Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
We celebrated the 4th of July in a difficult time that for various reasons felt less celebratory. But, I want to highlight the need and power of celebration. Not only in our country, but in our lives, and in our health we sometimes have difficult, scary, and emotionally charged times. The anger, disappointment, and related emotions have constructive energy to move us to action and speaking out - BUT for them not to become incendiary we need celebration.
Celebration is a spotlight on what works, what you’ve done well, the rights you have, the love that exists, the good will that persists. It is those things that empower you to speak your truth, work on behalf of others, and commit to your better life. Reminding yourself of what you already have, the battles you have already won, and the progress you have made is your foundation. The more you strengthen your foundation by celebrating your assets, accomplishments, and rights, the more hope you have in transformation. Hope is what keeps you going despite what is happening now.
When you take a moment to celebrate your good food choices - woo hoo!!! - the slip ups don’t take you back to I will never be able to to do this or this is too hard. In outrage about politics, news, or life happenings - celebrating the love, support, access that is there - liberates you to channel the energy of outrage into big and small gestures in the right direction.
Sometimes problems or challenges seem to loom so much larger than your personal agency. Never lose sight of the impact of small choices. You cannot reverse heart disease in a day, but daily choices can lead to a 40 point cholesterol drop as one of our weekly meal plan clients experienced. Racism is larger than you, but your kindness creates a difference for those you interact with which shifts the pendulum. Women’s rights are challenged, but when you help another woman, volunteer, or tell your story you raise up all people.
I am the worst at stopping to celebrate. I am too busy, or there is still so much more to do, or I am on to the next thing, but over time it burns me out, steals my zeal, and slows me down. Over the last week, I committed to a celebration of where I am and where we are as a country. I feel refreshed, hopeful, and am able to not be in despair, but see how I can support women and community at this time.
Think about how you can improve your practice of celebration. I encourage you to celebrate the heck out of life - this will do so much for your joy, effectiveness, and vigor. Birthdays, holidays, births, graduations, accomplishments, awards, anniversaries all are reasons to celebrate - a toast, a shout out, a special dinner, wearing your favorite outfit, even turning in early can be the celebration. How will you celebrate?
Wintering by Katherine May has transformed my winter. A client suggested this book in early December - both my daughter and I read it, loved it, and were inspired to make changes to embrace winter itself and the winters in life.
One practice inspired by the book was using the sauna regularly. I have taken to sauna-ing two to three times a week - a practice I really haven’t had since living in Russia. There is no greater pleasure than being warm. I follow with a cold shower. My energy and focus for the rest of the day is completely dialed in. Additionally, my skin is loving the pre and post sauna treatment with the Pomona Skin - goodbye winter dry skin. I get to detox and boost my immune system all with a 15 minute time commitment.
The book inspired me to enjoy more soups and broths and hot matcha.
As it relates to life - magically the book has evoked more patience in me for the process of life. I am definitely one who could live in perpetual summer, but May reminds us in so many ways that the quiet, more insulated times of life are necessary for more robust and expansive springs and summers. Also, not to fight the quiet times or the times of healing because they are as much part of the cycle of life as are the seasons.
You are a beautiful person inside and out. Is it hard or easy to feel that? Can you feel your beautiful qualities as much as you feel your external beauty? Humans are beautiful creatures. Babies and children feel their innate irresistibility.
Beyond that age maintaining that sense of beauty is intentional because so much negative body image energy intrudes on what we once knew ourselves to be - beautiful.
Negative body image comes in many forms: self hate, self criticism, non-acceptance, denial, and even abandonment of the self. Rather mild or extreme, not fully believing yourself beautiful inside and out limits what you feel capable of, what you think you can achieve, your self worth, how you take care of yourself - how you feed and nourish yourself.
Feeling beauty confidence is something that I have worked for; as a mother, I worked also for my children to always feel beautiful. And, at the heart of jolie, I want everyone to fall in love with themselves and feel beautiful.
So, how do you do the work of seeing your beauty? Here are my practices and practices that have moved clients into greater self love, feeling beautiful, and acceptance of their body.
1. Look at yourself. Children love looking at themselves, not out of vanity, but because they like what they see. Bring yourself back to that age and behold yourself in a mirror.
Find something to admire, to give loving attention to for a moment. If this is hard - as you look repeat "yes" to yourself. If this is easy, go further admire more, blow yourself a kiss, tell yourself how special you are.
2. Use negative self talk as ideas to challenge. How do you know the idea is negative? If you have to ask, you know it is not one of love.
I view negative self talk just as a storyline that gets repeated. That story line can be edited or revised at your discretion. You are the chief scriptwriter for your thoughts.
I always suggest revision - its a non-resistant path to change. If you are recycling a self criticism, begin by softening the criticism. Then, once you've mastered that - entertain the thought that the opposite could be true. Explore evidence for that new thought. Over time you will change the thought through non resistance and curiosity.
3. Up the volume on what you do find beautiful about yourself. Write down what you love and focus on reminding yourself of those things. This allows you to spend more time in positivity. Positive thoughts magnetize other good feelings.
4. Exercise improves your outlook as well as how you appreciate what our bodies can do. Part of negative self image is not allowing yourself to celebrate what your bodies can do. When emphasis is placed on what you cannot do or on illness, you lose sight of your physical achievements and your wellness.
5. Nature is as a great healer as food for your body and mental outlook. Sometimes I meditate on the quote by Hermes Trismegistus “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” The beauty you see all around you and the wonder of the universe is simply a reflection of the beauty within you and the beauty that is you.
6. Be patient with physical change and habits that support a healthier you. The body can change and heal. Yet, it takes time. So, if there are parts of you you are unhappy with, give yourself 6-12 months to work on the change you want to see. If you don't want to commit the time to change, commitment the time to accepting that part of yourself.
7. Take care of yourself. Attention is love. The more attention you give to yourself, the more in love you will fall. Take time to take care of yourself every day.
8. Decide you are beautiful. Your perspective is as much a determinant of reality as anything else. I hated New York when I first moved there - but one day, I just decided that I was going to love New York City. So everyday, I’d look for one thing to love. Now, I can't see myself with it.
It’s never to late to start loving yourself and seeing your beauty. And, there is no limit on beauty or love.
Wellness is a practice of taking care of yourself in private so that in the rest of your life you feel better and can do all the things you want. It is a lifelong commitment built on individual actions and choices. One way that I keep myself on track is throughout the year, I do various projects and challenges that support my wellness.
For fall, I chose to focus on being my best self - in all the ways: mindset, body, happiness, purpose, nutrition. I invite you to join me or create a challenge of your own.
Here is how you begin to hone in on what, at this moment and time, it means to be your best self.
Complete the sentence: ”I want to feel” as many times as you can. Choose 3-4 statements that feel really exciting or good to you. There are no wrong choices. Remember when you work on something, it automatically elevates all the areas of your life.
The four statements I chose were:
I want to feel more limber and flexible.
I want to feel balanced.
I want to feel focused.
I want to feel vibrant.
Now think of habits, foods, activities, places, or experiences that support the statements you chose. This is a brainstorm. When you are done you will choose a few which you will integrate into the next few months.
Here is what I did.
I want to feel more limber and flexible.
Eat more turmeric & ginger - anti-inflammatories.
Do a weekly self massage or receive a massage. Daily take time to stretch.
I want to feel balanced.
Schedule acupuncture to balance energy.
Spend time in nature.
Each morning spend 20 minutes in meditation and prayer.
I want to feel focused.
Create a written hourly schedule.
Remove the clutter in my space and schedule. Spend less time with people that distract me from my goals.
I want to feel vibrant.
Change my routines to add freshness.
Dance every day.
Eat lots of raw foods.
Once you complete this practice, you have goals and definitions of what it means to be your best self. From here we begin and let me inspire and cheer you on.
So many times people who loved me told me no. I expressed something I wanted to do, a goal, a dream. Then came the reasons why it was not possible, practical, prudent, or acceptable. Unfortunately, the person who told me no most often was me. This too is true for many of my clients and women I encounter in group programs.
Why do we disapprove of ourselves so willingly? Partly it’s an internalization of what is expected of us. We also naturally seek what is familiar and safe. Our desires by definition lead us into unfamiliar territory with the risk of failure or disappointment. We are so used to looking after others and the needs of friends and family, that we easily dismiss doing anything which may jeopardize their acceptance and conflict with their needs.
To be truthful - there are expectations of us - but not as many as we think. Write down something you wish to do or wish to have now. Then write down all the expectations that are blocking you.
In my own life, when I wanted to return to work after being a stay at home mom for 14 years, I had a list of why I couldn’t. The kids needed me to be available, what if they got sick and needed to stay home, how will I fit in all the extracurriculars, how could I continue my routine of self care which would demand more time when I was already taking time away to work. Basically, I was disapproving of my desire out of fear that my children would see me as a bad mom.
Most expectations are like a mirage. We feel internally like we are expected to do something or be available for someone, but in reality most people are in support of our happiness, can accommodate change, and are willing to support you in living a full life. You must support you too!
My children were actually fine. They knew how to tend for themselves more than I realized. Sick days were few and manageable. And, they loved the happiness and joy it brought me. All the apprehension I had was simply my internal resistance based in fear and judgement.
Expanding yourself frequently triggers a no. We internally say no because we feel underprepared, undeserving, or not enough. When I feel this, I stop and approve of my desire and my fears. To do this, I follow the subsequent steps.
I acknowledge my feelings and resistance. I am thankful for them. I affirm that I can only desire to do that which was made for me or I was made for it. Desires arise from your heart. I approve of my heart desires.
I examine them to see if there is anything to learn from the “nos” I feel. For example, one thing that helped the transition was streamlining life by decluttering both space and schedules.
I spend time feeling into how good it feels or will feels in the experience of that desire. Then I choose one small action to take in the direction of my dream.
This gentle path will guide you forward.
The challenge derailed yesterday. I planned a love drive to create more positive energy. I planned an amazing meal day - jolieLife. Instead, I procrastinated on the love drive and chose to eat what the kids had for lunch which left me feeling heavy, instead of light and refreshed. In the evening I was left me asking myself why was I so resistant to pleasure?
The love drive always leave me feeling wonderful and eating a scrumptious salad is heaven to me.
Why do we resist pleasure?
To define a love drive: they are short, 10-15 minute drives by myself to focus on what I love. I spend the time saying aloud what I love. It is a wonderful practice. It makes you glow!
My self examination revealed I did the things that seemed like work, but undervalued the aspects of the challenge that were pleasure. It is a common theme. However, I am certain if I had done the pleasure, the work would have been easier and I would have felt very happy and satisfied at the end of the day because I would have done the things that feed my soul.
So today, I vowed to leave nothing on the table - to do the pleasure. Result: I am writing this because I feel energized from eating well, spending time in meditation, and taking my Masterclasses. On top of that, I had more energy, focus, and efficiency in doing the tasks of the day.
Lesson learned: do pleasure first and you fuel everything else.
with light + love,
Today I begin a 60 day challenge for myself.
I want to spend the next 60 days dedicated to meditation, diving deeper into positive thought patterns, gardening, physical movement and exercise, creative pursuits, and exclusive plant based eating.
I decided to count down, so today is 60/60.
Today I struggled with my chosen workout - the Class. Before opening jolie I would frequently attend the Class in Tribeca and, then, Flatiron. It is a magical blend of physical, spiritual, and soul work. I stood a long time in judgement of my choice because it was not non-stop cardio which has been my routine for awhile. Am I wasting my time? Maybe I should just row? Ok, I will row after this - these were my thoughts, until I felt my body. I could feel the energy flowing beneath the skin.
I decide to fall into it. Actually, it was an answer to prayer. In my other workouts, the movements are small, the spaces confined. For the first time in a long time, I was asked to be big, to take up more space, to stretch and use as much space as I could. This falls right in line with my meditation intention to increase my aura. I felt like I had worked out, meditated, and gone to church by the time it was done.
Join me, spend some time in meditation. Ask yourself what you would like to experience or focus on for the next 60 days. Decide one thing to do tomorrow aligned with your intention.
How many tradeoffs did you make in the last six weeks offering up your own pleasure, wellbeing, or peace of mind for the good or pleasure of someone else? How often to you go to bed late, indulge, or buy something not because you wanted to, but because you had to do it?
Well, December is over and now it is time to return to you. If that seems impossible - many find that even in say May they are constantly putting themselves aside for others - 2020 is a wonderful opportunity to consider making different choices.
In our culture, women are raised in the expectation of choosing other people’s happiness instead of their own. It is very difficult, if not impossible to say yes to our own joy, our own happiness, our own pleasure. We have no experience prioritizing our own pleasure or investing in ourselves if it inconveniences someone else. But it is easy, as natural as breathing, to say yes to obligation and responsibility.
Let this year be the year of both. Saying yes to your obligations and responsibilities and yes to your own pleasure.
I began this yes to my pleasure this morning. I chose to go to Bar because it makes me feel good inside. I began my day with movement dancing to my favorite song to get my blood pumping. I postponed brunch to 12 so the feeling of lightness could return to my body after last night’s feast.
Think of three ways this week you can say yes to your own pleasure. Say yes to an investment in your own happiness, health, and wellness.
P.S. This is a new decade to live intentionally and create the best you.
Therapeutic Emotional Release is a technique I teach clients to process sorrow, grief, disappointment, anger, and injustice.
It is invaluable as a daily tool when dealing with loss - death, divorce, or big life change - trauma, or a build up of negative emotions. It is also one of the maintenance tools I encourage and use to keep me emotionally clear and light.
Emotions are a necessary part of being human. However, it is difficult to know what to do with our negative or darker feelings. If you are like me, you were taught to suppress them. I cannot tell you how many times my father told me to stop crying, get over my anger, pick yourself up and keep going, or swallow my disappointment.
Yet despite expert suppression and denial, emotions did not dissipate. Instead they lodged themselves in my body. They became a budding ulcer. Emotional suppression is one of the leading causes of stress related illnesses: heart disease, obesity, autoimmunity, insulin resistance, depression, insomnia, and digestive problems. We need to deal with our feelings.
Therapeutic Emotional Release is an easy-to-learn technique to release emotions from the body without losing it. You can do it in a controlled, precise method.
The practice has three parts and should take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes a day - you get to decide how much time to devote to it.
Part 1: Decide what emotion you wish to work on releasing or what situation you want to address. Write this down on a piece of paper you will discard once you are done. This part is short - 1 minute tops. Whatever emotion or situation surfaces first is the one to deal with now.
Part 2: This section takes ⅔ to ¾ of the allotted time. You are to embody the feeling. If it is sorrow or grief - cry, sob, rant, get on the floor, curl up into a ball. Do what feels like sorrow or grief. The point is to allow your body to physical act the emotion - think modern dance.
If the emotion is anger, you may scream, punch a punching bag, pound a pillow, jump on a trampoline, Allow the words, emotions, and energy to flow out of you in movement. The movement is essential because it is what dislodges and empties the emotions from the body - it is like flushing the toilet of anger, sadness, or grief.
Part 3: You cannot skip this part of the technique. Without the third part, you no longer have Therapeutic Emotional Release. It will not be effective without the third part.
In the third part, you use your senses to bring pleasure to the body. You can dance, you can eat something luscious like a strawberry or orange slowly, you can bathe, you can feel soft fabrics, you can run your fingers through your hair, you can sing - the point here is to do something pleasurable with your body that is also beautiful. This third part is refilling you with good feelings and peace. After you flush out the emotion, it is important to refill the tank with clean water.
As you engage with this form of therapy, you will find yourself lighter, less reactive, and healthier. You will also discover that negativity does not need to intrude on the rest of your day. There is time set aside to deal with what you are going through.
If you have a large build up of emotion, I recommend daily practice of Therapeutic Emotional Release. As your emotional septic tank gets emptied, you will need the technique less and less.
I encourage you to commit to a 30 day practice if you have a significant loss or trauma. Otherwise commit to using this practice once a week. It will transform your life.
Yesterday I attended a small gathering of people which allowed me to observe and test some of the practices I teach in coaching.
1. Attention changes interactions to connections. Eye contact is most effective when not only your eyes, but your attention is focused on the other person. Attention is likely the most scarce resource in modern human interaction. Talking to another while thinking about yourself or something else, blocks your ability to connect. Placing all your attention on the other person allows you to see the next questions to ask, where they may be resistant, and gives them a subconscious feeling of being seen.
In last nights event, the deepest connections where made by focused attention and those conversations flowed without awkward pauses.
2. Authenticity can include challenge. When seeking true connection with another being authentic is key, but so is challenge. We all enjoy agreeable people, but those who never introduce an different viewpoint or disagreement are more difficult to connect with because they do not demonstrate individuality or how they are unique. When you speak with people be yourself, but also do not be afraid to challenge them.
3. Ask questions. Observing those who talked about themselves mostly with those who asked frequent questions, especially follow up questions - the conversations liberally sprinkled with questions definitely allowed the participants to learn more about each other and deeper discovery. Also, throughout the conversations with questions the participants exhibited more open body language.
To learn more about how you can optimize your ability to connect with others to make your life and their life better, join me in a coaching session. To learn more click here.
I firmly believe our health is heavily influenced by our beliefs. Science now is backing this up with study results which show how repeated thoughts affect our behavior and cell health. Also studies have shown the power of mantra. When we tell ourselves something over and over it can shift our behavior, habits, and choices.
For example, a friend of mine used to be addicted to ice cream. To break the addiction, each day she would visualize herself eating ice cream and feeling terrible afterwards. Over time, this meditation built an aversion to ice cream within her. Likewise, the placebo effect can increase efficacy of treatments and overall health outcomes - a person thinks something will help her and it does just because of the thought.
What we believe determines what we think is possible, our habits, and our choices. But many of our beliefs are under the surface and we operate not being aware of them. However, if we listen to our thoughts and self talk they will reveal our underlying beliefs.
You will learn rather or not you expect health or illness. Eavesdropping on yourself will reveal if you are at peace with your body or feel alienated and disconnect from it. What you hear is affecting you on the level of cell health - the essence of wellbeing.
If you discover a belief that is negatively impacting your health, how do you change your beliefs?
In order to replace or reverse it we first recognize the belief. Do you expect to be stressed? Do you think your health is delicate? Do you expect to recover quickly when sick? Do you think you are undeserving of health or feeling great? Do you think you will always feel bloated and uncomfortable? Do you think you are bound to experience a particular disease?
You bring the beliefs to the light. Then, replace the belief with something more aligned to the outcome you want. This process of replacement is gradual, but will work. For example, for a while I had orthorexia. I thought some foods would instantly make me fat and feel terrible. Each time that came up, birthday cake for example, I would tell myself, “My body knows exactly what to do with this food and can use it up quickly.” Over time, I was able to occasionally partake in certain foods without the expectation that they would instantly derail my health gains.
Core beliefs I continually reinforce are: I deserve health and energy all day; I eat so my body heals itself; and aging is not inevitable.
These beliefs I repeat to myself. This way I expect well being and make choices which support health. It creates habits of choosing food for how they will assist my body in feeling great, When I am sick, rather or not it requires medication, I tell myself that my body is already healing itself. The positive thoughts, help me to heal faster.
Using your beliefs for your health is one of the most powerful wellness tools you have. it is effective, free, and accessible.
I am not a vision board person, but I decided to do one at the beginning of the year because I felt that 2019 was going to be amazing! Just about everything happened! How is this?
I will tell you vision boards are not magical or necessary, but are one way to use what I call “conscious effort” to create what you want. A physical or mental vision board is an expression of new possibilities.
Creation of anything starts by simply considering the possibility of something. jolieLife food is incredible food - it’s healing and it’s delicious. I wanted more people to experience it because I believe in my core food makes all the difference in illness, aging, and energy. I wanted a way to spread it. The means to do so hadn’t happened, but it could happen.
So I began the process of conscious effort. Conscious effort is the work of putting your attention on the thing you desire. This is not the same as hard work. You do not need to work hard at your goal in the traditional way of putting a lot of elbow grease into it. There is a more feminine energy of creation we can access which uses work, intention, and openness.
Conscious effort begins with saying that this is something I would really like. So I am going to meditate on this image of what I would really like and I am going to build on it and build on it.
It is not to say you don’t do anything, but conscious effort is kind of effortless. You build on the idea mentally and physically until the opportunity presents itself. You prepare yourself for the door without "pounding on a wall hoping to transform it into a door" - Coco Chanel.
You take the steps the universe shows you, and you rise to the opportunity when it comes. This does involve time and energy, but it does not have to be a struggle.
Consider that you can work hard without struggle. Yes, you have to expend your energy, but it can be effortless. You do the steps, but not in a way that feels pressured or burdensome. So that those steps you do flow out of a love for the work, a love for the process.
An important side note is to make sure you are enjoying the process because if you do not enjoy the process, once you reach your goal you will find no joy there either. It is like the person who is on a grueling diet and hates every step of the way. Once they reach their goal, there is no pleasure staying on a program that will maintain the results. Whereas if you enjoy the journey, learn to enjoy healthy food, love the way your body feels in the transition, develop a love for movement; maintaining your weight at the end will be easy.
In conscious effort you are putting your attention where you want it to go and letting things come to you. It is helpful to plan out steps, but you want to leave room for flexibility and new inspiration. It is good to have a general plan and then ask the universe to guide you. You do your part and co create with the universe to let providence take you where you want to go. You take action, but allow space for inspiration and serendipity.
jolieLife cafe - my goal was in mind. I worked on the quality and presentation of jolieLife meals with love, skill, and conviction. When the universe opened the door and the offer of opening a jolieLife cafe came from Murray Hill Tennis & Fitness, I rose to meet the opportunity with the same love and passion. This is conscious effort in manifestation.
Fall is a great time to think about what you want to work on and towards. I am happy to help you create your best life in a Soul Styling session. Book here.
I just got back from Paris as many of you know. It is my happy place. Every time I travel there I wish I could bottle up that feeling of Paris so that I can have access to it at all times.
In actually, I can. You can also tap into the energy of your happy places and happy times. What’s more, is that this practice does not only help you feel happier in the present, but it creates more happiness in your life.
Here's the method. For me to access the me in Paris energy, I open myself to imagining myself in Paris. I imagine the beautiful scenery, the yummy food, sitting in a cafe, the casual interactions people have. The imagining is important because the mind is the point of access to the energy of Paris. It is the instrument I can use to tap into that energy which is easier because it is a place I have already experienced.
When I access Paris energy I feel calm and peaceful; I feel happy and free. The more I do this kind of daydreaming, the more I get use to or accustom to the feeling of being calm and peaceful. In reality, I am not tuning into Paris, but I am actually tuning into the vibration of happiness.
As this becomes my habit of tuning into happiness, then in my day to day life I start looking for more of that experience. It changes my perspective, what I notice, and what I am concentrating on. I get used to the Paris feeling, and then tune myself to things of similar frequency.
So when you daydream about your happy place or time, you too are tuning into a vibration of happiness and well being. You begin to shift your mind into a place of peace and tranquility. You feel more deeply the feeling of freedom happiness gives. Habitually experiencing the feeling of happiness will draw more happy experiences and create more happiness within you because you are shifting your own consciousness towards happiness.
This is not hard work. You simply need to allow yourself to daydream. You can do this while brushing your teeth. It does not require much from you, but allows you to create a better life for yourself.
P.S. For more steps and tools specific to you, feel free to reach out.
You are at a smorgasbord plate in hand. You circle the offerings taking a little bit this and a little of that. You return to your seat with a plate full of yummy possibilities. What do you eat first?
The food that most excites you.
Now take a piece a paper. Draw a circle. This is your plate. It represents a period of time - a day or a week. Within the circle write down all the things you have to do. Take a look at it. Now do the thing you want to do most in the circle. When you finish that, do the next thing you want to do most. Continue like this.
Also, on your smorgasbord plate, sometimes you select things and only eat half of them before tasting something else. Or, perhaps, you decide something on the plate isn’t really for you - you leave it on the plate.
Now allow yourself to move through your circle like that plate. Some things you will complete, others you will do part of and then switch to a different activity; some you will realize are not for you.
I call this feminine list making. You have structure, but fluidity within the structure. I’ve been using this method and it amazes me how productive I am with it AND how much I enjoy my days.
The circle feels good as a gentle boundary that I can expand and contract as I feel. The choice aspect allows we to move through the list based on what is exciting me most at the moment. By doing the thing that would give me the most joy at the moment, I use positive motivation to get things done, and build up energy throughout the day as opposed to leaking energy into "eating my frog first."
With the freedom and fluidly to move in and out of tasks based on my joy, I get a lot done in a day.
My circle has helped me to enjoy the rush and the activities. It feels more like water moving as opposed to digging myself out of a mountain of work. I highly recommend it!!
For those with questions of how to use this in a work or school environment, for items that have a deadline or that I must produce for others, I note it, but continue to move within those expectations to where my joy is. And everything gets done, faster than you’d imagine.
If you notice that a particular item is repeatedly left in the circle, it means it is something you don’t want to eat just like when you leave food on your smorgasbord plate. That’s okay. It’s time to let that item go or get creative. The smorgasbord analogy is good here. What are all the options for dealing with something that isn’t appetizing to you?
Here is my technique for unblock beliefs that are keeping me stuck or hampering my progress. It is very simple, always works, and requires little effort from you. All that is necessary is a willingness to release beliefs which are impeding your progress, repetition when necessary, pen, and paper.
The Release Technique
I write down the belief or beliefs that I am holding which are not helping me move positively. This I do anywhere. I keep it as simple as I can. I write whatever comes to mind no matter how irrelevant or unimportant it seems.
A belief is simply an idea. An idea someone crafted because it worked for them. It made sense to the creator of the idea. In some cases the idea is enshrined as a cultural norm, familial expectation, social attitude, or the rule of a particular group. But, in its essence, it is simply an idea.
An idea that worked for someone else in their particular situation does not mean it works for you. Even an idea that worked for you, may not continuing working for you. So instead of seeing a belief or idea as a rock which is unchangeable, think of it more as water: it can shift and change. Beliefs are fluid.
I then look at each idea and I cross it out. Crossing it out signals to my consciousness that I don’t need that idea anymore. For stubborn beliefs, sometimes I have to keep writing them down and keep crossing them out until I feel the belief loosening and drifting away.
My father had told me many things I couldn’t do. They were all beliefs from his perspective and experience, crafted to protect me and him too. Many simply stopped working for me - he is quite old fashioned. So, I crossed them out. I have done many of his "you can'ts."
This is a way to open yourself that doesn’t require a lot of work because it shifts you internally. As your thoughts about yourself and what's possible changes, your actions change. Your energy changes, and it opens up more space for you to grow.
In my practice, I work on energetic changes because they are the ones that help you grow with grace and as much ease as possible. By changing in this way, the path to your goals is smoother and attainable.
We are constantly birthing. Birthing is creating. It could be a profession, an education, yourself, a relationship, a service, a home, a garden, whatever you are creating, you are birthing.
Birthing consists of three stages: conception of the idea, the gestation, and the emergence into reality. Each has its process. I use the word process intentionally to underscore that in manifesting a desire it is an intentional unfolding as opposed to forced action.
To manifest a desire, or birth it, you essentially want to expand into some area of experience. First to do so, you allow yourself the space. In the body, the uterus is set aside as the space. If you want to create something big, you have to make space for it - mental, physical, and time.
Physical space is sometimes needed. If you want to begin painting, but every space of your house is occupied. The making space could be clearing out the garage or guest room.
Mental space is cultivated within meditation, journaling, and learning. Visualizations are perfect for this.
As we nurture our desire we give attention to it. Attention can be looking for others who have achieved what we want. Seeing is believing. Seeing another’s success signals to you, you can get there too, especially if this person has a story similar to yours.
Attention can be baby steps to find out more or experience part of what you want. If you want to go back to grad school, that could be taking one class or going to a lecture series.
As we nurture the desire, it grows and will require more space to develop. As the desire grows, it slowly becomes more real to us as we start to see it beginning to manifest. In this stage, the inertia of the desire carries energy which will make it easier to create the space for it. It’s as if the desire gets ignited and the original fanning has created a strong fire.
From here just like pregnancy, we continue to give more attention and space to our creation so that it naturally unfolds. Yet, unlike pregnancy, there is no due date. We can create in ease when we allow the process to take its course.
If there is something you wish to birth for yourself, be patient with the process, look for people as examples who are farther along the journey, and begin to take steps to experience parts of your desire now.
The most primary relationship we have is with ourselves. As a mother, my health, calm, and patience comes from how I nurture or mother myself. Actually, rather or not you are a mother, mothering or nurturing yourself is essential. It is the only way to cultivate the soil of your life so you are healthy, vibrant, and feel alive.
Mother's Day gives opportunity to reflect on motherhood and to introduce Aphrodite Project. Birthing and pregnancy is very dear to my heart: I spent 14 years of my life bearing children, I experienced happily water birth, hospital birth, and home birth. Each was fantastic, monumental, and taught me about myself.
But, what I did not realize then, and know now, is how very lucky I was in having one healthy pregnancy and birth after another.
Aphrodite Project provides women support in pregnancy and postpartum that is desperately needed. The United States is in a health crisis that few are aware of or speak of: the rate of pregnancy related death is rising in the U.S. while decreasing 44% in the rest of the world although we spend more on healthcare. We are at the bottom of the list when compared to other developed countries.
Many studies are now being conducted to find out why. The general agreement in the research is echoed in a Harvard University study which asserts that the main contributing factor is the chronic stress women live under which weakens the entire body making pregnancy an extraordinary challenging environment for maternal wellness.
So by dissolving stress and building wellness within the body, your chances of a healthy pregnancy and birth dramatically increases. The practices we focus on at jolie are also the recommendations for creating better maternal outcomes. Aphrodite Project takes these practices and adapts them to pregnancy to help women create better results for themselves.
My request to you is to take a look at aphroditeprojectbirth.com. Even if you are not in that stage, you will find useful tools. But even more, please join me in connecting childbearing women with the site. It is a growing treasure trove of support.
Sometimes we don’t feel the way we want to feel or the way we think we should feel. Maybe we are in a place we don’t like, we don’t feel movement in our life, or things aren’t turning out the way we want. We all want to be happy and feel aliveness. The path to that place is not fighting or resisting your feelings in this moment.
Yet, how do I get rid of a feeling I don’t like? I say to you, you do not need to get rid of the feeling. If you feel, for example, guilty sometimes, simply acknowledge there is part of you that feels this way. The best way to change is to not push against what you don’t want.
But to be accepting of who you are at the moment
It is you. It is right to say to yourself, “I just don’t feel good. I feel bad right now. I feel guilty right now. I feel a mixture of emotions. I feel love, but I also feel dislike and I feel dis-ease and I feel discomfort with my own emotions, AND I can accept myself for the moment.”
This is not to say you must stay in a situation, but you can accept that you don’t feel good at the moment. And, you choose to love yourself anyway.
When we push away our negative feelings or chastise ourselves for them it creates a sense of self flagellation. We engage in self talk or actions which say: I am not worthy, everything I do is wrong.
But, that is not really a good way to approach life because actually by accepting this part of you where it is now, it can come into cooperation with you to make the changes in your life you want.
It is like with any other person, if you want to make change together, you cannot just keep beating them up. You cannot say to them “You should know better. You’re so stupid. You never learn. I just don’t like you.” If you treat another person like that, you would very much be aware that they are not going to like you and they are not going to cooperate with you.
That makes logical sense when we frame it in relation to others. However, what happens is that we do this to ourselves. If we feel a kind of guilt, disappointment, or shame, we may very often self flagellate ourselves through variety of means. Here goes again the negative self talk or doing something on the outside to sabotage or punish ourselves. We treat ourselves like this and expect happiness and cooperation which isn’t possible when we are beating ourselves up.
So, pause. Whatever method you use to self flagellate, be aware that you are doing it. This awareness combined with the accepting of yourself described earlier, puts you in a place where your ego will slowly loosen its grip on you because it will no longer be under attack.
Making peace within, in this way, will allow you to feel a little bit more free to shift and change. The changes will not happen overnight, but little by little as you accept and love yourself in whatever feeling you’re in, one little bit at a time you will see changes in your behavior and life.
P.S. Begin a dynamic relationship with your own life by acceptance and cooperation within you.
Try this meditation to clear out the cobwebs of winter. Find yourself in a comfortable position. Imagine yourself a pipe. As you do so, visualize pure, radiant, life source water flowing through you. As it flows through you, see yourself releasing whatever may be obstructing the pipe. Release and feel more space and clarity open within you. Do this meditation for as long as you have and repeat often.
To use meditation to improve your life and achieve your goals sign up for a private meditation session.
Learning to hear your body’s messages can be tricky when we have gotten out of the habit of listening to ourselves. In adulthood, we care for so many and have so many to answer to that we lose accountability to our own bodies.
In my health journey, many people have given me all kinds of advice - well-intentioned most of the time. Yet, what works for them may not work for me and vice versa. Being in touch with my own body helps me to know when to push, when to rest, when fatigue or sickness is starting, what my sensitivities are.
Many clients come to me unable to hear what the body is saying or what their intuition is saying. As the first step to greater intimacy with yourself, start asking yourself throughout the day what you want.
I adopted a practice several years ago of asking questions addressed to my body constantly: what do you want to wear today? What do you want for breakfast? Do you want to walk to work or take the subway? Do you want to call this person back now or a little later? Do you want to read or listen to music? Do you like spinning or do you do it because your best friend does? Do you think spending money on flowers is a waste or is that another’s idea?
After about a month of this, you start to hear your own voice very clearly. Knowing your voice is the first step in reclaiming yourself.
with love + light,
The full moon is a time for me on a monthly basis to stop and evaluate. What is working? Am I on track? How have my goals changed or progressed?
I highly recommend taking a monthly pause to stop and check the terrain of your life. Without it, we can find ourselves off course not knowing how we got there. Here is my Full Moon Checklist. I take about 10-15 minutes to do it - going with my first impulses. Go somewhere quiet, ground yourself, and dive in. Afterward, spend a little time in meditation or prayer to let go of what’s distracting you and recommit to your goals.
Full Moon Checklist:
with love + light,
What does it mean to be in flow? How do I get into flow?
Flow is allowing yourself and the energy or happenings around you to be cooperative. It is acknowledging everything as it is now, knowing you are empowered to handle it, and trusting that it will all work out.
I use the word AFTER to remind me of the pathway to flow.
Coco Chanel always inspires me. She says, “Don’t spend time beating on a wall hoping to transform it into a door.” Flow is going to the door.
with love + light,
I thought about moving jolie for a while - probably a good year. Then one day I woke up and knew it was time. The new space was ready less than a month later. This method of decision making is how I approach life and has taught me a lot.
Decision + Universal timing = speed and ease.
Every decision has its moment. When we cannot come to a decision, or need to do something, but won’t; consider that the moment for that decision or action has not come yet.
Our impulse is frequently to berate ourselves for not doing, being fearful, or doubtful. The uncertainty and indecision is merely a sign that the time has not come.
When a decision reaches its moment, all the uncertainty, doubt, and fear drops. When the decision has reached its moment, we will know exactly what we need to do.
The simple nugget here is that time has an enormous power of its own. When we make a decision at the right moment, it releases an energy all its own which carries it forward. Your action, then, possesses a momentum which creates speed and ease.
When you find yourself at a turning point, hold the decision until its moment comes. While you do, the Universe is putting all the details in place to bring swiftness and ease to all your actions.
P.S. The key is to trust yourself and the moment.
When you tap into the wisdom of your body, you tap into your own GPS.
I was speaking to a colleague who recently changed her diet. In meditation, she felt the clear impression to reform her diet to focus on mainly fish, vegetables, and some fruit. She had been undergoing tests for some digestive problems and found out two weeks later that she was having gallbladder issues - her doctor advised her to focus on fish, vegetables, and fruit to help resolve the issues. Amazing!
I love this testimonial because it underlines the importance of creating quiet (meditation) and listening to your intuition. Creating the quiet can be regularly attending meditation, spending time outdoors in nature, or being faithful to your own prayer/meditation practice.
Once quiet, you can hear the subtle guidance of your intuition. Upon hearing, it’s up to you to follow.
Oftentimes, we find we have lost touch with our intuition or we don’t trust it. This, unfortunately, is common, but not uncorrectable
You can learn to listen and remove the roadblocks through jolie’s Living Well (this Thursday at 9:15) or Be Your Own Guru. You can also begin to watch for the signs your intuition is telling you something.
Common signs to look for:
When you notice the signs, stop, listen, and follow. Adventure and safety await.
p.s. Hone your listening in meditation and in the Thursday Living Well group.
The hamster wheel is worse than Groundhog’s Day. It is constantly running, pushing, doing and staying in the same place. Chasing life, chasing dreams, chasing the one day - instead of living it now.
We all have dreams - some short term, some long term. Yet, we miss life if we put off enjoying life until we attain certain goals. I am a compulsive goal setter, so I am totally in favor of striving and reaching - and I am super impatient. Yet, I love the present. The key is balance.
Balance comes when we think of goals from two perspectives: what it is we want and how we want to feel. The thing we want may be a year off, but the feeling that thing gives us we can choose to live now.
I am undertaking a renovation. I want it done now - as in yesterday (remember, I’m impatient). The goal is completing the physical structure according to plans. That’s one perspective.
Although, I undertook the project to give more space to do things I enjoy, I am looking for a feeling: the spaciousness, ease, calm that that space will facilitate. I can choose to live in those feelings now. I shift my mindset: I tell myself it is here now, at least in part. I begin to notice where I feel spaciousness now, appreciate the moments of calm more, and choose to feel at ease as if the project is complete.
By using tools I gather in meditation - awareness, visualization, and noticing - I can create the feeling I am seeking through my goal NOW, in this moment. So, I not only get the physical goal in the future, I get to live my dream now.
Say you are having challenges in a relationship, write down how you want to feel in the relationship. hen use your tools to focus on where those feelings are present now - it’s focusing on everything that’s right, not on what’s not working. Continue therapy or counseling to fix the problems, but in the in-between time you get to enjoy the relationship more now.
Learn the tools for living your dream life today in meditation or in the Thursday Living Well group. If you’d like to explore this deeper with me, email me to set up a complimentary time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.