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It’s no surprise to say that we live in a culture that idealizes youth and beauty, muscles and brawn. Having worked for major cosmetics companies and then in the film business in Hollywood, I got an up-front-close-up view of the beauty industry—and it is an industry—Forbes says it’s about $445 billion. If you don’t fit neatly into the photo-shopped mold (which is most of us), we get by being somewhat invisible or “average.” And even if you ever did fit into the mold, you get a rough awakening when your skin seems to betray you as it transforms into a soft crepe around your bones.
The trend of mermaid hair aside, maturing leads us to the idea that we are supposed to “grow old gracefully.” What does that mean exactly? Try to keep looking good “for your age?” Or does it encourage fading into the background of life with age? If you are aging (or hope to age someday) how about we give the concept a makeover and change our mindset as we do?
Here comes the moment of choice: We can lament what we have lost in our “youthful beauty,” something many women either misused or didn’t even notice or acknowledge when their in their youth, or, we can step into celebration mode and live the gift of time we have in this world to the fullest, in the truest beauty—the rich full beauty of the spirit you’ve spent decades developing and deepening.
Let’s get real. By the time a woman has reached her 50’s or older, we have all faced some kind of pain or loss that brought us to our knees (emotional or physical). No one gets a life that is pain free. So now what? What about living each day, not with fireworks, but with the shining, gentle spark that is you at your richest, fullest self?
How do you do this? First, it takes a decision. What brings you downright joy or deep peace? Don’t get romantic on me here, because there will always be boundaries to set, dishes to wash, and toilets to clean. Neither are we abandoning the service and gifts we give to the world. But if you haven’t taken the time to truly live in joy, the good news that you have a shot at it right now.
It’s not only for your own gratification. Consciously and purposefully living in joy is actually a profound level of service. We are—each one of us—the butterfly effect. When you create joy in your life, you bring the reality of joy and a world of possibility to those around you. What you bring to the table of life will influence others. Don’t underestimate the importance of the way you are in your corner of the world.
Here are some questions and ideas you can ask yourself as you embark each day on the journey of being joyful, of bringing celebration to the world:
Aging with joy that comes from the deepest, truest place within may be one of the most precious legacies we can leave for the generations women who are to follow in our footsteps. This is a satisfying lifetime work that brings the deepest level of real pleasure. Just start. No one is perfect. No one is “on” all the time, and that’s one of the beauties of living in gratitude and joy. It is gentle. We all have reasons and seasons to grieve, but don’t let that be an excuse to ignore the possibility and magnitude of joy. Perhaps the most direct route to joy is gratitude. It’s a gift you give yourself and a gift you give to the world. Step into your truest powers of gratitude and joy, and then live the song you are that ignites and shines into this world. Even when no one else is watching, even when no one else knows about it, you can make the choice to age gratefully and shine.
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Ignore the photos in the magazines and rejoice in the gift of aging. Your life has texture and you have increased wisdom. Take pleasure in who you are right now this very moment. Don't waste a moment in disappointment or negativity. Shine your beautiful light into the lives of those who love you and enjoy the reflection of love that returns to your beautiful self.
What ever hard stuff is happening in your life right now, it's not the whole story. The hard parts of life shape us and help us grow. There is also beauty and wonder, pleasure and delight. So, if you're in a challenging time, know that "This too shall pass." You have yet to meet someone who will be dear to you, you have yet to see a new sight that is magnificent, you have new songs to hear and new songs to sing.
You have much to look forward to, some of your best memories haven't happened yet!
When you have stuff going on in your life and you have to work out what to do, or what to say, or what you're feeling, how do you know what to do? It's really important that answers come from inside you. You can ask for advice. You can ask what other people have done in your situation. It can all be really helpful. That said, one of the best ways to discover what you really want and need is to write it out.
How do you do this?
Writing like this is a way to bring clarity to your dreams, and healing to your heart. It's really that powerful. So simple, safe, low cost, high impact. When you heal a little bit inside yourself, you've also healed the world a little bit, too.
With blessings for finding all the answers you need in the most perfect timing, Laya
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If you only knew how many women (and men!) need a good word and guidance about sexuality in marriage. Here's wonderful information with ideas about how you can make a difference in your marriage!!
Here is an actionable exercise; you can do it right now. Do this with your spouse or do it alone. It is simple. You can learn this goal setting technique in a few minutes; then take a few more minutes to take action!
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I try to put a little time into my garden each day, especially in the summer time. It's such a reflection for growing. I've learned some things from my garden that I can transfer to other areas of life. Maybe thinking about some of these will help you get through the some of the hard or discouraging stuff we all have to face.
1] You gotta plant things where they'll thrive. You have to know who you are and what kind of environment you'll thrive in. There are some general guidelines that hold true: we all need love and encouragement, the right balance of warmth, and also mental and spiritual inspiration. Make sure you surround yourself with people and ideas that lift you and bring out your best.
2] Not everything you plant will make it. Sometimes you plant something you think is hearty and strong, you nurture it and water it, and it still doesn't take. That's okay. The plants that don't make it can be recycled to the compost bin and then you can replant something else wonderful. When something doesn't work you don't give up on your garden. Some trees need to be cared for and watered carefully when they're young but will live the rest of their lives in strength and bearing fruit! Don't be discouraged by failure, try again until you find what works for you.
3] Everything has its season. Some veggies and fruits ripen in the summer and some, like citrus, in the winter. Fig trees bear fruit in the summer but the figs don't ripen all at once, they come a few more each day for their season. Irises have a short season. They bloom and they're done. Ice plants will give you new flowers all summer long. They're all good.They all contribute to the beauty of the garden. One summer I planted some flowers in the same sun, same patch of soil and they all got the same water but some bloomed really fast and others weeks later. Don't judge yourself by comparing your progress with others and don't judge yourself that you're not blooming fast enough.
4] Plant for all the seasons. If you plan your garden well, you'll have something to enjoy all year round. I learned this from watching a garden in a home we bought that a master gardener planted. Every few weeks something new bloomed or flourished or bore fruit. All of life's seasons have some gifts to offer, so look for the good.
5] A plant is itself and nothing else. A walnut grows into a walnut tree, and a tomato seed grows into a tomato. Don't try to be something you're not or put yourself down for being different. Your very self, your soul, is perfectly formed to be YOU. At the same time, it's okay to struggle as you break through to blossom and grow. Shine in who you are with all your talents, strengths, and heart's desires.
6] Each tree, flower, fruit or veggie gives! All plants give in one way or another just by being what they are meant to be and growing. They nourish our bodies or our senses in one way or another. They are all good. Simple or large, you live your highest purpose by sharing your gifts and talents in your world.
We all know that life has some really hard parts to it. Knowing that doesn't always make it much easier to bear the hard times. We still need reminders that we can make it through the hard stuff. Luckily for us all there are reminders all around. In the season of spring we see trees that have been dormant begin to sprout leaves. We have the bounty of beautiful produce and we know that those very plants that nourish us began as a seed in a dark and solitary place in the dirt. Every fruit was a blossoming flower that withered and died. We have to let go and let go again of what was beautiful in order to get the next fruits.
Sometimes just knowing this is enough to allow your mind to be still, to be at peace, to trust that the pain of today is the very thing that is sprouting us to become even more of our beautiful selves.
Don't stop seeking the tools and resources that will heal (body, mind, emotions, relationships, spirit). At the same time it's not always about what you're doing. Have faith that the Life Force that breaths the very breath of life through you, the same life force that ignites the electricity in your mind and body, the life force that pumps the fluid through your veins and connects you to this earth, has got your back!!
What looks like the hard parts of life today, are the seeds for some of the best in you. You are not alone.
Hugs and blessings!
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We often talk about how being a caterpillar is leading up to getting into that cocoon and becoming a butterfly. It's great to be a butterfly when the time is right, but you have to earn becoming a butterfly! If you want to fly, be present and nourish the caterpillar stage of life first. Take care of yourself where ever you are in life because it's a beautiful and necessary part of your life cycle. Everything in its right time. If you're going through a caterpillar stage, be a caterpillar. Enjoy that life is about consuming and growing and shedding what no longer fits. That doesn't mean it's easy. Heck, caterpillars have to molt about four times in the short part of their life cycle. The big picture of that part of the butterfly's life cycle is very short but you can't be a butterfly without being a caterpillar first.
You get the metaphor, right? We go through cycles many times in our lives, hatching, growing, transforming and then flying. You don't have to grieve when you're not in the winged butterfly stage of your life. Be where you are; you're still growing. No one starts out as a butterfly.
And when you're in the butterfly stage you have to know that "this too shall pass," as life brings its ups and downs-the broad places and the narrow places. If you're in caterpillar mode, don't worry, you'll fly, but before you do, you'll need to grow as a caterpillar. The time will come to rest inside your cocoon. Then, only when the time is right, you'll fly.
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Here's my newest book!! This sweet picture book brings comfort and gently, joyfully builds bonds. Everyone loves to hear how much they are loved. Toddler, parent, and grandparent tested, this book guarantees smiles.
Follow Frog and Duck throughout their day from the morning sunshine to sweet dreams.
I invite you to help bring this book to print by heading over to Indiegogo to join in the campaign by choosing the perks and rewards that you love.
I appreciate your help in sharing this special book with people in your circle who would love to have a snuggle and a smile with the little ones in their lives. Click the button below and watch the video to see a sample of I Love You So Much.
Let me know what you think.
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