Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Light

When does cancer begin?  What about a heart attack or any other illness.  What about a fight with a loved one, or the end of a relationship?  Don't we seem to view things as happening suddenly?  When a bunch of things go wrong, we are in the mind set of  "Oh my God all of a sudden the shit is hitting the fan!"  The truth is, cancer starts long before diagnosis, heart attacks brew well in advance of the actual attack, and the seeds of fighting and relationship turmoil are planted way before we experience them. Nothing manifests itself suddenly in life. Imagine what you would think if someone said to you "I went outside this morning and all of a sudden there was a giant oak tree in front of my house."  You would think he was crazy! So why don't we know and stop the progression of steps we take towards hardship?  There's a concept in the philosophy of Kabbalah known as the 1% realm versus the 99% realm.  The 1% realm is the limited view of things.  It is our limited perception of reality, and where we jump to conclusions, panic in the face of hardship, and judge things based on how they initially appear.  The 99% realm is the bigger picture.  It's where we tap into intuition, talent, power, goodness and understanding.  What's the difference between the two?  Continuing with the Kabbalistic definition, "the light" exists in the 99% realm, and the 1% is the gate blocking you.  What I mean by the light, is the universal energy of fulfillment.  It can be God, a higher power, or an unseen force.  Whatever it is, we are all gunning for it aren't we?  What's interesting is that most of us chase that light, or  fulfillment in such a way that we will never get it.  We think that if we could just get that job, girl, guy, house, or anything else you might want, we will be fulfilled.   But we won't.  Fulfillment isn't tangible, and we'll never get it by chasing it.  Part of the problem is we are all so ruled by the ego.  It wants it and it wants it now and anything less than that is catastrophic.  We don't see obstacles as gifts and opportunities to learn and grow from, we just focus on relieving the pain they cause ASAP.  We seek short term gratification at the expense of long term fulfillment.
By admitting to yourself that you don't see the big picture, that you don't have all the answers, and that you need help, you can begin to move out of the 1% and into the 99%.  We all have repetitive patterns of reactions to hardships, and also to the good things in life, and sometimes we are trapped by these patterns. Just asking for help, and admitting that you don't see the big picture doesn't guarantee that you will suddenly have all the right answers.  Tapping into the light is a gradual process.  But as long as your intent is to let go of your desire to hear what you want to hear and not what you need to hear the right answer will get to you.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The idea for this post has been floating around in my head for quite some time now.  I've hesitated, because to write it would mean confessing things about myself that I had really wanted to just shove back into the past and forget about.  An email I received this morning from a woman who I used to train made me feel like I had to write it.  The email began with the sentence "I hate myself."  She continued on to say that she hated her thighs, her butt, her arms, her hair, her face, and well you get the picture.  After exercising and watching what she ate for years, she still felt like a poor man's version of Eva Longoria, an actress that her husband thought was the most beautiful woman on earth.  She was reaching out to me in frustration after feeling like she would never be good enough, pretty enough, or sexy enough no matter what she did, or ate.  She didn't want me to tell her what to eat, or what workout to do, she just had had it and needed someone to vent to.  I've felt like her, and I know others have too, both men and women.  Held up against the standards set by Hollywood or the fashion industry, and continually taken to the next level by make up artists, airbrushing and computer editing, we are trying to achieve the impossible.  You can't become what doesn't exist, and all these celebrities that we all lust after have cellulite, pimples, and bad hair days, just like the rest of us.

I don't know how much this woman's husband mentioned how hot he thought Eva Longoria was, but I do know how damaging it can be to hear that.  So here is confession number 1.  I once dated someone who had a thing for a particular Victoria's Secret model, and one night asked me what her name was.  He continued on to say that she was the most beautiful women on the planet, and in subsequent conversations said that although he loved me, he would totally leave me for her.  In hindsight I wonder if that was the beginning of the end of our relationship.  I just couldn't comprehend how you could say that to someone you love.  But worse than that, my opinion of myself diminished.  I allowed that to affect my self esteem, and I regret that.  How many of you have "free passes", or that one celebrity you'd be allowed to sleep with if you got the chance?  My opinion? Get rid of that.  Sure, appreciate another person for their physical beauty or nice body, but please stop short of saying you would leave your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse for someone else.  I guess some people could brush that off, but I have seen former clients and students come to me saying "I want to look like this person.", and then explain that the celebrity they wanted to look like was their significant others' "free pass".

Something else my former client said was that she just wanted to be skinny for one day, just to see what it feels like for once in her life.  When is this skinny thing going to end?  When do we stop holding ourselves up against emaciated actresses and models and feeling like we fall short?  I will take this even further.  If women feel the need to starve them selves skinny, how many men see images of actors with ripped abs and perfect physiques and feel like they don't measure up?  How does one compete with digital abs and airbrushed pecs?  So here's confession number 2, and a particularly hard one for me.  When I was in high school, I was a dancer, and although I didn't think I was fat, I desperately wanted the skinny ballet bodies that some of my fellow students had.  I would skip breakfast, save my lunch money and bring a piece of fruit for lunch.  When I had saved enough money I would buy diet pills in an effort to relieve myself of the appetite that stood between me and the perfect skinny body.  While that didn't last long enough for me to affect my health in any way, I did become too thin, and it was emotionally painful.  Skinny does not equal healthy, sexy or beautiful!

So, before I go on way too long (I may have already done that!), I just want to end with this.  I don't view one person or a few people as most attractive, and then everyone else rates lower on a descending scale.  I appreciate a celebrity's, or models, or any random person on the street's appearance for what it is, and then it's over. Maybe we can do that?  Let celebrities be hot, let them sit in the make up chair for hours, or fast for days leading up to an appearance, and stop letting them set standards that we hold ourselves and those we care about up to.
Oh, and in case the woman who emailed me happens to read this, this is for you (by the way you are beautiful and awesome:-) :

 See!  Normal, just like the rest of us!