Get a Fresh Start with New Year, Late Summer Style!

sun in late summerIt’s hard not to experience September as New Year Redux. Sure, it may be missing the champagne, Auld Lang Syne and sparkly ball-dropping hoopla, but there’s all the sense of new beginnings as summer transitions into fall, we return recharged from our summer vacations, and students go back to school.

 

And who knows – with luck, you may even celebrate the turn of the season with fireworks from Labor Day celebrations!

 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the period between mid-August and Autumn Equinox is a time of transition…a time of harvesting what we’ve planted and planting afresh for a second harvest in the fall.

 

For me, as a Busy Professional, On The Go Woman, this is a time of year to step back and see where I am regarding my life and business plan. Right now I’m busy tweaking the intentions and milestones I set at the beginning of 2015, so that I can meet my goals at the end of the calendar year.

 

As you know, I find balance in my busy life by staying in tune with the rhythm of the seasons…and this time of year is associated with the grounding element of Earth.

 

Ellsara Kling gives some ways to experience that anchoring influence as your schedule ramps up at this time of year…

 

“During Late Summer, the Early Summer heat is beginning to cool and the earth energy is beginning to prepare for the Fall. Although fruits are prevalent in this season, excessive eating of fruit can lead to excessive dampness later on. Smaller meals are beneficial just now.  It is important to continue to resist the temptation of cold drinks and too much raw foods such as salads.  Remember, the stomach likes warm foods and this is Stomach Season!  Be especially good to your Stomach/Spleen energy now and reap the rewards later”

 

What are the best foods to eat during late summer? No surprise – the ones that are fresh and locally available at your local Farmer’s Market! These would include cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, peppers, okra, corn, eggplant, watermelon, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, grapes, blackberries, figs, lemons, limes, garlic, chives…and the list goes on…..

 

A particular favorite food of mine is eggplant, which is in abundance this time of year, and is so wonderfully versatile. You can grill, bake, roast, stew, or sauté it, and its rich flavor and substantial texture stand in nicely for meat, if you’re working on becoming vegetarian.

 

And the nutritional benefits of eggplant!!! Aside from being rich in fiber, copper, manganese, folate, and the B vitamins, it also contains important phytonutrients and antioxidants such as the potent free radical scavengers nasunin, which protects cell membranes from damage, and chlorogenic acid, which offers anti-cancer, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) properties.

 

I will also share my favorite eggplant recipe

 

With the deep-summer heat wearing off and cool fall breezes beginning, this is a glorious time of year. Go out and enjoy it!

Dance with the Big Mama – Planting a Garden in Your Home Ecosystem

We’ve talked about the wonders of just-picked food, fresh from the farmers’ market, and we’ve talked about Earthing (grounding yourself by standing or walking barefoot on the ground)…but we haven’t yet talked about the best of both worlds – growing your own food within your own micro-ecosystem!

 

You can’t get much closer to Mama Earth than planting a seed, transplanting a seedling, or tending a growing plant till you see its fruit appear, then ripen – and finally shine out in its full ripe glory, ready for picking…

 

“But I don’t have any land,” you might object, or “But my property has the poorest soil under the sun!” No worries! There are so many alternatives – container gardens,  raised-bed gardens, straw-bale gardens, – even lasagna gardens (which have nothing to do with pasta, and everything to do with rich black soil!)

 

And you know, the best thing about gardening is the way you learn with every year’s planting.

They say Mama Earth is the best teacher, and I can definitely say that’s true!

 

The first vegetables I ever planted were tomatoes in a container garden. Oh, how happy I was when the first tomato came! I felt like a new mama. There is nothing like the thrill of picking your first harvest and serving it up with pride!

 

So, full of pride in my achievement, I decided to build on it, with an organic raised-bed garden. Picturing fresh-picked veggies on our dinner table every night, my husband built three 4×4 raised gardens. I was so excited and planted several vegetables. I knew we had a lot of trees and there would be a lot of shade, but I just knew the veggies would grow…you know?

 

Well, to my disappointment they really did require more sun than we had…so our harvest was limited to the herbs I planted that year. I learned my lesson: for the next couple of years I did tomatoes in a container on our sunny porch.

 

We moved last year and now have a yard with lots of sunshine! My husband put down a single 4X4 garden (starting small this time) and I planted eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and parsley, and everything started growing beautifully. I was thrilled! I harvested two zucchini, an eggplant and a yellow squash.

 

And then the word apparently got out! More veggies were coming in, but one day there was a deer munching on the squash leaves, another day a rabbit and then what really took everything out was the gopher. I sprayed a natural mix of cayenne pepper, garlic and black pepper essential oil on it. That deterred the rabbit and deer, but the gopher was determined and then I went out of town to visit family, leaving the field wide open for munching!

 

Long story short: most of the veggies are now gone. And I’ve learned another lesson: when you’re planting in wildlife territory, buy a wire fence or chicken wire to cover your crop; those animals surely believed I planted it all just for them. After all, they were here first, right?

 

Thankfully, I have my container garden, and a lovely crop of tomatoes, orange peppers, chili peppers, and herbs. This fall I am going to plant some broccoli, cauliflower and greens, and will cover them.

 

So what insights can I offer you from my gardening experience? Well, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that we live in an ecosystem: we can try our hardest, but our results depend on how well we interact with the sun, the water (rain and groundwater), the soil, the pollinators, and the wildlife. It’s a good idea to have backup systems in place – if the raised-bed garden doesn’t work out, have a container garden as your backup. Start small, and don’t put all your seeds in one garden (so to speak)!

 

And the second lesson I’ve learned is to do it for the experience…as a dynamic relationship with the Earth. If you go in with an attitude of “I’ve Got to Win!” and something goes wrong, you’re setting yourself up for stress and frustration. But if you go in with curiosity and creativity, seeing how you can interact with your ecosystem so that you get food while recognizing that the critters around you also need to eat, you’ll get more enjoyment out of watching the visitors that come to your yard.

 

I’ve found some good tips for creating a backyard habitat comes to our gardens HERE.

 

Enjoy your ecosystem!

Berries, Berries, Oh My – The Summer Time Treat!

Summertime, goes the song, and the livin’ is easy….I can certainly say that the eating is! The Farmers’ Markets are irresistible this time of year, full to bursting with the foods of the season…cucumbers, summer squash,  tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, okra, new potatoes…and then those magical treats that are only available for a brief time each year, like garlic scapes ah, bliss!

But the fruit displays are the ones that lure me most powerfully – the melons, avocados, peaches, apricots, kiwi, plums, and figs – juicy jewels bursting with the sweet essence of summer. Bite in and taste the explosion of flavor in your mouth…catch the juice before it dribbles down your chin… it’s pure sensual pleasure.

And then there are the berries – those juicy little superfood powerhouses that add mega-nutrients to their tart-sweet piquancy. So many varieties, so many benefits! Let’s just focus for right now on three of the most popular: blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Thanks to Melissa Breyer’s article “Superfoods: 11 Berries to Improve Your Health” on Mother Nature News Network for the nutrient details here.

Blueberries

It seems blueberries are popping up everywhere…muffins, cereals, chocolate bars, you name it… but nothing, nothing compares with the real thing! These sugar-sweet little morsels are loaded with nutrients – vitamins C and K, manganese and fiber – and studies indicate that they may help to keep you young by reducing memory decline and heart attack risk, as well as helping to ease problems with arthritis, cataracts, and reduced eyesight.

Energetically, blueberries support the throat chakra, helping us On-the-Go Women to speak our truth and say No to the things that no longer serve us.

But while ready-made blueberry muffins, cereal, and chocolate may sound tempting, those “blueberries” more often than not are actually“blueberry crunchlets” that contain no actual berries. Who in their right mind would want these, compared to a dew-kissed pint of sweet blue goodness fresh from the farm?

Blackberries

Like blueberries, blackberries can help to keep you looking and feeling young, tightening skin tissue and supporting memory and clear thinking. Their high tannin count makes them a potent anti-inflammatory, as well as helping to reduce intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, and menstrual or labor pain. Their leaves can help bad breath and oral inflammation.

Both blackberries and blueberries support the third eye chakra, improving intuition, sensory input, and overall brain function.

Raspberries

Raspberries are another North American native, good for us On-The-Go Women in so many ways! Like blueberries they’re packed with nutrients – vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins 1–3, folic acid, magnesium, copper and iron, not to mention loads of antioxidants, including the pain-killing salicylic acid. For those of us watching our weight, they’re loaded with a compound called “raspberry ketone,” which some studies indicate is a powerful aid to weight loss.

Red raspberries nourish the root chakra, keeping us grounded and strong in our connection to the Earth. With up to 20% of each berry’s weight as fiber, they support regular elimination, and the salicylic acid in their leaves helps to relieve menstrual pain.

As with blueberries, stay away from “dried raspberry bits” in ready-made foods – that luscious-tasting artificial raspberry flavor actually comes from a substance called Castoreum, which is extracted from beavers’ anal glands. With these miraculous little superfoods supporting our health in so many ways, why compromise?

To Your Best Health!

With any produce, it’s important to look for organic suppliers – and it’s especially important with berries. With their high sugar level, they’re a magnet for bugs, and so they’re extra-heavily doused with pesticides in the field. The Environmental Working Group has identified up to 42 different pesticide residues found on conventionally-grown berries!

Treat yourself, mind, body, and spirit, to the magic of organic berries at your local farmers’ market. In a salad or smoothie, over sorbet or coconut yogurt, they’re the perfect cooling, healing food for midsummer.

Bon Appetit!

How To Do It All This Summer and Not Sacrifice Your Health and Happiness

Ah, Summer – the time to do it all! You know – the family picnics and vacations, the fairs and festivals, and of course, the clients, networking events, and projects at work. From brilliant sunrise to late sunset, you’re on the run…and even when you’re tanning at the beach, your cell phone or pager is tuned in, waiting for the next person who must get hold of you right away – am I right?

Let’s face it – most of us Busy Professional, On The Go Women love this time of year because we can connect with more people and get more done, but are we sacrificing our own health and happiness as a result? While many ancient wisdom traditions describe summer as the “season of rapid growth,” looking at the way flowers and crops shoot up from seed to flower to fruit, it’s important to take the wisdom of tropical regions into account also:

Move gently. Drink frequently. Take siestas in the heat of the day. Simplify. And engage with passion – whether it’s in romance or in your work.

The first four are probably no surprise – and who hasn’t relished a summer romance? But engaging with passion in your work –?

Actually, yes! How many of us do our work as a “should” – you “should” take on this project, this priority, this client. You “should” go to this networking mixer, that opening, this conference. You “should” make yourself endlessly, endlessly available to all who need you, and meet all of their expectations.

Take it from me – I’ve been there, and that’s the road to collapse!

So I challenge you to make your wellness a priority and savor this season as a time to do what you love, not letting your life be ruled by what other people expect you to do.

First, decide how you want to feel this summer. I was listening to a call by Tiffany Peterson of Tiffany Speaks and she was discussing how to create a summer success plan in your life and business. In this call she had us write down what we wanted to create in our lives and businesses.

She asked us: what do you want to create more of in your life? Is it overwhelm, more things to do, stress, fatigue? Or is it joy, vitality, abundance, connection and ease? If it is the second group, then look at how you can create those experiences. You might need to do one or more of the following:

  1. Examine your schedule and let go of the obligations that don’t make your heart sing. Where are you saying “yes” because you believe you’re the only one who can do the job? How can you empower others by delegating the job to them?
  2. Identify the things about your work that do make your heart sing, and ask: how can I build on these? What are they trying to tell me – how can I shape my work to include more of them?
  3. Find a way to reframe the “musts” of your life so that they do bring you joy. For example, “This gas and electric bill gives my home light, delicious meals, hot baths, clean clothes, and an internet connection to the world!”
  4. Make a list of things and experiences that bring you joy and add them to your calendar. Make a bucket list of 99 things to do before you’re 99, and start living it!
  5. Take time to have fun each day! Schedule a Game Night with your besties, have Super Soaker battles with your kids, or play strip poker with your lover.
  6. Shop farmers’ markets and eat whole foods that are in season – this will boost your mood and energy. Fresh tomatoes, just hours off the vine, from a farmer who greets you by name – perfection!
  7. Get moving, with activities that fill your body with delight. Bellydance? Yoga? Gardening? Horseback riding? Rollerblading? Bring ‘em on!
  8. Connect with people who make you smile and bring you joy. How long has it been since you had a Girls’ Night Out with your best friend?
  9. Start the day by writing down five things you love about yourself, and five things that fill you with gratitude about your life.
  10. Set your intentions each day on how you want to feel, then affirm it throughout the day. For example, “This is a day of joy, wonder, and laughter!”

Make each day a wonderful day – and you’ll have a spectacular summer!

Are you A Busy Professional, On The Go Woman who wants to do it all this summer, but not have to sacrifice your health and happiness ? Schedule your 60 minute Look and Feel Fabulous Discovery Session. Click here to schedule.

Green is The New Black

Back in my addicted to stress and overwhelm days, I practically lived on what I called the Four Basic Food Groups: sugar, caffeine, processed foods, and chocolate. Together, they functioned as a food-based system of uppers and downers, keeping me running for brief periods of time, crashing, then chugging another Mountain Dew and eating a four pack of Reese Peanut Butter Cups to pick up the energy again. No wonder I felt depleted and fatigue!

I’ve learned my lesson now, and built my life around teaching it: As Busy Professionals and On the Go Women it is essential we are mindful of what we eat. Sure, it’s easy to turn to foods that give us a quick pick me up such as caffeinated beverages and sugar. But they also wreak havoc on our mood and energy…not to mention our overall health!

So what’s the answer for building energy that just won’t quit? Truth is – your Grandma knew best: Eat Your Greens!

There are so many benefits to eating greens. They’re alkaline, balancing out the acids generated by sugars and processed foods. Eating greens with your meals provides fiber that aids in digestion.

But that’s not all…organic greens have a pharmacy’s worth of vitamins and minerals packed into each leaf:

  • Magnesium – relieves muscle and joint pain, improves brain function, and helps you to relax (and what On the Go Woman doesn’t need to relax?)
  • Calcium – crucial for keeping your bones strong
  • Iron – rebuilds red blood cells (especially important if you’re experiencing the menstrual irregularities of peri-menopause)
  • Vitamin C – the old immune-boosting standby
  • Vitamin K – great for building strong bones and a healthy heart
  • Antioxidants – help to prevent cancer

And the flavors! Rich and dark, sharp and spicy, savory or sweet…the variations are endless, and so are the uses! Here are just a few simple ways to get greens into your diet:

  1. Green smoothies – great for a quick breakfast, lunch, or afternoon pick-me-up
  2. Herbal infusions – My favorite is a mix of nettle, oat straw and peppermint leaves; wonderful for a mid-day pick-me-up.
  3. (Of course) salads. Eating a salad of bitter greens such as arugula or dandelion greens, before your meal, can aid in digestion.
  4. Kale Salad which can be made as a one-dish meal if you add protein to it like brazil nuts or pumpkin seeds
  5. Wraps! – seriously, Instead of grain-based wraps of wheat, corn or rice, make one with collards or swiss chard. My favorite wrap is a  Falafel collard wrap I buy at the Baltimore Farmers Market.
  6. Sauteed greens – lovely by themselves or with nuts and seeds for a protein-spiked side dish
  7. Stir-fry with greens
  8. Blended green soup

And so many more….what are your favorites?

Find a Whole New Level of Health and Happiness at Your Local Farmers’ Market!

Have you seen them yet – the tents and trucks of farmers’ markets and CSAs popping up all over, in cities, towns and rural communities? They’re one of my favorite signs of summer, promising local produce from local farmers in weekly festivals of food, fun and connection!

If you haven’t discovered farmers’ markets for yourself yet, you may be wondering what this has to do with health and happiness…after all, why does it matter whether you get your veggies or meat direct from a local farmer or from a grocery stand marked “Local?” After all, being an On-the-Go Woman, you’re constantly looking for ways to save time!

I hear you! But as an On-The-Go Woman you especially need nourishment – not just basic nutrients, but nourishment of body, soul, and mind – and there are few better places for nourishing all three levels than at a farmer’s market or CSA.

For one thing – the anonymous farmers supplying those big-box grocery stands won’t answer your questions about how the veggies and cows, pigs, chickens, etc., were raised. They won’t be greeting you by name week after week, learning your favorites, and suggesting new taste experiences fresh out of the fields. They won’t share stories of the challenges and joys of farming, so you can come to know the life of your food before it ever hits your plate.

For me, that’s the best thing about buying direct from the farmers: connection. Food ceases to be a generic shrink-wrapped product and becomes part of a story and a human relationship. Being a part of this connection brings me happiness.

And from a health perspective, of course, there’s a huge difference between just-picked fresh food that grew on a small farm less than 100 miles from your home, and mass-produced food shipped from an agribusiness halfway across the continent, or in another country entirely!

Because the farmers at a market or CSA are likely to have organic , beyond-organic or integrative , or biodynamic operations, their products are loaded with genuine flavor…far from the bland, chemically-edged taste of Big Agriculture’s gassed, irradiated, pesticided, or genetically-modified produce.

But not only that. With a farmer’s market or CSA, you’re eating seasonally – foods that are at their peak here and now, in your area! Because of this, they supply vitamins and minerals that can’t be matched by out-of-season hothouse veggies that were picked before their prime, waxed, sprayed with preservatives, and transported for hundreds or thousands of miles.

In fact, if you tune in and really pay attention, you’ll find that the whole energetic field of this local food is different, brighter, more vibrant!

Speaking from my own experience as an On-The-Go Woman, if you buy food from these local, eco-conscious farmers for a month – or a summer! – you’ll find yourself reaching a new level of wellness. You’ll be connecting in mind, body, and spirit to an earlier, healthier time in our evolution, a time of connection to the earth, to the plants and animals that become our food, and to each other.

This is the way life should be!

You can learn more about the benefits of eating seasonal, locally-grown produce here . And to find the farmers’ markets closest to you, check out Local Harvest .

Please share where your favorite farmer’s market is located and your recent local purchases.

Bon appetit!

 

 

Experience Mind/Body/Spirit Enlightenment through the Crown Chakra

Over the past year or so, we’ve journeyed through the chakras, from exploring the tribal connections and survival concerns at our root through discovering the intuitive inner wisdom accessed through the “seat of the soul” or third eye.

And now, it’s time to take the final step, uniting our physical, intellectual, emotional,, and spiritual being with the Source of All That Is, at the crown chakra.

Called Sahasrara, or “the thousand-petaled” in Sanskrit, the crown chakra is located at the top of the head, at the powerful acupuncture meridian point called “Baek-Hwe,” which can activate the entire body and chakra system with one precisely-placed needle. It’s associated with the colors of white and violet, and the sacred syllable OM.

The crown chakra is the one that brings everything together at every level. Physically, it’s the place of muscular coordination, nervous system vitality, and immune health. Emotionally, it’s the place where we experience trust, devotion, inspiration, happiness, and positivity. Intellectually, it’s the place of vision and clarity regarding our life’s purpose. And spiritually, it’s the point at which we connect with both deep self awareness and cosmic consciousness.

A healthy functioning crown chakra will manifest as the ability to be confident in your faith in a Higher Power, higher self, or in a force that is highly intelligent and creative. Usually, this person will appear as a devout religious or spiritual person who is truly committed to his faith and allows God to guide all decisions in his life. This person may also appear as someone who has strong overarching spiritual principles by which she lives her life. These principles would be founded in a belief in a Higher Power. Examples of people who lived this message would be Mother Teresa and Gandhi

Likewise, if the crown chakra is unbalanced, deep problems can surface: autoimmune issues, lack of physical  coordination,  MS, pineal and pituitary problems, headaches (particularly migraines), depression, even schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder.

On the psychological level, there may be a pattern of shutting out new ideas, feelings, or experiences, and an overall sense of meaninglessness in life  and disconnection from oneself, others, and the Divine….or, if the chakra is overactive, there may be sensory or psychic hypersensitivity and overwhelm, a need to be right and to proselytize, and a sense of ungroundedness.

How can you regain the radiant health and sense of magic in life that come with an open and balanced crown chakra? Here are just a few tips:

Nutrition: because the crown chakra addresses the nervous system and energy body, it requires nourishment on a different level from the other chakras.  Dr. Oz suggests purple foods along with sunlight, fresh air, and being out in nature. I would go further and also suggest both purple and white foods such as eggplant, cabbage, grapes, onions, edible violet blossoms, garlic, fish, and cauliflower. Not only pure air but also pure water is important, and foods high in the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12) to help support the immune and nervous systems.

Essential Oils:  According to Starchaser Aromatics and Energy Work, some of the oils that can support the crown chakra are:

  • Basil (stimulating spiritual connection, including the call to service, and helping with indecision and feelings of vulnerability or lack of control)
  • Frankincense (helping to awaken the spiritual or soul purpose, as well as relieving anxiety, restlessness, nervous tension and stress-related conditions)
  • Ginger (expandng and aligning the crown with other chakras)
  • Spikenard (inspiring spiritual commitment and devotion, assisting with animal communication and relieving fear of death)
  • Angelica (addressing nervous tension and weakness, fatigue, and feelings of hopelessness and indecision)
  • Rosewood (balancing, calming and uplifting, particularly for those who feel overwhelmed or exhausted by life burdens)

Crystals: While a large number of purple and white crystals can be used to open and balance the crown chakra, the most popular are these:

  • Amethyst (relieving stress, aiding meditation, supporting past-life recall, relieving insomnia and nightmares and heightening intuition)
  • Sugilite(relieving headaches, supporting deep spiritual connection, and protecting against negative energetic influences)
  • Clear quartz crystal (revealing inner negativity and replacing it with positive thought; increasing awareness and clarity, and enhancing energy and patience)
  • Herkimer diamond (clearing the chakras, opening channels for spiritual energy to flow, and activating and opening the crown and )
  • Selenite (accessing connection with the Divine and angelic realms, delivering clarity of mind, and cleansing negative energy build-up for personal transformation)

Yoga: The yoga asanas best suited to balancing the crown chakra are the Corpse Pose, the Half Lotus, and the Headstand. The goal here is to ground yourself with connection to the Earth; to go inward and connect to your deep wisdom and inner divinity; and then to open the crown chakra by drawing the blood to your head through inversion.

Sacred Space: To create a sacred environment that helps you to balance the crown chakra, turn off all outside distractions (radio, TV, Internet, phone…) and bring in as much violet and white light as you can. Candles, crystals, tapestries – especially bearing the sacred symbol of OM, or the symbol of the Thousand-Petaled Lotus – will all help to focus your attention. Meditate on opening to the divine Love radiating throughout the universe. Watch your dreams and daydreams…often Spirit speaks through these when you have set the intent of  opening your crown chakra.

Now that you have experienced the energies of each of the chakras, you may feel their energy rising as you do the crown chakra meditation. This is kundalini, which can be a powerful, transformative force! While kundalini really deserves a post of its own, this beginning meditation can help you to experience it on a simple, beginning level: http://www.onlinemeditation.org/meditation-class-3/guided-meditation/

[1]http://www.changeyourenergy.com/wellness-guide/721/20131111-go-cosmic-with-crown-chakra-consciousness
[2] http://blog.doctoroz.com/oz-experts/find-chakra-balance-through-your-diet
[3] http://www.starchaser-healingarts.com/essential-oils-for-the-seventh-or-crown-chakra-sahasrara/
[4] http://www.sandrabolognia.com/SandraBolognia/Amethyst.html
[5] http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/sugilite.html
[6] http://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/quartz
[7] http://www.crystalvaults.com/crystal-encyclopedia/herkimer-diamond
[8] http://www.healing-crystals-for-you.com/selenite-crystals.html
[9] http://www.chakra-anatomy.com/crown-chakra-yoga-poses.html

Memoirs of An On-The-Go Superwoman

Last week was Women’s Health Week and it got me thinking what are we doing to create the life we want, as wonderful High-Achieving, High-Performing, On-the-Go Superwomen?

Wow – how’s that for a stress-inducing question? We’re all conditioned to want big, measurable results now – to get past all our obstacles and move on to super-efficiency and super-effectiveness. We’re told to “Just Do It” and “Lean In.”

But the truth is – creating a life of wellness, success, ease and flow involves lessons that mesh your mind, body and spirit; they can’t be learned overnight!

I can tell you personally – it is a lifelong journey! Just recently, I integrated what I’ve learned at a whole new level: I’m doing as much as I ever did, but with less struggle and more time for myself. I’m fully focused and aligned with what I want in life, I’m letting go of what doesn’t serve me, I’ve said a great big YES to my goals….and the Universe is supporting my focus and intention as never before!

So I’d like to invite you to de-stress, not di-stress, with a few of the lessons I’ve learned along the way….

Trust in the Universe/the Divine

I grew up in a religious household, but I didn’t really start tapping into my spiritual life at any deep level until I connected with my deep feminine, receiving side. Learning to get out of my own way, to stop struggling and striving, and instead to allow connections, synchronicities, and other miracles to happen – for a high-achieving, high-performing Superwoman with control issues, that’s been a major lesson!

Ask, Believing You Will Receive

A client once told me, “If I don’t demand and insist on getting what I need, nothing will happen.” Oh, did I know how she felt! And as I’ve evolved along this path, simply asking and letting go of the demands and insistence, I’ve started to see…well, things I could only call miracles happening! For example, the first time my husband surprised me by sending flowers to my office rather than the house. There was also the time I entered a Share Your Dream video contest and won over $1000 to pay for one of my nutritional courses…what a thrill!

Stop Trying to Fix the World

Letting go has been another huge lesson: learning to trust that clients – and friends and family – are on their own journeys and they will make the decisions they need to make. This has changed my Discovery consultations profoundly: I start now from the understanding that I can’t singlehandedly “fix” the women who come to me. I don’t have to prove that they need me; I need to listen, learn what they need and offer what I have to give. If they choose to accept what I offer – wonderful, we’ll work together in partnership! If not – that’s fine, too; they know what they need.

Balance Knowledge with Intuition

Like many high-achieving, high-performing Superwomen, I was ferociously well-trained to use my intellect and left-brain knowledge on all problems. The trouble was – intellect alone didn’t always come up with the appropriate answer! When I learned to balance my intellectual knowledge with intuition, I gained access to a level of wisdom I’d never known was available to me.

Let Go of the Addiction to Overwhelm

If someone had told me, years ago, that I was addicted to overwhelm, I would have been outraged. I didn’t ask to be saddled with so many responsibilities, keeping so many balls in the air – and good heavens, if I dropped one, what would people think? And despite this, as fast as I’d finish with one ball, I’d pick up another. I couldn’t stop myself. It wasn’t until a coach asked me what I wanted in life, and I answered, “Peace and Joy” that I realized that I was creating the exact opposite of my deepest desire.

So I started looking: what part of my chronic overwhelm did bring me pleasure? The answer: productivity. And did I need to be overwhelmed to be productive? No! I could fill my time with the work that juices me up, excites me, and then consciously identify the payoff in other projects. The outcome: I’ve freed myself from the addiction to overwhelm. I choose my projects consciously, and I now have guilt-free time for myself!

Let Go of the Need to Please

Where I used to turn myself into a pretzel, surrendering my own knowledge, judgment, and sense of integrity to please others, I finally realized – people are actually OK with my being in alignment with my highest values! And if they’re not – I need to re-examine why they’re in my life. I could be myself, and people would still like and respect me…perhaps even more than they would otherwise. The sense of release and self-validation was mind-boggling!

There is so much more that I could share, so many more “ahas” and deep shifts. They didn’t come all at once, but in steps along the way, over more than 10 years.

The deepest realization that I had just recently, was that in this culture health is not looked at in terms of Being but rather Doing. Problem is – Doing is not transformational, where Being is. For example, when I was at the rock bottom, I had the realization: I no longer want to Be this way! Instead, I want to Be happy, healthy, whole. And out of that vision of Being, I built a plan of Doing that has guided me ever since.

A vision of Being. That’s what can sustain you through all your lifelong journey, step by step, toward total wellness and effortless ease, flow, and grace.

Are you an On The Go Woman who wants to balance your Doing with Being ? Schedule your 60 minute Ditch the worry and stress and get happy AND healthy Discovery Session. Click here to schedule.

 

Stressed? Release It Naturally

Stressed. Don’t your shoulders tense when you think of the words? Jaw clenches, stomach tightens, your whole body subtly shifts to “Alert” mode. Whether it’s triggered by an argument in your family, a tight deadline, a looming presentation, a traffic jam on the way to the airport, or a dark alley between the parking garage and your destination, stress is one of the inescapables of life.

Sometimes this is OK – even good! Healthy stress, such as preparing for a race, or measuring up to performance reviews, keeps you at the top of your game. But when you’ve been under pressure for weeks, months, or even years (as with adults who have been abused as children), your nervous system, your muscles, your heart and lungs – all of your body systems! – become locked in a chronic stress pattern.

Your body’s response to stress is largely managed by a hormone called cortisol (a.k.a. “the stress hormone”). Cortisol is involved in controlling blood sugar levels, immune responses, anti-inflammatory responses, blood pressure, cardiovascular function, and central nervous system function, among other things.

While cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day, they also peak when the adrenal glands signal a response to stress. When the stressful situation passes, cortisol levels should return to normal – but if the body has responded to ongoing stress for weeks, months, or years (for example, in adults who were abused as children), cortisol levels never have a chance to fall. And this can be damaging – even deadly – to your health and well-being, leading over time to conditions such as:

  • Brain fog
  • Weight gain
  • Addictive behaviors, from shopping and eating to substance abuse
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability and rage
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

So what can you do to reduce stress? While I could literally talk for days about self-care tools such as exercise, meditation, sleep – even simply taking a deep breath! – one of the most effective tools I’ve found has been adaptogens. That is, plant-based substances such as herbal teas, tinctures, and supplements that help your body to respond to stress and anxiety, resist fatigue and boost the immune system.

Some of the adaptogens that I personally use most often are:

  • Maca root
  • Holy basil
  • Ashwaghanda
  • Licorice
  • Astralagus
  • Chata, Reishi, and Shiitaki mushrooms

But if you’re interested in using adaptogens to control your stress levels, it’s important to be cautious! Talk with a holistic doctor, nutritionist or nutritional endocrinology  coach about the herb that’s best for your system, and start gently with a small dose for a few days. See how your body responds, and then continue or adjust the dose. Be gentle with yourself during this period and watch changes in your body and mood carefully. Most important, stay in touch with your doctor or wellness coach.

And while we’re talking about do-it-yourself treatment for stress…

One of the ways we’re often tempted to “self-medicate” under stress is through comfort foods such as breads and pastries, chips and cookies, and of course chocolate. Most of these are empty-calorie snacks (which are usually loaded with preservatives and GMOs): they may give you a momentary boost of energy or mood, but a crash is sure to follow!

So, instead of these guilty, harmful pleasures, I’m going to close with a recipe for one of my favorite sweet indulgences….enjoy!

“On The Go” Herbal Treats

Mix wet ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 cup nut and or seed butter (almond, cashew, and/or sunflower)
  • 2 tbs of unrefined melted coconut oil
  • ½ cup raw honey or vanilla stevia to taste
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract if you use honey or plain stevia

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • ½ cup of chopped nuts or seeds ( brazil nuts, almonds, and/or pecans)
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • about 1 cup herbal powders (ashwaganda, holy basil, chaga, shilajit, maca, and astragulus)  You can use all of these or a combination of the ones you have; I recently combined all of them! Use about 1 -2 tbs of each herb.
  • ¼  – ½ cup of dried fruit  (goji berries, cherries, raisins, figs, apricots, dates, cranberries )

Combine dry and wet ingredients; mix to the consistency of cookie dough. Divide up the dough and roll into balls.  Roll the balls in cacao or carob powder and/or coconut.

To receive the health benefits of these herbal delights, I recommend eating two a day. You can store these balls in the freezer until ready to use.

When the World Grows Dark – Laugh!

I had an startling exchange with a friend the other day….when I opened our conversation with a Facebook funny to mark the upcoming World Laughter Day (May 5), she interrupted me with a heartfelt cry of “How can you make jokes at a time like this!”

Wow. The passion of her response stopped me in my tracks: who hasn’t asked that question as the headlines grow darker? But the truth is, as Robin Williams once said, “Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with…trauma.”

I mean, just think about a world without humor…where Robin Williams’ wild wit never left us breathless with laughter, or Tina Fey never took the wind out of Sarah Palin’s political sails. Where Stephen Colbert, John Anderson, and D.L. Hughey never pointed up the absurdities of the political scene, or Swami Beyondananda never made life lessons divinely funny.

A world where you could never laugh until you cried, or where a well-timed quip never turned a crying jag into a choke and a watery giggle.

Because, you see, all the best comedians know that laughter truly is the other side of tears. To be human, we need both, and both are healing.

In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine famously tells the story of Saturday Review editor-in-chief Norman Cousins, who responded to a terminal diagnosis by locking himself in a hotel room with films of Candid Camera, the Marx Brothers, and stacks of funny books….and slowly laughed his way back to health.

That was the start of a whole new field of medicine called psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the way our thoughts and feelings affect the chemicals in our brain which affect our bodies’ chemical responses to bacteria and viruses. According to the mental health nonprofit site HelpGuide.org, laughter…

  • relaxes the whole body for up to 45 minutes
  • boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones such as cortisol  and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies
  • triggers the release of endorphins – hormones which promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain
  • protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increasing blood flow

These benefits are  essential for everyone, but especially for us On The Go, High Performing, High Achieving Women, who need something to help decrease our feelings of stress and overwhelm and bring more ease into our lives.

Indigenous peoples understand the healing properties of laughter, even in the midst of grief. Many Native traditions celebrate the role of the Trickster – the blundering “backwards teacher” who keeps the People laughing and demonstrates to the children how not to act. Interestingly, the Trickster shows up over and over again as a creator or savior figure – which shows the cosmic power of humor!

And then there’s the transformational Trickster: I remember the story of a memorial sweatlodge for a beloved elder, where the participants shared memories and groaned and sobbed their grief, until the ceremonial leader solemnly tricked them into tears of laughter with an obscene practical joke. Irreverent? Definitely! But it gave them the energy they needed to pick up and move on.

So for you On The Go Woman,  how can you tap into the laughter on World Laughter Day? Here are some ideas…and remember, all of them are even more fun when you’re trying them with friends!

  • Load up on comedy DVDs and laugh the night away. Whether you’re a fan of the Looney Tunes, Three Stooges and Marx Brothers, Robin Williams, Seinfeld, Garfunkel & Oates, or Chris Rock, binge to your heart’s content. You’ll be surprised how good you feel in the morning!
  • Try Laughter Yoga  – the healing practice of learning to laugh for no reason, without jokes or comedy setups. Your body responds the same way to real and fake laughter – and most times, the fake chortles soon turn into genuine guffaws!
  • Get together with friends for Game Night – whether you’re playing Charades, Pictionary, Taboo, Cranium or Scattergories, add some extra-silly twists to get the group giggling.  Or my favorite, to balance my doing with being, is Backwards Talent night, where everybody competes with tone-deaf singing, over-the-top acting, or klutzy dancing – the silliest act wins! (Watch out,  cause if you are playing with me I can be pretty silly)

The ancients had a saying: the devil cannot abide laughter. When we find and affirm Joy even when things are dark, we’re choosing wellness, light, and life… helping others to do the same….and making a positive difference in our world.

In the comment section below please share how you will tap into laughter today.