a than a 36c
Your sexiness is defined by concentric circles within your wood
It is wisdom
You are a goddamn tree stump with leaves sprouting out
Reborn

Women, Self Care, and Food.

Many people reached out to me a bit worried because I didn't write on Sunday. Thank you for your love :)

What happened was a mix of family craziness tossed in with travel combined to create a perfect storm of extra-busy plus a little overwhelm. And I decided it was okay to take care of myself first, which meant not writing the newsletter. It isn't that I'm not committed to reaching out--I'm SO COMMITTED. But my first commitment is to my self care. I've learned the hard way that if I don't honor my needs, things really go to hell in a hand basket quite quickly. And if I'm depleted, then I have nothing to give and my family, friends, and work and all will suffer.

Women, self care, and food. Women are incredibly hard on themselves. Our culture has carefully trained us to be this way. We are taught to believe our happiness is connected to the happiness of others. If our happiness is connected to the happiness of others that means we work tirelessly to take care of the needs of those around us and if we aren't doing this for even a moment, we feel GUILTY. Even the most aware among us fall prey to this guilt.

We work tirelessly for the happiness of others while posting social media memes declaring, "HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB" or similar sentiments. HA!

We post those memes and still don't recognize that our happiness is indeed connected to WHAT IS INSIDE US. What I mean by that is: OUR DREAMS, OUR DESIRES, OUR IDEAS, OUR PASSIONS. We are SO QUICK do dismiss our desires, dreams, and passions. That voice says, "Who am I to want that for myself?" or, "If I follow my dreams I'll be a terrible mom." or "I'll never know enough or be enough to follow that dream." or even worse, "I'm an idiot for even thinking about that!"

Guess what? When we are committed to the happiness of others and we deny our own brilliance, we live in a low level of apathy because "...none of it matters anyway." It keeps us in a place of not wanting more while simultaneously apologizing for wanting things.

When we give, give, give and go, go, go, we are depleted and we end up resentful. Because we feel guilty doing things for ourselves (and because, ultimately, we are not fully expressed as human beings) THE ONLY THING WE CAN RECEIVE FOR OURSELVES IS FOOD AND ALCOHOL.

We are so depleted, the only thing left are the Oreo cookies in the cupboard. The cookies are 100% there for us. They will ALWAYS fill us up. They never let us down. And, best of all, no one will fault us for eating them. They will, however, fault us for not being super thin (or even too thin--seriously, we cannot catch a break) but that's another topic for another email. The point is, EATING is about the only socially acceptable way women have of nourishing themselves!

No wonder we all have such disordered eating habits--disordered physical habits and mental habits, too. And this is yet another way that we are kept apathetic.Listen--this is political. All these stories we are told about what it means to be a "good" woman, mother, daughter, sister, friend in this world HOLD US BACK and KEEP US DOWN. And let there be no doubt--they are designed to do that.

Why? Because women are POWERFUL. I'm not saying we are more powerful than men and that men suck etc...if you're going there in your mind I invite you to simply stop thinking of others just for a moment and consider YOU. Consider YOUR LIFE. Your dreams, hopes, desires...and I mean the dreams and desires that you never even say allowed for fear you'll be judged.

Women are powerful and we have big dreams. We have big solutions to the problems we face. When we allow ourselves to be fully expressed, to own our power unapologetically, and to step into our dreams...WHOA. THE ENTIRE WORLD BENEFITS. Our families benefit. Our friends benefit. WE BENEFIT.

The fact that we feel guilty, the fact that we go, go, go without taking care of ourselves, the fact that really weird and crazy expectations on how we look, what we say, and what we do is something we have bought into is not our fault. It's not men's fault either. This system has been in place for thousands of years. We are the fish in the water--we don't even know we are in water because we don't know anything different.

To be clear, obviously many women and men know there's a different way. But even those men and women continue to understand the ways in which the current cultural paradigm has hurt us and holds us back in deeper ways. And, as you might be able to see, we are in the midst of a powerful cultural awakening in general. It is a very exciting time to be alive! But we all have stuff that we don't know that we don't know. Now is the time to learn a different way of being.

Where do we start? So many of us have not really taken the time to truly ask ourselves what it is we desire. It can be a scary question. It can also be challenging to answer because if we rarely ask it, that muscle is weak and we really aren't sure of the answers!

Here is an exercise for you to start working on this question. It's deceptively simple. I recommend using this as a journal prompt for 5 - 7 days in a row...just set a time and free-write what comes up for you every day. See how things change at the end of 7 days. Then keep up the practice as much as you'd like to--every day or once a week...trust yourself to know how often you need to do this.

EXERCISE: What are 5 things that you would like in your life?

Separate out what you would truly like from what you think is possible! Allowing yourself any feelings or emotions that arise out of the desires that you may have previously “failed at” or “succeeded at not having” for weeks, months or decades.

Exclude the things that you no longer want. You can still write them down, but just flip it so that you are replacing the unwanted state with what you would like to experience instead.

As always, I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR BACK FROM YOU! And I also invite you to join the Virtual Goddess Gathering, where like-minded women show up to support each other in creating change in their lives and the world.

Sending so much love your way,

ElijAH

How Overeating Keeps You Safe

HAPPY SOUL SONG SUNDAY!

Quick question--are you clicking on the songs and letting them wash over you so that joy permeates your week? Just checking...because music truly does make a difference. Don't forget to send me suggestions for songs that will light our fire and get our week off to a good start!

Okay. Back to this overeating thing. There's so many aspects to food and how we treat it. Food is important, obviously. We need it to stay alive, unless you're abreatharian. Food is also family, celebration, togetherness, happiness, sadness, loneliness, memories, and so much more. But today I want to talk to you about one aspect of food that you may be experiencing without even knowing it: overeating to keep you safe.

Emotional eating almost without exception is overeating. We eat more than we need, we eat when we're not hungry, and we in general eat for reasons that have nothing to do with physical nourishment but everything to do with emotional nourishment. Unfortunately that "nourishment" usually means numbing out. We numb out so that we don't have to deal with emotions that are incredibly uncomfortable. Anxiety, sadness, stress, anger, misery, self-loathing, boredom...just to name a few.

When we overeat, the vast majority of us gain weight. When we gain weight, we tend to beat up on ourselves. We think we look bad. We think we're gross. We also think we're not good enough (because society has been feeding us a message that thin is best since we were born and even if we understand that there is just so much destructive BS in that point of view, it's pretty hard to escape it without some serious work. And BTW, we need to do that work and I'm going to take you there). When we think we're not good enough, we stop living our lives fully. We hide out. We wait...we wait to buy nice clothes, we wait to ask for a raise, we wait to go for our dream job, we wait to start looking for a romantic partner, we wait to have sex with out partner...we even wait to go on vacation because, you know, if we're not thin we're not allowed to go on vacation. Seriously. WE HIDE OUT.

Even if we do some of the things we want to, it is only after a cheerleading sesh from friends and family so that we can have the courage to go to that party, or whatever it is we want to do. The thing we want to do could be big or small, but it just comes with an extra layer of HARD when we're in that mindset.

So--we're all miserable with our weight gain (and I've had clients that feel this was even with just 5 extra pounds. It's never really about how we look and ALWAYS ABOUT HOW WE FEEL ABOUT OURSELVES.) and we're HIDING OUT. On the surface it all seems so bad. But here's the thing. When we are HIDING OUT we are SAFE. There's a reason for everything. We don't have to try. EVERYTHING IS ON HOLD. I mean, what feels better than sitting at home, binging on Netflix and knowing that it doesn't matter because you look like crap and nothing good will come of heading out into the world. It's sooooooooo safe safe safe and cozy. That extra weight and corresponding self-criticism becomes such a lovely security blanket.

Guess what? When our subconscious/critter brain feels all safe and cozy, it is going to do all it can to KEEP US THERE! That's why when you set a goal for yourself, and you're walking towards that goal with confidence--probably even making progress--and all of a sudden you snap back into old patterns and are back where you started. Your subconscious/critter brain is all about survival. And staying at home, hiding out, eating popcorn/ice cream/cookies/whatever is soooooooo much safer than getting out there in the world, showing up powerfully and asking for a raise/going for your dream job/putting yourself on a dating app/buying clothes that might mean you get some attention...omg, no. That stuff is all really really scary because going for what we want is vulnerable.

In the week ahead, start noticing all the habits you have that keep you safe. In this context I mean behavior that essentially holds you back in your comfort zone (we applaud the part of us that knows how to keep us safe and out of danger). The big rule about this is you notice without judgement. Instead of judging yourself, GET CURIOUS. Curiosity is playful, fun, and nonjudgemental. Judging ourselves is not the way to go--that just has us eating more ice cream.

I'd truly love to hear from you about this--do you notice ways you sabotage yourself to keep yourself safe/hold you back from the juicy life you desire and deserve? It could be around food, which is such a common one, but it could be around other habits as well! Pay attention! Hit reply to this email and let me know!!

Now...for your song to get you into your groove for the week! We're going old school today to a woman that was a trailblazer, Lauryn Hill.

Definitely read the lyrics to this one--part call to activism, part existential inspiration. It's one of my all time favs.

Everything is Everything by Lauren Hill

 

 

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

I wrote these words for everyone who struggles in their youth
Who won't accept deception, instead of what is truth
It seems we lose the game
Before we even start to play
Who made these rules? (Who made these rules?)
We're so confused (We're so confused)
Easily led astray
Let me tell ya that

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

I philosophy
Possibly speak tongues
Beat drum, Abyssinian, street Baptist
Rap this in fine linen, from the beginning
My practice extending across the atlas
I begat this
Flipping in the ghetto on a dirty mattress
You can't match this rapper slash actress
More powerful than two Cleopatras
Bomb graffiti on the tomb of Nefertiti
MCs ain't ready to take it to the Serengeti
My rhymes is heavy like the mind of sister Betty (Betty Shabazz)
L-Boogie spars with stars and constellations
Then came down for a little conversation
Adjacent to the king, fear no human being
Roll with cherubims to Nassau Coliseum
Now hear this mixture, where Hip Hop meets scripture
Develop a negative into a positive picture

Now everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

Sometimes it seems
We'll touch that dream
But things come slow or not at all
And the ones on top, won't make it stop
So convinced that they might fall
Let's love ourselves and we can't fail
To make a better situation
Tomorrow, our seeds will grow
All we need is dedication
Let me tell ya that

Everything is everything
Everything is everything
After winter, must come spring
Everything is everything

Everything is everything
What is meant to be, will be
After winter, must come spring
Change, it comes eventually

You Don't Have a Food Problem

HAPPY SUNDAY! Guess what? YOU DON'T HAVE A FOOD PROBLEM! Aren't you relieved?!!

You may not be relieved. You may think I don't know what I'm talking about. You may have a list of reasons that prove that I seriously am clueless. That list might include:

  • I eat too much (see, food problem, duh!)
  • I crave sugar and other food that is "bad" for me (again..food = problem! Hello!)
  • I'm overweight and want to lose weight but I still eat too much! (food)
  • I seriously don't know what to eat to make me lose weight. It's a problem (again...food)
  • I am STRESSED about food. I mean--it takes up a lot of my headspace. Like, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT???! (food)

There's many many more additions to this list but I know you have things to do today so I'll trust that you get the picture. AND. I'm telling you--you don't have a food problem.

Disclaimer: if you're eating total crap all day every day (and by crap I mean highly processed food, fast food, nothing made at home. food laden with additives, little to no fruit or vegetables etc..) then YES. YOU HAVE A FOOD PROBLEM. And you most likely have some health problems, too. And if you don't have health problems now, you will eventually. So to be clear--when I am saying you don't have a food problem this kind of eating is the exception.

For the rest of you--those of you that eat a lot of whole foods, cook at home often, and avoid processed foods as much as possible (except when you don't)--you don't have a food problem! YAY!

What you have is a LIFE problem. Yes. You do. You're obsessing about food instead of obsessing about life. You're not letting joy be your guide. You're seeing all the stuff that isn't working and not noticing all the stuff that's going right. You're also plugged into some really damaging belief paradigms around how you're supposed to LOOK and that alone can cause you to not be living your life as fully and joyfully as you have the right to.

Food is a SYMPTOM. Food covers up stuff for us. It numbs us out. It also keeps us safe (if we have a few extra pounds on we are safe from getting unwanted attention, for example).

If you find yourself being even mildly obsessed with what you eat, you are robbing yourself of joy. And you are also IMMEDIATELY putting yourself into aDEPRIVATION MINDSET because the obsession about food is really about what you can and cannot eat. And once we say, "No more sugar!" all we want is sugar. ALL WE WANT IS SUGAR. I mean, we may be fine for a little bit but then, when we can't take it anymore, we are going to eat the sugar--but not just *some* sugar. We're going to eat A LOT of sugar because, you know, f**k it! I might as well eat a second piece of cake, a third brownie, or whatever it is.

So how do you address this? There's many ways to start FREEING yourself from you "food problem". One of the most important things to do, I believe, is to figure out what you're using food for. What is food standing in as a substitute for in your life?

The way to do that is simply by starting to pay attention. If all of a sudden you find yourself craving sugar, or craving chips, or even just feeling hungry when you know you're not really hungry...slow things down and start to see what was going on in your mind or life the moments before the craving hits. Sometimes this is hard, but keep at it. You'll start to figure it out. (Yes, I know I've said this before but you guys--THIS IS IMPORTANT! I probably repeat this in the future so be prepared.)

Once you start to uncover the stuff you're covering up with food THEN YOU CAN START TO LOOSEN THOSE SHACKLES!

My story (Reader's Digest Version): when I started Vibrant Living I noticed I started "eating emotionally" more often. I couldn't figure out why. I wasn't working in the job that was sucking the life out of me anymore, I was doing what I wanted to do...so why was I overeating? Short version is this: I got a coach and did some deep work and found it it was directly related to an incident when I was 5 years old in which I decided, "If I speak my authentic truth, people yell at me, I upset people, so I need to stay small and hide and never be fully expressive of who I am." Really. I did figure that out and it was AWESOME. Because every time I sat down to write a newsletter, I would CRAVE CEREAL. And then I would eat like three bowls of cereal. You guys. OMG. Can you imagine how crappy I felt afterwards? REALLY CRAPPY. And the WHY I was doing it was because writing my newsletter meant EXPRESSING MY AUTHENTIC SELF and that scared the crap out of me so of course I needed to NUMB OUT! This is the very short version of things. I'm going to write another email telling you more details. But I wanted you to see the underneath the "why"...awareness creates opportunity for action. Getting aware is imperative.

The coach I worked with was trained in the Transformational Coaching Method (which uses NLP and Family Systems work to uncover all this crazy stuff!) and I was blown away and got certified as a Master Transformational Coach as well because I wanted to make sure I could help people change their lives the way mine was changed. That's important for you to know if you're considering working with me!

Okay, Elijah! Let's get ONTO THE JOY! SOUL SONG SUNDAY!!

THIS SONG IS PURE JOY! My friend (and past client!), Randi Berry, suggested sharing this song with all of you and I LOVE IT. It's been called, "...one of the most joyful songs ever recorded."

A note on the lyrics: You may try hard to decipher some of the words in the song--you may even think you know what they are, but they are actually just made up! Michael Glabicki said in an interview that the lyrics aren't supposed to make rational sense. "I was in the process of coming up with lyrics, and it just sounded so good and felt so right that it had a meaning of its own that you couldn't make better by making it a word. So I left it."

RUSTED ROOT--SEND ME ON MY WAY

 

 

HAVE A JOYOUS WEEK!!

Love,

Elijah

Overeating?

If you find yourself overeating, eating when you're not hungry, never truly feeling full, trying to control what and when you eat, or any variation of these things then you are not alone. I have lived in that terrible space and it is frustrating, depressing, and exhausting. It inevitably makes you feel bad about yourself because you "have no willpower" or because you ate the "wrong" things...and other shaming things we say to ourselves.

Here's the thing. If you're an overeater, focusing on food will only make things worse. What I mean by "focusing on food" is thinking that what you eat and when you eat is the route to overcoming overeating. This is a super common thing that we do when we feel out of control with food. But when we make food the first thing we focus on--and try and control--we actually make things a whole lot worse.

Focusing on food is always about deprivation. If we're overeating, we shame ourselves and say things like, "Starting tomorrow, I'm cutting out all sugar and bread from my diet!" or "I'm going to eat all vegan starting tomorrow!" or some version of a NOT ALLOWED list. And almost IMMEDIATELY we get that funny feeling inside of fear and anxiety and desire to eat eat eat! Your mind is throwing a temper tantrum!! It's freaking out at the thought of deprivation!

So if focusing on food doesn't work, what does?

When we overeat, it is actually NEVER about the food. It is about some emotional need we are fulfilling. Overeating is the SYMPTOM not the problem!

Our body is always communicating with us--we just need to decipher what it is saying.

So what is the root of overeating? It's different for everybody. So often there is an underlying feeling of anxiety when we eat too much or eat when we aren't hungry. If you were able to slow down the moments before you reached for food (or more food)...if you could slow it down frame by frame like a movie...you would be able to examine the thoughts and feelings you had that lead you to food. You'll start to learn what CAUSED that anxiety to begin with. And that's the magic place!

Food is SO GOOD at making us feel better. That's why we use food to deal with our difficult emotions. But we all know that as much as it solves the problems of difficult of emotions, it creates a myriad of other problems for us! So ultimately, as effective as it is, we need to unearth the core reasons why it is happening and then deal with those reasons in healthier ways.

So your task is to start paying attention to your thoughts, words to yourself, and feelings prior to eating too much or eating when you're not hungry. Allow yourself to be surprised. Allow yourself to go deep. Don't be afraid--when you discover what it is (and there may be multiple things!) you are then EMPOWERED to do something about it! Get help with this if you're able to. I got help from my coach when I was dealing with this (story for another email but I'll tell you all about it, I promise!) and it was TRANSFORMATIONAL.

If you're ready to break free from the shackles of emotional eating (OMG it feels so good!) then email me and we can hop on the phone and have a 45 minute free mini-session! Zero attachment to outcome on my part...you'll leave the call with a much clearer understanding of what is going on with you and some actions to start transforming things. If you feel called to do the deeper work, we can talk about working together and if not, no problem! I love the opportunity to talk to my peeps and get to know them better.

Sending loads of love,

Elijah

P.S. Reminder: Virtual Goddess Gathering this Saturday! More info and sign up here!

"I'm fat and ugly"

I think A LOT about the subject of us loving ourselves. I can honestly say that not a single day goes by when I don't think about it. There's a couple of reasons why. First and foremost, because it took me FOREVER to FINALLY LOVE MYSELF. Man. I spent way to many years walking around under the cloud of not being good enough, pretty enough, thin enough...not enough not enough not enough. ENOUGH ALREADY.

The other reason is that I hear women and men EVERY DAY talk shit about themselves as if it was the most normal thing in the world. And you know what? It is normal. Or maybe I should say, it's the norm.

Just some of the things I've heard:

  • "I'm disgusting."
  • "I hate my body."
  • "I'm repulsive."
  • "I can't stand myself."
  • "I'm a piece of human garbage."
  • "No one will ever love this grossness."

And many many more. I want to state that the above quotes are actual things I've heard people say--both strangers and people that I know and love. It is so heart-breaking to me. I wonder how many of you reading this are thinking, "That's not really any big deal. We all say stuff like that to ourselves. It motivates us."? Are you thinking this isn't a big deal? You might be. For me, it isn't that I didn't think it was a big deal but that I didn't really think about it at all because EVERYONE DID IT. I was the fish that didn't know I lived in water--it was all around me so I truly didn't know any different. But once you start noticing, you can't stop. And once you understand how deeply damaging this is to yourself and the life you want to live (I mean truly stepping into a powerful and juicy life that has you feeling ALIVE) then you'll understand what a big deal this truly is.

I've been there. I have countless journal entries where (no exaggeration) I've just written over and over again, "I'm fat and ugly, I'm fat and ugly..." It crushes me to think of that version of myself, lying in bed writing in her journal in so much pain.

It took me years to climb out of that deep, dark hole, and now I'm determined to pull others up behind me (and do it faster than I did!).

Why? So many reasons why. But one of the biggest is that WE NEED YOU. And when you are lying in bed thinking you're a piece of shit, or even if you're just walking around thinking good things won't happen until you lose 15 pounds, YOU ARE NOT BRINGING YOUR FULL GAME. And seriously--the world needs you to show up powerfully. I believe that all of us, deep inside, want to be in service to the world--make this a better place. We want to know we are making a difference even if it is just in our small corner...if you think that sounds cheesy then 1) yes, I agree, it sounds cheesy but 2) it's dead on. And 3) if you're denying that then you just aren't willing to own that part of you that wants to shine--to truly bring passion and purpose to your life. I get it. It's scary. It can feel daunting. But truthfully, avoiding that, dulling your passions, editing yourself in order to please others and not make waves...oooooooh! THAT IS EXHAUSTING!

So what I'm saying here is that THE FUTURE OF THE WORLD IS AT STAKE. That's how important learning to love yourself is!

This is February. It's the month we associate with love. I am declaring February the LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF month. Yes, it is f**king hard. And yes, it is totally worth it.

I know you have a lot of questions. The main question is HOW???? HOW DO I LOVE MYSELF??? The mantras don't work! Thinking positive only goes so far! And anyways, I truly am not good enough so come on! I'm not lovable!

I get it. I've been there. And I'm going to help you. This entire month I'm going to talk about this and get you on that path. Because THE TRUE YOU IS WAITING. It's ready to SHINE!

And since it is Soul Song Sunday, we are going to jam to some self love by the breathtaking India Arie. Put this song in your pocket and listen to it every day--it's going to start you down that road to LOVE of SELF.

 

India Arie VIDEO

 

 

 

Sometimes I shave my legs and sometimes I don't
Sometimes I comb my hair and sometimes I won't
Depend of how the wind blows I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on whatever feels good in my soul

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

When I look in the mirror and the only one there is me
Every freckle on my face is where it's suppose to be
And I know my creator didn't make no mistakes on me
My feet, my thighs, my lips, my eyes, I'm loving what I see

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

Am I less of a lady if I don't wear panty hose
My momma said a lady ain't what she wears but what she knowsâ?¦
But I've drawn the conclusion, it's all an illusion
Confusion's the name of the game
A misconception, a mass deception,
Something gotta change

Now don't be offended this is all my opinion
Ain't nothing that I'm saying law
This is a true confession
Of a life learned lesson
I was sent here to share with y'all
So get in when you fit in
Go on and shine
Clear your mind
Now's the time
Put your salt on the shelf
Go on and love yourself
Cause everything's gonna be alright

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

Keep your fancy drink, and your expensive minks
I don't need that to have a good time
Keep your expensive cars and your caviar
All I need is my guitar

Keep your crystal and your pistol
I'd rather have a pretty piece of crystal
Don't need you silicone, I prefer my own
What god gave me is just fine

I'm not the average girl from your video
And I ain't built like a supermodel
But I learned to love myself unconditionally
Because I am a queen
I not the average girl from your video
My worth is not determined by the price of my clothes
No matter what I'm wearing I will always be
India.Arie

"If I love myself as I am now, then I'll never lose weight"

"If I love myself as I am now, then I'll never lose weight."

Does that thought sound familiar?

When you hear that common refrain, "You really just need to love yourself exactly as you are NOW!" do you think, "UM. NO THANK YOU. Because how I am now is gross and I need to MOTIVATE myself to lose weight and if I'm all lovey-dovey with myself then I won't be motivated and I'll never lose the weight."

Yeah. Me too. Some version of that anyway. I used to really really struggle with the idea of loving myself as I am now because I didn't like my body the way it was and honestly, it felt really TERRIFYING to love my body--just scary. Because if I loved my body, it seemed like things would become chaos. To me, judging my body and being critical of myself, meant keeping control--of my food and my exercise--and I believed that if I loved myself just as I am then the lid would blow off of that control and things would become chaos. Specifically I believed I'd GAIN weight and become a total mess. Hating my body equalled the hope that I would beat it into submission someday.

 

 

I know a lot of my clients (okay--all of them) have felt that way, too.

HERE'S THE THING:

NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH.

It's really counterintuitive, isn't it? It just somehow seems "right" that in order to create change we need to be hard on ourselves. But it is MESSED UP and NOT TRUE.

In fact, when we are hard on ourselves (i.e., when we hate on our bodies) we immediately create a bunch of super negative things that actually keep us from having the body we desire. KEEP US FROM IT.

Let me ask you this: has hating your body worked so far? Has it made you happy? Has it put you into a graceful flow of your life where you resonate joy and confidence? Has hating on yourself created freedom around what you eat and how you exercise? NO. IT HAS NOT.

I know it hasn't because I'VE BEEN THERE. Hating on yourself does a bunch of super negative things. Let's look at some of them:

  • Has you feeling crazy self-conscious and makes you hide out when you could be STEPPING UP
  • Creates obsession around food and has you creating "good" and "bad" categories of food in extreme ways--and then severely punishing yourself when you eat a "bad" food (punishment comes in many forms but the worse form is takes is SHAME)
  • Every time you hate on yourself you release a cocktail of stress hormones that actually have you HOLDING ONTO WEIGHT! So that's fun!
  • Constantly judging and criticizing your body lowers your energy and affects how you show up at work, in your relationships and at play. Basically, you're vibrating on "Total Bummer" and people pick up on that.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the consequences of HATING ON YOUR BODY.

Remember when you were a kid and you didn't think about your body or food at all?!

Yeah--those were good times! We were ENGAGED in life! We ran! We played! We sat down and wolfed down a PB&J and then we ran out to play some more!

That's because we didn't yet know that we "weren't good enough". We hadn't been bombarded with all the messaging from advertising that is designed to have us think and feel that we are "not enough". It's powerful stuff and we've all bought in, hook, line and sinker.

But guess what?! LOVING OURSELVES AS WE ARE is the fist step to having the body AND LIFE that we desire! #truthbomb!

When we love ourselves--like TRULY LOVE OURSELVES--we:

  • Stop obsessing every day and every moment about how we are not good enough. That may sound miraculous, but it is true. And WOW that frees up a TON of energy that can be put to far better use!
  • Stop inundating our bodies with that awful toxic cocktail of stress hormones that chip away at our health and keep weight on our bodies
  • We see food differently! Wow! We are allowed to enjoy food but because we actually LOVE ourselves, all sorts of things start to click into place and it because effortless to actually feed ourselves HEALTHY and NOURISHING food!

And that's just a few of the benefits :)

BUT HOW THE HECK DO I LOVE MYSELF?!!

Yes, that's the crux of it, isn't it? It took me a long long time to figure this out. But I have. And my mission in life is to shortcut for you the years it took me to get here.

And one of the most crucial steps in the process is LETTING GO OF THE FEAR that bad things will happen if you allow yourself COMPASSION and LOVE.

So your homework is to start noticing the fear you have around loving yourself. REALLY NOTICE. Dig deep and see where it is hiding. Bring it out into the light--give it a hug and let it know that there's a better way! Bless and release that fear because truly, THINGS GET BETTER when you LOVE YOURSELF.

As always, I love to know what you are thinking and feeling so hit reply and let me know!

XOXO,

Elijah

P.S. If you are excited to go deep around this, I'll be in NYC on June 27th! I'd love it if you joined me!

Is Your Body STOPPING You?!

Beautiful!!! HOW ARE YOU?!

Let's get right down to business because this is super super important. Is your body image holding you back from fully living your life? Do you find yourself thinking or saying things like:

  • I'll go shopping for new clothes once I lose weight. Until then I wear what I have.
  • I can't look for a new job right now--I look like crap. Once I get fit I'll be able to finally get that job I want.
  • I'm not even going to try and date right now...I have to lose weight first.
  • I would go in for that summer house share if only I liked the way I look in shorts.
  • Once I lose {X amount of] pounds then I'll be able put on a bathing suit.

(Side note real quick--there's a transformational homework assignment for you at the end of this post! I don't want you to miss it! Okay, carry on!)

And there's hundreds of other examples along these lines...examples of us hating on our bodies and WAITING TO LIVE OUR LIVES until some future date when we've hit the magic number on the scale.

I know I've done it. Countless times. I have had thoughts like these and they literally hurt. I have actually turned down invitations to do fun things because I was not feeling good in my body. And BTW--I've felt this way even when I've been thin and fit however in my mind I looked like crap. UGH.

This is so heartbreaking. If I could add up the times that I held back in life because I felt bad about my body--OR times that I simply couldn't fully enjoy myself at a fun event because I was feeling self-conscious--I'm sure that it would equal YEARS of my life.

You know what? I CALL BULLSH*T.

Not bullsh*t to you. YOU ARE AWEOME. But bullsh*t to the culture and society that from a very young age feed us the idea that unless we have the "perfect" body, we simply aren't good enough. I don't have to give you all the examples of ways in which girls and women are exposed to this idea through magazines, billboards, television, movies and nowadays, social media. We can't turn our head without being bombarded by this message. It's so so painful.

AND WE HAVE BOUGHT INTO IT. Oh yes we have, hook, line and sinker. And I bet you that many of you reading this right now are doing this weird thing of totally agreeing with me while still thinking, "But I still need to get my body in shape before I [fill in the blank]" --it's a different thing for all of us but it all adds up to NOT LIVING OUR LIVES FULLY and NOT THINKING WE ARE GOOD ENOUGH. You know how I know you're thinking that way? Because I thought that way my whole life.

I'm a feminist and I will yell from the mountain top that women don't need to conform to the bullsh*t beauty standard set forth by the patriarchy in order to hold us down and hold us back and keep us spending money (TONS of money) on products that we don't need...but for years I ranted all that while still hating my own body and believing I needed to change it in order to be considered:

  • Pretty
  • Successful
  • Worthy
  • Likable
  • Lovable
  • Worth listening to
  • Allowed to speak up

And honestly, the list goes on and on. It's not that I didn't have many times where I was fully engaged and happy in my life, but there were also way too many times when the hatred and disappointment in my body were absolutely CRUSHING TO MY SOUL.

THAT'S NOT OKAY! Can you see that? IT IS SO NOT OKAY! In the simplest of terms, I'm a human being on the planet and I'm allowed to live fully expressed no matter what I look like! The thought/belief that I have to look a certain way in order to be considered valuable is crazy and depressing.

HOW MANY WOMEN HOLD THEMSELVES BACK BECAUSE OF THEIR BODIES?

WHAT WOULD THE WORLD LOOK LIKE IF THAT WERE TO CHANGE?

It would look CRAZY AWESOME DIFFERENT, that's what.

So what does it take to change this way of being that is so flippen destructive to ourselves and our lives?

It requires that we shift the paradigm around our WORTH. We need to realize that our WORTH and VALUE is not in the way we look. I'm not saying we should all of a sudden reject everything, stop showering and wear a potato sack every day. No. We are allowed to adorn ourselves and dress the way we like to and feel beautiful FOR OURSELVES (which of course translates to the outside world). I'm all for that. However, we as women need to truly throw off the shackles of BEAUTY IS OUR WORTH and get clear that WE ARE TOTAL BADASSES THAT CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. And then we need to get out there and do it!

So here's your homework:

  1. Ask five people in your life that love you what they value most about you (hint: none of them are going to say, "I really value that you have a killer body). Write these things down.
  2. Write down the top five things you truly value about yourself--the things you do, your ways of being in the world that you feel really proud of. If you can't think of five, that's okay--write down as many as you're able. Even if it is just one thing, write it down! Own it!
  3. Think of one way you let your body STOP you from LIVING FULLY and GO DO THAT. For example, if you've stopped yourself from buying a new pair of jeans until you lose some weight, go out and buy a new pair of jeans that fit you great and that you feel good in! DON'T WAIT! FEEL GREAT!

After you've done your homework, please post your results in the comments! Yay!

Let me tell you what you already know (even if you don't have this in your conscious mind, you know it way down deep in your soul):

YOU ARE MEANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

I am here to help you remember that. I am here to wake that part up inside of you. Because THE WORLD NEEDS YOU.

 

With love and empowerment,

Elijah

P.S. Please share this exercise with any of your fabulous women friends that you know would benefit!