Sparkle and Shine
Speak Your Truth
By Joan Bender
Speak your truth. Stand up to adversaries. I sat down a couple of times to write this month's article. Each time I set an intention and sat in meditation. Each time these two themes came through, but nothing else. This last time, when I set my intention and let my mind go, I was taken back 30 years to eleventh grade English class and a day when I stood up for myself and spoke my truth.
My English teacher was a man with a sarcastic sense of humor. He had a process where we would hand in our writing, and he would give it back to us with a grade and comments. Then, he would give us time in class to make corrections and resubmit it for a possible new grade. The problem, in my eyes, was that his comments were put downs rather than instructive feedback. Put downs hold us back. They deplete our soul's energy and stunt our creativity. I don't remember what my essay was about, but I do remember that on this particular day, I was fed up with his comments and decided I was going to let him know. I'm not sure if it was his "yawn" comment or his "blah, blah, blah" comment that triggered my inner fire, but things started bubbling up from way down deep and I let loose.
I responded to his every comment and respectfully let him know that I would appreciate more constructive, instruction in the future. I can remember the satisfaction I felt, standing in my power and speaking up to this bully. I also remember feeling a little scared, not knowing what his reaction might be and what consequences were to come. I was trapped in this relationship, and he had the power to make my life miserable. I decided that I should probably prepare my mother for what might come.
My mother reacted exactly as I thought she would. She was mortified. In her eyes, I was disrespectful to an elder, and she didn't raise me to be disrespectful. My mother grew up in Europe during World War II where speaking up against abusive power could lead to dire consequences. Here again, I stood in my power and spoke my truth, this time to my mother. I explained that my teacher would receive my respect once he was respectful toward me. Oh, I can still see the tormented look on my mother's face, shifting back and forth between proud and worried.
When I returned to English class, something had shifted. To my surprise, my teacher admired that I stood up for myself. I was treated different from that day on. His comments became more positive and constructive, and I gained greater respect for speaking my truth. Words are powerful. They can build us up, or they can tear us down. We always have the choice to speak our truth, and we always have the choice to use loving words.
Written by Joan Bender
New York, USA
Sparkle and Shine
Living with Intention
By Joan Bender
How do you start your day? Do you drag yourself out of bed, startled by the intrusive sound of the alarm clock, eyes half closed, barely feeling your feet on the ground? Do you end your day in a similar way, dragging yourself back to bed, exhausted from the day and regretful that you couldn't knock one more thing off of your to do list or with your thoughts already living in the next day?
So many people live their lives this way and it can wear us down quickly. I fall into these habits sometimes too, but over the past couple of years, I have been starting and ending my day by setting intentions, and it has been a game changer, not only for me, but for many of my clients as well. Setting an intention is different than a to do list. It is a way of setting your tone for the day or night, and it gives you something to return to when you feel yourself getting off track.
In the morning, before getting out if bed, I set my intention for the day. One of my favorites goes something like this: Today, I will move through the day with grace and ease. This helps me to start the day on a positive note, feeling confident about how I will approach things that come up. As the day progresses and I find myself out of alignment with my intention, I remind myself of my intention and I think about whether I am approaching obstacles with ease, or if I am contributing to resistance. If things feel hard or difficult, I pause to examine what I'm doing, and how I can proceed along the path of least resistance.
At bedtime, I set another intention for my sleep and dream life. I try to remember to take a moment to write my intention in my dream journal and then upon waking, jot down any dreams that I remember. As I drift off to sleep, I rest my hands on my heart and set an intention for how I want my slumber to go. Some of my favorites are intentions for a dream to help with a problem, a healing dream, or restorative sleep. I also add a statement about how I want to feel in the morning when I awake. Doing this has helped me to appreciate and value my sleep and dream life and helped me to feel as if I am a more active participant in my dreams.
Try for a week to set intentions like these and notice the impact. I have heard from others that setting an intention in the morning, has helped to improve their mood throughout the day, has helped them look forward to the day ahead rather than feel stressed out about it, and helped them to feel more in control of their lives.
New York, USA
Sparkle & Shine
Trusting Your Inner Wisdom
By Joan Bender
I often get hunches about foods before I eat them or during my first couple of bites. In the beginning, I would ignore the hunches. I can't tell you how many times I've ignored them and felt sick afterward. The more this happened, the more I started to listen to my own inner wisdom over external messages like product labeling.
As I traveled recently, I picked up a packet of non-dairy creamer and read the ingredients. To my surprise, under allergens, it
listed milk. I wondered how many people with a dairy sensitivity consumed this product thinking it was non-dairy and felt lousy afterward. As someone with gluten and chemical sensitivities, I have to be careful about what I put in my body. It was a good reminder to read labels thoroughly, and to trust my own intuitive hunches over product labeling.
There was a time, when our food didn't have labels, and we had to use our inner knowing to make decisions about what to eat. As a health coach, I help woman to rediscover and trust their inner knowing. I find that the women who come to me often have a good idea of what foods bother them, but they either don't want to believe it or they have lost trust in their knowing abilities.
Some women are very tuned in to their bodies. They have a good idea what food or group of foods might be bothering them, but because they sometimes have reactions and sometimes don't, they get confused. One of the reasons for is that many of our foods are not pure anymore. They contain additives like chemicals, thickeners, colors, preservatives and flavoring that may cause reactions. Therefore, it might not be the pure form of the food that creates problems. It might be one or more of the additives. Another reason is that sometimes people look at foods too broadly. They feel fine when they eat yogurt and some cheeses bother them while others don't. This leaves them feeling confused, because part of the category of dairy bothers them but not the whole category. So how does one make this shift to listening and honoring their inner wisdom?
Before eating, pause and notice if any impressions come to you. If you are experiencing any reluctance about eating something, honor your inner guide and stay away. There have been times when I was given something gluten free, and ate it despite feeling reluctant and then had a reaction to a preservative it contained. In those cases, I was thinking with my head and not with my gut. My head was focused solely on gluten, but my inner guide had a greater understanding of whether the food was right for me at that time.
Take time to tune in. Trust your knowing. The more you listen to and trust your inner wisdom, the more
confident you become and the more you sparkle and shine.
New York, USA
Confidence. If you have it, you can make anything look good. ~ Diane von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer, Born 1946
Do you have an interest in Learning more about intuitive eating? Food & Mood E-course
I was 1 of 50 inspirational women chosen to be a monthly contributor to the new e-magazine, Luminous Wisdom: Sophia. This space is dedicated to those monthly articles. The name of my column is Sparkle & Shine. You can learn more about the publication at http://www.sibellapublications.com/