Archive for August, 2010


Emergency Optimism: How My Cankles Can Help You Date

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Last week, I hit the beach in Montauk on a stormy day for a walk along the water. I was having so much fun splashing my feet in the water, I took a few photos of my toes in the surf. But what was the first thing I thought when I looked at the cool shots later? “Ugh, look at my cankles.”

Look at the essence, not the flaw! (Image: Amy Spencer)

Yep, I have cankles. Essentially, this means my calves hit my feet without slimming down into adorbly skinny little ankles like girls I’ve admired. My legs are more like, sorta, two big tapered logs.

Of course, when I showed the pictures to my friend Todd, he said, “What are you talking about? What cankles? All I see is cool water and a cute foot.” Ya gotta love Todd.

So…how can this help your love life? Recognize that we all do this. We find the little parts of ourselves we don’t like—the cowlick in our hair, the mole on our cheek, the bulge of our thighs, the waddle in our neck, the lack of dollars in our wallet, the bummer in our attitude, the job we don’t love—and we think that this small part of us is the first glaring thing that people see. If you’re single, you might think: “What person is going to like me when I have this cowlick, this mole, this waddle, this job, this attitude?” The answer is: The right person.

Because that cowlick or mole or waddle or job or attitude is not all of who you are. You are—and I know this to be true—a profoundly complex, interesting, wonderful, beautiful human being despite or perhaps because of all the small things that make you different. So you have a cowlick, awesome. So you have a waddle, big whoop. So you have a job you hate, you’ll work on finding one you love. Those little things you don’t like about yourself are just that: little things. Big deal! A little thing only becomes big when you set the magnifying glass in front of it.

And if a guy or a girl you like is so lame that they don’t like you for some little part of you like that? My word, why would you want them around in your life a second longer? You want and deserve a person who runs their hand along your hairline in love with the little ‘lick, who kisses the mole on your cheek, who wants to grow dollars in both of your wallets together.

And you do realize, those “issues” are only obvious to you. The other people you think are fixated on your “glaring” issues are actually too focused on the flab on their arms, the chip in their teeth, the bald spot on their head and the rust on their car to notice the things you think are problems about yourself.

I have cankles. It’s a fact. But instead of pointing it out to people (uh, after this one exception), I’m going to start loving them for being mine. They’re my cankles on my legs and if I’m using them to kick up sea water on the sand, then that’s a pretty great place for them to be.

Please, do the same for yourself: Stop pointing out your supposed “flaws,” and start looking at yourself from a larger place. In the big picture, you’re perfectly balanced and miraculously wonderful. Your dings and scratches are what make you special, and without them, you’d be a plain old average bore with no marks to signify you’re unique and living life some. Love who you are from head to cankle, every last bit.

Tell me, what are you going to stop magnifying and start accepting and loving from now on?

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“Flipping” It: A Story

Big love,

VITAMIN OPTIMISM: Obstacles? Phooey.

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal.” —E. Joseph Cossman

If you're focused on the right thing, the route will feel glassy and clear. (Image: Amy Spencer)

What a cool quote, I love this! I picture looking at a soccer goal while kicking the ball along, that if all you’re seeing is where you want to place the ball in the net, you won’t notice the line of defenders rushing at you from all angles, you won’t notice the flash of a goalie with his arms outstretched, and maybe you won’t notice that I’ve never played more than six minutes of soccer in my life and that it would be a miracle if I kicked the ball and it went forward, never mind into the goal. But you know what I mean.

If you’re thinking about love today or your happy future, train your eyes past the stuff that stands between you and what you want. If you change your focus and aim it on what you want, the big pains in the butt of life will turn into blurs in the foreground. It’s like I say in Meeting Your Half-Orange: It’s not your job to know how to get what you want, it’s your job to want it. So forget about the obstacles you might hit in the next week—the bad dates, the so-so matches, the new people that may come between you and meeting the love of your life. Stay focused on the goal and they won’t seem so daunting anymore. Here’s the best idea: Just imagine the moment when you find your match and the announcer in your head hops up and yells “Gooooooooooaaaaaallllllll.”

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Take it From a Yoga Guru

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

OPTIMISM WORKSHOP: Build An Even Better Dream Board

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Welcome to another edition of the Optimism Workshop!

The project: Make the most effective Dream Board you can, to offer a visual reminder of what you want to feel in your ideal relationship. As I discuss in Meeting Your Half-Orange, the more of your senses you incorporate while focusing on the relationship you want, the more your emotional brain will be able to tune in the right way to the world around you.

The plan: Two readers kindly sent me copies of their Dream Boards, and I’m going to post them here and comment on what I like best about them, and how you can gain from tactics they’ve done.

DREAM BOARD #1: This one’s from Susan, who also posted it on her blog, “because I’m fearless!” she said.

What I love most about it: I love that the image in the very center of the board is a path through a flower field, and seeing that brings a feeling of instant calm; it’s a great example of how useful it is to find an image like that that represents how you think your spirit or soul will feel with someone deep down. I also love the cartoon couples and puppets! I didn’t think of that when I did mine, but cartoons represent a lightness and fun that photos of real people simply can’t, and they take the pressure off of that “image” of a person you picture yourself with. And the words Susan used, like “floaty” and “happy” and “it makes perfect sense” are wonderful choices—because it will make perfect sense once you meet your other half.

DREAM BOARD #2: This is from another reader, who said, “I just read your book and loved it! I have a tip for those who aren’t into the cut-outs-and-glue dream boards: I made a “virtual” collage of images found on the web and use it as my screen saver. There’s no mess, no cleanup and I definitely look at it everyday!”

What I love most about it: That looks like a pretty damn fun life, doesn’t it? Natural and adventurous with feelings or actions of surfing, eating, holding hands, snuggling, hugging and having “Fun! Fun! Fun!” I love that on this board, there are so many images mixed in together, you get a true feeling at first glance: of pink romantic things and green healthy things and hugs and smiles and babies. I also love that there are numerous examples of how she’ll be interacting with her other half: feet intertwined under a blanket, a man’s hand on a pregnant belly, dancing at a wedding, hugging on the grass in early morning, running free as with a surfboard; it’s helpful to show images that don’t focus on faces like this, because this way you can relate to and remember the interaction you want, not the “image” of the person you think you’ll be with.

What you can do from here: If you haven’t already built a Dream Board of your ideal relationship—how you want to feel with your half-orange—now’s the time to start! If you have already made one, feel free to build on it. Our tastes and feelings change all the time, through life experiences we have, and people we meet. So take another look at yours and ask: What else do I want to feel that isn’t represented here? Or, flip through your favorite magazine today with your dream relationship in mind and ask: Is there anything in here that makes me smile and want this feeling for myself?

Keep building your dream board all the way along the path to your perfect other half. Then, the two of you can build one for your future together.

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Big love,

“A women I was friends with, but adored, began seeing someone. I thought she knew how I felt about her. I still think she is the right partner for me in life. I have begun reading ‘Half-Orange’ and I am finding it very useful. So I wrote a very simple, sweet letter expressing my true, honest feelings and mailed it this morning. What are your thoughts?” —E.

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Hi E,

Wow, I so know that sickness in your stomach you got from seeing your friend move on—and also from feeling a well of regret that perhaps she did so without knowing how you felt. I think, in the big picture, there is nothing to regret about sharing how you feel about someone. I have been through a few of those “had feelings for good friends” relationships, and for me, none of them panned out. But boy, did I spend years working on that whole panning thing.

In retrospect, the moments I am most proud of in those friendships are the times I came out with it, confessed my feelings and was honest. One of them played out like a movie scene on a NYC street corner with me crying my heart out asking why he didn’t love me back. The next day, I had a moment of “Uh oh, that was embarrassing,” but that passed quickly when I realized how utterly free I felt. There was nothing left to be said! I’d put it out there and now it was ours to work with.

The way I see it, the worst thing we can all have in our relationships with others is uncertainty. Those moments or months of not knowing. That’s what wastes our time and our energy as we try to navigate what we don’t know. I hope that now, as you say you feel more positive and more in control having read the book, this does help you. I’m glad it made you write that email. For whatever happens, at least now you know where you stand. Either you’ll just be friends for now, or her eyes will be opened. Either way, you win! You get to move forward knowing where you stand with this one person.

And, hey, if she’s not into you, you can use your energy opening up to the rest of the world and a woman who does want to love and adore you and feel the way about you that you did your friend. Also, you also never know how life works; even if it doesn’t happen now, life can put you two in one another’s paths again when it’s more right. Who knows, right? That’s the joy of it all, that you can’t force feelings with people, but you can control how you feel and who you are. And you being positive and happy in life right now, regardless, is the best thing you can do.

I hope that through the book, you, like I learned to do, to keep living in the moment and be happy for now, not the future. That you can be open to the right love for you, not just one particular person you might hope it to be. You may hit bumps along the road, but now you know there’s a reason for that and a lesson in life and love to be learned from it. Each person we meet takes us one step closer to the person we should best be for our half-orange relationship. And we still have the ability to control the way we see and feel about what happens to us. So here’s to choosing optimism.


The Turtle Twosome

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Relationships are all about leaning on each other, right? Well, the same way we practice piano before a big concert, I think it’s good practice to start leaning on people in life before your big relationship. Sometimes you will need them, and sometimes they will need you.

For a little reminder of that today, here’s a video my Mom forwarded me that is short but sweet. It’s a little example of how we all sometimes need someone else—that every so often we can’t do it alone. After seeing this today, I’m going to start thinking about people in my life who may need me, and about how I can let my husband and friends and family be needed in return. Real love is always a give and take. And these turtles (and some Michael Bolton, yo) can help us remember that:

I say, let’s all look for some people that are a little turned-over today, right? It’ll help us take the focus off how topsy turvy we are, and it’ll feel and be good for us to remember how important it is to give when someone needs—just like the love you’ll have with your half-orange.

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The Duet You’re Dating For

Big love,