Saturday, March 24, 2012


Last week I posed for my first professional photo shoot.  In anticipation of the event, I purchased a make-up foundation for my face.  It is a cosmetic that conceals imperfection and evens complexion tone.  It is artificial. I was quite familiar with this application as I used to wear it daily.  It is called foundation as it is the base upon which additional makeup is added.  The night before my shoot, I put on a "full face" makeup with all of the cosmetics usually applied for "the camera".  As a former modeling student, I was taught how to "properly" apply the products on my face.  When I looked in the mirror at the "finished look", I no longer saw myself.   Instead, I saw the mask I had created.  It was an epiphany.  It was not me.  I had changed. The makeup mask no longer represented a look of beauty.  For the past two years, I have been walking this personal journey of truth seeking and could not find any truth in the caricature that stared back at me.  Although I immediately wanted to remove it, I decided to leave it on for a little while thinking I needed  re-acclimate myself with it only to discover that the longer I left it on, the more unnatural it became.  This mock face no longer defined my look....I had changed my definition of beauty.  It was time to remove the mask.  It seemed to take longer to remove than it was to put on.   As soon as I washed my face, I felt liberated, refreshed, and "clean".  At that point, I decided that I would shoot the photo session au naturale, in my truth with a clean scrubbed face.  This exercise led me to ponder what else in my life have I covered with old thoughts and old methods.  What else needed unmasking?

Fears and Facades
When we embark into new territory, we sometimes fall back into old ways out of fear, creating a fabricated reinforcement, leading us to forget acknowledgment of the new ways that made us stronger and wiser. We must remember that we can use our new found strength to foster the power to project our truth, to remove our masks.  Many of us hide behind the mask of our responsibilities,  job titles, wealth or excuses creating a facade of competent falsehood to avoid facing that which we should face.  Other times, if we find challenge with our self-esteem or our freedoms, we conjure ourselves into alter-egos, super beings and larger than life entities to create a mask of security.  The main reason we create facades is fear of acceptance or fear of rejection.  This fear, whether acceptance or rejection, is one and the same.  Either way, by focusing on the unknown, we cultivate this fear.  Many of us live our entire lives never once thinking about removing our mask.  It makes a hard and difficult path for therein lies the problem.    

The Problem with Masks
Masks in and of themselves aren't a bad thing - they can be sometimes be whimsical, wild, adventurous, sexy,  playful, fun, exciting.  The problem is that masks are meant to be worn temporarily.  When forced to wear them every day, it becomes a distortion of true selves.  It is a hard and sad occasion living untrue each day.  When worn all the time, we fool ourselves that the unnatural image is more beautiful than our own.  How vulnerable one must feel when they remove their masks in private for regardless of what mask you wear, you have to take it off sometime.  You can't sleep in it, you can't bathe in it, you can't breathe in it, you can't heal in it.  You can't live artificial all of the time.  If you imagine a freedom without your mask, do you know that everything will be okay? Life is not meant to be lived dependent upon the acceptance or rejection of others.  Light and truth will attract truth and light.  Realize that:

One single light still shines bright ~Zhu Shuzhen

Who Are You?
Unmasked - I am Me
For me, the practice of Yoga and the transition to raw, whole, live foods helped me remove my masks.  Yes, "masks" plural.  I, like many others wore more than one mask.  When you first begin this process, you discover or "learn" who you really are.  It is an amazing and very enlightening feeling.   One-by-one I removed my masks and became settled and more comfortable walking the steps of  my "facade-less" path.  For the first time in my life,  I am unmasked... I "see" myself.  I have clear skin, clear mind, and clear focus.  I accept myself and my truths.  I no longer seek acceptance or fear rejection of others.   I do not wear foundation to mask my clear skin or who I am.  If I wear a little kohl on my eyes or gloss on my lips, it is a fun, temporary mask that I take off for days, or even weeks, at a time.  I am happy to wear my face just as it was given to me.. unmasked.  I now know who I am... I am "me".  "Who" are you?

Unmask Yourself
Take off whatever mask(s) you have been hiding behind whether you wear it everyday or just once in a while.  Face your fears.  You will be surprised.  For every rejection, there will be an acceptance, most often from where you least expect it.  Your path to revealing your true self doesn't have to be solitary.  If you are afraid, look in the mirror and admit to yourself that you are; this act is the first step to breaking down the wall you've been hiding behind.  Take the guidance or hand of the one light that shines bright, that attracts and accepts your light.  Confess your truth, ask for mask removal assistance. Break old ways and methods.  Wash off the fake foundations. Rejoice as it dissipates.  Feel and grow in your empowerment.  Embrace the beauty of your true, exposed, naked, self - become the real "you".

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mindful Meditation

This month has started with an infusion of positive energy.  I am fortunate to have two friends, unbeknownst to each other, establish this month as an opportunity to dedicate time to practice mindfulness through meditation.  Prior to this, I started each day with a moment of meditation, however, I now realize that I may not have put my "mind" into it, not feeling the full effect of that which I had hoped to achieve.  I am grateful to these two people  who have brought clarity and grounding to my practice.

The Company You Keep

We all have a "circle of friends". Sometimes it is just an all-inclusive sphere in which we lump every person we interact with. Other times, we have categories of circles, where we place different people in respect to their "place" in our lives.  We don't mean to do so, however, we all tend to mentally sort the people we come in contact with  in the same manner we sort and and store any other piece of data or information.  It is sometimes not so good to do this as we may inadvertently cause pain to someone through exclusion.  Other times, it is critical to do so for someone may wish to cause us harm, bring negative energy, or ill-will.  In each instance,  it is our interaction with each of these individuals which influence our actions and "who" we are. It the becomes important to reflect upon the company we keep as each circle overlaps and aligns, they shape the nature of our lives. 

March Meditation

I had have the providential opportunity to have in my company,  two beings who were in two separate circles now congruent.   This month my friend, yogi Jen McGown, infectious smile, strong hug, and peaceful earthling, introduced "21 Minutes for 21 Days" which is just as the title describes.  For twenty one days during the month of March, Jen will lead a meditation program to guide participants through "a sustainable way to incorporate mediation into your busy lifestyle".  Jen is a teacher, not by trade, but by natural gift.  In this video, she uses this gift to teach us about our brain, the physiological changes during meditation and how our we benefit when we are mindful in our meditative practice:

Simultaneously, another wonderful earthling, my friend, vegan athlete John Lewis, strong, compassionate, inspirational, positive-energy, and motivator, launched a group "Meditation in March" in which to establish the practice of meditating just five minutes per day for the month of March.  John also teaches.  He has written several documents which motivate, yet instruct on how to prepare yourself and how to quiet your mind. In this video, he introduces his Meditation in March initiative:    

Completing Circles

I don't know if John or Jen know each other.  What I do know is that the blessing of the interaction of their circles through the mutual connection of my acquaintance has sent the message to me that we are all linked.  It through this link that we grow stronger, both mentally and physically and that we do so when we are in the company of friends. I have benefited from solitary meditation as it is something you do personally within, however, the overwhelming physical connection when you meditate knowing that others in your circle are doing the same has changed my view and "way" I meditate. I am more cognizant of the others in my circle during meditation as if I "feel" them.  I am experiencing a deeper connection as I delve deeper into my practice.  This month, thus far, I have begun to be more "mindful" as I conscientiously "think" about the practice and set an intention before I begin, something I had not done previously.  I am discovering a sensation of loosing track of time as I meditate and experience more clarity when I arise from it.  It is a peaceful feeling of "wholeness", as my circle is complete.

Give yourself an infusion of positive energy.  Set an intention to be grateful for your circles.  Mindfully look for overlaps and rejoice in the empowerment and growth they provide you.  Experience the benefit of going deeper to realize completeness.