And I’m continuing my commitment to being open and vulnerable.
As a health and wellness coach, I strive to ‘walk my talk’ and practice daily self care (although I am by no means perfect). And taking good care of myself includes being emotionally and spiritually well – ’cause ya know, we can eat all of the broccoli on the planet but if we don’t like ourselves or we’re constantly ‘feeding’ ourselves criticism and negative self talk, we will not be well.
So full disclosure and some of you already know this but many do not – this past year has been quite the roller coaster ride for me. During the past year I separated from and ultimately divorced my husband. As you might expect, it was heartbreaking. Of course no one gets married – commits to being someone’s partner for life – with an expectation of the whole thing ending.
I spent much of the last 9 months soul searching, going within and allowing myself to feel ALL of the emotions that I experienced. I cried a lot of tears.
I am definitely not writing this for sympathy. I know all of us experience pain. It is a natural part of this journey we call, life.
I’m sharing this with all of you because these last 9 months have been the most profound life altering time for me – a shedding of who I’ve known MYSELF to be.
Ultimately I have begun paving a new path for how I actually experience my own life.
But how? How did this happen.
I started to really look at ‘what does it mean to love someone?’ and “what does it mean to love myself?”. I began to see that the 2nd question was actually more important. Loving oneself, fully and unconditionally, has a profound impact on the depth of love available to give to someone else.
I recently asked a new client what unconditional love was for him and how might that look in his life. He said he had no idea but immediately thought of his child.
I don’t have children but I know from the many people in my life who do, that a parent has immediate and unconditional love for their child. They will do ANYTHING for them.
So I ask you to consider, what are the ways in which you love your self unconditionally?
And what might alter in your life if you did?
The new approaches and behaviors in my life have happened slowly, gently, and you could even say it’s been a honeymoon period. Yes, it may sound unusual but I’ve been having a ‘love affair’ with myself. (I hope you are smiling…writing this actually made me laugh). 🙂
Obviously you don’t need to end your relationship or your marriage in order to give this to yourself.
This new lease on life, a new relationship with and for myself has emerged for me from slowing down and tuning into my physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I’ve slowly integrated new habits of loving myself, that I now practice on a daily basis.
So I want to share with you some of the practices I now have.
daily gratitude – each day I write down 5 things I’m grateful for in my life, for that day (ie this can include people, experiences, or ‘things’). You would be amazed at the powerful impact this has on how you feel about yourself and your life.
appreciate and acknowledge myself – each day I write down 5 things I want to acknowledge myself for (this can be something I did or didn’t do…like not eating sugar or being patient with someone or not honking at a crazy driver…you get the idea).
be kind – each day I find something to tell myself that is kind or loving. Could even be as simple as “I love you” (And yes this will seem strange too, at first, but that’s only because we often don’t do it).
One of the most important habits I now have is a regular reminder that I do not need to look outside myself for self worth, value and love.
Knowing who I am and the love that I bring to the world around me is now being sourced from within. I now put myself at the top of the list. It doesn’t mean that others are not as important; it just means I’m now just as important.
I truly believe it is only through giving to yourself that you can give of yourself, fully, to others.
Nurture yourself. Take care of yourself. Love yourself.
You are worth it.
Valentine’s day: a day so many of us go out of our way to abundantly acknowledge, celebrate, and demonstrate love for the people in our lives.
But has it occurred to you to include yourself in that lovefest? Are you lovin’ on yourself today?
Did you appreciate your body and all it does? Did you show love to your body — your one and only permanent home — with the same care you show for the physical home you live in?
But let me tell you, until recently, genuinely and unconditionally loving myself and my body was not my experience. You see, I don’t look like most women in our society. I don’t fit our cultural definition of a beautiful woman.
I am bald.
I have no eyelashes; I have no eyebrows.
I have lived with alopecia areata for 37 years, an autoimmune disease that causes sufferers to lose their hair. I have worn a wig for the last 12 of those years. Seeing my own true beauty has been difficult.
In 2013 this changed. I began asking myself, “What does it really mean to love someone? And what does it mean to love myself? How might that look in the day-to-day living of my life?”
I’ve really taken the phrase “love the one you’re with” deep into my heart and soul.
I started practicing gratitude and appreciation everyday. I started truly looking at myself, allowing myself to see the preciousness of my body. I began looking at my photo, the one you see of me here, every day.
For the first time ever, I have the freedom to show myself to the masses without my ‘do’ — and I can genuinely say I love me.
But this didn’t happen overnight. Just like in any relationship, trust, appreciation, commitment, and unconditional love blossom over time.
Would we ever in a million years say to another human being the critical, self-deprecating, belittling, and degrading things we often say to ourselves?
I started treating myself the way I treat others. I started looking for things to appreciate about myself, about my body and all of the incredible functions it performs every minute of every day. I now celebrate my own beauty — both inside and out.
What would it take for you to be your own BFF? After all, YOU are the one and only person who is guaranteed to be with you for your whole life.
You might want show yourself some wild, passionate love for a change!
Being a holistic health coach has allowed me to learn and discover what my body, mind, and spirit need — what loving myself looks like. I pay attention when I need some extra sleep, and I get it. I respect the food that’s best for me and my body. I fully express what I need to say, and I don’t dwell on upsetting situations anymore. I don’t worry about what others will think of me.
All of this self love has brought me greater freedom, joy, and love in my life.
And, because of the many new habits I’ve adopted, I’m incredibly grateful to say that my hair is coming back!
Brene Brown says in her newest book Daring Greatly, “I think our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted. It means engaging with the world from a place of vulnerability and worthiness.”
This journey of self-discovery, vulnerability, and learning to love all of who I am, has lead to this very moment: the opportunity to share one of the most difficult challenges of my life with you.
Because it doesn’t take courage to fully be me. It only takes love.
1 tbsp Coconut oil
1 cup water
1 inch piece fresh ginger, diced
1 inch piece fresh turmeric, diced
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp white miso
bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
bunch fresh curly parsley, chopped
In a saucepan, saute ginger, turmeric and garlic in coconut oil, approx 1 minute. Add in water, bring to boil. Add in miso. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer approximately 10-15 minutes. All miso should be dissolved. Pour into bowl. Add parsley and cilantro once served.
There are many documented reasons to reduce sugar intake. Some of those reasons include that it inhibits our immune system and makes it more challenging for our body to fight off colds, infections and heal. It increases inflammation, which then makes it even more difficult to deal with an autoimmune disease. It can exacerbates symptoms of certain diseases and can trigger the onset of others.
Sugar is also addictive, it adds empty calories, increases cholesterol, increases blood pressure, as well as increases fat storage.
So what are the alternatives? Thankfully there are many different options that we can include in our baking, cooking and every day foods to not be deprived of the delicious tastes of sweetness! Here are just a few good options for you to try out.
HONEY: Honey is made by honeybees from plant nectar. Unheated and unfiltered raw honey is cloudy and contains healthful propolis and pollen. Although it is a simple sugar, less is needed because it’s sweeter than white sugar. Honey is a very versatile sweetener and is excellent in baking. It should not be given to children younger than two.
MAPLE SYRUP: Maple syrup is the boiled sap of sugar maple trees. Grade A is light and from early sap runs. Grade B is from later runs and has a stronger flavor. Organic is best to avoid residues of chemicals often used in the tapping process. Crystallized maple syrup is available as a sprinkle. Refrigerate to inhibit mold.
MOLASSES: Molasses is a by-product of refining sugar cane. Blackstrap is slightly sweet, comes from the final press of sugar cane and is a source of iron and calcium. “Unsulphured molasses” indicates no sulphur dioxide was used in extraction or as a preservative.
STEVIA: Stevia is derived from a perennial shrub with leaves 30-times sweeter than sugar. It has no calories and may be useful for people with diabetes, hypoglycemia or candida. Available in powdered, liquid, concentrate, tea or tablet form.
Looking for a way to reduce that craving for sweet, altogether? Increase dark leafy greens (or sometimes even a green apple will do the trick) and increase healthy nurturing fats (nuts, seeds, avocados, for example). The fats will keep you satiated, help reduce the craving and the greens will provide much needed nourishment that is often depleted when we eat sugar.
While I am incredibly grateful for the abundance I experience in my life, this year has presented many challenges for me and as I’ve weathered some storms, I’ve begun to see how important it is to speak MY truth.
I’ve begun to uncover some places where I’m ‘hiding out’. I invite you to look in your own life.
Do you have areas of your life that you don’t want anyone know about?
Living with a ‘secret’ is a heavy burden to carry, especially if much of your life is an open book as mine has become. These ‘secrets’ not only take a toll on our emotional and spiritual well-being but also impact our physical health.
So…I have a few big REVEALs for you that I’ll be sharing over the coming months.
One of them, I’m finally coming clean about today! Ready?
I really am NOT making light of addictions and I’m truly not kidding. I have been addicted to sugar for much of my life. It has taken several years to finally get a handle on it. (Some of you may remember over 2 years ago I publicly declared I would
be living my first year of my life without sugar…only lasted a few months).
Its been a difficult road to travel. There were many times I said ‘ok this time I’m really going to do it’. Well over the many months of feeling incredibly frustrated, disappointed and not knowing how to get the sugar out and keep it out, I finally had a breakthrough! SHAZAM!
I’ve tried many different approaches and the breakthrough came when I began to see what was truly important to me and WHY it was so important to me to do this.There were a few things that shifted for me.
1) LOVE – I began to really investigate what it means to truly honor, value and love myself. As I started to do this, I could clearly see that loving myself means giving my body the best possible food that I can. It also means eating food that I love. We’re not talking deprivation! 🙂 I wanted to feel good, have lots of energy and have longevity. Knowing that sugar inhibits the immune system and contributes to bodily decay, I finally said – NO THANKS!
2) SWEETNESS (other than food). One day I decided that I would allow myself to enjoy the sweetness of life in as many ways as possible without having to ‘ingest’ it. No sugar; no eating any sweet foods for the whole day. Turned out to be one of the best days of my life! The incredible ‘sweetness’ in the way of conversations, interactions and appreciation that I experienced far outweighed the need to eat sugar.
3) OTHER SWEETS – Now that I finally have sugar out (and on a RARE occasion that it sneaks in), I have totally control over it. It does not control me. The one sweetner I regularly use now is stevia. This is the only known sweetner that does not increase blood sugar and wreck havoc, well with every system in our body, like sugar and many other sweetners do. If you’re moving over gradually, go for raw honey, black strap molassess or coconut nectar. All good replacements. And make sure to read labels too! Eating fruit (in small amounts) as a replacement for those other sweet treats is a good direction to move as well.
Here’s to a sweet energized life (not a sugar controlled fatigue filled one)!
6 oz Salmon
1 teaspoon of Coconut Aminos
Mix of Salmon Rub spices
Handful of Pomegranate seeds
Handful of Cilantro (fresh)
1/2 inch fresh turmeric
And I’m not just talking about a mani/pedi afternoon! (Of course those are great too)!
Taking a moment, as often as possible, to really honestly ask yourself what you need will not only provide you with some relief and satisfaction but a new sense of self and what’s important to you may emerge.
Your practice is exactly that…YOURS! It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it something that leaves feeling good, restored and loved.
Here are a few recommendations for rejuvenating, taking time out to rest, restore and to get in touch what is really needed for you to feel a deeper connection to yourself and the world around you.
Soulful Retreat Recommendations
1. Ask yourself as often as possible, especially in stressful moments, “what do I really need right now?” And then stop long enough to truly listen. If what you need can’t be given at that very moment, be sure to set aside some time that day or the next to fulfill your need.
2.Deep breathing – deep breathing exercising can be done anywhere, any time. Great for calming the mind and body
3. Fresh air everyday – getting outside for a short walk or justing sitting in a park, taking in the smells, sounds and beauty around you can provide a much needed reprieve from the day to day stress of life.
4. Take time out of your day to be still. Stillness can look many different ways but the most important part is to bring stillness to your mind. Bring some quiet to your being and allow your body to fully relax.
5. Ask for help. Oftentimes,in our busy world of very high expectations, we often feel like we need to go it alone. Part of restoring our body, mind and Spirit includes allowing others to contribute to us and support us when life gets a little rough.
Your experience of unconditional love, feeling cared for and even a state of bliss are just moments away!
Turmeric (Curcumin) provides numerous benefits to healing and overall good health. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, supports healthy joint function and helps improve digestion. Adding in a fresh turmeric (the root form) in juices and smoothies will provide a nice little kick to any deelish recipes.
Apple-Carrot Spicy Delight
1 whole green apple
3 peeled carrots
1 inch piece of ginger
1 inch piece of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Juice and enjoy!
It is a rare occasion that I focus on what might seem like something negative but I want to address health ‘set-backs’ and how you can set yourself up to NOT experience them.
The holiday season is a prime time for many people to feel challenged or even completely lost to the point of just ‘throwing in the towel’ and taking a break from your health goals or being symptom free from your autoimmune disease.
I say this with the utmost compassion: DON’T DO IT!!
That momentarily joy of eating a brownie (or 2 or 3) or having several glasses of wine or eating an allergenic food, will never be worth the cost and symptoms you will feel later.
So how do we avoid the trip ups? How do we make sure we’re eating life giving foods during the holiday parties and still enjoy ourselves? We always have a choice about the foods we eat, the drinks we consume, how much sleep we get and how much stress we take into our body, mind and spirit.
Here are a few tips to support you along the way.
1) Plan ahead. This is SO important! If you know you’ll be going to a party or a work event or traveling, planning is critical. Ensuring you’ve either eaten some food before-hand or taking food to the party that you know will leave you feeling good, is one sure way to stay well. Bring food in the car with you on a long road trip or on the plane if you’re flying. Bring food to the party that you know is ‘safe’ and you’d like to share! Sharing our delicious life-giving food will leave your friends and family delighted! Find out ahead of time what food will be served. While this one is helpful not always a complete guarantee you’ll be ‘safe’. Anyone with a food sensitivity or food allergy knows that food made outside your own kitchen can be a risk. Planning is KEY!
2) Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is critical to ongoing good health all of the time but especially during the holidays when our schedules may be different, our stress level increases and we may be eating foods our body isn’t used to absorbing. Since our body is about 70% water, drinking water throughout the day is vitally important to maintain our health and feel well. Whether we’re in the kitchen baking cookies all day, cleaning the house in preparation for guests or attending a party, be sure to drink up …water, that is!
3) Get outside and move your body. Why wouldn’t I say this…I always recommend fresh air and moving our body! 🙂 Especially during the holidays, we tend to be a little more sendentary. Just like with food, planning ahead will support you in ensuring your body, mind and spirit gets the exercise, stretching and movement you need to be well and to have energy to do all you want to do during the holidays.
4) Breathe deeply. Deep cleansing breaths on a regular basis does wonders for relaxing your body and your mind. You can do this any time, any where! Just take a deep breath now. Deep from your diaphragm. Deep breath in…deep breath out. Doing this before you go to a party or get in the car to drive (or even while you’re driving). Cleansing your body with deep breaths will refresh, relax and energize you.
Enjoy the upcoming holidays!
For most of my life, I’ve considered myself a ‘dog’ person. Anyone that has ever co-habitated with a furry friend knows that we often label ourselves as the animal we most favor, as if we actually ARE that animal. I find it funny, endearing and strange all at the same time.
But, I never would have imagined EVER calling myself a ‘cat’ person, especially after being traumatized as a child when I first heard a cat in heat!
But thankfully I’ve opened my heart and have had the most precious and transformational experience with our cat Cojo (he was originally my husband, Rich’s, cat). It was a toss up at first-who was staying, Cojo or me, given I wasn’t YET a ‘cat’ person.
Not only have Cojo and I become best of buds, but I have learned many life lessons from furry friend.
1)Ask for what you need and desire
Cojo has shown me the ease one can bring to expressing needs and desires very openly, without hesitation. For him, whether its food or water or even to not be bothered in the moment, he expresses in the best way he knows how. It’s ok to ask for what we need.
2) Express appreciation often
I always know that no matter what I do for Cojo, whether its feeding him or scratching his back or cleaning his litter (ok let’s be real, Rich cleans his litter) he always has a way of showing his appreciation. It always reminds me how simple yet how powerful a simple thank you can be in the quality of our life with others.
3) Be playful
Cojo is now 10 years old, and lets just say he’s not quite as nimble as he once was and we noticed he likes to lounge about quite a bit more than he used to do (I can relate to that). However, we recently acquired a new little feline friend for him, Vindaloo, who is quite the acrobat and instigator. Cojo has revitalized his playful, youthful self and clearly enjoys the unexpected company. When we allow others to express play, fun and joy, it lightens our world and reminds me that it’s never to late to play.
4) Be open and vulnerable
Cojo often lies on the floor, on his back, with legs all splayed open, showing his underbelly. This is a very vulnerable position for him. He will sometimes stay like that and let me gently scratch his belly. Being open, showing our true colors and allowing someone into our vulnerable world is a heart opening experience to which nothing compares.
5) Be Still
We often call Cojo the Buddha Kitty. It’s truly astounding how still, focused yet aware he seems to be (and as you can see from the photo, he often will sit in what looks like his version of half lotus). There are times when in the hurriedness of life, I’ll glance at him and notice he’s watching me. His look, his stillness reminds me to take a deep breath, there’s nothing needing to be chased and the preciousness of life is right now, in this moment.
6) Tune into others and show compassion
I am consistently astounded by the compassion, energy and awareness that Cojo seems to bring to us. A few years ago, in the middle of the night, I was hit with some food poisoning. Needless to say it startled everyone. Not only was Rich there to support me as I paid homage to the porcelain throne, but I looked down to see little fluffy Cojo standing between my legs with a look of concern. Amazing. He sits with us when we meditate and seems to know when we need to be quiet and still. He’s always there for me if I’m upset. Tuning into other’s emotions, showing compassion and lending support (or just a sweet expression) is often all we need to move through the tough moments in life.
It never ceases to amaze me how connected we can be to all of the life around us. I’m eternally grateful for the gifts and lessons Cojo has given me.