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Strive for Progress

Monday Motivation: Strive for progress, not perfection

A rather ubiquitous debate over the years has been the progress vs. “perfection” debacle.

As a mother, wife, friend, daughter, business owner, volunteer, mentor, entrepreneur (and so much more!) this mantra most often acts as a motivational reminder that no matter how slow my progress may seem or how unorganised things may appear, I’m always taking a step in the right direction.

Letting go of the need to be perfect doesn’t mean that I work less hard or am settling for less. It just means I’m giving the best I can be to my family, business, and relationships and in doing so focusing on what is important to make me a ‘well rounded’ individual.

When you set yourself unrealistic standards of perfection and become frustrated when you’re not living or achieving at a certain level, this can chip away at your self-confidence and at your belief in your ability to succeed.

You don’t have to subscribe to anyone’s skewed perception of perfection in order to be successful. I am a big believer in the 80:20 rule.  Getting 80% done of the important deeds at hand is far more important than trying to do everything.  There are many utterly unrealistic expectations in today’s transparent and e-social world that are really impossible to do. But the fact that we are doing what matters is important.

Progress is moving forward; perfection is stagnating. Don’t beat yourself up for not achieving the unattainable, there is no point.

What would you pick: progress or perfection?

Cindy

Dont Forget to Laugh

Monday Motivation: Don’t forget to laugh

Embrace Change

Monday Motivation: Embrace Change

Change. It happens every day, every moment. And while some changes may bring about quite a bit of fear, I always see change as a golden opportunity to grow.

Preparing for and embracing change is a very natural process in life. It allows us to evolve, to live fully, to overcome fear and uncertainty, and to potentially flourish as we step into the unknown. I love to look on the bright side; to me change is like a surprise and I love surprises, new and fresh ways of doing something or looking at things differently.

Whenever change is occurring, I like to go with the flow. Embracing change with ease, rather than resisting it, is the secret to honouring yourself and honouring your life. It gives you energy, a new perspective and a boost of adrenalin. Think about it like this: if things never changed, you’d never learn anything new nor embark on certain paths that lead you to better opportunities. What’s a life without discovery?

Sometimes change is unexpected, and uncomfortable, but we often have no choice but to accept it and to learn from it (things do happen for a reason, after all!). The stressful changes we may resent at the time, are often the ones that push us out of our comfort zone and allow us to become who we are supposed to be.

Other times, we have to take control and make the conscious decision to instigate change in order to better our circumstances and grow into a more rounded and balanced person.

A world without change would be quite boring, so my advice is to embrace it, and welcome it with open arms!

Cindy

How do you embrace change natural beauties? x

Be Beautiful

Monday Motivation: How To Be Beautiful – Be YOU!

I believe in natural beauty. In a woman who ‘writes her own story’! This has always been my manifesto.

A woman who knows and understands what makes her smile every day, what she loves and is good at, who is the interesting and interested one, who oozes energy and passion to do things effortlessly – this, I believe, is the very definition of being beautiful.

When we ignore our own feelings, when we act like someone we are not, we are basically abandoning ourselves. On the other end of the spectrum, when you learn to take care of yourself, to recognise your emotions and needs, to discover your true heart’s desire without fear, you feel full of love and good energy radiates from within which translates to that healthy glow you see on the outside.

Why try to be someone who you cannot be? Have the inner strength to ignore what’s happening around you. Take inspiration from others, but cultivate your own beauty. No one can be free unless they are an individual!

A woman who owns who she really is, unashamedly, is a vision to behold, don’t you think?

Cindy

Tell me natural beauties, what do you think makes someone truly beautiful from the inside out?

Be Thankful

Monday Motivation: Be thankful

Thank you.

I say this word every day, whether out loud or as a silent mantra to myself.

Gratitude and thankfulness are major sources of happiness for me. Whenever there is something going wrong in my life or perhaps I lose sight of what’s important, feeling thankful for something that is going right quickly snaps me out of it and grounds me again.

We are told all the time that we need this, we need that, we are not doing good enough, we should be doing much better, but really it comes down to YOU.

When you are truly grateful, you don’t need anything. You forget about what’s lacking in your life and realise what’s abundant. It makes all the difference when you start to notice the blessings all around you instead of focusing on what’s not there. You might even realise you already have absolutely everything you need!

Gratitude and thankfulness are not just words; they are substances of being. They are feelings of clarity, strength and happiness that we hold in our heart and actively display outwards to the world through kind gestures and loving words.

Start small by appreciating that your feet are planted on the ground right now, that there is oxygen coursing through your lungs, that you have the liberty of making choices for yourself each and every moment – good choices.

Or you might want to write down a few things you are grateful for on paper, tell a friend or family member how thankful you are to have them in your life or perhaps simply just look around and say the magic word: thank you.

Being thankful is a gift, a gift that you can give to yourself and others so as to spread joy and fill any dark cracks with love and joy. Always remember that.

Cindy

What are you thankful for natural beauties? Leave a comment below x

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Monday Motivation: When the going gets tough, keep going

It’s amazing how strong the human spirit actually is. Sometimes when it feels like there is tidal wave after tidal wave, challenge after challenge, and everything else in between, it’s important admire our own inner strength as we work hard to meet and overcome the pitfalls .

I know so many of us – mother’s, sisters, friends, partners, coworkers – all have tricky times in our lives that often pop up out of nowhere. These incidences test our courage and our ability to push on through and become stronger.

So, in the interest of inspiring some toughness and perseverance in all of my natural beauties, here are a few soul-stirring tips:

1. Never give up!

As long as you are alive (and healthy!) you have the choice to keep trying until you finally succeed and/or get through the hard times. So don’t give up – the rainbow after the storm IS coming!

2. Maintain perspective.

If everything becomes a bit unbearable and you find your mind working in over drive, try to grasp some perspective. Remove yourself from whatever is bothering  you and look at it from a place of witnessing – in other words, try to use logic over emotion. You might find the answer you need by doing this. Another great way to harness perspective is through physical exertion, where your mind can switch off and/or focus on something else. Walking outdoors always grounds me and gets lots of energy and fresh air flowing throughout my body, which in turn increases my awareness and all of the logical parts of my brain needed to ease tension or pressure.

Another way is to take the attention away from yourself and give to others in more need then you are. By giving your time and support to friends, your community or school (if you have kids) or higher education (if you are studying) or to a cause you passionately believe in takes the attention away from yourself and you feel good knowing you are helping others.

3. Rise above it.

If you find yourself in a pickle or a trying predicament, look at it as an opportunity to learn something, grow, evolve, heal and transcend. Falling just gives us an opportunity to rise above it all.

4. Have faith in your inner strength.

Your inner strength will always shine through during times of challenge and controversy, so trust that you ARE strong enough to push on through. Mind over matter.

5. Courage, dear friend.

Always know that you are powerful beyond measure and more courageous than you think. Regardless of what is happening around you or what has happened, remember you can always overcome the fear and push through the self-doubt. We are all deserving of soul-radiating happiness, so know that sometimes when the going keeps tough, you simply need to keep going and it will be over before you know it. Chances are you’ll come out on the other end stronger than ever, and more full of life. Just know – this too shall pass.

I’m going to finish this post on a positive note with a gorgeous quote from Winnie the Pooh!

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. (Christopher Robin to Pooh – A.A.Milne)

Cindy

How do you get through the tough times natural beauties? x

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Monday Motivation: Know your worth

What does it mean to know your worth?

To me, it means letting go of unrealistic standards of beauty and embracing yourself as you are, right now, in all of your gorgeous wonderment.

It means loving yourself unconditionally….because you feel happy with who you are and what you do.

It means manifesting your heart’s true desire and creating an overall positive image of yourself, rather than trying to alter your identity based on outside expectations and influences..

It means discovering what makes you truly happy and following this, your own path.

It means being proud of your decisions and taking responsibility for them.

It means saying no when needed, and saying yes when it feels right.

It means being authentic and speaking your truth.

It means honouring your body and mind with the nourishing practices it needs and deserves.

It means surrounding yourself with people that reflect how magic you truly are and bring out the best in you.

It means living in alignment with your values.

It means nurturing yourself often and learning how to make yourself feel special.

It means opening yourself up to infinite possibilities and accepting just how fabulous life can truly become.

It means finding your passion, and doing what you love most, what feels right.

Health, inner, outer beauty and especially your environment help you to perceive your self worth. If you are in an environment that makes you feel any less than amazing or far from loved, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and redefine or even discover what makes you happy. Perhaps it’s time to find joy and create a life that reflects this.

When you begin to really feel good about yourself and feel confident about the choices you make, your life will change. You begin to put the fear aside, the disappointment of others to bed, and decide to only worry about the single most important person, yourself.

You will walk into a room and light it up, you will be the one that glows from the inside with happiness and natural beauty.

Through experience and engaging in activities you may have never thought possible you will learn your value and worth and your self-esteem will begin to sky-rocket. It doesn’t happen overnight and it truly isn’t easy but when you finally make the decision to love yourself first and foremost, you will start to cultivate things that reflect this and anything that doesn’t fit inside this ‘self love’ framework will disappear as quickly they came. And that really isn’t a bad thing, now, is it?
Cindy

What does self-worth to you natural beauties? x

Monday Motivation: Forgiveness liberates the soul

“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.” — Nelson Mandela

Oh, I couldn’t agree more with this. I really do believe forgiving people and yourself is the best way to heal and live a life unburdened by emotional hang-ups. The problem with forgiveness is that it is a hard thing to do, and to truly forgive, it has to come from our heart. But once you take the plunge and start to practice it, it becomes easier and it can be life-changing. Here’s why I think forgiveness is so important:

1. A lack of forgiveness creates unnecessary stress and holds you back in life.

Forgiving someone does not mean excusing their actions or what they did wrong to you. It means simply letting go of what happened, accepting it and sending love their way so you can liberate yourself. You’ll feel as if a weight has lifted from your heart and your soul will instantly feel lighter and brighter. Although it may not happen overnight, it will definitely happen over time. Why should your freedom, joy and happiness be plagued by wrong-doing from the past? Forgiveness, in my eyes, equates to freedom and peace.

2. Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget.

There are times where it is not possible to forget something, and while it seems like a sunny idea, forgiveness won’t always fix your friendships or relationships with the other person (although it might just do that, you never know!). But, it does mean you have come to terms with what was done and you no longer have a hard heart about it. That’s a healthy way to live, don’t you think?

3. What we hold onto within ourselves dictates our reality, so letting go can change your life.

I read somewhere that we choose to forgive when we decide it’s more important to be happy than to be right. Isn’t that an absolutely lovely thought, to know that we are in complete control over our joy and happiness?

4. Forgiveness brings all of the pent-up emotions to the surface so that you can release them for good.

The process of forgiving is not always a smooth-sailing journey. Forgiving someone can often bring up all of the hurt, pain and anger that’s sitting below the surface, but even amid all those feelings, making a choice to forgive is your ticket to letting it all go and walking away with increased clarity and a clearer conscience.

5. What you resist, persists. Forgiveness dismantles the resistance and makes way for emotional emancipation.

When we hang on to resentments we can’t escape them. We may escape the people who triggered them, but unfortunately the feelings we’re running from may make their way back into new relationships or new jobs and infuriate us even more. Trust me when I say, to forgive is to emancipate yourself from any emotional burdens that might be holding you back and often we are so unaware of them, that when we finally cast some light about what’s going on internally and face what happened in the past with courage and strength, we realise it was as easy as a little – you guessed it – forgiveness! And don’t forget that one of the most important people to forgive is…yourself!
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Do you need to forgive anyone or anything natural beauties? Do you feel strongly about this mantra too? Leave a comment x

Monday Motivation: Make goals that feel good

In the midst of preparing to give lük a little brand refresh (looking sooo pretty behind the scenes!), website update and a gazillion other things that have been going on in my busy (but rewarding!) life, I find it so important that I keep checking in with my vision  to ensure I stay on track and I remain in alignment with my feelings.

I learnt how to do this in my mid 20’s in my first business via a couple of different ways and have now used it for more than 20 years.  Firstly with Mindshop – a simple 1 page plan NOW-WHERE-HOW.  It was all about how I wanted to feel…my ‘feeling’  was to be in a ‘Position of Choice’ (which was quantified) so I gave myself 5 years to get there. I still remember the day my little team reached our $5million turnover in 5 years (selling gourmet biscuits in case you are new to my blog) like it was yesterday. The Champagne cork is still in my drawer. I will never forget the buzz (& not without stress!) of the journey and reaching the goal, it was so powerful.

The second way I did this was by building ‘feeling’ into the way everyone in my little team worked. It was not just What each person did but How they did it. This meant that feelings were fundamental to everything that was done and performance was assessed on this. It worked like magic.

I can see now that there are several people online using variations of this thinking that you can use as an individual rather than a business owner, one in particular is Danielle LaPorte’s desire mapping ethos which is all about creating goals that feel good as opposed to just look good.’

That means conceptualising the FEELING before the goal itself. Isn’t that an interesting way to go about things natural beauties? But it works! If I give an example of when starting luk beautifood –  I asked myself what I wanted to FEEL — I wanted another business (I missed the energy) I wanted to still have time with family, I wanted to have the ultimate work life balance, I wanted to create a conscious social movement that inspired women to feel naturally beautiful, to radiate beauty from the inside out, to make healthier choices, to take care of their bodies, families and those they love and appreciate not to mention rid themselves of all the toxins that exist around us. This is how I live, this is what makes me happy and whole, and so I feel inspired to guide others on the same path.

I also wanted to provide a destination for women to receive some sort of respite and of course inspiration, be it in the healthy, delicious recipes I provide or through food science de-constructed in my guides. I’m on track with my goals, save for my timing being way out!!! and a few pitfalls along the way (which is what makes us all human!).

What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays, your life? — Danielle LaPorte

When you’re exploring possible goals, you need to unleash your imagination and ambition, put your reservations aside, and dream big. However, it’s just as important to ensure your envisioning goals that you know are going to make you smile, make you feel whole, make you feel connected to your soul’s purpose, and not just appear grandiose or wondrous on the outside. The moment we truly connect with our core feelings suddenly the possibilities become infinite and we may realise that the original goals we set about to achieve aren’t actually what we truly want.

I’m not telling you to go throw out everything you’ve already planned for yourself, nor am I telling you leave your job and go set up shop in Hawaii (although if that’s what you truly want to do – go for it!)! I’m simply telling you to have a think about what sets your heart and soul on fire, and make plans accordingly to cultivate this kind of lifestyle for yourself. Do you want to feel more financially secure? Do you want to feel like you have more freedom? Do you want to feel appreciated and heard? Do you want to feel like you are on one great big adventure? Do you want to feel like you are bursting with energy and inspiring all those around you? This might mean you need to make a few simple tweaks here and there, or that you might to need to add a few extra goals to your list.

Some people – family, friends, or even your boss – may want to influence the goals you set. Perhaps they feel that they know what’s best for you, or maybe they want you to take a certain path or do certain things. What’s important is that you stick to what you know best, based on how you want to wake up every day feeling.

You will do much less proving, and way more living.

It takes time to accomplish goals and sometimes it can feel that you aren’t making much progress. This is why it’s important to take stock of everything that you’ve accomplished on a regular basis like I do. Set small sub-goals, celebrate your successes, and analyse what you need to do to keep moving forward. Today is a new month, and perfect for making a new set of goals.

And don’t forget, no matter how slow things seem, you probably are making progress so keep going!  I do hope this post helps you to…. feel your way!

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Tell me natural beauties, do you agree that it’s important to set goals based on FEELINGS before anything else? Leave a comment x

Monday Motivation: Be fearlessly authentic

What does it mean to be your authentic self?

The first word that comes to mind for me is truth. Subconscious truth. Living a life that not only looks good on the outside but FEELS good on the inside (a bit like what I wrote last week about cultivating true beauty from within – to be beautiful is to be yourself!).

The word ‘authentic’ means from the source or origin. It is about being real. Ironically it is about NOT trying. It’s you.  The word ‘fearless’ is not necessarily the absence of fear but rather the mastery of fear. It is about living a life that is true to the values at the very centre of your core regardless of what others may think or expect of you. This indeed is being fearlessly authentic.

I have always lived ‘authentic life’. I follow my heart and do what feels right, for me, and now me and my family. This is my gauge – how good it feels, how effortless – despite sometimes how much time and effort it takes.

When I started my first business Luken & May Biscuits, sold it! and traveled around the world with my husband and kids on a barge, when I set aside my endless to do list to take my kids out for a walk outside, when I’ve allowed stress fade away with the tide and tended to my herb garden, when I’ve sat around a table of inspiring women and truly listened to what they had to say, when I’m sipping on my green smoothies and cooking food for the soul, when I’ve formulated an entire lipstick product line based around holistic living, truth and integrity, when I decided I’d rather spend a life wearing no makeup whatsoever (save for a lick of Lip Nourish lippy) than have my skin clogged and suffocated, when I’ve taken time out from my business to spend time with my mum, when I have really and truly followed my gut instinct and made sacrifices, ignored the voice of fear and have just gone with it. This has been me being at my authentic self, unashamedly.

It’s funny how we draw certain people or events towards us (for the better) when we start to exude this kind of fearless energy. It puts so much into perspective, it makes you realise which areas in your life you may have not being necessarily living out your truth and that’s always an enlightening thing.

So how do you know when you’re being your authentic self? Or how can you get more in touch with this?
1. Pay attention to what brings you joy. Write in your journal or create a mind map of things that set your soul on fire or make you smile.
2. Pay attention to what doesn’t bring you joy or depletes you/makes you feel off-balance. Choose to change, let go of or limit these things. That nagging gut feeling is there for a reason.

3. Set clear intentions about what you want to feel and who you want to be. This can help you change a career, relationship, way of thinking, or lifestyle in beneficial ways.

4. Take responsibility. You are the only person who can find your authentic truth and create the life you love.

5. Accept yourself as you are. The more you come to terms with who you really are at your core, the less energy you waste on worrying and negative thoughts.

6. Express yourself. Try not to fear what other people have to think of your views and opinions. The right people will stick around in your life regardless of whether or not they agree with what you have to say and who you are.

7. Learn from others around you. But don’t get caught up in trying to live out someone else’s dreams or compare yourself. Switch off Facebook or unfriend people if it makes you squirm or roll you eyes every time you see your feed.

8. Practice authentic living. If you feel your true self is not in alignment with the life you are living, then make some tweaks or major re-calibrating.

9. Speak the truth when it’s necessary. Sometimes, in order to be authentic, you simply do not need to say anything at all to prove a point. Be real, compassionate, humble and honest when the occasion calls for it. Let authenticity course from you like rays of sunlight.

10. Don’t over think it. It should be natural, free-flowing. Don’t force it. Just be. Listen gently to the whisperings of your heart. Learn how to discern the difference between truth (gut instinct, subconscious voice, moral compass) and ego (thought, anxiety, fear, overwhelming feelings). Be mindful of love all around you. Feel that love; and roll with it. You’ll be surprised where you can end up.

Authenticity is what is left over when the mind steps out of the way and let’s the soul shine through. By pursuing the intention of being fearlessly authentic, you focus your attention on whatever resonates with your truth so you can live your best life yet.
Tell me natural beauties, have you found your fearless authenticity?cindy luken signature