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.
10/22/2017
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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Getting Grounded

BW-1
Birk3

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
10/22/2017
Feeling a bit out there? A great way to ground your energy is to slip your feet into pair of Birkenstocks. The sandal’s footbeds are made of cork and natural latex and contoured in the shape of a healthy foot. The shoe is famous for keeping one’s spine and legs in alignment. The soles actually mold to your feet, making them arguably one of history’s most comfortable sandal designs. A classic Birkenstock is characterized by two leather straps that secure with large square buckles; however, the classic sole is available paired with a variety of uppers including clogs and t-straps.
Symptoms
A Birkenstock is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: scattered thoughts or energy, feeling anxious or worried, unfocused and easily distracted, not present.
Warnings
Wear may instigate a clear head and steady emotional state. Prolonged use may create realistic, satisfied and rational outlooks—which may bring pie-in-the-sky floaters back to planet Earth.

Being grounded means being present. When we’re grounded we are focused on whatever task is before us at that moment. Not focused on future fantasy, worry, or magical thinking. It also means not concentrating on the past with regret or upset. Being ungrounded can show up as feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and unfocused.

Have you ever parked your car and realized that you didn’t remember getting to your destination? It usually happens to me when I’m focused on something that’s about to happen or running a negative story of something that occurred in the past. Whatever I was distracted by was clearly not the task at hand (nor a brilliant way to drive through Los Angeles during rush-hour).

BW-3.0
Birk1Vintage fringe leather discovered at the bohemian paradise Tavin Boutique. Read an epic story about the fringe leather jacket my mother used to own and how it mortified me.

When we are ungrounded we lose our power. It can feel like a physical sensation of feeling lightheaded, or even airheaded, “Ummm, like, what was I doing?” All of us get ungrounded at times (and use the word “like” as a vernacular pause, but that’s an entirely different article…). These are a few of the tricks I use to bring myself into alignment when I’m feeling off:

Become aware of your body. Sit or lie down and focus on each piece of your body, starting at your head, down your arms and torso, all the way to your feet. When we bring our focus to our physical selves, it helps us become more present.

Bring awareness to the chatter in your mind. Have you ever noticed yourself running a story over and over in your head or thinking about moments that are upsetting? Sometimes the simple act of redirecting our thoughts to what’s happening at the current moment can change our entire mood. Repeating a positive mantra, affirmation, or intention can also be helpful if you notice that you’re having a difficult time remaining present.

BW-2.0Birk2Tunic by Isabel Marant, vintage beaded necklaces from Double RL & Co by Ralph Lauren.

Get your bare feet on the ground and/or wear Birkenstocks. Y’all know how much I love shoes, but physical contact with the Earth can really help us ground our energy. Kick off your heels and walk around on some grass or sand for a few minutes. Wiggle your toes and feel a connection with the Earth. Okay, maybe we can’t all walk around barefoot all day, so if you are feeling particularly ungrounded I highly recommend wearing a Birkenstock sandal (or one of the many versions that are available this season, from Zara to Givenchy). This type of sandal is designed to mold to the shape of your foot while providing stability, balance, and a physical sense of groundedness.

Drink water and eat. Hunger and thirst can exacerbate an ungrounded state. I know I get particularly cranky and unfocused when I’m hungry. It’s best to avoid low blood sugar in the first place by eating regular healthy meals and snacks.

Carry a crystal in your pocket, handbag, or wear as jewelry. All you couture hippies have permission to pull out your secret quartz stashes. Crystals have powerful cleansing and grounding properties, and I think they are pretty awesome-looking as jewelry, too.

BW-4.0 endThe classic tan Birkenstock sandal is the queen of cultivating a grounded energy.

Center yourself. Bring your attention to your energy, body, and mind. Visualize yourself connected from head to toe and rooted all the way to the Earth. See yourself whole and harmonized. I like to envision white light surrounding my entire being. I’m going to go super woo-woo and tell you about how I sometimes imagine that the water coming out of my shower is actually activated with cleansing white light. (That may have been a bit too much information, and you’ll never read my blog again without thinking about me taking a shower in my “special water.” A risk I was willing to take… you’re welcome.)

When we’re in a grounded, steady state we are able to be the best versions of ourselves. Aren’t we lucky that the Birkenstock sandal is having another moment in the sun this summer? I have a pair on right now!

How do you keep yourself grounded?

 

*Photography by Jade Loop, retouching by Sesha NYC.

Experience a Miracle, Right Now

Shanali Martin wearing Romance Was Born for an America’s Next Top Model photographed by Jez Smith 

symptomsSYMPTOMS
· feeling lost              · seeking divine intervention
· desiring a “sign”      · feeling abandoned by the universe

RxPRESCRIPTION COMMON MIRACLES
OUTER:
Shattered mirror heels by Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte, Romper by Romance Was Born, Owl t-shirt by Burberry.
INNER: I recognize and appreciate the miracles all around me.

warningWARNING: Wear may cause boundless miracles and appreciation of the beauty of common moments.

magical-fashionAngela Lindval models Magical Fashion by Richard Burbridge, Harper’s Bazaar US

Are you waiting for something miraculous to happen in your life?

I’ve been asking for a miracle. It’s something I’ve done over the years for different reasons. “Please send a miracle, Universe” is a phrase I pleaded inwardly when a friend was ill with cancer, when I found out I’d need to have an early emergency C-section, while trying to pass a difficult exam, and even after circling a busy block several times in search of an open parking spot.

I think people ask for miracles in all sorts of situations. Most often when they need something or when they or someone they love is facing a life threatening challenge—or, in my case, whenever I drive on the 405 Freeway (I live in Los Angeles, folks).

Merriam-Webster says a miracle is:

  1. An unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God
  2. A very amazing or unusual event, thing, or achievement
  3. An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
  4. An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment
  5. Divinely natural phenomenon experienced humanly as the fulfillment of spiritual law

 

burrberryfallvidcapCara Delevingne models for Burberry’s ‘Woodland Adventure’ 

Last week I requested to witness a miracle—something that was so obvious and clear that I couldn’t ignore it. I was hopeful something stunning would reveal itself. I’d walk out to find a stack of cash on my doorstep or maybe a sign from nature like an owl sitting my balcony.

Instead, I came upon something horrifying. A mother and daughter were struck by a truck in a crosswalk in front of my daughter’s school on their way into class. The 4th grade girl sustained minor injuries, but sadly the mother was killed. It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t fair. Why would something so awful happen?

A couple days later I came across a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”

The accident made me realize it wasn’t the “boom” kind of miracle I was looking for; rather, it was the ability to appreciate the miracles that already are, the simple and beautiful moments I often take for granted. We are blessed with miracles around every corner, every day. As I open my awareness to the “common” miracles, I feel myself expanding and appreciating how phenomenal and miraculous being alive is.

Shattered Mirrored Heels by Nicholas Kirkwood for Rodarte for Harper’s Bazaar US.

Inspired by author Arvind Devalia, I came up with a “miracle appreciation list” to help remind me of ordinary (if they can be called that) marvels:

The miracle of existence. Energy flows through our bodies and through the entire earth. Solar systems form and dissipate, and the Earth revolves around the sun. How the heck does any of it happen? What makes a waterfall flow, a sunset glow, a volcano erupt? How do all of the species of plants and animals on this planet survive and evolve? I know there are scientific explanations, but even so, life is mysterious and miraculous.

“If existence was ever a miracle, then existence is always a miracle.” – Andrew Schwartz

The miracle of our bodies. Blood pulses through our veins, our hearts pump, we breathe in oxygen and out CO2. Our wounds heal, our hair and nails grow, and our food is digested. Our bodies host all sorts of microcosms that work symbiotically, and it’s amazing how often I forget to appreciate the vessel I have that, for the most part, runs smoothly without much input or effort on my part.

The miracle of creativity. Imagination. A song.  Poetry. It’s the ability to put an experience into words that touch and inspire. Dancing, twirling, shaking to our very core. It’s found in the arts, nature, and in meaningful conversations. It can be simple but it always delights. Being creative beings is one of humankind’s greatest miracles.

The miracle of innovation. This absolutely falls under the creativity umbrella, but I felt it required its own paragraph because it’s so broad and important. The inventions humans have come up with never cease to amaze me: electricity, modern medicine, indoor plumbing, the Internet, sending humans to the moon. These commonly used innovations undoubtedly shape the world we live in.

The miracle of love. Loving friendships, romantic partners, and family are the most important aspects of most of our lives. The energy that flows between people is incredible and ineffable. It’s powerful and effortless. It’s a miraculous force that binds and fills us. Love is the most healing tool any of us can ever use or experience—and it’s free and always available if we choose to connect to it.

“Miracles: You do not have to look for them. They are there, 24-7, beaming like radio waves all around you. Put up the antenna, turn up the volume – snap… crackle… this just in, every person you talk to is a chance to change the world.” – Hugh Elliott

Miracles happen every day. It’s up to each of us to notice and appreciate them. What common miracles are you grateful for?

 

Please join our efforts in creating a safer crosswalk and better traffic solutions at the Citizens of the World Charter School in Hollywood by signing this petition. It can save lives!

 

Wonderful Happens

PaulAndrew
Shoes by Paul Andrew

This past weekend I accomplished something wonderful, I finally figured out how to use Adobe Photoshop! The above image is my first attempt; clearly I need a bit more practice, but hopefully you’ll watch my skills grow over the coming months.

If understanding Photoshop has been a dream of yours, I suggest enrolling in Blogshop—they offer classes worldwide! Blogger extraordinaire Bri Emery of Designlovefest and Photographer and Commercial Director Angela Kohler pack the program’s essentials in a fun-filled two-day course. And this isn’t some stuffy conference room filled with geeky IT guys. On the contrary, it felt as if I stepped into the pages of Designlovefest and got to live there for the weekend, not to mention receive an unexpected goody bag that seemed more suited to a high-end boutique opening than a computer class—you’ll never catch me complaining about awesome perks like that!

It was also an opportunity to meet all sorts of funky and stylish bloggers on the rise (check out what some of my new friends are up to: ruthielindseydesign, redlovinpixie, tadpoleaudiomissglamdan). Most importantly, I walked away with a real understanding of Photoshop, which is more than I can say from the boring as hell DVD tutorial that’s been collecting dust on my bookshelf for almost a decade.

Then there is the why behind my newfound skills. I finally have the right tools to properly showcase my favorite “shoespirations!” This week I am dying over Paul Andrew’s spring collection. The brilliantly bright colors just feel like summertime, don’t they? And the light and airy designs are as refreshing as tall glass of lemonade.

Andrew has been designing behind the scenes for years with Narciso Rodriguez, Alexander McQueen, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein, and his debut collection will undoubtedly establish him as an innovative and creative force in his own right. It shouldn’t be much of surprise that his personal line is beyond…

Try on a pair on at Bergdorf Goodman, Barney’s New York or Saks Fifth Avenue—spoiler alert: his pre-fall and fall collections are pretty off-the-hook too!

It all makes me wonder, what wonderful things are happening in your world?

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.
10/22/2017
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.