Getting Grounded

BW-1
Birk3

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
08/20/2017
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).

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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.

The Power of Positive Focus

SydneyBrownCollagePOSITIVE FOCUS

symptoms SYMPTOMS
· negative thoughts    · self-criticism
· wanting to give up   · self-doubt

RxPRESCRIPTION POSITIVE FOCUS
OUTER:
  Sandal High heel and Carbon platform boot by Sydney Brown, couture stretch lace dress by Magid Bernard
INNER: I maintain a positive focus even when I feel like hiding and/or giving up.

warningWARNING
May increase perseverance and dedication.

SydneyBrown3

I don’t want to write this post, let alone press ‘publish.’ I suppose if you’re reading it, I somehow made it through the struggle, but it hasn’t been an easy process.

The mind can be tricky. I’m usually good at recognizing self-doubt and moving into a space of self-observation. I know how to reframe my thoughts, but every once in a while my mind yells so loudly that I believe that I’m not good enough.

Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? This blog is a colossal waste of time and money. This internal conversation’s been gaining momentum the past few hours. In editing the photos that accompany this post, all I feel is self-loathing. I look awful, ridiculous, in fact. I’ll look back at this as dumbest thing I’ve ever done…I should take it down, erase it all.

SydneyBrown1Sydney Brown’s shoe line is a testament to maintaining a positive focus. She set out to construct a sustainable and beautiful shoe that was non-toxic and ethically made. She kept hearing it couldn’t be done, but she persevered and has successfully created some of the most interesting (and conscious) shoes on the planet. 

I feel incredibly vulnerable. I started blogging as a way to creatively explore my two loves: shoes and self-help. My intention was to accept myself (both inner and outer) and convey the process through my favorite medium, fashion. If I could learn something about myself every week, and if one other person found it uplifting, then it was a success.

Why, then, am I feeling so self-conscious? As I ask myself this question, I immediately think of my daughter. Before every major growth spurt, she becomes highly sensitive and cranky. A few days later she starts talking, walking, reading, whatever the next developmental stage is… Maybe I’m just experiencing growing pains? Goodness, I hope this is all part of an awesome “up-leveling” that’s about to take place.

I’m not really sure, but even as disapproving thoughts roll through my mind, there is a subtle voice that says: Keep going. This too shall pass.

Sydneystudio Sydneystudio1Behind the scenes at the Sydney Brown design studio in Glassell Park, CA.

Instead of trying to reframe my negative thoughts with positive ones, I’m working on maintaining a positive focus. A teacher of mine once said, “Positive focus is a direction that allows for negativity, failing, and set backs. It’s an intention that we persist in, regardless of the conditions we encounter.”

He further explained the concept of positive focus with a story that went a little something like this (this is not a direct quote, rather the gist):

If you find yourself drowning, thinking positive thoughts are not going to help you to breathe underwater. However, positive focus is when you look out to the shore and concentrate your energy on swimming towards it. If you can keep your mind and actions positively focused, you’ll make it to safety.

Sydneystudio4 sydneystudio5sydneystudio3Brown diligently creates her next collection.

I’m doing my best to keep moving in spite of my discomfort and doubt. I’ve heard successful people of all kinds speak to the power of perseverance, and in that spirit I’m pressing ‘publish,’ even though I’d rather crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my face, and re-watch episodes of “Game of Thrones.”

SydneyBrown2

I’d love to hear about how you keep moving when your mind tells you to stop. How do you maintain a positive focus?

 

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To Write Love on Her Arms

Welcome to Midnight Shannon Bindler

LEAN IN

PrescriptionSYMPTOMS
· anxiety              · depression
· fear                    · self-injury

RxPRESCRIPTION LEAN IN
OUTER: Welcome To Midnight t-shirt by TWLOHA, recycled metal Tree of Life cuff by Alkemie Jewelry, hand crochet beanie Krochet Kids, Jodhpur boots by Sweedish Hasbeens available at Chay.
INNER: I lean in and support those who are struggling.

warningWARNING
Wear may initiate a desire to reach out to a friend or stranger experiencing pain.

TWLOHA Shannon Bindler: To Write Love On Her ArmsLadyoftheLakeface

A true teacher ignites something within that changes you forever. Their very being, though most likely unintended, leaves a lasting impression, a way of seeing that’s simultaneously unsettling, inspiring, and unforgettable. I recently met such a person; his name is Jamie Tworkowski.

Last month I had a TEDx rehearsal in Malibu. I left the eastside of Los Angeles two hours early, assuming I’d stop at the beach and practice my speech beforehand because I’m the type of person who’d rather be early than show up late. I pulled onto the 101 freeway and instantly knew I was in trouble. ‘Carmageddon’ is a kind of hell-on-earth that every Angeleno deals with at some point or another. There are times where going 5 miles can take 50 minutes; this was one of those afternoons. I eventually made it, albeit an hour late.

Alkemiccuff2AlkemiecuffA tree always grows towards the light. “As we go through life, we must always move towards holiness and light, reaching ever higher for that which is beyond us.” (Talmud Berachot 48a)

My uneasiness showed as I stepped into the rehearsal that was well underway. I shifted my weight back and forth and aimlessly scanned the room. I felt a hand on my arm and turned to see a pair of friendly, sparkling eyes. The stranger introduced himself as a fellow speaker and guided me to a slice of pizza and an open seat. It was a simple action, but he noticed my discomfort and chose to lean in. What does “leaning in” mean to me? It means expanding when I’d rather contract, connecting instead of disconnecting. It means showing up, loving deeper, and taking action when it’s easier to sit back and observe from the sidelines.

Alkemiccuff3Forged from 100% reclaimed metals, the Tree of Life cuff is equal parts art and accessory. By creating new designs from existing materials, Alkemie translates something that would otherwise be landfill-bound into wearable art.

It wasn’t until I listened to his speech the following weekend that I understood the power of living a life that leans in to support others. Jamie Tworkowski is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit that presents hope and finds help for people struggling with depression, anxiety, self-injury and suicide. His message (whether it be his blog, events, speaking, or clothing line) doesn’t just offer words of hope but leans in by raising and investing over a million dollars for treatment and recovery.

KrochetKidsBeanieThis beanie was hand-knit in Uganda by Santa Viclam, just one woman who’s life has been changed through the non-profit Krochet Kids. The Krochet Program is currently working to lift over 150 women and their families out of poverty.

I experienced Jamie’s capability to reach out to a complete stranger, and I knew that I could share more of myself in a similar way. I’ve experienced deep sadness, heartbreak, and had the “blues,” but I’ve never struggled with clinical depression or had thoughts of ending my life. To be brutally honest, being around people who were experiencing that type of pain used to scare me. I unconsciously subscribed to some wacky “spiritual” notion that negative energy was to be avoided. I strove to be around positive people and situations that brought out the “best in me,” which seems ironic even to write. I had many moments where my response to someone’s pain was to run from it like it was a communicable disease. I wonder if the opposite reaction could have made a small difference? If my hand on a stranger’s arm could have brought a moment of comfort, if reaching out could have changed someone’s experience? Saved someone’s life?

LadyoftheLakefeetSwwedishHasbeens1SweedishHasbeensJodhpur clog-bottom boots by Sweedish Hasbeens were made to soothe tired soles. This pair can be found at the ever inspiring Chay.

Love alone isn’t always enough. Sometimes it takes determination to extend that love through tangible actions. As Jamie says, “The Universe works in love, speaks in love, and is revealed in our love.”

LadyoftheLakeQueen of the Angeles, fondly known as the Lady of the Lake, stands in Echo Park as a symbol of hope. She was sculpted by Ada Mae Sharpless and given to the City of Los Angeles in 1938.

Are you struggling with depression, addiction, anxiety, self-injury, or thoughts of suicide? Check out To Write With Love on Her Arms, I especially love Jamie’s piece, “Welcome to Midnight.” Is someone in your life struggling? I encourage you to LEAN IN.

 

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Golden Happiness

Opening2GOLDEN HAPPINESS

symptomsSYMPTOMS
· despair              · hopelessness
· self-loathing     · sense of longing

RxPRESCRIPTION GOLDEN HAPPINESS
OUTER:
 Gold sustainable platforms by Sydney Brown, silk jumpsuit by Chay, coyote hat available at Chay boutique.
INNER: I accept and embrace my life circumstances, whatever they may be.

warningWARNING
May create an uncontrollable urge to frolic in the sunset’s golden light.

Shannon Bindler desert

Shannon Bindler

 

Every birthday, I start the day by looking at myself in the mirror, with no makeup or fancifying. Not my every morning make-sure-there-is-nothing-awful-caked-to-my-face kind of glance, but an inquisitively deep look, the kind that seeks to see beyond new wrinkles and penetrate the places of my soul I try to hide even from myself.

JTREESMILEI’m currently obsessed with the emerging designer Chay. Her collection is filled with simple designs that can be dressed up or down and always make you feel like a million bucks – with zero fuss and practicality in spades.

My first thoughts inevitably take stock of the surface. I’m aging, and it’s visible in ways I haven’t seen up until now. Wow, that whole losing collagen thing is real… That doesn’t really bother me. I’m as concerned about my appearance as the next person, but aging has never been something I’ve feared. My entire adult life I’ve sought out beautiful older women as inspiration—wrinkles or age spots don’t really affect a person’s beauty in the way that bitterness and regret can.

Sometimes it’s age that makes something (or someone) exquisite. Joshua Tree is a perfect example of how cracks and decay create a masterpiece. Life and death, intermingling in perfect harmony.

hatbrushcolageIn addition to designing her own collection, Chay has filled her third street boutique, appropriately called Chay, with inventive gifts, home wear, and inspiration of all kinds like this coyote hat. 

I still my mind, and I notice something that somewhat startles me: happiness. Not perfection, but there it is, a sense of happiness. I’m able to recognize this state of being from the contrast I’ve experienced on past birthday mornings.

JTREEshoe2Sydney Brown is one of the most inventive shoe designers I’ve encountered. Each pair is not only a piece of art but is handmade in Los Angeles with 100% sustainable materials. Now that’s something to write home about!

My mind flashes back a decade, remembering myself, door locked to the bathroom I shared with two other women, tears involuntarily pouring down my cheeks as I came to grips with the sense of longing and hopelessness that pulsed from my reflection. I was a low-level assistant at a struggling magazine and a waitress in the evenings. I worked everyday (usually double shifts) to barely afford my shared housing situation and a leased economy Toyota Corolla. I was in a new relationship that felt hopeful, but we were so different I wasn’t sure if it would stick. The idea of having a family, a fulfilling career, stability, and lifelong friendships all seemed out of my reach. I just tried to get through each day. I drank, smoked and partied to cope with an overwhelming sense of disappointment, which would inevitably lead to bad decisions and more disappointment.

JTREEshoe1Sydney Brown’s golden platform adds undeniable glamour to an outfit while being surprisingly effortless to wear. I’ll be highlighting more from Miss Brown’s collection in future posts, so stay tuned to see other designs and more on her methods and inspirations.

All of those feelings returned, and I imagined myself now, sitting with my younger self. I lovingly told her that it’s all perspective. Things may seem tragic, but I couldn’t see back then how all the things that appeared to be desperate were actually stepping stones that would lead somewhere – maybe somewhere different than I expected, but somewhere golden nonetheless. I told myself that the assistant job would soon turn into a promotion as Lifestyle Editor, and in a decade I’d be contributing to some of my favorite publications. The man who seemed so different would become the yin to my yang, and we’d get married and start a family. The roommates I shared that bathroom with would stay friends, and we’d see each other through marriages, divorces, re-marriages, having children, losing loved ones, welcoming foster children, and so much more… It would still be messy and unpredictable, but in a decade I’d be undeniably happy.

JTREEcollageChay’s green jumpsuit is the perfect outfit to wear to dinner, the office, or a movie premiere. I love the versatility and effortless allure of this outfit.

My only resolution for the year is to remember the lesson of perspective. Things that feel awful may not be so horrible when seen through a different lens or through the filter of time. This year, I’m going to embrace and accept all of myself. I just might call upon my older self once in a while to remind me that the struggles and the celebrations are all just part of creating a golden life.

Shannon Bindler Joshua tree

Shannon Bindler

 

What does a Rx of ‘Golden Happiness’ mean to you?

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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Take A Walk On The Wild Side

Do-dah-do Sole Rx
Dress by Steven Alan, shoes by Prada and sunglasses by Tom Ford

Sole Prescription Pharmacy Dr. Shannon Bindler, M.A., C.E.C.
08/20/2017
A red closed-­toe pump is prescribed for individuals who want to experience more confidence. A closed-­toe pump is a heel that has a closed toe and back. It tends to have a seamless vamp, with no laces, straps or buckles. Heel may vary in height, and color may range in shade.
Symptoms
A red closed-toe pump is prescribed to individuals suffering from one or more of the following feelings or experiences: insecurity, fear or timidity, not believing in self or ideas, feeling "less than" or inferior, lack of willingness to take risks.
Warnings
Side effects may include belief in oneself, increased courage, higher self-­esteem, and greater success. Moderate use may lead to job promotions and other unforeseen opportunities. Overuse may lead to dancing unabashedly in public.

During Day of the Dead, I made sure to light a candle for the late punk-poet of rock, Lou Reed. While Reed never reached the commercial success of, say, the Beatles or Bob Dylan, no songwriter did more to open rock music to the avant-garde.

Lou Reed was a testament to carving one’s own path. His unique sound and sometimes-gritty lyrics provided inspiration for the indie rock, punk, and alternative rock movements. Reed’s songs were covered by R.E.M., Nirvana, Patti Smith, among countless others.

I read that the Velvet Underground’s first album sold only 30,000 copies, but everyone who bought it started a band. It may not have been a commercial hit, but as far as the history of music goes, the album was a massive success. It makes me wonder what “success” really means? I want to take greater inspiration from the Lou Reed model and less from the Paris Hilton model. True talent, inspiration, and innovation may not always look like a big paycheck, but it sure can have a massive impact.

I hope you are taking a walk on the peaceful side these days, Lou Reed. Your wild side will undoubtedly continue to inspire countless generations.

Walk on wild side heart
Snapshots by Ayn Carrillo Gailey. Check out her creative projects at AynGailey.com & Wondermint

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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.

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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.
08/20/2017
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

Wabi-Sabi Beauty

Missoni Sole Prescription
Shoe by Missoni

Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese world view and aesthetic centered around the acceptance of imperfection. From the wabi-sabi perspective, irregularities make something beautiful—the knots in the wood’s grain are what make it special. What some in western culture might consider “a mistake” is what contains the character or soul of the object or artwork. If only we could see our own imperfections in the same wabi-sabi manner.

My favorite book on the subject is Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers by Leonard Koren

Wabi Sabi

“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.” – Leonard Koren