Vibrant Health: Better than a Magic Bullet

There was a moment with the client I had the other day – she’s by no means the only one who does this – when she was hit with the reality that there’s no magic bullet. She won’t leave my office with her pants feeling miraculously looser any more than one day without gluten will see her through every meal without bloating.

It’s the point when she realizes that achieving her health goals will involve choice and commitment every day. It’ll take effort and persistence both inside and out.

As we talk more, and I learn more deeply about what she wants – how she wants to feel – I watch as that sense of burden transforms into hope: she can do this!

It’s not only possible, it goes above and beyond her desire for more energy, less weight and easy periods. While it may take a couple of months to ease her symptoms, this is something she can have today.

That something is Vibrant Health.

Vibrant Health is being connected to your body – aware of sensations, emotions, likes & dislikes, and using them as beacons to where you want to go in life.

Vibrant Health is engaging with life sensually: with all your senses. Tuning into the colours, smells, sounds, textures, tastes all around you, and letting them guide your decisions.

Vibrant Health is a state of balance – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – the wherewithal to navigate daily challenges with grace.

Health isn’t static or finite. We act as if it’s indelibly lodged in a certain weight, a lack of disease or the ability to complete a half-marathon in under 2 hours. I watch people run the race for health in frantic attempts at perfection, fearing that one step in the wrong direction will have them tumbling back to square one, or worse, an early grave.

On the other hand, I see people (ok, women) put the priority of their own health way at the bottom of the to-do list, letting it get buried under a pile of kids’ and husband’s and work needs. (Read more about the wisdom of putting yourself first here and here.)

Regardless of how much you weigh, how many cookies you eat, whether you opt for organic (or not), it’s possible to be healthy.

Health isn’t an absolute. Like anything in life, once you arrive at your intended goal, more doors will open to lead you towards the next big thing.

This is natural and to be expected. As you create new habits and discover who you are underneath those symptoms – as you grow and expand into who you want to become – that new version of you will have a whole new set of priorities and desires.

Vibrant Health is the joy you feel knowing you’re doing everything you can, in this moment, to be as helathy as you can, to live the life you want.

Vibrant Health includes knowing you’ve got what it takes to make positive changes on your own.

Vibrant Health means being honest enough with yourself to know when to reach out for help from friends, colleagues, accountants, lawyers, health practitioners, body workers, contractors, a cleaning lady,…

Vibrant Health goes beyond food and exercise. Yes, whole food choices play a huge role; they’re part of the inner shifts that create the glow as you blossom on the outside. As promised by miracle detergents, Vibrant Health turns the washed-out version of your life into the vivid colours you’ve always imagined.

Vibrant Health isn’t a destination. It’s a journey.

Like any journey, it takes planning, time and perseverance. Like any journey, you get where you want to go one step at a time. Like any journey, you’re the one who has to take those steps. As with any professional who helps you along the way, my role is to act as your guide, showing you the simplest path.

Because it’s my desire to see women all over the world expand into a state of Vibrant Health, I’ve come up with a recipe to get things cooking. Enter your details here and I’ll send it to you.

In the meantime, tell us what your vision of Vibrant Health looks like. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

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Contemplate This!

Meditation was something for yogis and the crunchiest of granolas.

You know, something for people without their feet planted firmly on the ground. It was something they did to take them out of life – to become “detached” from all that was around them.

Or so I thought.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Just as yoga had quickly shattered my notion that it was simply about stretching the muscles, meditation has revealed how a spiritual practice effects the physical. Meditation grounds me so fully into myself and into my life that there are days when I can’t function (on a solidly practical level) without it.

Sitting in stillness quiets the inner voices calling out all the shoulds to my day.

It removes the worry about what others will think and gives me the freedom to just be who I am – one of the things that can suck my energy dry if I let it.

Along with yoga, meditation has become the logical antidote to our overly stimulating lifestyles, to the stress levels at the root cause of just about every ailment we currently know.

I love how mindfulness and breathing have trickled into the mainstream world of business, sports, medicine, law – everyone’s getting in on it.

It makes us more relaxed, more productive. Seems so counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? That taking time out of you jam-packed day to sit quietly would improve how you work. But it does.

Since starting my morning practice about a year ago, my ability to focus and stay on task has sky-rocketed. It’s effect is abundantly clear on the days when I don’t sit for those vital 10 minutes and I find myself back in some form of working-mom-ADD.

No lotus position required.

That’s the thing: It doesn’t take a huge investment in time. It doesn’t take any special equipment or cost a dime (unless you want to train more deeply).

Simply sit in a comfortable position – legs crossed or feet on the floor – so that your sitting bones are settled evenly on the cushion/chair/floor and your spine is straight.

Then breathe.

You can get apps to help with specific techniques, such as at headspace.com where they have intro videos and a free trial period. (No, I’m not an affiliate.)

The simplest is to stay focused on the in & out of your breath, and label any thoughts as such and let them float away as a cloud.

That analogy always seemed rather airy-fairy and elusive to me until I heard the folks at a headspace explain it like this:

The blue sky is there all the time, yet on grey days we focus on the clouds, letting them get us down or change the focus of our day. But, get in an airplane and there it is: perfectly blue sky.

Who you are, the essence of you, the seat of your gifts is like that blue sky: there all the time. Again, we focus on the clouds; our thoughts, emotions, beliefs, criticisms, bad news, etc. as the source of our self-definition. Like the clouds, these things are nothing more than what’s most readily visible in a given moment.

In the 10-15 minutes that I sit, I revel in the concrete sensation of being fully in touch with my essence. I’m reminded that it’s accessible all the time by simply parting the clouds.

Spending that time with that internal truth is just as valuable as spending 20 minutes playing with your child or chatting with your sweetie. It strengthens the relationship.

Acknowledge it or not, housewife or CEO, holistic practitioner or plumber, that deeper connection to self

  • Builds trust and improves the communication channels, giving you better access to your values, and priorities.
  • Helps you get clear about your needs
  • Eases the struggle with lifestyle choices…and business choices
  • Deepens the connection to Source and engages the Universe to move with you and for you, in whatever you undertake.
  • Improves your health and vitality. Unplugging from the constant buzz of the outside world gives your adrenals a break, which means better sleep, concentration, creativity. More libido and less belly fat. (Read more about those interactions here.)

When I was preparing the “recipe card” for vibrant health that I now hand around as a business card, the first “ingredient” was a no-brainer.

Warm your heart with daily contemplation until it holds the steady glow of a pilot light.

That’s the source of your inner glow, the heat that sparks any action you take, the flame of the gifts and integrity you spread to your loves ones, your community, to the world.

So I dare you, have a seat and breathe.

Try it for a few days then come and tell me what you’ve noticed. Or what’s changed for you in a big way if you’ve already got a practice going. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Get your friends in on it too! Use any (or all!) of these social share buttons to dare them.

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Get your Daily Dose of Delicious

I used to have a list of “25 Rules to Live By” on my fridge. Don’t remember where it came from or who wrote them. It’s long since gone, but one of the rules has stuck with me:

What could be simpler?

Beyond food plans and reset diets. Beyond reading labels or trying to balance your meals.

What happens when you choose your food by how much pleasure you derive from it?

With one of my clients, we refer to it as the “yummy factor”. One day, while sorting through healthy variations to balance her blood sugar, she declared, “I want my food to be yummy.” And so it should be!

Delicious involves all 5 of your senses as you eat your meal.

Soak in the flavours, colours, aromas, textures and sounds as you eat.

Used effectively, though, you need to remember to stop when the pleasure subsides.

Marc David, director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, tells the story of a client he had who loved McDonald’s and ate it every day for lunch, in the car as he drove from job to job. Since he refused to give it up in his quest to settle his digestive pain and find a healthier weight, Marc made one suggestion: take the time to slow down and really savour his lunch.

So the man made the effort to pull over after getting out of the drive-through, and he took a full 10 minutes to eat his Big Mac. At the end of the week, he called Marc to say he hated McD’s. It’s salty and fatty and its only benefit was the convenience of grabbing it on the run.

Maybe you can’t relate to that guy, so consider instead what happened to me the other night.

We were out celebrating my son’s birthday and I let myself be tempted by one of the decadent desserts: salted caramel & roasted apple cheesecake, served in a waffle cone. It looked like an artfully spilled ice cream.

The first bite was heavenly. The second still yummy. By the 3rd, I was getting overwhelmed with the amount of sugar. With the next one, I started to think how that much dairy would wreak havoc on me the next day. I was no longer enraptured with the experience, yet kept shoveling it down unconsciously.

Rather than stay engaged with my sense of fun, relish the novelty of the presentation and savour just one or two bites, I let my inner glutton take over. Sure enough, I was painfully full all evening and congested the entire next day.

 

Delicious involves your sense of appreciation.

Appreciation for the art & skill that goes into good food – visual as well as taste.

Such sites as Yum and thousands of Pinterest boards owe their popularity to our hunger for their gorgeous food “porn”.

Even words can fill that need for delicious. When my husband reads out the recipe names from his latest copy of Fine Cooking, it’s like sweet nothings being whispered in my ear. Roasted Beet Muhammara, Poached Egg & Asparagus Toasts with Lemon-Chive Beurre Blanc, Crispy Potatoes with Lemon and lots of Oregano.

Appreciation for the company and the setting surrounding you during a meal.

Even when eating something you cooked yourself, alone in your own kitchen, you can revel in what you’ve created. Be grateful for the care you took to nourish your body.

Can you feel the difference in your body when you bite into something delicious?

Your whole body relaxes. (If you know anything about digestion, you know that’s the ideal state for it to work at its best.)

Your entire focus pauses, if only for the briefest of moments, to fully embrace the essence. Like those first soulful kisses with a new lover.

 

And that’s the thing.

Delicious isn’t all about food any more than nourishment is.

I know we sometimes have a hard time getting past conventions. (My mother still thinks all I do is tell people what to eat.) I remember finding it somewhat odd – yet oh so fitting – the first time I heard someone refer to an adorable toddler as “delicious”.

Infuse your entire day with delicious from morning until night and fall in love with your life in a whole new way. All it takes is a hint of conscious awareness of what’s already there.

The delicious stretch while still under the covers.
The delectable heat of the shower hitting your skin and waking your brain.
The luscious flow of your dress sliding down your body.
The gratifying tang of the fermented carrots on your scrambled eggs.
The scrumptious smile on your son’s freckled face as he waves goodbye for the day.
The exquisite pause of being quietly alone before heading to the car.

Need I go on?

Life’s too short to drink bad wine, read crappy novels or sit through a boring movie.

 

“If it’s not delicious, don’t eat it.”

I spent 4+ years studying holistic nutrition. I keep up with the latest superfoods and hormone balancing tricks. I teach my clients to adjust their lifestyles for better digestion. In the end, it all revolves around that one simple rule that was right in front of my face all that time.

 

What were the 3 most delicious parts of your day so far? When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.

Share this dose of delicious with your friends. Use any (or all!) of the green buttons to spread the goodness.

Nourish your Body as a Gift to your Soul

Today we get to the last piece of the self-care as spiritual puzzle. (But by no means the last you’ll hear of the subject from me!)

Your body.

We might be living in a time when eating and exercise verge on religious obsession, but taking care of the body as spiritual? Really?

Yes, really. Let me explain.

First I’ll reiterate: You’re a spiritual being having a human experience. The body is simply the vessel that enables that experience of life on Earth to happen.

Your body is your hostess.

The relationship you have with a hostess can determine the quality and length of your visit anywhere. Treat your hostess with kindness and gratitude, she’ll bend over backwards to make your stay pleasant. From the other perspective, if she fulfills your desires and makes you comfortable, your stay will be effortless.

Perhaps an over-simple metaphor, but you get the picture.

This is why I firmly believe – and continually teach clients – that listening to your body really is the key to healing whatever ails you.

Talking over this concept with my friend Dana the other night, she worded it so perfectly – and in a way I’d not considered: Maintaining health is a reciprocal trust between my body and myself.

Think about that for a minute.

Do I trust my body?

Does my body trust me? Not an easy one to ponder.

Do I betray my body? Or, if I’m more honest, HOW do I betray my body?

But doesn’t my body betray me as well?

Actually not.

Your body isn’t betraying you when it erupts in pain, discomfort, anxiety attacks, etc. She’s telling you plainly that you haven’t treated her right and she’s not happy about it. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something that you can’t, or refuse, to hear, so the pain has to get bigger and louder. You know, like: “Mom. Mom. Mom! Mo-o-om! MOOOOM!!!”

I’ll even go a step further and say that your soul’s not happy and expresses her displeasure through your body. Because the body provides the means for your spirit to function daily, any messages it has for you will be sent via that medium.

bosy last voice of soul

Dana posted this on Facebook the day after our chat.

This isn’t an airy-fairy concept that requires years of meditation training. Your soul speaks to you constantly in a language you understand: sensations, tension, energy levels, seemingly random thoughts and images.

Building trust is a conversation. A two-way street.

A relationship. It’s taken years to establish the one you’re currently in with your body.

Whatever the relationship: hostess, child, friend, lover, it takes time to understand who the other is.

As you get to know a child or a new lover, you gradually pick up and understand the little signals they send. You become attuned to the non-verbal cues, facial expressions and mood changes that let you know how they feel, and what they want. Your own body works the same way.

When you get right down to it, self-care is an expression of self-love. And it’s the means by which you build the relationship with your Self.

The deeper and closer the relationship, the better you’ll understand the subtle nudges and cues she gives you. Then she won’t need to cry so loudly to get your attention.

Care for yourself as you would for any loved one.

Feed your body as you would your dearest friend. Talk to her like you would to your child. Indulge her as if she were the most precious lover. Show her appreciation as you would the most gracious hostess.

What I’m trying to say is, put your love into action. Changes don’t happen in the body unless you embody them. (Duh!)

How do I hear what my body and soul are saying?

All you have to do is listen.

Whenever I’m unhappy with any aspect of my life, I distill whatever the issue until I find the need underneath. Usually, it ends up being some variation of

I want to be heard. I want to be loved. I want to be appreciated. All pathways to my core need for connection.

These same themes came up as I sifted through a particular issue I’ve been having lately around work. Talking to Dana the other night, I was reminded yet again to find these qualities in myself, rather than seek them elsewhere. That’s when it hit me:

My body wants to be heard.
My body wants to be loved
My body wants to be appreciated.

Turns out, that’s what my body was trying to say when I was curled up with gallbladder pain earlier this year. When my moods are off the wall, when my energy’s dipped beyond reason.

Ultimately, it’s my inner self, my soul, that needs to be loved, heard and appreciated. What better way than to offer her the most beautiful, healthy home I can?

Fortunately, even if you can’t quite hear the voice of your soul yet, there are some pretty common ways to get you started on the road to nourishing your body more…and building that trust!

Eat a good breakfast. I’ve always known it to be critical to the day, but I’ve recently recommitted to eating a proper breakfast and it’s made a huge difference to my day. (I’ll be elaborating this one in my next blog!)

Limit sugar, cut out poor quality fats, eat more veggies. Yeah, yeah, you know the drill…this is not news.

Practice loving movement. Yoga, running, zumba, kick-boxing,…whatever. Find a physical activity that lights you up and makes your cells dance.

MOST IMPORTANTLY…

Eat what you love and love what you eat. How can you create a loving relationship if you have to pinch your nose while you’re doing it? The best way to derive nourishment from the food you feed your body is to embrace it with your whole being, so your body can embrace it in return, and put the nutrients to their best use.

The challenge now is to DO it!

Embody healthy changes by putting them into action!

If you’re ready to hear more deeply what your body’s saying: I would LOVE to help. Breaking the ice on that conversation is what I do best. Drop me a line, and we’ll talk about it!

Before you go, pop into the comments and tell me one thing you do that makes your body feel nourished and loved. When you share your thoughts, you open the possibilities for others.

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Feeding your Soul

I’ve been going on about deepening your connection to the Divine, acting from your inner truth. I talk about listening to your body as a legitimate path to health.

Do you sense a theme?

Nourishing your body with the right food and lifestyle choices is one aspect of health. So is keeping your mind calm & focused.

Your soul needs just as much care.

We generally place much of our focus on individual goals: your weight, your health, your career. Yet there’s the part of you that remembers you’re part of a whole. A droplet in the ocean.

So, what that part of you craves most is to feel a sense of being in that ocean.

Connection.

Remember how I was talking, a few weeks back, about anxiety being unused potential seeking a ground? In order to be healthy, your soul (the energetic/electric aspect of you) needs a ground.

Fortunately, we have multiple outlets:

1. To Self

  • Through your body and its rainbow of sensations that inform you about your needs on a minute-to-minute basis.
  • Through your emotions that direct you towards appropriate action. I think Dr. Northrup said it best: “Pay attention to what makes you laugh and what makes you cry” to know which direction you need to go next.
  • Through your dreams – both waking and asleep – that integrate your mind-body-spirit, and give your imagination free-reign to possibility.
  • Through your creativity which allows the energy to flow.

2. To Community

Friends
Family
Neighbours
Colleagues
Online groups

Connection to community is a need: a requirement for survival. It’s the mandate of your first (Base) chakra, to give you a sense of security, so you can move freely through your choices.

As a matter of fact, hospitals understand the immune-boosting response within support groups. Even universities are picking up on the benefits of community learning.

Living in community is ingrained in our ancestral roots, as we tended the fires, raised the children and fed the tribe…together. I think of this every time I watch a movie or read a book about a depressed 50s housewife on Valium or suicidal, because she’s been moved to the suburbs with a home full of shiny appliances for company.

I don’t know what I’d have done at times without my sisterhood (which includes some brothers) holding my hand or cheering me on. Whether they agreed with me or not.

3. To Life Partners/Lovers/Soulmates

Whether long-term or short, the intimacy of a love relationship breaks down walls to the softest parts inside. These are the people – I refer to mine as angels – who teach you the power of vulnerability and the wealth in giving.

These are the people who hold up a mirror to your divine beauty and challenge you to rise to the image. In that sense, they engage your connection to self, by inspiring you to expand to your fullest potential.

4. To the Earth

The environment that supports you, that nourishes you, that shares its beauty and its resources with you. Like any relationship, it’s a two-sided conversation.

Whether you chain yourself to a tree to stop a bulldozer or recycle your paper, walk barefoot in the woods or buy & chop your veggies with respect, you’re expressing your gratitude for – firming your roots into – the Earth.

5. To the Divine

Communication. Communion.

In a church, in Nature, in your living room.

Prayer (the asking) and Meditation (the receiving).

And yet, all of the above areas of life are facets of the jewel that is the Divine.

Every song you sing.
Every dream you pursue.
Every conversation you have.
Every time you make love.
Every meal you eat.
…they are all prayers.

They are all expressions of you. Your unique essence, like the fragrance of a flower, expanding into the world to make it more beautiful.

What do you do to nourish your soul, to stay connected? When you share in the comments, you open up possibilities for others.

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