I didn’t start Luminous Leanings to sell you a product forged in the fires of never-good-enough. I don’t have anything to give you that you don’t already have inside of you. There is nothing new here, no new magical formula or elixir that will cure your human condition. I have simply begun to realize how my spiritual practice has helped clear the unnecessary debris of suffering and let in the light of freedom into my psyche. I just made a decision – to be done believing the lies of my anxious thoughts, and instead carve new neural pathways that lean toward the positive rather than the negative. I realized, through physically manipulating my body and training my mind, I could affect my spirit for the better. Through self-care practice, fascia massage, yoga, and meditation, I could tap into the very physical organ of my neuro system, and train it to better function for my wellness. Like quitting smoking for the lungs, quitting self-sabotage has created a regeneration of healthy cells throughout my being. When you experience this rebirth for yourself, you have no choice but to spread the good news.
I created Luminous Leanings so that you might resist the gravitational pull of the negativity bias that is deeply embedded within our inherited human brains. And instead choose to lean toward the light, the positive, the possible. I believe we all have the power within us to choose another thought, another action, even another emotion when we practice training our awareness and pushing ourselves to the edge of our comfort zones. How ironic that, for many, that edge is self-care and self-compassion.
I suffered for years. From crippling anxiety, low self-worth, self-esteem and self-compassion. Suffered without even knowing it was possible not to. The lies we tell ourselves, flames fanned by society, smolder inside us until they are met with the extinguishing water of self-care. To authentically embody compassion and love, to actually be the change in the world, we have to start with ourselves. We are the only ones who will ever know what fresh hell we have been through. So why do we criticize ourselves to a bloody pulp, allowing the harshest thoughts, which we wouldn’t dream of unleashing on our worst enemies, to be directed inward?
We are living in the Age of Comparison – social media makes sure we know just how good our lives could be, if only we purchased this product or had that partner or looked like that. Social media has led to us being able to see way more of other people than our brains ever evolved to handle! I love how Kristen Bell explains it in the inaugural episode of Armchair Expert, with her hubby, Dax Shepard:
[Comparison] comes out of living in a group that’s too big. We’re supposed to be living in groups of 115, where somebody is the best at everything. Someone’s the best bike rider, someone’s the best baker. And now we live in the age of social media, where you truly see the best of the best and everybody feels less than. I just don’t have time for it. Part of it is because I’ve had kids and I’ve realized that I can get self esteem in a ton of other ways – being a good mom or a good wife… I’m not here to suffer. I want to choose the easiest lane, I want to choose what feels good. So thinking about how I’m less than doesn’t make me feel good.
That’s in fact my #1 criticism of so many “self-help” books and blogs out there – they play right into this notion that if you could only push yourself a little harder to drink that extra glass of water or wake up 2 hours earlier each day, you could have whatever your heart desires. They speak nothing to the complex nature of the human heart – the true desires underpinning our deepest fears. We don’t want to succeed with our business or romantic ventures because we want more money or that quintessential picket-fence dream. What we long for in our heart of hearts is belonging – to belong with our culture, with like-minded people, to find our place in the cosmos. To belong in our group of 115, but oh wait, now it’s 7.6 billion and growing.
My hope is that, in recognizing our deep ache for connection, we can cut through the noise of not being good enough and instead choose to seek healthy connections all around us. It can start easily with the connection to nature. It can be using the affection our loved ones feel for us as a bridge for connecting to others. It can be discovering or rediscovering a Divine connection you thought you lost long ago. It must go inward to the extension of nature that is our bodies and our Selves.
It fascinates me how I had to be taught to authentically love myself. I should say re-taught, as I believe we are innately born loving ourselves, but it is quickly unlearned. I had to re-learn to hold my body with tender care, to question its well-being constantly and learn how to soothe and treat it properly. To whisper to myself the sweet truths we all need to hear – You are loved. You are worthy. You contain Divine possibilities which cannot be contained. How awkward to say these things to ourselves at first!
So I will say it to you: You already belong. You are enough. You contain multitudes within you.
Connection is something we must find and refind, again and again. Connection drives us. It is why we are here. We are not broken, we are whole beings seeking our fitting place into something even more whole.
Seal this reading with the Om chant. Om, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism, represents our pranic life-force energy that connects all beings everywhere.
- Bring your palms to touch at the prayer position at your heart, lifting your chest and sternum to connect with the backs of your thumbs.
- Close your eyes.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose to prepare.
- Breathe out through your mouth as you chant the single syllable “Om” over one note.
- Let the final mmmm ring out in a vibration.
- Visualize that vibration connecting outward to encompass all beings everywhere.
- Repeat 3 times.
- Lifting them up to your third-eye chakra, bow forward to your Universal connection.