SCARY SIDE EFFECTS OF TOPICAL ACNE MEDS …

As any sukifan knows, 60% of what goes “on” the skin goes IN the body & affects our long-term, & short-term health…do you know the side effects of the creams & lotions prescribed by a derm or doc have many if not more of the same side effects as some of the more toxic drugs on the market (i’m talking PILLS here) – yea…sucks doesn’t it? Why are we as a culture so late to the game in so many ways on things that seem to me to be so…intuitively ummmm how can i put this….oh yes…simply, DUH!

xoxo – Suki

avoiding toxins during pregnancy

LEARNED & UNCOVERED – THE TRUTH BEHIND “BEAUTY” BIZ MOTIVATES NEW CHOICES

Becoming pregnant shone a whole new light on every choice for Christine…she & I, for very different reasons, have been on a quest for good health (& yes you can have beauty when you choose health darn it!!!) & to uncover the truth behind all those empty promises of cures, “anti-aging,” the next best thing in skin care, & on & on…

Here, Christine shares her story & why she decided to ditch synthetics & toxic food, beauty & healthcare FOR GOOD! xo -Suki

 

petrochemical refinery

MANUFACTURERS, DOCS, SKIN OR OTHERWISE, HAVEN’T ADVANCED FROM THE 1920’S

Topicals have a deep effect on the internal workings of the body – especially in babies, where you are programming early whole body wellness…This ridiculous “info” is put into the universe as gospel by well-meaning but uneducated, non-digging bloggers, or perpetuated by uneducated estheticians, dermatologists & the like.

I mean, let’s face it: most mainstream doc’s “thoughts” are placed there by their latest drug rep; estheticians, by great marketing & packaging from their latest skincare brand; derms, They rely on the prescription pad & latest fillers to make more dollars quick! everyone is a consumer, plain & simple – our docs & other pros are not at all immune, & our decades old treatment system was built in the 1920s (!) with rarely any fresh perspectives within the industry (& when they come along, whew is it hard to get folks to just think!).

Point is, like most articles, this totally misses the mark on eczema & the underlying causes of skin issues & how to treat them … so sad! no helpless infant will be saved long-term with Vaseline – & big surprise, the intuitive, easy connection here between eczema & later major side effects, “inevitable in most cases”, like asthma, etc. is just not made! not to mention how getting babies addicted early to petrochemicals preps them to need cortisone later – kinda like a sugar loaded diet prepares one for diabetes.

if people don’t head to naturopaths & other practitioners, get informed hardcore & demand better commitment to a well-rounded & current education from their doctors (who are supposed to be detectives, not pill dispensers), instead of short-term Rx fixes & BS topicals that provide no real nourishment or healing, they will create a cycle of long-term harm & more problems that must be treated – perpetuating a lifetime of both external & internal imbalances, discomfort & insecurities. boooo & grrrrrrr.

Check out the Huff Post article here: http://huff.to/2hw1P5K

& of course…know your beauty!! xo – Suki

FEAR SELLS ANYTHING…EVEN A BAD MOOD

a beautiful beach!

What’s wrong with this picture? I’m not there soaking up that sun & walking on that beach!

Ok, no seriously: “Before you even think about heading outside – even for a few moments – be certain to cover every inch of yourself with protection.” &, do not educate yourselves about what chemical blocks do to your insides, nor, to your skin, in fact do to your melanin production! Just do what we say! Proof? Ehhhh. Spin! Yeeeahhh! See we don’t say MALIGNANT melanomas when we speak, we just say skin cancer, we say melanomas. That is all…we like to confuse. Buy buy buy!

Ok, let’s try this again: “Before you head outside in the sun (um…yea…where the ozone is actually closing…WAIT? what? Later…), into the natural world, before you allow the evil, toxic sun (or is it our source of life & we’d actually be dead without it? I SO wish someone would tell me what to think here!) be absolutely certain to slather every inch with toxic chemicals that will at BEST clog your pores, create skin problems & keep you from getting any vitamin D, at WORST, cause reproductive toxicity, cancer or other long-term disease, IN-BETWEEN, we have the simple misdiagnosed fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, restless leg even & other such random aching that if you’ve ever had a vitamin D deficiency, you know it hurts like a….!” Ok got it!

Sure sounds more than illogical, just darn stupid when you lay the stone cold truth on the table, no? So why then are we robotically, going along with the brainwashing we’ve been sold for years now on the, “dangers of the sun?” Why are we buying sun care products in droves for our drives to work? When that is usually our ONLY time “outside?” Just like, why are we feeding our children legal speed to deal with their “diseases” of ADD, OCD (just as long as they aren’t outside running around god forbid!)? Are we so out of touch with our basic intuitive skills? Our own good judgement?

We inundate ourselves with pills to treat our real pain, yet never do the necessary work to solve the real problems we have. We look to our ‘doctors’ (note I did not say healers here), who do not even THINK to check for say…allergies, vitamin deficiencies, intestinal issues (where it all begins), or other such problems before going right to the most severe symptom treatment. We are over-prescribed antibiotics (further killing our bodies’ ability to develop the tools to heal), & even in the face of dermatologists (well, the you know, “edgy, weird ones”) who are actually, finally saying yes, non-malignant melanomas are not only highly treatable, but have nothing to do with malignant melanomas (which in turn have next to nothing to do with the sun!) but more in fact, to do with genetic disposition, lifestyle factors OTHER than sunshine…& do we relate this to the BOOMING business in sunblock each year? Nope. Call me cynical, but I’m also the one running on the beach happily, knowing the belly of the beast (the skincare industry) from the inside & knowing how little western physicians know…remember, nutrition is a one semester course to become a doctor…oy!

Even I used to believe we should only be in the sun of the morning or evening, come to find out THAT isn’t true! Midday sun, actually, is the best time for the body to receive UVB rays – not the UVA rays which cause melanomas. We NEED those UVB rays…so when you do go out, & I cannot plead with you enough to have your lunches outside, right there under the sun, unblocked, screened, shaded (& see the mood lift you get from it – hey, anything that makes us feel this good without a hangover can’t be bad :)!) for 15-20 minutes for a pale gal like me, longer for deeper skin tones. See for yourself after a few months how you feel. Do a vitamin D test, not to mention a full screen for vitamins, minerals, food allergies including a test for delayed food reactions – your doc will look at you like your insane…& in that moment you’ll know it’s time to keep him/her as your primary care & find a fabulous naturopath to be your detective, like, uhhhh “House”! What doctors used to be & no longer have the time for since they have insurance companies telling them they get 7.2 minutes’ per “customer”. Naturopaths, chiropractors (the GOOD ones only), homeopaths, & it’s true of all healers, you need to get a couple recommendations, there are the good, the bad & the lame…but your first visit should be extensive & take about two hours (no I’m not kidding).

By the way, you know Lyme disease, the epidemic of late? Most doctors will not find it with the ‘standard” test. You must go to specific labs who do the extensive Lyme testing & it will cost $$. Same for thyroid disease & many others. If you do not test for 3 things you will be told you do not have a thyroid condition even if you DO. Happened to me. Happened to several people I know with Lyme, so they ended up on antibiotics & fairly unable to do anything for YEARS. They could have died. This is the curse of the American medical system, & anyone’s innate trust in it… You see, we are in charge of our health. We are not babies who fall into a doctor’s arms without dong our own research. That’s just crazy, the best Western physician will agree. Haven’t we heard enough about people accidentally dying from bad or stupid prescription mixing or misdiagnosis, or doctors not doing the research they need to. Women being told they are depressed & years later, they finally find a TUMOR?!

Folks, do some in-depth reading on this…then dump the screen. Get some sun, a hat, & have some damn fun!

How did this hatred & fear of the sun come to pass? Think of a few expressions: someone who is generally cheerful is said to have a sunny disposition. There are hundreds of happy songs about riding to the beach with the convertible top down. & really, our moods change dramatically when the days turn from stormy to sunny, from cold to warm…in a heartbeat. Again, what’s wrong with this picture: someone who enjoys tending their garden sees the petals of the flowers & the plants’ leaves literally turning toward the sunlight each day, but nonetheless never ventures outside without first laying on the highest spf they can get their hands on.

Imagine this little Q&A: How does your garden grow? Fab! What makes it grow? Plenty of sunlight, plenty of water & lots of TLC. Do you treat yourself to the same? He**, no! I drink lots of water, & well, the sun is so toxic & will make me old before my time! I avoid it at all costs! This could not make less sense, but MOST people – gardeners or not – think exactly this way.

Consider the facts: there is increasing evidence that people who use synthetic sunscreens have a much higher incidence of skin cancer than those who refrain. According to one study, fully 85% of American citizens – the most sun block-worshipping people on the planet – suffer from a vitamin D deficiency.

Sunlight is a natural disinfectant, it’s also the only real source of essential vitamin D, despite what the chemical companies, mainstream synthetic skincare companies & not remotely in-the-know dermatologists will tell you…you cannot get the same form of vitamin D from synthetic vitamins, mock natural forms, or from food, & it just don’t work that way. Nature already made the perfect form…& everyone under the sun – there’s another one of those pro-solar expressions – would benefit & lower your risk of a host of debilitating diseases including colon, breast, prostate & ovarian cancer. Further, wearing an SPF of higher than 15 contributes to skin cancer! The higher the spf, the lower the UVA protection, & it’s UVA that is linked to DNA damage, which in turn is linked to malignant melanomas (which are linked to environmental & genetic predisposition).

Some other facts – it isn’t going to age you! All this talk about how the sun is the major cause of aging is I SWEAR, as much of a lie as that ANY cream can turn back the clock! &…SO frustrating! there is absolutely no evidence that the sun causes premature aging. Now, tanning & burning the skin, THAT is cause for concern and I would NEVER recommend this. But getting a healthy dose each day of screen-free sun…that will never cause you ill health, premature or unnecessary wrinkles. Ever. All it will do is keep you happy & healthy. & it really angers me that people have been made afraid of something so key to their good health. To sell products.

I’ve been happy to see the tide finally beginning to turn on attitudes about sun block. But this is an area where I still expect to be met with great resistance, not only from the mainstream media (however I did see a piece in Oprah on the need for vitamin D so we are getting somewhere) but also from people who have been told for so long that the sun is our enemy that they actually came to believe it…which, let’s face it, is most folks.

In the spirit of my tag line “know your beauty” it’s time to truly get past the scare tactics & to the truth — the sun is just one…but, here are a couple books to check out: The Healing Sun by Richard Horbday & The UV Advantage by Dr. Michael Hollick. You can check out Mr. Horbday’s site at: www.thehealingsun.org & Dr. Hollick’s at: www.uvadvantage.org

Enjoy life &…to your good health & MOOD!

xo
– Suki

 

Pro-Am Spotlight: Suki Kramer – How Dance Impacts the Entrepreneurial Mind

 I recently saw an interview with a one-legged Olympic skier.

She lost her leg when she was a child, and reflected on the day her mother casually handed her a pamphlet for ski camp. It was moment that changed her self-concept forever, and helped her begin to envision a future beyond recovery and the limits of her “condition.” Her mother planted quite a seed that day– enough for her to see herself not as a, “one-legged woman” but as someone who could ski…and eventually become a champion.

Her story was an inspiring reminder to me of the power of our minds to shape our reality. When we have a clear and detailed vision of what we want, we have the ability to create anything we wish for ourselves. It’s a truth I’ve always believed, that has largely shaped where I am today. What we believe about ourselves is…the…truth…and we can change those closely held beliefs if we make the decision to do so.suki dance 2

Not that I’m not suggesting forced positivity or some daily affirmations will do the trick! I mean, who can seriously maintain a positive attitude all the time? It’s not authentic. Sometimes being justifiably pissed off can be more motivating than any mantra, and we all need a little down time here and there. Growth doesn’t happen smoothly or quickly—even when we are purposefully seeking change, we stubbornly cling to our comfortable, familiar patterns. Eventually, though, with mountains of hard work, sacrifice and risk…the seemingly impossible becomes possible. When our vision for ourselves is fluid, when we sit down and plan out, in annoyingly infinitesimal detail, exactly what we want for ourselves, it’s pretty amazing – suddenly we start getting “lucky,” guides and teachers show up to help us, our fears slowly fall away as our confidence grows…and new possibilities open up.

My life revolved around work until about 7-years ago, when I was fortunate enough to discover ballroom dancing. I quickly went from a casual student to a 14-lesson a week addict. Much like my “ideal vision” for my products and my business, I soon developed a clear image of what I wanted to look like in my favorite style, International. I had another impossible dream to chase. What I found in the studio was a place where I could shut everything else out, and where I always left in a good mood.

As I’ve improved under the direction of my amazing teacher and incredible coaches, my body is starting to feel like it can do the things I’m asking of it…suddenly, the process of learning has gone from frustrating to interesting. In my business, I’m always experiencing new things: chemistry knowledge was first, then came the far more challenging 20-year task of learning to run a business. Learning American Smooth is showing me again, that I need to have a vision for myself as a dancer that is different, this time, “emotional,” rather than purely technical…a big challenge for me. This process of learning offers so many opportunities to discover and overcome mental and emotional blocks, which is why I often say learning to dance is better than therapy! It has given me the courage to put myself out there, even if that means I could potentially embarrass myself in front of an audience or a judge or just the mirror! Of course, that’s what it was like starting my business, but this often feelsriskier because it’s so personal.

The risk, though is part of what is great about this process. There will always be new ways to improve and old ways to discard. Working through pain, fear, frustration, and lack of control, and actually reaching the goals that can temporarily feel very far away is produces authentic confidence. But, a successful entrepreneur, like a dancer, can’t be flighty. The commitment is the important thing.

My remarkable teacher helps me grow in ways I could have never imagined. He creates a world for me to experience the successes that create confidence, that in turn create more successes. I’ve also benefited from the knowledge of the very best coaches who have further accelerated my education and skills, and unlocked the many puzzles I’ve struggled with. Starting my company, I had to learn through trial and error, often on my own, how to survive in a very competitive world. The pro-am relationship is a fantastic advantage that ensures we aren’t devastated from a “failure” or a fall. They are there to give us a pep talk or talking down, if necessary. I mean, they actually make us look good…pro-am is a sweet deal, no?

suki dance 3In a way, a great teacher is almost like a great parent! I recently had an “aha” moment in dance that helped me realize I needed to see myself as a leader in business. You would assume I’d have nailed that after almost 20-years, right? But not so…I’ve struggled with the concept all along. Again, I had to change my self-concept since I’d only ever seen myself as a, “worker,” rather than a, “mentor.” So I started to visualize what a leader in my own company might look like. Sure I owned the business, but that is different than seeing myself as a leader who needed to perform at work much like at a competition. I also realized how lucky I was to have built a brand with principles other people believed in and wanted to be a part of.When I started my business, I seemed insane by any “normal” standards (and believe me, my friends and family told me so!). I should never have made it past year one! In my “early days” starting suki® skincare, I was a freelance writer and waitress with no experience running a business. I had no start-up capital and little understanding of the chemistry necessary to formulate my ideal product – 100% pure and truly effective for hardcore skin problems. What I did know was that for people like me, who struggled with a lifetime of severe skin issues, who couldn’t tolerate chemicals, and didn’t find any relief in “naturals” or pharmaceuticals, there was nothing that really worked. If I could figure out how to create solutions that were both strong and safe, so many people who knew the pain and stigma of severe skin problems, like me, would benefit. And, being fiercely independent, the idea of committing my life to someone else’s vision, including taking on a business partner to influence my ideals, didn’t match who I am.

So, with no resources or experience, and armed with no more than my ideas, I set out to build a business, and I learned, step by little step…and by investing a whole lot of “sweat equity.” I sought out mentors to help me learn things like how to write business plans, run projections, build a website, and market my products. I read books on how to solicit magazines for exposure. Heck, back then I didn’t even know what the term “branding” meant, much less doing the actual branding! I recall when I first presented my ideas to chemists for help, so many turned me away because they said what I was setting out to do was going to be impossible. But, I continued until I finally found two mentors in the industry who would go on to generously answer all my questions and teach me the principles of formulation science, as I discovered innovativeingredients and new technologies. After 2-years of experimentation in my kitchen, my “impossible idea” became a brand new way of looking at and treating skin problems. At that point, I got in my car and started selling my very badly self-designed and bottled, but fabulous formula around town, then nationally, then globally…

The reason I was able to succeed, despite my total lack of experience at the time, was that vision I had for myself and for my product. I wanted to help people, including myself, feel and look better. But I also knew there had to be a way to develop something better than what was on the market. Sure, I could have seen my daily experiments as failures, but I chose the word, “experimentation.” I took notes, and every day I would ask my chemist questions, do research…throw away my “experiments,” get up and do it again…for 2 years…while I learned the “other things” I needed to know until I had what I was looking for. I also studied with a very generous designer who schooled me on all things marketing. suki dance 4I never forget my business has afforded my the opportunity to dance, which I’m so grateful for…

At the end of the day, when I leave my office and go to dance practice, I’m happy, I’m present – and I don’t have to remind myself to breathe…and that’s more than enough…well…now that I think about it, there are a few competitions I really would love to win (or as my teacher would say, we have to get to the finals first, lol)…yes, I think I’m just going to settle on the totally unrealistic vision of myself on that top step…

PERMISSION TO FEAST

Thanksgiving’s just around the corner & I’m going to say something shocking now. are you ready?

have like…a LOT of butter &…wait for it…even second helpings of everything, including dessert! treat yourself to whatever you’d ordinarily say “oh, I really shouldn’t…”. after all, what the heck are the holidays about if you’re not going to ENJOY the simple pleasures in life? it drives me crazy, reading endless articles about how to avoid all that delicious food—Thanksgiving is about appreciation & not self-denial. now, if you have some kind of allergy that will hurt you, be wary of that…but otherwise INDULGE away! give yourself permission to partake in all the classics. or maybe you have your own spin, like tofurkey or gluten-free rolls; it’s not the old days where being green or vegan meant a tasteless, chewy meal that no one enjoyed! there is truly an abundance of riches in the gluten-free & vegan world nowadays! let yourself fill a totally decadent plate & enjoy every bite. it’s not about glorifying consumerism, but celebrating the abundance of family/friends surrounding your table. & let’s face it, food is comfort, history, pleasure…it’s just pretty awesome too. 🙂

Thanksgiving6

at my company, some of our team members made a poll of their Thanksgiving dinner must-haves: mashed potatoes were a popular choice & the favorite of customer service mavens Rachel & Melanie & production assistant Meghan. our accounting manager Tina put a twist on the potato theme by choosing sweet potato pie…& pies, of course, held their own in this little contest. Mike in shipping went with classic apple pie, while marketing assistant Whitney chose gluten-free pumpkin pie, heavy on the whipped cream. lab manager Mike can’t say no to a good breadcrumb stuffing, Dan had to go with the classic turkey, accounting assistant Rosalyn is crazy about gravy & my assistant Johanna just loves it all, as do I…since I really enjoy a meal that has multiple ‘tastes’ rather than one big entrée, Thanksgiving is awesome to me! 🙂

what nostalgic favorite or new culinary creation are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?

with gratitude,

Suki

THE POWER OF PERSISTENCE

from time to time I’ll share “inspirational notes” that may seem trite in this age of irony, but they’ve obviously helped me out. I received this one from a gentleman I met on a flight, & I’m grateful to him for his time & wisdom…& for this great daily motivational tool he was so kind to send me, some of which I’ll pay forward to you!

I’ve always believed we can truly do anything we set our minds to—given the necessary time, hard, very hard work, sacrifice & totally idealistic goals.

persistence

it has, at times, been hard for me to maintain this sense of determination—especially when I’m surrounded by people who have come into my life now that my business is successful & think somehow it all appeared poof! as if by accident or magic…hiiii-larious…persistence people! (& intelligence, luck, help, intuition, tenacity, hmmm I could go on & on…) but in this case:

Persistence

the successful way forward is to persist. persist, and you

can turn around the most difficult situation.

persist, and you learn. persist, and you become more

skilled, better connected & vastly more effective.

persist, & you will master the difficult, complicated

tasks that now frustrate you. persist, and you gain not only

skill but also understanding.

persistence is not always easy, yet it is always available

to you. persistence is not always pleasant or comfortable,

yet it always makes you stronger.

persist, and you will find the way to get where you most

want to go. persist, and nothing is out of your reach.

~Ralph Marston

perseverence

I’ve been taking ballroom dance for about 7 years now, competing for about 6, & Marston’s poem reminds me of every day, week, month & year we must as my teacher would say. chip away when we feel we’ve plateaued. chip away when we are frustrated with our lack of progress, chip away when we are skating along & feel we’ve done nothing to get where we are. chip away when we are feeling good & just want to dance, not work! we continue to get better, in teeny tiny increments & sometimes if we are lucky, in a big growth spurt, & it only happens with hard work & for sure…persistence.

ballroom1

I’d love to hear from you guys—what have you accomplished that called for more than “what is required” & how many of you have continued on & on, beyond what you felt you were capable of? beyond self-doubt, frustration, fear & when you persevered, what happened?

xo

—Suki

WHAT’S THE STORY WITH WHOLE FOODS?

last year, suki® ended its partnership with Whole Foods Market. people often don’t realize what goes into these corporate partnerships & why collaborating isn’t always the blessing it might seem for an independent company, especially those who stand by their strong ideals & values. in fact, after I broke off our partnership, Whole Foods began to claim that they kicked us out, which actually tells you a great deal about this giant, picking on a tiny company like ours. I mean, we could hardly impact their bottom line, yet they had no problem with potentially destroying a small business with their false accusations! talk about power corrupting…

so this week, to mark the one-year anniversary of this decision, which I’m still proud  hell to have made, I wanted to share the letter I sent to my independent retail partners (who are growing in numbers & as ethically strong as ever!).

no_whole_foods

dear friends:

know your beauty®, the philosophical foundation behind suki® , means accepting ourselves for who we really are, never punishing ourselves for being “less than perfect” or needing to live up to an outside definition of beauty, & acknowledging we must always take & own our power, including the power over our health & well-being.” I set my own rules for my company: we’re transparent, honest & committed to sourcing the most pure & efficacious ingredients—100% organic or fair trade when possible. we are truly independent & always have been in creating products that actually solve skin problems!

you are my independent partners & I know you share our values. you have stood by me since day one, when I started my company in my kitchen in the woods of New England. we agree that an environment of real choice & truly healthful solutions is key in this industry. we also know that as others have grown massively, their missions have altered. we have experienced too well the push of profit put ahead of ethics, as unique independent brands are homogenized to do businesses with the all-powerful corporate & publically traded brand, Whole Foods Market.

over the past 14 years, suki® skincare emerged as Whole Foods’ leading premium skincare brand & we are grateful to have reached many people through this partnership. however, we examined our business relationship & found that Whole Foods is no longer committed as they once were (when they were independent themselves) to providing ethical, effective & pure products to those who TRULY need them. sadly, it appears they have become aligned with centralized manipulative marketing practices.

whole_foods_strike

(January 2015 strike at Whole Foods Market , Brooklyn, NY)

their tactics include pressuring small businesses like us to alter our messaging, requiring their subjective approval for every decision as if we were a subsidiary of Whole Foods Markets & trying to force us to overturn our ideals, values, & even our product formulations! & this, folks, is how you kill a small business & the ideals of a small business owner, unless you are as stubborn as, well, us 🙂

Whole Foods has compromised their original mission by allowing “acceptable” synthetic stabilizers, gums, preservatives & other synthetic ingredients like non-labeled GMOs that we would never deem appropriate into their stores. & thanks to other brands in Whole Body that make efficacy claims without doing scientific studies (which we have done!), we are told to get rid of any language that informs our consumers of how our products can help them.

shockingly, Whole Foods adopted the same oppressive tactics as Wal-mart with respect to labor negotiations, purchasing practices, restricting small business autonomy & dictating communications.

wholefoods_walmart

so we have made the easy choice to let go & focus on our partnerships with you, the TRUE pioneers of the industry. I want you to know that I deeply respect every one of you for your trailblazing commitment to providing truly natural & organic solutions for your customers.

we will continue our original mission of creating strong, safe solutions for skin problems & sensitivities, & helping people achieve their best skin by treating the underlying systemic causes of their problems. we will remain strong & self-sufficient, answering to our ethics, our hearts & our ideals. when I began all this in my kitchen, I swore I would NEVER compromise my ideals for profit—for anything. & I’m happy to say I never have.

so here’s to all of our growth & continued paving the way, hopefully, for future idealists.

xo

—Suki Kramer

River-Valley-storefront

River Valley Market, one of my awesome independent retailers in Northampton, MA

SELF-TALK & SELF-LOVE: CONQUERING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

self_love1another swimsuit season come & gone, & now it’s daaaamn cold! thank goodness I have a love of boots that borders on addiction :). but, do the insecurities that go along with exposing our bodies disappear along with the healthful summer sun & ahhhhhh warm breezes on our skin?

uh no! they’re just easy to cover up & the relief that comes with it, well, feels EASY temporarily!
fall….the great clothes, the crisp, refreshing, new life in the air…sure, it’s nice for a bit, but how deep does it go if inside, we don’t feel good about ourselves?

even with an eating disorder in so distant my past that I can’t even imagine having had one & even with my years being an advocate for “know your beauty” on so many levels, I can’t shake the nagging fixation on the 10 pounds I’ve gained in the last year.

yeah, 10. I look at pictures of myself competing in my last dance competition, when I thought my body was at its best. but the truth is, I’m actually in better shape now than I’ve ever been! I think, what a waste of time & energy, but…I just can’t let go. ugh, don’t get me started!

& why? well, part of it is all summer long, media headlines have been aggressively screaming a common theme: shape up for summer! get your bikini body back! even the most confident & mentally healthy folks begin to feel the pressure that something is not quite right with themselves. but, what if we could really celebrate who we really are instead of obsessing over who we’re not—a person that doesn’t even exist. in my case, someone always stressed out & constantly tense, trying to be & do everything absolutely perfect, always apologizing for myself, feeling guilty about—jeez, who the heck knows!

we know body image isn’t based on facts, but emotions, & emotions start with thoughts. & the best place to begin improving how we feel about ourselves is to do some hardcore work on what we think about ourselves. more importantly, how our thoughts LEAD to the emotions that get us into the “funks” we find ourselves in. it’s really as simple as that….& as hard! I mean, our minds are darn difficult to deal with! in my dancing, the very moment I let my mind in, & this is hard to explain, everything goes all to h*ll. but if I can lower my mind, much like meditation, & be at one with myself & my partner, my body, the music, it’s the most beautiful, amazing, transforming experience there is. as my partner/teacher says, where is music? it is everywhere? in our dancing in that mode? WE ARE EVERYWHERE!  we are nowhere, we just ARE. it’s the closest thing to zen I’ve ever experienced. and the journey to this place, the constant journey here is battling & being aware of my negative self-talk, my brain telling me what I’ve always told myself since childhood.

the first step is to become aware of our constant self-talk or self “noises”. when I force myself to be aware of my thoughts, I become hyperconscious of words like “you’re stupid” or “ugh, Suki” in an inner voice that screams “lame girl!” & wow, what a punitive reality that is.

self_love2our minds first create our intentions & then create our reality. our minds are actually the ruler of our worlds, not our hearts, not our emotions! when we realize this, freedom is near, with a confidently JLO-sized butt load of hard work! & isn’t she a great example of how one woman changed a whole culture of women to want large rear ends instead of running from them? how’s that for some self-love & working with whatcha got! hoooaaaa!

positive self-image, like “confidence”, is like retraining a muscle that not only has gone dormant but has actually been trained to work against you (science has shown this starts in the womb! when my mom had a car accident, was in traction & had a C section, & fought with my dad non-stop, this started me out with a high cortisol level that has stalked me til today!). so you must exercise your self-talk in positive ways to make it strong, automatic & make it work for you, just like any other muscle! if you can, find a trainer to help (mine just happens to be my amazing dance teacher, which I’m telling you, has helped more than years of therapy).

makes me think of Stuart Smalley, the character on Saturday Night Live. “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, & gosh darn it, people like me!” the truth in that, about positive affirmations & becoming our own best friend, hits home. there’s also this Disney movie called “The Kid” that always makes me cry in this one scene where the adult (Bruce Willis) is hugging & consoling himself as a weeping child, saying “it’s not your fault”. kills me every time (but I am a big baby after all 🙂 but think about it, what would it be like if we could meet ourselves as child, knowing what we know now, & truly explain it all, hug ourselves, reassure ourselves that we are not to blame for the horrible things we may have been accused of, or held accountable for, or blamed for, or not protected from? that’s deep man!

as an adult, you are the architect of your own self-concept. so the next time you notice a negative thought, it is your job to stop it in its tracks! replace that BS with new words of encouragement that make sense to who you actually are & lift you up! be honest, you are not (fill in the blanks), you are (insert the good things people say about you, but you just can’t seem to believe).

for me it’s “I’m not stupid or ugly, I’m smart & pretty”—gotta admit it’s even hard to write those to this day.

self_love3the chance to rewrite our story every day is the most powerful tool we’ve got! & I’m telling you, it’s transformational & touches every aspect of your life 🙂

you know, I would love to hear your experiences & help with your struggles as you create this new minute-to-minute discipline in your life & watch the changes take root & grow. & hey, DANCE y’all! seriously. or challenge, or just plain enjoy yourself through something that makes you feel scared & vulnerable. there’s nothing better for your self-esteem than the growing awareness that comes with seeing yourself for the first time, again & again! my next thing, aerial wrapping (or whatever they call it). I cant wait!

xo

—Suki