An excerpt from FLAUNT! Drop Your Cover and Reveal Your Smart, Sexy & Spiritual Self by Lora Cheadle
Using the principles of burlesque, author Lora Cheadle’s FLAUNT! helps women strip away everything nonessential that’s covering their raw, beautiful souls in order to reveal the sparkling goddess lurking inside. All too often, women have been taught to hide their true selves with costumes, characters, and masks, creating a persona to show the world that pleases others and acts as the “good girl,” doing what is expected. These layers may originally seem imperative, but all too often they begin to chafe and restrict, suppressing the true beautiful and unique spirit that every women has.
We hope you enjoy this excerpt from the book.
Have you noticed that most of life is neither black nor white but some scintillating shade of glitter that you can’t quite name? One moment it looks gold, then the light catches it and it’s red, but then a silver fleck jumps into view. If you have ever listed out pros and cons to help you make decisions and then still not been able to decide, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Wouldn’t life be easier if everything was just cut-and-dried? Look at how frequently news stories deal with elusive, shimmery shades of glitter. Did the officer shoot the suspect because he posed a viable danger and the officer feared for his life, or did he act unreasonably based on a racial bias? Whoa. Is this something we can ever answer with complete certainty? Probably not, and that uncertainty can be excruciating.
The discomfort that comes from living in this glittery confusion sometimes makes us want to pretend that things are clear and precise, even when they are not. Instead of admitting that life is filled with value judgments, errors, and complexities none of us could ever see through, we sometimes pretend that we can. And in slipping back into our black-and-white ways of thinking and reacting, we overlook the fact that sometimes, it is in the glittery, complex tragedies that the biggest gains and unexpected joys are born.
What are some of the black-and-white beliefs held by your family? If you are looking for a starting point, think about the biggies: race, gender, nationality, religion, marital status, political affiliation, level of education, and sexual orientation. But know that it’s usually the subtle ones, like A worthy woman sacrifices for her family that are more impactful.
Living in the Glitter
Ask yourself these filter questions, and see what shifts for you. Move through the questions with a sense of curiosity and wonderment, as if you were watching a burlesque routine (Ohhhh, I can’t wait to see what’s underneath that!), instead of with blame, shame, or judgment.
1. Besides me, who around me holds this belief ?
2. Is there a reason that I, or those around me, hold this belief ?
Let me butt in for a moment here and explain what I mean by a reason for holding a certain belief. My grandpa was a pilot in both World War II and the Korean War. His experience, coupled with wartime propaganda, shaped his beliefs about those of Asian descent. A reason is not a justification. It does not excuse the belief or make it correct. It explains logically why someone would feel the way that they do. And until we discover those reasons, we are much less likely to create lasting change.
3. How is my belief true?
4. What evidence can I find that supports my belief, and what is the quality of this evidence?
Okay, okay, the preceding question is a tad lawyerly and a little ridiculous, I admit. It’s just that there may have been a time or two when I was more interested in being right than in really, honestly being right. And I may have gone to great lengths to prove a position that in my heart and head I knew wasn’t accurate. Mum’s the word. Perhaps you can relate.
5. How is my belief false?
6. What evidence can I find that is contrary to my belief, and what is the quality of that evidence?
7. Does this contradiction cause me mental angst or discomfort?
8. In what ways have I rejected this contradictory evidence?
9. In what ways have I attempted to explain away this contradictory evidence?
10. In what ways have I avoided looking at this contradictory evidence?
11. What would changing my belief mean for me, as well as for my relationships with others?
Find a comfortable place to relax where you won’t be disturbed. Take a few breaths, and allow yourself to settle in the moment and whatever that moment is bringing. If you are distracted or uncomfortable, allow yourself to be distracted and uncomfortable.
Release all thoughts of what meditation should feel like and just be where you are.
On your next inhalation, breathe in the thoughts you are thinking or the emotions you are feeling. Exhale whatever it is you are thinking or feeling.
Be here as long as you need, until you have breathed in and then breathed out all unsatisfying thoughts and emotions, and are left breathing in and breathing out only thoughts and emotions that are pleasant to you.
From this state of pure satisfaction, fill yourself with a sense of playful positivity, where anything is possible, and just be.
When you are ready, imagine, visualize, or pretend that you are a tiny, beautiful baby or a beautiful, luminescent soul, floating on a cloud, waiting to descend to Earth and begin your life. But before your life on Earth, you have been given the opportunity to review the dreams, desires, gifts, and passions that form your core essence, the sparkly center of your innate being.
What are your dreams and desires? How will you use your gifts and pursue your passions? Why is your soul here now? What is your life mission, and when your life is finally over, what will your legacy be? Will you be satisfied with this life?
Breathe, relax, and let your mind wander into this creative, joyful space.
Without judgment toward yourself or others, and knowing that all things happen for a reason and in perfect order, notice how your life has moved both toward and away from your dreams, desires, passions, and gifts. There is no judgment, because, like the path of a labyrinth, life moves us both toward and away from ourselves and our goals.
Notice the parts of your inner core, your true essence, that have been covered. Your masks, stories, and costumes. But most importantly, notice what lies beneath those masks. Watch as everything that is not your true essence, everything that is a story or mask or judgment, slowly crumbles and falls away, and feel yourself smile.
As you allow the unmasking.
As stories that are not your own fall away.
And allow your dreams, desires, passions, and gifts to be reignited by this noticing.
What does life look like, now that you have an awareness of what lies beneath your costumes and masks and what your inner core is made from; and now that your dreams, desires, gifts, and passions are smoldering, on the brink of catching fire?
Notice where your life is leading.
When you feel ready, slowly let your mind move back to the present, back in your body. Take three or four deep breaths, preparing for the day or night ahead, staying connected to your own creative insight, divine possibility, and uninhibited joy.
There’s no right or wrong way to experience this or any meditation. Like you did during your field trip to the toy store, step back and see what happens. Notice where your mind goes. Be surprised by your dreams and desires, your passions and purpose, and by the legacy you desire to leave. If you found it difficult to stay focused during your own meditation and would like to try a guided meditation led by yours truly, then head over to loracheadle.com/freebies and download my free MP3 “Finding Your Passion & Purpose.”
Viewing your life as a whole, from a detached, higher perspective, validates the longings of your inner being and gives you the opportunity to start fresh, to push the reset button on your life. Even though you can’t control everything that happens in life, you can always control your response to what happens. Resetting yourself back to your original core is always the right choice!
Lora Cheadle is the author of FLAUNT! After ten years of practicing corporate law in California and Colorado, she chose to change paths to become the radio host and Life Choreographer® she is today. She is a certified hypnotist, personal trainer, burlesque performer, and yoga instructor, as well as a popular writer for People magazine and Elephant Journal. She offers “Find Your Sparkle” coaching programs, workshops, and destination retreats and teaches all over the world. Her home base is in Colorado. Find out more about her work at LoraCheadle.com.
Excerpted from the book FLAUNT!. Copyright ©2019 by Lora Cheadle. Printed with permission from New World Library.