My curvy paintbrush

My Curvy Paintbrush 2*This post was originally published on Aug. 26th, 2014. As the cold and winter sets in and my ability to exercise outside is limited, this post came to the forefront of my mind. I’m seeking to find peace and balance in health and in my body this wintry season.

Recently I read an article, Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece, and my perception of body image was changed. This was a big deal for me, considering I have read article after article about body image. I have written papers on body image and scoured the internet looking for research on the topic. Yet for me, this article gave the perfect metaphor for my body and what its purpose truly is.

“Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.

It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.” (Melton)

oilpaintingdance

So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas.

Wow, right? Her metaphor hit me like none other, because it is true. So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas. In fact, I could be traveling the world hoping to add my own personal paint color and beauty to other people’s canvas of life.

Of course we shouldn’t spend all day worrying about our paintbrush, but there is something important about our paintbrush–that it works. I think it’s important we take enough care of our paintbrushes so they don’t slow us down or hinder us from expressing our vibrant souls.

We could go on and on about what is the right way to take care of our bodies. I reach a nice balance when I combine this paintbrush metaphor with THIS address, by Jeffrey Holland, it is perhaps the most encouraging talk I read as a teenager. It was 2005 and I was in the midst of teenage anxiety, worrying about what puberty had done to my hips. I listened to this talk multiple times over the years to re-center and re-focus myself on what mattered most. The entire talk is full of gems, but this excerpt gets across what I feel is often lost in the world’s extremes:

We should all be as fit as we can be… That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size. (emphasis added)

For some reason, the world preaches from its social pulpit that there is a universal optimum size. That if you are doing all the right things: exercising, eating well, sleeping, drinking water, etc… you will have the slender, toned, masterpiece of a body you are looking for. But that is simply not true. As much as I have tried, my body likes curves. It is just that way. Others’ bodies are taller or more slender. In the end, it is important to realize the goal is not a target size or weight, it is health.

So what am I trying to go for now? A healthy paintbrush. My own healthy, curvy paintbrush. A paintbrush I love, because it helps me spread joy. A paintbrush I clean, because I want people to see my true colors. A paintbrush I care for so I can skip around the world spreading my unique and beautiful creations.

How are you learning to be at peace with your body?

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Say YES to happiness

Say yes to happinessWhen I was in high school I got hooked on a song called “Say Yes.” It was a song written by our church to uplift and encourage teenagers.

“We say yes, yes, yes to happiness
we say yes to freedom and yes to hope
yes to everything good that we know”

At the time it was a song I listened to on my way to school, where undoubtedly there seemed to be drama, discouragement or feelings of loneliness. At school, it was hard not to get lost in the drama and simultaneously wave goodbye to my happiness. In fact, many days happiness was something I wanted to cling to desperately.

So as I listened to this song I was trying to commit myself to happiness, no matter what happened at school during the day. Rain or shine, friends or no friends, good grades or bad grades I wanted to wake up in the morning and “say yes” to happiness–whatever happiness I could grasp.

In this way, I’m very similar to my high school self.  This morning I woke up on I don’t know what side of the bed. I’m feeling drained with all the decisions in my life right now. I want to be happy during the good times, but just as much during the hard, stressful, at-my-wits-end times. I really want to say yes to happiness.

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Parker’s sad grumpy face. Sometimes do we choose to be grumpy?

But, sometimes I’m just downright grumpy and in essence, I say “no” to happiness. I slam the door in its face determined to be grumpy and spread rain clouds throughout my home. I have no idea why I am continually tempted to hang out in my grumpiness! It’s a mystery to me.

However, I’ve realized all over again that living in my own rain cloud does no good; no good for me, no good for my husband, and no good for my boy.

The choice really is mine.

I can choose whether I walk in sunshine or rain clouds. My inner weather is decided by ME. So, whatever the circumstances, whatever today may have in the cards, I’m going to try to say yes to happiness. Will you try it to?

How do you “say yes” to happiness in your life? How do you stay happy despite hard things happening? I would love your advice and insights!

Say it in the mirror

Today is moving day for my little family of three. Due to moving so quickly and barely finding a place to live in the time we had, I have come to consider myself practically a world-class athlete, renowned cook, or famous musician. Not because I am any one of these, but because it makes this whole moving thing easier. I’m starting to realize, it is when I own up to the fact that I am doing something hard, that the task becomes easier.

Say it in the mirror

What I’m imagining myself as this morning!

So, today while our home is in shambles, covered in boxes, in transition, and my memories are being packed in identical brown boxes, I’ve decided I’m going to look in the mirror and say:

“I ROCK! I’m doing a hard thing, but I am going to rock it.”

We all can do that on our hard days–the days we dread when we look at the calendar. We can do it on the days that unexpectedly become hard too. Hard things are not easy, but we can find strength in it.

“A man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities.”- Charles de Gaulle

How do you find strength to do hard things?

My curvy paintbrush

My Curvy Paintbrush 2

Recently I read an article, Your Body Is Not Your Masterpiece, and my perception of body image was changed. This was a big deal for me, considering I have read article after article about body image. I have written papers on body image and scoured the internet looking for research on the topic. Yet for me, this article gave the perfect metaphor for my body and what its purpose truly is.

Your body is not your masterpiece — your life is.

It is suggested to us a million times a day that our BODIES are PROJECTS. They aren’t. Our lives are. Our spirituality is. Our relationships are. Our work is.

Stop spending all day obsessing, cursing, perfecting your body like it’s all you’ve got to offer the world. Your body is not your art, it’s your paintbrush. Whether your paintbrush is a tall paintbrush or a thin paintbrush or a stocky paintbrush or a scratched up paintbrush is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is that YOU HAVE A PAINTBRUSH which can be used to transfer your insides onto the canvas of your life — where others can see it and be inspired and comforted by it.

oilpaintingdance

So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas.

Wow, right? Her metaphor hit me like none other, because it is TRUE. So often I spend time worrying about my paintbrush, when I could be painting my dreams, personality, and love for others all over my canvas. In fact, I could be traveling the world hoping to add my own personal paint color and beauty to other people’s canvas of life.

The thing is, I DO feel that there is something important about our paintbrushes. And that is, that it works. I think it is important that we take enough care of our paintbrushes so they don’t slow us down and don’t hinder us from expressing our beautiful souls.

But, where is the balance in that? We could go on and on about what is the right way to take care of our bodies. I feel I reach the balance when I combine this paintbrush metaphor with one of my “Hall of Fame” addresses. THIS address, by Jeffrey Holland, is perhaps the most encouraging talk I read as a teenager. It was 2005 and I was in the midst of teenage anxiety, worrying about what puberty had done to my hips. I listened to this talk multiple times over the years to re-center and re-focus myself on what mattered most. The entire talk is full of gems, but this excerpt gets across what I feel is often lost in the world’s extremes:

We should all be as fit as we can be… That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size. (emphasis added)

For some reason, the world likes to preach from its social pulpit that there is a universal optimum size. That if you are doing all the rightcanvas things: exercising, eating well, sleeping, drinking water, etc… you will have the slender, toned, masterpiece of a body you are looking for. But that is simply not true. As much as I have tried, my body likes curves. And it is just that way. Others’ bodies are taller or more slender. In the end, it is important to realize that the goal is not a target size or weight, it is health.

So what am I trying to go for now? A healthy paintbrush. My own healthy, curvy paintbrush. A paintbrush that I love, because it helps me spread joy. A paintbrush I clean, because I want people to see my true colors. A paintbrush I care for so that I can skip around the world spreading my unique and beautiful creations.