Yesterday was bittersweet. Everyone except his younger sister, Annika, circled around a small chocolate cake topped with lit candles. We Facetimed Annika in, so she could join in. She lives an hour and a half away. We sang (miserably out of tune) the usual Happy Birthday song, and, out of habit, finished with, “and many more.” Then Kristina noted sadly that there wouldn’t be many more, not on our plane, anyway. But he lives on, far from the reach of our physical hugs, in another dimension where he’s found happiness, and for that, I’m grateful. As I took a bite of the cake, I felt goosebumps. I’m sure he was merging with my energy to get a taste.
Some of you have had trouble registering for the blog, and I’m trying to figure out if you need to register in the first place. It seems like all you’d have to do is register for DISQUS to comment, but I’m pretty sure you should be able to access the entire blog without registering and logging in. What’s your experience? Are any of you unregistered?
Here’s today’s post!
Me: Let’s talk about the loss of looks. We get older. Our looks start to fail us. Or sometimes we lose our “looks” because we’re involved in a nasty burn or we have surgery on our face or we get a leg amputated. Let’s talk about that.
Heather: He’s changing the subject.
Erik: Okay, so you’re talking about the loss of power. Instead of focusing on one central thing because again, I’m going to say this over and over again—it’s all perspective. It’s based on what society is telling you about how you need to look a certain way. Your body needs to have a certain shape. You gotta have blue eyes, and you’re eyelashes gotta be all thick and curled up, and you gotta have these cheekbones. People don’t feel comfortable in their bodies.
Heather: Okay, well then build on that.
Me: Yeah. Please do.
Erik: They don’t feel comfortable in their bodies because the—
Heather: What’s that word?
Erik: They don’t fit the image they think they’re supposed to adhere to.
Heather: Adhere to? Really? Big word.
Erik: So what they need to do instead—and I’ve already discussed this before—is figure out what fits the body that they have. They need to feel more comfortable in it. Say they’ve got big thighs. There’s nothing wrong with having big thighs. Some people just have big thighs. They need to stop wearing tight shorts and things that don’t fit them very well or something that doesn’t compliment their bodies very much. I think a lot of it has to do with the fashion today—and I’m talking about women—they feel like they have to wear what’s in style, but a lot of times what’s the “now” thing to wear isn’t what would look right on them. So they feel out of sorts. They don’t feel like they can look like the other girls.
Heather: He’s getting a little upset.
Erik: You know the whole thing with having the gap between the thighs? That’s about body shape. A lot of girls can be as skinny as possible and not have the gap between the thighs because they don’t have the bone structure.
Me: Uh oh. Now I’m going to be checking my gap.
I didn’t know Erik was so fashion savvy.
Me: Okay. Go on.
Heather: Anything else?
Me: Okay. Let’s talk more about looks. Getting older. Women have a lot of pressure to stay young looking, but they can’t. Gravity rules. Collagen starts to weaken. Things start to sag. How can they learn to accept that and not be upset by it?
Erik: They need to first accept that they are not in control.
But I want that control, damn it!
Erik: Then they need to think about how they’re going to respond to that. Are they going to pile on a bunch of makeup to try to make themselves look prettier, or are they going to just accept themselves for who they are? It all boils down to self-love.
Heather: He always talks about this.
Erik: When you don’t feel comfortable with [your looks], you’re basically saying you don’t love yourself as much as you should, so you try to make yourself look different. It all comes down to self-love. You’ve got to love yourself, because you trying to look different and not liking how you look says something. It says you don’t accept yourself.
Me: What if you loved yourself when you were younger-looking, but then you don’t love yourself when—
Erik: You can always be insecure about yourself at any given moment.
Me: Well, that’s true.
Erik: And humans don’t like change. So when things start changing like your hip starts hurting so you can’t walk as much, you start getting wrinkles, grey hair, you feel powerless. You lose that self-love that you used to have because you were used to having this young, hip body.
Heather (mimicking Erik’s dance moves): He does this little dance like “hip to that jive.”
Me: Erik, are you learning to dance better than you did before?
Heather (rolling her eyes): No. No. I would know.
Me: Some things never change. You can’t be good at everything, Erik!
Erik (hands on his hips): And why not?
Me: Well you can. Knock yourself out! So what about when someone has a devastating burn so that their whole face becomes disfigured?
Erik: There could be a couple of reasons. One, it could happen as part of a contract. Through experiencing that, they can learn to love themselves and accept themselves for who they are. It could be that they saw themselves as better than others or their ego is way up there, just all over the place.
Me: Oh yeah. Right.
Erik: And they think they’re the shit when they’re not. So they experience having some sort of disfigurement that puts them back in their place in a way.
Heather (to Erik): Is there more? Because I know there’s more. I can feel it.
Erik: Or it could be—
Heather: Oh, well we already know that.
Erik: Like sometimes there’s an accident that happens without a contract, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from that experience. Not everything has to—
Heather: Now he’s going off.
Erik: Not everything has to be a contract in your life. Everyone thinks you have to have a contract with a certain person in order to maintain a relationship with them, but that’s not always the case. You don’t have to have a contract with anybody. You can form one during the middle of your lifetime.
Me: Well, that’s true.
Erik: And you can also not complete them. You don’t have to, and that doesn’t mean you’re bad. It’s not a good or bad thing. There is no good or bad. It just is what it is.
Me: How can someone who’s disfigured learn how to accept themselves for the new way that they look?
Erik: For a lot of people—
Heather: He doesn’t want to say “everyone who’s disfigured.”
Erik: For a lot of people, it’s going to require a lot of work. It can be a long battle that requires inner work. That work first involves learning that they don’t have control.
Heather: Okay, and what else?
Erik: They don’t have control over it, and—
Heather (arguing): How can they do that, though?
Her eyes look back and forth from one side of the room to the other.
Heather: Stop moving. How can they do that?
Me: Whip him into shape, Heather.
Heather laughs hard.
Heather: Oh, I’ll yell at him!
Erik: It’s just a perspective, and you can change it. You just have to accept. A lot of people have anxieties because they don’t feel like they have control—
Heather: Well now you’re changing the subject. I need you to get back on the subject.
Erik: Okay. So they first need to learn that they feel the way they do because they need control, and then they need to accept themselves and learn self-love.
Heather: He’s showing me an image of somebody who’s looking in the mirror, and they have a really burnt face.
Erik: They need to start writing down on a piece of paper the good qualities they have, but really mean it. Really mean what you’re saying about yourself. Then, your look in the mirror, and you tell yourself, “I’m worthy. I’m beautiful, and I’m smart.” You know, all that positive shit. Then tell yourself that you love yourself. “I love me.” And give yourself a hug. People need to start doing that. Every morning, you need to get up and do that. And do it before bed, too, because it will make a difference. It seems kind of silly, but—
Me: No, it doesn’t. Affirmations are amazing. That’s all energy that gets into your body.
Heather (pointing to Erik): And you did just say your thoughts have energy, too.
Me: Yeah. Or your thoughts are energy, right?
Erik: Yes. Everything’s energy.
A couple more things: please join Jamie, Erik and me with wonderful host, @AmySchuber live today on Inspired Conversations! Be sure to share! Listen HERE.
Also, my husband won a trip to the Dominican Republic through his company so we’re going there tomorrow and returning Sunday. I’m not sure about Internet access, so if I don’t post, you’ll understand why! I can’t wait to relax on a beautiful beach!!