Sprouts – The Other Green Superfood

As spring is ramping up into summer, our commitments as Busy Professional Women are increasing…and all the while we’re anxiously preparing for the onset of Swimsuit Season!

How can you meet your body’s need for high-energy nutrition, without taking on the weight of carbs and sugars? Simple! There is a superfood I highly recommend you start adding to your meal plan during the spring and that is SPROUTS.

Sprouts have a number of benefits for us Busy Professional women. First of all, they’re a high-density food, containing a significant amount of protein and dietary fiber, as well as vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A, and riboflavin. In terms of minerals, sprouts contain manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

So, eating sprouts will help boost your metabolism and help you release weight.

But not only this: sprouts also help protect against the impact of stress, by nourishing the adrenals, boosting your immune system and reducing your risk of heart disease.

There’s a bigger picture here: sprouts are considered live food, which makes their nutrients more available for digestion and assimilation. According to the Nourishing Gourmet, because they are germinating from seed to plant, sprouts neutralize enzyme inhibitors and anti-nutrients such as phytic acid, which can impair your digestion, prevent your assimilation of valuable minerals, and even inhibit your own body enzymes.

On an energetic level, sprouts are a green food, nourishing the Heart Chakra. The Heart Chakra helps us to see the world as a warm and friendly place…that helps us to reach out and connect with others in friendship, compassion, and altruistic love…that makes it possible for us to meld our awareness with Divine Awareness to achieve inner peace. No matter how much pain and sorrow your heart may be carrying, the Heart Chakra carries an unbreakable connection to a limitless, infinite Love, overflowing with compassion for all beings, including yourself

As we’re stepping out into the sunshine after a long gray winter, what could be a better energy to carry into spring?

There are so many types of sprouts…from the basics like alfalfa sprouts and bean sprouts to radish, clover, almond, even sprouts of spice seeds like fenugreek or sesame. Right now, my favorites are sunflower sprouts, which I have only seen at Whole Foods. I add these to my soups, salads, wraps, smoothies and eat them plain.

For a super-nutritious do-it-yourself project, you might consider making your own sprouts fresh. Sprouting.com and SproutPeople.org  give loads of information on sources for organic grains, legumes and seeds; the best equipment, methods, and safety factors – even recipes for your finished product!

Do you like sprouts? What are your favorite type of sprouts…and what are your favorite recipes featuring this green superfood?

Want more success? Get more sleep

How many times have you done it – stayed up till the wee small hours on a must-do project, or catching up on important correspondence, then just zoning out on social media (decompressing, or catching up on news, you tell yourself)?

I don’t think there’s one of my Busy Professional, Real Life Superwomen clients who hasn’t done it at least once – twice – or maybe more in the past week. Or, when they get to bed, they can’t stop thinking and worrying, and so have difficulty relaxing enough to sleep!

March 6-13 was Sleep Awareness Week, and on Sunday March 13  we pushed our clocks forward. It got me started thinking…sleep is such an important aspect of our health and wellness, but much of the time we just don’t see it as a priority.

In our society, staying up all night to complete tasks or work on projects is celebrated. It goes back to the Puritan work ethic and the notion that busy-ness is a badge of honor. Sleep looks like a shameful waste of time that we could (and should) be putting to better use!

That was always my issue. I personally have never had problems with falling asleep. I actually love to sleep and can sleep for 12 hours at times. But I’ve always had lots of things to do and felt as though I didn’t have enough time to do it all, so I’d stay up trying to accomplish more. The less I slept, the more I could get done… but this was a very unsustainable way of living. I learned eventually that when I push myself this way, it’s only a matter of time before I get sick.

In his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg Mckeown writes:

The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that I mean our minds, our bodies, and our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution.One of the the most common ways people – especially ambitious, successful people – damage this asset is through lack of sleep.

So my question for you is: how many hours did you sleep last night?

Studies have shown that the less sleep you get you are more prone to impaired thinking; major health issues such as heart attack and stroke; reduced sex drive; depression; and increased risk of fatal accidents:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.

In fact, I was surprised to find out that studies show that there is an increase in both heart attacks and road accidents in the days after clocks are set forward one hour in spring.

And it works the other way, too: just as a sleep deficit reduces your health and performance, getting seven to eight hours of sleep has shown to boost your health, youthfulness, productivity, focus, and creativity.

So what can you do to improve your sleep habits?

First of all, create a healing sleep environment:

  • Evict the Electronics

Scientists are now finding that light from electronics – televisions, laptops, tablets and smartphones, as well as energy-efficient bulbs – has the potential to disrupt sleep by slowing the release of melatonin. According to The Sleep Foundation, The circadian rhythm seems to be especially sensitive to light with short wavelengths—in particular, blue light in the 460-nanometer range of the electromagnetic spectrum.

  • Clear the Bed

I have many clients who tell me they have books and papers on one side of their bed, or on the floor next to the bed (I’m sometimes guilty of this, too). Why load your sleeping environment with the reminders of work? Instead, surround your sleeping space with pillows, sheets, blankets and comfort.

  • Indulge in a Good Mattress and Pillows

Do you have a quality mattress? Do you know what kind of mattress your body needs? Some like a soft mattress others do well with the support of a firm one. This goes the same with pillows. What does your body prefer?

  • Remove Indoor Air Pollution

Air quality can directly affect sleep. According to the Harvard School of Public Health indoor air pollution increases the risk of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea. This can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Here are some suggestions to clear your bedroom air:

  • Get an air purifier
  • Spring clean your mattress to remove dust mites, skin cells, pet hair, and other allergens.
  • Consider hypoallergenic bedding : mattress cover, comforter, and pillows, to protect against allergens, dust mites, and bacteria.
  • Add a couple of plants to your bedroom: Boston Fern, Spider Plant, Peace Lily, Philodendron and other species thrive indoors while purifying the air
  • Inexpensive ways to improve indoor air are: Salt Lamps, Beeswax Candles, and essential oil diffuser.

Once you have created a healthy outward environment, it’s time to change your psychological environment.

  • Make your bed off-limits to anything but sleep and lovemaking. It will be easier to relax into sleep if you don’t associate your bed with other activities.
  • Shift your mindset about sleep. Every night before bed, affirm that “Sleep is an effective use of time that leads to success.”
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol  or caffeine (surprise!) right before bed. Other than a small, melatonin-stimulating snack or a cup of chamomile tea, it’s best to avoid stimulating your digestive system when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Reduce Stress by creating a bedtime ritual – a shower or bath, 15 minutes with a relaxing book, a gentle yoga routine and my favorite is writing my to do list for the next day.
  • Use music to relax: Gregorian chants, New Age meditation music, Native American flute music, and other compositions are excellent for winding down.
  • Take counting sheep to the next level and practice visualizations! Record Yoga Nidra meditations and play them back as you’re settling in for sleep.
  • If you’re really stuck and can’t get to sleep, gentle, natural sleep aids can help: homeopathic tablets such as Calms ; valerian capsules, or melatonin can all help you to relax.

When you approach sleep intentionally, recognizing and taking care of your body’s need, you’ll be surprised at the ease with which you can doze off!

Onion Garlic Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms

Are you aware of the incredible benefits of mushrooms? Take a look at a few:

  • Rich in iron and vitamin C
  • Has a compound called lentinan, which boosts your immune system and protects your body against tumors. antiviral
  • Has adaptogentic properties

I’ve included a delicious Onion Garlic Soup with Shiitake Mushrooms recipe for you! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup chopped scallions
juice from 1/2 lemon
6 cups water or vegetable low sodium broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Dash of sea salt and cayenne pepper
Instructions
  • Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan or small soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden.
  • Add the garlic and shitake mushrooms, continue to sauté until the garlic is brown lightly. Add water or broth.
  • Add spinach, cover and simmer gently over low heat for about 15 minutes. When done add lemon, sea salt and cayenne pepper. Top with scallions and thyme.

 

 

 

Are You Investing In Your Intimate Time?

The other day I was reading a page from Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much by Anne Wilson Schaef and this gold nugget leaped out at me:

Intimacy with ourselves takes time. We need time for rest, time for walks, time for quiet, and time to    tune in to ourselves. We cannot completely fill up our lives with activities and become intimate with ourselves.

We are in the middle of winter… known in traditional Chinese medicine as the most yin time of year, a time for stillness and introspection. Right now, on the East Coast, and especially here in the mid-Atlantic, it seems Mother Nature is enforcing this wisdom: we just had a blizzard that shut down Maryland and D.C. for a three-day weekend!
So the question is – what do you do about it? A New York Times op-ed by David Dudley had an inspired answer:

The snow cares not for your deadlines, your happy hour plans, your scheduled C-section. It wants only to fall on the ground and lie there. And it wants you to, too.

Needless to say, you should. Unless you’re a plow driver or a parka-clad elected official trying to look essential, one doesn’t pretend to do battle against a blizzard. You submit. Surrender. Hunker down. A snowstorm rewards indolence and punishes the go-getters, which is only one of the many reasons it’s the best natural disaster there is.

And as a Real-Life Superwoman, you’re probably getting cabin fever at the very thought – right? Trust me, I know – the enforced stillness of winter can be a fiercely challenging time for us Superwomen! With our strong yang energy, we are all about doing and getting things done. We don’t have time to slow down and go within. Why would anyone want to do that?

For many years I was resistant to slowing down at winter. I was resistant to allowing space and time to become intimate with the workings of my soul. I felt slowing down meant I was lazy: after all, I had things to do and people to see! And even deeper than that: I was afraid of what I might find if I took the time to just be, without all the doing-doing-doing that defined me in the world. What if I uncovered the thoughts of not feeling enough, the thoughts of anger and resentment toward family and friends because I was the one who always got things done? I was the one who planned things, but what was really going on under all the festivity?

Bottom line – I was afraid to be vulnerable. I was afraid to ask for help. Did you ever see Wonder Woman ask for help?? I was locked in a vicious cycle of insisting I could do it all…while secretly feeling overwhelmed and wanting someone to care for me….and being unable to trust that they would. No wonder I didn’t want to be still and go within!

It’s taken several years – and a lot of inner work and healing – but now, I have learned to appreciate this time of year. I actually look forward to slowing down, to reflecting and releasing what no longer serves me. I spend 30 minutes each day in stillness and the beauty that I have discovered by doing so. Being Intimate with your soul is much more than getting a manicure or pedicure or massage. Now don’t get me wrong – those things are very important! But at the deepest level soul intimacy is about spending quiet time with yourself in the presence of God/The Divine/The Universe, and allowing the true you to emerge.

Yes – the true you, with all the thoughts and feelings, the psychological/spiritual lumps and bumps and warts and wounds, knowing that it is all good. You are whole, perfect and complete, every bit of you.
Take some time this week for intimacy with your soul. When you are still, what do you see about you? I know this can be scary and push you outside your comfort zone, but that is where the magic happens.

Surprisingly, as we become intimate with our own souls, we discover our connection with others and with the Divine. Neither is possible without that deep soul-intimacy.

Tell me – as a Real-Life Superwoman, do you have challenges with stillness and becoming intimate with your soul? I can support you with giving yourself permission to put down that superwoman cape and recognizing your are enough. Schedule a 45 minute strategy session today

Book Session

How to Let Go of Your “Should” List This Holiday Season

For us Real-Life Superwoman, no matter what holiday we celebrate we have a tendency to forget about the sacred energy that is abundant during this time of year. Instead we feel overwhelmed, overextended, overtired and we overspend and overeat. We are busy pleasing everyone else and doing our “should” list instead of nourishing our self and being fully present to all the joys this season bring. So I challenge you to choose a different way of being so you can enjoy your holiday season and end 2015 feeling at peace.

WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?

Click below to watch video for some helpful tips to feel peace and ease this holiday season.

To Fight Cancer, Start by Loving Your Breasts…and Your Body!

 

With October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve been inundated with information and resources “for the cure.”

Problem is, I don’t see nearly enough empowering information being shared about cancer prevention – which to my mind is the best medicine! So that’s the perspective I’d like to take in offering you some tips for self-protection: how can you stop cancer before it starts?

Let’s face it: as Busy, Professional, On The Go Women we don’t always pay attention to what is going on with our bodies, inside and out, until there is a major problem. For example, how many of us really take the time to look at our breasts in the shower, beyond a quick once-over? I’m not even referring to self-examination – just simple appreciation. Looking at our breasts and thanking them for their beauty, for their richness, for the sustenance they may have given, for the pleasure they offer ourselves and our lovers…

Of course, this goes for every part of our bodies: how many of us make bath and shower time a ritual of love and appreciation for the forms in which our spirits exist on this earth – all their curves and edges and innie-outtie bits?

To my mind, that gives a whole new perspective to self-exams. When they become a ritual of self-love and self nurturing, there isn’t the fear: I’m looking for something wrong. In fact, when you’re lavishing your body with love, appreciation, and gratitude, you’re actually boosting your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off destructive changes!

And when you’re doing this ritual every time you wash, you’re more likely to see the natural (or not) changes that your breasts undergo with your hormonal cycles. Christine Northrup advises that you make a practice of massaging the whole breast area, especially up into the armpits, to support the flow of lymph.

If you do see something unusual during this ritual, you have options! Mammograms (mashograms, as one of my friends calls them) aren’t the only option available to you. Some studies indicate that breast ultrasound and thermography are more accurate, and comprehensive (not to mention much easier, less painful and radiation-free!) than mammograms. The idea here is that if you take a baseline image of both breasts, then come back for regular updates, you can catch potential problems long before conventional screening method would find them. Options worth exploring.

But beyond loving your body and using healthy screening options, how can you keep the big C away from your girls? With all the toxins present in our environment, the best solution is to choose the cleanest possible products to put in and on our bodies. Here are just a few tips:

Personal Care Recommendations:

  • Surround yourself with love and positive connections – reducing stress, fear, and conflict and increasing the love, pleasure and laughter in our lives helps to support our emotional immune system and boost our overall health.
  • Avoid dry cleaning or use a green” dry cleaner. Yes, they cost more, but aren’t your breasts and health worth it?
  • Many commercial bath and body products have a lot of chemicals in them that contribute to cancer. To avoid the worst of these dangerous ingredients, look for the “EWG Verified”  sign on personal care products before you buy.
  • Deodorants – these are of particular concern as they’re applied directly to the area of the lymph nodes next to your breast tissue. I actually use and recommend Herbal Magic Roll-On Deodorant, available at Vitamin Shoppe and online. You can also make your own, very effective deodorant, using this recipe.

Dietary recommendations

  • Stay away from fried starchy foods – Acrylamide is a chemical that is formed when starchy foods, such as French fries, are cooked at high temperatures. It’s also found in potatoes chips, crackers and other starchy snack foods. Worse, these foods also contain oxidized polyunsaturated fats – a known contributor to breast and colorectal cancers.
  • Avoid GMOs – There are so many reasons to avoid GMOs…and one of the biggest reasons is that there is conclusive evidence that glyphosate, the pesticide used on GMO crops, is a carcinogen …and it is being applied in massive amounts to GM crops including soy, wheat, corn, and many more.
  • Reduce your sugar intake – Aside from the fact that sweets – common sugar, chocolate, candy, cakes, biscuits, ice cream, soft drinks, and processed and packaged foods – may contain GM cane or beet sugar, the industrial byproduct called high-fructose corn syrup (now called “fructose”) or other toxins, high levels of glucose in the blood can ramp up cancer risks dramatically.
  • Eat your greens – From kale to broccoli to cabbage and Brussels sprouts, the dark green “cruciferous” leafies are rich in natural anti-cancer properties. But be sure to check the EWG’s Dirty Dozen to know which ones you should buy only from organic farms – some can be doused with pesticides!
  • Heal your gut – Naturally-fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir and kombucha help to foster healthy bacteria to support complete digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and elimination of waste. There’s also documented evidence that gut bacteria can mount an immune response against developing cancer cells.
  • Add cancer-fighting spices to your foods – Spices such as Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Pepper, Oregano, and Cayenne contain immune-boosting, cancer-fighting properties.

You can find more tips for living cancer-free HERE.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, remember – you are not alone! There are more resources today than ever to support you in navigating this difficult journey. Here are just a few tips that can help:

  • Get support, whether it’s a therapist, coach, doctor, or support group.
  • Meditate and visualize your breast being healed.
  • Decrease stress – stress causes inflammation and weakens your immune system.
  • Acupuncture can both reduce pain and help to speed the healing process.
  • Follow the dietary advice above: no GMOs; reduce or eliminate sweets; increase greens, anti-inflammatory foods, naturally fermented foods, and cancer-fighting spices.

Above all – whether you are cancer-free or on a cancer journey, remember – love your body! The more love, acceptance, compassion, and positive energy you lavish on your body, the more your immune system will be strengthened and the greater your chances of healing will be.

How to Save a Life: Create an Emergency Pack against Emotional Storms

As the darker hours grew longer, people of a long ago past would gather, light candles and bonfires, and call on spiritual guides and guardians to protect them against the forces of darkness.

Not a bad idea…whether you are looking to the Light for spiritual protection…or turning on full-spectrum lights to guard you against more organic threats such as the black depressions of Seasonal Affective Disorder or calling on the light and support of community to help you through the overwhelm that can begin around this time, as projects pick up and the holiday crunch begins to loom.

Let’s be honest: too many of us On the Go Professional Women are facing workloads that seem crushing – taking care of responsibilities with jobs, children, lovers, parents, and civic organizations. When we’re feeling overworked and underappreciated….feeling we don’t have time to take care of ourselves…sometimes even our most basic needs, such as sleep or nutritious meals, get neglected…and the downward spiral begins. Feelings of martyrdom and victimhood may build into storms of hopelessness and desperation, or self-judgment at not being the perfect, ultra-capable Superwoman…

Or sometimes, it can take something that seems ridiculously small and trivial to start a meltdown…a broken dish, a lost contact, a misinterpreted email, a bounced check…

I was blessed – for me this spiral never led to thoughts of suicide. But for too many women, it does: according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education , women are three times likelier than men to attempt to end their lives…and suicide rates for females are highest among those aged 45-54.

Even one human being choosing to end his or her life is too many…so what can we do to protect ourselves?

One of the most common reasons for suicidal desperation is going without for too long…without human love and support, without healthy nutrition, without sleep, without medical care, without mind/body/spirit support, without connection to Nature. So – make the time to take care of yourself in all these areas. If the inner judge’s voice tells you that you’re being selfish, remind yourself: you are saving your own life, so that you can be of service to others. You’re no use to the world when you’re gone.

But when the slide into suicidal depression can be so gradual that you’re at the bottom without realizing you’ve slid, how can you catch yourself? A friend who has fought her way back from suicidal depression describes some of the thoughts and feelings this way:

I know I have more than most people, but it doesn’t matter.

I am grateful I don’t live in Darfur, or Syria or Iraq, but it doesn’t matter.

I know I am smarter than the average person, then why am I struggling so hard?…

I know I am reasonably attractive and a nice person, then why is it that no man can love me?

Many times I feel like I just don’t belong in this time. I feel out of place, even with my own family.

If you feel yourself sliding toward emotional storms of deep depression and suicidal thoughts, prepare yourself against them, just as you would if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or tornadoes. Put together an Emergency Pack of all the things that help and support you before the crash comes…and just doing so may prevent its arrival.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Set up a safety net – people you can call and who will be there for you at a moment’s notice. Sure, 911 is the worst-case answer, but also consider creating an ongoing connection with support networks like these:
  • A psychologist or therapist can give you a listening ear and tools to fight your way out of the darkness.
  • Emotions Anonymous , Workaholics Anonymous , CoDependents Anonymous , AlAnon  or any of the other Recovery networks give ongoing support and a proven pathway to healthier living.
  • Local therapists and hospitals often host support groups for people suffering from depression.
  • Churches and spiritual groups can provide support and prayers at critical moments.
  • Bodywork, such as massage, Reiki, and other modalities, can release pent-up stress and bottled emotions, besides providing crucial human touch.
  • Some hospices offer ongoing bereavement support if you’re suffering after a loss.
  • Prepare your pantry – just as you keep canned goods and nonperishables on hand in case the power goes out, keep some easy-to-prepare, high-energy, nutritious foods on hand against those times when you’re too tired or depressed to eat properly.
  • Sleep – Rest is critical to fighting depression! From setting up your bedroom for sleep, to adjusting your evening routine, to taking nutritional supplements to support rest, there’s a host of tools and suggestions in my ebook  you can use to help your body/mind replenish and heal in dreamtime. But be aware – too much sleep, sleep used as an escape, is a big sign of trouble.
  • Make mind/body/spirit replenishment a priority – Whether you hike, do yoga, meditate, or attend religious ceremonies to connect to Spirit, block this into your calendar as an unbreakable appointment.
  • Sweat out the stress – A good, strenuous workout activates endorphins, helping to stabilize your mood and making it easier to deal with daily frustrations. Do as much as your mind/body is capable of handling; if you have a trainer pushing to do more, it is OK to set your own boundaries!
  • Create! –Studies indicate that creative activities, from poetry and art to dance and gardening, can be a significant help in preventing and healing depression by releasing energy through expression. If you’re feeling creatively blocked, try journaling, grown-up coloring books, singing along with the radio, dancing in your bedroom – all of these can be helpful.
  • Keep a careful eye on the responsibilities you take on – It’s so easy to take on crushing amounts of work, whether out of Superwoman compulsions, the desire to be a good partner/mother/friend/coworker/volunteer/etc., or a need to numb out deeper issues. Before you take on yet another project, ask why? Are you the only person who can do this job? Where are you going to fit it in your schedule? If fitting it in demands that you sacrifice self-care (doing it late at night, or over mealtimes, for example), just say no.
  • Marshal defenses against the inner judge – Your inner judge may try to convince you that you’re bad/unworthy/(fill in the blank) – that doesn’t mean you should surrender and agree! Put together lists of people who believe in you, achievements you’re proud of, affirmations that speak to your soul…all the things that fill your heart and lift your spirit. Keep them in your Emergency Pack.

Most important – don’t believe everything you think! No matter how rational the arguments may seem for choosing the darkness, they are not: they indicate that something needs healing, and that help is needed. Reach out. You are worthy, you are loved, and most important – you are not alone.

Experience the Releasing Power of Grandmother Moon!

In the city and suburbs, it’s often hard to see the stars as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. But one celestial body that overcomes light pollution is the Moon… as the Native Americans used to call her, Grandmother Moon, who rules the ebb and flow of women’s cycles.

And according to The Oregonian, the coming full moon will be unique for this year:

“The full moon of September, which is called the Harvest Moon, will be the closest and largest full moon of 2015. The moon will not be this close again until the full moon of Nov. 14, 2016. Because it will be eclipsed, you will have to wait until the next night to get the effect of watching a supermoon. Or look for it the night before.”

As a Busy Professional, On The Go Woman, I have found that new and full moon rituals help to keep me focused, grounded and in harmony.

I started adding these to my spiritual practice last year after discovering two amazing mentors,  Anne Ripley and Jana Matthews, author of Manifesting with the Moon.

While these teachers don’t follow any particular spiritual tradition, they have adapted elements of indigenous traditions and New Thought practices to create their unique rituals for manifesting and mind/body/spirit balance.

I have used the suggestions of these two women and have put together my own Full Moon Ritual. According to Anne Ribley, the Full Moon is all about releasing what doesn’t serve…and here is the ritual of release that I have created.

  1. I put a couple of drops of essential oils on my hand. I use an essential oil that has a releasing energy to it. Some essential oils that you can use for this particular full moon are at this time are lime, ginger, and frankincense.Some other oils that you an use at any full moon to help release are lavender, bergamot and roman chamomile. Inhale the aroma, deeply…once…twice…
  2. Write down all the things that no longer serve you, and that you would like to release over the next month. For me it’s usually an aspect of myself I want to release. In the past it’s been the scarcity mindset, worry and overwhelm.
  3. Burn the piece of paper in a fireplace, sink or cast-iron pot….and please make sure you do this safely! The safest way to do this is to take the container outside. I had an incident at the beginning of the year where I wrote down all the things I wanted to release as well as all the things I was angry about. I put it in the fireplace and about 20 minutes later my husband asked why there was so much smoke in the living room. Well – apparently I did not open the vent of the fireplace, and the smoke was filling the entire lower half of our house! It was very symbolic of how my anger lingered on and if I didn’t release it, it would choke me as well as the ones I love.
  4. Light your match, set it to the paper, and say Release or Be Gone as the paper burns.
  5. State what you want to replace it with. I know for me when I release overwhelm I want to replace it with peace and ease.
  6. Surrender the smoke to Spirit, and (only if you’re outside and the fire is safely contained in an unbreakable container) go inside to let the paper burn itself out.

If you’d like to explore established spiritual traditions that include rituals based on earth cycles and astronomical/astrological events, you may want to look into the work of these women:

Blessed be!

 

Listen to the Lessons of Your Body During National Yoga Month!

One of the lessons I love to share with my clients is the many ways in which our bodies are our teachers. And nothing – but nothing! – has proven this to me more than yoga.

So I am eager to celebrate National Yoga Month by sharing some of the benefits I have experienced through yoga…benefits that you can experience, too!

I remember my first yoga lesson, with its slow, flowing, meditative moves, more than 15 years ago….what a culture shock! I must confess – I did not enjoy it. How could this be exercise, I wondered? Ah well – I was younger in those days, in my twenties, and I was drawn to classes that were fast moving, like aerobic classes. Also when I did inversion poses, like Downward Facing Dog, I felt dizzy. All in all, it wasn’t a great experience, and I wasn’t impressed by my exposure to yoga.

Then, about nine years ago, I discovered hot yoga classes and really stated to appreciate the benefits of this powerful mind/body practice. Most of all, yoga has helped this On The Go Woman to relax and get out of my head and into my body.

During a hot yoga class I would think to myself – what on earth am I doing here? What possessed me to do this to myself – and how am I going to get through it? Yet. I always managed to make it through, and in fact emerged from a hot yoga class feeling energized and clear, as if I’d released deep toxins from my system.

Was it the driven competitiveness of a Superwoman that brought me through each class? Perhaps…but in yoga I learned that it is not about being competitive. Instead, it’s about accepting yourself where you are, without comparing yourself to others in the class. What a powerful lesson, not only for the yoga classroom but also for life…and it was only one of many; for example

me doing yoga

 

  • Ability to stand solid in Tree Pose relates to the degree of balance you have in your mind and body that day.
  • Resistance to Downward Facing Dog is related to resistance to letting go and enjoying the moment.
  • Challenges in doing a Backbend or Bow Pose (which still challenge me) indicates difficulty in letting go of perfection

What does a Backbend have to do with letting go of perfection? According to Yoga teacher-trainer George Watts, a backbend exposes your chest, leaving your heart vulnerable and open. It demands that you reach deep into your courage, giving up fear and reflexive self-protection and shutdown to stretch more deeply into the pose.  If you try to stay in control while you move into a backbend, your shoulders tense and your chest closes. You just can’t have it both ways! So backbends are a great way for perfectionists to let go, open our chests, and start breathing in self-acceptance, joy, and fun.

Hip-opening poses like the Bound Angle pose and Cow Face pose are great for activating the sacral chakra, as well as helping you to release stuck emotions. Another hip-opening asana, Pigeon Pose, helps to reduce the noise of your thoughts, allowing you to use your silent mind to renew yourself in gratitude and peace.

There are many types of yoga; these are just a few:

  • Hatha Yoga – combines poses with breathing practices. Generally calming and renewing, the best type for beginners.
  • Iyengar Yoga – emphasizes alignment and positioning with supports, and can relieve chronic pain.
  • Vinyasa Yoga (a.k.a. “power yoga” or “weight loss yoga”) – is fast-paced and flowing
  • Bikram Yoga (a.k.a. “hot yoga”) – is practiced in very hot and humid rooms to help practitioners stretch more deeply
  • Ashtanga Yoga builds strength and endurance through a consistent and intense series of poses
  • Kundalini Yoga focuses on calming the mind, awakening the chakras, and renewing the body through movement, mantras, and breathing.
  • Yoga Nidra(a.k.a. “lucid sleeping”) is a deep state of meditative relaxation in which you remain aware of your physical environment.
  • Karma Yoga(a.k.a. “working yoga”) is the practice of making your work a spiritual offering, releasing its benefits rather than keeping them for yourself. It’s the most spiritual – and mundane! – type of yoga, great for a retreat on the job.

Find the type(s) of yoga that suit you and enjoy their many benefits this month!

 

 

Sautéed eggplant on a bed of spinach

You must try this delicious, easy-to-make meal. With lots of veggies to fuel you, your body (and your taste buds) will thank you! 

Eggplant

 

Ingredients:
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper (about 1)
  • 1 large eggplant peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium sized tomatoes diced
  • dried or fresh Italian Seasoning to taste
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • Kalamata olives
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 TBS of purslane (optional)

Directions:

In a bowl place eggplant, sea salt and 2 TBS of coconut. Massage coconut oil and salt into eggplant. Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and tomatoes sauté for 3 minutes. Add the seasoning; and about ¼ -1/2 cup of water. stir to combine. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add peppers 2-5 minutes before done cooking.

Place spinach on  plates top with eggplant, kalamata olives and purslane.

Enjoy!