I gained 10 lbs and feel better than ever.

Hey there lovelies,

It is a beautiful sunny windy rainy day here in Florida and I feel so blessed.

Yesterday, when I looked at the scale, I noticed I had gained 10 lbs. TEN POUNDS in the past 2 months. How did that happen? I don’t know, ’cause I feel fantastic. I’ve been doing yoga, bachata, swimming, running, you name it. I take sunset-filled walks and hot Himalayan salt baths.

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In the past, this would have sent me into a nutty tailspin. I would have FREAKED out and gone Nazi on my ass. I’ll be honest, I still freaked out, but today, I can proudly say that I have cultivated the practice of making my life a fabulous whirlwind so that when something goes wrong and triggers my fear/anger/sadness I’m able to deal with it, drawing upon a full reserve of energy.

The trick is to wash away the darkness by filling yourself with light. You don’t try to extinguish the dark, do you? But you can crack open that window and let the light flood your room.  (If you like, it Tweet it!)

I got this idea from my hypnosis teacher and the term ‘crowding out’ which refers to filling up on good things, so that the bad things tend to naturally fall away. It’s brilliant. And it has been my saviour! If you want to know more, check out my video :)

And as always, please leave a comment below sharing one pleasurable thing you can add to your life to take yourself higher! 

Thank you for reading!

xo
Lali

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How to eat an elephant

How do you eat an elephant? 

One bite at a time.

I love this saying.

So often, when there’s a big overwhelming change that needs to take place in our lives, or something BIG we want to accomplish, we go straight into OVERWHELM.

I am the queen of this. I have been taking an entrepreneurship course online, and recently fell behind. For the last 10 days, I feel sick just thinking about the material I have to catch up on.

But that very paralysis keeps me from doing anything productive.

So, what’s the point of this post?

Whether you want to lose weight, have a happier more fulfilling relationship, write a book, or summit whatever mountain you’ve got to climb, you can only get there step by step.

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Climbing Volcano Villarica in Pucón, January 2013

We know that. But how do we put it into practice?

Let’s say you really want to lose weight.

What if instead of freaking yourself out with a huge diet plan and fitness schedule, and blah blah, blah, you sauteed that spinach thats been lying in the back of your fridge and add it to dinner?

Or what if you took 15 minutes in the morning to workout with this superstar I am completely in love with?

The goal is not to be perfect, but to take steps right now that make you feel like you are there already!

So instead of thinking: “How can I lose weight?” What if you thought: “What can I do right now that will make me feel slim and healthy?”

Here are some examples:

a. Buy some better-fitting SEXY bras

b. Meet a girlfriend and go for a jog in the park

c. Make some green juice

I’m telling you, our life is made up of those actions. Just like a year is made of days or a book is made of pages. (if you like it, tweet it!)

And just one action (even if it’s the TINIEST little thing) in the direction of your higher self or dream can shift everything. The point is to keep looking at your day, at your life, at your current status, and add something wonderful.

So tell me, dearest readers, what little actions do you take in your life to shift your energy in the direction of progress?

Share below! And as always, thanks for reading :)

xo

Lali

p.s. Just want to apologize for missing last week’s post! I moved back from Chile to the U.S. last week. Feeling more settled now. Thank you for all the love notes and well wishes as I make my transition. It really means a lot :)

Why I take cold showers/ Q&A

I’m not sure where I first heard this idea: “showing up for yourself,” but I think it’s incredibly important and the question I received this week is the perfect segue into this topic.

Dear Alia, 

I’m just coming out of a break-up and feel like I’ve lost one of my best friends. I’m barely praying and having food issues more than ever. I don’t feel very much in control of my life at the moment. Do you have any exercises you suggest I do or any advice? 

Love, 

Katya

So. What does “showing up for yourself” mean?

Well, as an actress, musician, and overall performer, I always hoped that people (especially loved ones) would SHOW up to my concerts, my plays, my big projects. And sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. And you know what? It made SUCH A DIFFERENCE to see that face smiling out in the crowd. The feeling that this person took the time and effort to come FOR ME! I’ll never forget when this guy I had been crushing on in high school, came to a play I was acting in with flowers for me and all the other actresses. Or when my parents surprised me on my 20th birthday and flew all the way to Pittsburgh to celebrate with me and my friends. It’s actions like that, when someone shows up for you that feel like a million bucks.

So here’s my question. Do you show up for yourself? Let’s imagine, you were separate from you for a second. Where in your life, do you SHOW UP for yourself? Support yourself? With flowers?

This might mean, going to bed at 10 PM because you KNOW you are tired and it’ll feel really good to hit the sack. Or spending 15 minutes in the morning to write in your journal because you woke up feeling like crap. It might mean, saying to your girlfriends “Hey! Can we go somewhere different for lunch this week? I’m craving food with less gluten” or giving yourself a 5 minute foot rub with peppermint cream because you noticed your ankles are swollen.

This is NOT to be confused with showing up for the world, for society, for friends. It doesn’t mean doing all the things you “should” do. This means showing up for YOU– really tuning into your true needs/wants and then finding a way to support yourself in that.  (And for you, Katya, that might involve prayer, companionship, nourishment!)

Where in your life can you support yourself like a best friend would? Where in your life can you be there for you, with flowers AND a box of chocolates?  (Tweet it!)

This can be a really fun game of romancing yourself…let your pleasure and needs be your guide. Here’s a list of my favourites to get your juices flowing!

  1. Pack yourself healthy snacks the night before a busy day (e.g. almonds, yoghurt, celery sticks, and maybe an indulgence like flan or dark chocolate.) Choose foods that make YOU feel like a rockstar.
  2. Say NO to something you don’t REALLY want to do. Or YES to something you secretly REALLY want to do.
  3. Give yourself a foot rub or face massage with coconut oil or ask someone to massage you for a couple of minutes (can we say massage chain, anyone?)
  4. Put on bright nail polish after soaking your feet in warm water, pushing back your cuticles, exfoliating, etc. (I swear you’ll feel like a fairy princess after this.)
  5. Exercise. NOT pushing a mandatory 50 minutes on the treadmill, but ask your body “what kind of movement would you like today?” and then listen to its response (may be belly dancing, yoga, stretching, a run…) I recently started doing this:  (The full DVD can be purchased here.) 
  6. Eye contact.
  7. Play pretend. When you’re feeling insecure, pretend like you’re the flippin’ Queen of Monaco because you’re worth it.
  8. Get real. Instead of trying to shove away the truth of what you’re feeling, take a moment to breath and bring attention to the sensations of your body and your feelings. Are you really nervous? Sad? What are the sensations in your body? Breathing into it and checking in with the truth of what your feeling puts you in a way better position to deal with it: (run to the bathroom, take a break, lie down for a bit, etc.)
  9. Just doing it. Fear is rampant. Breath into your fear and DO IT ANYWAY.
  10. Stick to a schedule that is totally pleasurable. This one makes SUCH a difference for me. When I make myself a plan for the day/week and actually FOLLOW it, I feel like a frickin’ millionaire. Even better, because I make SURE to schedule in fun things (e.g. dance break, run around the block, tea and cookies at 4, read “A Discovery of Witches,” meet brittany, etc.)  in between all the responsibilities.
  11. Pick up the phone. Call a friend. Humans thrive on connection and conversation.
  12. Do something new. (I’m surfing for the first time this weekend, what new thing can you try?)
  13. Quiet time. Meditating. Journalling. Breathing.
  14. Make a gratitude list. At least 30 things. Send them to your closest friends and make them send you theirs. It’s contagious :)
  15. Write a love letter. To yourself, to someone you really admire, to your sister…
  16. Go on a solo adventure in the city. Say hello to strangers.
  17. Take yourself out on a date. Like a DREAM date. (I did this in college and had the most epic nights :))
  18. Draw yourself a hot bath in candlelight and listen to opera scores. (Okay, I haven’t done this one yet but boy, am I ready to try it!)
  19. COLD SHOWERS. Seriously, this is the BEST mood-booster in the WORLD! I start with warm and finish with cold. Just enough to make me yelp. I feel magically cheerful afterwards. Here’s an article that details why they’re fantastic. 
Yes, I drenched myself in freezing water just for the purpose of this post. You're welcome ;)

Yes, I drenched myself in freezing water just for the purpose of this post. You’re welcome ;)

This list could go ON and ON!

So! It’s your turn now! Dear readers, where can you show up for yourself? How do you already do that? And what would you suggest to our dearest Katya?

Leave your fantastic comments and magical lists below!!!

And as always, thank you for reading :)

xoxo

Alia

Be like a sunset

When I was in high school and college I always tried to be optimistic, positive, and NICE! But instead of making me feel good, it actually felt pretty bad.

I thought that optimism meant being positive no matter what even if I was blinding myself and ignoring how I truly felt.

My old definition of optimism:

Scenario #1: HUGE EXAM

Internal Dialogue #1. “You know what? It doesn’t matter that I have only 8 hours until my Biochemistry exam and I haven’t studied at all.  I’ll overcome it anyway. I’m so SMART! I’ll be fine. I’ll just try and get an A and study REALLY hard all 5 chapters right now.”

Scenario #2: BODY GRUMBLING

Internal Dialogue #2. “I don’t like my tummy… /Alia! You shouldn’t say that! Your tummy is fine!/ No it’s not./ YES IT IS. You shouldn’t say that! Everything is GREAT. LOVE YOUR BODY”

Scenario #3: NOTICING A PATTERN

Internal Dialogue #3.  “I’ve been feeling really low for the last 6 months. But maybe that’s how I’ve always been. I’m sure if I keep trying, everything will be better. Yes, everything’s fine.”

So while these thoughts may seem perfectly innocent and well-intentioned, what happened is, these ‘optimistic’ thoughts actually ended up hurting me. Why? Because I was pushing aside how I really felt. And trying to mask the feeling with a false layer of sugar-coated OPTIMISM.

That just kept me in denial. And feeling like shit.

True optimism feels really good. Not by masking what’s wrong, but by shifting focus to what’s right.

The point is not to fight the dark. We are living creatures of dark and light. flawed and perfect. wrong and right. And that’s the natural duality of who we are.

But you see, fighting the dark takes a lot of effort and leaves us feeling drained. What I am proposing here is a mix of acceptance and a little bit of searching. Searching for what is right, what is good, what IS working.

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See! Dark and light is so beautiful together. Like a sunset. See what I’m going for here? Get it? Hm? Hm? Ok, nevermind.

Let’s look back at the Scenarios with my new found belief of optimism:

Internal Dialogue Shift #1. Damn, this is a lot of material! Um, okay. What chapters do I feel more comfortable with than others? Probably better to focus my efforts on the material I feel excited about and fortify my knowledge on those areas. So, maybe I won’t do perfectly on the exam, but I’ll do well on some sections and hopefully that will compensate. In the last hour of study, I can do a sweeping overview of everything else. (Being realistic in this scenario gives me more fuel because now I have smaller chunks to focus my time and effort on)

Internal Dialogue Shift #2. Grr. I don’t like the way my tummy looks.  Hey wait, look at how lovely my waist looks when I straighten my back and lengthen my posture. Mmm, and my legs. They are so tan and long and muscular. (See what I’m doing here? I’m not trying to fight the voice that says it doesn’t like my tummy. But rather, I hear it, and then bring my attention to what I do like)

Internal Dialogue Shift #3. Okay, Ali, it seems you’re having a really hard time living here. What can I do to help you? I know you’ve been considering that you might have depression. Why don’t you reach out to some women and ask if they know any good therapists here so you can get that checked out? (Now, I’m admitting how I REALLY feel instead of running away from it. Acknowledging it gives me power, because now I am in a position to do something to help it)
Some of my favourite ways to bring LIGHT to a situation

1. Love Letters (to myself, to a partner, to my mother…)

2. Gratitude Lists (I do this at least 3x a week and share it with a huge community of women. It’s an incredible practice!)

3. 10 Frustrations and 20 Happys (I have no idea how this game got started, but I think one day, I decided to rant to my guy in 10 pulls and then end it with 20 things I am happy about. We do it every now and then and it’s a lovely shift if there’s something occupying my mind.)

This is a muscle that I will be working on my whole life. Seeing the glass as half-full rather than half empty. But it’s a practice.

So dear friends, what are your favourite ways to feel optimistic or better about a situation? Do you find yourself pushing away how you feel in efforts to be ‘positive?’ Share below!!! And thank you for reading :)

xo
Alia

I’m afraid to post this.

Today, I want to talk about faking it.

Let me start by saying that I have had body issues my whole life. Serious body hate all funneled towards my tummy, my thighs, and any other part that is less than perfect. And before I get a slew of comments saying “but Alia, you are beautiful!!!”, I want to share that it doesn’t matter. At the end, there is always something to criticize, always something to tone, shrink or make better. And I know I am not the only woman to feel this way.

I spent a chunk of my teenage years obese and never really wore a bathing suit. It was always bathing suit + cover up. Always. 

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself on a little slice of paradise. Akin to Lake Tahoe, Pucón is an extreme-adventure town in Southern Chile. We spent our first day at the beach. Just THINKING about it stressed me out. I was going to be there with my man and his family. Chileans all wear bikinis. I only have old-lady one-piece “Miracle suits”.  I was freaking OUT. I’m pretty sure I dedicated at least 10 hours of my precious sister-time trying on/shopping for something MORE flattering, complaining, fretting, & cowering in front of the mirror. I wish I was exaggerating. Ha.

Fast forward to the beach. Playa Blanca. Brilliant blue waters, a snow-covered volcano in the background, and hundreds of women in Bikinis.

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Bathing suit and cover up in hand. I decided ENOUGH. This time I was going to wear JUST my bathing suit. And fake it. Fake it that I have ALWAYS done this. Pretend that I thought my body was PERFECT in my bathing suit. Walk like I FELT gorgeous. And I was going to spend EVERY ounce of my fear and CHANNEL it to that endeavor.
And I did.

Sometimes our fear can ONLY dissipate when we dive into it, head first, with all we’ve got. I straightened my shoulders, lifted my chin, and used my body language to pretend everything I wanted to feel. There’s an EXCELLENT Ted Talk on this (how confidence is AFFECTED by our body language and not the other way around.

So maybe this is one of many major steps to full self-love and crazy hands-down acceptance. And maybe I have long way to go. But this ROCKED. And I will keep on doing it any time that nasty monster of doubt creeps in and tells me I shouldn’t/can’t/won’t. It sure beats the latter.

FAKE IT.

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So! My dear friends. When has this worked for you? What do you think? Please say so in the comments below! I love to hear what you have to say!

Why I (might) never apply for a job again…

Cooking at a friend's house and loving it

Cooking at a friend’s house and loving it

Today I had a job interview for a fancy corporate job. And I think I am done.

Since graduating in May 2011, I had been searching and searching for that one job to define ME, to give me what I had been looking for. To make me feel useful.

But I think I FINALLY get it.  It clicked when I got an email from “The Daily Love” which asked what Kennedy originally asked and it was something along the lines of THIS: Instead of focusing on what the world can do for you, ask yourself what YOU have to offer to the world.

BINGO.

I’ve been so knee-deep in trying to find job titles and positions (and a company that will give me one), that I TOTALLY forgot to think of WHAT I CAN OFFER.

So this is my attempt. Off the top of my  head, this is what I have to offer, dear world.

1. I’m a passionate actress and love it love it love it. I will perform for you and fill your heart with the emotions you didn’t know you were carrying and then I will set them FREE! (Actress?)

2. Support. I’m a good listener. And I’m really good at finding solutions. Or even better, helping YOU come up with solutions to your own challenges. (Therapist)

3. I’m an excellent cook. I LOVE crafting delightful things and even more, I like eating them. I have a fine palate and  very high standards. I love criticizing and bettering customer service and food and anything related to hospitality. (Chef? Hospitality Consultant? Restaurant owner?)

And yes, what I have to give is much more than this list. But the point is, I’m shifting my thinking people.

I’m starting to think of what I have to offer and maybe THAT’S the ground-breaking I have been waiting for.

Here’s my Q. What do YOU have to offer? You don’t have to think of them as jobs…

Leave in the comments below :)

xoxo