“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness.”
As little as 5 years ago, you would have NEVER been able to convince me to put on lingerie and have someone take pictures of me. The traditional “recovering Catholic” girl in me would have heard that little voice in the back of my head saying, “Good girls don’t do things like that!” or “You don’t show your body to other people.” Or better yet, “How sinful!”
Over the last 20+ years that I have been working with women, one thing that ALL women have in common is an inability to see our physical selves as others see us. Our inner eye wears a filter, created by society, comments friends or family have made to us over the years, and our own debilitating self-talk. This filter has a dark lens…one that filters out all the good and only illuminates the bad. In reality, how we perceive we look to others is NOT how others see us. The question becomes…how do we change that lens?
Boudoir photography is a luxurious photo experience, normally done in a bedroom setting (hence the actual dictionary meaning of the word “boudoir” = woman’s bedroom or private space) that is meant to enhance the feelings of romance, courageousness, and strength. Many women choose to do boudoir photography to help change how they feel about their physical body. Let me clarify that boudoir is not raunchy, dirty, or pornography. Boudoir is a beautiful way of allowing women to fully embrace their femininity and feel beautiful in their own bodies…as is!
My journey with boudoir started when my cousin and his wife invited me to Costa Rica with them on vacation. My cousin’s wife, Amy, is a very talented and successful boudoir photographer. Two weeks before our trip to Costa Rica, Amy texted me and said she wanted to practice taking pictures outside of her studio in remote locations so was wondering if I would be a model for her in Costa Rica so she could practice. With surprisingly little hesitation, I said yes.
When shooting day arrived, Amy sat me down and asked me what parts of my body I was the most insecure about and if there was anything in particular that I wanted to focus on. As a 51-year-old woman smack dab in the middle of menopause, I was insecure about everything! I decided to go into the shoot with a completely open mind and to totally trust Amy to do what she does best.
What I experienced was a total transformation on how I not only saw my body, but how I felt about my body. Amy is a master at posing you perfectly, at body lines, and gently encouraging you during the shoot. During the shoot, we had a blast and tried many different outfits and poses both inside and outside in the Costa Rican jungle (surrounded by howling monkeys and macaws flying overhead!). One thing I loved that Amy did was show me some of the pictures right after she took them so I knew how I looked in real time. This was super powerful!
When I arrived home from Costa Rica, before I even saw my pictures in their finished form (note: Amy does not photoshop the pictures, she only fixes any lighting or shadowing that needs to be done), I noticed that my self-talk around my body had slightly changed. I wanted to wear dresses that week, (which I normally never want to do because I usually hate my legs), and I didn’t think my lower stomach or legs looked as “fat” as I thought they did before. The major turning point was one morning when I looked in the mirror and I said out loud to myself, “damn girl, you look good!” …which I never would have said to myself in the past because I never believed that to be true. What boudoir did for me was help me change the vibration of how I was seeing myself. It helped change the lens I wore over my inner eye to one that was a bit brighter.
At the end of the day, how we see ourselves dictates how we treat ourselves. We do not take care of what we do not value. Be brave enough to change that dark lens that covers your inner eye to one that is brighter, one that shines the light on how beautiful you are no matter what size, and one that changes your self-talk to encouraging, uplifting words that lift you up instead of drag you down. If boudoir is not for you, that is OK. It is simply one means of achieving this end. Start small and imagine how it would feel if you loved your body. Hold onto that feeling and create a new vibration that you can slowly begin to live into. Pay attention to your self-talk and say kind words to yourself. Big changes start with small steps.
Amy and I worked so well together that we decided to combine our “superpowers.” We will be offering 2-day workshops in Costa Rica that include transformational work around self-worth and reframing the limiting beliefs that hold us back, followed by an hour boudoir shoot with Amy. Stay tuned for how to sign up for the “Intimate Journey in the Jungle” soon! If you want to check out Amy and her work, visit her at theintimatestory.com or on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theintimatestory.
In the meantime, look in the mirror and tell yourself how hot you are! 😊
Joyful in the Jungle,
Dr. ChrisWhat is your Leadership Energy Footprint?
Over the years, I have spoken to hundreds of successful leaders all who are leading the best way they know how. They were taught the “trade” of leadership by mentors, colleagues, old bosses, and by simply watching how others around them lead. Most of them lead with their head, their logic. They have taken courses on leadership, read books, and listened to podcasts all which tell them what a “good leader” is made of and what they do. Where do these leaders falter? Many of them are not letting their intuition guide them…their gut. Many have not even defined the type of leader they want to be. They don’t have time. They are too busy “leading.”
As leaders, we sometimes are so focused on the “doing” that we forget to focus on the “being.” What we do as a leader is important, no doubt. We need the skills and knowledge to perform our jobs and lead successfully.
“Being” requires a different skill set. Being entails an awareness of your emotions, your behaviors, your reactions, your self-talk, and how you are expending your precious energy daily. All this combined equal your energy footprint. And I don’t mean how “green” you are being environmental-wise…I mean when I interact with you, what kind of energy do I pick up from you? What kind of energy are you leaving behind when you interact with people?
What is your leadership energy footprint?
Many think that if we DO the things that a good leader does, we will BE a good leader. When in reality, the opposite is true. When you are being the leader you want to be (putting out the energy that is truly YOU), you then communicate better, show more empathy, express your emotions in more healthy ways, are more self-aware of your own behaviors and the behaviors and reactions of those around you. Leaders who focus on their “being” end up “doing” what good leaders do.
We have been conditioned with the wrong formula. If I want to be a good leader and I follow the formula I have been taught, I believe that if I DO what good leaders do, then I will HAVE what good leaders have, then I will BE a good leader. The problem with this formula is that it is backwards.
The truth and the formula that works every time, no matter what, is not DO-HAVE-BE, but BE-DO-HAVE.
If I am BEING the type of leader that is in most alignment with who I am and the type of leader I personally resonate with, then I will begin DOING the things that type of leader does naturally, and then I will HAVE what that type of leader has (more pay, amazing direct reports, a great company to work for, etc.). It is really that simple.
Being is not as hard as we think it is. Stop using your brain to try and “be.” Just be still and trust what comes naturally. It does not need to make sense logically all the time. If you always follow your logic, then you are simply being the type of leader that everyone else is being. How boring! Remember, being is more about where you choose to place your attention.
Where we place our attention is what drives our behaviors. Our subconscious brain responds to what we are putting our attention on because that is how it reads what we “want.” It does not know the difference between what is good or bad, what we want or don’t want, what we like or don’t like…it only can read where our attention is focused.
We can learn to shift our attention in the moment. If you are experiencing a situation or even feelings that you do not want, pay attention to what your attention is focused on. Gently shift your attention (your thoughts, actions, feelings) to that which you DO want. Of course, the key here is actually knowing what you want. This may sound simple, but most leaders I have worked with cannot specifically define what they actually want. Take the time to define, on paper, what type of leader you want to be. How does that leader act? How do they treat others? What do they know about the business? What is their network like? How do they communicate? How will it feel to be that type of leader? (you need to go deeper than “good” or “happy” here).
Once you have defined what type of leader you want to be, go out and BE that leader. Trust your gut. Trust your feelings.
Our world needs leaders who are willing to transform the way they are leading. Our current world demands it. Step up and BE the leader YOU want to be and watch everything else you want fall into place.
Change your leadership energy footprint!
Just being me,
Dr. ChrisThe Roller Coaster Principle
The Roller Coaster Principle
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
OK, I admit it…I overthink almost everything. I sometimes feel as if I can’t help it. Something happens and my brain just kicks in. I dissect what happened into a million pieces, think of every scenario, come up with every possible solution, and create an entirely different reality in my head. Thank God I have good friends who give me “reality checks” when I need them! Over the years though, I have learned how to be my own “kick in the pants and get back to reality” girl. I realized it had to do with what and how I was thinking.
Thinking is a powerful tool. It can serve the good or serve the bad. Our society is taught that logic rules. We are taught that if we think about something long and hard enough, we will find a solution. We often believe our thoughts even though, at times, we don’t even know why we think what we do. Did our parents teach us to think that? Did we hear someone we admire on the internet say it and adopted that same thought? Thinking a thought does not make it true. A thought only becomes true when we tell ourselves it is so. The brain simply receives information from the environment and it is our job to process it in whatever way we choose.
You and I could witness the exact same scenario and both walk away with different versions of what happened. Why? Because the scenario filtered through our thoughts, our values, our beliefs, and our experiences. We all live in our own version of reality, all based on what and how we are thinking.
If you and I decided to ride a roller coaster and sit in the front row and I love roller coasters but they terrify you, our thoughts about the reality of the ride would be very different. I would think it was exhilarating, my heart was pounding out of excitement, I loved feeling the wind whip through my hair, and it was over too fast. You might think it was terrifying, your heart was pounding out of fear, you hated feeling the wind on your face because it reminded you of how fast we were going, and the ride felt like an eternity. Same experience…two different thought processes…two different realities.
The next time you catch yourself upset because you are overthinking something and cannot make a decision, pause for a moment and ask yourself these three questions:
What am I feeling right now?
What am I thinking right now?
What am I doing right now?
This pulls you into the present moment and tells you the reality of the situation through your own eyes.
Once you answer those questions, ask yourself these three questions:
What would I rather feel?
What would I rather think?
What would I rather do?
This is the reality you would like to create. What do you have to do to go from your present moment thoughts and feelings to those you want to create? The answer to that question is your next step.
Remember, a thought is just a thought until we give it meaning. All we are is the result of what we think.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
Thinking (as usual),
Dr. ChrisIt Was 1979 and This Was What I Wanted!
It Was 1979 and This Was What I Wanted!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
~Neale Donald Walsch
I was nine. Back then I answered to “Chrissy.” My good friends know I refuse to answer to this name now and if they call me by this name, I will rip their eyebrows out one hair at a time. But back then it worked. If I happen to run into an old friend today, I can tell how long they have known me by what they call me. “Chrissy” means I met you in my younger years (birth through high school). “Chris” means I met you as an adult (during or after my college years). In short, and if I am telling the truth, “Chrissy” reminded me of Suzanne Somers character in Three’s Company. You remember, the ditzy blonde. That was not the image I was after so I ditched the name.
My Mom called me this morning to tell me that she was bored and started to look through some old papers and pictures. She found a Christmas list I made in 1979. The list consisted of items that were both practical and made me happy. A baseball bat, because I was a kick-ass softball player in my younger years and it was rare that I did not hit a home run when up to bat. A baton, maybe to be used to hit my brother over the head with when I was being continuously teased, but more than likely because I was an avid dancer back in the day and we used a baton in one of our routines. Any kind of game made the list and although this is not specific, I do remember that I loved to play games with friends and family. I felt connected to the people I loved when we were having fun. Roller skates (the boot kind). This was specific because the metal ones that slipped over your shoes sucked! A diary with a lock. With an older brother and younger sister, a lock was necessary. A clock radio. Even back then, I was uber organized and obsessed with being on time for things. I did not want to miss anything (FOMO big time!). A jewelry box. My love of jewelry has stayed the same. Rings, necklaces, cool earrings…bring it on! And last but not least, a Starflight record. I needed a bit of recollection on this one and then when I looked it up it all came back to me. The Starflight albums were a collection of the “stars” that had hit songs from that year. Classic! I can hear Air Supply now?
It is interesting to reflect on how we were and what we wanted when we were younger. Our wants were so simple. They reflected what we liked to do and in part, what we wanted to become. It made me a little sad looking at this list only because I remembered how much I loved to do some of these things. I don’t dance anymore. It’s not because I don’t want to, but more because as I got older I became afraid of how I would look dancing. What if I looked stupid? My body definitely does not look the same at 51 as it did when I was 21. Silly, I know. But honest. Other than the fear of breaking a hip, I would love to roller skate again. Does anyone even do this anymore? I do still play games, but more the mind kind. Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, card games. What happened to Sorry, Operation, Chutes and Ladders, and Twister?
We tend to lose ourselves in our adult responsibilities. Work, kids, relationships, grocery shopping, aging parents. As we age, we seem to shift our focus from our “wants” to a focus on our “shoulds.” After doing this for many years, we forget who we really are, what we really want, and what brings us joy. We don’t recognize the person in the mirror or the voice in our head anymore. Remembering who we once were may give us a clue as to who we are now. For me, I was a little girl that loved to move, entertain, read, reflect on my day and what I witnessed. I frequently danced it out in my room to amazing music (mainly to Menudo!). I loved to sit on my aunt’s porch with my brother, sister, and cousins, boom box blaring, swinging back and forth on the porch swing. I had big dreams of being on a stage but wasn’t sure what I was doing on that stage…but it didn’t matter back then. I just knew thinking about it made me happy.
Today, I am on a big stage but I am not dancing or roller skating. I am inspiring audiences around the world talking about self-awareness and self-trust. I still love music and have iHeart 80’s playing in the background as I write this. I still have a clock radio in my room. My diary is now called a journal and it sits in my nightstand drawer. It does not have a lock. I now have a grandson who has brought back my love of games. I would give roller skating a shot again if I had the chance. And dancing…well, that I need to work on. Other than the occasional “dancing it out” if I am upset about something, dancing needs to be more in my future.
Childhood desires and wants are real…believe in them again!
Dancing with myself,
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln