The Heart and Spirit of Courage

As Coco Chanel would say, “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”

Courage comes from the Old French corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” In other words, courage is an innate, internal quality that resides within the core of your being.

I love contemplating the definition because most people tend to equate courage with the physical sense of the word—like walking confidently onto a stage or battling a dangerous beast, like a lion. But if we look at courage as meaning “heart and spirit,” it may be more accurate to equate courage with listening to your inner voice and doing the right thing, no matter what the consequences.

Courageous people:

  • Guide their own destinies
  • Stand up for their heartfelt values
  • Spend time reflecting and going inward for answers
  • Ask probing questions
  • Encourage others
  • Love deeply and forgive easily
  • Speak their minds
  • Leap beyond their comfort zones

 

I’m a fan of pairing gladiator sandals with leather pants for a daring and powerful look. Jambu gladiators shown here with leather leggings by Alice + Olivia and a color-block shirt from Rag and Bone.

For me, courage is an intention that I hold internally and step into physically—and there is no better way for me to anchor an intention than by actualizing it with a shoe that represents the quality I am seeking to manifest. If you haven’t watched my TEDx talk on using shoes as a spiritual tool, click here.

The gladiator sandal represents the quality of courage. After all, the sandal was created for the daring fighters of the Roman Empire, and it continues to offer courage to those who dare to harness the power of this historic shoe design.

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
12/16/2017
The gladiator sandal is prescribed for individuals who want to increase their sense of courage. Originally designed as footwear for gladiator fighters, the sandal has a hard, protective sole that is attached to the foot with leather straps, cords or braided thongs. Many styles are embellished with studs to provide security and act as a weapon.
Symptoms
A gladiator sandal is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: cowardice, spinelessness, fear, inability to stand up for oneself or speak one's truth, feelings of dejection and/or weakness of spirit, gutless thoughts or actions, urge to flee uncomfortable situations.
Warnings
May inspire bold behavior, even when you’re scared to death! Wear can create an increased sense of bravery, greater nerve, gallantry and valor. Discontinue use if you develop a dangerous desire to wrestle lions.

Click to read full shoeology of the Gladiator Sandal

Jambu uses a sport-wedge design that makes the Sugar an all-terrain sandal—I’m not kidding, it feels supportive enough to wear hiking.

Sugar sandal by Jambu is a unique type of gladiator—one that represents both physical courage and the heart and spirit. While it appears to be a statement shoe, it’s remarkably comfortable and supportive. When I slide them on I feel as if they support both my physical and spiritual paths. It’s as if they hold me through the twists and turns of life so I can discover new places, out in the world and inwardly. All of that, and they look pretty sweet, too…

A memory foot bed makes the Sugar a perfect choice for people who spend a lot of time standing – like hair stylists, anyone in the food service industry, nurses and yes, fashion stylists!

What does the heart and spirit of courage mean to you? Message me or comment below. I’d love to hear how you plan to step into your courage this week!

*Photography by SRGKRPNKO

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I’m in a Dysfunctional Relationship—with Myself

Dedication--Running-shoe-Rx

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
12/16/2017
Oh, inertia is an interesting earthly principle. A body or object in motion tends to stay in motion. So how does one move from stagnation (in mind, body, emotions, or spirit) to flow and movement? Running shoes! Running shoes have soles that are made to support and propel the physical body as it moves. Whether they're made of foam, silicon, air or gel, cushioning systems are one of the most important aspects of the modern running shoe. Long distance running requires dedication, and this shoe is designed to support an athlete to stay on course until she reaches the finish line. These shoes can also be used to remind non-marathon runners to remain dedicated to whatever goal line they intend to cross—be it literal, metaphorical or simply a deadline.
Symptoms
A running shoe is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: lethargy, distraction, wanting to “give up”, feeling stuck or confused.
Warnings
Wear may incite boundless energy, confidence and staying power. May lead to unwavering leadership abilities and dedication. Overuse may create a surplus of accomplishments on the worldly plane.

Read full shoe Rx for DEDICATION here

I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t always treat me right. She’s dramatic, angry and can be annoyingly uptight. My girl is impulsive and moody, but when she’s centered she shines blindingly bright. And on those days, I couldn’t imagine loving anyone more.

We dance, we sing. We talk through the night. We fight. I hate her. I love her. We make up, again. No matter how many times I wish I could leave her, it’s impossible to escape her scrumptiously devious ways because my lover, my lady, she is me.

This is my first blog post in several months. I went on a journey. I swear in a past life, I must have been a monk because every few years or so I feel the need to abandon the world and retreat. I question who I am, what I’m doing, and why I’m doing it. I pull away from distractions and attempt to realign with what’s really important.

stylingtrainers

This summer was simple but profoundly beautiful. My main goal was to remain as present as I could with my daughter. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well. We hiked, went rock climbing, sea kayaking, to the water park…  I attempted to listen to everything she said (and she says a lot, so this was challenging). I found moments where I felt like a kid—giggling like my ten-year-old self would have as we made up songs or played freeze tag in a wave pool.

I also went on a physical outer/inner journey. I attended something called Peace Awareness Training (or PAT) in Lake Arrowhead. For a few days I felt unshakable, as if nothing or no one could throw me off course. I understood the universe and my place in it, and that knowing was beyond amazing! Then, I returned to the world, and a few weeks later I found myself, well, dealing with the world. It was frustrating to feel that kind of solidness and then seemingly loose touch with it, but now that I’ve experienced whatever that was (kind of an ineffable thing to talk about) I’m aware that I’m still changing in ways that continue to unfold… the word would be ‘etcetera’…

On my quest, I learned some important pieces about my relationship with myself. You may ask: What is it that you discovered? Well, I’ll tell you (whether you really want to know or not): I really like my lady, myself. I’m getting a kick out of my quirks and realize that those messy aspects are what add character to my masterpiece called life. And on the darker side, I became aware of the ways in which I was sabotaging my relationship with her. I was unconsciously withholding things from her that she needs to be happy (like being dedicated to writing this blog, neglecting my exercise regimen or forgetting to make time for fun). I’m recommitting, I’m backing myself up. I’m dedicated to loving her and sticking it through. It’s not easy… she can be a real character… but she’s mine, and I accept her unconditionally.

paris-fashion-chanel

So with that recommitment, you can continue to find me writing here. I’m reminding myself that it’s a marathon, not a race. I’m back in it for the long haul. I think that like actual marriage, our relationship with ourselves needs to be updated and revisited. I’m committed. I’m devoted. I’m dedicated. It’s all gonna be all right.

Send me a note—I’d love to say, “hi.”

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner

sole prescription boldness
BOLDNESS

PrescriptionSYMPTOMS
· trepidation      · insecurity
· fear                   · timidness

RxPRESCRIPTION BOLDNESS
OUTER: Bold Shoes of Prey heels designed by Romance Was Born, leather dress by The Row, silver studs by Robert Lee Morris, pave diamond lace ring by Tamara Comolli
INNER: It is safe for me to be seen and heard. I am comfortable revealing my true colors.

warningWARNING
Use may lead to spontaneous dance mobs, singing at karaoke nights, and heads turning in your direction.


Shoes of Prey Bold Style
Let the bold shoes stand front and center. Pair with sleek pieces that support their brilliance like this
leather dress, simple studs, and an elegant ring. (1. Shoes of Prey, 2. The Row, 3. Robert Lee Morris, 4. Tamara Comolli)

I’ve spent a lot of time in the corner. I listened to people when they told me to sit and stay quiet. I played small. I was safe there in my corner. The center, on the other hand, was a dangerous place.

One day, I realized no one was putting me in the corner anymore. I’d voluntarily put myself there for a long time.

What would happen if I put on a pair of bold shoes and marched into the center of the room?

I discovered that I could dance.

Shoes of Prey Sole RX
Design your own bold shoe on the Shoes of Prey website.

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Fail Fast, Succeed Sooner

Broken heel sole prescription
Photography by Tanya Nager

I had a dream, and I decided to go after it. I did my research, got clear inside, and on New Year’s morning a couple of years ago I started working. This wasn’t some weeklong resolution that would putter out and die—it was a lifelong goal, and I was motivated to see it through to completion. I’d been preparing for this moment for years—studying, honing the proper skills, and creating the financial stability to make it a reality.

Leading up to my fateful launch, I prepared by taking the advice of several of my self-help heroes. I knew what my “bliss” was and was ready to “follow it” as Joseph Campbell advised. I created my own “purple cow” as Seth Godin smartly suggested. Taking the advice of my long-time guru Louise Hay, I cleared emotional blocks and limiting beliefs. I organized my office and created project lists with help from the “getting things done” guy David Allen… The list went on. I stopped reading the books and started applying them. And it worked, sort of…

I finished the project in a year’s time, after devoting a minimum of six hours per week (sometimes many more than that) until it was complete. I felt proud of the well-honed and stylized book proposal I’d created. I landed one of the best agents in the business and things seemed as if they were working out. Everyone I showed it to thought it was like nothing they’d seen before, and we all thought it was going to make a big splash.

It did. It garnered a ton of interest when my agent went out with it, but a week went by and then a month. Then two… There didn’t seem to be any serious offers. My “out-of-the-box” idea seemed to be a bit too “out-of-the-box.” Wait a minute—did they just call my cow too purple?

I was devastated. How could this have happened? I followed all of the “rules,” did everything “right.” I visualized, prayed, lit candles and sent all of the “good energy” I could muster out into the universe. Not only that, but I worked my butt off. I spent hours in a chair, hundreds of dollars and countless moments of my life on this project. What’s up, The Secret? Got to say, it feels like you left me hanging…

Broken heel 2 sole prescription

After moping around for two weeks I had an “aha moment” as Oprah likes to call them. I realized that my biggest fear had happened: I was a big fat failure! You know what? Failure wasn’t all that bad. My life continued on, friends stayed friends, work stayed steady. Failure wasn’t even close to the awfulness I’d expected. In fact, I felt surprisingly better than I ever had. I faced failure straight on, and it held no power over me anymore.

I’ve never felt lighter or more creative than I do now. I am continuing to move forward with my dream, and I’ve started two new projects. I feel like it’s just a matter of time until one of them ignites, and I know I have nothing to lose if they don’t. After all, the worst thing that can happen is that I experience failure again, which I’ve learned is nothing compared to the regret of being too afraid to try.

That’s why my new motto is, “Fail fast!” If something doesn’t work, I try to get it out of the way as quickly as possible so I can try something else. Something along the way is bound succeed. It’s simply a matter of odds, practice, and not letting a little thing like “failure” stand in the way.

 

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A Pair of Sandals Saved My Life One Summer

Gladiator Sandal Courage

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
12/16/2017
The gladiator sandal is prescribed for individuals who want to increase their sense of courage. Originally designed as footwear for gladiator fighters, the sandal has a hard, protective sole that is attached to the foot with leather straps, cords or braided thongs. Many styles are embellished with studs to provide security and act as a weapon.
Symptoms
A gladiator sandal is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: cowardice, spinelessness, fear, inability to stand up for oneself or speak one's truth, feelings of dejection and/or weakness of spirit, gutless thoughts or actions, urge to flee uncomfortable situations.
Warnings
May inspire bold behavior, even when you’re scared to death! Wear can create an increased sense of bravery, greater nerve, gallantry and valor. Discontinue use if you develop a dangerous desire to wrestle lions.

In my hometown, teenagers spend their junior-­high summers lounging by the river. The summer after 7th grade, while I wasn’t legally old enough to work, I landed the only under­-the-­table job my small town offered—I’d be pedaling an adult-sized tricycle around town, selling ice cream out of a large cooler attached to the front.

Every Wednesday afternoon, I’d cover several miles of the town’s main streets, strategically ending at the park center where a small orchestra played. This was a smart business move, as most of the townspeople gathered there to listen to live music and get in as much gossip as they could before winter. My boss had an inkling that ice cream would be a colossal hit with the summer crowd, and his inkling proved correct.

I was an athletic preteen. I hiked, biked, and swam at the town waterfall most mornings, so the several-­mile ascent up Mountain Street didn’t scare me. There was something, however, that I found terrifying about the new job: the all­-white safari uniform and oversized straw-­brimmed hat I had to wear. I wasn’t thrilled about working all those summer evenings, but now I’d have to parade around town like a big, white, ice­-cream­-selling park ranger. I wasn’t sure I could stand the humiliation, and the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. Quite possibly, this job could equal social suicide.

I went home, flopped onto my bed, and stared up at my bedroom ceiling, in tears. Then I remembered the promise I’d made to myself: I would work as hard as I could every summer between then and my senior year and save every penny, so I could go to college. I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to pay my tuition, and it was either this or winning the lottery. Even as a kid, I knew my odds were better with the ice cream trike, so I weighed my options: four to six years of small town mockery or a lifetime working at McDonalds… That was it, I was going to ride the darn thing and rock that safari hat as best as I could!

The only freedom I had with my uniform was my choice of shoes. I took the decision seriously—they’d need to be perfect if I was going to have a chance of getting asked to the prom one day… I’d recently studied Roman History in my Global Studies class and learned all about gladiators—their harrowing bravery as they fought, often to their deaths, for the mere possibility of eventual freedom. I saw my Creamsicle-­on-wheels as the arena, and my college future as the prize. Now all I needed to do was to find my pair of studded gladiator sandals, which would give me enough courage to fight to victory.

After locating them under a pile of winter boots, I latched on the sandals and prepared for battle. Climbing onto the tricycle, I found out right away that the heavy cooler made it frighteningly unwieldy. My thighs burned over the steep hills, and my calves hurt from braking though the valleys, but like a warrior, I kept going. I rang the bike bell loud and clear and braced myself before the final hill leading to the park center. The looming descent was no problem on my pink Huffy, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to balance the Ice Cream Trike of Death. I looked at my sandals. I was going to do this! I pushed off and courageously glided down the hill.

I managed to get to the bottom of the hill alive, but that wasn’t much consolation when I noticed my friends gathering in the park. I contemplated turning a street early and discreetly wheeling the freezer back to my boss’s house. Just then, an older boy rode up alongside me on his mountain bike and said, “Hey, what a fun job! Can I ride with you? Oh, cool sandals…”

He wanted to ride with me, Ranger Nutty Buddy? He didn’t seem to notice my goofy outfit—he was too immersed in a story about the restorations he and his father had made to his mountain bike. The next couple of hours flew by. My wingman stayed cooler­-side throughout the concert, and my friends came by to say hi and buy a cone or two. I was glad I hadn’t chickened out because I now was hanging out and making money. For the rest of the summer, I’d spy the curly­-haired boy on his mountain bike, and he’d chivalrously escort me and my freezer to the park. I even scored a two-­dollar raise from my boss, who was impressed with how many cones I’d managed to sell.

Gladiator sandals became my footwear of choice from that summer on. The following year, when I was of legal working age, my boss offered me a legitimate job at the Creemee Shack, selling cones from the store window. By the time I was seventeen, I graduated to become a rollerblading waitress at the A&W drive-­through the next town over. I managed to climb the ice cream ladder all the way to college. And somehow, I still got asked to prom… by a certain curly-­haired mountain bike rider… And that was cooler than ice cream.

 

Just for the record, while the above are beautiful, this is more what the actual shoes looked like:

gladiator sandal

Let’s Take the Long Way Home

Shoes by Valentino

Where I grew up, there weren’t many exciting options for teenagers. There were no movie theaters, arcades, or dancehalls. No ice cream parlors, skate parks or malls to wander. What we had to work with were rows of tree-lined forest, cascading waterfalls and empty dirt roads. And, most importantly, we had driver’s licenses.

My social life consisted of a few good friends “touring” back roads in our various vehicles. For fun, we drove around. Yup, you read that correctly. It was rarely about a destination because, hey, driving to a river gorge or to an abandoned fire road was not exactly that different or mind-blowing. Even so, we had some of the best times on the various rides we shared.

I now live in Los Angeles and hardly ever drive anywhere just for the heck of it. I avoid traffic at all cost. When I do have to face it, it’s a chore, not a hobby, something I do my best to get through without yelling, cursing under my breath, or, God forbid, hitting or being hit by someone. What used to be my personal mantra (it was even my senior year quote), “Let’s take the long way home…” is the exact opposite of my current mantra, “Get me the f#$ck home as fast as possible!”

I am struck with the age-old saying that it is the journey – not the destination – that we should be appreciating. Things that were so simple in our youth can become complicated in adulthood. There is always somewhere to be, something to do. These days, I can’t imagine having four consecutive hours to drive around and hang out. And that might be exactly what I could use right now.

This week, I’m making a commitment to put on a pair of driving shoes, get in my car, and just go. I’ll invite a pal, and we will intentionally “take the long way home.” And hopefully my friend will drive for a while so I can put my feet up on the dash, stare out the window, and allow my mind to explore the vast, unscheduled terrain.

I suppose sometimes we need to go “nowhere” so we can sit back and simply appreciate the ride.

Shoes, Sex + Biology

It’s hard to deny that shoes can be sexy, but the female species may spend more time thinking about them than I previously imagined. A recent study conducted by the online retailer Very.co.uk says that women think about shoes and fashion 91 times per day—once every 11 minutes and 23 seconds—which is more than men think about sex per day!

Wait, what? Women think about fashion more than men think about sex? Do we think about what we wear because it makes us more desirable to men, who are thinking about sex? Or is there some other evolutionary reason?

These types of questions led me to one of my favorite shoe-purchasing rationales, which is that my attraction to shoes is, in part, biological. You see, in the earliest human societies, women were gatherers; and I think it’s still in our nature to put valuable objects in baskets and bring them home. It brings us satisfaction on a deep, possibly ancestral level.

Some part of our brains might be “programmed” to think about, gather, and store footwear. We can’t help it; it’s in our DNA—or, at least, that’s what I’m telling myself…

I’m curious, how often do you think about fashion?

 

Forget your bags? No worries, these shoes have you covered:

When Life Gives You Limes, Make a Mojito

mojitoshoe

Architect Julian Hakes has set a new bar in shoe design, one I’m looking forward to bellying up against soon. The Mojito happened by accident when the designer deconstructed the shoe to figure out which parts were actually needed to support and protect the foot. It turns out that only the ball of the foot and the heel need to be supported, the rest is somewhat superfluous.

The shoe’s single wrap design coils around the ball of the foot, over the bridge, then gracefully sweeps down below the heel before twisting back on itself, providing support for the heel and ankle. The winding shape resembles a twist of lime—a favorite garnish of the famed Mojito, thus the name of this clever shoe.

I’m envisioning a festive happy hour in my future, one with a definite twist. Salud!

 

Those Who Don’t Jump Will Never Fly


Sandals by Nicholas Kirkwood

I am jumping.

I’ve thought about launching this blog for over a year but I’ve been scared. I’ve been afraid of a lot of things, mostly that people won’t like me and that I’m not smart or good enough. That everyone will figure out that I’m not a great writer… Maybe I’ll find out that I have nothing to say.

It all may be true or it may just be fear. Or it might be a little bit of both. Well, today it no longer matters. Today is the day that I jumped.

I can return these sandals if the wings don’t work, right?

 

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
12/16/2017
The gladiator sandal is prescribed for individuals who want to increase their sense of courage. Originally designed as footwear for gladiator fighters, the sandal has a hard, protective sole that is attached to the foot with leather straps, cords or braided thongs. Many styles are embellished with studs to provide security and act as a weapon.
Symptoms
A gladiator sandal is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: cowardice, spinelessness, fear, inability to stand up for oneself or speak one's truth, feelings of dejection and/or weakness of spirit, gutless thoughts or actions, urge to flee uncomfortable situations.
Warnings
May inspire bold behavior, even when you’re scared to death! Wear can create an increased sense of bravery, greater nerve, gallantry and valor. Discontinue use if you develop a dangerous desire to wrestle lions.