Exposed: Take Two

by Lance Ekum on · 96 comments

Exposed (Brother)
Creative Commons License photo credit: tao_zhyn

“With each passage of human growth we must shed a protective structure [like a hardy crustacean]. We are left exposed and vulnerable – but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before.” ~ Gail Sheehy

Exposed.

Today, I reflect back on that – on posting a half-naked picture of myself – and what it has meant since then. 

It all began last October, when Mish began the Exposed Movement – a brave and courageous look at her body, and beyond that – a look at who she really was. 

There was a vulnerability in sharing that, almost a year ago now.  I DID feel exposed – my body – there for everyone to see.  To judge.  To compare. 

My experience in sharing that, though, was completely different.  I felt accepted for who I am.  I felt okay with me.  I felt care and love.

Does that mean that there weren't judgments made?  That comparisons were not done?  No.  I am sure these existed, even if I didn't feel that.  And isn't that how the normal daily of your life is?  How the normal daily of my life is?  Whether it's our external appearances, the things we say, or the things we do – judgments and comparisons happen. Sometimes we painfully hear these, and other times we are completely unaware.

I try not to judge others, I try not to make comparisons.  The truth, though, is that I still do.  Sometimes consciously.  Sometimes unconsciously. 

…even though I have no way of fully knowing what has brought someone else to where they are today…

I am a work in progress.  Just as that picture from last year speaks to the work in progress of my body, so I am a work in progress for my internal being.

I'm also reminded of a book I read recently, on the recommendation of friend and life coach, Laura Neff.  The book, The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz – talks very specifically about how others view us.  In the words of Mr. Ruiz:

Don’t take anything personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

So, I reflect back on these past twelve months – the fears and vulnerabilities felt by putting this picture up for the world to see.  I was judged.  I was compared.  I was questioned.  (whether I heard any of this or not)  And none of this was because of me.  It is others projection of their own reality.  And that is it. 

…and I am still here today.  Life has not stopped happening because of this. 

What has this really meant, then? 

As my life journey has continued over this past year, I have become more okay with who I truly am.  By exposing my outward appearance, it has helped to break down walls and expose more of that internal me…expose that voice that speaks from the heart. 

My body is mine.  Perfectly imperfect.  Imperfectly perfect.

My soul, my essence, my being – is mine.  Perfectly imperfect.  Imperfectly perfect.

…as you are, also.

I will be judged and compared.  You will be judged and compared.  And it doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter that others say, think, share.  It matters how you feel. 

This body, this soul – they are yours. 

Break down the walls.  Expose you…the you that speaks from your heart.


Meet fellow bloggers Simon Hay, Evita Ochel, Joy Holland and Tess Marshall on October 23 & 24, 2010 in Rochester, NY at the New Moon Expo. New Moon brings together more than 100 exhibitors dedicated to mind, body, spirit well-being. For more information, visit the New Moon Expo website.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 93 comments… read them below or add one }

Hilda October 12, 2010 at 9:11 am

“I try not to judge others, I try not to make comparisons. The truth, though, is that I still do. Sometimes consciously. Sometimes unconsciously. “

Me too Lance!

“I am a work in progress.”

Amen!
Hilda´s Last Fabulous Post ..Self Exposure – 2010My Profile

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Hilda,
Some days are easier than others…and it’s all part of the journey. So good to have you along on this, sweet friend. And so good to read your words today, too…

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Mish@eatingjourney October 12, 2010 at 9:23 am

I LOVE this reflection. It speaks so directly into what I feel right now.

I love this: “This body, this soul – they are yours. Break down the walls. Expose you…the you that speaks from your heart.” –> It is only when we speak and live and eat and exercise and love from our hearts..that our lives/bodies/minds/soul/peace begin to form into what we’ve dreamed.

Thank you for being part of this a year ago and now.

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Mish,
First off…thank you so much for having the guts to start this movement last year. It was certainly easier for me, knowing others (like you and more) had already been down this road. For you, though, this was truly putting yourself out there. And what a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Today I celebrate with you (and with all those who have taken that step out into being okay with their bodies…whether publicly or privately) the love we give ourselves when we love ALL of our parts (the internal and the external).

Mish, you are an inspiration…and I carry with me the courage you have shown. Keep being an amazing light of goodness in our world…

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Keith October 12, 2010 at 9:35 am

Hello Lance,

This post is so good. I mean, really good. Perhaps it is the culture or era in which we live, but so much emphasis is put on outward apperance. I undertsand that it is important to care for our bodies and even sculpt them to look their best, but this is only one piece of the much larger picture. To focus only on outward appearance is to rob ourselves of the true essence of a living soul! You brought this out and explained it so well with this post. Please know I thank you for “exposing” who you really are Lance.

Lance, You continually blow me away. I am so happy that I “met” you a couple years ago. You are always putting out there things that I need and that enrich my life. This article is a great example of that. I sometimes feel indebted to you for all that I have learned from you. I am truly grateful. my friend.
Keith´s Last Fabulous Post ..Dont Quit!My Profile

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Keith,
So true – our outer bodies are but just one piece of something so much more that makes up our whole being. And in exposing “me” here nearly a year ago now – I came to realize more deeply that what really matters isn’t what I look like on the outside…it’s how I feel on the inside. This past year has been a real focus on happiness…and in that – joy for life.

Keith, thanks for all the uplifting good you bring into the world…into my world…

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MrsFatass October 12, 2010 at 10:50 am

Oh LanceyPants. You have just zeroed in on something that I’m going to hang on to for a long time. I just love what you wrote here today.

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Sue,
I’m wearing shorts today (grin!). I did have pants on earlier though! (yep, that’s right – when you left this comment…you were spot on!)

So good to have you here today. And really – so good to have walked this part of the journey together – a journey through exposing ourselves…and the amazing good that is there beneath all of it.

And just so you know…you make me smile…

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The Exception October 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

Lance –
After spending the morning “reacting” even though a part of me knew I was reacting to emotions that had nothing to do with me… I needed to read this. Thank you for the quote, the post, and your honesty… for being you!!
The Exception´s Last Fabulous Post ..Why is itMy Profile

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:38 pm

TE,
Perfectly imperfect…that’s what I think as I read your words today. And I think this in such a caring way – and in how you “see” that reactive mode that was there. (ahhh…how many times I’ve been there…)

Thanks so much for your support and for being here…

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Caroline October 12, 2010 at 11:29 am

Beautifully written Lance. I totally agree with being imperfectly perfect. No one is perfect…and trying to achieve perfection is an emotionally exhausting experience. The four agreements is one of my very favorite books…so much wisdom there. I always remind myself…never take anything personally. I also tell that to my kids (almost daily). This life is for living…exposing yourself…reaching higher than you thought possible…taking risks. Thank you for this today!

xoxo
Caroline´s Last Fabulous Post ..UmI am too old for thisMy Profile

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Caroline,
Perfection…at what cost? And then – it’s unattainable (or…what one thinks is perfect, another does not). So I’m with you – let’s live our lives in our own perfectly imperfect way.

The Four Agreements – Caroline – that is really such an amazing book, isn’t it!! In four “agreements”, don Miguel Ruiz just touches upon so much (and in so few words, too).

Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mother (for what you’ve shared here and truly for so much more).

Thanks so much for being here.

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Dandy October 12, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Hi Lance,
Beautiful post. It’s hard putting yourself out there. We judge ourselves first. Self-doubt runs riot. I’m glad you’re learning self-acceptance. I just started my own blog and feel very exposed. I have to try not to obsess over every word, every sentence. Sometimes you have to just be yourself and let go!! Take care.
Dandy´s Last Fabulous Post ..How rude!!!My Profile

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Lance October 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Dandy,
This was a challenge (the exposed post last year). And you are absolutely right – I judged myself – and then thought – what will others think?

Writing is that way, too. And you remind me of where I was when I first started writing here in this space – and when I was very much anonymous (even though this was all mine). And I was – because of that fear of exposing myself through my words (and how would I be accepted by others?). And then – that was it – in letting go of that …of venturing out beyond what felt like a comfort zone – I believed so much more in me…

So that all makes reading your words so meaningful – thank you.

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Naomi October 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Great post, Lance, thank you! I love that “Perfectly imperfect. Imperfectly perfect.” …and BTW, great pic – you have absolutely nothing to worry about 😀
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Lance October 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Naomi,
Gosh, thank you so much!! I want to come right over there and hug you!! Hmmm…maybe it’s time to plan a trip!!

Thanks again, Naomi – having you here is very meaningful to me…

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Erin Prais-Hintz October 12, 2010 at 3:15 pm

There is a bravery in baring your soul – as you do here daily – and your body – as you did last year. I applaud you on both accounts. You always make me stop and think and that, my friend, is the true mark of a great writer and philosopher. I do have to get myself a copy of that book, The Four Agreements. I have been hooked on that ever since you posted it recently. Things are happening in my world where the Universe is calling me out on those very things. I need all the support I can get on it and guidance and direction.

Thank you for shining your light and truth into my life, Lance.

Enjoy the day!
Erin
Erin Prais-Hintz´s Last Fabulous Post ..Random BitsMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:17 am

Erin,
I think back to when I first began this site, and how this really felt so exposing – sharing words with the world. (those were challenging days) Doing it, though – just getting out there and “doing”…that has made such a difference. And I’m sure you feel this, too – with your jewelry – and how the more you do it, the easier it is to let your unique presence into what you create.

Erin, you would love The Four Agreements! So filled with deeply meaningful wisdom. It’s a book I have referred back to on several occasions since I read it this summer.

And know too that I will support you in any way I can…

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Lori October 12, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Hi Lance,
Reading your words is like floating on a raft in a gentle stream, gliding along, being swept away, not knowing where I’m headed, but trusting you’ll take me somewhere beautiful. Thank you!
I remember when you partially exposed yourself, and thought, “Hells yeah! Good for Lance and company!” I remember it like yesterday and how it broke certain thoughts of mine free. It’s okay to let others in our worlds and if we don’t judge ourselves, then no one will probably be judging us, either. Like the saying goes, we’re often our own worst critic or enemy.
Thanks, Lance. I enjoyed this!
~xo
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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:20 am

Lori,
What we need is a little Huck Finn adventure…wouldn’t that be fun!!

Ahhh…that judging of ourselves…and how that can derail the greatness that is within. So, it starts with us…and even if others happen to judge us – if we’re not judging ourselves…then it doesn’t matter a whole lot.

Lori, it is so, so good to have you here. Big hugs of gratitude!

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Jody - Fit at 52 October 12, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Amazing post Lance & love that quote about don’t take anything personally! I might be using that in the future!

I just wrote a comment on SlimminSam’s blog about how people judge us by the way we look & yes, we judge ourselves! Hard to get past that but a life long process for me!

Thx so much for this post!
Jody – Fit at 52´s Last Fabulous Post ..Mental vs Physical FullnessMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:25 am

Jody,
The whole book by don Miguel Ruiz is an incredible resource – and really – that part I highlighted about not taking things personally – that’s the part that had the biggest impact on me.

Judgments…they can be real setbacks when we do take these personally (and that is so easy to do). If we, as a people, could move beyond that – just think what our world would be like (judgment free…)….

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J.D. Meier October 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

> When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
I like that. It’s about driving your life from the inside out … getting what you need and creating the experiences you want to create.
J.D. Meier´s Last Fabulous Post ..Getting Results the Agile Way is Now Available in PrintMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:28 am

JD,
I like that very much, too. When we come from a place of deep meaning, and then just don’t let the words of others derail us – wow!! What a great place to be…

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Jean Burman October 12, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I lost a strand of hair on the plane and when I got off it flew on without me. I broke a fingernail collecting my luggage and it’s still in the terminal beside the carousel. I wait with the man who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. And the woman who lost an arm to cancer. I hear the man with no arms and legs yet he still speaks [to the heart of many]. I look over at the woman who lost her face in a shotgun blast but now all I see is her spirit. I have not lost what they have lost… but neither have I gained so much. It seems we are not the sum of all our equal parts!

The real miracle is… that we don’t need very much of our body in order to live and carry on. And sometimes we have to lose what’s obvious to the world before anyone can really see us.

Lance… you look great. But I already knew that without seeing you! I take your point on the vulnerability aspect though and juggle and weigh up the risks each and every day [as I know you do as well]. I guess in the end all we can be is ourselves. People will love us or hate us either way… despite anything we might do or say. That’s their judgment and nothing to do with us. In the end we just have to love ourselves anyway… who we really are inside the outer casing… and hope that will be enough.

Thanks Lance 🙂 you make me think about things [in a good way] LOL
Jean Burman´s Last Fabulous Post ..DearDotCom – Cutlery CapersMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:38 am

Jean,
I just love what you have shared! It reminds even more deeply that we are so much more than our body. There is a soul within each of us…a soul that is truly us. And when we get beyond that outward appearance, and look more deeply – that’s where the real and meaningful connections are.

Thank you. You are super kind. And so true – we are who we are (whether we fully portray that or not). And people can read us…more than we like to think they can. So we might as well live more fully from that place within our heart…it’s a place that will also bring us much joy…

Jean, thanks so much for all you have shared – and know that you, too, are making be think more deeply.

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Jean Burman October 13, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Hi Lance 🙂 Not trying to make more work for you in this reply… but I just wanted to add… in response to how you said “we are who we are [whether we fully portray that or not]” I guess that’s the sticking point isn’t it? How do we really – truly – honestly – fully portray who we are… when who we are is a mystery to even ourselves? Getting to know ourselves is like peeling back the layers of our psyche [sometimes deep and complex and even still evolving]. Little wonder we are cautious in opening up… when even we ourselves don’t fully know or understand what lies beneath. It’s an experiment worthy of follow up though… and I believe I am trying as hard as I can. But then again I may be wrong… I often am (((chuckles)) Thanks again Lance… this is an interesting interesting conversation!
Jean Burman´s Last Fabulous Post ..DearDotCom – Cutlery CapersMy Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 8:22 am

Jean,
I’m honored that you are back here, thinking (and feeling) more deeply about all of this. (bow)

Peeling back layers. That’s it – like that picture above. We break through one layer – discover more deeply about ourselves – and then….there’s another layer into us. It’s so worth it, though. In that – we become more fully connected to our own being…more understanding of who we “really” are. (as complex as that can be sometimes).

And then – what are we portraying to the world around us? So much to think about, so much to dig deeper into…

Jean, thank you. Thank you for coming back – and for making me think more deeply about all of this.

…I’m often wrong, too…(just don’t tell my kids I said that!!!)

You are a gift! Thank you!

Much love,
Lance

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Caity October 12, 2010 at 4:53 pm

So well written. I agree. I’m definitely a work in progress but I am constantly trying to better myself and I have said a lot of these things before, although not quite as eloquently as you.
Caity´s Last Fabulous Post ..15 BooksMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

Caity,
“…a work in progress…” –> yes!! (me too!)

And Caity, you shine because you ARE doing this – and in that, connecting more deeply with what truly matters to you.

Thanks so much for being here…

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Stacey October 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Beautiful Lance!

This is so true. When we expose our inner truth, our essence flows into the world around us. When we become comfortable with all that we are, physical and not, we truely shine. And others sense this. Often others will judge us when we still have judgements within, they are a reflection of the thoughts we hold. So when we truely embrace who we are, those that may have judged us in the past either will stop doing it, or we will find they will slowly melt from our life.

Keep exposing your beauty to the world!!
Stacey´s Last Fabulous Post ..Autumn ExpressionsMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 6:48 am

Stacey,
Thank you so much!

And that’s just it – the physical is just one aspect of all of this. There is so much more to us – and when we let all of that shine out – imperfections and all – what a beautiful place to “be”.

I love what you have shared – how when we let go of our own judgments, others too begin to let go of their judgments of us. (or they shift away…as their judgments are really their reality, and not ours…)

Stacey, thank you again for this – and you, too…keep shining your amazing beauty into this world…

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Eliza October 12, 2010 at 6:24 pm

Interesting. I reviewed two books recently that talk to this: Toni Raiten-D’Antonio’s Ugly As Sin; Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. Both address how none of us can live up to the ideal of perfection because that ideal is constantly changing. Plus, somebody somewhere is going to find fault with our body, mind or soul.

My conclusion is that a) I look like who I am and b) I am perfectly imperfect 🙂
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Lance October 13, 2010 at 6:50 am

Eliza,
Perfection…and it’s different for everyone. So, when we listen to that voice within…it’s much closer to our own perfection (imperfect as that might be)…and that is truly a good place to be.

Eliza, keep being you…keep shining in this world…and know that that is a perfectly imperfect place to be…

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Katy October 12, 2010 at 8:06 pm

I made a point of reading ALL the Exposed posts today, and this one especially touches my heart…

It’s so interesting to go back and reflect on life pre-publish and post-publish, eh?
Katy´s Last Fabulous Post ..Exposed- The AnniversaryMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 6:52 am

Katy,
They really are special…all these exposed posts. For me…whether it’s good or not – there is comfort in numbers…in knowing there are others out there – today – exposing themselves alongside of me. Katy, it is so good to be on this journey with you. And thank you for coming to this space, and for the encouragement that offers.

Reflection…a wonderfully wise place to visit…

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Sean @ Learn Fitness October 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm

This post really hit home … as I said in my reflection posting I’ve let peoples view of me influence how comfortable I’ve been. Inside I know and feel that they’re judging me despite the fact that I know I shouldn’t let them bother me. Like you said, the fact is no matter what I do or how fit I am I’ll still be judged. Just be myself, get past it, live life and move on.

Thanks for this great retrospective and for being a part of the exposed movement.
Sean @ Learn Fitness´s Last Fabulous Post ..My Reflections On The Exposed AnniversaryMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 6:54 am

Sean,
I know what you mean…how easy it is to the the views and perceptions of others influence our own being. The longer I travel on this life journey, the more okay I’m becoming with who I truly am (on the inside and the outside).

Thanks for adding to the conversation, Sean. And it’s great to have you here!

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Evelyn Lim October 13, 2010 at 7:18 am

I applaud you for your courage. Most certainly, few of us enjoy the experience of being exposed. However, to reach beyond ourselves, we would need to get past our fears and vulnerabilities. Like you, I feel very much a work-in-progress too.

How exciting that you have a New Moon expo! Wish I can be there too!
Evelyn Lim´s Last Fabulous Post ..Learn The Art of Drinking TeaMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Evelyn,
Thank you. Being exposed can definitely be challenging…it’s as if all eyes are on you (and the thoughts that go along with that). And going into that…it can feel a bit unnerving. Yet – when we do this – when we take that step in faith – good things can most definitely come!

Evelyn, you are a shining star…what a beautiful work in progress you are!!

I will not be at the New Moon Expo, although it is being organized by a very wonderful friend…Megan Bord.

Thanks so much for all your support!

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Tess The Bold Life October 13, 2010 at 7:35 am

You go Lance,
I love that book it should be required reading in every family. Parents and siblings judge, that’s why I think it’s a good idea to begin there. My friend Jacob Glass says to catch yourself by adding to your judgment “Just like me.” For example, she is so bossy, just like me. He’s always driving to fast, just like me. She needs to discipline her kids, just like me…It’s real liberating. It shows easily how others are our mirror. I’ve got to go now and unbury my body, mind and soul! Oh and Caroline and Lori are spot on. Don’t ya just love, em?
Tess The Bold Life´s Last Fabulous Post ..Fabulous Female Bloggers Changing the WorldMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Tess,
Thanks!!

The Four Agreements really is such a great book. It’s so easy for us take what other people say very personally. And not that what others say doesn’t have value – because it very much does. It’s that it doesn’t have to feel like a personal attack on us (because that is only if we allow that…).

I love what you have shared from Jacob Glass…because I’ve been there on each of these (a bit too fast, too bossy, too mean, too …). Thank you for sharing this.

And yes…I sure do love ’em (Caroline and Lori…and you too!!)

Thanks so much Tess – you are a wealth of goodness!!

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rob white October 13, 2010 at 8:45 am

Well done Lance. There is nothing as freeing as truth. By “confessing our sins” we release the power they hold over us. Stuffing ourselves and the things we are embarrassed by only gives them more power. Most people are gripped by the tritest of thought-habits… why? because they are taking everything personally. We all love it when people expose themselves authentically… it helps us feel our own truth that resides within.

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Rob,
Thanks. So true – when we share our truth (the good, the bad, the ugly) – these truths no longer have reign over us. (love this that you have shared!)

And you make another excellent point in that there is something very liberating for all of us in seeing others being fully authentic…in that it helps us each to be more authentic ourselves (if even only in our heart).

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ClinicallyClueless October 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

I love what you say in this post. I find that the hardest part of judgement that gets in my way with relationships the most are my self-judgments. I look at the picture that you posted and am reminded of the vulnerability that you feel as I have experienced that too. I like how solid that you are with yourself. The fragility of the drywall peeled back reminds me of just the surface stuff being discovered only to find a wall and behind that other barriers until I get to the core of who I am…that has been my long process. It has also been myself and others beliving that the layer that is seen is the only one…and not to go any further. I’ve torn down many walls and yet there is more to go.

take care and thank you for another thought provoking post.
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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:33 pm

CC,
Self-judgments…yes, the source of where our judgment comes from. (and that was me, last year, posting that picture and thinking all sorts of “challenging” thoughts).

And thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this picture today. That’s it – the layers, sometimes thin, sometimes thick – which hold us back – until we break through them. And in breaking through – we expose the real us….and that IS a very beautiful thing.

Thank you so much for adding your wonderful thoughts to the discussion.

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Clearly Composed October 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

When you share openly and authentically you gift us all with permission to do the same. Every courageous act reaches a heart. Imperfectly perfect…now that’s a club I want to belong to! 🙂
Clearly Composed´s Last Fabulous Post .. Nutrition Spotlight- SoupMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Emma,
Okay then…you and I…we’re starting a club!! And it’s all about being authentic and open (as imperfectly perfect as that is)….

P.S. I’m serious…we really should start this club…

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Hilary October 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

Hi Lance .. great post .. and look at the distance we’ve all come .. all of us in different ways – but as you’ve grown we’re there and will be in line sometime exposing ourselves. The thought appals me !! but the mind and soul need to be let free and have those little barbs smoothed out .. the body .. well flattened a little – a marathon might be an idea .. but I’ll pass on that .. your decision and subsequent experience was superb .. Isn’t Rochester going to be great .. oh I would love to be in the US of A and meet up with everyone .. I’d be listening on the sidelines. Thanks for this .. great to read .. Hilary
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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Hilary,
Thank you. We have all traveled far on this journey in our personal lives. And – in some way – we have exposed ourselves. We may not always see it as that. Still, we have…. And there is good in that – and in being fully authentic to who we are (on the outside and the inside).

Hilary, thank you so much for your visit and wonderful thoughts.

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Christopher Foster October 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Thanks so much Lance. Yes. Let me not judge myself or anyone else. I suppose we’re works in progress because change is a law of life and we can’t change that even if we wanted to. But I do find a paradox here all the same.

There’s been a ton of change in me and my life in recent years. But I also find there is a part of me that in the midst of all the change going on in me and around me doesn’t change. It’s also very happy. Isn’t this extraordinary? Happiness really does exist…Oh well, better late than never I say to myself.

It just is what it is — a stillness that is utterly untroubled and undisturbed by my quirks and idiosyncrasies or anything else. The biggest change of all for me has been becoming more conscious of this happiness within.
Christopher Foster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Trust your body- love your body- listen to your bodyMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Christopher,
Change is definitely part of life…whether we like that or not. And who are we, truly, to judge others? To judge, when we have no full understanding of what has brought another to this point in their being? That’s a thought I really try to focus on in my life (sometimes I get that…and sometimes it’s a struggle).

And so great to know that you are happy!! Isn’t that such a great place to “be”! And then to be fully conscious of that happiness…how awesome!

Christopher, thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

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Lynn October 13, 2010 at 2:37 pm

That is the most difficult of the agreements, I think. Don’t take anything personally. But overcoming that is so freeing.

Good job, Lance!
Lynn´s Last Fabulous Post ..Register love- more street food and cubicle lunchMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Lynn,
I completely agree…that is most definitely the agreement that challenges me most deeply. And it’s a process…getting to that place of not taking anything personally….

Thanks Lynn, your support is so meaningful…

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Jannie Funster October 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm

Well….. Lance Dear…. I do feel a little exposed over there in my spandex — and more exposure tomorrow in a song I recorded today — me playing guitar, and singing at the same time – a new song. Recorded in the tree house! Posting at 5:55 p.m. Wishing I had perfect teeth, but not getting so caught up that my lack of perfection keeps me from sharing the video.

Totally with ya on not taking anything personally, as no one can make me feel bad without my permission!! I had to learn that.

Whoo-hoo.

xoxo
Jannie Funster´s Last Fabulous Post ..Now- About That Spandex Jannie 1986 maybe 1987…My Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Jannie Dear,
That spandex is so you!!! That along with the eye makeup!! You are rockin’ it!!

And more tomorrow!! Woo-Hoo!!! This is awesome-ness!!

5:55 will be a sweet, sweet time….

…and I’ve had to learn that too (and still am…)

xoxo

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Kate October 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Hi Lance,

I was going to comment on your post about 8 hours ago but I clicked through to the exposed info and was mesmerised. I have been through eating disorders, and weighed between 100 and 170lb (I’m 5’11 so 100 was really skinny for me) even now at at a healthy weight and size I have a lot of body hang ups and would never put a picture of me in undies on my blog. So looking at some of the people who have posted pics was a real inspiration and eye opener to me. Some of the comments over the pictures almost made me cry. I have had various forms of therapy over my issues and none have come close to seeing pictures of real women ‘exposed’ with the comments about why they love their imperfections. I, generally have a great deal of confidence, but when it comes to my body without clothes I still struggle, despite knowing I am OK.
To be able to look at the bits of me which I don’t like in a new light was a real revalation. I realised I was very, very judgemental about body size, both with myself and others.

Things which I would have previously looked at as ‘laziness’ or ‘disgusting’ have been shown to me as the result of life processes.

Sorry to leave a long comment, but although I often say things have impacted on me, there is really nothing that has revolutionised the way I look at my perfect with imperfections, body. If just one person had shown me something like this 15 years ago it could have saved years of purging, starving, binging, self hatred and lead to a realisation that i’m not going to look like the models in vogue. And that I don’t want to.

Thank you for sharing this and although I know your blog impacts on a lot of people, I just wanted you to know this post has really changed the way I look at myself, and, maybe more importantly, the way I look at others.

Many, many thanks and best wishes,
Kate x

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Kate,
I am deeply touched and honored by your comment. You have spoken words from your heart – and they are landing upon my heart tonight as I read them. What Michelle (from Eating Journey) created with this exposed movement is truly a gift to this world.

Know too – that your words are a gift. They are – because they are spoken by you, from a place of deep meaning. More than that, though – these words of yours are a gift because others will see these words, relate to what you are saying – and be moved by your honesty and candor. And what a beautiful gift that is.

Kate, thank you. Thank you for sharing all that you have, and in that – shining your wonderful and amazing light out more beautifully into the world…and into my heart…

Much peace,
Lance

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Debbie October 13, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Thanks! I really needed to hear this right now. I sold my house and am downsizing from a huge, 4 bedroom family home…to a much smaller home just for me. It is also not in same caliber neighborhood or of the same quality to which I have been accustomed.

The new place is kinda “worn” to put it nicely. It is rural..not in a manicured neighborhood. The kitchen has the old appliances. The fire place has the brass doors. How long ago were they in style? While I see the charm in the new place and see the potential for a quaint, comfortable home and garden even, there is this nagging voice in the back of my head saying that people will really think I am taking a huge step down…blah, blah, blah….

I know it doesn’t matter and it does not to me truly. I am thankful and appreciate all that the new place offers me, but I still have the feelings and have the nagging voice. Your post reminded me that these things are natural and part of it . The important thing is to follow my innate knowing here and wisdom! Annoying voice be damned!
Debbie´s Last Fabulous Post ..Can We TalkMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Debbie,
Thank you so much for sharing your story. What I love about this – is that you have highlighted something external…except it’s not our physical body.

A house (or it could be a car, or an outfit, or the groceries we buy, etc, etc). What matters is how we feel about this. And it truly doesn’t matter what others think (and they may very well think these thoughts we’re hoping they won’t). Those words of don Miguel Ruiz strike my soul as I read this – and as I think about what you have shared in context of my own life. Debbie, thank you.

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Suzie Cheel October 13, 2010 at 9:39 pm

This is so timely as I doing the comparison, judgement stuff, holds me back. As you say…..I try not to judge others, I try not to make comparisons. The truth, though, is that I still do. Sometimes consciously. Sometimes unconsciously. Yes how true is that
Amazing how Lizard brain takes over:) yes we are all a work in progress
The 4 agreements is one of those books i have thought about reading- now maybe is the time
thanks Lance
love and hugs
Suzie
Suzie Cheel´s Last Fabulous Post ..Monday Inspiration- Revolution of The HeartMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Suzie,
You would love don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements! I know you would!

And yes – so true – how even when we really try not to judge, to compare – we are all works in progress…

Love and hugs to you too, sweet friend…
Lance

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Joe Wilner October 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Very interesting stuff! I really think this movement has great force. It takes a lot of courage to fully accept our imperfections and recognize that these are a part of being human. Once we can recognize that life will inevitably provide us setbacks, mistakes, and social comparisons, we can begin to learn and better ourselves. In some sense, we are all perfect, beautiful, and compassionate in the face of God, though these true qualities are neglected once we are exposed to the world around us. This post helps me to recognize the this quality of the true self that we loose contact with. Thanks!
Joe Wilner´s Last Fabulous Post ..30 Days to Live- How will it change youMy Profile

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Lance October 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Joe,
This exposed movement that Mish (from Eating Journey) created a year ago – what a gift it has been. From reading several of the stories that people have shared on their own sites, I know very much that this process of exposing themselves has been so transformational. And I can attest to that, too – and how it truly was a challenge to post a picture last year (and yet, so liberating, too).

The true self…something within us all…is wonderful and perfect just the way it is…

Joe, thanks for being here…

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Amy MacLeod October 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

What a positive force – so needed in our world of airbrushed beauty. My hats off to Mish, for starting an opportunity to change attitudes, AND you, Lance, for perpetuating the movement.

On a slightly different vein, I had to have an echo cardiogram recently. When I saw my heart on the screen pumping so predictably, in such a “always was and always will be” manner, I fell so in love that I cried. I pledged I would do all I could to give back to it.

Because of that experience, I accepted the outer shell. It’s not perfect, but it is so photoshoppable!

Love your spirit, Lance.
Amy MacLeod´s Last Fabulous Post ..A Cocktail of Napoleonic PessimismMy Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

Amy,
What Mish created when she began this journey last year – it has been such a positive force of good and beauty in our world. So, Amy, thank you. Thank your for supporting this movement here today…

I love how this echo cardiogram put you even more deeply in love with your heart…with you… Sometimes we are hard on our bodies…and yet look at how incredibly they still perform for us. Such amazing creations…we humans are…

Amy, thanks for sharing all of this…so meaningful to the conversation…

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Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord October 14, 2010 at 6:49 am

Lance, this is one of those posts that makes me want to cry. It’s something I’ve been exploring in the last few weeks, too: exposing my vulnerable, emotional underbelly (in this case) to someone new. Purposefully reaching in, digging up the stuff I normally hide for fear of rejection, and saying to someone I trusted, “Here. See this? This is who I really am… ” Fearing they’d leave, and collapsing in tears when they simply said, “Thank you for sharing yourself like that.” No judgments, no rejection. Pure love.

Lance, you frequently move me – to laughter, to joy, and in some cases to tears. You bring out the best in my emotional self, and I’m so grateful for that. You shine brightly like the sun, and always seem so willing to go beyond where most would go. You expose yourself daily (oh that sounds so funny and a little naughty), and because of that, you give me permission to live a more authentic, joyful life.

Thank you.

Oh and golly, thank you for helping spread the word about New Moon! The advisory committee is loving you lots, my friend!
Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s Last Fabulous Post ..Integrative Homeopathy – An Interview with Dr Seema KhanejaMy Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 7:54 am

Megan,
Thank you so much for your deep authenticity and open-ness you share here (today and always). Why do we hide? (that fear of judgments, rejection, etc, etc, etc) It does happen. All of this. Still – when we share more deeply – when we expose the real us – we also open up for deeper and more caring connections, too. That “pure love”…

Megan, you are a gift. A gift to me, and to all who have felt your presence. I’m so deeply honored to have you here, to share deeply, and to grow in love…

Love and big, caring hugs…
Lance

P.S. And that whole New Moon thing…that is all sorts of awesome!!! You ARE changing the world…is beautiful ways!

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Laurie October 14, 2010 at 6:59 am

So I’m curious Lance, how would this be different if you has ,say, an extra 75 pounds on that body? Do you think you would have exposed yourself? Would you be more vulnerable, more open to judgment?

I think you are right on target with your thoughts here but I also think it’s easier to be vulnerable when your body is within a range of socially aacceptable pounds. For me I wouldn’t have been exposed. Too many extra pounds not to mention the C-section scar that dents my body. People do judge. Not everyone lives by a “Jesus” code of ethics. So while I would like to wiggle my nose in Samantha stye fashion and be more average, I’m ok with how I am for now and I’m ok with not setting myself up for non judgment. 😉 .

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

Laurie,
Great to see you here today!!

Would this be different were I at some different weight? I would like to say that “no, it wouldn’t”. Truthfully, though, I’m not sure that’s the answer in my heart. It is easier doing this today (when I’m at a more ideal weight that I’m happy with). Were I to have been in this position a few years ago – when my weight was not quite in such a good place – I honestly don’t know if I could have posted a picture. I would have felt more judged. I would have had more self-worth issues.

And that’s what truly makes this exposed movement so great – people of all body shapes, all body sizes, etc – posted pictures – exposing pictures – of themselves. Again – I’m not fully sure I could have done that. Many did, though – and what a gift that is!!

Laurie, thanks so much for sharing honestly here…you are a gift…and I’m honored to have you here…

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Joy October 14, 2010 at 7:04 am

Lance,
I was doing fine, then Megan’s comment made *me* want to cry..so sweet..
Your post is amazing, and the comments from your readers are equally touching..you have created a safe place for everyone to explore their inner beings..what a beauty filled spot:)
As for explosed..wow..I noticed recently that in interacting with people, I am not noticing their physical shells at all..I notice the light in your eyes, the brightness of your smile (or lack of)..but not the physical attributes..just truly heart to heart. Not the layers one adds to protect their heart, but actually heart to heart..I am able to love freely and generously in this way..
I had to learn to love myself in the same way..my body has changed as my life’s chapters have changed..and I had to learn to love and celebrate my self, even as I’m learning to release my ‘self’..in loving myself fully I may then love others fully..and fear is pretty much eradicated…
I love “The Four Agreements” it is one of the staples on my shelf..wisdom in simplicity…
And New Moon..wow..how *fun* that is going to be..amazing energy..and an experience for all who come to visit…
Joy´s Last Fabulous Post ..Wednesday Wisdom- A Beauty Filled Day…My Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 8:16 am

Joy,
Thank you for being here.

And it’s an honor to know you. What a beautiful way to view those you are interacting with…through the beauty of their soul. See, when we connect at this level – does it matter at all what that outer appearance is? Really – it’s about the heart connection…

Joy, again – it truly is an honor to have you here. Your words emanate love…deep and caring love…and in that I feel your presence very deeply in my life.

Peace,
Lance

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Sara October 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Lance — This was a tough post for me. Oh, it well written and it touched my heart very much. I think you were extremely brave to “expose” yourself. I’m not that brave, yet. I read every comment before mine and it was interesting to see how people responded.

I am not confident about showing myself in pictures, especially my face. I probably wouldn’t be so wild about my body either — time and gravity have taken a toll:~)

I have some pictures of myself I like, but I usually do not want my picture taken and will do anything to avoid it. I think that’s part of the reason, I ended up as a photographer.

When my photo is taken, I realize the real judge isn’t the person who sees my picture….the real judge is ME and how I see myself. The sad thing is by being so conscious of how I look, I often miss seeing important things about other people. I know this isn’t good or healthy and that I should be more accepting of who I am. However, there are life lessons and then there are LIFE LESSONS:~) This is a continuing challenge for me. I do thank you, though, for sharing this post:~)

BTW I do love to read the comments at your site. They are always interesting.
Sara´s Last Fabulous Post ..Recipe for a blog postMy Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Sara,
Your honesty here is so, so refreshing (as has been everyone who shared so authentically in the past couple of days).

Pictures are an interesting thing – I saw one of myself just yesterday – only a headshot – and I found all sorts of reasons to dislike it (and think…”that’s one I would never display publicly”). So…that self-judgment – so easy to do. (I know)

Sara, you are an amazing, amazing soul. And it matters not what your outer appearance is – that will NOT change how I think of you. What I know is what you have shared – and that is very much filled with love and care…

Thank you so much for what you have written. These are words that you share, and ones that I know echo with many others too. And in sharing openly here – you give us all something to more deeply think about…

Peace,
Lance

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Karl Staib - Work Happy Now October 14, 2010 at 4:53 pm

I know that putting my body up on my website would not be easy. It takes a strong person to expose themselves emotionally and physically. I believe that we put too many restrictions on the naked body. We allow our kids to watch people get shot in the movie theater, but we don’t want them to see a naked woman. It’s a weird ethical line. I’m not here to rant.

I’m here to encourage more people to love their imperfect body. Their imperfect thoughts. Learn how to enjoy all the beauty in the imperfectness.
Karl Staib – Work Happy Now´s Last Fabulous Post ..6 Tips on How to Have a Productive Day at WorkMy Profile

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Lance October 14, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Karl,
Definitely, putting our bodies up on display in a very public way is challenging. You DO put yourself out there, though – perhaps not with some unexpected image on your site – but you definitely expose who you are through your writing – and that IS a gift. Because, in that, you also give others a more personal look into YOU. And that gives others more strength to do that themselves.

…the beauty of our imperfectness….(that really has a nice ring to it!)

Thanks, Karl, for all your support…

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Evita October 15, 2010 at 8:24 am

Hi Lance

I remember that photo! Yes, and it was very brave and I was thinking what an awesome way to just break limits and boundaries, whether personal ones or for us the readers to break our own.

And look at that one year later, so much learned, and reflected upon. The movement is a great idea, as I think it gets us all to reflect consciously on how we judge ourselves and others. If we can break through this aspect, wow, can you imagine how much more free we would all be, how much more beautiful life would be, and comfortable for all!?

Thanks for leading the way with this Lance!

And thank you for mentioning the New Moon, it is so exciting – my first time to meet some of the fellow bloggers, and also have the awesome opportunity to speak there, help and interact with many different people 🙂
Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Reflections- Insights and Overview of Vipassana Meditation CourseMy Profile

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Lance October 15, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Evita,
Posting that picture last year was definitely a boundary in which to get through…and so much of that was around my own self-limiting beliefs. And how often do we limit ourselves because of thoughts like this (and not just about our outward appearance)??

So, if this in some way has helped even one person (beyond me…as just going through this process was good for me) then it is so worth it.

Have FUN at the New Moon Expo – wish I could be there with you!!

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Evita October 17, 2010 at 11:08 am

I think it has helped MANY….

And wish you were there too, but we will have I am sure other opportunities to meet 🙂
Evita´s Last Fabulous Post ..Man-made- Not Spirit-madeMy Profile

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Emergefit October 15, 2010 at 9:39 am

I’m not sure which touched me more Sir, the post or the many heartfelt comments. I will simply say this, I came across The Four Agreements a few years back. I set a goal that I wold live the book literally. When that failed, I wrote my own agreements, that I might have better luck with. Still failed.

I listen to The Four Agreements repeatedly (among other books) on my i-Pod when I run. Hoping — hoping it makes a difference, and believing it does. Being impeccable with my word might be the hardest. Still, I try.

Exposed…? Just not there yet.

Peace Friend
Emergefit´s Last Fabulous Post ..Gratatouille…My Profile

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Lance October 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Roy,
The deep and meaningful comments here…they are really so honest, so caring, so filled with truth. And that IS good…deeply good (and way beyond the few words I wrote to start this out).

And – The Four Agreements in audio format – I LOVE it!! What a great way to keep these agreements much more in focus. Roy – just the fact that you are actively working on all of these – that right there is a sign of your impeccable word!

And…exposed??? Aren’t you shirtless in your avatar!!!

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Little Lessons Under the Big Sky October 15, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Lance,
“Perfectly Imperfect Imperfectly Perfect!” Bravo…..you nailed it!
Thanks for yet another insightful and encouraging read!
Jen
Little Lessons Under the Big Sky´s Last Fabulous Post ..Puddle Jumping in PortlandMy Profile

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Lance October 15, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Jen,
Aren’t we all…right…( Perfectly Imperfect Imperfectly Perfect ).

Good to have you here…

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Liara Covert October 16, 2010 at 6:54 am

As Yoda says, “do or do not, there is no try.” Thanks for being you and sharing thought-provoking insights.
Liara Covert´s Last Fabulous Post ..You are so on your wayMy Profile

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Lance October 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm

Liara,
Thanks for being here, my friend. Mmm…and thanks so much for the Yoda quote…very meaningful to me…

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Andrea DeBell - britetalk October 16, 2010 at 10:46 am

Hi Lance!
I had to go check the Exposed Movement and I was impressed. Impressed by the honest and humbling attitude. We put so much emphasis on our bodies on a daily basis that sometimes we forget to work on what is inside. We tend to associate our images of ourselves by what we see inside when we are so much more. I applaude you for being part of this movement!
Thanks for a gorgeous post.
Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Gift of Unexpected FriendshipsMy Profile

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Lance October 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Andrea,
The Exposed Movement really is so meaningful…meaningful in helping so many people see the good that is there within them – and that is both the people who joined the movement and those who viewed these.

We are the total package – ALL of our selves – from the outside to the inside and everything in between. Maybe we’re not exactly as we might desire…but there are still so, so many wonderful and amazing things about each of us….

Andrea, thank you so, so much for being here – and for all your beautiful support…

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Sandra Lee October 18, 2010 at 12:02 am

Hi Lance,

For me, the core message in this article is not to take things personally and this will relieve a lot of unnecessary suffering. I like what you have said about not being perfect and slipping into judging sometimes even though you would like not too. We are all imperfect and judgments will happen. So practicing not to take things personally seems like the best solution. Thanks for reminding us.
Sandra Lee´s Last Fabulous Post ..Sunday Reflection- A Net of Brilliant JewelsMy Profile

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Lance October 18, 2010 at 5:14 am

Sandra,
As I thought about all of this – and reflected back over the past year – that too, for me, was the big thing I took from all of this. Having read “The Four Agreements” recently – this concept of not taking things personally just was such a good place to go on all of this. That’s something I *try* to do (not take things personally), except that sometimes it’s a challenge. This reminded me even more just how important that is…

Sandra, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

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Michelle @ Following Your Joy October 18, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Lance!

Wow. Thank you for sharing YOU with us. My favorite line is:

“…I have become more okay with who I truly am. By exposing my outward appearance, it has helped to break down walls and expose more of that internal me…expose that voice that speaks from the heart.”

Each time you share a part of yourself with the world…there is a sort of ‘permission’ that you give to others to share who they are, too. And that is so freeing! We all yearn to ‘be who we are,’ and I consider you a leader in that movement!

This post got me to think. All sorts of questions swirled around such as: “What if I allowed myself to take a picture as I am NOW…not after I lose ten pounds, not after I amp up my workouts; NOW.” And that is a powerful thought to settle into myself and say, “Hey, I’m cool just as I am today – right here, right now.”

Thank you for the inspiration, Lance. I admire you greatly!
Michelle @ Following Your Joy´s Last Fabulous Post ..When Life Throws You A CurveballMy Profile

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Lance October 19, 2010 at 5:07 am

Michelle,
Your words are so meaningful and touching…thank you. Deep within…we are who we are. Do we always show that, though? Or do we sometimes hold back from our true selves? I know that I hold back sometimes (probably more than I would like to admit). And I’m sure that is the case for many people – and something that we have all done at one point or another.

The reason initially for posting this (last year) was to be more fully okay with my outward appearance. The thing is – as I did this – it also opened me that much more up to exposing that internal core of me. And that has been so good…so freeing…

Michelle – I know you do this – and have shared YOU in some special ways on your site. That IS exposing. And it’s also liberating. Thank you for that…for all that you share…and for being here and a part of my life…

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Steve-Personal Success Factors October 28, 2010 at 7:33 am

This is such a key point for moving forward in our lives. If we are too ashamed to look at whatever it is about ourselves and our lives, we cannot see things for what they truly are: the good points and the weak points. If we cannot see things for what they are, or ourselves, then we will have a very difficult time moving ahead. I’m taking a more honest look at my body (pictures don’t lie) and at my finances (working with a coach, who is going to be brutally honest). The less I judge, the more open my eyes will be, and the deeper changes I can make.

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Lance October 29, 2010 at 8:36 am

Steve,
Ahhh….that’s a great point…how we can judge ourselves. And when we do this, how it can also hold us back from where we more deeply desire to be.

It’s great to have you here, Steve – your thoughts are really great to think more deeply about.

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