Define yourself

Define yourself

Judge not lest ye be judged.

At first glance this reads as a religious statement or perhaps the lead in to some strong comment chastising others for having made said judgement.

But what if we all read it — and better yet manifested it — as a mantra if you will to release the pain and heaviness that comes with judging others?

And what if we then opened our minds to the concept of ‘there but for the grace of (God, the Universe, Allah, your Higher Power) go I’? The idea that under different circumstances you too – regardless of your beliefs – could have fallen subject to whatever the situation at hand?

And then there is Alexander Pope’s ‘To err is human, to forgive divine’ – a critical concept that BECAUSE be we are indeed human, is easier said than done.

And none of this releases the ‘offender’ of responsibility on their end, but rather puts US in a place of less angst and more peace, thereby making us more approachable, and open. Not to ideals we find deplorable or behaviors less than ideal but to the idea that it is ok to come home – that it is ok to change your mind, admit your mistake or even just shift and soften your views, whichever the case may be.

For at one time or another, we ALL make mistakes. Or change our minds.

And at the end of the day it is far better to ‘judge not lest ye be judged,’ in the knowledge that ‘there but for the grace of god ‘go you’ and that to err is indeed human, to forgive, divine.

Namaste.
See you when you get here

Amy Hege Atwell is the author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at retail outlets including her shop The Painted Mermaid in Southport, NC.

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Rethinking whalebone in a post-pandemic world …

Rethinking whalebone in a post-pandemic world …

It reads like something you might have seen in any media outlet this time last year.

“From Syracuse, N.Y., to Idaho Falls, Idaho, some stores were shut, while others limited hours and crowd capacity, or encouraged phone orders. Merchants discouraged exchanges and returns to limit transmission,” notes this post from WWWD.

Sounds right … even though the author is describing the impact of the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak on the fashion world.

“Through the fall of 1918, sales of blankets, comforters and winter underwear (a precursor to today’s stay-at-home ath-leisure?) were up, while sales of ready-to-wear and children’s wear were hard hit. (Many mothers were afraid to take their children to stores.) Suit sales also dropped.”

It was the 100-years-ago version of Netflix and chill.

As our fashionista ancestors came out of the pandemic and the post-lockdown depression morphed into the Roaring Twenties, they made some choices. Flapper fashion began to rule the runways (this was the age of Coco Channel, Lanvin, Gucci, etc) and one thing in particular was relegated to the burn bin: the corset.

There was a lot of burning going on.

“This was also the time when women were given the right to vote in the United States. This new found freedom and desire to have fun, caused a shift in female fashion,” writes Jordan Anderson in NSS Magazine. “It was the birth of a new woman who abandoned the traditional corset silhouette for something much more freeing.  Dresses were shorter,  looser with a lower or non existent waistline and more revealing aspects like short sleeves and lower bust lines as trends moved further away from the Victorian era of dressing.”

The parallels can’t be ignore. Now, strong, clear voices are calling out oppression … in all its insidious, rib-cracking, air-sucking, life-stifling forms . Glass ceilings and walls are cracking under the strain, and there’s growing awareness that the old normal isn’t simply undergoing growing pains; it’s gone.

The political and social shockwaves took a personal joy ride for me yesterday, talking with my daughter when she called from California. We had one of our beautifully rambling talks, and got on the subject of buying clothes as she begins to plan going back to the office. (It was her comment about the Spanish Flu and the corset drop that inspired this post. She is always dropping these profound nuggets into our conversations, one of the reasons I love talking with her.)

Like so many of us, she feels that she’s gone through some profound change this past year. She likens it to packing for summer camp, when you get to decide who you want to be around so many people who don’t know you from “before.”

The challenge? Being intentional with her choices. Does she buy fast fashion that will last her a season or two, then get pitched? Or will she opt for fewer, higher quality pieces that will stay in her wardrobe for years?

The same discussion goes for relationships. Do we still want to amass a “following” on social media that we call friends, or will we spend our time cultivating deeper connections with lasting value? Neither is “wrong” (you do you, girlfriend), as long as you decide, with intention, how you want your life to look.

As we remember how to be public beings again, are we going to strap on the mental, social and emotional corsets of old, bound to the way things “should” be done, longing to ease back into the familiar? Or will we look around with wide, clear eyes and realize yes, things have changed, in ourselves and each other? Things are profoundly changed now, in ways we can’t measure yet.

Me, I’m spending a lot of time deciding on the next best version of myself, and how she moves in the world. What matters to her, what turns her off. What fills her soul, and what drains her. What makes her better … and what brings her down. I need this guidepost to navigate so much that is new to me right now, so much change and disruption and blossoming and retreating and growing and shifting, so much light and dark fighting for me attention.

This is the work of a lifetime, an epic moment in our country’s and our world’s history. And maybe it deserves more than the ratty pair of yoga capris I’ve lived in for the last several months. Or, maybe that just doesn’t matter right now.

(Update … my daughter just informed me she went to Target sans bra after our conversation. And I couldn’t be prouder.)

Live with intention first, action next. This is where I’ll be.

Carol Pearson is the founder of the 10 Little Rules book series, and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at select retail stores. Follow 10 Little Rules on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

 

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the truth about Perception

the truth about Perception

Know this…

I am a pretty tough chick. I can change my oil and brake pads, plug a tire, change air filters, climb ladders. Fix, repair, tighten and cut (yes I have three kinds of electric saws and I am not scared to use them). 

But …

Let a spider cross my path and I am climbing furniture, screaming for someone to rescue me. 

I’m not sure how this began for me …

Maybe my mother hated them and seeing her fear conditioned me to be ever so vigilant. Even creeped out to the point of abandoning the premises until someone much braver that she (or I) resolved this horrifying issue. 

A student recently shared a picture of a child doing a very challenging yoga pose with such ease and grace that it amazed us both, yet as I reflected on his pose and his even bliss within this posture, it suddenly struck me that he had no fear. So what if he fell. No one had told him it was scary or he should be hesitant. So … he dove right in. 

That is the same for all the fearless acts I have done … that I am proud of. Climbing 12 foot ladders. Moving furniture 10 times my size.  Trying new things that will expand my mind and my thinking (and my muscles too). 

I don’t fear until I see others scared. I don’t gently glean the edges of experiences because others incredulously tell me how stupid it is to try. But sometimes, if I am not mindful, their self speak becomes my own. I don’t attribute this to a weakness in my character, more so a reverence others experiences. But their experiences are their own based on their prior conditioning. (That is a huge ball of yarn for you to unravel) …

or

we can take a different approach. 

(Insert my amazing young child, fearless and soaking up every experience around her). 

Enter the fuzzy-legged spider IN my bath WHILE I am in it! 

Dramatic scene to say the least which may have involved streaking through the house naked pleading with her to come to my aide. 

After the fiasco and water spillage was resolved, like a mother to child she insisted I sit beside her and we have “a talk.” She began by telling me I was the bravest person she knows, then the litany of reasons followed. 

Yep … waterworks then humiliation. 

She consoled me (oh these wise babes we have raised) pulled me towards her and whipped out her phone. She said she wanted me to watch Lucas. And watch it over and over until the edges dulled and I could see these little harmless critters with more compassion. 

https://youtu.be/Xw23Ypo_FWo

This was three years ago. The conditioning often creeps back in but now I am more mindful of my perceptions and my reactions. 

Today I went to the beach. Unpacking my chair and towels I had retrieved from their winter hibernation in the storage room. 

As I shook my towel to lay across my chair, out crawled my little Lucas. Instead of flipping my chair or tossing things about (as I may have years ago) I freed him to the sand and thought…

Oh, how glad he must be to be freed from that dark storage cavern to enjoy the sand and breeze and sea…

Just like me…

So here we sit. 

Micki Beach, owner and lead instructor at Tree of Life Yoga Studio in Oak Island, NC, is the author of 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth. Her book is available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores and in her studio.

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the truth about Pausing

the truth about Pausing

Remember a time when you actually had to pick up the phone and dial someone’s number and ask for them on the other end of the line and wait patiently. Maybe you wanted to share a story with them, something you saw or heard on your drive home from work.

Our access to technology and social media has made everyone impatient, aggressive and an instant reporter.

You know this story ….

As soon as we see some tragic, sad event we feel the need to grab our phones (and I say grab with a slight eye roll because most people have them in their hand all the time anyway these days) to share this witnessed event with everyone.

Is it for recognition? (The alternative is much more heartbreaking.)

I’m not quite sure but as I’m riding home from work today I noticed a terrible accident in front of one our local delis. These two cars collided so hard that they both ended up in the front yard of the establishment.

Yep, then the horrendous traffic ensues. You know these events. There isn’t actually a car in the road disturbing the flow of traffic yet people begin slowing down in their cars and taking pictures …

of other people’s desperation.

And I just got to thinking …

Years ago we would’ve looked at that scene of an accident and been heartbroken for the tragedy. We may have even said a prayer or sent a blessing out that everyone was ok. We would have driven home, shaken and slowly processed what we witnessed …

My parents may have even used it as an opportunity to teach us kids how important it was to pay attention. Drive slowly. Let the other car go first. Smile and wave them into traffic.

We would have had a discussion about what those people must be going through … how sad it must be for them.

And with all this, we spent time processing, encouraging and self checking.

By the time we felt the need to talk someone about it (if ever), the heart mind had taken the place of the logical mind.

How have we lost our compassion?

I refuse to believe that we have turned into a world of one uppers, soap box preaching, nit-picking people. This is not who we are at our true essence and until we realize what may be the driving force behind such behavior, we can never correct it. The fact that someone references “Karen” in my daily Facebook feed just forces a shameful sigh and an avoidance of the platform altogether.

We don’t allow things to sit and settle within us before we exploit, share, degrade, or complain about the them.

I think the really big question is why do we feel the need to do this??

Maybe sometimes we need to find those “commercial breaks” again …

those pauses to step away and really process information.

They gave us time to decompress, think about things, and understand that our words have affects on others.

Choose wisely what you put out in the world.

Love,

A PSA from the empath author who soaks up all you are putting out there.

Micki Beach, owner and lead instructor at Tree of Life Yoga Studio in Oak Island, NC, is the author of 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth. Her book is available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores and in her studio.

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Fear … the worst motivator a gal ever had

Fear … the worst motivator a gal ever had

Being afraid … of missing out, of losing out, of disappointing people, of not being enough … of anything and everything. It’s a great motivator to force us to make decisions. When you’re afraid you feel the need to do something … ANYTHING … to make the feeling stop. It forces us to think of solutions to our current situation, and do something about it.

Here’s the problem though — the decisions I’ve made when I’ve been afraid have pretty much not moved the needle toward the life I imagine myself living.

Sure, if you’re facing actual physical danger the motivation of being afraid is life-saving. But really, folks, how often is the tiger lurking behind that tree a real tiger with real claws and real fangs? (Happy guy with the bobcat in his driveway not-withstanding. Google the video if you haven’t see it yet)

When we are in that state of uncertainty or anxiety, and feel the need to act, how do we avoid doing something we might regret a ways down the path?

Rule #6 – Name Your Fear

For me I reach for Rule #6 for a Blissy Life … Name your fear. Be still for a moment and listen to your heart to help you understand what you’re really afraid of. More often than not, my immediate fear is replaced by deeper wants or needs that won’t be satisfied by a quick decision … decisions that might even make the problem worse in the long run.

This is especially true for me when I’m afraid of “breaking the rules.” Going off book from the expectations of others (or myself) and taking my own weird, gorgeous path. I strongly believe that fear is the main reason we too often accept society’s “rules,” instead of living by our own.

The idea of following our own path, disregarding the safe and the predictable, is scary. What if I fail? What if I disappoint people? What if I change my mind?

So we take the easy, less frightening path …and miss out on on what could have been amazing.

What are you afraid of? What keeps you up at night? What prevents you from choosing what your heart wants, instead of what you “should” do? Maybe it’s time to take a deeper look at what’s really driving that anxiety. Behind the fear is the real “why” we can all embrace if we have the faith and the love to do so.

Much love

(A note on anxiety)

Anxiety can be a symptom of real and urgent mental health conditions. Reach out to a health professional if your anxiety is getting in the way of you living your life. And know that you have my love, support and understanding. I’ve been there.

Carol Pearson is the founder of the 10 Little Rules book series, and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life, available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, on Etsy, and at select retail stores.

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the truth about Wandering

the truth about Wandering

I am a beach girl. Plant me, park me and leave me be and I couldn’t be happier. But my soul speak begins to stir and the aching to explore the length of the beach, the plethora of shells, even all the human interactions takes over. I used to love company on my walks and but it seems that all my chosen partners rushed the explorations for one reason or another so the ease and fulfillment that came from my adventures slowly turned to a hurried pace and worry for my companion’s comfort. 

The company I longed for on excursions became an albatross around my neck until their lack of enthusiasm became my own. 

Their dispassion for my comforts slowly took the thrill from me. 

Until I sat… stagnant, uninspired. Even grumpy most days. 

I was not filling my cup. 

Recently I travelled back to my old college stomping grounds. Wistfully revisiting old haunts and memories. Happier times. More spontaneous and adventurous. I hadn’t been back for over 20 years. 

But ever so slowly my companion allowed me to direct each adventure, slowly refilling my cup in those cool mountain springs and out of the way bookstores. Rambling with no purpose. Just driving and exploring, not knowing what was around the next bend or “hollar.”

I reflected one treasure I had kept since my college days, an old bumper sticker. Purchased my freshman year and always proudly displayed in my dorm. “Not all who wander are lost”.

It struck me then …  and continues to. For some reason I never stuck it to anything permanent. I felt like it needed to be fluid just as the printed words reminded me to be. I have lost this little treasure time and again in all my moves and transitions in life, only for it to resurface in some box or stuck away book it seems, exactly when I need the gentle nudge again in my life. 

Even to this day. 

Our passions are our own.

We can not expect others to blaze the trail with us.

And we most certainly can not let others take the thrill of such passions from us. 

Seek your truth. 

Protect it.

Live it and know it. 

Go Wander!

 

Micki Beach, owner and lead instructor at Tree of Life Yoga Studio in Oak Island, NC, is the author of 10 Little Rules for Finding Your Truth. Her book is available at www.10littlerules.com, on Amazon, and at select retail stores and in her studio.

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Oh. Em. PEE. – the Stench That Launched a New Hobby

Oh. Em. PEE. – the Stench That Launched a New Hobby

For the past few weeks, I have been taking the carpet cleaner to the second level of my home. Like, really giving the carpet up there a ‘what for’. There is a smell in my house and I don’t like it. Actually, I don’t like a lot of things in this situation. I don’t like going upstairs, it is the boy’s area and frankly, it just smells. I hate the smell of their bathroom. I hate the smell of the carpet. I strongly dislike boy funk. Before I lugged the machine up there, I thought that the smells of rotting pee (that, for some reason, I was the ONLY one who can smell it) were from the boy’s bathroom. I constantly used the Alexa to ask someone, anyone, I don’t care if it wasn’t you, but please flush that toilet!

But the smell never went away.

I went upstairs and I scrubbed their bathroom for them. Normally, this is Dave’s job and one that he doesn’t take very seriously. I took an afternoon and was very serious about it. I made that room sparkle. But, the very next day, OMFeta, the smell!

I’m not going to claim super smarts here. I mean, the fact that I have to medicate my sweet pupper, Libby, for incontinence and that my house was smelling like pee never seemed to connect in my frazzled brain. Until the gross day when it did. See, upstairs, in the hallway, there is a long nook area. It is meant to house a few desks, I believe. There is task lighting built-in, multiple outlets and switches. I always used it as a place to store kid’s toys. There is a cubby area and a soft *grass like* rug.

The day had been a bit humid when I smelled the smell that finally got so bad that even the hubs started to notice it. I worked with the kids to remove all the toys, get them into bins and move out the furniture and remove the cozy rug. The cozy, pee-stained, rug. The staining on the carpet underneath was disgusting. There are no washing instructions on the rug. I guess that IKEA assumed that it would not be used as an old lady pupper pee pad. But it was and out to the garage it went.

Over multiple days and two and a half bottles of carpet cleaner (according to the bottles, each were enough to do two large rooms apiece), I turned about 20’x8’ of disgusting into the cleanest carpet in the entire house.

The smell was starting to go away. I mean, no one else could smell it, but I think that it is engraved into my nose memory, because even when I go outside, I can smell it.

But I had a thought, why stop there? I have decided that pulling gross water from my carpets my be my new 2021 hobby. Forget the Banana Bread of 2020, this hot new, still in quarantine, hobby is Carpet Cleaning.

I made Dave clean his room. I mean, really clean his room. We reorganized with a new bookcase that would actually hold his books, and a new closet organizer to allow him to store his gaming stuff. Everything got vacuumed like it was the first time. Then, I roared with my Rug Doctor and together, the Dr and I washed his floor. We did it over a series of a few days, and gave it a total of four passes with soap and once with just the water. In the end, Dave was begging for his room back, the carpet looked amazing, but was still pulling out slightly dirty water.

After I put everything back into Dave’s room, Hank caught me in his room, looking around. The Dr stood in the doorway, blocking him from his own room. Hank’s room is next. I fully believe that whereas his room doesn’t really smell like anything more than little boy sweat, that his carpet is going to be a treasure trove of dirty. I am excited to tackle his room. Next, the stairs, then the library, then the main floor hall, and then, and then…

The day that I run out of carpet, I am going to have to either find a new hobby or start all over.

As for that cozy, grass like, snuggly, perfectly soft, pee rug? I may tackle it later. Maybe in the dead of summer, when the sun is at it highest and the hose water is at it’s coldest. I may lay it out on the driveway and stare at it, with my iced coffee in hand, and just will it to stop being gross by the power of a mom’s glare.  Or maybe, I’ll just learn the lesson and pitch it.

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Sunshine and Stained Glass

Sunshine and Stained Glass

I remember when I was a kid, I had a friend, whose mom made stained-glass in their basement. I remember going over to their house and looking at the glass and thinking how ugly it was. She made stuff that seemed dark and dreary. Browns and dark muddy colors. Now, as an adult, I understand the beauty of a rich brown with light coming through it. The cocoas, the coke colored and the brownie lit by the sun. But as a kid, I just didn’t get it. To me, then, it was exactly what the basement of someone else’s house looked like: dark, damp and old.

When quarantine first started, there was a Facebook group for Michigan called Rainbows Across Michigan. People were drawing rainbows on their windows and sharing them with the group. They were providing light to those who needed it. I joined the group, but would never draw on my windows: first, I don’t want to have to clean that off at some point (laziness?) and second, I need my windows and my light. My house faces the south, I get gorgeous light in the afternoon that is strong enough to warm my home. Afternoons, sitting on the couch in the sun, drinking an iced coffee with my book are pretty much what I dream perfection to be like. I can’t block those windows.

But I wanted rainbows, I NEEDED rainbows.

I started searching Etsy for rainbows and found a … stained-glass shop. But this shop didn’t have the long-ago lampshades of yore. It didn’t have large, heavy browns, dark green and tan window panes. They had beautiful rainbow triangles, rectangles partnered with Mr. Roy G. Biv and small pieces, splashed with colors that I love. I bought one. I bought a bright, happy rectangle with all the colors of the rainbow.

I hung it up in my front window and immediately thought, Oh No! It is too small! Which is funny since I *didn’t* want anything to block my precious sun.

Afternoons became brighter with colors floating through the room. But I wanted more. I wanted more colors. I went back on Etsy and hearted a ton more. I needed these. For Mother’s Day, my husband (my wonderful, mindreading husband) found the same ones that I loved and bought me two more. A rectangle with a few colors to make a rainbow and a Black Lives Matter fist in deep purples that look like an oily rainbow when the light hits it. They were gorgeous. Absolutely perfect.

BUT THEN!

I was hanging out on Kick Starter and found a campaign for window rainbows. This maker made clear glass prisms that you fill with distilled water and when the sun shines on it, they cast rainbows around the room. And it does! It hangs in the window next to the triangle.

I now have 5 pieces of stained-glass (I added a grumpy looking blue bird) in my home and I am delighted by how happy they make me. Seeing the colors on a day-to-day basis never fails to make me smile and think happy thoughts. Since they project their light into my home (and in different places throughout the day), I am always seeing them – they have not become flat pictures on the wall that begin to blend in, with time, to the wall itself.

I find myself thinking about those stained-glass pieces of my childhood and wondering where those ended up. I never saw them in the windows of that friend’s house and I wonder if I had, maybe I would have fallen in love with stained-glass then. As I am typing the view I have, besides my monitor is my neighbors house and I think that my view could be improved drastically with a new window pane, filled with chocolates, dark greens and other rich hues. Excuse me, I feel the need to click back over to Etsy.

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