An excerpt from Your Life is Your Prayer: Wake Up to the Spiritual Power in Everything You Do
“You, yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — The Buddha
Body self-consciousness, body obsession and body shame seem to be par for the course for most, if not all, American women — and many men, too. Our perfectionism results in body hatred — and that hatred becomes our prayer.
“I’m fat,” “I’m ugly,” “I’m not desirable,” become our mantras that we repeat over and over again, thousands of times, every time we look in the mirror, shop for clothes, or look at other people we think are slender and beautiful. We play the comparison game — judging our bodies by the images we see in the media — and we always lose when we play that game.
The negative judgments about our bodies only increase in frequency and intensity as we age. The older we get, the more we dislike what we see in the mirror. Is it any wonder that millions of Americans are overweight, even obese? Our fat thoughts from our youth have manifested in actual weight gain over the years. Our fat thoughts were our prayers and our prayers were answered in the affirmative: “Yes, you are fat,” the Universe concurred. And so we are!
If we want to change our bodies — and the way we feel about our bodies — we must begin at the beginning, with our prayers. If we want our bodies to be different, we must say different prayers:
• I am grateful for how well my body has served me thus far.
• I love that my body is sturdy and reliable, in spite of my neglect in the past.
• My body is luxurious.
• My body has marvelous self-healing abilities when I rest and let it heal any injuries or illnesses.
• Just for today, I am giving my body the high-quality fuel it needs to do its job: water, vitamins and minerals in the food I eat, good fiber, and a healthy balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
“Exercise is a celebration of what you can do, not a punishment for what you ate.” — Anonymous
Self-Care, Self-Worth, and Net Worth
One day, not too long ago, my friend Barbara was watching a popular afternoon talk show on which well-known TV-actress-turned-health-expert Suzanne Sommers was expounding on her elaborate self-care routine: daily meditation, yoga several times a week, frequent Pilates, vegetarian meals of organic produce grown in her own garden, umpteen vitamin and mineral supplements, frequent applications of bio-identical hormone potions, and fabulous sex with her handsome husband. Of course, she was flogging her new book, promising that every woman could look so good at 60.
Barbara picked up the phone and called me to complain. “Of course she can do all that great healthy stuff,” Barbara harrumphed. “She’s rich. She has all the time in the world to devote to exercise, meditation and home-grown veggies in home-cooked meals. She hires personal trainers to come to her home; she can meditate all day long without a care; and she’s got a great husband to manage her career. If I had her money, I’d look that good, too!”
Almost all the women I know are stressed out and stretched to the max, just trying to keep the mortgage paid and utilities on. Many are raising kids — often alone — wondering how they’re going to make ends meet. They’re worried about keeping their jobs, or finding new ones if they’ve lost theirs.
“How on Earth can I find time for exercise — or even sleep — when my life is too busy just trying to hold it all together?” they lament.
Many people believe that good self-care requires money — only the rich have the resources to invest in themselves. Many believe that high net worth is a requisite for a healthy lifestyle. But it’s not. Their thinking is understandable, but mistaken.
Here’s the real connection between net worth, self-worth and self-care:
You can enter the Worth Circle at any point. For instance, that famous actress/author I watched on TV probably entered the circle at Net Worth, because she’s wealthy. She uses her Net Worth to strengthen her Self-Care, which in turn enhances her Self-Worth. Clearly, this is a woman who feels good about herself.
Now, consider a person who doesn’t have a lot of money, but he has lots of moxie, self-confidence and positive self-regard. He enters the Worth Circle from the triangle point Self-Worth, and then starts taking steps toward better Self-Care. Research shows that by strengthening your Self-Care, you increase the probability of increasing your Net Worth, too.
The third possibility is someone who has little Net Worth and low Self-Worth. She might choose to enter the Worth Circle at the Self-Care point, and by engaging in good habits she can build up her Self-Worth, and in turn, her Net Worth.
That’s a great place for most of us to start: Self-Care. You don’t have to be rich to go for a walk; you don’t have to be wealthy to ride a bike or take a hike; you don’t need to have good self-esteem to choose a grilled chicken salad instead of a burger and fries. Everyone can enter the Worth Circle by taking small steps in improving his or her Self-Care. As you take better care of yourself, you will start to feel better about yourself; and as you feel better about yourself, you’ll increase your earning potential, too.
You could enter the Worth Circle by focusing on Self-Worth. Engage in esteem-able acts; do things that make you feel good about yourself; practice affirmations and creative visualization. Do whatever works to build your self-confidence, self-respect, and sense of Self-Worth.
Or, you can enter the Worth Circle by choosing Net Worth as your starting point. Start a new business; learn how money works and make it work for you; invest in promising projects. Assess risks; be smart; invest wisely.
In other words, you can enter the Worth Circle at any point you choose — at any time. No matter where you start, you can begin to strengthen the other two points. It doesn’t matter where you start in the Worth Circle — it just matters that you start.
Too often, people hope for a high net worth and live in low self-worth. When you make a conscious commitment to learn and develop behaviors that support financial health, your sense of self-worth increases. When your sense of self-worth increases, you more easily increase self-care. If you increase self-care, your sense of self-worth can increase, and your net worth can also increase. When you raise your net worth, you can boost your self-care even more because you can afford it. When you again enhance your self-care, you can raise your net worth even more.
You can enter this Worth Circle at any point and add to all three areas: self-worth, self-care, and net worth. Self-worth, self-care, and net worth are all aspects of prayer. What’s your prayer today?
“Your weight can go up or down with your level of self-love. If you want to lower your weight, try increasing your self-love.” — Karen Salmansohn, author
How to Practice Good Self-Care
AWAKEN each day to your life’s purpose and meaning.
BELIEVE in your skills, abilities, and talent.
COUNT your money and make your money count.
DISREGARD the doubters and critics around you.
ENJOY foods that make you feel vibrant and healthy.
FORGIVE those who have hurt you…because forgiving them frees you.
GIVE yourself credit for having weathered tough times.
HONOR your spiritual beliefs by living them.
INSPIRE others with your compassion and character
JUMP, skip, bend, stretch, run, walk…move your body!
KEEP your sense of humor—even if others have lost theirs.
LISTEN to your intuition and heed its wisdom.
MANAGE your time and energy as precious assets.
NEVER GIVE UP on yourself.
OPEN your heart and your wallet to those in need.
PUSH BOUNDARIES and test your limits.
QUESTION self-limiting beliefs and old habits.
REBOUND quickly from disappointments and setbacks.
SURROUND YOURSELF with people (and pets) who love you.
TAKE TIME to nourish your body, mind and spirit.
UNDERSTAND that you’re perfectly imperfect.
VEER away from negative or toxic influences.
WEAR clothes that make you feel wonderful.
X-PRESS GRATITUDE for the blessings in your life.
YAWN in the face of fear.
ZING WITH JOY each day you’re alive!
Willingness Works Prayer
Divine Goddess, Please give me the willingness to do the things I know are good for me. Show me how to develop habits that nurture my body, feed my soul, and cultivate my mind — and give me the motivation to actually do those things.
I don’t know why I’m so resistant and stubborn sometimes — why I continue to indulge in old habits that do not support my well-being. I guess I don’t need to know why. I just want to change and I can’t seem to make the changes I so desire.
So I ask you to do for me what I cannot do for myself. Show me the way — and give me the willingness to take the first step.