The internal talking gets in the way of you truly reading or listening. Your sensory acuity is impaired by the clutter in your head. Some people do this in a peculiar way; I am one of them. When concentrating, I poke my tongue out. Although I quickly learned to avoid this action in martial arts! When reading literature or listening to someone, imagine a small ball of olive oil behind your teeth. Keep it there by pushing your tongue against it. Push too hard and it will burst; fail to push enough and it will also burst. Keep it steady, relax your throat and jaw a little. Let all the muscles soften and relax. You are now able to see and hear much more. Information is absorbed in a far more efficient way. It feels comfortable, and you will remember details and facts more readily. You will not feel the urge to interject while communicating or run off on a tangent when reading. Like the duck that looks so smooth and graceful as it glides across the glassy pond, you're doing okay--at a surface level. But think about what that same duck is doing below the waterline: It's kicking and reaching, in a chaotic contrast to its seemingly effortless surface appearance. Such is life. Just for the sake of argument, fantasize with me for a moment. I wonder what you might choose for your self if, all of a sudden, you could just rewrite the script of your life from as early as you might want, right up until now. If you hadn't been pulled into the suck hole of life, with all of its messages, traps of "responsibilities and expectancies"; if you hadn't inherited the status quo; if you weren't born into a certain family and station in life and weren't buried so deep that you seemed to have no choices, what would you choose?

What would you choose if you weren't financially strapped, for example, living paycheck to paycheck, or didn't have so many people depending on you? But if you struggle with perfectly hidden depression, your logic is backward. No one modeled heathly compartmentalization for you. Instead, you believe that you'll break if you bend--if you admit vulnerability or hurt. Let's begin to challenge that thought. This next reflection will suggest what might be waiting for you in your emotion closet. We're taking this very slowly. But again, I remind you, please go at your own pace. If you're not ready to do this reflection, come back to it. The countless images and messages we're exposed to on a daily basis throughout our lifetime also play a role in our body image. The media helps set a culture's standard of beauty. The ideals in our culture are so unrealistic that less than 5 percent of the population meet them. Research shows that twenty-five years ago, top models and beauty queens weighed only 8 percent less than the average woman; now they weigh at least 23 percent less. Unfortunately, many of the ideals that define beauty are computer generated: Blemishes are buffed out, legs are made longer or thinner, and any trace of fat is airbrushed away. Yet there's pressure to try to live up to these images, no matter how unrealistic or unhealthy they are. Most of us feel overwhelmed by the grander picture of our existence, so much so that we often deny or ignore it completely. If our earth could speak, she would tell stories of times in which human beings lived in harmony with the rhythms of the universe, intuitively aware of their divinity. Times in which magic, mystery and spiritual richness reigned supreme. This tremendous historic wisdom is part of us all. We too infrequently acknowledge the magic that colours our daily lives.

Indeed, while all manner of miracles unfold within and around us, we limit our perspective and, as a result, we begin to feel lacklustre. We tick boxes of to-do and already done, good and bad, right and wrong. We expend precious energy ruminating over often unimportant, inconsequential things at the expense of our happiness. When we live unaware of our ever-present inner sparkle, without a sense of magic in life, we lose touch with our innate value, creativity and magnificence. It can be a bit like looking up information on the internet or YouTube. You know that realisation of "How did I end up on this subject?" This is a fantastic technique, and I recommend not only using it to read the rest of this and any other book; I highly recommend you use it in all communication with other people from start to end. From your birth to about the age of six to seven years you learn at an accelerated, a very quick rate. There are a number of reasons and the science is in part related to your brainwaves. At this young age Alpha and Theta brain waves help you learn at an immense rate. There continue to be vast studies to evaluate how best to educate our children. You would do well to pay attention to the premise that if we emulate their methods, the children that is, then maybe you can continue to learn at the speed they do. One thing to be noted when children are learning is that they wiggle their toes. You can reproduce that neurological pathway before learning something new by wiggling your toes. In scientific studies it has been seen that the brain pressure is altered and results in increased flow to the frontal cortex, with a resulting Alpha state, sometimes Theta. The Alpha brainwave is an excellent one to be in for speedy learning. They may even do it with a smile. If you weren't chronically overweight and tired, how would you live differently? If instead of being trapped, you had the opportunity to shape your life around who you really are and what really defines you and matters to you, what would your life be like? How and what would you change? What if you questioned what difference it really makes which car you drive, where you live, how much money you earn, or why it matters whether some person likes or doesn't like you?

Take some time to breathe deeply and settle into your calm place. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes and create an actual calm scene in your mind's eye. What do you see, what do you smell? Then allow yourself a few seconds to drink in the calm. Now imagine yourself standing in front of a closet that is filled with memories or experiences that you've never delved into emotionally. Just notice what's on the shelves and hangers and inside boxes. Write out what you recognize is there. Realize this might be emotional for you. Take it slow and steady. If it's too hard, don't worry. If you don't recognize anything, that's okay. We're going to come back to this reflection in a much later chapter. Remember, this takes practice. Another factor that influences body image: how you're feeling in general. For instance, when something isn't going quite right in your life--a failing relationship, financial stress, the loss of a job--you may project this negative feeling onto your body. So instead of saying that something is wrong with your relationship, your finances, or your work, you say that something is wrong with your body. I see this problem with so many of my clients. Our spirits love to be welcomed fully into our present moments. They love to be acknowledged, nurtured and appreciated. We are most happy, relaxed and fulfilled when we connect, think and act from the deepest, most divine part of ourselves.

Indeed, we suddenly possess all the secrets and mysteries of the universe as our inspirations. Acknowledging that we are derived of stardust, we begin to harness the remarkable energy and vitality that is us. With a sense of curiosity and purpose cultivated through our gratitude and wonder for life, we are more compelled to embrace our light and contribute meaningfully to this world. There is a magical nexus between our self-care and collective wellbeing on earth. When we nurture our own sparkle, we possess the energy to shine. Not only to illuminate our own path, but as lighthouses for those with whom we share our world. It is important to remind ourselves every day that we are made of stars. To refresh and re-energise our perspective. To immerse ourselves in learning about our spirits, our earth and our cosmos. To step out of our day-to-day microcosms and forgetfulness into a spectacularly broader, more magical picture of life. Yes, honesty hurts. The healing comes after the hurt. Not the other way around. It can be as simple as looking in the mirror. For a lot of my clients, that hurts enough. One form of honesty. Especially when you look at your eyes. Look into your soul. Not from a perspective of body dysmorphia, or just not liking your face, but looking deep into your soul where the honesty lies! (Yes I chose those words with care, reread that last sentence again.) I keep a daily journal.