WHAT ARE YOUR DRESSES TELLING YOU?

I’m a bit like a blank canvas currently, feeling like I am in a void. Letting go of the old, yet the new is still yet to emerge. I get an inkling of it – the feeling inside that knows I am headed somewhere, yet my external reality does not consist of the same certainty, so my ego wants to doubt it.

 

A few weeks ago, I saw a Wearing your Worth™ client going through a similar pattern of letting go of the old, which was materialising as intense and uncomfortable feelings. It often happens like that for me too, when I am ready to let go and move on, I feel like it is so in my face and the battle between the resistance of letting go and the drawing nearer to a future not yet in full vision is almost unbearable – like a tug of war, that is happening silently within me.

 

Through our session it became obvious that my client, Sally*, was in a transition of her own, moving from old deep seated patterns of being there for others yet not for herself, and these were no longer serving her. The new was there, in her heart and appearing in front of her as new choices, yet her fear of leaving the old was holding her back and keeping her stuck at a cross roads. A lack of trust in her gut feeling, her intuition. It was keeping her in struggle, another old pattern that was up for review.

 

This pattern of transition was showing up prominently in her wardrobe.

 

Sally had bought three dresses just prior to Christmas on a whim as she was on her way to the train station after a day of Christmas shopping. Although now months later, two of the dresses were still in the bag. The third dress she had worn on Christmas day, yet afterwards had decided that it looked like a ‘sack’. Disappointed with her impulsive choices, her shame had stuffed all three dresses back into bags … and had hidden them, even from herself since that day.

 

During our session Sally was noticeably uncomfortable about the reveal of these dresses.  She brought the dresses out of the bags and a look of embarrassment swept across her face, as she held them up.

 

The dresses were all colourful, stylish and so represented the NEW her that was attempting to emerge from behind the shadows of the past. They were beautiful, each dress had an individualistic and colourful streak that reflected the same elements that were laying somewhat dormant within Sally, screaming to be expressed; they had the creativity and joy that was wanting to control more of her life and choices. Yet sitting in those bags for months now, they had been abandoned and left incarcerated with no expression. This was a depiction of what was happening in Sally’s life. The only thing stopping her was fear. Fearful of expression, fearful of being exposed for the beautiful authentic woman that she is. Fearful of being different. Fearful of making choices that honoured her own desires. Fearful of stepping into the colourful and fullness of the new and expanded her.

 

The old her that had taken up residence within her mind set (even though the eviction notice had been sent out months ago) had been playing every trick in the book over the last few months, to assure her that she had made the wrong decision in the choices of the dresses. It relentlessly let her know that she was impulsive, bad at making choices, what was she thinking? Yet beneath that noisy head talk was a quiet and knowing part of her that was aligned with introducing to herself, and to the world, the new and commanding Sally. And on this day, the time had come for a new Sally to take the next steps in allowing and embracing the highest potential of herself.

 

She put the dresses on one by one and her being lit up. The look on her face reflected in the light that magnificently emanated from her, she was surprised that she was allowing herself to feel differently about them. Following an insightful discussion, her energy within the session had momentarily caught up with her confident self that had originally bought the dresses, and despite being locked up since that day months ago, there was a reconnection with that energy now, a movement into the new her, that had been silently awaiting expression.

 

Our clothes are so much more than purely garments we wear, either for practical or stylish reasons. My experience with myself and my clients, tell me that the patterns we play out in our wardrobes, be them conscious or unconscious, are directly related to the same patterns and mind sets in our everyday lives. If we use our wardrobes as a roadmap to explore our mindsets, to discover where we are at and to connect with the authentic beings that we are, then we can powerfully influence the expression both internally and externally of our most commanding, confident and authentic Self.

 

What is your wardrobe telling you?

 

Sarah x

*Sally is not her real name.

WARDROBE DILEMMA – TO CULL OR NOT TO CULL

 

I am often asked about where to draw the line in keeping pieces of clothing for sentimental reasons, or culling them to be practical.

 

There are certain pieces in our wardrobe that hold special memories … of people, places, events, phases of our lives.

 

If being authentically Who We Are is the most powerful Self we can be in this life, then it stands to reason that connecting with our authentic style will only aid this.

 

So, do we keep something from our past that doesn’t reflect Who We Are these days, after we have evolved from that point in time, or that relationship, or do we let go and give it away for someone else to connect with and enjoy?

 

For me, the most important question is, which part of yourself does the item of clothing connect you to? Does it empower you? Does it bring a smile to your face? Is it keeping you stuck, sad or angry, or is it reminding you of a time of joy, empowerment or love? Does the piece still have a lively charge to it, or does it feel limp, like its day is done?

 

I had this dilemma only months ago in a clean-out of my wardrobe. I am normally pretty good at culling my clothes and only holding on to what resonates with my authentic Self and brings me into connection with the truth of who I am. However, there was one piece that had escaped the last couple of wardrobe culls. It stood out like a sore thumb. It was a completely different style. All of its buddies had gone years before, and externally, it was a style that didn’t connect with a single fibre of my present being.

 

As I took the shirt in question out of my wardrobe, the crisp cotton still felt almost crunchy, only having been worn a couple of times. As I held the shirt, I felt a pang of sadness. A feeling of disbelief. A wrenching within my stomach. Could I really cull this shirt? There was a feeling of betrayal if I did, and there was a feeling of holding on to a sadness if I didn’t. I was torn between moving on and trying to somehow keep the past alive.

 

Now, usually I have not had any difficulty recycling clothes – sometimes I’m too good at it! Yet this shirt had been given to me by a kind colleague and friend. It represented so many memories of times we had worked together – the laughter, the long hours, the pressure and the times we drove each other crazy.

 

As I stood there at my wardrobe holding the shirt, I knew the struggle I was having in culling it: it was a symbol of life, the continuation of a friendship.

 

Yet, whether I kept the shirt in my wardrobe or not, nothing could bring our friendship back – nothing could bring him back. A soul gone too soon. A phone call that left me cold, as I heard of his passing, a life lost to the pressures and the stress of our society, and the desperation to be all things to all people.

I didn’t get to say goodbye – it had been about twelve months or so since our last phone call, we caught up now and then and it was as if no time had passed, yet now all time had passed and there would be no more catch ups, no more phone calls.

 

I stood staring at the shirt and felt lost in sadness. This shirt was the last reminder of a very kind and genuine man, a respected colleague, treasured friend and a man who would have done anything to help others. He was no longer here, yet the shirt to me felt like the last tangible piece of his life. I felt for his wife, for his kids. They not only had a lifetime with him but a whole house full of memories – I had just this one shirt.

 

As hard as it was, I let the shirt go; I recognised that it was not breathing life back into his presence again. And it was a constant daily reminder to me when I looked inside my wardrobe, of a friend gone too soon. It was an unhelpful burden to place on myself, to hold onto an object like this.

 

I felt a tug from inside, as I carefully folded the shirt and put it in the bag, and as I do with all my recycles, thanking it for its presence in my life. As I let it go, I felt a subtle release from the sadness. I blessed it as if saying goodbye to my friend, and let it go with loving kindness. I felt a strange relief. A surrender to the sadness, yet also a freedom, in realising wholeheartedly that I didn’t need something physical to remind me of a treasured friend and a time of my life that represented fun, friendship and a freedom to be myself. That part of me has not died, and I will be forever grateful for the time we shared. I don’t need a shirt to hold on to memories like that.

 

Perhaps you’re holding on to a dress that an ex-lover gave you, or a piece of jewellery that stings every time you see it, but you just can’t quite let it go. Perhaps there’s an item of clothing in your wardrobe from a past era and you have no idea why it tugs on your heartstrings, stopping you from putting it in the recycle pile. I encourage you to take that object and give it a moment of your time. Ask yourself openly, what is it that connects me on such an emotional level to this piece? What am I afraid of letting go? What am I feeling right now? Do I want to feel this way, or would I prefer to let go?

 

Love,

Sarah.

J

 

 

Touched By True Beauty

Let’s contemplate what true beauty is. We all know that feeling of coming face-to-face with it, even if we can’t recall ever stopping to distinguish its unique qualities. It goes way beyond the external; it is the difference between stylish, and deeply gorgeous.

 

How might I describe this mysterious, deeply gorgeous woman?

 

Deeply touched by beauty.

 

I know when I am in the presence of a woman who emanates true beauty.

There is an awe about her that separates her from the ‘stylish’ and transports her to the category of profound and striking – and strike she does, as she emanates a light, filled with a profound confidence that deeply moves others. Warm and permissive, she connects with and excites the same aspects in those around her, as they are touched by her raw and authentic beauty. It is the difference between a fragrant rose, the smell that delicately touches our senses and lights us up, as opposed to a beautiful-looking, highly-propagated and scentless one. It is an Italian espresso versus an instant coffee; a kitchen filled with the smell of home baking as opposed to opening a packet of pre-made biscuits; the smell of freshly cut lawn as opposed to synthetic grass. It is profound, it’s vivacious, it’s authentic, it’s mysterious, it’s magnetic … it’s real.

 

Her confidence stems from a Knowingness deep inside, celebrating the wholehearted being that is unique to her and expressed from the inside out. It connects us with the awareness of our own true beauty. She radiates an inclusiveness, celebrating the success of others, not fearing competition, for she knows her own unique splendour is unrivalled. She expresses the truth of who she is, choosing clothes that reflect her authenticity and this alignment declares she is wholehearted, a woman in her own power and a force to be reckoned with..

 

The power that emanates from this woman surpasses any ‘stylish’ perfection. Where style is skin deep, true beauty is multifaceted, and rooted in the alignment of the courageous being that resides deep within us all. The one that is inviting our authentic expression, desires to be heard, is longing for our love and acceptance. This woman is buried within each of us. She is our mysterious wonder, burning quietly within us, like a piece of kindling waiting to spark the fire in our hearts – to set our voice and our true beauty alight.

 

It is from this place of knowing, of True Beauty, that I suggest you select what you wear today. Are you ready?

The Blue Floral Dress: What I Learned from Feeling Daggy for a Day

I am going to ask you to suspend your judgement for a moment and consider that the wardrobe is not just an external expression of ourselves. In my experience both personally and with Wearing Your Worth™ clients, our wardrobe holds the patterns and the keys to uncover our limiting beliefs, dysfunctional mindsets and distorted view of ourselves. We use it to hide, to create veils and we also use it to anchor in critical self-talk, daily.

 

We compare ourselves to others – we decide we want to look like others look, and we allow the media or other influential people to tell us what we should be wearing to ensure that we are accepted.

 

I’ve spent over three decades as a part of the fashion industry. From Buying to Marketing and Senior Executive roles at some of Australia’s most prominent fashion retailers. I was a major player in the set up and strategy of The Iconic and was a judge on Project Runway Australia for two series, so, I guess you could say, my background certainly gives me credibility when it comes to fashion and what to wear. YET, to be honest, that is not what gives me my true expertise within this field, nor my passion. What drives me to assist others to connect with and express their own unique beauty and most powerful Self through Wearing Your Worth™ … is that I am a woman who has felt the ever so familiar insecurities, vulnerabilities and anxieties that many others experience, when it comes to my appearance, my Self-worth and the reclaiming of Who I Really Am.

 

I am on a continual journey with myself and my clients to uncover and unleash who we are and how we can best express this. The spark of beauty is in authenticity. And authenticity is only possible when we know who we are – when we connect with the joy and passion within us, as well as our shadows and vulnerability.And the trick is, none of this is fixed – we are very much a product of our self-perceptions and the stories we tell ourselves due to what belief patterns we have taken on. Our sense of Self is ours to actively question, re-tune and engage with.

 

The Blue Floral Dress Test

Yesterday I unwittingly put myself and my wardrobe to the test. I deliberately went out in a dress that felt ‘daggy’. I wanted to see what would happen. You see, when I bought this dress last October I was in a feminine, empowered mood. In this state, I had come to realise that my wardrobe was full of structured pieces and lacked flowing, soft and more feminine choices – I had been so stuck in my masculine mind that my creativity was blocked, I was lacking a playful side. I felt unbalanced. So, I went to buy some flowing, feminine clothing. I happened to be in Bali at the time, so cost was not a concern – I bought five dresses. The day I shopped for these dresses, it was as though a different part of me went shopping; a softer, more feminine and sensual being took over. I felt so beautiful as I adorned myself with different striking prints that felt sexy, bright yellows and whites that felt sensual, blues that were calming and small florals that felt ever so innocent.

 

Returning to the more masculine, albeit urbane undertones of Melbourne, I still connected with all but one dress. It was a  blue and white floral dress.

 

So, when I was heading down to the beach yesterday on a day of high 30°C, I challenged myself to put on my bathers and then throw this dress on top. I tend to follow the inner guidance I get these days, even in what I wear – I always know when my soul is up to something!

 

When I put the dress on something just felt ‘off’, I felt ‘off’. It was hard to put my finger on it. As a fashion critic I knew it ‘looked’ fine, yet the feeling it invoked in me was a feeling of insignificance, of feeling like I was a ‘nothing’. I was struggling with this feeling, and the longer I looked at myself in the mirror, the more adjectives my inner critic came up with; ugly, plain, not good enough –  I could not work out why I felt these intense feelings, yet I felt them loud and clear. It felt like an old familiar sensation, I hadn’t experienced this kind of negative self-talk for SUCH a long time.

 

Later, I would realise what was going on … the memory would surface of the blue floral pinafore I used to wear as a young child, maybe 3-5 years old. When I was a kid, I felt … well, I want to say ugly, yet I didn’t feel so much ugly; I just felt like, well… a nothing. The blue floral dress was invoking these same memories – it was connecting me with that unhealed part of me, the part I have tried to bury in the past – feeling insignificant, not good enough, like I am a …nothing. It was as if it had been hiding under my doona for decades quiety tugging at my unconscious strings and now the dress, was bringing it all up for me.

 

It was not a repulsive feeling – it was worse than that. It was an insidious, you mean nothing feeling. Amazing, right? A simple dress really can invoke those types of feelings.

 

So, what did I do? Well, I took it off and reached for a beautiful white and yellow, bright, sensual long top that worked really well over my bathers – yep, this felt beautiful and I glided down the hallway feeling the sensuality …until … wait … there’s that feeling again, It’s like a jack-in-the-box that I’m trying to jam back in, but it just won’t stay. Even with the change of clothes I am awake to the feeling of insignificance and it is filling my senses with a dull ache.

 

Being a student of A Course In Miracles for over twenty years now, I know that a sharp pain is better than living with a dull ache and pretending it’s not there. So, I decided I would challenge myself to wear the blue floral dress, and see if I could connect with my sense of self-love regardless. It was time to own Who I Was, rather than avoid who I didn’t want to be.

 

Even whilst driving to the beach for 1.5 hours I was aware that the dress was having an impact. So, I ventured into myself and started to shift my mindset around how beautiful I am on the inside and how I can wear anything and allow the true beauty of who I am to come through, if I am committed to being the real Me.

 

I am pleased to say I did succeed. I felt so beautiful by the time I reached Flinders Ocean Beach, that I felt completely happy to be there. It was 8.30am and no one else was on the beach. And yes, my soul was definitely up to something. It dawned on me that this was the beach where I had spent many years of holidays with my family. It’s easy to connect with childhood memories down there – and although we don’t have the old beach house anymore, I still go there a few times a year, even on day trips.

 

I got out on this deserted beach and began to walk. As a kid, my sisters and I would play a game to see how many cowrie shells we could collect. They were the prize of all shells and we would have our eyes peeled for cowrie-gold as we walked the beach together. I decided to walk in the opposite direction to our childhood route. I was feeling connected with myself and my surroundings as my blue floral dress fluttered in the soft breeze. I felt so free and feminine; it was a feeling of non-caring that was foreign to me. I waded through the shallow water at one stage and the hem of my got wet. I revelled in the fact that I didn’t care! This may seem like a small thing, but for me it was significant; it alerted me to my general constraint, my needing to look perfect, and the ways this stops me from exploring and feeling free to do as I please. I came to see that if I am not attached to the ‘beauty’ of my clothes and instead value the journeys they have to offer, I am freer in myself and, surprise, surprise, I feel more beautiful.

 

As the sun started to warm up and my feet felt the sand massaging them, a memory flooded in. It was of being in the lounge room at our holiday home in Flinders, playing cards when I was a young child. I knew I would win, it was like this superpower that I knew I had. I was playing with my sisters and it wasn’t that I didn’t think they had super powers – I just knew that I did. I remembered other times of feeling this same deep childhood self-confidence, yet never this memory. It was amazing to feel and connect with that self-confidence. There in the sand decades later, I smiled, knowing that the innate power of connection to my Soul, to my essence, the powerful being within me, was a natural connection for me, and it was back. I was aware that allowing myself to drop ‘needing’ to be ‘pretty’ and perfectly presented, had opened this portal for me to re-connect with my inner beauty and power.

 

My mind returned to the cowrie shells and I realised I wasn’t attached to finding any. I felt limitless, free of needing to compete with my sisters, free of needing to look beautiful, free of needing to wear the latest and greatest, free to just be… me! And then it appeared: right in front of me was the most amazingly beautiful cowrie shell I’ve ever seen. It felt like confirmation.

 

I picked it up and couldn’t resist giving it a little kiss, like it was a newborn come to deliver another sign that life is in perfect order. Within me the word trust emerged loudly and clearly. For the next twenty minutes, I walked freely on the beach and each time I thought about the knowing I had as I kid, and still do now, of the power within me connected to my source – boom, another cowrie shell appeared! I picked them up and put them in my hand like they were priceless gifts from the universe, reminding me of my perfection, no matter what.

 

Within twenty minutes there were almost twenty shells in my hands. I took them down to wash them in the sea and revelled again in getting my dress wet, and not caring.

 

It reminded me again of how I have constrained myself throughout my life, making my appearance so important and at the forefront of everything I do. Although I have been told how beautiful I look, I do have to ask myself now – at what price to my Self? I realise now, that knowing I am deeply beautiful, that my beauty resides within me, is far more important than adoration or compliments from others.

 

That morning, another step in freeing myself took place. And with it a further clarification of priorities. It’s not that I don’t like to look nice – I am a highly visual being and love the look of a beautiful outfit. It’s that I was reminded once again of the focus; the beauty I feel towards myself within is so much more important. I can look outwardly beautiful, yet if it is only to mask the painful sensation of feeling like a nothing, then the beauty-full feeling is short lived, and the dull ache continues.

 

I will challenge myself again with the blue floral dress, and who knows, I may come to love it as a representation of a reclaimed me that has grown up to honour and treasure the deeply beautiful woman she has become.