Wake Up with Me

I recently committed to 3 hours of movement per week.

My body has been asking for it, and I’ve been much too sedentary since I’ve been working so much with my computer.

I fell into a rut of feeling too tired to exercise, which was enabling a downward spiral of staying put >> low energy >> staying put.

I did pretty goody the first week, but it felt constraining after, and I’ve been moving around so much that making it to the gym has been a bit of a challenge.

I thought my commitment to movement had to be something like working out at the gym or some formal class.

Instead of giving up, I decided to include movement in all forms, and counting dance breaks and walks and stretching into the 3-hours per week commitment.

The last few days I started adding back a practice of stretching and dancing in the morning, to warm up my muscles, wake up my body and ground into it to start the day deliciously.

This is the result:

 

I’ve found, or rather ‘re-membered,’ that this morning ritual shifts completely whatever I was feeling, that I can tap into the wisdom in my body, and it wakes up my appetite for something healthy and nourishing, as opposed to some sweet treat in the morning.

It frees up my back, I feel lighter and more nimble, and it sets me up to make decisions based on what is good for me instead of what feels good in the moment.

I find myself fighting less with myself and having to use my will power a lot less. Instead, I just feel like doing what I need to be doing for myself.

It’s fantastic, and I’m so happy I’m remembering this practice and feel so committed to continuing it.

And it occurred to me, that perhaps you’d like to come along for the ride.

Soooo…. I’ve been toying with the idea of a series called Wake Up With Melody, where I post a video of my morning routine, share about the music, and thoughts on current events and something to inspire you.

What do you think? What kinds of things would you like to see in this series?

Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’d like to receive these, please sign up for the mailing list here.

This is your formal invitation into a more intimate slice of my life, where you get to wake up with me and maybe dance along.

Big love and gratitude always,

 

Melody

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My Workshop on the Huffington Post!

I woke up today and, against my best judgment, grabbed my phone.

Usually, it’s not such a great idea because it’s much better to start my day with some intentionality. With some ritual that centers me, aligns me, connects me to myself and my desires for the day.

But, today was different.

It’s not every day that you wake up to your Self-Appreciation workshop being mentioned in the Huffington Post!

 

When asked about her favorite activity, Lee answered the Self-Appreciation Workshop.

“It was beautiful to see people appreciate certain aspects of their body and then we all went around and commented on each person to let them know what we saw and liked about their body. In a world where we are constantly held to impossible beauty standards and photoshopping and have this culture of body shame, it was a beautiful thing to see women and men only speak lovingly and highly of bodies.”

Perhaps most important, adults felt free and safe to express their emotions without fear of guilt or judgment. “There were a great percentage of men at camp and it was beautiful to witness so many men showing their vulnerability,” Lee added.

 

I taught this particular workshop a couple of weeks ago at Connection Camp, a sleepaway camp for adults that is all about boosting your connection with yourself, with others, with nature, and with your body.

While there were many different workshops, some were a bit more on the fun side and some more on the transformational side.

Mine fell firmly into this last category, as it centered around focused appreciation exercises that eventually led to each person courageously stepping up to share what they appreciate about their body, and then receiving what each person in the group appreciated about their body as well.

Pretty simple, eh?

Yes, but so very powerful!

[I often find the most powerful practices are actually the ones without much hullabaloo].

We are so used to and conditioned to think of and share with others about the parts of our bodies we don’t like, the parts we are so critical about. To speak out loud the parts you do like is a revolutionary act, and actually quite vulnerable.

At some point, the desire to hide comes up, the thought that everyone will think you’re full of yourself or the fear that they won’t like you because of one reason or another.

It’s a very visceral experience.

But then the magic happens when the group gets to share what they appreciate in your body.

It’s not about ‘I love your butt!’

There’s so much more than that. There’s a developing about appreciation for subtler dips, valleys, swells, textures, colors, angularity or curves.

I’m so grateful to everyone that showed up so fully and powerfully for the workshop. It was a pleasure, an honor and a joy to witness each of the participants shine brighter and brighter as they got acknowledged for their already ever-present radiance and inner/outer beauty.

Thanks to Jen Lee for your wonderful words. I’m so happy the workshop had such a positive impact!

Thanks to Taylor Butch for writing the article.

And thanks to Amy Silverman and Jen JJ Kovacevich for putting together such an amazing experience at Connection Camp.

Yay for self-love and connection!

 

 


If you feel you could use a healthier connection to your body, check out my offerings or one of my live weekly classes in NYC (find them in the ‘Upcoming Events’ section of the sidebar).

He Strikes Again: Dealing With That Loud Inner Critic

It’s a great practice to not compare ourselves so much with others. Or at the very least, to use it for inspiration instead of tearing ourselves down.

I have to admit, as I do my research to see who my ‘competition’ for my upcoming offerings is and even just as I scroll through my news feeds on various social media platforms, it’s so easy for my insecure inner critic to start telling me how I can’t do what they are doing.

It looks at offerings similar to what I want to do and says that it’s already out there and no one will care. That I shouldn’t even bother.

Give up. You’re not good enough.

Yes. That’s there.

the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we judge ourselves by our content and everyone else by their cover quote Melody Kiersz

Didn’t your mama teach you?

And at the same time, there’s another voice that’s whispering and less audible, but I can hear it.

It says,…

It’s so awesome that those offerings exist because people are getting so much value out of them, feeling better about themselves and gaining power and confidence. That’s what we want, no? Even if it’s not through US.

Plus, your offering is not exactly the same and it comes through you. It has a different voice, and you can reach different people. Isn’t that cool?

And yes, isn’t that cool? I think so.

Of course, I don’t want to make the critic wrong: he is there because he wants me to stay safe, instead of risk what he sees as sure rejection.

I tell it firmly, that just because certain things didn’t work out in the past doesn’t mean they won’t work out now. I’m older and wiser and learned from my mistakes, and I’m also learning a lot more about marketing. And I thank him for his input, because I know he does it out of wanting to take care of me.

Whenever I hear this comparing critic, I thank him for wanting to protect me. Then I look for that other voice which isn’t as strident and pay more attention to what she’s saying. She inspires me to get out of my comfort zone and move forward.

Jump in!

How do you deal with your inner critic? What are some of the voices that keep you from putting your authentic heart desires and offerings out there?

The Most Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift is NOT Self-Love

Hi Lovers!

It’s been a rollercoaster ride the last couple years, but I had a pretty huge epiphany recently that the reason I haven’t been s clear and powerful as I had in the past (or that’s how I see it anyway) is that I haven’t been being honest with myself.

I’ve been scared of my own self-judgment, and that has made me so sensitive and reactive to that of others. Even when it’s not judgment but loving constructive criticism, I haven’t been able to receive it because it requires me to look at the stuff that I don’t want to see.

All the stuff I’m not liking about myself.

All the stuff that’s lurking underneath, which I cannot see.

The stuff I’m ashamed of, but I don’t know it yet.

Whenever someone tries to help me and support me in my pursuit of happiness, I feel really stressed out and vulnerable and I want to push them away.

I get defensive because, to me, it’s as if they were saying “Hey! Look at this! Look at all the stuff that’s wrong with you that you’re trying really hard not to see!’

Ugh. And I really don’t want to see it… But I can’t keep going like this because I’m hurting myself by doing so. I’m shooting myself in the foot.

So, I’ve arrived at this place again, where I get to practice looking inwards paired with not making myself wrong in the deepest of ways.

As I say, just cuz I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean I cannot love it.

This means that self-love alone is not enough.

As powerful as positive affirmations can be, we’re not really loving ourselves if we’re glossing over the things we have a hard time looking at with an ‘I love myself.

No matter how sincere it is and how much we want to believe it, if the shame or criticism is deep enough, saying that will only trigger thoughts of how that’s not true.

No.

Really loving ourselves takes the courage to look at all our shit, and once we’re clear on what it is we are NOT loving, only then can we start developing our compassion for ourselves.

Start to soften our harshness and self-judgment and drop the self-criticism, even while we don’t make ourselves wrong for criticizing ourselves.

And only after THAT, can we begin to have the conversations we need to have with these parts of ourselves. Practice some deep listening to see what they are scared of, what it is that they serve.

There’s always some way in which these little voices of criticism are trying to protect us, or serve a deep need.

And by knowing what that need is, we can come up with a healthier way to fulfill it that doesn’t get in the way of our living a life that we really love.

Developing that business.
Meeting that life partner.
Creating our masterpiece.
Having deeply satisfying friendships.
Putting ourselves out in the world.

On this Valentine’s Day, make sure you practice some REAL self-love by making some time to get honest with yourself.

truth_or_consequences

So let’s be honest… What’s the thing you’re not wanting to look at? What’s the reason you don’t want to see it?

In the upcoming posts, I’ll be looking at all the ways we keep ourselves from being true to ourselves and why. And as I go through the process of untangling myself, I will also share what I’m doing to develop the courage to stop running away and look within.

Stay tuned.

Choose Your Story Wisely

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books?

Oftentimes, we feel as though life throws things at us and we have no control over anything.

But what if that’s not true? What if all the ways in which we perceive the world were up to us to choose?

I have to admit, this is a lesson that keeps coming up time and time again. I learn it, I apply it, I thrive, I fall off the wagon, and…

DESPAIR. RESISTANCE. ANGER. SADNESS.

All beautiful emotions that make me human. I’m grateful for them, really… They are not the most comfortable thing to feel, but they bring with them so much growth and learning about myself.

And then, I get to FORGIVENESS… And I remember that I get to choose whether I believe the stories my mind spins.

This morning, as I was riding the subway to meet my accountant, it dawned on me for the umpteenth time that I didn’t have to.

So liberating!

In a moment of absolute clarity, the wisdom came from somewhere deep inside me and said there’s nothing to be sad or angry about because they are all just stories.

My mind remembers these things, but then I have to wait until my body catches up when it forgets. This is exactly what happened in that moment.

My body remembered.

And then, out of its own volition, it picked up my phone to type the following words up. I don’t know if it was for my benefit, yours, or ours… But here it is:

Are you plagued by feelings of unworthiness?

Feelings of not being good enough, of not deserving the good things that come your way in life?

What is your reaction when someone compliments you or praises you?

Are you able to fully receive it and feel deep inside…

Yes! I DID do a good job!

Or

Yes! I DO look great!

Or

Yes! I AM a good person/friend/mother/father/etc?

If the feeling that comes up when someone praises you or compliments you in any way, it’s one of distrust, of

Why is this person telling me this?

Or

What do they want from me?

chances are that a part of you doesn’t feel deserving of it. Whatever that person’s motivation is (and that is something to take apart and judge separately), has nothing to do with whether you feel worthy of the praise or not.

So how can we get to the place where we do feel deserving?

Well, the reason we don’t is that at some point in time we have incorporated stories that say we don’t deserve it. That we need to be different from who we are, do things different from the way we would naturally do them, or just work our ass off to deserve anything.

Whether the story comes from your religion, your culture, your parents, teachers at school, or friends… The point is…

It is just a story.

When we recognize it as a story, we can choose to let it go. Or at the very least, choose not to believe it.

Every time this little voice comes up to tell you you are unworthy, not good enough, or undeserving… Take it in, embrace it lovingly and tell it gently that you appreciate it, but don’t believe it.

Agree to disagree.

And firmly add another voice to the party in your head:

I DO deserve this.

And

I AM good enough.

And

It is my birthright.

I love it when my wise body speaks so directly!

What is yours saying? What are some stories you are ready to let go off?

You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing!

“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.”

Rumi

 

Have you ever noticed how we call people who dare to be different, or do things outside the norm, ‘shameless’?

We say it like it’s a bad thing.

But is it?

When you make it your life’s mission to guide people as they heal their shame, being shameless is the goal.

I mean… why would anyone want to have shame?

The feeling that comes up when we are scared of showing a part of ourselves we think is wrong or ‘not enough,’ shame by definition creates fragmentation and disconnection in our lives. Exactly the opposite of what we want: union, intimacy, connection.

So why is it that we call others ‘shameless’ as if it was an insult? As if being it is something to be avoided?

Implied in this language is an unconscious way to keep each other down. To stay within the norm and avoid standing out.

To hold back from expressing their true self, which is extraordinary, unique and different by definition.

Being called shameless is, as far as I’m concerned, a compliment. Something to aspire to.

You can be shameless now.

You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

As proof, I invite you to be a shame exhibitionist for a while: whenever you feel it, share it. Tell someone about it, and you will see that it’s not the end of the world.

Not just that, but you will realize that that which you’ve been hiding is not as big a deal as it seemed. Most people will understand, and maybe even feel inspired by you to share their own shame.

How do I know this?

It’s one of my clients’ most common epiphanies, and they feel so liberated!

Most of us have been taught that we need to be or do different from how we already are or behave in order to receive/deserve love and appreciation.

This is what sets us up for feeling ‘wrong’ and ‘not enough’… and, yes, feeling shame about it.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, take a risk, and show our shame, we will get one of two responses:

1) The other will understand, empathize and perhaps share their own stuff they’ve been afraid to let us know. We will both feel more connected and free to express ourselves.

Or, 2) the other will feel uncomfortable with our openness because of their own fear of making all of themselves visible. But somebody else’s inability to receive our whole self does not make us ‘wrong’ in any way. It’s not something to take personally.

In either case, being open about our shame will dissipate it because, by definition, it’s not shame anymore once we share it.

You can be shameless right now, just by letting go of this idea that you need to be anything other than who you already are. By accepting and loving yourself. No should, rights or wrongs.

Just beautiful, perfect you.

 

Jump in!

What are your thoughts/feelings on this subject? What has been your experience when you finally shared something you’d been keeping in? Please feel free to share.

As always, thie comments section is an advice-free area. We all have our stuff, and this is a place to share it without fear of being judged or told what to do.

When That Small Voice Shows Up

There’s that part of us that wants us to stay small.

 

Despite how painful it might be, staying small is in many ways easier.

 

It’s more comfortable. It’s what we know.

 

So that voice that jumps up and tells you  you can’t, you shouldn’t, your not good enough? That voice is designed to keep you were you are.

 

It’s designed to scare you, but it is not evil as many ego-bashers would have you believe.

 

It scares you because it’s scared, not because it seeks to harm you. It scares you because it’s scared of taking that leap out of your comfort zone and believe what that other voice says:

 

Yes, I can. Yes, I’m strong. Yes, I am enough.

 

And that small voice serves another purpose; it presents a challenge. A choice.

 

In doing so, it plants a seed. A possibility that, if watered, can grow into full bloom.

 

This small voice brings with it potential. Potential for expansion. It brings the opportunity to choose whether we believe it or not.

 

Do we want to stand in our knowledge that we are strong, gorgeous, flowing, sexy, smart, fun, successful, deserving, open goddesses/gods? Or do we want to believe we are small and needy?

 

Who do we choose to be, every moment?

 

The truth is, the largest potential for growth lies in watering the seed, not the full grown tree.

 

That small voice that makes us feel fearful, separate and alone presents us with a choice between terror (hide, run away) and vulnerability (stay open, see what happens).

 

This can be the most fertile soil if we know how to work with it. If we stick around.

 

This is why, when this voice shows up? Notice. Be grateful. Water it with love and appreciation for the role it plays in your journey. For being there for you in your learning.

 

And then try to stay open.

 

See if you can sit in that uncomfortable space without trying to change what is. It’s your opportunity to practice equanimity (or radical acceptance).

 

And as you allow the feelings and thoughts to flow through you without snagging on resistance, you’ll see the nuances… the changes. You’ll see how fickle those thoughts and emotions are.

 

And then you’ll see them float away leaving you feeling more loving towards yourself for not having shut that part of you down.

 

Leaving you feeling courageous for having allowed yourself to be the full expression of you.

 

 

______________________

Jump in!

Did you find this helpful? What are your thoughts? Please leave your comments, reflections and experiences below.

 

You Are Beautiful

If I lose weight, he will like me

If I look like a model, I will attract my partner

If I had bigger boobs, he would want me

If I have a six-pack, she wouln’t resist me

If I wasn’t so shy, my life would be more exciting

If I were nicer, people would stick around

If I dressed with more expensive clothes, people would take me more seriously

If I were funnier, smarter, had a larger penis nicer car, , a more “important” job, better taste in music… blah, blah blah!

 

Aren’t you tired of this?

 

When will we realize that we are enough just the way we are?

 

Society would have us believe otherwise because no one would buy any of the crap that advertisers throw in front of our eyeballs and ears 24/7 if people didn’t feel they are not good enough.

 

My skin should be tighter, look younger, less wrinkles!

My boobs should look perkier

My shlong should be… shlonger?

 

Bullshit.

 

For a very long time I felt the same way.

 

But now that I am (mostly) on the other side, it makes me so mad to see perfectly lovely and loveable desirable sexy people beat themselves up over stuff that isn’t true.

 

This is why I’m so passionate about showing you the truth.

 

When you strip away all the pretenses, the fake smiles, the plastic surgery, penis enlargement supplements, make-up, butt-enhancing pantihose, push-up bras, the career that doesn’t suit you but you feel will make people see you’re worthy of being valued, the expensive cars/gadgets/XL houses that are supposed to make up for your self-perceived faults…

 

Yes, perhaps some of your insecurities linger.

 

Maybe you feel vulnerable.

 

But you are beautiful. Not in spite of that, but because of it.

 

Just as you are.

 

And if you let me, I will show you.

Tantra

I’ve decided I’m going to stop skirting around it and say it.

 

Tantra.

 

Yes, that’s a big part of what I teach.

 

I didn’t want to say the word because a lot of people have misconceptions about what Tantra actually is, but I’m tired of talking around the word.

 

All this talk about turning you on, making you horny…. Well, it comes from an understanding that we can harness our sexual energy, the energy that drives life, and utilize it for a purpose other than just stress relief (i.e. orgasmus vulgaricus…. Just made that one up).

 

Isn’t Tantra about just having really great, “spiritual” sex?

 

No. Yes. Sort of, but not exactly.

 

Tantra is about acceptance of the whole.

 

There’s not one iota of you that isn’t perfect in its imperfection, and Tantra aims at having a continuous experience of the knowledge of this.

 

Of full self-acceptance. Self-love that allows us to love others more fully as well.

 

It also aims at our two most important drives, namely, the drive towards life (sex) and the drive away from death.

 

We want to transcend both, in order to not feel like we’re either running towards or running away from something all the time.

 

This way, we can live in our center. We can be steadier in any situation.

 

So, on that side of the equation, Tantra isn’t so much concerned with sex itself as it is about sexual energy, how to increase it and what to do with it. How we can use it to improve our lives,…

 

And feel more whole.

 

Oof…. That was liberating!