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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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?