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A Laborious Mosaic (And a Tip On How Your Body Can Change Your Mind)

Posted Apr 04 2013 9:12am

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”  ~ Anais Nin

Several years ago I attended an event at which actress/author Jamie Lee Curtis was the keynote speaker.

Prior to her talk, Jamie Lee Curtis came around to all 80 tables at the Well-Healed Woman Event (2009) and chatted.

Prior to her talk, Jamie Lee Curtis came around to all 80 tables at the Well-Healed Woman Event (2009) and chatted.

She spoke about how important the truth is to her, and included the above quote from Anais Nin. And to illustrate why the truth is often so hard to know, and how often the truth is not pretty, she also recited a passage from the Talmud:

You don’t see things as they are; you see them as you are.

She spoke about how she came to be in the place she is today – being a mom to a son with learning issues, writing children’s books, doing Activia commercials, and speaking to groups of women like the one of which I was a part.   She asked, “How did I get to this place?”

In answer to her own question, she recited the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And the wisdom to know the difference.

“It’s all about acceptance,” Jamie Lee added.

She pointed out how so many people use addiction to avoid self-acceptance: food, alcohol, technology, shopping, celebrity, plastic surgery, and so on. She noted the two extremes of obesity and anorexia nervosa, and the fact that it’s hard to know what “normal” is anymore.

“What women do to themselves because they are not satisfied with what they see, with who they really are, is staggering,” she said. “What they do to themselves makes it so they can’t see themselves as they really are. And in the end it doesn’t work because when they look at themselves in the mirror, they see the fraud, they see the lie.”

And so, the cycle continues.

Jamie Lee related that she felt lucky to have received the truth in an illuminating moment. On the day that Princess Diana died, Jamie Lee had turned to a book of Buddhist meditations that she’d been given.

“I am not into meditating, but I thought the book would impress my friends,” she joked.  ”But that day, I picked it up and read the introduction and it started off like this:  ’Someone who is living mindfully, at the moment of their death, asks themselves two questions: Did I live wisely? Did I love well?’”

She reminded us about the life Diana had chosen to live versus the life she was supposed to live.  ”She is someone who had definitely learned how to live wisely and who had loved well. And ever since then, at the end of every day, I ask myself those two questions:  Did I live wisely?  Did I love well?  It has become the framework for my life.”

For me, Jamie Lee’s talk wasn’t an instant illumination, but yet another fragment in the laborious mosaic that is my life.

I’m curious. Are you satisfied with what you see when you look in the mirror? With who you are? Are you loving well? And most importantly, are you loving yourself well?  I’d love to hear from you, either in the comments below or you can send me an email karen {at} kclanderson {dot} com. Let me know what’s on your mind.


Acceptance Quote
Are you ashamed about your body, your history, your loves, your longings? If you know in your heart that these things are right for you, stop trying to fix, change, expel, or squash them. Share them. Take them out in public every darn chance you get. Now say it out loud: “I’m so proud of myself.” The rush of strength and expansiveness that comes from declaring this honestly is the antidote to paralysis and the beginning of many wonderful adventures. ~ Martha Beck

I want to add this: as you say, “I’m so proud of myself!” raise your arms over your head as if you just crossed a finish line. This very act causes your brain to reduce cortisol (stress hormone), to increase testosterone (for empowerment), and stimulates confidence. Watch this amazing  TED talk  by social psychologist Amy Cuddy to learn more.


My name is Karen Anderson. I am the  Acceptance Whisperer  . What I do…how I help others…can sometimes be uncomfortable. It’s intense. But’s it’s a good intense. Really. I know because I’ve been there and done that. It can also be a lot of fun. My clients and me? We laugh more than we cry.

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