Strut Your Stuff

“While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die—whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.” ~ Gilda Radner When my daughter was a little girl, she gave me a gift of a small lamp, to place on my desk by where I was writing my first book. As she presented the lamp to me, she sweetly sang lines from a favorite children’s song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Here are a few lines from that popular gospel song:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Oh, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

…Out in the dark, I’m gonna let it shine. Oh, out in the dark, I’m gonna let it shine. Out in the dark, I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

 

Grieving the darkness

Today is a fierce day for me, after a painful week, where it would have been easier to crawl under the covers and let life pass by, rather than shine any light. Friends cried with me at my disappointments, hurts and challenges from a culmination of incredulous events. One brought flowers and sat by the lake with me for hours as I sobbed. I suspect many of you also have had “low moments,” from the much broader perspective of disbelief at the world unfolding before us. After giving myself permission to “feel my feelings,” just as I teach my clients to do as a healthy release of pent-up emotions, I stopped everything. No checking off tasks from my “to do” list, or returning calls, emails or texts for a few days. Instead, I listened quietly for direction, and did a quick “life in review,” including how my standards of success and excellence differ greatly from decades earlier when I was a PR executive with a huge salary, the big home and the perks of external validation. Seduced by outer trappings in that role, I lost the authentic version of myself, who is a nurturer and healer by nature. The life I lead now, focused on meaning and quality, is more symbolic of the wise words of Fred Rogers, producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood children’s educational program: “Deep and simple are far, far more important than shallow and complicated and fancy.” Many are reevaluating their priorities and seeking to find the truest expressions of themselves through this pandemic.

Alignment and gratitude

As I sat with my grief and shock of the past week, I dug deep within again to embrace gratitude—gratitude for the friends, clients and colleagues who have honored my intuitive guidance, integrity and respected me for the pioneering path I embarked upon to deliver a mission of love and worthiness. In these historic, dark times, we all have a choice: to give over to the despair, or go within and find the light born into each and every one of us. No one can take it away. Sometimes, we need to become our own champions, much like an athlete has a coach, to help them grow in new ways.

Insights that sustain living in the light:

1) Choose wisely your inner circle. Avoid withholding people who cannot be generous with their support and compliments. 2) It’s not necessary to reach, or overextend, to be loved. Practice receiving. 3) You are born whole and worthy. Be kind, loving and compassionate to yourself as you reclaim knowing you deserve to live your best life, aligned with your values. 4) Strut your stuff—your uniqueness matters. There is a safe place within you always that will support your growth. The world needs your light now more than ever. I would love if you would share, in the comments section below, which songs inspire you to live an elevated life, or ignite you to claim your own worthiness to shine. With deep love and appreciation for those who stand by me, especially this month during my major media campaign to share a health mission…let’s spread the light, Gail P.S.—October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you, or anyone you know has been touched by cancer, check out the hope and research offered in my book, Cancer as a Love Story: Developing the Mindset for LivingAlso, please know that claiming your worthiness to live can extend longevity, as shared by healers detailed in my book. Signed copies can be ordered directly from me at gailjones@claimyourworthiness.com. The cost is $24, which includes shipping.   Sharon Spector, one of my “inner circle” friends, captured this gorgeous photo of the peacock, which posed at her cabin while she was on a retreat in Mount Ida, Arkansas years ago. Mount Ida is known as the quartz crystal capital of the world.  Peacocks are said to spiritually represent integrity and rejuvenation, balance, wise vision, awakening, self-confidence and self-love. What perfect symbols of WORTHINESS:) To learn more of Sharon’s work, email her at sharingjoy@ymail.com.

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  • gail says:

    One song that I use to lift me up (and have used with my workshop participants in the past), is “I can see clearly now” by Jonny Nash. The other songs I love to start the day with while out walking are, “It’s a beautiful morning” by the Rascals and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Looking forward to hearing your favorite songs to help you “Strut YOUR stuff.” Blessings, Gail

  • joyce mcdonough says:

    Gail, Thank you for sharing your true authentic self and reminding us that it is ok to FEEL your feelings. In the 4 years I have known you, you have shown to be the most resilient person I know. You have never given up on your passion to share your love, and I appreciate that you can share your pain along with your wisdom.

    We do have a choice, as you point out, to experience the feelings and work through them rather than stuff them and suffer. I myself have felt like crawling in that cocoon during these disturbing times. It is okay to not feel strong ALL the time, and recognizing and experiencing those feelings is a way out of that cocoon.

    I love that you asked us to share a song that uplifts us and I loved that you picked “I can see clearly now” as that has been one of my favorites through the years. (It does show our age LOL but proves that the struggle is real and we continue to have gratitude and move on.) Another song for me is “Stand tall” by Burton Cummings. The passion in the refrain in that song “Stand Tall, don’t you fall…” takes me back to my high school years. I had always been bullied as a child, tall and lanky with red hair and freckles, glasses and braces, a TRUE playground for bullying, but I fought through and even ran for president of my class senior year.

    … And that song….I have to admit I listened to it before posting and cried, because it helped me remember how strong I am and have been, and have “STRUTTED MY STUFF” for years. Thank you again for the reminder. I truly needed it. Please keep sharing your wisdom, the fun, and the not so fun. Keeps it real.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Joyce: I had to sit with your comment a bit, absorb all you have been through being bullied as young girl, and the ways you consistently picked yourself up–from running for class president to now “Strutting Your Stuff” continually for years. Thanks for sharing such a vulnerable and uplifting story of overcoming adversity. Even now, as you, like so many of us, sometimes waddle through these disturbing times, you chose to take the time to share your lessons and insights. And I appreciated the laugh on the choice of one of my songs aging me-even though the younger clients who have attended my workshops loved it! Love the title of your song selection, “Stand tall.” With love and gratitude, Gail

  • My song is Testify by Dianne Reeves. A powerful song for women. And I can’t sit still but have to move my body when I hear Pharrell’s “Happy” or Bobby McFarren’s “Don’t Worry,Be Happy.” A reminder to let more music into my life to lift me. Thank you!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Sharon: Just listened to Diane Reeves’ version of “Testify”–what a soul-gripping song, and how perfect after walking through a painful moment, and finding renewal of “embracing yourself…to walk on with peace of mind.” I also like the line: “I don’t regret a single yesterday because yesterday made me who I am today”–it really shows the power of transformation. Love how grace touches our lives through music…and friends. Thanks for sharing. With love and gratitude, Gail

  • Doug Campbell says:

    Gail
    I just wanted to share this quote about being What it means to be authentic:

    – to be more concerned with truth than opinions
    – to be sincere and not pretend
    – to be free from hypocrisy: “walk your talk”
    – to know who you are and to be that person
    – to not fear others seeing your vulnerabilities
    – being confident to walk away from situations where you can’t be yourself
    – being awake to your own feelings
    – being free from others’ opinions of you
    – accepting and loving yourself
    Sue Fitzmaurice

    Thank you for showing us how to be authentic.
    Remember…. soft things don’t break. Only hard things that have been forged in fire and tempered in steel break, not things like putty and jello!

    Some songs to enjoy;
    Here comes the Sun by The Beatles
    And, Today’s the Day by America

  • Cynde denson says:

    Gail, once again you share your joys and sorrows with true authenticity. it invites us to do the same. God Bless

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Thank you, Cynde. I appreciate your valuing my authenticity. Transformation for all of us is messy. No straight lines. The “dips” often bring us to new highs. Feeling greatly empowered…and grateful my post inspired you. Blessings, Gail

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