READING TO EMPOWER THE HEALTHY STYLISH & BEAUTIFUL YOU
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 email@example.com.
Getting your intuition back is the most valuable self development you can ever do. It is the no fail, no lie, no bullshit, truth serum. Listen to it, and it will tell you what to do.
Getting your intuition back is the most valuable self development you can ever do. It is the no fail, no lie, no bullshit, truth serum. Listen to it, and it will tell you what to do.
Childhood, for most of us, impaired our ability to access our intuition. When we listened to intuition and told grown ups, we were corrected, ridiculed, and told we were wrong. You may ask why is daddy hurting me? He isn’t hurting you, he loves you. Why is mommy crying in her bedroom. Mom’s not crying. She just got something in her eye. We accepted what they said, although internally we knew they were lies. These small betrayals to our internal compass slowly erode our confidence in our intuition.
It’s essential you get your confidence back. Break the habit of doubting the voice which is quite clearly telling you what is going on.
It's hard to do. You will learn to hear yourself in Be Your Own Guru, but begin by militantly being on your own side.
You need to trust yourself - it’s the key to confidence and getting your intuition back. Relying solely on our rational mind - the alternative - does not nourish you.
Meditation is helpful in this step. When you give space to listening you will hear intuitive hunches and create the internal space for them to percolate up. That’s valuable stuff.
A woman stopped by jolie the other day to share her art. Having been a psychologist for many years - in her awakening, she decided to devote herself to creative, uplifting art for others. Loving to serve, but her practice of psychology no longer had her jumping out of the bed in the morning.
I loved how she purposely referred to the change, not as mid-life crisis, but as awakening.
Awakening is the courage to realize something isn’t working the way it use to. We are all alive, changing and evolving. It doesn’t make sense that everything we chose 10, 15, 20 years ago still is going to work for us.
As many of you know, I grew up in the Bible belt and Sunday School meant memorizing Bible verses. One of my favorites, I carry with me still is “I came that you may have life more abundantly.”
Abundant. That is what life is.
Boring. Dull. Draining. Exhausting. Stale. Do not describe abundance nor should it describe life. When we find ourselves not jumping out of bed, not truly happy, it’s time for awakening.
Awaken to what your soul truly wants. What is it that makes you feel alive? What do you want life to feel like? How would you live your day?
It’s a tricky question sometimes.
You don’t know what you want? Maybe you haven’t even allowed yourself to consider the question. Maybe you can’t see any options due to work, kids, education. Or perhaps, you feel past decisions set you on a road you can’t exit.
Awakening begins with listening.
So here’s how we can listen:
Sit in a quiet place. Invite clarity and light in. Begin to focus on your breath. Continue the focus on your breath until you feel quiet inside. Now ask yourself the following questions.
Where am I now? Write down where you are physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually - positive and negative.
Then make your wish list - here’s where I want to be. What would life look like? Think of the feeling you want to have.
From here create a no thank you list of any negative feelings, negative situations, unhealthy relationships or coping habits you have.
The keeper list is last. List all you want to keep what makes you feel good, alive, and fills you.
Now from listening to action. Create more of what’s on the keeper list and where you want to be. In meditation, ask how - the answers will slowly come.
Begin to house clean your life by looking at the no-thank-you list. What can you release now? What can you replace in terms of more positive habits or thoughts? What can you experience less?
Begin baby steps to unwind yourself from the negative thoughts, relationships, habits and situations that keep you stuck.
Gratitude is the key practice to transform your everyday life. Gratitude is the secret sauce that turns our everyday into something magical. Offering thanks daily is the quickest way to change our mood and perception of our life. Thanksgiving magnifies the good stuff and makes everything else fade into the background.
I cringe as I think of times in my life that have felt dull and constraining. I remember stretches that felt like the laundry cycle of a washing machine: wake up, cook, tidy up, change diapers, run errands, read bedtime stories, rinse and repeat--over and over and over.
Living like that can kill you, both figuratively and spiritually. It is definitely not the space in which relationships grow and expand; new possibilities do not easily present themselves in that place; nor do children feel boundless love coming from their parent. It is not the place of joy, beauty, and connection. But it is an opportunity to remake your life.
The practice of gratitude transforms cleaning up the third spill of the day into something closer to the sacred. Milk spills. Gratitude changes our perspective. The spill is not a burden. We may still be unhappy about it, but frustration dissipates. Thanks for the child drinking the milk. Thanks that we have milk. Thanks that there can be more milk to fill the cup. Thanks that you're there to care for that child. Thanks for the ability to clean it up. Thanks for the cow, and the farmer, and the grocery store. The list is endless.
Any and all events in our lives are elevated by gratitude. The color and energy of joy and happiness are intensified. We more deeply appreciate good when we infuse our experience with gratitude. The people around us feel more appreciated and seen when we express our thanks for them and for what they do.
Transformation happens when we give thanks for the small and big things. Our eyes open to what is happening around us. Our hearts lighten because we connect with the present moment. We become fully present to what is. Gratitude is something we consciously must practice until it becomes as natural to us as breathing.
Join jolie in your journey of gratitude. Meditation is an excellent opportunity to reflect and sink into the good. Also, the Thursday Mom 2 Mom is a great way for mothers to up level their day with little effort. Please share your gratitude practices with us on Facebook and in person.
Eckhart Tolle's, The Power of Now, focuses us on where our power lies. Our generative ability is in the present moment. The past is gone and the future is a mystery. Where we have influence, where we can change, where we can make a difference is in the moment that exists for us now. The present moment is our touchpoint to ourselves, the Divine, and each other. We experience God from where we are--yesterday's experience no longer exist and what we experience tomorrow will be in the now moment. The same holds true for our relationship with others and the work we do for ourselves.
Deep within us, we know this is true. However, it is a challenge to our will and strength to focus our concentration on the present action. It is easier to put off to tomorrow the work of today. It is easier to dwell on past mistakes, than to act this very moment. But, right now is all we have so procrastination does not serve us. When we say I'll eat clean tomorrow, I'll begin to relax tomorrow, I'll enjoy my partner tomorrow--tomorrow never comes in the way we want it to be. We find ourselves in the same place or even more behind when it comes to neglect of self or others.
Rejuvenation, growth, fun, opportunity is to be enjoyed now. Take a relationship that is strained. Someone does something kind to another. Being in the now means taking the kindness offered in the moment. The now is not recalling all the past failings or speculating that this change will not last. To live whole, we take each gesture, each moment for what it is without putting layers of hurt or expectation on top of it. In this way, we live whole, in the present.
The practice of living in the now is clearly illuminated by Tolle. For those that want to dive in deep, read his book and you will not be disappointed. It is at Jolie, and a book I constantly recommend. A baby step, however, is to begin with mindfulness. Mindfulness can be cultivated in very simple ways. Merely pausing before going through a doorway can bring you into the moment. When speaking with someone look them in the eyes. Practice meditation. Move slowly when possible. All of this will connect mind, body, and spirit to the present moment.
I encourage you to practice on your own and in community with Jolie.
Children spend a lot of time at play. Imagination is a large part of children's play whether it is pretending that the toy car is on a road picking up passengers or they are in the bike race of their lives. As we become adults, we put aside play and settle into more serious pursuits.
The cost of abandoning play is that life becomes too serious. Reintroduce play into your world with your imagination. When you find your thoughts wandering into "what if" territory, follow them and see where they take you. Oftentimes, you will be amazed where you end up.
Some of my most genius decisions and best inspiration has come from imagining my life differently than it is now. When I lived in the house before the one I live in now, I use to imagine having windows all over my house and french doors that let out into the garden from the back of the house. I wanted to see my garden from every room in my house. When I started looking for a house, I found to my amazement just that house I had imagined at the perfect price. I knew it was for me.
Let your mind loose and see what happens.
Words to Live By
Don't wait for the world to change, change it yourself.