Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Lies Between Your Thighs

Post by Mazie Bishop for the Love for Love series.


The thigh gap has been the trending fitness goal for women for the past year, but experts are alarmed by the health risks some women are taking to try to change their skeleton structure.

The virtually unobtainable goal is to be able to stand with your feet together and to still have a gap between your thighs and women are going to unreal lengths to achieve it. In 2012, the thigh gap exploded online and found its way into every news feed of every form of social media. But at some point between the kick off of this trend and now, it changed from a fitness phenomenon to a status symbol for teenage girls.

What lengths are these girls going to, you ask? In the past two years there have been reports of starvation, eating disorders and extreme exercise to try to achieve this near impossible body figure. All of this just to be popular and fit in, but these girls fit into their jeans fine before.

Sara Tellier, 40, an Acting for Film and Television student at the Niagara College, knows what these young women are going through. “I first had my eating disorder when I was 12. Mostly it was because I wanted to be skinny like the ‘popular’ and ‘pretty’ girls in school. It was also due to the fact that I was bullied by my step-father and kids at school. I was told I was fat, that I was a cow and that no one liked me because I was so disgusting. So I stopped eating,” says Tellier.

At a young and naturally impressionable age, giving up nourishment that the body needs for the sake of appearance is not a fair trade and could be detrimental to that person’s health and growth and progression.

“We are all built differently, and to set this bar for girls and women to attain this gap, when some of us just will never achieve it, is so very wrong. Who came up with this thing anyway? Someone built us this way for a reason and we need to appreciate our form as it is. If you want to be healthy, great, but to starve ourselves for unattainable motives, not good,” says Tellier. Two weeks in a hospital with regular psychiatric help, kick started Tellier’s recovery and now, 28 years later, she is here to reassure these women that it is alright to love themselves the way they are.

A lot of the women that are posting these “Thigh Gap Thins-poration” photos on their social media say that any goal can be achieved with enough hard work and dedication, but experts say what they don’t realize is that their goal is actually based off an obscure combination of body type, bone structure and connective tissue length.

Kyle Gruarin, 20, is a personal trainer and fitness coach in the Niagara Region and comes across a lot of women trying to achieve their ideal body type without having the proper education about their image goal. “This can lead to destroyed relationships with food and self image and potential eating disorders. Image gets distorted to the point where one is never quite thin enough,” says Gruarin.

“After a certain point it's incredibly unhealthy to maintain a low body fat percentage, as body fat is crucial for many bodily functions,” says Gruarin. Girls looking to diet down will often stop getting their periods and have a whole whack of other issues such as losses in lean mass, lethargy, mood swings, increased hunger - all normal physiological responses to dieting.”

Body image as a social status is not only an unrealistic indicator but also a dangerously unhealthy stigma. Michelle MacIntosh, a social worker from the Niagara College Student Success Center explains that a body image crisis, like the thigh gap can lead to body dysmorphic disorders. “The challenge with something like the Thigh Gap is that it is focused on one part of the body. This type of selective focus creates a sense of dismemberment to our bodies. A healthy body is a whole body. When we target one area we are creating an opportunity for our mind to become stuck and obsessed,” says MacIntosh.

Mazie Bishop is a fiery 22 year-old writer and journalism student from Canada. Self published as well as has several poems and short fiction pieces published in various anthologies and magazines. She is a big dreamer that hopes to be writing with the big guys some day and can not wait for her career to start! 

Currently she is in the process of writing her second novel and is in the outlining stages of a quarter-life memoir. You can read about her little crafty adventures and read her work or gander at her photos on
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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chit chat of the monkey mind

Post by Katherine Ellis for the Kind Kindred series.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Meditation… I don’t do it every day, but I do it when the connection to my soul is on the fritz, when the wi-fi that is the pathway to my heart has been slow for days, even though it’s been reset… it’s time to call for professional help. That is what meditation is to me.

Each sitting is different, but usually they are similar in the fact that it takes a while for my head to stop talking. As a meditation teacher of mine described, it is like a bicycle when turned upside down: give it time to stop spinning.

I refer to it as the chit chat of my monkey mind.

You ever heard a monkey? I have, once, in Costa Rica.

I was in shallow water, figuratively and literally, waiting for my boyfriend to join me. We had just hiked through a jungle to cool water on the other side. I threw off my clothes immediately and jumped in; he, worked over by the coc he did the night before, took a tree branch and dug it into the sand in a circle.

There was a sound so fast, I didn’t even begin to compute what it was. A drum roll had nothing on those little feet: a fuzzy, spunky little thing grabbing my shorts, sticking his hand into the pockets, then the same with my boyfriend's… he found something there, ran up the nearest tree and shook whatever he found, before I could even realize he was a monkey.

He dropped his jaw and shook his head, a noise falling out across the branch like a man screaming with marbles stuffed in his mouth.

That is the monkey mind.

Badadadadada! Doobadoobadoobadoob!

That’s what I usually get when I sit down.

But, recently, after not meditating in over a week, I sat down in the morning with two new daily meditation books. I had bought them for myself after Christmas, having given one to my dad for the holiday and then letting him know he could give it back to me if he wasn’t interested.

Catching myself, I ordered another copy three days later. I never said I was perfect.

I closed my eyes, leaned back with my favorite crystal in hand... and what was that? There was nothing there.

Immediately, I could hear myself breathe, sense my chest giving way… my heart pumping what it needs to. It was damn silent!

I judged it… could it be my head cold, slowing me down?

I was forcing myself to think. So I stopped. And that is when the gentle magic began...

Gentle magic is what I call something greater, something quiet and light, revealing truth I need to see - like fairy dust for the spirit.

There is only one way to say what happened next. I felt my soul inside the body it lives in, separate from the walls that house it.

It was breathtaking to watch, to witness. But I wasn’t done with my lesson yet. I perceived my mind, and it felt incredibly small… insecure.

It looked back and around, nervously, at my soul - unsure of what to do.

It sounds kind of crazy, I know. But is it? Our minds give us so much grief, coercing us into battle against things we have no power over. Our minds tell us we are alone, pathetic, disgusting… that we might as well eat the entire pantry because nobody will ever love us.

That our parents, or our spouse, can’t stand us, and so they hurt us. Or things will always be so hard, so we might as well give up on ourselves.

The mind, just like the monkey, moves so fast that we don’t even recognize what it is, and so we cannot come to terms with it.

What I saw that morning was the fact that our minds are just small, angry, nebbish little men that will bring others down and point out all that is wrong with them, just to feel better about themselves.

Our minds have the Napoleon complex... don’t buy into the little men!

Your soul is strong, and tall, and it wants to grow. No amount of untrue doctrine spit out by the monkey mind can keep it from doing so… all you have to do is turn a blind ear to it!

Do the work to separate your mind from yourself, and you will find your truest self. Breathe in, breathe out, and tell that chit chatting little man he has to go!

Katherine Ellis is a writer, actress and entrepreneur. She is a native of Los Angeles, where she spent her childhood accumulating numerous acting jobs under her (vintage) belt. When she is not playing dress-up or writing about it on her vintage fashion blog Breakfast at Gemini's, she is writing her memoir Going on Nine. Needing snacks to munch on while writing is essential, and thus her unique natural toffee company was born. McFaddy Candy Co, as featured in In Style magazine, currently caters large scale special events in Los Angeles and is sold in boutique stores across Southern California. 
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In Praise of Women

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.

pin of 3 girlfriends created by PatchworkPeoplePins on

For years, I had serious trust and intimacy issues with women, and my relationships with them were incredibly challenging. These beliefs were deeply rooted and mostly unconscious, but seemingly confirmed at most every turn. And yet...and then...I began a boutique personal training company that catered exclusively to women. And, oh...the lessons I learned.

We women are such wondrous creatures, and here's what my clients (now friends) and business associates (now friends) have taught me about friendship, love and myself:

~ You’re not crazy no matter what your hormones may tell you. (No man will tell you this!)
~ Every woman, no matter how beautiful, has body issues.
~ There’s a whole lot less judgment about each other than we believe.
~ Women are incredibly generous with their time and resources.
~ Our deepest secrets are not so awful.
~ Our deepest fears are not so dark when shared.
~ Those that seem to have it all also have their fair share of crappola.
~ Growing older is to be celebrated and the best truly is yet to come.
~ We are only as alone as we choose to be.
~ True boundaries are set with love, both for yourself and others.
~ It’s okay to be who you are and where you are, no matter what that looks like.
~ When you reach out with honestly and love, you get it right back.

I am forever grateful that the Universe brings you to the exact place in life that you are supposed to be, and grateful that I have beautiful women to share it with.

To healthy and happy,

Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Don't be afraid to change

photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

Ms Jenny picked the most timely quote this week! As you know, I’ve been on a journey of significant change for about a year now, with the Courageous Coaching Training Program. I’m slowly but surely starting my Coaching practice with a handful of WONDERFUL clients, while still doing the 9-5 thing (since bills don’t magically disappear, even when you’ve found your life’s work!).

...but I was OK, because I had a plan! After all, who doesn't love a plan? Certainly not me.

My plan was to stay at the day job I'd been doing until I'd saved enough to leave and follow my dream. It made sense. I've been doing the job for 10 years, so what's 1 more?

Then I got an email about a different day job. One that offered me more schedule flexibility and less pressure.

Whoa. But I have a plan! But the flexibility!

This back and forth happened for a little while (in my head!) until I bit the bullet and responded to the email.

Fast forward to today and my last day at the job I've been doing for 10 years is tomorrow. I'm even able to take some time off and get things together before starting my flexible new day job in a couple of weeks.

Whoa. Talk about gaining something better. Will I be very sad to walk away from the wonderful people who have been a part of my life for the last decade (including my wedding, the loss of both of my grandmothers and my mother's battle with breast cancer)? You're damn right I will be, but what I'm gaining is so completely amazing. I'm gaining freedom and space in my life. I'm gaining the opportunity to keep a steady paycheck but have more time to devote to my life's work.

Change is scary. Trust me - I get that, and I'm well aware that all of the things I'm gaining are sitting on top of a nice layer of fear - but I invite you to consider what might be gained if you bit the bullet on something. Just start there. Simply considering...and see what comes next.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.
❤, Lara

CLICK TO TWEET:  Don't be afraid to change.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Venemous Delight

Split tongue
The silent serpent crawls 
in between the grass of deceit 
Haunting the prey 
While loving the idea of how a servant 
Can mirror his own well being 
Armed to the teeth 
With poison 
Times every release 
Punctuality is the true name of venom 
To kill the idea of man 
Without being noticed 
Making it an act of conscience 
Heads nodding in acceptance 
Of cruelty 
No fatalities on their side 
Prevention of a lost generation 
Preserving their own rights 
By suppressing theirs 
Without difference 
They were all the same 
But the split tongue of a serpent
Never lies 
In the mind of the deceived 


Espen Stenersrød is a Norwegian writer and poet from Oslo. With two poetry collections behind him (Diary of poet,2012 and Lifecycle in Nihighnigma, 2013) he is now working on a novel and a new poetry collection. His poetry has been described as unique, attention grabbing and memorable. Espen enjoys writing deep, insightful poetry that examines the human condition from both a modern and universal perspective, balancing between hope and beauty and darkness and mystery.
Check out his website and buy his poetry collections on Amazon 
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Interview with Jen Saunders, founder of Wild Sister Magazine

Today, I'm interviewing Jen Saunders, founder of Wild Sister Magazine. Jen is a long-time KOM contributor and all around amazing human. She recently came out of the Asperger's closet, and I couldn't wait to talk to her for KOM. Thanks for being here, Jen! ~LH

LHFor KOM readers who haven't read your post about Coming out of the Aspergers Closet, can you give us a brief summary of where you are on this journey and how you got here?
Sure! About a year ago, I saw an interview with a woman on TV, she was talking about her life with Aspergers Syndrome. I’d heard of Aspergers, but I didn’t know it presented in women differently than it does in men, and I found myself instantly relating to everything the woman was saying. I started researching it immediately, and starting to think I’d finally found the answer to why I always felt so different.
I decided to sit with it for a while, feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. Then, earlier this year, I decided I wanted to know for sure, so I booked sessions with an expert on female Aspergers, and soon after she diagnosed me with Aspergers Syndrome, also known as Autism Spectrum Condition.

LH: I'm sensing a feeling of relief that came with the diagnosis. Is that accurate?
Hell yes! I’ve never felt so much relief in my life. Finally, I had answers to questions I’d been asking myself for years, things from my past were instantly explained and released, and I felt incredibly validated and truly ‘seen’ for the first time in my life.

LH: I'd like to take a minute and acknowledge the courage it took for you to make this public. You could have easily continued on your path without ever revealing this. What made you choose to share?
I was very nervous about going public with it, but I chose to share because I knew it could help people. I knew I had spent the first 26 years of my life completely in the dark about Aspergers, and just as seeing that TV interview turned a light on for me, I wanted to turn a light on for other women out there who felt different but didn’t know why.
I already had a large audience and reach, so I knew I could impact people’s lives in a positive way by saying, “Hey, I’m happy, healthy, successful, and I have Aspergers.” I felt a responsibility to bust some of the myths out there and also help women find answers for themselves.

LH: actually crashed the day you "came out". How did that feel?
It was certainly unexpected! I had no idea what to expect when I hit publish on that post, but seeing the views, comments and shares rise instantly was amazing. I received nothing but love and support, and I was surprised how many women I know resonated with my story – some of whom have gone on to be diagnosed themselves. I feel incredibly privileged that I was able to turn the light on for other women.

LH: Aspergers is a part of you, but there are many more. What are some things you're excited about right now - personally & professionally?
Right now, I’m excited about everything! I’m creating a new online course called Devotion to Self that will be launching in a couple of weeks, and my calendar is full of fun projects that I can’t wait to sink my teeth into. Personally, I’ve got some travel plans in the works for later in the year which I’m so excited about!

LH: You started WildSister about 3 years ago. How has it changed you and how have you changed it? 

Wow, Wild Sister has evolved so much since it started – and so have I! Wild Sister has taught me so many valuable lessons that have changed my view on the world, like; everything happens for a reason; everyone has a story to tell; and loving yourself sets the foundation for happiness.

LH: I love your philosophy making yourself happy, and think it really resonates with a lot of KOM's readers. What has choosing happiness done in your life? How do you handle the days when that's extra difficult?
Realising that I can choose happiness has changed everything. It’s given me my power back, and opened my eyes to all the blessings in my life. On days when it’s extra difficult to choose happiness, I remember that everything happens to either bless me or teach me. I look for the lesson, let it grow my soul, and focus on the positives. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it.

LH: If you had to choose a phrase, quote or song that "defines" you, what would it be?
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman.

LH: Any parting words for our KOM audience? We love you here and wish you nothing but good, Jen! Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us. <3 

Thank you so much for featuring me! I’ve been a huge fan of KOM for years, and it was one of the reasons I started blogging, so it’s always an honor to come and hang out here. And thank you to the KOM tribe for always welcoming me with open arms and warm smiles, you rock! :)

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