Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
What is the opposite of the fight or flight response? The rest and digest response. You can turn on rest and digest with your breath. Learning how to do this will give you better digestion, rev up metabolism, help balance adrenals and lower the toll of stress on the body.
Your breath can exaggerate imbalances: suppress your immune system, depress metabolism, encourage belly fat, and wreck your hormones. Shallow breathing or feeling like you're frequently holding your breath - negatively impact your health everyday, every moment.
I want to teach you to use easy breath practices that you can integrate into your day (no meditation necessary) to help you feel better and be better.
Your breath is healing. Each time you take a deep breath you are telling your body that everything is okay and you are safe. This is because deep belly breathing stimulates the Vagus nerve which governs the off switch of the fight or flight response. This connection with your brain is key to understanding why your breath affects not only digestion, but your entire body.
Learning how to breathe for better digestion, hormonal balance, metabolism, and less anxiety is a priceless life tool that will make everyday better, and particularly this holiday season.
How do I juggle so much - one of the tools in my toolbox isI using deep breathing every day to manage stress, pressure, and overwhelm.
Learning to breathe therapeutically can change your digestion, correct constipation, promote weight loss, accelerate detoxification, and reduce cravings. You don’t want to miss it.
Another bonus of belly breathing is by improving digestion and oxygen flow it helps you to lose weight and have optimal metabolism. Emotional eating, sugar cravings, and hunger decrease with the activation of relaxation resulting from deep breathing. Many of our habits of overeating or making sub-optimal food choices are stress induced. Reducing stress lessens and alleviates the driver of these health and control robbing behaviors.
One month of wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and using an app called Levels gave me an inside view of how food is metabolized in my body.
Everyone should use one for at least 2 weeks to see how what they eat is affecting blood sugar levels. Our blood sugar levels greatly influence the likelihood of disease, weight gain, hormonal stability, alertness, and stamina.
When you see a graph of your blood sugar levels throughout the day, you want the range of fluctuation to be tight so that it looks more like slow, gentle rises and gentle dips. If it looks like an EKG, it’s trouble.
The opportunity to get continual information provided me many insights and confirmations. I learned that stress caused sharp spikes. The order I ate made a significant difference as well as the fasting windows (periods of no eating or snacking) between meals. When meals were glucose stable, snacks were unnecessary. FYI, snacking keeps glucose levels elevated throughout the day - bad for weight loss, pre-diabetes, and above normal A1C.
Here are the takeaways that you can use to further customize your daily eating to bring down A1C levels, reduce insulin responses, reverse pre-diabetes and diabetes, and to lose weight.
How did Jolie perform?
I loved testing out the jolie meals at the cafe and for the food delivery programs. I know the science, but there is always a chance that when you see the data things don’t measure up. Sign of relief - the jolie meals provided stable blood sugar: minimal, very gentle rise and fall. This is great news if you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, lowering A1C, losing weight, or on your longevity journey like me.
I did do some head to head comparisons of jolie versions of juices and smoothies versus other places. Jolie juices and smoothies, won by a landslide in the competition for not raising blood glucose.
As to the delivery programs all stars were the Soup Cleanse, 10 Day Reset, and Broth Cleanse. The Optimized and Paleo programs kept blood sugar lowest; in the jolielife and vegan programs blood sugar was kept low and stable by eating the veggies first and beans, rice, quinoa, oats last.
For eating at the cafe:
For breakfast or a snack your best choices are the energy bowl, frittata, smoked salmon toast on glow Bread, avocado toast on glow bread, the bunny muffin, and the chocolate love bar.
Salads, no surprise, are great lunch choices with our no sugar housemade dressing. The bunless jolie burger and garden tacos are good choices too.
Keeping glucose low in your blood will reduce A1C levels, improve liver function, curb energy crashes, speed weight loss, and reverse diabetic conditions. Eating jolie will make it easy for you to do all that.
November is my self proclaimed month of happiness, so I am reintegrating some of the daily rituals I have let drop off.
Autophagy is the key to delaying aging and possessing wellness as we age. It is the name of the process by which your body clears out old and damaged cells. Proteins, lipids, cell debris, damaged mitochondria, and other cell parts that are no longer functioning well are broken down or released from the body through autophagy.
The rate and degree to which your body engages in autophagy dictates not only how long you live, but more importantly, how well you live. It is the process that allows us to thrive throughout aging, especially as it relates to our cognition.
When the mechanisms for autophagy are overwhelmed or dysfunctional, your cells cannot function optimally, disease has more opportunity, and aging accelerates.
Significantly, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are marked by the accumulation of damaged proteins and cell debris. It is clear through research that impaired autophagy causes disease although causality is not fully understood.
We do know it is important. And to live our best life, we must support this natural process through nutrition, lifestyle, stress mitigation, and environment.
So how do you optimize autophagy?
1. Leave a 12 hour window between dinner and breakfast. This creates a window of low sugar and low insulin which triggers autophagy, especially in the liver, brain, muscle, and fat. Regular detoxing of these systems contributes to cognitive function, hormone balance, and mobility.
2. Eat plants. Enzymes used to degrade damaged cellular material require vitamin cofactors found in plants. These cofactors are necessary for autophagy. In addition, plants provide antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress which inhibits autophagy. Foods that are especially helpful to autophagy are berries, sprouts of cruciferous vegetables, green tea, turmeric, and ginger.
3. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods like sugar and processed foods. Inflammation impairs the power center - the mitochondria - within your cells. Mitochondria play an important role by signaling the pathways for autophagy. When they function poorly, autophagy is impaired.
4. Exercise. Exercise increases blood flow and facilitates the release of degraded cellular material.
5. Nighttime sleep. The glymphatic system - the system responsible for performing the rinse cycle on your brain - and autophagy are extremely active during night time sleep. They work together to improve the health and function of your brain. Good sleep is supported by maintaining the circadian nature of your brain. Support this by having a regular bedtime and waking time. Go outside every morning for morning sun. Keep your meal and exercise times consistent. Routine and rhythm help you attain better sleep.
6. Reduce your toxic load by using clean beauty products on your skin, reducing chemical usage, avoiding environmental toxins, and eating pesticide free foods. The less time spent clearing these toxins means that energy, antioxidants, and cofactors can be direct to autophagy.
7. Seasonally detox with a cleanse. Occasional low calorie spurts help upregulate autophagy. This is one of the main long lasting benefits of cleanses and resets.
8. Release stress naturally with time outdoors, gentle exercise, and quiet time. Although it's not clear how, stress suppresses the immune system including autophagy. In the same way, emotional and traumatic stress inhibits autophagy. Resolving that stress is also important for longevity and youthfulness long term.
Autophagy is a wonderful way the body works to protect our cognitive ability and overall health. Modern eating and life work against this process, but if we intentional support it we make an investment in our wellness and mind longterm.
The beauty of the body is that it is never to late. Even at the point where we are seeing aging and cognitive decline, these practices can slow or stall the progression.
For more guidance, feel free to contact me.
A big salad at lunch is a game changer for health. I remember reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and her confession that, “what happened is, is that you change what your palate wants. I'm suddenly craving fish and salad."
A huge part of jolie is The Salad. It is also one of the most challenging for clients. Somehow - I think it was the iceberg salads of the 80s - salads are seen as the quintessential diet, deprivation food. But, it’s all in your mindset.
Let’s talk about mindset. The mindset that gets me to eating another salad, to actually craving my salad, is first, I look forward to it. As 11 rolls around I start anticipating my salad. I look forward to sitting down, taking a break, and enjoying my lunch. I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors, to all the crunchiness, to the taste of olive oil, the creaminess of avocado or sweetness of fruit. I look forward to the nuts or seeds. I look forward to the variety of lettuce, herbs, and veggies. I look forward to what is seasonal in the salad that I can only have at that time.
I also have a ritual around my salad. I get out a large silver bowl. I dump the salad in and pour the seeds, nuts, and dressing over it and toss with two spoons. Then I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pile it on to my favorite white (great color contrast), shallow salad bowl. I sit down. I take a moment of gratitude and enjoy.
I love how full, but light I feel afterwards. I love the variety of flavors. I love how clean my palate feels. Ummm.
You can look at your salad like that. Or, you can say to yourself, “Another salad. I know it’s good for me. It’s going to make me healthier. It helps my digestion. I know my skin loves it. It will help me get these pounds off. They say it will bring down my inflammation.” That too is a mindset.
Choose to cultivate a mindset that makes you feel good and excited about the choices you make. Choose to look at your food in a way that supports your choice to give yourself the best. When you set down to your next salad, think about how awesome it is that you are gifting yourself this bowl of amazingness that is going to energize you and make you feel great.
Learning to take on a mindset that supports you is a tool you can use over and over - whether it is making financial changes so you can switch jobs, training for a marathon, or going back to school. Mindset and self talk is a power tool we can use FOR us!
On the road to health transformation, our food rituals sometimes need to be reframed. One ritual common to many is using food or drink to relax, release frustration, or as an end of the day reward. Often, however, these habits don’t support our health goals or add a few unwanted pounds.
One of my “relearns” when losing weight after Eli was learning to relax without food or wine. Learning to uncouple food and relaxation allowed me to reach health goals faster, grow as a person as I learned new ways to nurture myself, and I began to relax in ways that I didn’t regret later.
When we want to relax, we are looking for relief -from the day, a feeling, or tiredness. I looked at how I felt toward the end of the day from both the cause and effect level. By 7 I was exhausted, so I looked for ways to make my day less exhausting, stressful, and draining. Then I looked at what was available to me as other ways to relax.
Out of the first inquiry came the ever changing list I wrote about last week, “How to Make My Life Easier.” If you missed it, you can find it on our blog. Hopefully, you made your own list and are on the road to making your life easier.
I also made a Pleasure List for new ways to unwind. These are things that give me joy, that are easily accessible (like food), make me feel good (like food), and have no potential downside (unlike relaxation snacking).
Some of the items on the Pleasure List are:
Now write your own Pleasure List of easily accessible ways to relax.
Actively use your two lists. As the day winds down today choose a new way to relax and reward yourself for all your efforts today. Learning new ways to nourish yourself and stay aligned to your goals will build your momentum of showing up for yourself and trusting your ability to nurture yourself.
If you think you don't have time to take care of yourself or work on your goals, I suggest you begin to look at ways to free up the physical and mental time you need.
I frequently ask myself, “How Can I Make My Life Easier.”
Making life easier translates into more efficiency, smoother flow, and less decision making time spent throughout the day. Doing this gives you mental space to take care of the things you want to focus on now. It's the only way I find time to take care of myself.
Here is my list:
1. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be. This is the cardinal rule. If something doesn’t fit, feels like it’s more work than it needs to be, causes needless aggravation, or drains you - hit the eject button. There is always something better for you.
2. Make pleasure a priority. Whatever you are doing use your mindset and environment to make it fun - it will go faster and the "doing" won't drain you as much. If you have to run around all day - you want to enjoy the running. Hating it makes it drudgery. If you have a lot to do, don’t complain and moan about it. That makes it worse. If we have learned anything from lockdown, it's a privilege to have things to do. Life can seem like groundhogs day, but music, laughter, dancing, smiling, and self care elevate life.
3. Delegating to the soldiers as my daughter says. Ask for help. Ask for help with errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry. Give up carrying your cross by yourself and being the martyr. Everyone benefits - the home runs smoother and everyone feels like part of a community. Praise all the help given - even when not exactly what you expected. Praise gets us so much farther than “constructive criticism.”
4. Automate as much as possible. I have standing appointments for all my regular self care like nails for instance. I sign up for dry cleaning pick up and delivery, coffee bean subscriptions, and automatic refills. All doctors appointments I group - so everything gets done in a 2-3 week period.
5. Get as much support as you can afford. You know your pain points. For me it’s housekeeping, so I schedule as much as I can. When the kids were not driving, I hired someone to help with the driving. When they were younger, it was childcare so I didn’t have to take everyone, everywhere. It is okay to not do everything yourself. If lightening the load, makes you lighter - it benefits everyone.
6. Create uniforms for yourself or a capsule wardrobe. I recently came back to this as I was spending too much time figuring out what to wear on Sundays; but, when I was a young mom, my “uniform” was my daily shortcut to fabulous. Last year, I worked on a capsule wardrobe so that everything in the closet coordinates, fits, and compliments. It is a game changer.
7. Schedule yourself for efficiency. Group errands, tasks, or activities together in a way that it’s easier to knock them out.
8. Clear out energy frequently. I clear my own energy with journaling and meditation. Holding on to things drains your focus and mental energy. I also clear the house with palo santo or sage regularly.
9. Take a Saturday to declutter, then take a few minutes a day to declutter. A Princeton study showed that decluttering can cut housekeeping time by 40%.
Take a moment now to make your own list. Use mine for inspiration and tailor your list with specifics you can implement now to lighten you load.
Your home is your sacred space to relax, enjoy, and nowadays work. Creating a home that is beautiful and comfortable is important for your emotional health regardless of the size or ownership status.
Begin with the entrance of your home. Allow that space to give you a welcome. Some ideas which will enhance the welcome is a bowl for your keys; a place for items you regularly bring into the house such as your coat or bag; greenery, flowers, or a pretty ornament to greet you.
Over the next two weeks I am taking 5-10 minutes a day to care for the outside of my home. Today I cleared the entrance of pumpkin bits left from a squirrel who is eating the decorative pumpkins. I added some seasonal dried flowers like broom corn and sorghum, and put all the patio furniture in its place. Five minutes and coming home feels so much better.
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.
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.
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.
When you feel bored, sad, cranky, or moody try a dance break. Put on your favorite song and dance away for 3 minutes. Daily dance breaks help to release energy as well as build positive energy. It is a great way to take your mood up a notch.
My favorite dance break songs:
I'm Not Afraid -
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?
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.
Welcome to April!
The theme of awakening keeps coming to me in my own life, spring, friends, and clients. I am going to devote April to this.
Before we begin, I want you to know you don’t need to do anything nor to you lack anything. Think of a seed. It is perfect - it is not better or worse than the plant. The plant is not better or worse than its flower. The fruit is not better or worse than the flower.
In whatever stage you are in, you are perfect, just like a seed. And, like a seed with attention, water, food, and sunlight you naturally grow or evolve.
So, awakening is going to follow that paradigm. You are perfect now as you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. How you decide or don’t decide to grow or evolve is based on how much water, attention, sun, and nourishment you have.
So let’s dig in. The first practice I offer is as you awaken each morning and do not look at your phone first. Instead, take a moment to focus on your heart space. Focus your attention on the physical place where your heart is. Then ask yourself: what do you need today? How can I be of the greatest service to myself and others today?
Throughout the month I will ask you to focus on your heart because it is where you give and receive love to others and yourself. The heart will tell you the truth from the perspective of love. Love, however, is not always warm and fuzzy. Sometimes love is angry or boundary pushing or self protective or found in other forms. I ask as we begin, you accept what your heart is telling you without judgement. There is no pressure for action, that will come when you are ready. But, releasing self judgement is essential.
Honoring your boundaries is a huge act of self love. It’s an action which takes attention, trust in your internal GPS, and a deep commitment to you. Realizing that your well being is more important than meeting the expectations or standards of another.
This year I want to cultivate a mindful relationship with money. Money is essentially energy. An energy that can be used for validation, control, nurturing, and expansion. My desire is to use it in ways that nourish, cultivate, and expand.
As soon as you establish a boundary the universe often sends a situation to teach you more about your boundaries. My daughter’s birthday was mine - her gift expectations exceeded mine. I did not want to disappoint her and I recognize gifts are her love language, but also wanted honor myself.
First, I made space for me to consider her request. I said maybe, but said I needed time and asked her if it was okay with her to receive her gift post-birthday. She said yes and did not ask about it at all.
Many times during contemplation I almost said fuck it I will get the Chanel for her. It will make her happy. Each time I stopped short - it did not align with me. Then I decided I would not spend that much and asked the universe to bring the perfect gift that honored me and her. The same day I found a beautiful Roger Vivier clutch at 85% off retail.
I gave it to her that evening and she was delighted.
When we honor ourselves, our boundaries, the universe meets us. Not only that, but it’s a wonderful lesson and principle that your love for others does not need to come at the cost of compromising yourself.
I invite you to deepen your own awareness of your boundaries. It will make you freer and happier.
Today let there be no ceiling on your joy. Think of the most exuberant person you know in real life or through a novel, movie, or show. Imitate that person today, bringing your joy up a few notches. Observe how it makes you feel.
The New York Times published an article titled “Mind May Trump DNA in Exercise and Eating Habits,” which highlighted a study showing that when patients are told they have “a low capacity for exercise or a tendency to overeat, their bodies start to respond accordingly.”
For me, meditation is not sitting on a cushion detaching from the world. More often than not, I use meditation for myself and my clients to create greater health, weight loss, piece of mind, and healing. Using your mind to help your body heal or perform well is complementary to all other efforts with no negative side effects.
Try this meditation for the next 30 days: as you drift off to sleep repeat in your mind, “I am in perfect health.” Both scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that this type of meditation works as well as some medications with no negative side effects and zero cost. Used with other treatments, exercise, and clean eating is a winning combination.
with love + light,
The origins of dis-ease always have many contributing factors. You don’t become depressed due to just one factor. A person does not become seriously overweight from solely making bad food choices.
Chronic disease does not stem from one cause. Our bodies and minds are multidimensional, so healing them has to be multidimensional.
When you are undertaking healing yourself from anything rather it be cancer, alcohol dependency, or anxiety - choose to work on the issue from many angles. I encourage you to choose 3 modalities of healing for starters.
For example, if you are diagnosed with breast cancer you can, in addition to your medical treatment, seek to heal yourself with dietary changes, emotional release techniques, and meditation. If you have anxiety you may choose medication; however, it should be coupled with other modalities to activate your body’s healing ability such as exercise, breathwork training, and efforts to increase social connections.
We are often discouraged or confused by all the information and recommendations we get. There are always more recommendations than time or energy allows. Here your gut will guide you. Do what resonates with you or the treatment you are draw to. Many modalities will heal, but the key is to find the one that resonates with you because that modality is most likely to heal you.
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,
Meditation, journaling, self reflection, and all spiritual practices are much easier to do daily if you create sacred space to do so. It is the spot set apart for you to engage in deepening your spirit, centering yourself, and grounding - your clarity spot.
When the kids were little it was a struggle to find time for myself to be. However, the daily practice of sitting and reconnecting with yourself and the power beyond you is what keeps you calm, happy, and energized. At that time, I had a chair and a candle in the living room. When I lit the candle, the kids knew mom was taking a 10 minute time out. Now the kids are bigger, I enjoy more private corner of my bedroom for myself.
How to Set Up Your Clarity Spot:
Find a place in your home where you feel comfortable. You want to be able to unwind here, not a spot where you feel on display or your guard needs to be up. Think of the place you feel happiest or most relaxed.
Add something to make it special and denote that this is a space set apart: a candle, pictures of those you love, a special book, journal, a plant or flowers. My favorite way of creating this space is looking around the house for my favorite things or meaningful items and using those for my clarity space.
What you place there can change based on your mood, goals, or the time of year. Mine changes throughout the year. I try to keep it visually aligned with my goals and how I want to use the space. I may add a shell I found at the beach to remind me to relax; pretty leaves the kids collect to take me back to my favorite place, the woods; or in spring a potted daffodil welcoming change. If I am working on a big project, I may put something there that reminds me of my “why” in doing the project.
I try my best to spend time in my clarity spot each day, even if it is only for a minute. Yesterday was hectic, so my time was spent there doing nothing, but taking in the love of the Universe with each breath.
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.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.