Several years ago I was working one night at my retail job when a woman, a customer, came in. I did that thing that we as women, as humans, sometimes do. I judged her. I looked her over and I placed value on her by how she looked. I remember thinking that she was was the ugliest woman I'd ever seen.

I know, I'm not proud of that thought or that judgement but I'm not perfect and I learned a very important lesson that day.

That woman changed my mind within seconds.

She smiled. She smiled and she looked happy and kind and radiant and beautiful. I don't know what it was about her but she glowed and I remember thinking, "I want to be like that. I want to light up the room like that." That moment completely changed my perception of what beauty was. It's not a collection of symmetrical features arranged in a pleasant manner, it's a light that comes from inside that you allow to shine outward. You give it permission to flow from you. It's a beautiful collision of happiness and confidence and comfortableness inside of your own skin.

We can choose to be beautiful.

We can also choose to change the standard of beauty around us. We have the power to recognize the beauty, all types of beauty, around us. Or we can be blind to it if we want, if we choose to. It's still a choice. To be beautiful and to see beauty.

I wanted to share this uber inspirational video from Lizzie Velásquez, once dubbed the World's Ugliest Woman. I love her words, her attitude, and her fighting spirit, and I hope you will too!

I'd love to know... What defines you? What qualities makes you beautiful?

No matter how airy fairy woo woo you may think positive thinking and affirmations are, the truth is that they have worked for me. They have helped create important shifts in my life.

I want to share some of the happy thoughts I cultivate on a daily basis. They're powerful to me and I hope that just reading them in your head brightens your day just a bit and who knows? Maybe some of them will stick!

Today is going to be wonderful.

Start the day off right. Not every day will be wonderful but there's something wonderful to be found in everyday, corny but true! Even when you're tired and grumpy and jonesing for those extra 10 minutes of sleep - believe that what lies ahead of you is going to be full of happiness.

What I do today and what I give today matters.

It really does matter. Sometimes it's hard for me to believe that the writing that I do matters but it really does. My actions and my words have a ripple effect. Every smile can change the course of someone's day, every good deed and kind word can make a difference. I try to remember that every single day and act accordingly.

Today I will try to be positive and encourage others to be positive as well.

This has been my go-to mantra the last few weeks at work with a new boss that has made it a less than happy work environment. We can either buy into the negativity or we can try to be that little ray of sunshine. We always have a choice, it's important to remember that.

Everything is going to be okay.

We need safety. We need security. As human beings that sense of being okay is so important to our center. Reminding ourselves that we are safe, that everything is going to be okay, that we have it in our power to protect ourselves and make it so, helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Today I live in the present moment and enjoy and immerse myself into what is in front of me.

Develop the skill of appreciating what is right in front of you. Live in the moment. Appreciate what you are experiencing right now. Savor what you are feeling and thinking and seeing and tasting. There are a lot of little beautiful things in every moment.

I let go of procrastination and tackle those projects and tasks that have been waiting for my attention.

You'll feel so good and so proud of yourself if you tackle just one of those pesky things on your list. Get it done! Mark off that to-do list! Just getting a few things done can make a difference.

I feel good about my life today.

Seriously. Feel good about your life. Feel good about the people around you. Make sure that you have amazing people in your life and if you don't? Go out and seek them. Love your home and the things inside of it. Let it be a safe haven from the world outside. If there's something you want to do, do it. If there's something you want to learn, learn it! Create a life around yourself that you love love love.

I feel really good today about what I am doing.

If you don't feel good about it then why are you doing it? That's always a good question to ask yourself. Do the things that make you feel good and if it doesn't feel good then change what you're doing or your attitude about it. If you're stuck in a job you don't like or a situation that isn't nourishing and you can't change it right now then find something that gives you purpose and incorporate it into your life.

I gently remind myself that it is okay to stop and rest or take a break when I need one.

Pushing through when you on the edge of your breaking point rarely has good results. Sometimes you just gotta take a little breather, a break, or a nap to re-energize and find your mojo. That's totally okay! Don't feel bad about it!

I did good today. 

I achieved something today. I made a difference today. I lived today. I felt something wonderful today.
End your day on a good note. Ya know the saying don't go to bed mad? Well try not to go to bed sad either, or feeling any of those other sucky emotions. When you're laying in bed, take deep breaths, highlight the good things that you did and felt and fall asleep feeling good.

What things do you tell yourself on a daily basis?

Over on the Soul Sisterhood last week we were talking about the spirals and cycles of life and emotions. How do we handle it when we're doing good and then life sends us back to square one.

Life is not linear. It's full of ups and downs. Sometimes we're there and sometimes we're not. Life is not meant to be lived on one emotion, in one color, we need a scope of them. An expanse of colors that make us feel and that change us. That's life and those ups and downs mean that you are living it. It means that you get to fall down and get back up. It means that you get to show yourself how very strong and brave and resilient you are. 'Cause you are, so brave and strong and resilient.

"There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away." -Sarah Kay

 Today's card comes from Steven Farmer's Earth Magic deck and is so relevant to me right now with where I am, especially in my business. I'm going through a slump. I keep reminding myself that  just because I'm having a slow month doesn't mean I need to give up. I think that applies to just about everything, you know the adage "a bad day doesn't mean a bad life".

Ocean: Ebb and Flow

"An important aspect in the art of living is to move with the ebb and flow of your emotions, joining their fluidity but not being captured by it. It is also not necessary to become obsessed with any particular fluctuation in mood or feeling. They are simply emotions, often activated in ways that are completely beyond your understanding. When you neither minimize nor exaggerate the intensity and importance of your emotions, you then have a greater sense of when and how to express them.

You have been fighting the ebb and flow of your own feelings... allow yourself to swim with these variations rather than resisting them.

The ebb and flow of Life was never more clearly represented than it is in the ocean. The tides of these great bodies of water move in and out with rhythm and the waves continue to roll in and out on the shores with varying patterns and have been doing so for millions of years and will continue to do so for millions of more." - Earth Magic Oracle Cards" by ©Steven D. Farmer

Things will always get better. There's always a bright side, you are strong enough and brave enough to get through any rough spot.

You totally got this.

"Emotional eating is the practice of consuming food -- usually "comfort" or junk foods -- in response to feelings instead of hunger."

I eat more when I am stressed. I eat more when I am depressed. I eat more when I am anxious. I eat more when I am angry. I eat more when I am lacking inspiration. I eat more when I want to reward myself.

I am an emotional eater and I am not ashamed of it.

It's not a deep dark secret. It's not something that fills me with shame. It doesn't make me hate myself. It doesn't make me cry. It doesn't make me a bad person. It doesn't define who I am. That my friends, is progress. That is one of the many gifts that self love has taught me. I am not defined by the things that I do and that whole self-loathing shtick is way overrated. If you would've asked me 10 years ago you'd have gotten an entirely different response full of shame, guilt, and self-recrimination. Emotional eating isn't who I am.

It's a coping mechanism.

So is smoking and drinking a glass of wine and biting your fingernails. Emotional eating s not a good coping mechanism I'll grant you but that's all it is. When we allow ourselves to see those behaviors as exactly what they are instead of something that we are it becomes easier to change the behavior. The last several months have been really sucky and I find myself drawn to fast food and anything greasy and cheesy. I've finally gotten to the point where I want to change my ways, and that's always the first step, admitting there's something worth changing. I wanted to share with you the tools that I'm using.

How I'm working on changing my mindset.

Mindfulness. A lot of the time I ignore the fact that I'm eating for my emotions. I shut out those voices that ask if this is really what's best for me and I do what I want to do instead. It also blocks out the emotions, for awhile. Eating something delicious helps me to ignore what I'm feeling in the moment. When we allow ourselves to be mindful about the whole situation, things start to shift.
"I feel x
It makes me want to do y
But instead I'm going to z"
I love that formula, so simple but it packs a punch.

Feed the emotion instead of the body. 9 times out of 10 if I practice emotional self care when those feelings and cravings hit by the time I'm finished self-caring the cravings had gotten to a point where I don't feel the need to have ice cream and cookies for lunch. The secret it scraping together the energy to do those good-for-you things. Don't throw up your hands and let the cravings win just because it's easier.

Practice kindness. To myself, my body, and my mind that sometimes goes a little bit off the rails. Beating yourself up never solves anything, it just overloads you with guilt and shame. Being kind and compassionate to myself has done more for my self development than beating myself up ever could. It's all a process, one step at a time, don't sweat the missteps, just keep moving forward.

How do you deal with not-so-good-for-you coping mechanisms?

I never knew how powerful forgiveness was until I allowed myself to indulge in it. When people tell you that forgiveness is a gift that you give yourself, they aren't lying.

You don't know how heavy it is until you let it go.

A grudge is like a pain that you've had for so long that you barely feel it anymore but when it's gone you don't know how you managed to live with it.

A few years ago when I was getting into this transformative self-help thing I wrote down all of the grudges I was holding onto. All of the things that I was still pissed about no matter how long ago they happened or how small they were. It was a long list. Over a page. I don't know how I could have carried all of those things within me. I went down the list of those grudges and I examined them. Some of them were easy to let go. I acknowledged the hurt and why it hurt and then I let it go and moved on. Others took a lot of work and examination and journaling and talking, but once I did that, once I let go...

It felt so unbelievably good.

Forgiving yourself (at least for me) is ridiculously hard. There's all those should haves and could haves and we wish we had done better, known better, listened and acted better. It's so easy to place the blame on ourselves and internalize everything. The work to find forgiveness, to get through those feelings, is worth it. The energy to let it go is worth it.

Today's card, from Louise Hay's Wisdom Cards is:

I release all old hurts and forgive everyone, including myself.

What things do you need to forgive yourself for? What do you need to forgive others for?

One of the many wonderful things about this big ol' internet is how easily it is to find inspiration. Things that make us laugh, things that make us cry, or think, it's all there at our fingertips, waiting to be discovered, enjoyed, and appreciated.

I wanted to share something that makes me cry every single time.

This poem, "B" by Sarah Kay is everything that I want to tell every woman, that I want women to tell each other. This poem mesmerizes me with the humor and the wit and the beautiful imagery. I hope that you enjoy it! Feel free to share with me in the comments your thoughts. What things would you, or do you, tell your daughter?

What do you want every woman to know?

"But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air." - Sarah Kay

Have you ever stopped to think about the things that you and the people around you view as sacred?

There's such a broad scope of sacred things, places, and acts. Religious texts, places of worship, certain jewelry or totems, the act of covering your head, taking communion, washing your feet, revering cows, tattoos, sex, prayer, the breadth of sacred things is endless.

What makes them sacred?

The connection to God ((Universe, Great Spirit, Earth Mother, Goddess, Wise Ones, Creator, ect)) is what makes those things sacred. Sacred means connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose. It is our way to connect and to honor what is holy or meaningful to us and our spirituality. Mull that over for a moment.

Think of the way sacred expands to mean more. 

The only difference between sacred and mundane is how you choose to see it. It's entirely subjective and that's so awesome to me. Sacred is unique to you and your relationship with God. It's not the same for everyone. I wanted to share how that allows us to be empowered and to invite the Divine into our lives on a daily basis.

I was thinking about my day, of the little rituals that make up my day, and how they connect me so deeply to my version of the Divine. They became sacred because of how they make me feel and the connection that they give me to the lifeblood of my existence. Taking a warm bath and submerging myself under the water is connection. Cleaning my sacred space invites connection. Dancing in the dark makes me feel that tether to something bigger and greater than myself. It's amazing what mundane things can become the glue that hold us to our faith.

What strange yet wonderful things are sacred to you?

From Louise Hay's Wisdom Cards
"I Am Good Enough."

Say those words out loud to yourself right now. I am good enough. Do those words come out confidently?

You are good enough.

You are good enough to have the life that you want. Don't be afraid of your dreams. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Show yourself that your dreams are worth trying for, take that first step.

You are good enough to feel loved in your relationships. All of them. You don't have to take shit from anyone. You don't have to put up with anyone treating you badly or not respecting who you are at the center of your being. You are good enough to seek what you want and what you need and not settle for anything less. You are good enough to love.

You are good enough to be exactly who you are. You don't have to dilute yourself. You don't have to make yourself small so that others will like you. Don't be afraid of being yourself. Amazing things come from that. Like-minded souls will be drawn to you and those are the people that will nourish who you are. Anyone worth impressing will like you for you. You are good enough to be loved and appreciated for who you are.

You are good enough to let go of the past. You don't have to continually beat yourself up for the things that you've done. You don't have to stick by the belief that you are a bad person. You don't have to buy into believing that you are the sum of your mistakes. There is so much good inside of you. You have value just as you are in all of your faults and mistakes. They make you beautiful.

You are good enough.