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.
Hunger can be a scary sensation. By scary I mean unfamiliar. Just like in other areas of life, when something is unfamiliar to us we can perceive it as scary or something that needs immediate correction or escape. Hunger is something you can sit with for a bit. Through it we learn, most things can be sat with longer than we think.
It is useful to meditate on that idea because much of our stuffing of emotions and food is literally an attempt to not experience the discomfort of sitting with our emotions. Yet, only by allowing the discomfort to wash over us do we get the opportunity to digest and understand what our emotions are telling us. And, by pushing them away, we miss seeing the beautiful wave as feelings come and go.
With hunger, by giving ourselves food at the first hunger pang we don't get to know if the hunger is temporary, a proxy for something else, or passing. Not knowing the source leads to overeating and missing the opportunity to know ourselves more deeply.
However, if you look at the scary hunger pangs, situations, or emotions as simply something unfamiliar, they become things you can get look at and explore. You can practice being with the feeling to find out what is underneath it. By exploring our hunger, we learn what we really need. By exploring our emotions, we discover what they are telling us.
Hunger is a great opportunity for self growth in many areas. The next time you are hungry accept the invitation of observe and explore yourself, then eat.
with love + light,
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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
When I am disappointed by an outcome, the first thing I ask is why. I start examining could I have done something different, did I fail to do something I should have. I was on that hamster wheel this morning while talking with my girlfriend.
She stopped me in my tracks. She reminded me that the universe has my back -- always! You don’t know what is on the other side of the issue. Maybe the minor disappointment is protecting you from something that could really be bad.
In my life, in our lives, the universe is always looking out for our good when we trust ourselves to divine goodness. What appears a setback isn’t. When a relationship doesn’t turn out how we expected, perhaps that relationship wasn’t for our highest good. The job we wanted falls through, there is something better waiting for you. You have a health challenge, it’s an opportunity to redirect, accept love from others, and sink into the now.
There is an important lesson here: you are not wrong - it is not your fault. Instead of turning inward and blaming ourselves, stop the self flagellation. Look for the lesson, the opportunity, the gift.
Nike. I read Shoedog this summer. Take it with you on vacation this August. It is amazing! There is so much to be gleaned about how to live and create from Phil Knight’s story of the creation of Nike, it’s on my calendar to read the book every year.
Nike almost died many times. Knight comments that he knew if Nike did fail, it wasn’t going to be because they did not take big risks and do everything possible. He was going to do everything to fight to the death. Never did he leave the fate of Nike to the market, circumstances, or other people’s rules.
That’s empowerment in a nutshell. Keep acting. When you hit a dead end, look for options. It doesn’t mean we won’t fail or mess up, but we get to decide what will be.
Empowerment is about not being a victim. A victim gives their power to another. We allow circumstances, beliefs, people, past wrongs to define and limit us. We do not need to blame situations or others for our present state.
You are an amazing, powerful person. With a little action and a shift in mindset, you can create a new reality.
Empowerment is recognizing things can be different. Then doing something to move the needle towards what we want.
What happens when you don’t know what you want, but know what you have isn’t working? The answers are not always evident. I share with you an exercise I do frequently when I’m stuck, not sure what to do next, or have that vague feeling of uncertainty.
Consider the situation or challenge you’re facing. Create three list.
List everything you know.
List everything you don’t know.
List questions you can ask. They can directed to God, a particular person, or just questions you need answers to.
Taking inventory gives us clarity. Writing the question list - at least 50 - forces us to access our imaginations and observe. Also, by formulating the questions we prepare ourselves to see answers, signs, and clues to the next step. When you get the next step, take it. If something, inspires you, explore it more deeply.
Clarity often comes in the process of doing. There are no mistakes - only opportunities to learn. Take them and use them.
Be Unshakeable is about creating the tools to move forward. Finding out how to not be a victim.
Do you want to finally do it?
A coach can light the fire underneath you to motivate, guide, and cheer you on to achieving your goal. They are the bridge and sherpa to discover the best version of YOU
Our daily life forces us to skimp on ourselves. We are asked to do more with less rest and sleep. We are constantly exposed to conflicting health reports and eating right can be confusing. Often we are so busy we have little time to focus on ourselves even when we need to.
Wellness coaching is a bridge and a sherpa. A good wellness coach provides support for necessary health changes that a healthcare professional does not have time or information to personally navigate with you. Coaching can bridge that gap helping you transform.
You have a life goal - a mountain to climb. The most reliable way to the top is with a skilled sherpa. I view health and life coaching as being a sherpa guiding people to find their inner compass, helping them find the fastest, most expedient route, and looking out to prevent pitfalls and potential dangers.
Good coaching should:
As a coach, I fulfill many roles for people. I love helping people actually do it. My approach is very personal and creative. Clients who think something won’t work for them are surprised by the solutions and change that happens. This February we are offering coaching packages of 10 sessions for $1000. If you want to explore your goal with us, please email email@example.com. If you are working on something specific we don’t specialize in, we are happy to connect you with someone who does.
with love and gratitude,
Come on a journey with me this year. I declare my mission to live 2017 differently. I sometimes have a false belief or expectation that causes me to live on this planet as if everything is going to be perfect, but this is a planet of refinement. Refinement means people, myself included, are going to make mistakes; people are going to not do the right thing; not live up to expectations. But, it also means that is okay. Refinement is growth; it's sorting out what's working and what's not; it's letting go when a thought pattern is holding us back or keeping us stuck.
This morning I went for a walk in the woods and then directly to church. Ordinarily, I'd change my clothes, but didn't have time. I was very tempted to keep my coat on during Mass because everyone was dressed up, except for me. My internal guide said no - take it off. It's what I'm working on--accepting what is every moment and not judging myself. Who cares if I have hiking boots and workout clothes on? If they do, why should I care? Plus, it's all in my head, it's my desire to be perfect, to meet expectations. I'm not perfect, I misjudged my time, but I am here where I want to be.
The advantages to living on the planet of refinement are threefold:
1. We get to set any goal we want and work for it. We fall off the diet/workout wagon, we blow up at our partner, we screw up a project: learn from the experience and continue; no time for stewing. 2017 we say no to self doubt, self criticism, and negativity.
2. Mistakes are good. Ben Franklin said, "I haven't failed. I've had 10,000 ideas that didn't work." Thomas Edison said, "Of the 200 light bulbs that didn't work, every failure told me something I was able to incorporate into the next attempt." Carry that perspective into 2017.
3. Focus on you. Our happiness has a ripple effect as well as our energy when we are depleted. When my kids were little, I called 5:00pm the bewitching hour. I'm exhausted, my patience is spent, I'm trying to make dinner; and somehow the kids sense it and chaos ensues. Finally, I started taking a mommy time out around 4:30 and things smoothed out. To meet the challenges on this planet of refinement we must take care of ourselves.
The first leg of this journey of refinement is 100 days of self care. Why self care? Honestly, it's because there is so much I want to do this year and I will get easily burned out if I don't. The less personal reason is how well you take care of yourself is a clear indicator of how positive you feel, your self confidence, and gives you so much energy. When you feel good, you treat others better too.
Yay for 2017! I am full of excitement.
Although I appear extremely calm, I am a totally type A personality. Goals are my thing. The end of the year is really exciting for me. I LOVE reflecting and evaluating and then setting really juicy goals for the year to come. But, my mantra is to know where you want to go, you need to spend a little time evaluating where you are now. I ask myself three questions.
After I answer these question, I share my insights with a friend. Accountability is always a good thing when goal setting. Perhaps you and a friend could do your year end evaluation; then meet for lunch to share and encourage each other. For accountability, here are my answers:
I would love to know about your year. Please share here, on Facebook, or come to Jolie.
With love and gratitude,
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.
Women are stereotyped as being very communal; however, we are often reticent to ask for help. The reasons women don't ask are numerous: fear of no; not wanting to appear naive or weak; maintaining privacy; shame; feeling like I should be able to do this.
By not asking we cut ourselves off. Asking for what we want expands us in many ways.
Exercise your ability to ask by asking someone to do something for you for the purpose of exercising your asking muscle.
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.