Are You Your Body’s Worst Enemy?

Ever get hit with a smack-in-your-face reality check and wonder why it took you so long to figure this out? The kind that makes you wonder how you could be so stupid…how could you have let it happen when you clearly know better?

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling terrific. I was emerging more & more from the shell of safety I’d built around myself during the big move. My thoughts were much more clear than they had been since the car accident, and though my belly was giving me occasional grief, my body was reacquainting me with the strength and resilience I thought I’d lost to the downhill slide of middle age.

I took a little trip home to Montreal to visit friends and such. At an acupressure session, I was reawakened to the deep healing you get from going for tune-up support rather than damage control. I walked out feeling like a million bucks!

That night, I went out for the first in a series of overly permissive meals, all in the name of my birthday. I proceeded to indulge, at one point or other over the next 2 days, in ALL the things I usually avoid out of concern for my health… at times, all at once.

I mean, come on, this was a time to be celebrating, a time to let myself go and enjoy.

While I’d just had all this lovely energetic work done on my digestive system, and was fully aware that taking it easy was important – in the same way a big workout after a massage or chiropractic adjustment is to be avoided – I still let my elbow be twisted about sharing a bottle of wine, I ordered the veggies smothered in sour cream. I didn’t refuse the invitation to share a slice of chocolate cheesecake.*

Little wonder that I felt like crap warmed over on the train home, sipping lemon water and swearing to eat nothing but vegetables and broth for the next week.

My logical brain wanted to pin the hangover on some particular culprit: too many late nights, one glass of wine too many, the chocolate, the pasta, the ice cream.*

The fact is, this had nothing to do with the dairy or the gluten or the chocolate or the sugar or the alcohol – they were incidental to this story.

The worst offender in all of it was myself.


Yes, there are certain foods and habits that you are best to avoid. If you’re trying to fit back into your favourite dress, if your arthritis prevents you from opening the pickle jar, if your gassy gut makes it too embarrassing to go out, there are definitely foods you know to stay away from, there are habits that help you feel better, that prevent things from getting worse.

It’s so easy on those days that you feel bad to stick to the tried & true routine. Once you start to feel good again, your resolve slips. The better you feel, the more exceptions you allow.

If you’re listening closely to your body, you will be aware of the subtle whispers when she hints that it’s time to ease up and be “good” again.


Then there are the times when you feel great, when you’re so high on yourself, you feel invincible, and you somehow believe that nothing could harm you. These are the days you understand what you want your new normal to be. This is how you dream of feeling every day.

Integrate that sensation when it comes; sit with it, get to know the edges of this newly expanded container around you, seek its wisdom. Settle into it.

If you don’t you’re liable to crash as I did.

The Hendricks’ call this the Upper Limits Problem – when you get to a state of more positive energy than you’re used to, and you (subconsciously) find a way to knock yourself back down a few pegs.


Is there a fine line, though, where the knocking down isn’t quite so subconscious, when celebrating becomes damage?


This may be harsh to say, but that’s what I call abusive.

What I did to myself the other day – ignoring the pleas from my inner knowing and ingesting things I ought not, and in large quantities; hurting my system more because it was extra sensitive, then back-tracking with promises to do better next time. Sounds like abuse to me.

bound in self abuseThe Bach Flower Essence for abuse/self-abuse is Vine. Think of the plant itself: perfect tool for self-flagellation. Even after you do the thing that hurts you, that was so stupid, you continue to beat yourself up about it for days and weeks to come. A vine is the perfect plant for tying yourself up in a knot.

Then it hardens, so that you end up being fully bound in old growth.

Thinking about vines reminds me of the princess in the tower, locked there by a nasty old witch, the character we’ve come to associate with evil personified. Could it be that witch is the part of you that keeps you locked inside the perceived limitations of your issues?

The witch is selfish in the way that she prevents the princess from sharing her beauty with the rest of the kingdom. In squandering your good feelings, in hoarding this better version of you by keeping her hidden or small, you deprive others of the opportunity to love you. You deprive yourself of an opportunity to love you.

The witch cares for the princess so much that she hides her away out of fear for her innocence, not wanting her to get hurt. Are you caring for yourself when you don’t give yourself the chance to heal, or is that a form of cruelty? It’s true: the more open you are, the more you stand up for what you value, the more vulnerable you are to ridicule and attack from the world around you. Yet, the more open you are, the more space you have to grow and blossom into that million dollar version you usually only glimpse.

All that to say that, as much as some of your back-sliding may be subconscious, there are times when perhaps you’re more aware than you’re willing to admit. There are times when you ignore your better judgment, your inner voice and the advice of your health-care practitioner in favour of the momentary freedom of not having to care.

There are times when your fears of stepping out of the familiar shell that is your life and state of health keep you bound in inertia.


The good news is that making mistakes is all a part of learning.

Deliberate or not, every time I overstretch the current limits of my body, I’m brought back to a place where I can regroup with compassion, and find a new route by which I can find my way out of the familiar in comfort.


I will say this again because I want to be sure you heard it:

When you get to that place of feeling better that you have in ages, of having shifted into a gorgeous expansion (albeit unfamiliar):

Integrate that sensation when it comes; sit with it, get to know the edges of this newly expanded container around you, seek its wisdom. Settle into it.


Do you abuse your body with misplaced care? When you share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

* Note: none of the food items I mention in this anecdote are bad for you in and of themselves. They represent the worst culprits in this particular phase of my healing journey. We’ll talk more about permission and concepts such as 80/20 in an upcoming post.


How to Dance Your Way to Better Health


More and more, the experts are telling us to clear blocked emotions as a necessary part in your healing journey. Dr. Northrup’s “You have to feel it to heal it” and other variations make complete sense. Yet, many of us – my hand’s raised her – are so out of touch with how we feel, it’s a challenge to truly GET that concept.

There was no room in my upbringing for the full spectrum of emotions – how many of you had parents who gave you space tantrums? Laughter or tears or outbursts of any kind, my brothers and I were told to “settle down”. The only emotions we ever saw in full regalia was anger – my father’s, sometimes my mother’s when we’d driven her completely up the wall – and never something we were free to send back in their direction.

Raised to use my head, I had little inkling that the feelings I knew had any depth beyond the small ripple they created in my mind and moods. Being a good girl, I was encouraged to keep it that way.

Believe it or not, I actually learned how to feel from a book. I was at my first yoga retreat, and picked up a stray copy of Gay & Kathleen Hendricks’ Conscious Loving. That was when, at age 29, I learned that emotions are felt in the body. Yoga was the doorway to my more fully realized self, in that it gave me the tools and space to start along a path of integrating all my parts – body, mind, heart & soul.

It’s been a long, ongoing process to learn – nearly another 20 years for me to find the courage to explore my feelings to their very fullest. For the longest time, I was scared of big emotions, in others as well as myself. They are so chaotic, unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

And you know what it’s like, you want to do things that make you happy and get through the negative emotions as quickly as possible.

Thing is, emotions are neither good nor bad. Like the rain, they have no inherent value. In cold & dark November, it’s depressing, at the end of a scorching July day, it’s a godsend. The rain necessary for life to shift and change and grow.

We try so hard to increase our joy, always looking for the shortcut or the magic bullet to happiness & love, that we’ve lost touch with the healthy aspects of anger, fear and sadness. We have no time in our schedules to give them space, so we ignore them, override them with a smile or suppress them with pills, alcohol, sugar and other drugs.

Emotions are like water. Close them up for too long and two things can happen. With no hint of movement, the pool stagnates, creating a breeding ground for mould, bacteria, parasites (auto-immunity, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, IBD,…) Holding back a river requires a strong dam and a lot of physical energy, depleting your body’s defenses and feeding such states as anxiety or depression. There’s also the risk that the slightest crack in the wall will release a wild, even destructive flood.

Like water, e-motions are nothing more than energy-in-motion. They need to flow. They become unhealthy when we avoid them or let them get pent up.

Your core emotions, and the physiological responses they create in your body are part of your communication system. They are in place as part of your survival.

Follow the movement, the dance each one invites you to share and you’ll see what I mean.

(I’m serious, stand up and do this with me – maybe one day soon I’ll add a video to help this along.)

We start with Joy or Desire.

Think of something that has made you just overflow with happiness. Where do you feel it? Likely, it’s somewhere in your torso, your heart centre. Sit with it a moment until you feel the movement in there. Perhaps it’s open-chested, shoulders back, leaning in.

Desire is a step forward.

It says, This feels good, this nourishes me, let’s go for it!

It connects you to the world and people and situations that light you up. That nurture you and help you grow. It’s that feeling of a little girl seeing her mom after a long absence and running to her full-tilt, with open arms.

The direct opposite of Joy is Sadness.

Think of something that makes you sad. Where do you feel it and how does it move? Still in your torso, I bet, though closing inward this time. Sadness retreats, curls you into a ball.

It tells you where you’ve disconnected, be it consciously or not, from your loved ones, your community, your sources of nourishment.

It’s part of your survival in the same way that a seed ensures the survival of a plant. The seed’s job is to disconnect, to leave the mother plant. It’s a tightly closed capsule that contains all the energy and nutrients necessary to create a whole new plant. Once it finds the ideal environment and gets exposed to a bit of water, it cracks open.

When you’re sad – usually at the (forced or planned) disconnection from someone or something you love – you can feel uprooted. It’s survival to gather your resources and save your energy until conditions seem safe again. Shedding a few tears (or buckets-full!) will eventually crack open your heart and mind to re-engage with life.

Anger is your inner mama-bear at work.

Without going overboard, think of a situation that pisses you off. Notice where it sits in your body and how it wants to move. It yells and waves its arms around and snarls and wants to throw things – it basically says, Keep the hell away from me!

Anger can be scary in that it is large and loud, but it’s purpose is not to inflict harm.

Anger protects your from harm. It helps you set and maintain healthy boundaries – that perimeter of safe, personal space around you. It kicks in when that safety has been breached.

Bears don’t attack people for the heck of it. Generally a wild animal will only attack if you’re too close to their shelter, their food or their children – when you’ve threatened their basic needs.

If you’re angry (frustrated, irritated, impatient, annoyed, irritable,…) it’s an indication that your survival, that one of your needs – what you need to both survive and thrive – has been removed or threatened. (See this list of basic human needs that, yes, include things like touch and attention.)

Anger moves up and out. It’s loud and needs a lot of space. Follow that flow – better out than in!

A child psychologist once gave me the “anger rules” for my boys. They basically say you’re allowed to be angry, you’re just not allowed to hurt anyone (including yourself) nor damage anything. She encouraged us to make an angry corner where the kids were allowed to punch pillows, shred paper, yell & scream or whack a door frame with a tea towel when the need arose.

Try giving yourself permission to do the same. You might even want to put on a timer so you don’t go too far overboard. (The tea towel one is great, especially when you also yell all the furious, horrible things you want to say to the person/situation that has you riled.) Let loose in your tantrum! Then let yourself settle back into the calm. You’ll find that you are now able to deal with whatever was bothering you with a more rational & productive approach.

Maybe I’ve left Fear for last because it’s my own particular nemesis.

Call it childhood programming or part of my path, but fear is my first reaction to any situation even remotely out of my comfort zone. It blows up to unreasonable proportions. I’m a great one for lying in bed at 3 am turning molehills in mountains that threaten to crush me in their shadows.

What scares you? How does it show up in your body? Fear is a step backwards…or in my case, turns me around and has me run away screaming. Fear can also freeze you in place.

Its purpose is to keep you out of harm’s way. When you get to the edge of a cliff staying stock-still or stepping back are the only wise choices.

Fear says, This doesn’t feel right, let’s get out of here, or check things out before taking another step. When you’re walking down a dark road, it’s the feeling that reminds you to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Fear has a tricky counterpart: it can be the feeling your ego sends when you’re about to walk down an unfamiliar road. Because you have no way of knowing which twists and turns and cliffs you’re likely to encounter, it tries to prevent you from going that way at all.

I’ve learned to use this type of fear as a tool: it reminds me when to step back to reassess and informs me of how huge the potential reward and growth will be at the other end. (This can be a strange concept to wrap your head around – some days, I’m not sure if I get it fully myself – it will likely show up as its own exploration in a later blog.)

Emotions are the energy of life. The dances they lead you on are the steps to a more fulfilled, more expanded, more fully actualized version of you.

Emotions are the cues to being fully yourself. In the physiological world, the distinction between what yours and what isn’t falls in the realm of the immune system. Giving free flow to how you feel will improve your ability to stay strong in the face of disease.

Want to know the beautiful part of exploring my emotions? The more space and time I give them, the less afraid I become of them, the more confidence I have to say what I need to say, the more likely I am to express what I truly need. The repercussions of this on my life blossom continuously.

How do you move with and through your emotions? Which one gives you the hardest time? When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Invite your friends to join this dance by using any (or all!) of these buttons.



PS I’ve started using Bach Flower Essences to help support myself and clients through the many movements of this dance. If you want to know more about them, contact me here.

The Value of Chocolate {+ a Valentine Ritual}

Inspired by Judy Chicago, I’ve created a virtual dinner party: One category of my blog will be dedicated to honouring women who I want to be a part of my soul community. Each woman at my virtual table has a lesson to teach, even if it’s simply to inspire us with her ability to hold greater aspirations for ourselves than we’d ever thought possible. Each one will be a manifestation of the Goddess, a Wise Woman, a pilgrim on the road of the Sacred Feminine. I want to share the wisdom of these women as part of my community of support.

chocolate ritualI have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t like, crave, need and/or have a daily dose of chocolate. It seems to have become a part of the shared female-experience, along with cramps and birth stories.

Our love of this dark delicacy has sparked any number of studies and investigations into its benefits: the antioxidant load, the blood pressure- and cortisol-lowering properties, the magnesium.

Fortunately, the availability of good chocolate has started to shift along with the interest. Like all of us, my early experience of chocolate was limited to the candy – lots of sugar, milk-infused – brought to us by Hershey and Cadbury and Nestlé. As an adult I graduated to Godiva, then truffles, then gourmet combinations with salty or tangy or pungent flavours.

But there’s so much more to chocolate than meets the eye:

  • Were Theobroma cacao grown and harvested as it was meant to be, it would be worth more than gold.
  • The Aztecs used it as currency.
  • The word theobroma means “food of the gods”.

Yet, like so many things in our lives, we’ve taken the unique qualities of a commodity and industrialized them to a point where they become commonplace. Think salt or sugar. Think a fresh tomato in the middle of winter, or the rows of candy bars in every grocery and convenience store in the world.

In these quantities (and lower quality), chocolate isn’t good for us.

But what IS chocolate? Why are we so fascinated by it?

Is there a way that we can honour the value of chocolate and enjoy it in a way that’s more nourishing?

To answer these questions, I brought in chocolate aficionada, Sue Ann Gleason. What fun it was to chat with her about chocolate for an hour! Yes, it ended up being quite a long conversation, but like a good piece of chocolate, perhaps it’s best savoured in small bites.

To quote Sue Ann from her website, Chocolate for Breakfast, my intention with this post is to take us one more step towards “enjoying the sensuous, sumptuous, voluptuous nature of the food we eat”.

Listen to our conversation to find out

  • The health benefits of chocolate: we riff about the good, the potential for bad and the difference between a treat and a treatment;
  • Why you might want to eat chocolate for breakfast;
  • How chocolate is like a good bottle of wine;
  • And, as part of spiritual self-care: How to create a chocolate ritual as a means of treating yourself exquisitely.

Sue Ann shares details on how to choose good chocolate – the most important step of all! – as well as many online resources for purchasing the best kinds.

want a version you can download to enjoy on your commute in the morning? Grab it here.

Though I only had commercial chocolate during the recording, I just bought some Marou from Vietnam. I’ll be tasting it on Friday with my girlfriends, along with other types I found while out exploring bean to bar chocolate in Montreal.

I found them at

La tablette de Miss Choco
Les chocolats de Chloé

Now it’s your turn to get in on the conversation:

What is it about chocolate that appeals to you? We’d also love to hear what you learned when you take the time to honour this “food of the gods” and taste it with the ceremony and reverence it deserves. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Sue Ann GleasonTo learn more about Sue Ann, you can connect with her in a few different places. (Delicious freebies await you!)
Chocolate Lovers’ Guide: <>  <>
No Longer Asleep at the Meal ebook:

Know a chocolate lover? Use any (or all!) of these buttons to share this post with them.


Let the Love In

Inspired by Judy Chicago, I’ve created a virtual dinner party: One category of my blog will be dedicated to honouring women who I want as a part of my soul community. Each woman at my virtual table has a lesson to teach, even if it’s simply to inspire us with her ability to hold greater aspirations for ourselves than we’d ever thought possible. Each one will be a manifestation of the Goddess, a Wise Woman, a pilgrim on the road of the Sacred Feminine. I want to share the wisdom of these women as part of my community of support.

No matter how many times I watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s, it remains one of my favourite movies. No matter how old I’ve been at each viewing, there’s always some aspect that speaks to me. Holly Golightly embodies so many facets of who I’ve been/ wanted to be/ am:

Holly G

  • The carefree party girl.
  • The barefoot dreamer,
  • The spontaneous mischief make,
  • The gold-digger,
  • Or the scared & lonely girl inside.

Plus, she rocks those Givenchy dresses like nobody’s business.


It would be such a treat to have her (as played by Audrey Hepburn) at my virtual Dinner Party, to remind us all of the lessons of life & love she learns every time we watch.

The first time you see Holly, you’d think she’d read Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map. Even though she’s not sure what exactly she’s seeking in life, she knows what it feels like: quiet & proud (like Tiffany’s). If she “could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany’s”, she’d lay down some roots and call it home.

Tiffany's 2

But like so many of us, by looking for that sense of home in the arms (and wallets) of ratty, rich men – in the externals – she bypasses what’s most important, and frankly, what’s right in front of her face.

Yet, despite her feelings, she just keeps letting her fear of going hungry or being trapped in a cage drive her decisions.

Sound familiar?

It takes a great deal of hard knocks, and some harsh words from the one man who wants nothing more than to love her, for Holly to realize that she’s “already in that cage.” Built herself as she runs from preconceived notions she holds true.

A cage built by beliefs that no longer serve her.

Lately, I’ve likened it to being a rat stuck in the same spot in a maze. No matter how many new techniques, different doors, or changes of mindset I try, in the end, I’m right back in the same damn dead-end.

It’s got a big blaring label called “I’m not enough”.

At any given time in my life, the maze might have been my weight or another health issue, work, a love relationship, or my relationship to money. Inevitably I’d get stuck in a rut of poor discipline, energy or motivation…frustrated by a lack of tools, or not sure how to use them. Like standing outside Tiffany’s with my nose pressed to the glass, but unable to grasp what I want.

As Jack tells Holly, “No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.”

Fact is, I keep ending up in the same place because I’m like those flies in the experiment who don’t realize the cap’s been removed. Somewhere along the way, I was told to stay in a certain box, and so I made darn sure to keep myself folded just so. To fit some old, irrelevant, outdated, false expectations I’ve held for myself, others have had for me…or that I’ve assumed others have had.

So, Life just keeps bringing moments and people and situations, in an attempt to show us that the lid’s been removed, the box is disintegrated, the maze has an escape route. They show up again and again, telling us to lift our heads slightly and have a look around.

For Holly, it was Jack. Constant, devoted, and carrying a Tiffany’s box in his pocket for months.

All she had to do was open the door to the cage and let the love in.

Holly & Jack

Where do you get stuck?

If you were to peer outside your own sense of confinement, what would Love be there telling you is true?

If you had a hand to guide you over the threshold, where would it lead?

(When you share your thoughts in the comments, you open the door of possibilities for others.)

If you’re ready, I can be that hand for you. Show yourself a little Love for the month of February: book a free 30-minute Free Initial Consult so I can show you what the world outside the jar is like.

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Wants, Needs and the Necessity of Both


Love Actually

You know that scene in Love Actually, when Mia puts Alan Rickman’s character on the spot by asking if he’ll buy her something while he’s out Christmas shopping with his wife? Then he calls and asks if she needs anything, and she says, “I don’t want what I need, I want something I want.”?

I’ve been thinking about those two words lately. Now that I’ve made a shift in my ability to receive, it’s time to figure out what I want.

“What do you want for Christmas?” That question can make my mind reel with a veritable catalogue of all the clothes, boots, dishes, CDs, trip opportunities, etc. I’d love to have…with a side order of greed guilt so strong that I reply with a “not much” kind of shrug.

If someone instead asks if I need anything, it feels kind of boring: wool socks, a new blender, that book I was planning to read for work.

Same thing happens on a greater scale outside of Christmas presents.

I find it much easier to ask for something that serves some obvious or practical “purpose”, than something that would just make me feel good. Even if it’s boring.

With the Solstice coming this week, I’ve been diving deep to evaluate what it is I really want from life, and what I’m willing to leave behind with the dark. What is it I need in order to move forward into my intentions for 2014?

Want implies a lack – the old expression “I want for nothing” means I don’t lack anything.

Need says that I can’t live without it.

Want & Need

Is one of these concepts better than the other? Is one more important?

The educators at my sons’ daycare used to correct the children whenever they said “I want”, in favour of “I would like”. Perhaps it somehow sounds more polite, less demanding to say, “I would like a cookie” rather than “I want a cookie”.

But, “I would like” insinuates there’s a condition.

I would like a cookie, when I finish my vegetables.
I would like a cookie if there are any left.
I would like a cookie if you think I’m worth it.

It never sat well with me. It always felt as if the children were being discouraged from having any desires.

In the Dance of Life, Desire is a step forward.

It’s how we improve our health, our quality of life, our environment, our relationships.

Desire is how we evolve.

Need takes our desires and lines them up with our values.

I may want a new Mustang convertible. A Prius or a Smart car would fulfill my need to make enviro-friendly the new cool.

I want a bigger house, or at least one that has bigger rooms, and real closets. What I need is to give gratitude for the fact that we have a cozy little place that keeps us all safe.

I want my business to improve, though I need the growth to happen in a way that doesn’t make me lose my ground.

I want those red high-heeled boots I saw in a Manhattan shop last year, but I need a pair of lined, waterproof boots with a sturdy sole. Then again, having those designer boots would fulfill a need to open my heart to more pleasure in my life. 😉

And if I never express my wants, how can I ever expect to get what I need?

Next time, I’ll lay down my intentions for the coming year: a public acknowledgment of what I desire for my business in 2014 – you can all hold me to it!

Now, tell me in the comments below, what do you want for Christmas? How would it fulfill your needs?

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