I Am Light – What Do You Believe (And Say) About Yourself?

What do you believe about yourself? Where did you acquire those beliefs? From whom? Where along the way did you come to believe in yourself or come to believe you are flawed and fundamentally ‘not good enough’? Here’s a healing song to remind you that you are fundamentally okay as a woman, even in your brokenness. You (we) do not need to apologize for being just who and where you (we) are. We simply are part of it all, and as such we are our own little miracles, our own little bundles of light – whether we see it or not. So, let’s see it and believe it.

In ‘Life’ in How Women Heal, we examine our beliefs about ourselves, and one thing is for sure: we women often tend to be hard on ourselves. I wonder why? Do you wonder why?

India Arie makes clear in the last live video below that this song is about the abuse that she suffered as a child, and a good many women have suffered from some form of abuse or another. What’s worse is the abuse we heap upon ourselves…in our heads.

We expect a lot of ourselves, and the world expects a lot of us. There are so many ways we can become worn down by this. This song is an anti-dote to the voices in our heads that fundamentally are adopted from the criticisms we’ve received along the way, over the course of a lifetime.

Listen to this song and listen again when you take yourself down the rabbit hole and begin to bash yourself. You are not your abuser. You are your liberator. You are the one who needs to exercise that mental muscle, and sometimes that’s just too hard, I know. Music serves beautifully. Singers and musicians do half the work for us; music is like a conduit. Close your eyes and meditate as you listen. Then do it again and again.

Keep a journal and share what comes for you, if you like. I wonder if, over time, your voices of self criticism will become weaker as you counter them with these messages of just how special you are. This is our goal. Self love. All. The. Way.

To you!

I Am Light – India Arie

I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light

I am not the things my family did
I am not the voices in my head
I am not the pieces of the brokenness inside, I am light
I am light

I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light

I’m not the mistakes that I have made
Or any of the things that caused me pain
I am not the pieces of the dream I left behind, I am light
I am light, I am light
I, I am light

I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light

I am not the color of my eyes
I am not the skin on the outside
I am not my age, I am not my race
My soul inside is all light
All light, all light yeah
All light

I am light, I am light
I am light, I am light yeah

I am divinity defined
I am the God on the inside
I am a star, a piece of it all
I am light

Wonderful – Re-program Your Brain

How do you power up so you can face anything? How do you make the changes necessary to grow into the new you you’re ready for? This is how…say “I am wonderful.” It will test you. All of your sh*t will surface, as you discredit yourself. But positive, meaningful affirmations lead you to understand the power of a growth mindset. Affirmations help you through your barriers. They help build tenacity. Reprogram your brain until you believe it. “I am wonderful.” Because you are. Do it fast. Do it over again and again. Watch life unfold for the better.  

Affirmation. It’s an old ‘trick’, but it still works.

I learned of the power of affirmation when I was sixteen years old from a teacher who taught me the power of positive thinking. Edna had a smile as wide as the Niagara Falls and an enthusiasm and fire that have never diminished in her – not in all the 34 years I’ve known her. We’re still friends today. “What you say matters,” she said. “Believe it.” I didn’t but look at the evidence:

One highly accomplished athlete, musician, actor, inventor, philanthropist, author, scientist, doctor, engineer, aid worker, leader, (fill in the blank) after another states that it was the power of belief that got the person to the pinnacle of success.

“I believed I could.”

“I’m already there.” (in my mind and thus in life)

“I’m good enough.”

“I can do it.”

Affirmation = positive mindset = tenacity, grit, persistence, not giving up, getting there in so many more cases than not. 

What you put into your mind matters, and this is why self help books like psychologist Carol Dweck‘s Mindset (here’s a 4 minute book summary that is fabulous!) remain important tools in the personal growth of human beings. We read for ideas, learn them and repeat those ideas. Thoughts become stuck in our heads. We start to act as if those ideas are true and we take bigger risks. Life rises up to meet us because we rise up to life. That’s a lyrical way of saying that affirmations give us the strength to challenge ourselves in life.

Transcript for TED Talk below:

You are the placebo – ie. you can give yourself the edge with the power of belief. Positive affirmation and thinking, together, are a practical form of faith, which has a capacity we are just beginning to understand. 

Dr. Joe Dispenza researched this phenomenon in a way that particularly interests me, as I have undertaken my own experiments in the power of the mind to heal the body and psyche/soul.

Dispenza’s research has led him to write many books about this – get this one on audio (as there’s a lot of research to digest), or just YouTube him and his argument: YOU ARE THE PLACEBO. The point? You are the factor that gives you the leg up in life. People who think they are stronger, better, capable of healing and capable of surviving and fighting against terrible things like diseases…recover more, survive and live longer, overcome great odds and sometimes or many times experience miracles. It has been scientifically verified over and over that our own thoughts influence our health outcomes.

So, why wouldn’t we take care with our thoughts?

Back to athletes and highly accomplished individuals. If we imagine for a moment that they filled their heads with ideas like: “I’m not capable of this. I’m an idiot. I can’t do this. I will never do this. It’s too hard.” it becomes clear that negative thinking can have dire consequences in depressing our capacity to work hard.

And it is that hard work that helps us to accomplish our goals. We know this now.

Thus, thanks to the plethora of positive affirmations that exist in many places on the planet, including in the media, as social messaging does attempt to bring us to the awareness that we have a personal obligation to believe in ourselves, to grow, to contribute…I believe most of us as humans have a survival instinct that can help us to turn negative and self-defeatist thinking around. Barring that, I happen to think that music helps. Bless the songwriters of happy songs in this world.

I personally relate to this. 

This is how I power through my own negative and self defeating thoughts. I follow the advice I was given years ago and have been given time and again…

I acknowledge that I have a unique contribution to make in this world. When the glass is half empty, it’s actually also half full. Whatever my ‘failures’, the truth is there are more successes than failures. This is how I begin to turn my tendency to frame everything as a potential failure into – in fact – a success.

We are successful for trying.

We are successful for achieving ALL of the things we achieve.

What we fail to do is irrelevant.

If we look at our lives wholistically we actually are the masters of a great many things we never stop to give ourselves credit for.

We love some even if not all.

We accomplish much even if not everything.

The perfectionist in us is the critic and this voice in our heads leads us nowhere good.

When negativity persists and brings you down…

Take that person by the proverbial hand, that little part of yourself that’s talking, and soothe and comfort that despair with a soft and self compassionate other voice.

The words of this song say it all.

We are wonderful. Just as we are.

Believe it until you know it.

To your success and happiness,

PS. These are all beautiful versions of this song. The symphony orchestra indicates what magic can come if only we try. I’m sure Gary Go when he wrote this song never expected one day to perform it with a symphony. Makes me smile. 🙂

Say “I am” – Gary Go

The person that you were has died                                                                                 You’ve lost the sparkle in your eyes                                                                                     You fell for life – into its traps                                                                                                 Now you wanna bridge the gaps

Now you wanna bridge the gaps                                                                                          Now you want that person back                                                                                            And all your ammunition’s gone                                                                                              Run out of fuel to carry on

You don’t know what you wanna do                                                                                  Cause what you want does not want you                                                                               If what you want does not want you                                                                              You’ve got no pull to pull you through

Say “I am”                                                                                                                                            Say “I am”                                                                                                                                            Say “I am wonderful”

 

Say “I am”                                                                                                                                            Say “I am”                                                                                                                                            Say “I am wonderful”

If what you’ve lost cannot be found                                                                                      And the weight of the world weighs you down                                                                 No longer with the will to fly                                                                                                     You stop to let it pass you by

Don’t stop to let it pass you by                                                                                          You’ve gotta look yourself in the eye

Fight Song – We Don’t Shut Up, We Fight! (Find Your ‘Fight Song’ And Live Your Dreams)

 

 

Ever been frowned upon, dismissed or accused of being an angry ‘b*tch’ because you’ve EXPRESSED your anger or, worse, just been yourself? Well, what’s a woman supposed to think and do about this? Anger is an emotion that, in fact, advocates for us when we need it and gets us out of trouble when we’re in it. Anger pushes us forward when we’re stuck.

So, my dear, find your fight song, take back your life and prove that you’re alright. Turn on your power! Blow past the injustices, the disappointments, the sense you have that you are not worthy…because you ARE. You have a right to take your place in life. Use that energy, and if it’s anger then that, too, to fuel your dreams!!! The world needs you. 

Continue reading “Fight Song – We Don’t Shut Up, We Fight! (Find Your ‘Fight Song’ And Live Your Dreams)”

Heal This Land – Heal Yourself

Heal This Land – Heal Yourself

What to do when the world is on fire and so are you? How service, citizenship and volunteerism can help both heal the planet and your heart and mind. 

Checking in after most of the summer off

Hey heyyy! Summer is winding down and I’m back to my laptop typing away, ramping up for the new academic year and some new and exciting things here at How Women Heal. Amazing things coming soon!

Just returned from a quick trip to Cairo, Egypt following a sojourn in Jubail, Saudi Arabia (my present home) for the first half of the summer…and a spa town in Germany called Bad Nauheim for the second half of my holiday…I find myself returned to Saudi feeling both refreshed and tired from the travel.

I’m not complaining in the least. Mentally, it was great to switch off. I needed it. I highly recommend that we all take advantage of the time off. It’s called ‘rest and recovery’. Teaching professionals and many of us facing the demands of work and life need the down time. I hope you had a good rest even for a couple of weeks this summer. We need it!

But the world around us doesn’t stop…what’s going on?!

I came back, mindful of the images I had seen of both progress in Cairo and poverty that I remember seeing 20 years ago when I visited that city (we drove through the city slums, which looked not that different from the poorest district of Frankfurt, which I saw from the train). It made me realize we are a hardy planet with a complex set of circumstances. I always return from any trip cognizant of my privileges as a Canadian expat working in Saudi Arabia.

And anyone who knows me knows…I consume the least amount of news that I can in order to stay globally informed, but at present a lot is happening. So, I’ve had the news on since returning home and the stories have been rolling in.

People are suffering 

My book editor’s home in Texas flooded, and a few of my other Facebook friends’ homes, too, were affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Watching everyone nobly handle that while, too, I sense their pain triggered my desire to help. I did what I could. I offered to donate to a crowdfunding campaign if needed and donated to a fund which purchases and provides new and clean underwear for disaster survivors.

The same hurricane nearly leveled everything in Barbuda, which reminds me of the Asian tsunami I found myself uncomfortably near, too…I felt the earthquake in Penang, Malaysia. The Caribbean island that bore the brunt of this natural force, Barbuda, reminds me of the haunting devastation of Banda Aceh in Indonesia – which made me look up how Aceh is doing today – much better, of course.

Hurricane Irma is headed for Florida, where former students of mine are anxiously waiting at the airport for a flight out while another Facebook friend worries about family who are sitting out the storm.

Meanwhile, yet another Hurricane Jose is headed straight for Barbuda again in another natural assault against man. We humans are small in the face of real nature. Mother Earth is perhaps telling us something, no?

We’ve got the planet warming up, and now I’ll fast track this conversation just to say: we all know there are a number of big and very real concerns on the planet. What on earth is one to do about the effects of the economy, the effects of politics, the effects of war crimes against people in many hotspots on this planet (Burma currently in the news…but there are so many others)? What? What do we do?

Continue reading “Heal This Land – Heal Yourself”

Cool Down Rewind – Forgive Yourself and Heal That Longterm Agony

Cool Down, Rewind – Kirsty Almeida – The song that helped me recover from one big clusterf*ck

I was introduced to Kirsty Almeida‘s music in 2011 after what I’ll call…a string of personal disasters in my life – what I’ll call one giant clusterf*ck – most of which was the result of actions I had taken in some senseless attempt to figure myself out after the stock markets crashed down on my life savings in 2008. I’d lost my fortune (almost $100k), made some bad decisions in love and was utterly bereft, regretful, self flagellating and brokenhearted, though good things were happening, too. Yet that just somehow was not enough to make up for what I’d been through.  Continue reading “Cool Down Rewind – Forgive Yourself and Heal That Longterm Agony”

It’s Only Love – Don’t let it break you

It’s Only Love – Bryan Adams   

When the feelin’ is ended
There ain’t no use pretendin’
Don’t ya worry – it’s only love

When your world has been shattered
Ain’t nothin’ else matters
It ain’t over – it’s only love
And that’s all – yeah

When your heart has been broken
Hard words have been spoken
It ain’t easy – but it’s only love

And if your life ain’t worth livin’
And you’re ready to give in
Just remember – that it’s only love

You can live without the aggravation
Ya gotta wanna win – ya gotta wanna win

You keep lookin’ back in desperation
Over and over and over again

Yeah – oh yeah
It’s only love – Baby
Oh baby babe – it’s only love, love, love
Love, Love, love


Ever had a broken heart? 

Has your heart been broken? What person alive hasn’t faced the ending of a relationship and – worse – been jilted by a friend, lover, business partner, employer – someone you loved or at least liked and respected? It can be brutal.

Continue reading “It’s Only Love – Don’t let it break you”

Music

Blues Run the Game – Jackson C. Frank

Catch a boat to England, baby
Maybe to Spain
Wherever I have gone
Wherever I’ve been and gone
Wherever I have gone
The blues are all the same
 
Send out for whisky, baby
Send out for gin
Me and room service, honey
Me and room service, babe
Me and room service
Well, we’re living a life of sin
 

Hello, everyone.
 
I am a songwriter. My name is Lorelei Loveridge – and I hail from Canada, left my country in 1996 and headed out for the world in hopes that my dreams could be found in the wild blue yonder. I’ve listened to music my whole life long and admired the artistry of a great many.
 
From the time I discovered Joan Baez and began to cover her version of ‘Let It Be’ by the Beatles and fell in love with the sounds and spirit of Tracy Chapman, Sarah McLachlan, Sinead O’Connor, The Indigo Girls, Ani Difranco and so many more on the festival stages of Western Canada…I found the courage in these women – to take their instruments out into the world and make beauty where tragedy lives – heroic. They sang about things, too, that made me laugh. But their capacity to touch my heart and heal the places where I cried had that strange effect that music does: it lifted me out of my melancholy.
It gave me fire, too, and sold me on my destiny to go out into the world and sing my songs.
 
Some of my greatest influences have been:
 
Joni Mitchell
Loreena McKennitt
Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Ferrick
Cris Williamson
Holly Near
Mae Moore
Jann Arden
Janice Ian
Dee Carstenson
Jennifer Berezan
Sheri Ulrich
Jessica Schoenberg
 
On the other side of the Atlantic there have been two others who have inspired me. These are Manchester’s ‘first lady of music’ herself Kirsty Almeida, born in Gibraltar, and banjo-picking trans-Atlantic songwriter Zoe Mulford from the U.S. who first showed me the ropes as we toured the surrounding area of my chosen home Manchester, England all the way down to Southhampton and up to Northern Scotland.
 
I would be remiss to mention the comfort of travelling with a band of women and one creative photographer who have made this journey about so much more than music: Rosanna Lea, Heather Greenbank, Debbie Busby and the person who documented much of that journey Anna Simon. They have been my troubadour companions and we should all have some. We were not meant to move through this world alone, really.
 
*****
 
Music has changed since then, arguably. The CD is a near relic, a calling card, but we still buy them on occasion, and I’ve noticed if there is anywhere I listen to music it’s in my car on the way to work (when I was in England – women don’t drive here in Saudi) or on the road when I’m on roadtrip (CDs or an iPod playlist). Or I listen when it’s the weekend and I feel like diving into a collection I’ve had for years that I still take pleasure in. Now I rove about with my handy dandy streaming service and continue to enjoy music in a new way. Music has a magic we’ve nearly forgotten, but not quite.
 
My point in talking about all of this is to introduce to you one thing that has been a healing force for me, and that is music. Sad music has a way of making us feel better. Why? Because it speaks to our emotions. Vibrationally, it engages us physically in a conversation with ourselves and we begin to tap and move to the beat, and in some cases feel at one with the singer or the songwriter. We might even dance once we’ve gotten whatever it is that’s in us out of our systems. How many times have I cried to a beautiful song, sad or not, attuned to my feelings? To feel is to heal. In classes that I teach and workshops that I lead, music is always present.
 
Years ago, I underwent my own transformative journey and at 19 was ‘given’ a song. It makes me smile to tell you it was Helen Reddy’s ‘I Am Woman’ and these lyrics are worth the read, for I think you’ll agree: they apply to all of us who have ever been downtrodden and come back from that into our power:
 
I AM WOMAN
 
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever going to keep me down again
 
Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
 
If I have to I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
 
You can bend but never break me
‘Cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I’ll come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul
 
Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
 
If I have to I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
 
I am woman, watch me grow
See me standing toe-to-toe
As I spread my loving arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long, long way to go
Until I make my brother understand
 
Whoa, yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
 
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
 
Oh, I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
I am invincible
I am strong
I am woman
 
It’s a very unique lyric, colored with the hope and dreams of the 1970’s an era some of us grew up in as a child.
 
Music is in so many cases inexplicably tied to story, and what we don’t often realize or consider is just how many stories we tell in a day – one liners even: I bought three watermelons from a roadside vendor and got home to find four in the van. The wind from the Levant blew the neighbour’s garbage can over and kept me up half the night. I couldn’t sleep because a parent got angry I made his kid think but the kid came to say goodbye and wanted a selfie before he flew back to his home country.
 
We have a lot going on in our minds, and we are inexplicably complex creatures, we human beings. What we think affects how we feel and behave, and this can have a profound impact upon our bodies and our lives in so many ways. It also affects how others respond to us, both in real time and over time. The state of our world is, as someone recently said to me, interesting: “There are a lot of bad leaders right now.” This was in response to current world politics. She listed off the countries we all know who are in trouble and whose leaders are stirring up trouble at the expense of, really, ordinary people. There is a groundswell of power at the bottom, but to simply count the number of women in top leadership at both the governmental and corporate level really does give me pause. It’s long been a disturbing fact and trend, and I have recently begun to believe that Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook is right: we must LEAN IN. That is, we must take our rightful place at the table. We make much in the world. But our voices are not heard. Frankly, I believe that this starts with learning to hear our own voices.
 
So, on Fridays, in a tribute to hearing the voices of the songsters and storytelling troubadours, and also to invoke an intuitive awakening in ourselves – I love that Oprah has said she lives by intuition – this is good – this is the way – I will be introducing you to some of the music that I find healing.
 
I will be posting a song on Fridays to inspire you to feel, think and get in touch with your joy, your pain, your dissatisfaction, your contentment, your deepest truths and the power behind the journeys you’ve made in life and the sacrifices you may have made along the way as well as your good fortune, too. Music: the universal language. Fridays we’re going to bathe in it. If this is your 5 minute meditation per week, maybe this is it.
Maybe this is How Women Heal.
 
Enjoy.
 
And if you like…tell me what you think. Is wisdom born of pain and is music healing to you? Who, what, when, where, how? Share a favourite songwriter or story and how it has been healing to you.