Mindfulness is an ancient practice of being aware, of living the moment fully. Kaballah and Buddhism have several techniques to teach ways to fully experience the moment. These techniques are thought to be the secret to living life to the fullest and happiness. No matter what you’re doing even something as simple as eating you can be mindful. Feeling each bite, chew and swallow instead of thinking about what you have to do after dinner is a good practice of mindfulness. Right now, stop reading, close your eyes and feel the air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel the movement of your body, your chest and the rest of your body. That is what living mindfully feels like. While talking to a friend this week I realized what we wear can be mindful too.
Here are four tips on becoming mindful about fashion:
1) Shop for the body you have, not for the body you think you should have: When I moved to Europe I had to let go of all the clothes that no longer fit me. I could only take three suitcases. It surprised me how many pieces I had purchased in hopes one day I would be the size and shape to fit in them perfectly. That doesn’t even take into account the piles of clothes I wore that pinched, squeezed and just plain ‘ol hurt. I had to tuck, shove and stop breathing to wear some of those pieces. When you have a young child some of that is just not practical, if you kneel down to pick them up you’ll find yourself on button short. Also, life in Europe usually involves a lot of walking or cycling places so comfort is key. All of this made me realize I shopped for the body I thought I wanted not the body I had. If you buy second hand or if you buy few, quality pieces you’ll soon realize that you can buy things for right now. Invest in a few pieces that really make you feel good in your skin, and that also allow you to breathe even when you get a little bloated. Opt for soft fabrics and realize that your size now, no matter what it is, can be beautiful. Don’t allow the message of society to cloud your self-love and embrace your size. I am a size 10, there I said, I always wanted to be a size six so I shopped for it, I trained for it and sometimes even starved for it. I have only been a size 6 for three months over ten years ago, never before or after then in my adult life. I got rid of all the clothes in small sizes, instead I looked for pieces I really loved in my size. Every time I put them on I feel beautiful and most importantly comfortable! There are no more bulges to hide or places to tuck! One day I may have the ability to go down in sizes and when I finally do that, I will buy myself a new wardrobe to fit THAT body.
2)Love yourself: I know a bit cliche, right? It really is that simple. The more you love yourself the less you’ll need to fill the void with new clothes or shoes. If your feel pretty naked you wont need clothes to make you feel pretty. Spend time in the nude. Yes, you read that right. Learn to love how you feel and look without clothing. Look at your body in the mirror and get used to seeing what a REAL woman looks like. Our minds are filled with photoshopped images of unreal women, these perfect molds we and THEY will never fit into. The best way to break the mold is to get used to looking at what REAL means. Once you make that shift you will make different choices about your clothes, your body AND even your diet! It’s all connected and it starts inside.
3) Live in the moment: Back to point one, live what is happening now. That’s what mindfulness is. I believe that mindfulness is the key to happiness. We must stop focusing in our past, it weighs us down, and looking at the future constantly only creates anxiety. This moment right now is all you can control. I know something as trivial as fashion should have nothing to do with something so profound but here’s why it matters. When you choose a shirt to wear, or what you’ll have for lunch you are making decisions about the type of life you want. Are you going to choose the pants that make you feel too big for them or the pants that love your skin and curves as they are right now? Those little choices and how we choose to see them can make all the difference.
4) Choose joy: You are shopping for a blouse, you are ready to make a purchase. You have size 12 in one hand and size 14 in the other. You know for a fact that 14 is your size, you know it will fit better and you will be more comfortable but you say to yourself, “I’ll work really hard this week and lose the six pounds I need to wear a size 12.” You buy the size 12. Weeks later you still have not lost any weight, you wear the shirt because you really like it only to feel completely inadequate all day adjusting the buttons so your boobs don’t pop out and hunching over to make it ‘fit’. All that for what? to say you are size smaller? We have somehow convinced ourself that self-love comes in a number, that magic number we have in our head, our weight, our size even our income. Choose joy, choose yourself and love who you are.
I am not saying you shouldn’t lose weight or avoid getting healthy. I am saying healthy looks and feels a lot of different ways and THIN isn’t an accurate measure of health. There are people three sizes bigger than me that can out-run and out-climb me and have healthier lab numbers. Not everyone is intended to be thin, and beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Our journey to self improvement comes from within.