5 Ways To Start Your Journey Towards Self-Acceptance

selfacceptnace

So far this month we have talked about accepting our choices, accepting differences, but we haven’t delved too deeply into the realm of self-acceptance. Loving and accepting ourselves may be one of the hardest aspects of acceptance, but self-acceptance is far from impossible. Here are five ways to begin your journey to self-acceptance. We hope they bring you lots of wisdom and love.

  1. Be a bumble bee…which is to say watch Harry Baker performing spoken word about self-acceptance at a Ted Talk.
  2. Take a course on self-acceptance. Everyday Feminism has a great one focusing on self-love (with reduced rates for folks with lower incomes), and Oprah offers a free ten day path towards self-acceptance.
  3. Explore your own unique type of courage with this quiz from Greenpeace.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others and just breathe.  Read about the ways that yoga to help with that in this article from Yoga Journal  or this one from Rebelle Society.
  5. Try praying, meditating or writing about the best aspects of yourself. Enjoy them, revel in then, and share them!

Have other ideas about starting the journey to self-acceptance? Share them with us in a post, or below in the comments!

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Learning to Breathe

Today’s post is from Michelle Willett. She talks about the importance of breath, even when we ignore it, and how sometimes breath is all we have. So without further ado here’s Michelle on learning to breathe…

I’ve practiced yoga about five years now. I was immediately intrigued by the calm, yet demanding exercise, as well as yoga’s applications as more than just physical exercise. My first teacher was demanding, she never let us back down from difficult poses. When things became overwhelming, she reminded us to breathe through it, and I began to push beyond my former boundaries.

This simple idea has patched up many holes for me. Big and small, from screaming children to arguments with loved ones, there have been times where I reminded myself that I could do it if I just closed my eyes for a moment and focused on my breath.

At the end of a hard day, I often do a simple sun salutation in my room to let myself calm down and have a few moments where I let my mind turn off and focus on nothing more than breath and the life it gives. Such a simple thing, breath, something that you often occurs without a thought. Yet as I travel the world, see so many different things, experience so many different cultures, sometimes my breath is the only consistent companion I have .

Spare Change Spotlight: Yoga Gangsters

Terri Cooper, founder of Yoga Gangsters, once said that the most important thing we can teach to at-risk youth is how to breathe before acting.  This gift, of being able to take a moment before we act, of being able to live beyond fight or flight, is perhaps the greatest gift the universe has given human beings. Yoga Gangsters works with at-risk youth to cultivate that divine gift, and here is your chance to help them.

 

On Sunday, September 22, 2013 on the 7th Level of the Lincoln Road Parking Complex at 1111 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, Yoga Gangsters will host their 10th Annual Yoga Gangsters Challenge. At this is a fundraising event,  over 500 expected yoga practitioners and supporters with breathe through 108 Sun Salutations. Doors open at 9 am, yoga begins at 10:30 am.

If you are not in the South Florida Area, there is also an event on the 28th of September in Las Vegas and if you are not in those places no worries! You can donate now and join the Searching Sophia’s Pockets team. Donate 1$ for each Sun Salutations and then we will all breathe through our Sun Salutations together as a global community of spiritual sojourners.

So join us now and help to give the gift of breath youth across the United States, and maybe eventually, across the world.

 

 

Searching for Your Words….

As we look toward September, we are searching for your words, photos, wisdom and prayers on the theme of BREATH.

We want your thoughts on breath of life, yogic breath, the breath of God, moments that took your breath away, and moments where you found your breath again.  Breathing through pain or pleasure, fear or hope, we want to hear and see how breath has entered into your spiritual journey.

So take a deep breath and send your posts to sophiaspockets [at] gmail.com.

With wisdom, love …and lint,

Jenni and Autumn

 

P.S. If you want to help breath change the world, check out the Yoga Gangsters Fundraiser which happens in September too!

My Exploding Jesus

Today’s guest post is our second from Laura Beth Eschbacher, a freelance English teacher and translator living in Kleinbottwar, Germany. Today she shares with us a bit about meditation, Jesus and the multitude of ways we can see the Divine. 

Since my first yoga class in grade school, I’ve fostered a reverence for the idea of meditation. Truly peaceful and wise people always seemed to do it. Meditation meant self-knowledge, health, and fulfillment!

Too bad I never got the hang of it. I tried breathing consciously and reciting motivational catchphrases. I bought a giant yellow tapestry with an image of the Buddha and hung it over my bed, hoping it would remind me to be mindful. But I never set aside time to give mediation an honest try. It’s just an idea on my bucket list. Something I should do… someday…

But it worked one time. During the last few weeks of Lent last year, I joined an interfaith, but catholic-flavored prayer circle to swing myself back into belief after a few months of skipping church. One of the homework assignments was to choose a meditation from the list and try to spend time with Jesus.

I chose a scenario where you were supposed to imagine yourself a statue, a handmade creation of God. You couldn’t speak or move, but had to stand in Jesus’ workshop, and simply exist while he came in, inspected you, and looked at you lovingly. The point was to bare it all in front of Jesus and feel his acceptance.

But I felt violated. During the first few minutes, I kept thinking “why is this bearded guy with a robe walking in circles around me, staring at my body? I feel extremely uncomfortable and I don’t appreciate his inappropriate behavior. And why am I not allowed to speak?”

I felt restricted, being made of stone. A carpenter was eyeing me, and I couldn’t run away like you can when construction workers whistle at you on the street. Even worse, if I had imperfections, it was probably this craftsman’s fault. He and his father designed me, after all.

I felt agitated and frustrated. My mind screamed, “I want out! This isn’t helping me spiritually!”

In that exact moment, imagination-Jesus exploded. His body burst into music and a billion multicolored lights, swirling and forming beautiful patterns with the rhythm. I felt the lights whoosh past me in warm and cool breezes. My heart beat to the music, and I felt absolute freedom, absolute peace.

When the song ended I slowly came back to consciousness, sad to leave the cosmic particles and drumbeat behind. The feelings were still lingering in my heart as I returned to reality, and I thought, “Okay, what the hell just happened?”

When I look back, I think Sophia was reminding me that I don’t have to shove the Soul of the Universe into the Jesus cookie cutter. Perhaps God is the stars, the music and the forever-swirling of the cosmos. Perhaps God is Jesus and Buddha, heartbeats and light. Perhaps God particles are in all of us, little bits of the universe realizing itself and creating meaning. God could be so many things! Why imagine Her in just one way?

And if God can speak to me through a psychedelic acid-trip of a meditation attempt, then She can certainly speak to others in ways that I do not understand.

Loose Threads: Meditation

Loose Threads are a chance to share a conversation with the community. Here is this weeks question:

Are prayer and meditation the same thing? Do you pray? Do you meditate?

Jenni: I’ve never been trained in meditation, but I think of that one scene in the chick flick Eat, Pray, Love when Julia Roberts is trying to meditate and gets distracted thinking about decorations, and realizes only a minute or two have gone by. If that’s meditation, then it’s exactly like prayer. It’s sometimes so hard to focus, and five minutes can seem pretty heroic at times. While most of my praying is done in tiny spurts sent up to God telepathically (“Help!” “Thanks!” “Wow!” as Anne Lamott would say) when it’s time to get down to business and no emergencies are involved, I love to pray the Psalms out loud. Pick a good solid verse and say it over and over again. I think it’s a form of meditation, the repetition and focusing on the words until it gets deep in your gut, but it’s a great way to pray. I think that’s why I like old hymns so much as well, since the repetition lets the words and ideas sink into your soul a bit. So, back to Eat, Pray, Love and one of my favorite quotes on prayer and meditation:

Smile with face, smile with mind, smile with liver.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Autumn: I practice yoga and mediation often, and many people see meditation as the eastern version of prayer. The truth is that yoga and meditation do not mandate or exclude any religious tradition and Christians have been meditating for ages.  The ancient christian tradition of walking a labyrinth is a moving meditation, just like yoga. When I meditate, I am communing with God. I think of prayer as a conversation with God, and meditation as the listening portion of that conversation. I also pray the rosary, which could be seen as meditating on a certain few mantras, mainly the Hail Mary and Our Father. Basically, if I am doing a lot of the talking to God, I am probably not meditating, but if I am listening for the quiet whisper of Holy Wisdom, then I am probably meditating. For me, meditation is part of prayer. Meditation is one of man way i follow the command in first Thessalonians:

Pray without ceasing

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Now it is your turn…What do you think?