1. Don’t compromise your values to stay with a man.
2. Don’t harbor hatred in your heart for anyone, because it will poison your other relationships.
3. Stop looking for a guy. Just focus on finding pleasure in your life, and he will come.
That was the advice from Maria Olson Goins, founder of LivLuna; Elena Brower, yogina and founder of ViraYoga and Art of Attention; and Yolanda Shoshana, the Luscious Lifestyle Diva; who all spoke at LivLuna’s event, How to Create the Love You Want.
LivLuna, if you need reminding, is a site dedicated to cultivating a positive self image for women and girls. It’s a great place to go when you need a break from skinny Victoria’s Secret models who have been airbrushed beyond recognition, or media messages telling you to buy things you don’t need or else you won’t be as pretty or popular.
When I arrived the event this Monday in Meatpacking, the bar was full of young women laughing and talking over vodka cocktails. I met a couple of the amazing women working at LivLuna–Kathleen Furey and Christina Starmer–who I chatted with while taking snaps of people at the event.
Then the music got low and after a brief introduction by Maria, standup comedian Marla Schultz broke it down for us onstage. Girl is funny, dropping hilarious tidbits in between on-point lessons about not letting men run all over you.
Here’s a variation of her act:
But the main event was the three women there to tell their stories and advice of creating a strong, meaningful love.
Elena told her own powerful story of infidelity and redemption, breaking down the walls she had built around herself through recognizing her own role in the ruined relationships in her life. “Whatever you’re holding against someone in your life, just entertain the possibility that it is you. Just say to yourself, ‘Say it’s me being mean.’ As soon as I said that, the tears began to fall and the bricks began to crumble, and within six months I was with the man I love.”
How can you harbor hate for someone and real love for someone else in the same body? Elena doesn’t think it’s possible. For her, the first step to real love is to talk to the people against whom you’ve been holding a grudge–to interview them like a journalist on your relationship. If they are crazy or dead, write them a letter. But try to figure out why it happened. Once you do that, you will open yourself up to a real, true relationship.
Yolanda’a advice was all about empowerment. To her, our enemies of happiness aren’t just dick guys. It’s also girls who will try to tear down your happiness. “Don’t talk about the first date with your friends. Women can be dream killers.” She says to just enjoy the first few dates, and then when you are really sure you like the guy, you can start opening up to your friends about him. Or else girls will pick at the details, finding things that are wrong that you hadn’t even thought of!
You also have to stop focusing on finding a guy. Men can smell that, Yolanda said. Just focus on finding pleasure and laughing, and men will be attracted to that happiness you exude.
I think this is totally true. On a smaller scale, when I’ve been at a party where I’m thinking, “Someone come talk to me!” No one does. It’s when you’re not worried that the magic happens.
Maria Olson Goins
The most emotional part of the night came when Maria opened up about her own dark period in her life. She kept moving the line on her own values to accommodate this terrible boyfriend, until she finally realized she needed to leave. “You don’t stop loving someone because they hurt you,” she said. “You just love yourself less.” That drew a strong reaction from the crowd of women, who clearly felt something resonate within themselves at that statement.
The best advice of the night was this: Make sure your partner is lifting you up–not clipping your wings.”
I’ll leave you with this very appropriate and pretty new melody (the video is shot in NYC, PS). And below, peep the slideshow of more pictures from the event.
This is really annoying, but clicking the slideshow each time makes the page reload and brings you to the top. I’m going to try to figure out how to fix it, but don’t hate me in the meantime!