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

subscribe

Maintaining an Open Heart in the Midst of Tragedy

_DSC0456

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
10/22/2017
There are times in life when it’s natural to want protect yourself, but a small “peep” or opening at the toe of your shoe encourages one to maintain an open heart (even in the darkest of days). The Peep Toe has an opening at the toe-box that exposes the toe line. A hint of skin makes the peep toe chic yet subtly provocative. A peep toe is common in many shoe styles, including slingbacks, pumps, platforms, and booties. A peep toe assists one in remaining open to love in all forms while providing a substantial degree of protection and security (physically and emotionally).
Symptoms
A peep toe is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: feeling emotionally closed off, needing protection, afraid of getting hurt, feeling attacked or wronged, a sense of vulnerability.
Warnings
Wear may create a sense of connection, trust, and openness. May lead to falling head over heals in love with oneself or another. Must be worn with caution while vacationing in Las Vegas!
For those that know me personally, they can attest to my generally positive outlook. Even with a naturally upbeat disposition, life can get strange and upsetting—and I suppose in times like these it’s necessary to call upon all of the tools that I teach and have diligently studied over the years.

A coyote killed my beloved pup a couple of weeks ago, and it’s brought up all sorts of issues to work through. I was outside with him at the time, and I’ve experienced a ton of self-judgment about having him outside in the dark, not keeping him closer, and not doing something, anything, differently.

The only answer is self-forgiveness. Forgiving myself for any and all of the judgments that present themselves. Forgiving myself for not being a better pet owner, forgiving myself for not installing a 10 foot fence, for not having a gun with me (although even if I had one, I don’t know that killing another animal would have really been the answer)… forgiving whatever strange (and most of the time unreasonable) judgments that surface. Most of them have an underlying theme of me being an awful person who allowed this tragedy to happen.

When I’m not judging myself, I’ve found myself judging God. Who created this food chain anyway? I mean, throw a bunch of living beings on a planet, and most will survive by eating each other? Seriously, Supreme Creator, that was kind of a twisted plan! I’m sure there is some really reasonable and divine explanation for that apparently cruel setup; I’m just having difficulty understanding it in this moment.

_DSC0457Valentino peep toe pumps shot by the talented Victoria Flower.

It’s times like these, when life becomes surreal, that we most need to open our hearts. For me, that means opening myself to receiving support and love from friends and family. Opening my heart to self-compassion and self-forgiveness. Opening my heart to the Universe—trusting that this is an important lesson, that I will ultimately serve the highest good. I want to blame someone or something, even if that person is myself, but when I tap into the higher aspects of my being, I know it’s really not about blaming anyone, but about loving everyone. Loving my dog, loving the coyote, and having compassion for the woman who did her best in an awful moment.

_DSC0461

I stand wearing a pair of peep toe shoes to remind me to maintain an open heart—especially when it comes to my own judgments of myself.

I’d love to hear how you’ve supported yourself to move from self-judgment to self-love?

 

Subscribe!– I give away free shoes!

A special thanks to Victoria Flower Photography for shooting the stunning images for this post!

Living Juicy

IMG_0247

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
10/22/2017
The sweetest shoe of them all is the slingback. And when I say sweet, I mean it. The shoe’s ladylike form is romantic and flattering rather than aggressively sexy, which makes it an appropriate choice for various occasions. Slingbacks are characterized by a strap around the back of the ankle in place of the quarters.
Symptoms
A slingback is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: feelings of displeasure, sour relationships with self or others, self-criticism, negative attitude.
Warnings
Wear may inspire playful, affectionate feelings that bubble outward into the world. Sour attitudes may dissolve into the nothingness from which they came.

“My aim is for ripeness of form. I want to make my forms so full, so juicy, that one could add nothing more to them.”
– Henri Laurens

Life is full of juice. Dead things are dry, withered, and stiff. Even in the driest desert if you slice open a cactus, you’ll discover the succulent life force hidden inside. Why is it that we’ve been taught to fear the juiciness of life? That living a luscious life is somehow sinful or wrong?

Being juicy is about being supple and alive. On a physical level dryness is often associated with disease. Dryness creates inflammation, which is the root of many health ailments. Many ancient holistic practices, such as Ayurveda, seek to lubricate the body’s inner organs (through ingesting healthy fats) as well as topically through our largest organ, the skin. The basic premise is that a juicy body runs more efficiently than a dry one—basically similar to keeping the fluids full in your car.

IMG_0228 IMG_0239
A cherry earring gives a pop of sweetness to the outfit while old school glamour cat-eye shades shield from the elements.

When I think of stepping into a juicier life, it naturally brings up sexuality. Sensual experiences aren’t something we should shy away from; eroticism is a profoundly important aspect of human existence. In many ways it’s impossible to truly connect to the juiciness of life if one is cut off from the pleasures of physical embodiment. A juicy sex life is part of being healthy, expressive, and connected.

A sensual energy can be found in all kinds of physical avenues like being mindful as we eat, enjoying a hot bath, exfoliating our skin, walking barefoot through the grass. Being fully connected to our bodies and the physical world is inherently juicy.

WN5A0349 WN5A0358 WN5A0362 WN5A0370
These glitter vinyl Rockerfeller slingbacks with fruit detailing look good enough to eat. The Prom Date clear lucite purse from Miss L-Fire highlights all of your juicy belongings.

Expressing ourselves in an artistic manner is the Vitamix of life. Even the simple act of daydreaming can bring up the juiciness that’s naturally within each of us. Anyone who’s ever been touched by art has connected to the nectar of the soul. I think that’s why The Future Islands lead singer Samuel T. Herring’s recent performance on Letterman blew up the internet. Talk about a ripe expression! That guy is connected to his juiciness, hands down. While I’m no aspiring rock star, I want more of what he’s got. Not just to watch, but as way to live.

IMG_0131 IMG_0206
IMG_0272
JuicyFruit embellished Jitterbug dress by Trashy Diva lends itself to feelings of retro romance. 

I’m curious, what does living a juicy life mean to you?

 

*All items (shoes, dress, earrings, bag, and sunglasses) are available at Miss L-Fire, which recently opened a retail store in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

**Photography by the ever talented and lovely Margalit Ward. Check out our Get Up Girl Coaching programs.

How I Became a Shoeologist

Shoeologist Shannon Bindler

Shoe⋅ol⋅o⋅gist
n. a person who studies shoes and the effects they have on the mind and behavior.

That’s me—I’m a Shoeologist. How does one become a Shoeologist? Well, I’ll tell you. For the past several years, I’ve worked as a Style Editor and Life Coach and have been referred to as a “couture hippy,” which means I love exploring spirituality (I even have a Masters in Spiritual Psychology) but also have a great passion for clothing— from designer to vintage, knockoff to haute couture. Some might consider fashion frivolous, but I’ve never put down the important role it plays in my life. A girl’s got to look good to feel good, right? And I don’t know about you, but when I visualize my future, it certainly includes a pair of killer heels. I’ve found shoes can sometimes be the best therapy around. They inspire, motivate, and keep me centered.

I discovered this was real for me a few years ago during a meditation retreat, when a fellow student accused me of being materialistic. I was upset by my choice of shoes for the day—but did that mean I was materialistic? I truly admired spiritual leaders—think Gandhi and Mother Theresa—who had forsaken material possessions to focus on inner peace. True, I owned a meticulously curated shoe collection, which I kept organized not only by style and function but also by the way the shoes made me feel. (My guess is that lots of women organize their shoes this way, at least subconsciously…) Somewhere inside, I knew there was something special going on with my relationship to footwear.

My big “sole awakening” happened when I was having one of “those days.” I felt blue and off balance and couldn’t shake it. I glanced at my feet and wondered if my wobbly heels had something to do with my unsteady state? I kicked them off and slid on a pair of ballerina flats I keep in the back of my car for emergencies. I suddenly felt more grounded than I had all day—not just physically but emotionally, too. I love the elegant simplicity of a ballerina flat; the versatile design works comfortably with almost any outfit. I envisioned myself moving with a dancer’s steadiness. My shoes supported my posture and helped me shift my inner experience.

I playfully tapped the heels of my soles. Something came over me… What if there was a shoe that could help with almost any situation? Could shoes be used to help heal a broken heart, for example? Could they give you strength? A sense of peace? Rev up your sex life? It was in that moment that my calling as a Shoeologist began.

I started by scouring Amazon for books that might tie into my newly invented profession. I stumbled upon some NASA—yes, really, NASA—research about forming new habits and found myself engrossed. The study showed that when we repeatedly think a thought, physical changes in the brain occur making it easier to think that thought and, more importantly, act on it. Basically, repeating positive thoughts can actually reprogram your brain and behavior. No joke! The rocket scientists say so.

While it wouldn’t be on the same level as a NASA experiment, I wondered if I could use this forming-­new-habits approach with my shoes? I could pick a pair that would act as a reminder of what I wanted, then focus on my goal while stepping into the shoes in the morning. Getting dressed was often my favorite part of the day, so it’s not like I’d forget to do it. And since the shoes drove the other sartorial choices I’d make, it seemed like a good fit.

My shoe closet became my medicine cabinet, and I became the pharmacist. I dove into footwear history, studying thousands of shoes. I used that knowledge to line up shoes with corresponding qualities, creating my “Shoe (Rx) Prescriptions.” I didn’t stop until I had uncovered a “sole­-ution” for just about every issue my life might present.

I wasn’t concerned with price tags or brand names. I focused on a shoe’s design and history, which together held the power of each quality I wanted to embrace and empower in myself. The prescriptions worked just as well with designer shoes as they did with H&M knock­offs and the pairs I borrowed from my sisters. The positive results came from what I created while wearing them.

________________________

If you love shoes as much as I do, you may be curious to learn how to hone their powers for yourself, so I’ve created this pharmacopoeia of shoes, arranged by the qualities I see in them. Maybe it will help you look at your own shoes in a different light and even help you use them to feel better about yourself.

I’ve used these Sole Prescriptions with dozens of women, all with encouraging results. While meditation and/or visualization can work well for some people, for others, shoes are just what the Doctor ordered. Stepping into a new sense of self is easy with a shoe prescription. Simply put, I believe you can change your life, one shoe at a time!

 

I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact me.

Don’t miss a thing, subscribe to my newsletter!