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Love Letter To My Body

Now that we’re deep into the months of summer, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my body over my lifetime, particularly in relation to the seasons. The summer season was traditionally a season of manic ups and downs, depending upon the reflection I saw in the mirror, the number on the scale, or the food I had consumed. The past few summers, however, have been seasons that I simply allow to come and go. I honor my body as it is in that season of my life and continue to treat it with love.

I suppose as I develop to nurture my relationship with food and my body, this is a natural result, and can also be easily overlooked. I am taking a moment to pause and celebrate how far I have come because there were times when I truly never thought I could have the relationship I have with my body. For that I am eternally thankful and grateful!
In honor of these reflections, I have written a love letter to my body.

 

To My Uniquely Perfect Body,

Wow, what a journey it’s been so far!

First, I come to you to humbly ask for your forgiveness. Although I don’t have clear memories of loving and appreciating you prior to when I started hating you and then harming you, I do remember days of childhood where I felt completely comfortable within you. Memories of wearing colorful swimsuits as an 8 year-old without feeling the need to cover up; of coordinating daily outfits that included shorts and tank tops throughout the summer without picking apart each piece of flesh that was exposed.

Remember when I sunburned you so badly at cheer camp in eighth grade…? Me too. Sorry about that. I was only trying to toast you slightly. Unfortunately for you, it would take me years to realize we are both much happier sitting under the umbrella, with a big floppy hat and sunglasses.

Throughout the years we’ve definitely been through our ups and downs. There are too many years when I told you how disgusting you are, while abusing you day in and day out. But all the while, you were there. You’ve always been there for me, talking to me, supporting me, healing yourself to show me how strong and amazing you truly are. I only needed to listen.

Years went by and then slowly, very slowly, I started to see you differently. I began to eat  foods based upon what you needed. I started to drink more water and less alcohol. And I felt you responding to me with love and comfort, which only made me want to continue to provide you with more abundant goodness.

When we finished our first 10k… how amazing was that?! I could feel my heart pumping with enthusiastic euphoria- asking when we could do that again! And in the dim lights of a yoga studio, when I started to feel you again. When tears of gratitude, shame, and support overflowed down my face. And I could hear you whisper to me “Stay here with me, and we can find each other again. I want our healthy relationship back. I’m here.”

I can’t wait to continue to discover more of you, and all of the amazing things that we can do together.  May I continue to come as I am to my mat, and to live each day to fully embrace this body I’ve been blessed to inhabit.

With gratitude,
Jessica

 

The light in me honors to the light in you. 

Another Published Article!

Another article of mine has been published- this time by the amazing Harness Magazine! This is my second article to be published by this magazine and I continue to choose to send them my pieces because of their mission of equipping women to share, empathize, and uplift one another.

Check out my latest article here, and check out Harness Magazine here!

 

The light in me honors the light in you

Earning Food: Mindful/Intuitive Eating

How often do we feel guilt even before we’ve started to eat certain foods? For some of us these foods are carbs, or chocolate, ice cream, even fruit- the list is never ending.

I am reflecting on the concept of “earned food” as I savor a piece of dark chocolate with blueberries. Years ago, before I learned mindful eating/intuitive eating practices, I would have devoured this chocolate, perhaps reached for more without pause, and then berated myself mere moments later- demeaning myself for my lack of willpower and loss of control.

This is what we’re taught to believe: that eating “forbidden” foods is a sign of weakness. The diet and fitness industry has made millions of dollars on the concept of good carbs and bad carbs, good starch and bad starch, good fruit and bad fruit. I call bullshit.

When we are out of tune with out body, we are reactive in nature. Have an uncomfortable feeling? Reach for the brownies. Got rejected? Unload a bag of potato chips. It doesn’t have to be this way. By introducing practices such as meditation into our lives, we begin to gain the ability to become an observer of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as opposed to being a slave to them. When we gain the ability to view our thoughts as simply additional information, we can then view them in a more holistic way. Sometimes they may still mean you reach for the brownie, and that’s great! The difference is this time you’re fully aware of why you’re craving that particular food, and you can eat it more mindfully, with gratitude for what it’s providing to your body in that moment. Then when you are satiated, you can be done eating and move on. It truly can be that simple.

Food is not something to be earned, it is an energy source to be consumed and utilized to allow us to live our lives to our fullest potential. How incredible is that?! The next time you have an overwhelming craving, perhaps take a moment to breathe into it. Ask yourself where the craving is originating and if that’s truly what you need. Perhaps you need a nap, a bath, or a hug instead. Listen. And then proceed as your body is directing. Continue to practice this as you can and see how your relationship with your mind, body, and food evolves.

 

I would love to hear your experiences with mindful/intuitive eating!

Words To Share

The following poem by Marianne Williamson has spoken to me currently. Just last night I printed this poem and framed it to place in my office. I need to be surrounded by these words right now.

It also reminds me of this post about the fear of success. I hope you find what you need in these words as well:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Mundane Mondays

In an effort to listen to my body’s cues to let go of some control and look inward, I’ve been making an effort to be more intentional.
We all know that social media shows the highlight reels of life. The best of times. Moments in which we are living our most fabulous lives.
And we also know that depression, as well as feelings of loneliness and isolation are at an all-time high.

In reflection of living more intentionally I’ve noticed it is within the seemingly mundane moments that I find the most joy. Those moments that can be easily overlooked. The moments that rarely get posted because, well, they seem boring. So I’m starting #MundaneMonday. Each Monday I will post my favorite mundane memories from the week prior.

I’m doing this to remind myself that in truth these moments aren’t mundane at all. These moments are where life happens. This life is extraordinary and difficult and stressful and pure and gritty. So instead of spending life waiting for “big” moments, I want to make sure I celebrate each small, seemingly mundane moment as well.

My #MundaneMonday moments from last week: waking up to the sounds of my pup dreaming, cuddle puddle with my boyfriend, & going to church with a friend on Sunday.

Share your mundane moments with me!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

I Love Myself, Therefore….

“I love myself, therefore…” how would you complete this sentence?

How does that sentence make you feel? Do you instantly start to feel anxious or uncomfortable? Great! Lean into that. Why does the thought of loving yourself bring up these feelings? Often we live our lives from the perspective of limiting beliefs that, over time, we have accepted as truth. The real truth is these beliefs are lies- messages we have been told growing up, maybe from scorned lovers, or messages fed to us from the media.

Some of these lies may include “You’re not good enough”, “You’ll never have enough money”, “Thin is beautiful”, “Conflict is bad”, etc.

It is so easy to continue these limiting belief loops, well, because that has been our norm. They’re so ingrained in us we don’t consciously think of them, unaware of how powerfully they affect how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. And by choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to fight our brain patterns (I’ll do another post on how the brain is affected by our thoughts), which takes time and consistency.

By choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to make a difficult decision. But if our normal pattern includes berating ourselves day in and day out, should we simply allow this to continue? Think about it this way: If you said the messages that you replay in your head out loud to a loved one, hopefully they wouldn’t continue exposing themselves to that type of abuse. So why do we consider it acceptable for us to continue to constantly belittle ourselves internally?!  Making the difficult decision to change this thinking is so worth it. This is your life we’re talking about.

So let’s take a look at how we can start to change these belief patterns….

Mantras are a great way to start to challenge limiting beliefs. Mantras can be created for a year, a month, a moment- there’s a mantra for any season or situation! At the beginning of this year I wrote out the mantras from which I wanted to live out each day. I focused on one in particular and made it a point to repeat the following mantra hundreds of times per day: “I love and accept myself exactly as I am.” 

The prospect of saying a mantra hundreds of times per day seemed excessive at first, but I quickly realized it paled in comparison to the number of times per day I was telling myself numerous limiting beliefs.  And those limiting beliefs became even more apparent to me when I started to challenge them.  For a while, and perhaps even now, my limiting beliefs- those lies that I have been told and have told myself- have been screaming at me. Attempting to derail my relationships and keep me from fulfilling my true potential.

Some days I don’t feel like this mantra is truthful in any way. But I continue to speak  it anyway.  Some days I am exhausted from fighting to simply love myself, and other days I realize that my worldview has been starting to shift to a perspective of love.  I realize I am looking at people around me from a place of peace and humanity as opposed to a place of judgement. I realize I am listening to truly listen, not simply waiting to drown another in my opinions. And I know this all stems from me choosing to love myself first.

I am still primarily focusing on this one main mantra, and have also included the following mantras throughout the day, even if only first thing in the morning and before I go to bed.

“I am willing to change”

“The thoughts I am thinking and the words I am declaring at this moment are creating my future”

“I release all resistance”

“Everything I need to know is revealed to me”

“Everything I need comes to me”

“I am young, youthful, and full of vitality”

“Money flows to me in abundance”

“Everything I touch is a success”

When we change our perspective from one of untruths and limiting beliefs to one of love and acceptance, we start to see our entire world change. Because our perception of the world is changing. A world we did not allow ourselves to see starts to reveal itself to us. Beauty and good and love are here, but it’s not until we love ourselves that we are able to truly see it surrounding us.

How would you complete this sentence “I love myself, therefore….”? Simply put pen to paper and write without thinking- without letting those limiting beliefs creep in. Write all of the ways in which you choose to treat yourself and others, from the perspective of love. Then write a mantra and don’t give up on it or yourself. Speak it to yourself 300-400 times per day (yes, seriously). It’s not too late to save yourself from your beliefs. Your truth is fighting to be discovered again.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Confused Girl

“You are imperfect & inventively flawed. And you are beautiful.” -Giovanna Silvestre

 

On any given day you can find me with at least one crystal on me, whether it’s tucked in my bra, on a ring or necklace, or in my pocket. So I was excited to also have the leggings I wear also be representative of the crystal properties I want to incorporate into each day!

My first Confused Girl leggings purchase was the Mystery Leggings, which represent the stone marble. First, I love that they’re black, white, and grey because they go with everything.

The marble stone has numerous properties. In general, it represents nurturing and protection. It can also be very grounding, which is certainly a property I always need more of in my life! I like to wear these leggings when I’m going to engage in longer meditations than normal, as marble also aids in clarify and focus, so it can assist in deeper meditative states.

The motto of Confused Girl is “Find Your True Nature”. I find my true nature by tapping into my intuition through meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature. When I have all of those integrated in my life, I am in tune with my truth.

Everywhere we turn there are brands that focus on Photoshop and perfectly sculpted bodies in order to sell their products. Please join me in supporting this brand that supports us where we are- because this is where our power lies. This brand aligns with my mission of learning to accept ourselves as we are in this moment.

To purchase your own pair of Confused Girl leggings, use this link  and use the code ‘jessaleighsmith’ to get 15% your order!

confused girl 2.jpg

 

The light in me honors the light in you

Fear of Success

Lately I’ve felt stuck. Stuck to the point where I’ve felt paralyzed. My reaction to this emotion has been typical for me: to withdrawal, to hibernate, to not reach out to my support network, to binge Netflix, to escape.

As with most negative emotions, I acknowledge the root of this feeling is fear. And what I’ve started to uncover that this fear is an authentic fear of success; a fear of what could happen if I put everything into this dream.  I know in my gut that my potential is limitless, as is yours. But the fear of the result of that potential is holding me back… how wild is that to think about?!

So often I get stuck in patterns of dreaming, of comparing, of wanting- all without acting. Friends, we have one month left in 2017. What do we have to lose?? It’s time to tell that fear to take a hike and before our minds can talk us out of it- ACT. Just send the email, make the phone call, write the blog post, ask the question.

Yes, I’m writing this for me as much as for anyone else reading this. I need these words just as much as you do right now. I’m right here with you. I’m dedicating the rest of the year to taking action, and I have faith that the Universe will respond to this risk with nothing but joy, love, and support.

It’s time to stop being afraid of my potential and start living up to it.  Who’s with me?!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Seven Years

I have so many drafts of this post written that I feel it will take a year for me to edit it into a format in which I am both satisfied and comfortable.

I started this site as a safe space to share the messy parts of life. And I wouldn’t be authentic in this mission if I disregarded this universal pull to share this very messy chapter of my life.

This year, October 15 marked seven years since the day of my wedding. This year I took back the power of this date and as such officially changed it’s significance in my life. As a result, this has also been the Universe’s unwavering signal that it is time. It’s time to move into the next chapter that this life has in store for me. And Universe, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. And I openly accept this invitation. In fact I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this invitation for years now, but I also recognize that it has not been until now that I have been ready. Friends, my body is buzzing just thinking about this next step. And I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.

I know the Universe will guide me toward the next piece of myself in which I should reveal.  All I need to do is wait, listen, and follow it’s direction. For now, this is all that I am able to convey effectively.

Seven years ago I walked down the aisle of my church and had a vision for what my life would look like. Today I am unrecognizable from that woman, and on October 15th of this year I graduated from yoga teacher training.

I’ve been envisioning myself, in my lace wedding gown, in a room alone, before my father saw me, before taking those steps toward my future husband. I’ve been asking myself if I would change anything about those quiet moments, and what I would tell that young woman anxiously waiting to start her new life.

As cliche as it sounds, I could never tell that bride to do anything but take those steps, knowing that yes, you will be betrayed by the person at the end of that aisle. You will feel pain, loss, emptiness. You will find yourself alone, with no money, surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar city and state.


And slowly (very slowly) that city will become your new home. And one day, alone in your empty apartment, your new friend will come over with her boyfriend and they will give you an old television and microwave because these are luxuries and you can’t afford to purchase either of these items on your own. And then one weekend your parents will visit and you’ll be embarrassed because you don’t own any kitchen chairs or a couch but they will take you to Home Depot and your dad will buy you tools and he will fix your kitchen table. And your mom will cry the entire way back to Michigan but you won’t be privy to that information until months later.


And then, beautiful girl, then one day you’ll walk into your first yoga class. And all of the pain will come back- years and years of pain. But this time it’s different. This time instead of running from it, you lean into it. All of it. And an entirely new world will unfold before you. And you will never be the same.

If I could speak to that bride today I would tell her that she’s in for one hell of a chapter. That the world will fight to make her heart hard and that she will go into battle, but she’ll be fighting for softness and vulnerability. Fighting for hope and grace. And what she’ll find is that hope and grace have been seeking her the whole time, and for all of her days, they will never leave her.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.