“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Strange jewels hidden deep within us... I like this idea. We just need to stand back and see if we can find them.

Several years ago, I was lucky enough to find a strange jewel in myself. The strange jewel was pink and a pig. Her name? Wanda Petunia! Since first finding a glimpse of this jewel, Wanda has grown in my imagination and she has been such a blessing.

I like this idea of love: love is really what you feel toward someone who lets you be more of who you are, what you experience about yourself when you are with them. This is why I love Wanda and why she means so much to me. Since knowing her, I have received story after story - more and more hidden jewels deep within me. As a result of these stories, I was gifted with the path to care for and love myself more... to be more me.

Even though I care for and love myself more than the first day I met Wanda, it's still a daily practice. And, I still have people (occasionally) tell me how selfish and self-centered this message is. Thankfully, I have grown enough to laugh and to also feel compassion for them. I understand where they're coming from.

For too much of my life, I didn't really listen to myself or care for myself well. There were times when I didn't even want to be alive. But I kept going. I kept trying. Thankfully, I found Wanda ~ because when the student is ready the teacher does appear! And this student needed her wisdom.

Many of us are not brought up to believe it's okay to care for and love ourselves. We are not taught this: the more we care for and love ourselves, the more love we have to share. That is why I don't hog Wanda and let her love and inspiration also reach others. The world needs more Wanda Petunia Love ~ a whole hog lot more.

Wanda embodies who I really am - my most expansive and magnificent self. I am not yet fully embodying this AND I'm on my way. Wanda is my self-care coach and muse. She has taught me so many things:

* I am more precious than diamonds * I deserve to be treated respectfully * I can both feel my feelings and also transform them to a better feeling place * I am safe * It's okay to be me * I am Love.

Over the next weeks and months, the World of Wanda (WOW) will be gathering stories of how Wanda has inspired others. We're doing a photo sharing collection ~ #why wanda ~to inspire more girls and women especially (but everyone really) to care for and love themselves too. If you have a Wanda and want to be included, let us know. If you don't have a Wanda (scandal alert!)... well you know how to find the jewel she is (hint: website)!!!

YOU too have jewels hidden deep within you. Start looking and if you need help: Wanda will be there with you for the journey!! XOINK

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Self-Love Saves the Planet!