THE RAY THE LOVE ISSUE
L O V E YO U R S E L F
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February 2010 • Issue 2 • Volume I The RAY movement is a gathering of women and resources to support, inspire, cultivate and propel the magnificence of women from the inside out. We are on a mission to help women see the BEST of who they are, from where they are.
Love is Much More Than Skin Deep Angela Orrechio shares her story of self-love.
Create Love On Purpose
Choosing the right words are important, make sure they are positive and loving.
What’s the World
What it means to you.
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n I ’s
Debunking the theory of the perfect woman.
Online Dating Tips
Is chocolate actually good for you?
We explore traditions in love throughout the world.
What Does Beautiful Look Like?
Melanie Lutz tells about a year that she spent loving everyone.
Think of it as a business.
Your Love Resolution Love is work, go out of your way to find it.
Top Five Ways...
With Heather Rem.
Love poems by Patrick Cuffe.
RAY Team member Kimberly says...
Editing this issue of the V•RAY opened my eyes to even more meanings behind this word. To me, it meant my boyfriend, family, children and friends. It also meant extending love to those who may not deserve it from me but need it for my own peace; and in return, hopefully, their own peace. But love is behind so many different things in every part of your life. It is a kind word, a caring touch, a smile, a book, a song, a movie. It is whatever touches you or, through you, others. I’ve also learned that it is for you. Loving you, as you are, for who you are. In loving yourself, you can love others in any form needed, at any time. Be kind to yourself this month and from this point on.You and everyone around you deserve the love you give to yourself. And, in return, this love allows you to give to others. Shine On~
THE REAL AUTHENTIC YOU Contributing Writers Angela Orecchio • Micaela Passeri • Linda Hom • Madonna Dersch • Lisa Briggs Melanie Lutz • Catherine Cardinal • Evan Marc Katz • Heather Rem • Patrick Cuffe FOUNDER & PUBLISHER CREATIVE DIRECTOR MANAGING EDITOR COPY EDITOR LEAD DESIGNER DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY
Sierra J. Sullivan Ronald K. Smith Kimberly Smith Barry Jude Landry Maria Skaleris Matthew Lupica
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Love Is More Than Skin Deep Learning to truly love myself BY ANGELA ORRECHIO
I always had decent skin, a blemish here and there, but nothing to get worked up about. When I turned twenty-eight, suddenly my skin began to break out into consistent mild-to moderate acne. I began beating myself up about the way I looked and thought that I must have done something horrible to deserve bad skin. Within a period of six months I spent hundreds of dollars on diets and beauty products and countless hours in obsession over it. My skin was the perfect reflection of how I was feeling on the inside, ugly and unlovable. Eventually, I realized that the truth of what happened was my body had created a door for me to start loving myself unconditionally.
My skin was the perfect reflection of how I was feeling on the inside, ugly and unlovable. Recently, I heard a Marianne Williamson quote from The Course in Miracles that said, “above all else, I want to see.” I found this to be a powerful statement. When I heard it, I took it and personalized it to, “above all else, I want to see the truth in my life.” My skin was just a catalyst for going deeper to find out that I had always disapproved of my looks, my job, my past and my relationships. I began asking questions about how to love myself deeply, despite what I thought I looked like, what I did for a living, who I thought I was and what I had done in the past. I began to change my own wild stories of imperfections with empowering thoughts. Whenever a thought, such as “look at how horrible my skin is today” came up in my mind, I would say, “thank you for that
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thought but I choose a more empowering thought today.” Then I would say, “I am beautiful and perfect just as I am.” Even if I didn’t immediately believe my words, I would notice how my body would react positively to each affirmation. Eventually, I realized that just as empowering thoughts were part of loving myself, so was finding a balance in diet and esthetic care. Instead of judging my skin, I thanked and blessed it for allowing me the opportunity to love what is much more than skin deep. The doorway I had been looking for had always existed within me and, as it slowly opened, I found myself standing there — vulnerable, yet strong, basking in the ever-glowing rays of impenetrable love from within. Angela Orecchio is a freelance writer living in Santa Monica. She has a love for travel, yoga, psychology and adventure. Angela has her Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and plans on pursuing a Masters degree in International Affairs through the Peace Corp.
Jan 15–17, 2010 | Jul 9–11, 2010
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San Diego, CA
Jan 18–23, 2010 | Jul 12–17, 2010
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Create Love On Purpose Choosing positive words BY MICHAELA PASSERI
There is an expression we use: “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I have never understood why we use this phrase as I don’t believe it to be true. Words are powerful. They can cut like a knife or they can lift you up so high, you can’t see the ground. Five and a half years ago, I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Arabella. When she was about three and half years old and learning
receiving more Love, Joy, Abundance and Peace in your life. Just think about it…you have the power. You do have the power and it is words! When you choose to use good, positive, healthy words in speech, thoughts, out loud or on clothing, you are making a conscious choice to change your life path. Therefore, you design your life on purpose. When you do this, you access love energy from which you can create a healthier space in which to live. You catapult yourself into the life you want to have.
Words are powerful, they can cut like a knife or they can lift you up so high you can’t see the ground. to read, we were walking in Santa Monica. I remember passing a young girl with a cute t-shirt on that had a negative and disempowering statement on it. I was totally disgusted with the words on it and I thought, “What if my daughter could read what the shirt said and understand it?” I knew in that moment that I had to do something, so I decided to use my talents and experience to create a clothing line that would boast positive messages. I realize that it is ever so important for me to relay my message of Come from Love Always, so the purpose of my line is to inspire, uplift and empower people to do so through the use of positive, loving and kind words on the clothes. How do you come from “Love Always”? Through the use and choice of your words. The power of choice is so great. It can make a world of difference in one’s life or in other people’s lives. Choosing positive words means loving oneself and others. It is a deliberate act of Love. When you come from Love moment to moment to moment, you open yourself up to
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The words we speak, read, hear and wear matter — let’s choose the good ones! Micaela Passeri, aka Bubola, was born and raised in Florence, Italy and came to the US 18 years ago. She is an inspirational fashion designer and single mom. For more information, go to Bubola.com or call: 310-412-1164.
Health 101 “Are Chocolates Really Good For You?” BY LINDA HOM
ery few things come close to satisfying our craving for love and instantly lifting our mood like chocolate. As some of us celebrate the month of love with oh, so yummy chocolate, should you feel guilty? The secret is out and more research from the scientific community is now confirming what we all were secretly hoping for … chocolate is, in fact, good for your body and well-being. Before you go out and indulge on this health food, proceed with caution, as not all chocolate is created equal… or is good for you. All the health benefits are in cacao, the source of the chocolate, so the more the better. My rule of thumb is to look for chocolate with at least 65% - 70% cacao.
Although there are many health benefits, the physical pleasure is also a factor in loving chocolate. This physical pleasure you feel is your body’s actual chemical reaction to chocolate and science backs up this phenomenon. Researchers have found that chocolate stimulates endorphins, which provide feelings of pleasure, as well as serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. There you have it, a perfect combination for love. Dark chocolate is good for a healthy heart. Just eating small amounts daily can make a difference. The oleic acid and stearic acid in chocolate will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. The antioxidants in it will protect your body from free radicals and keep you healthy and beautiful. There are many myths and half truths out there about chocolate, so let’s set them straight.
Chocolate is Fattening Myth. Chocolate itself is not fattening, but the sugar; milk and saturated fat in many lower-quality chocolate bars do contribute to weight gain. Read the label and look for all healthy, natural sweeteners, like agave, and be mindful of your fats.
Chocolate Triggers Migranes Fact. Nobody’s really positive about why it causes migraines, but it is suspected that chemicals in chocolate, called pheylethlamine and theobtomine, are the triggers.
Chocolate Causes Acne Myth. Chocolate does not cause acne, but a poor diet can contribute to hormonal imbalance, which can cause acne.
Now that you know all the health benefits of chocolate (not that you needed these health-conscious arguments), remember to be a savvy food-label reader and enjoy your treat — guilt free. Visit my website LindaHom.com for a recipe on how to make your own “chocolate bar.”
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A Kiss is Just a Kiss? • The “French Kiss” may have started in medieval Europe as a way for a husband to tell if his wife had been sampling the mead, but the kiss’s allure has held and is even better paired with another French invention, champagne. • A tradition of the Inuits, an Eskimo kiss, is a greeting for those bundled up to their nose and eyes in fur. • In India and Far-East Asia, where public affection is considered improper, a bow shows honor and respect. • The double cheek-kiss spans much of Europe with variations of up to three and four kisses. • In Egypt, greeting kisses are also given in threes, and in parts of the Middle East, men may kiss noses after shaking hands. • In Ireland, kissing the Blarney Stone promises eloquence. • The ancient Romans sealed contracts with a kiss, which may have led to the modernday wedding kiss.
What Does Love Mean To You? Love finds you. You must first have a loving relationship with yourself, then God, before you’re ready to accept the gift of love. -Patrick Cuffe Love is action and not an emotion. If you love, you do. ~Jeff Allen
Love means finding someone who is your person... the one that you feel most comfortable with, the one that you can totally be yourself with and share everything with. They are the person you can’t live your life without. Your best friend and soulmate. I don’t believe there is a true way to finding this person. I believe that you have to have an open mind and fate brings you together. You just have to watch for the signs. ~Rebecca Scruton
My love is in the simplest things. Usually the little things my kids do, like the youngest one wanting to cuddle because he missed me while at school, my daughter giving me a kiss before she leaves for school or my oldest still wanting to be tucked in. Best of all, watching my husband read to all three of them at bedtime. It melts my heart because I know without loving me, we wouldn’t have them and I know how much he loves us all. He doesn’t have to but he still tells me so, even after all these years. ~Angella Bandla
Love is being in love with the essence of your partner, because when exterior and the intimacy fades, their essence has to be enough for you to be in love with all by itself and sustain you until “death does us part” ~Krystyna Robles-Bowman
You can love without even meeting someone for example, my newest nephew, haven’t met him yet, but, I know I love him. ~Patty Mancino
Chime in on next months theme and be featured right here. “What does synchronicity mean to you?” Send your thoughts to Editor@TheRAYmagazine.com 16 THE V•RAY TheRAYmagazine.com
What Does Beautiful Look Like? BY LISA CLAUDIA BRIGGS
he topic of beauty is a big, loaded issue around here. As a therapist who helps women and teens find freedom from overeating, I hear plenty about beauty. Beauty, as dictated by external societal standards, has become loaded with tension, with deprivation, with perfectionism and endless comparisons to others. How beautiful is that?
In our culture, pursuing beauty seems more about avoiding shame and self-loathing. The positive response to the Dove campaign around “real women” tapped into our collective relief at being momentarily reminded of other options. I doubt it lasted for many women — I suspect that soon after feeling better at seeing more-realistic images of what women truly look like, most of us were again bombarded by the rest of the images typically facing us and returned to feeling not-beautiful. I have my own beliefs and have lived long enough to know that it’s not about who is thinnest, blondest or fashionable. It’s not about plastic surgery, which so rarely improves anyone’s appearance in ways that appeal to me. It’s not about the perfect outfit or the bag-of-the-moment. Those things just never do the trick, do they? I mean, how great it would be if things like that really did heal women. I find the quest for the beautyfix so painful to watch, because I know intimately and daily through my work that it doesn’t do it. It’s an endless, empty search. I can feel beauty as much as see it. It has something to do with a kind of embodiment. And it has a
lot to do with self-expression and creative energies and the way somebody connects to others and the world around them. For 24 years, I’ve been privileged to help thousands of women and teens find their true beauty. Learning to love what is truly lovable about themselves is what heals. What if you believed that you and your faithful body were sacred ground and the temple for your soul? That you were divinely created and are unique and perfect and good enough? Just for a moment, pause if you are willing. Close your eyes and settle into your physically imperfect self. You are sacred ground. You are a divine holy woman. Your body is a temple. Connect with this knowing and breathe it in — no judgment, no backtalk. Let the truth fill you up, and light up every cell. Gently open your eyes and carry your bright light with you today. Beautiful. Lisa Claudia Briggs, MSW, LICSW is an Intuitive and Psychotherapist and the founder of IntuitiveBody.com. Intuitive Body helps women to break the spell of overeating by understanding their intuitive and sensitive nature through energy work and psycho-spiritual support.
Loving Everyone A Year in Love BY MELANIE LUTZ
o any problem, perceived or imagined, love remains the answer. This was not the case a year ago, when my self-loathing was at an all time high. I was divorced, depressed and had a severe case of people pleasing. I had no idea how to be gentle with myself, let alone love myself.
possible in the seat of love, belted in when necessary, remembering the truth.
I built a Love Arsenal. This active and valiant tool chest of openness and vulnerability countered any trick or tragedy that flared up. I could face the unknown when met with a particularly tough case and was inadvertently thrown off-center. I emerged As things seemed bleakest, I did the only in love on the other side. As the year blazed thing I could do; I resolved to spend the year on, the practice became the perfection. loving everyone. And I mean everyone. I I have been the beneficiary of a huge was going to spend the year in Love. If I was mitzvah: the mitzvah of learning how to able to love everyone, I could learn how to love myself by loving everyone; a complete love myself. I could practice what I needed transformation. I came to know myself — to learn: a new way of being that would turn my truest self. And that gift will keep on any trauma, unkindness or upset into an giving. opportunity to throw a Love Fest. How? By simply changing my perspective. By shifting Tomorrow is a new day and challenges into love-centered thinking, I could crack will come, but, in this moment, it is time through any wound, including my own. to honor and celebrate the truth. Love is all there is. When you can love everyone Imagine being loving when anyone is being (including yourself), everything is possible. negative or a jerk. All the time. It was one Make this year a practice. A practice of of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced. being loving. Everyday. In everyway. Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King made it a way of being, so could I. So can Melanie Lutz is a writer living in Los Angeles. you. It’s our human-being duty. Her book, THE BARE MELCESSITIES: Walking Out. Waking Up. Getting Loving everyone proved to be an elusive Bare., is in stores now. Check out mistress. But, by merely allowing the TheBareMelcessities.com and MelanieLutz. unloving feelings to wash through the field com for more information. of an all-loving embrace, it became easier to face what came up — the challenges, the tests and the traumas. Staying as often as
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Online Dating Tips Think of It As a Business BY CATHERINE CARDINAL
Internet dating is the rage, and to be successful, like in business, use these great, tried-and-true tips for online-dating success:
1 2 3 $45 6 &7 8 9 10
Create a great profile. Let yourself be a little alluring with words like “passionate and fun-loving” but don’t be too blatant or crass. I advise women to not use “sexy,” as it may give the wrong idea. In your profile, be honest about what you want. If you don’t want a struggling musician, than request a “financially stable man.” If you don’t want a confirmed bachelor, refer to yourself as “marriage-minded,” etc.
Keep things “light.” Men love women who have a happy attitude towards life. Put some humor in the profile and emails. The main complaint from men is that women get all ‘serious and heavy’ too quickly.
Learn to weed out quickly. If the guy loves to camp every weekend and you hate it, don’t think that you can change your personality to fit his. You will only end up resenting him and yourself for settling for less than what you want.
If he sounds great in emails and on the phone, meet him! Waiting for weeks is a waste of time! Meeting shows you if there is chemistry and if there is a chance for something to develop. Always meet them in a public place. Let men earn the right to pick you up and see you home.
If the first meeting goes well and you want to see him again, look right into his eyes at the end and say sweetly, “Thank you. I had such a wonderful time.” This will be a cue for him to make a second date. If he doesn’t, keep moving. There are many more men for you to check out!
Have fun! Dates are supposed to be fun! It’s coffee…period. It’s lunch…period. It’s dinner…period. It’s NOT “find out if he’s the guy who will love me, marry me, want to have kids and stay with me forever” over a chef’s salad! Take it slow, let it unfold. Great things develop in time, and guys can feel your desperation and fear. Don’t grill him. Talk about things like your interests, work, favorite places to eat, etc… simple and light. Don’t have sex right away. Generally speaking, men do not marry women who give it away too easily!
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Catherine Cardinal, Ph.D. has been a guest expert on Starting Over, KABC’s Advice for Life, Playboy, Blind Date, Match.com and Chemistry.com. Her recent release, Men To Run From, is available online and at your local bookstore. Visit CatherineCardinal.com
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Your Love Resolution Love Takes Effort BY EVAN MARC KATZ
f you were to say that “weight loss happens when you least expect it” or “a new job happens when you least expect it,” others might find you absurd. But say that “love happens when you least expect it” and you’ll be met with knowing nods. As a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women, I’ve discovered that many of them picture Mr. Right bumping into their cart at the supermarket, making cheeky small talk over the produce and then asking for their phone number. Of course, they live happily ever after. And why not? It’s a great romantic comedy conceit and I’m all for it. But when was the last time it actually happened that way? Take a close look at your life and you’ll probably notice something: it’s not built for finding love. You work long hours, you go to the gym, you do yoga, you take seminars, you read self-help books, you fix up your home, you take spa weekends, you travel abroad. In other words, you may have a rich, full life, without a man in it. Which is as it should be. You certainly don’t need a man to make you happy. Are you actually given to the pursuit-oflove?
The answer, for most of us, is not very much. Sure, we’re open to set-ups, or going to a bar occasionally to flirt, but the amount of energy we invest in pursuing life’s most important relationship pales in comparison to its importance. What if you crave a partner? What if you desire romance and sex and companionship – and have only been on two dates in the past year? How can you expect to find an amazing man if you only have two chances per year? If you are living a life that has no single men in it, you need to go outside your comfort zone. For example, dating online. We have convinced ourselves that we should spend 40 hours a week working, 5 hours a week commuting, 5 hours a week doing our hair, 5 hours a week working out… but how much time for finding a partner? Hire a matchmaker. Join a softball team. Participate in a Meetup. After all, you stand a much better chance at meeting Mr. Right if you’re dating a new man every week than if you simply pray that he asks you about your arugula. Evan Marc Katz is a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women. He has appeared on Today, The Early Show, and The Tyra Banks Show, and has been featured in the New York Times. He can be reached at EvanMarcKatz.com
If you are living a life that has no single men in it, you need to go outside your comfort zone, for example, dating online.
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Top Five Ways To... By Heather Rem
LIVE YOUR PURPOSE Recognizing and embracing your purpose allows you to be in the “flow” of life. Everything is easier and seems to make sense. No matter what challenges or curve balls you are thrown if you know what your ultimate purpose and passion is, your life will always have meaning. Knowing your purpose allows you to have a deep understanding of “why you are here.” List your 5 core values and your talents. Then use them and practice them.
MOVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE Most of the time, we live in our comfort zone, and moving out of that can be a very scary proposition. Internally, we are used to being a certain way. Even if that way isn’t working for us, it is still comfortable. It is what you know. Living passionately means stretching to reach your dreams and your goals and taking care of yourself. It is uncomfortable while you are doing it, but the payoff is worth it!
LIVE LIFE FOR THE JOURNEY
HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOURSELF
FEEL! DON’T HIDE Don’t hide from life out of fear of getting hurt, failing, making a fool of yourself, etc. When you are truly living passionately, you feel EVERYTHING. It is true that without the pain, you don’t know what joy is and without trying something, you will not move forward. Without experiencing the pain of a broken heart, you will not know the sweetness of true love. Remember, feeling is living!
Recognize that life is a journey and what makes it passionate is not the end result, it is the experience you have getting there. Living life in the present moment and enjoying each day for whatever it brings is a powerful way to feel enriched and passionate.
Be passionate about yourself inside and out by practicing extreme self-care. You can’t be passionate if you aren’t taking care of yourself. This includes the inner and outer part of you. Focusing on you strengthens your balance, well-being and quality of life. Make a list of 10 things to do for yourself each month.
Heather Rem of InnerPower Coaching is a Personal Transition Coach specializing in working with individuals in career and life transition. She coaches her clients to accomplish their goals, conquer their fears, eliminate obstacles and move forward in their lives.
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Love Poems BY PATRICK CUFFE
I drew a bath for you tonight, Made dinner by the candlelight. Flower petals lea d to bed, Whispered lovin g poems I read. Massaged your body with my h ands, Honored all you r sweet demands. Caressed your h air so soft and fi ne, Fed you chocola tes, poured you wine.
I’ve seen your eyes, e, il sm r ou y en se e I’v easant surprise. Your body bares a pl sh your shoulder, Silky smooth I bru e of the beholder. Beauty is in the ey e body bare, You stand before m in cupid’s stare. Our eyes are locked aven sent, Cuz’ what I see is he won’t relent. This gift of love that s when you smile, Your nose it crinkle r Nile. A jewel upon the rive t to the touch, Your skin is perfec g for you so much. And makes me lon anting you, Tender kisses, I’m w ings we do. I fantasize about th were a cutie, I always knew you love your beauty. This much is true I
28 THE V•RAY TheRAYmagazine.com
Kissed your lips with velvet touch , Told you that I lo ved you much. Made love to you in every way, That made four times just today . But the best part of it all was when , I crawled in bed so close and then . I wrapped my arm s around you ti ght, And left them th ere til’ morning light.
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