For Self Care Affirm Self Love

Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 7.46.34 PM

It was after my third child I became so involved with the needs of others that I forgot myself. I lost all of who I was before I became a wife and a mother. I thought it was more important to put those in need before myself until one day I came to a point that I could not see anything that resembled my former self. I gave until I came to a point where I could not give anymore. Frustration, confusion and self condemnation permeated my everyday. As a former trainer, coach, and personal motivator, one who helped others see the goodness within themselves just as they are,  I was not very good at practicing what I preached. Until one day I re-commited to put my faith and myself as a priority. Like the stewardess explains to the passengers on every flight, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first if you want to help others.

Self care starts with self–love, it begins each and every day with the words in your head. Start loving your self this very minute. You must experience self-love first before you can really experience anyone else’s love. Affirmations work in all of your life, write them down, write them down again read the often. Writing them down involves more of your senses. Record them (there is an app for that.) Repetitive use of affirmations will make its impression your mind and erase the old or repetitive thought patterns that permeate your mind far too often in a day, producing permanent desirable changes in you life.

1) Work with one or more a day as you wake and before you go to bed at night.

2) Use the second and third person and use your name…

“ The more I ________ love myself the more others love me.”

” The more ________ loves herself the more others love her.”

“The more you _________love yourself, the more others love you.”

3) Be sure to use your own name in the second and third person since your conditions from others came to you in that manner.

4) Look in the mirror and say them out loud, look yourself deeply in the eyes and say them until you eliminate all doubt and see the truth. Thoughts produce results, you have heard of the law of attraction? Well it is really no secret, it is written in just about every self -help book and taught by all thought leaders dating back to ancient times. We do not need to go too far back in time to see how valuable we are.

1 Corinthians 3:16 asks “ Do you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” We then get an accurate reminder of who we are in Luke 12:7 “Why even the hairs of you head are all numbered. Fear not, you are of more value than many sparrows.” Yes you are loved and worth loving no human can tell you any different. Man may wear you down but the spirit lifts you up.

1 Corinthians 2:13 says “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught.

What is self-love?

Self- love is acknowledging and praising yourself, verbally.

Self- love is loving your body and seeing its unique beauty.

Self-love is talking to yourself, gently and lovingly.

Self -love is surrounding yourself with people who nourish you.

Self-love is allowing yourself to have fun in all that you do.

Self-love is surrounding your self with beauty.

Self-love is developing your creative desires.

Self-love is creating an abundance of friends.

Self-love is rewarding yourself; never punishing yourself

Self-love is having confidence in your abilities.

Self-love is allowing yourself pleasure without guilt

Self-love is letting yourself win.

Self- love is letting others in rather than giving in to loneliness.

Self-love is letting in affection.

Self-love is following your own intuition.

Self Love is seeing your own perfection.

Self-love is taking credit for what you did.

Self-love is trusting in yourself.

Self-love is nourishing yourself with good food.

Self-love is getting a massage frequently.

Self-love is seeing yourself as equal to others.

Self-love is forgiving yourself.

Self-love is becoming your own approving parent.

Self-love is turning all you negative thoughts into positive affirmation.

I,___________ breathe in universal love, it fills and heals every cell of my body.

I, __________ attract into my life now and always only loving, positive people.

I,___________ am a unique person, I am priceless.

I,___________ deserve to be happy and I have the ability to share in the happiness of others.

I’d like to say just a bit about self-esteem. We can get so bruised and battered in our own mind. The world around us can make us feel we are not enough, which is what all that advertising is all about. “They” that tell us what we need, to feel “enough.” Self- esteem is a crucial element in our fulfillment and satisfaction of any kind.

Self Esteem Afrimations

I, _________, love myself more each day.

I, _________, am no longer dependent on anyone’s approval for my self-esteem.

I, _________, respect my own uniqueness.

I, _________, am confortable with myself in other people’s presence.

Every breath, I breathe in love and let it enter every pore; I let it fill every cell of my body. Every word I speak. I speak with love, I let it pour out of every cell of my being.

“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:20-21

 

No Diets, No Resolutions, Just use Better Butter

butter-health-food

When was first published in “The Jingle Book” in 1899 it read:

Betty Botta bought some butter;

Betty Botta bought some butter;

“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter!

If I put it in my batter

It will make my batter bitter.

But a bit o’ better butter

Will but make my batter better.”

Then she bought a bit o’ butter

Better than the bitter butter,

Made her bitter batter better.

So ’twas better Betty Botta

Bought a bit o’ better butter.

 

 There are two things I don’t do and find useless, Dieting and New Years Resolution. Not to say I don’t think of things to improve each and everyday of my  life. My ongoing pursuit is to Fear not, Trust and Forgive. To be more like my role models Jesus and his Mother! Now if I could only get my children to turn water into wine! Truth is the water turned into Whine! Mostly due to Fear!
It reminds me of a wise woman who would teach her students “Fear, I see you I will not partner with you, I send you away” I have used that with myself (not often enough) as well as teaching it forward to my clients. Much of our suffering in due to fear. We live in a culture that feeds us much to be fearful. Just turn on the news(no don’t.) Spend that time filling and fueling with good nourishment, however that may be for you!
 For my own personal self- care I have been meeting with others in a 12 step program for the last 6 years as a result of having been thrust into a the awareness of the world of addiction, which by the way, in my years of work in fitness as a personal trainer…..ALL my clients were addicted to something, food, sweets, alcohol, shopping, negative thought (self talk) and yes even exercise and many  were in recovery from alcohol or drugs of some kind. Then there were those addicted to Dr. prescribed drugs and wanted off. It all drove me to insanity. It was a tough challenge to “make” someone change. Oh, at firsts it there were many experiences  of success  for sure, however the majority stepped back into old habits (relapse). At that time I did not understand addiction. Hey, just eat right and exercise and all will be well! It just was a bit more complicated than that. I slowly began to doubt my self as a trainer because I could not “make” anyone “change.” Then I had children, when they were young I had some control over intake, output and activity, but as they came into their own… and technology helped steal them away, well let’s just say now I’m in recovery!
 The 2nd step is “I came to believe that a power greater than I can restore me to sanity.”  Doubt, fear, regret…..well, they sure do like me, and they keep coming around. They just don’t get it…..they think they know better as to what I need! The comfort is that I know I am not alone.  This year just to switch it up a bit I  choose  to back up my “sending them away” with TRUST.  I Trust that there is a power greater than I, I know I cannot do it alone, I need a greater power to stand in-between. I personally go higher than the universe and look to the creator to take all that is in the universe, and thrown my way, to help me,  “send them away.” “Oh God, here they come….I need you” and I look right at that doubt and fear and say “go, and take regret and karma crap with you!”  I look up and say “Thank you!”
 Oh, and then their is that PAIN thing, finding Joy in the process of life and through the aches and pain? Persevering with joy? Ughhhhh! Ok… Joy, Joy, Joy!
There are many things that have caused me great suffering. My attempt to control, controlling to avoid pain, as a parent protecting those under my charge to be free from pain.  How painful it has been to control being free from pain and protecting others, because there is not much I can control, pain and suffering is everywhere. Just stay tuned to media!  Trust, trust is the underliying factor in which I must remember! I Trust that when I listen to “Thy Will” I can know my true self, I trust where it comes from. As the universe  and the media will throw much to me that I must decipher, is it my will or Thy will? I can be assured that crossing through pain, is only through the strength I receive from God and the lessons that are whispered to me as Thy will. That is the beauty of the Greatest story ever told of Life, Death and Resurrection. Pain is a part of  life….Thy will chooses Joy! I may not like where I am…..where I am I will  like. I was comfortable in my previous role in this life. But I was asked to go to my Nineveh, like Jonah I have gone kicking and screaming and causing a ruckus. I trust that even though the road ahead is an unknown and somewhat of a dark place, I will not partner with doubt fear and regret. I will  ask for my mind, body and spiritual body guard to step in. I  will I trust that this is Thy will and in the end will serve many to discover a spiritual and emotional healing. My voice through God will change lives in more wonderfully than I could ever imagine. I Trust!
 Finally there is judgement. I always thought of myself as pretty laid back, allowing other to be who they are. Listening to others stories and thier perceptions of life. You can learn a lot by LISTENING of others relgions and politics rather than not talking about it. That being said I have grown bitter and frustrated with many aspects of our current cultural climate. It has gotten a bit nasty. Priorities, politics, and patience are lowered while  relativism and all the other isms of life are at an all time high.  I find as an adult who has spent most of my life on the pretty side of fitness and health, ( I call that, “the Choir”) am currently for no other explainable reason other than to “experience,”   another side in a precarious place.  It is hard to see this other side without judgment, anger and discussed. Yet I must trust, rather than judge, and when the big whale spits me out at Nineveh I will use my voice to speak to the “congregation.” There are more in the congregation that are falling through the cracks  and often being spoon fed morsels towards the path of ill health, paid for by……..us. There are those that allow or turn a blind eye while we all pay the price. Again I will not partner with self doubt and fear, I will allow the flow of direction as Thy Will. Allowing, Allowing, Allowing!   Easier said than done!
Hey…..doubt I saw that!…go away!
See how sneaky it is?
2 0 1 8 ….make it great!
Trust God
Choose Joy
Be grateful

Let Go and Love.

Forgiveness

This season of celebration the birth of Jesus Christ We can collectively

 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32

Forgiveness? What would it meant to bring forgiveness into your life? Liberating?  Let’s not wait for others forgiveness or acceptance. Let’s accept ourselves as well as others “as is,” even if they are not accepting of us.  Honest forgiveness means nothing is expected in return.

   Forgiveness softens and lights our path into the ever so brilliant world of loving-kindness.  Forgiveness is the meeting of the wounded with gracious healing.  Not just a band-aid, not scarred tissue but a total healing. We may have practiced and cultivated deep roots of fear, anger, resentment or guilt that are not so easily extrapolated. Forgiveness allows us to soften the soil that has buried our hearts. It allows the agitated mind to sink more deeply in the healing heart to flourish in this garden of life.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your father in heaven may also forgive you, your trespasses.”  But if you do not forgive neither will your father forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11: 25-26

  May this be a season, a year, a future of new life and many blessings!

Happy New Year201105-omag-forgiveness-600x411

  Meditation on Forgiveness

Slowly bring your mind to the image of someone whom you have had some anger or resentment. Allow a picture of them or a sense of this feeling to gather.

Invite them into your heart for just a moment. Notice whatever feeling may arise. Notice whatever feeling may come to you that may limit or deny their entrance.  Soften that feeling and bring gentleness to it. Don’t force it. Allow the truth of it to invite this person in.

Say to this person in your heart “ I forgive you.”

I forgive you for any pains you may have cause me in the past, through your actions, your words, and your thoughts intentionally or not.

Allow the feeling for a moment in the spaciousness of your heart for the possibility of forgiveness.

Open up the curtains of resentment, let go of the walls of anger so you may be lighter and your heart may be free.

It can be so painful to put someone out of your heart. Let go of the pain. Let go of the pain. Let go for a moment with the possibility of forgiveness.

Say, “ I forgive you for whatever you have done that has caused me pain and for whatever you didn’t do.”  “ For your words, actions that may have hurt me, I forgive you.” “ I forgive you. I forgive you.”

Allow the person to be in the warmth and stillness of your heart. Let the distance between you dissolve in compassion and mercy. Let them be forgiven. “ I bless you. I forgive you.”

 Now send them on their way. Not to push them from your heart, simply let them be on their way, touched by a blessing and the possibility of your forgiveness. Notice any feelings as they leave.

Now bring to your mind to an image of someone who has resentment towards you. Invite them in to your heart for a moment. Bring awareness to and feeling that may limit their entrance into your heart. Let the hardness be softened, let it be light, let it float. Bless them and say” I ask for your forgiveness.”

Forgive me.”

“Let me back into your heart, forgive me for anything I have done to cause you pain through my actions or words.”

Whatever fear of mine, whatever confusion that I caused, however I  may have hurt you. I ask for your forgiveness.

Let yourself be forgiven, Let yourself be touched by their forgiveness. Bless them and allow them to forgive you.

 Feel the forgiveness be received let it touch your heart. Draw it into your heart. However I may have cause you any pain through my ignorance, anger, and forgetfulness. Through my doubt, confusion or fear. However I may have caused you any pain I ask for your forgiveness.

Let it be so, let it be, let it go. Allow your self to be forgiven.

If the mind inhibits through any judgments, recriminations see the nature of this incriminating state. Notice how unkind we can be with ourselves. Let this tendency be softened with the love and patience of forgiveness.

Let go, Let God come sit with you in your heart.

Feel His forgiveness now touch you.

Let your mind sink into the heart. If your mind continues to feel deserving of this suffering, allow yourself to be held with the just  the possibility of forgiveness. Open your arms to receive the forgiveness.

Then let go, let God come sit in your heart. Let that person go with blessings and thanks for having spent just a moment as one.

 Now ever so gently turn yourself in to your own heart and say “I forgive you.”  Say your name “______I forgive you.” If your mind  persecutes, interjects difficult thoughts, makes judgments, feel that and let it soften at the edges. It is really not for you to judge.

 Let your self be forgiven. Jesus died at the cross for you. He bore this pain for you. Allow yourself to be forgiven by you. Feel this comfort and caring that wishes you wholeness and wellbeing. Allow yourself to o be embraced by his mercy and kindness. How unkind we can be with ourselves. How unloving we can be. Let yourself be loved. Begin to share this miracle of forgiveness. For all those who also have felt isolated and put themselves and others out of their heart. Let all around you be touched by the power of forgiveness encourage them with your forgiveness heart.

 They too will be healed as you wish to be. Encourage them also with blessings so that we may all share in our hearts forgiveness.  We all may be whole. Plant the seed and it will grow in this garden of life.

Let this mercy radiate outward, float from sea to sea floating gently as an ocean of infinite compassion.

May we all be free from suffering, may we all be free from pain. May all hearts be opened and at peace. May we heal the world with our hearts.   Let’s reflect on the word forgiveness. What does it mean? What is forgiveness? What would it meant to bring forgiveness into your life? Liberating?  Let’s not wait for others forgiveness or acceptance. Let’s accept ourselves as well as others “as is” especially if they are not accepting or forgiving to us.  Honest forgiveness means nothing is expected in return.

   Forgiveness softens our hearts and lights our path into the ever so brilliant world of respect and loving-kindness.  Forgiveness is the meeting of the wounded with gracious healing.  Not just a band-aid, not a hardening of scar tissue but a total healing. We may have practiced and cultivated deep roots of fear, anger, resentment or guilt that are not so easily extrapolated. Forgiveness allows us to soften the soil that has buried our hearts. It allows the roots of an agitated mind to sink more deeply into the healing of the heart to flourish and produce great beauty in this garden of life.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone forgive him, that your father in heaven may also forgive you, your trespasses.”  But if you do not forgive neither will your father forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11: 25-26

Meditation on Forgiveness

Slowly bring your mind to the image of someone whom you have had some anger or resentment. Allow a picture of them or a sense of this feeling to gather.

Invite them into your heart for just a moment. Notice whatever feeling may arise. Notice whatever feeling may come to you that may limit or deny their entrance.  Soften that feeling and bring gentleness to it. Don’t force it. Allow the truth of it to invite this person in.

Say to this person in your heart “ I forgive you.”

I forgive you for any pains you may have cause me in the past, through your actions, your words, and your thoughts intentionally or not.

Allow the feeling for a moment in the spaciousness of your heart for the possibility of forgiveness.

Open up the curtains of resentment, let go of the walls of anger so you may be lighter and your heart may be free.

It can be so painful to put someone out of your heart. Let go of the pain. Let go of the pain. Let go for a moment with the possibility of forgiveness.

Say, “ I forgive you for whatever you have done that has caused me pain and for whatever you didn’t do.”  “ For your words, actions that may have hurt me, I forgive you.” “ I forgive you. I forgive you.”

Allow the person to be in the warmth and stillness of your heart. Let the distance between you dissolve in compassion and mercy. Let them be forgiven. “ I bless you. I forgive you.”

 Now send them on their way. Not to push them from your heart, simply let them be on their way, touched by a blessing and the possibility of your forgiveness. Notice any feelings as they leave.

Now bring to your mind to an image of someone who has resentment towards you. Invite them in to your heart for a moment. Bring awareness to and feeling that may limit their entrance into your heart. Let the hardness be softened, let it be light, let it float. Bless them and say” I ask for your forgiveness.”

Forgive me.”

“Let me back into your heart, forgive me for anything I have done to cause you pain through my actions or words.”

Whatever fear of mine, whatever confusion that I caused, however I  may have hurt you. I ask for your forgiveness.

Let yourself be forgiven, Let yourself be touched by their forgiveness. Bless them and allow them to forgive you.

 Feel the forgiveness be received let it touch your heart. Draw it into your heart. However I may have cause you any pain through my ignorance, anger, and forgetfulness. Through my doubt, confusion or fear. However I may have caused you any pain I ask for your forgiveness.

Let it be so, let it be, let it go. Allow your self to be forgiven.

If the mind inhibits through any judgments, recriminations see the nature of this incriminating state. Notice how unkind we can be with ourselves. Let this tendency be softened with the love and patience of forgiveness.

Letting go and letting God come to sit with you in your heart.

Feel forgiveness now touch you.

Let your mind sink into the heart. If your mind continues to feel deserving of this suffering, allow yourself to be held with the just the possibility of forgiveness. Open your arms wide to receive forgiveness.

Then let go, let God come sit in your own heart. Let that person go with blessings give thanks for having spend just a moment as one.

 Now ever so gently turn yourself in to your own heart and say “I forgive you.”  Say your name “______I forgive you.” If your mind persecutes, interjects difficult thoughts, makes judgments, feel that and let it soften at the edges. It is really not for you to judge.

 Let your self be forgiven. Jesus was born for you, Jesus died at the cross for you. He bore much pain for you. Allow yourself to be forgiven by you. Feel this comfort and caring that wishes you wholeness and wellbeing. Allow yourself to be completely embraced by his mercy and kindness. How unkind we can be with ourselves. How unloving we can be to ourselves. Let yourself be loved. Begin to share this miracle of forgiveness. For all those who also have felt alone and isolated and put yourself and others out of your heart. Let all around you be touched by the power of forgiveness encourage them with your forgiving heart.

 They too will be healed as you wish to be. Encourage them also with blessings so that we may all share in our hearts forgiveness.  We all may be whole. Plant the seed of forgiveness and it will grow and flourish in this garden of life.

Let His mercy radiate outward like a drop of water that drifts from sea to sea floating gently as an ocean of infinite compassion.

May we all be free from suffering, may we all be free from pain. May all hearts be opened and at peace. May we heal the world with our hearts and touch it often with forgiveness.

The Body Whisperer

Self Care for yourself or a loved one?

Your body has a language not often understood, Learn the language and how it speaks to you.

When you think of massage, you probably expect to be a passive participant — lying under a blanket as a masseuse presses and kneads your tight muscles. However, a Thai massage is a whole different experience.

Based on the northern style of traditional Thai Yoga Bodywork (Nuad Boran), is a sacred healing treatment that integrates Yoga, Ayurveda ( the Indian healing method that means “science of life”), and massage. It is often described as “lazy yoga.” It uses quite similar techniques as Swedish massage, but Thai massage also stimulates the acupressure points in relation to the concept of energy lines in order to provide relief, to stretch and loosen tightened muscles, to release tension and relieve joints. Thai Yoga Bodywork has many benefits for all. It uses the gentle pressure on energy lines and uses yoga like stretching to relax the whole body on a deeper level. The practice reduces pain and stress, promotes positive energy circulation, so you feel balanced and rejuvenated.

Thai massage is traditionally performed on the floor — you lie on a padded mat as the masseuse guides you through partner yoga poses and manipulates your body into stretches. Some traditional massage techniques, such as acupressure, compression and joint mobilization, are also used, but no lotions or oils are applied and you remain fully clothed for the session.

  • Enhances your practice of Yoga, Pilates, or other physical modalities.
  • Balances the body’s energy pathways.
  • Increases resistance to injury.
  • Relieves pain due to arthritis, stress, and overworked muscles.
  • Improves range of motion.
  • Insights for daily practices you can do on your own, at work or at play
  • A wonderful tool in your self-care toolbox

Wounded Woman Warriors Will Win!

IMG_2184_2.JPGI am thankful,

 Years ago in my bodybuilding days I stood out as one mean, lean muscle machine. A  sparky joyful little bundle of life. I would say that amongst my piers in the BB world I dressed pretty conservatively. None the less, I got “hit” on quite frequently.  It was my morals, values, quick wit and sarcasm that kept me pretty safe as a woman for the most part in those days.  I am lucky!

Since the “me too” campaign, I have been contemplating writing letters to the infamous parties that crossed my path and wanted to have  a piece of the action that entered into their game of life.  One of these predators suddenly shows up across the television on Thanksgiving day,….good I know where to send the letter!

It was when I was in my twenties and I was out at a dancing establishment  with my girlfriends ( I love to dance). I was soon approached by a “nice” man who I later found out was a “ Local boy hero.” He said “Damn woman you have nice legs!” Flattered of course, but not quite bowled over by“the line” a conversation ensued. He asked if I would be interested in getting together for a dinner. Cool as I was I said, “it is possible.” I gave him my “real number.” He did call and invite me to dinner…..Actualy he said “he would like to make me dinner.” (first red flag.) It is not every day one gets a celebrity to make them dinner and what the heck he might really like me, hey, I was single.  Fairly naive still, in my youth, I accepted. It was a rather nice dinner, good conversation, a few laughs, a bit of wine (not much, I was not that stupid, experience taught me well, but that’s another story.)

After dinner we sat and talked and then he made his first move, eh…. it was ok but my morals and values kicked in and I began to wonder how and why I did not foresee this coming? As many of you know for some the thought is, “I wine and dine you, you give dessert! “

The pursuit to the goal line began, 1st down ,1 yard, 8 to go. Second down, no gain. Third down was the long pass and I new I had to run fast to block the play. I thought of the “quick wit” play that has served me well and held my legs in a strong and sturdy stance. “Damn Woman, you have strong legs” was the next I heard. You see it is hard to get a pair of jeans off when the legs are held strong in a V formation. Fortunately, humor gave my team (me ,myself and I) The winning edge. I left with a notch on my belt and a humorous story. There was no scheduled future game! I was too tough of  a match!

I watch this man suddenly appear on the television on Thanksgiving day (someone must have had the day off) Well, well, well for sure it is time to write a letter. No need to expose a name, no desire to take down a career it is really the story that matters. The cathartic healing within from sharing, from forgiving!

My mission is to empower woman of all ages and assist in the healing of the unseen scratches that nicked at their soul, and the bruises affected their heart over time. For some it is just a game, get over it and move on, for many the story just needs to be heard!Stay tuned for the next story!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

 

 

 

 

 

The Mindfulness Practice

 

The mindfulness practice and indeed it’s a practice, can pretty tricky for me, as well with most others I can only imagine. I have practiced and taught for many years the art of being in the moment, following your breath, noticing the thoughts and let them go. Being “silent”  to “listen.” At times thoughts just seem to purge from the mind, like a bucket of water overflowing when it gets too full, an over abundances of thought just keep pouring in spite of the years of practice. Oh, how the desires of the heart conflict with the reality of circumstances in life, indeed causing suffering.

For many years quieting the mind seemed to work. I thought I had it down pretty well. As nature would have it there are timeframes where there is a great storm, a disturbing and disruptive force beyond my control, stripping the garden in which I was peacefully growing, back to the bare roots.   In the whirlwind of the storms I am grateful for the seeds that were planted, rooted, nourished, and added to over time. These roots have indeed held me strong in the tsunamis of life and I am filled with gratitude for having a plethora of tools in my shed to tend my garden. Especially the practice of meditation for in my current stage of life it helps to keep me in, or brings me back to, a momentary space of serenity, mindful of senseless thought that can take me out of the eye and into the storm.

What I found more helpful in the last few years however, is to returning to my family “roots.” of faith. Taking from the seeds that were planted early on in my life and pouring the overflow of thought into the place where those seeds were planted. What started to grow was an understanding that I needed prayer to fill and nourish my mind, my heart, my soul, rather than emptying it and “letting the thoughts go” or “giving it up to the universe.” The Our Father, and Hail Mary engrained in my youth and recently the Serenity Prayer has given me a “rebirth” or “understanding” that I needed in this perceived dark place that I entered into. Words that I can understand and comprehend, each time I recite them they take on new meaning and give fresh insight. Stories that I have heard before that I can touch, feel and relate to on a deeper level. Reminders to give thanks, forgive self and others. The story of life, death and resurrection that I grew up learning has given me great strength in a time of need.

In Parker J Palmers “ The Courage to Teach” he writes, “we all arrive in his world with gift.” But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Buddha spoke from his own experience and own heart. Everything needs balance; it is through quiet meditation and deep reflective thought, and listening to his heart that he found a way to be and to pass that insight to others. The eight fold path for healing from suffering, right understanding, right thought,
 right speech,
 right action, 
right livelihood
, right effort,
 right mindfulness
, right concentration. This is his wisdom that he has been passed forward for thousands of years that has taught others how to fertilize their soil, to nourish their being, to behold peace and serenity in this garden of life. He was called to share these gifts. Jesus teachings are of humility, charity, and brotherly love. Jesus taught his disciples a way of life to pass on that promises salvation and provides peace in the midst of our trials and tribulations here on earth. Through the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes and the “thou shalt not” phrases, through ordinary beings gave instruction to “flawed human beings” tools to pass forward live with one another life on earth.

As I continue to contemplate my story, this path, these gifts of experiences that have been presented throughout my life. I believe “ we all arrive in this world with gifts.” Parker states that “Some journeys [to true vocation] are direct, and some are circuitous; some are heroic, and some are fearful and muddled.  But every journey, honestly undertaken, stands a chance of taking us toward the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” He also says that “ No real progress can be made without suffering, it is something to be proud of. And just because someone always desires more, does not mean they are not happy.” He states “I feel the happiest when I see, not only how far I have come, but how far I have left to go”

My journey toward my true vocation apparently is still in progress and has taken another turn down an alternate path, into the unknown. My deep passion has always been in service to others. As my story goes in relation to where I am now is about helping others it always has been. My mother died when I was a two-year old child, the youngest in a family of 6 girls. Five older sisters? I learned to become a helper early on, I learned to serve.  Some would say a traumatic experience, maybe so, but it was at this time I came to believe in God. I was told that she was and angel, with God in Heaven. I believed. I grew to understand the meaning of  life everlasting. She has always been with me, all these 58 years. I have felt her presence many times, I have had many encounters with her spirit. As a child growing up  I pretty lucky, I had many “mothers” in my life growing up. It takes a village, I had a village. My father with his creative mind and love of the gardening taught me the love of being in and tending to nature, he taught me Gods Grace in the works of tending the Garden.

In my early vocation my label was “personal trainer.” I worked with hundreds of men and women to achieve a their personal goal of wellness. It came to me on the heals of a 4 year journey into a life of competitive body building, winning several local, state and national awards. I was fortunate to be able to build a career in helping others.

Seeing that it was a world that in all outward appearances it looked healthy, but their were worldy woes that existed within. I soon became what I call and “ultimate bodybuilder.” I had a child. This gift taught me many things about serving others and brought it to a greater level of humility and joy. A single mother for 11 years before I met and married my husband. Together we had two more children that I was gifted with to further help me grow. I have spent the last 30 years caring for others at the expense of my own personal well being, my own serenity. On the road to recovery their are still many paths to explore.

 

I am learning to give up control, to understand that I can’t do it on my own.

I’m learning just how selfish I really am.

I’m learning to find pleasure in simple things.

I’m learning to take time to play, and rest.

Above all else, I’m learning to trust and pray.

Never before have I felt so inadequate, so out of control, so overwhelmed and so dependent on the Lord. I’ve always been deeply rooted in my faith in God. I’ve seen God do amazing things and I have trusted Him in times when  I struggled through the deep valleys in my life. Being a parent has tested my faith in ways I never imagined. Each day I’m forced on my knees, crying out to the Lord for wisdom, patience, peace and selfless love.

Where are you on your journey to your true vocation?  Where does your deep gladness, your passion, your caring, meet the world’s deep need?

Back to School…What was I thinking?

What was I thinking when I chose to undertake the task of two classes in the same timeframe during this current tumultuous storm of politics, religion, and cultural clashing that is undergoing a climate change of Biblical proportion? Cultural Considerations for Drug and Alcohol Counseling, and Spirituality and Helping are two subjects that are increasingly important to understand, as we are experiencing more than ever in our times such political, spiritual and emotional uprising. There is a calling for a closer connection between religious history and the sociology of religion, and for more integration between the study of religious movements and social movements in general (Hackett, 1989:461;Hannigan, 1991)

Growing up I was taught “Do not talk politics and religion” I cannot wonder that if we were taught to engage in conversations from a young age about politics and religion where we would be today. If “religion” were taught in our schools how we could be better equipped to converse today with all members of society.

Religion has existed for thousands of years to encourage cooperation and tolerance within communities. Defined as a social institution, where customs, rituals and belief systems are established and taught to offer guidance to be happy, whole and hale in mind, body, emotion and spirit.

With over 4,000 religions that exist in the world dating back to over 5000 years, religion is not going away. It is at this time in America and around the world religion in some senses is being threatened, challenged and reshaped by a questioning or rejection of beliefs and traditions. Stephen Protheros is says there are multidisciplinary perspectives and exchanges that are necessary. I agree! All the religions of the world share many ethical and moral concepts that matter socially, economically, politically and in regards to military. Prothero maintains that to not see or acknowledge the differences are “disrespectful, dangerous and untrue, it does not make the world a safer place by pretending that they are all the same.” If we are to accept and honor and resect each other we must have realistic understanding of at least the major world religions. What brings them into conflict and where they can find unity and harmony?

The fundamentals of all religions are peace, love and understanding and although they appear to bring us to one universal understanding of this, they differ in many ways. Huston Smith a world renowned scholar of religion states “It is possible to climb life’s’ mountain from any side, but when the top is reach the trails converge, at the base in the foothills of theology, ritual and organization structure, the religions are distinct.”

You don’t have to go far to see that the world is in an unhealthy state. The climate is definitely changing and we must understand the differences, the reasons why religious cultures encounter conflict with each other. Protheros states “ Tolerance and respect are empty virtues until we actually know something about whomever it is we are supposed to be tolerating or respecting.”

Prothero demonstrates and wants us to understand that in order to solve human problems we have an understanding that the problems of humans are different and their approach is also different. For instance Buddhist believes in no God, Christians and Jews believe in one God and Hindus believe in many gods. Hindus are looking to be released from bondage to samsara, a continuous cycle of life, death and reincarnation because of karma.

Karma is the effects and experience of the souls reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth, the solution is moksha, the liberation from the bondage of finite existence.          Stephen Protheros claim is that “God is not One.” For us to see religions as the same or that they do not matter is to not understand that their differences. The differences do matter. They are rivals competing with another for the same objective. To ignore or ridicule them is a naïve dangerous approach to understanding. If we are to develop knowledge and understanding of each other then we must acknowledge the diverse teachings that each religion is offering to explore what allows us to thrive in a happy and healthy manner with each other.

I tend to agree with Protheros. In order to understand my own religion, to explore my center, to develop my own sense of being, I have to go outside of my world to discover other people’s beliefs, experiences and values in order to define my own. As quoted by the German Scholar Max Muller “ he who knows one, knows none.” In order to broaden awareness and understanding of others beliefs I must gain insight into their world. This is essential for the development of intellectual conversations and examination about life, death and the pursuit of happiness amidst all the doubt and confusion that life has to offer. As we see our current state of affairs in the United States of America we can see that Religion causes great emotion and indeed has great power to stir people into action and move or threaten economies. We are constantly evolving as we undergo the shifts and changes that our present world is experiencing in this global economy. Religious differences and traditions are plentiful in the workplace and within our communities. The differences inside each of these religions are vast. Multidisciplinary perspectives, and exchanges are necessary especially in the helping professions. Religion can be a vital aspect of our identity that shapes our behaviors, values and beliefs, it can be useful in the process of facilitating the well being of others. Back to School……What do you think?

Exercise your power! Meditate in Motion.

 

Exercise participation offers advantages for individuals in “recovery” from any addiction as an effective relapse prevention strategy.

Incorporating exercise routines into a recovery program can offer individuals new skills to reduce the risk of relapsing into former behavior. A centered whole-system approach that includes exercise can be used to break the cycle of addictive behaviors by reducing stress and negative emotions, by creating a sense of self-awareness, self-control, and self-efficacy. Exercise has been shown likely to be effective as both a preventative and treatment intervention. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and experts in the Drug treatment centers, studies of the effects of exercise in abstinence and recovery are highly promising. Relapse is common in any addiction; up to 70% of substance abuse individuals relapse into use within the first year after treatment (Carrol et al., 1994).

 According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) the odds of remaining abstinent in the first year of recovery is 36%, 66% between 1 and 3 years and after 3 years it goes up to 86%. The probability of relapse from substance abuse continues to be a risk through out an individual’s life. A relapse is a breakdown or setback in a persons attempt at modifying a target behavior after the intended the behavior change has been initiated. Treatment methods can reduce the symptoms of substance abuse but cannot cure the root cause. Having a variety of tools to negotiate the obstacles allows an individual to maintain without a relapse.

Relapse Prevention is an ongoing process of self-control where individuals learn behaviors to anticipate and cope with problem related to relapse. A preventative program integrates psychoeducational behavior skills and cognitive intervention techniques. The effects of regular exercise have been shown in many studies to be effective and beneficial for the promotion of prevention toward relapse and can serve as a non-drug alternative and reinforce to. Exercise serves as an alternative, non-drug reinforce to increase probability of abstinence.

 The longer an individual remains abstinent the probability of relapsing at least once still remains high. A relapse can be an opportunity for growth in establishing a stronger commitment for health and wellness by learning new strategies, altering lifestyle changes, interventions or medications if necessary and make appropriate adjustments or create new strategies. A relapse is just a detour on the road of recovery.

Researchers have been exploring other methods of treatments to incorporate in programs that would be effective in sustaining long-term abstinence and prevention of relapse. Direct exposure to the substance and environmental stimuli are two main reasons that have been shown to be associated cues to relapse. Research indicates exercise decreases the pre-relapse effects of depression and anxiety that are associated with these risk factors . Many studies report that exercise helps to maintain abstinence.

Exercise releases endorphins that can elevate a person’s mood, which is crucial in maintaining abstinence as mood disorders such as depression and anxiety are many times the precipitator to relapse. Through consistent participation in an exercise program addicts can also benefit from the effects of improvement of overall appearance and self-confidence. An exercise program can also alleviate boredom and the time spent idly thinking about how to escape the negative emotions, exercise is a positive outlet for fellowship. Exercise in a group activity increases the social support and helps increase the social network that is paramount in recovery. (Humphreys, Moos, and Finney, 1995; Longabaugh, Wirtz, Weben, and Stout, 1998)

Exercise mimics the effects of drugs on the brain increasing the states of well-being and euphoria in the same manner as abused drugs. (e.g. Janal et al,.1984; Nabetani and Tokunaga, 2001). These findings suggest that exercise produces neurochemicals that are similar with psychomotor stimulants. Addictive drugs imitate the brain’s natural chemical messengers by over-stimulating the “reward pathway.” The brain is wired to repeat activities that fuel this reward system. The neurons in the brain manufacture one or more of these neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine and many others that science has discovered. These neurotransmitters are associated with different effects on the brains function. Dopamine is concentrated in regions that regulate motivation to pleasure and reward, attention and memory. Drugs of abuse such as methamphetamine, amphetamine, cocaine increase indirectly or directly dopamine in the reward pathway. Studies in laboratory animals have shown that exercise reduces drug self – administration in animals by stimulating the same reward pathway as the substance used.

Studies have shown the effects of exercise are immediate on drug seeking behavior. In a study of female rats (Zlebnik et al. 2010) showed that in only a single session of exposure to a running wheel was enough to reduce the desire for cocaine. In a similar study (Lynch er al. 2010) male rats that were exposed to a running wheel for 14 days in a forced abstinence experiment was enough to reduce future   and reduced cue induced reinstatement. In a similar study (Smith et al. 2011a) it was reported that access to a running wheel for 6 weeks before drug exposure and 3 weeks after initial drug exposure reduced the response to cue reinstatement to cocaine. These studies suggest that drug-seeking behavior may be reduced through exercise and could be effective at preventing relapse after a period of abstinence in treatment seeking populations.

In Marlatt’s relapse prevention model (Marlatt, 1985; Marlatt & Witkewitz,2015) one of the main components was lifestyle modifications and suggested that this is a component that has been least emphasized in relapse prevention programs for alcoholism and that long interventions, in particular physical activity can be valuable addition to alcohol treatment.

 A study that looked at the physiological effects of exercise, individuals in a residential facility that were recovering from methamphetamine dependence participated in an 8 week exercise training program according to the American College of Sports medicines (ACSM) guidelines 3 times a week for an hour. The participants also continued the standard protocol of treatment that included individual and group therapy and included 12 step meetings. This was compared to a control group that received education 3 times a week for an hour. This study reports the positive adaptions that are consistent with those in the general population. Endurance and resistance training can have an impact on the success of recovery from MA dependency and should be considered as a part of a treatment protocol.

Physical exercise increases the abstinence rate in subjects with SUD and eases withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Aerobic activities also known as “cardio” require oxygen uptake, by the heart to deliver oxygen to all working muscles. The heart and breath rated increase to sustain an exercise activity over time.   Cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing all are forms of aerobic activity. A number of controlled studies indicate that aerobic exercise may alter mood and decrease symptoms of depression (Doyle et al., 1983) and serve as a complement to more traditional methods of treatment as in antidepressant medication (Babyak et al., 2000), cognitive-behavioral therapy (Freemont & Craghead, 1987)

Anaerobic exercise is a high intensity and short lasting activities that do not rely on an oxidative process, it relies on energy that is stored in the muscle to be used upon exertion. Anaerobic activities include mind-body exercises including Yoga, Tai Chi Quan and Qigong. They have similar treatment effects as to aerobic exercise. The Mayo Clinic has described exercise as “meditation in Motion” in an individual in recovery can use exercise to focus on the physical to experience the psychological and emotional benefits of meditation.  Current findings support yoga and mindfulness promising complementary therapy for treating and preventing addictive behaviors by attending to physical and breathing exercises. Studies have found that anaerobic exercise activities produce positive psychological changes that are beneficial for those that have different fitness abilities.  .

Findings have shown that specific quantity and frequency of aerobic exercise is necessary for the physical benefits but may not be necessary for the mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety and depression (Martinsen, Hoffart, & Solberg, 1989; Palmer et al, 1995)

In a study reported in the Journal of Substance Abuse they tested the attitudes and behaviors of clients in an intensive abstinence-orientated substance abuse outpatient treatment program. Upon detoxification from alcohol or other substances patients were submitted to a private hospital in Rhode Island. Treatment is six hour a day for five days. The program that operates in a group format, each day there are four treatment groups each lasting an hour and time for individual meeting with physicians, counselors or breaks.

Researchers designed a self -report survey to assess current exercise attitudes, preferences and behaviors. Assessments of the behaviors regarding exercise were to determine if individuals were meeting the American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) guidelines or at least 20 minutes, 3 times a week.

Out of the 105 participants 47% reported participating in regular exercise 3 times a week or more. Tension and stress reduction was perceived as the dominant benefit of exercise. Increase of self-confidence and hopefulness were some other added benefits. The data indicated that exercise is a desirable activity in recovery program. Some of the common barriers associated with exercise were that the cost being involved in an exercise program, time and lack of motivation. It was noted that nicotine dependence interfered with exercise self-efficacy the level of nicotine dependence was negatively associated with exercise activity level where alcohol dependence was not.

Relapse from any addiction is a process that remains over a lifetime. It is a physical, mental and emotional process of healing. A part of an individual in recovery wants to return to former behaviors. Emotions and behaviors can be obstacles that return them to pre-abstinent behaviors. Exercise is a way to keep balance physically, mentally and emotionally and can assist creating a stronger resilience to relapse. The endorphins released through exercise are the same endorphins released in substance abuse. The natural levels of endorphins released through exercise however don’t cause an imbalance that interferes with a person’s ability to feel pleasure, happiness and satisfaction. Exercise allows the body the body to regulate itself and remember that it is capable of balancing mood and brain chemistry in a healthy and natural way. Following a regular program of exercise an individual can focus on their own well being and forget for a period in time all that is going on in there life. With each session there is a feeling of accomplishment and pride that reinforces the goal of continued abstinence from  any addiction.  Ongoing research continues to determine optimal design and implementation of exercise based ongoing treatment and intervention.

 wdv__logo_fb1.jpg

References:

Babyak, M., Blumenthal, J. A., Herman, S., Khatri, P., Dorais, S. M., Moore, K., et al. (2000). Exercise treatment for major depression: Maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosomatic Re- search, 62, 633–638.

Beiter, R. M., Peterson, A. B., Abel, J., & Lynch, W. J. (2016). Exercise during early, but not late abstinence, attenuates subsequent relapse vulnerability in a rat model. Translational Psychiatry, 6(4), e792–. http://doi.org/10.1038/tp.2016.58

Brown, R. A., Abrantes, A. M., Read, J. P., Marcus, B. H., Jakicic, J., Strong, D. R., . . . Gordon, A. A. (2009;2008;). Aerobic exercise for alcohol recovery: Rationale, program description, and preliminary findings. Behavior Modification, 33(2), 220-249.

Dolezal, B. A., Chudzynski, J., Storer, T. W., Abrazado, M., Penate, J., Mooney, L., … Cooper, C. B. (2013). Eight Weeks of Exercise Training Improves Fitness Measures in Methamphetamine-Dependent Individuals in Residential Treatment. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 7(2), 122–128. http://doi.org/10.1097/ADM.0b013e318282475e

 

Jennifer P Read, Ph.D. , Richard A Brown, Ph.D., Bess H Marcus, Ph.D., Christopher W Kahler, Ph.D., Susan E Ramsey, Ph.D., Mary Ella Dubreuil, R.N., John M Jakicic, Ph.D., Caren Francione, B.A Exercise attitudes and behaviors among persons in treatment for alcohol use disorders

Longabaugh, R., Wirtz, P. W., Zweben, A., & Stout, R. L. (1998). Network support for drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous, and long-term matching effects. Addiction, 93, 1313–1333.

Marlatt, G. A. (1985). Lifestyle modification. In G. A. Marlatt & J. R. Gordon (Eds.), Relapse prevention (pp. 280–344). New York: Guilford Press.

O’Neill, C. (2007, January). Yoga and Ayurveda to support recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Townsend Letter: The Examiner of Alternative Medicine, (282), 60+. Retrieved from

http://mtrproxy.mnpals.net/login?url=http://go.galegroup.com.mtrproxy.mnpals.net/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=mnamsu&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA157081502&sid=summon&asid=4a2dac328d15b07fd463843b10cb60de

 

Read, J. P., & Brown, R. A. (2003). The role of physical exercise in alcoholism treatment and recovery. Professional Psychology: Research And Practice, 34(1), 49-56. doi:10.1037/0735-7028.34.1.49

 

Smith, M. A., & Lynch, W. J. (2011;2012;). Exercise as a potential treatment for drug abuse: Evidence from preclinical studies. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 2, 82. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2011.00082

Swendsen, J. D., Merikangas, K. R., Canino, G. J., Kessler, R. C., Rubio- Stipec, M., & Angst, J. (1998). The comorbidity of alcoholism with anxiety and depressive disorders in four geographic communities. Com- prehensive Psychiatry, 39, 176–184.

 

Wang, D., Wang, Y., Wang, Y., Li, R., & Zhou, C. (2014). Impact of physical exercise on substance use disorders: A meta-analysis. PloS One, 9(10), e110728. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110728

1751My Career began in fitness in the late 70’s after a very brief time as an office clerk. Intuitively I knew this was not the way for me. I hopped on my bike and found my way to a health club as a front desk receptionist. Feeling at home in the health club industry, I quickly moved into consulting, training, and motivating others.

I researched and experimented with my own health, which lead me to the art of competition bodybuilding. I traveled across the country winning several state and regional awards, eventually choosing to walk into the world of “ultimate body building“ … parenthood.

A mother, trainer, and motivator, I am woman of great strength, practiced patience, and flexibility. I am an everyday ordinary woman of the world who does my best each day to live intentionally with health and wellness at the forefront.

I have raised a lovely, gracious, daughter and two spirited boys with the thankful support and guidance of God and others that have surrounded me. My mission is to stand beside others in great support so that they too may see their own perfect value and to help them connect to the strength they already possess physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Through personal training, breath work, and yoga therapy, I can bring in a unique functional perspective to our daily life as it relates to health and wellness and to re-connect to our authentic God given nature. In my 35 plus year commitment to teaching health and wellness it is still reflected in my walk in life.

I digress a bit and tell you a bit of my story. In my twenties a proud achievement and defining moment in my life was my 4-year journey into bodybuilding. Diving headfirst into nutrition and exercise physiology for optimal conditioning and performance. No degree offered, just many certifications (now lapsed) and personal experience. I am a believer that life experiences can be the best teacher. After several competitions, I finally won the desired local crown, Miss Minnesota Bodybuilding Champion. After becoming the title winner 2 times, I went on to place second at the national level – Miss USA, I lost to a woman who was using growth hormones and she definitely looked a bit manly. In getting to know the system I found there was a lot of drug use by both men and women both recreational and body enhancing. At the time many of the champions (not all but many) were big users of cocaine and a variety of other drugs. After placing as finalist in several national competitions and finding the world of bodybuilding was in many ways not a healthy path in spite of the illusion of health it portrayed. I came home to Minnesota and pursued a career as Personal Training professional in dozens of local gyms and private homes. My clients included, elite athletes, homemakers, business professionals, and youth.

After working 20 years in the fitness industry I reached a point that I wanted to move on, I could not help those that could not help themselves and for some I was just preaching to the choir. It is more than showing up and getting “exercise.” As a matter of fact many who showed up had fallen into “addiction” to exercise and that too can cause physical harm. I worked with many who were much older than me who were ex- athletes, runners marathoner etc. and their bodies were breaking down at the age of 40 or 50, yet they had to get their “fix.” I personally stopped running 10 miles 3 times a week for three reasons. My back began to hurt, I found I was becoming more fatigued at the end of the day, and I noticed runners had flabby butts (momentum vs muscle work.) I found walking and rollerblading easier on my body. My training became more of mindful approach with functional movements that fit according to my daily activities. I was a mother raising my children and creating a home. Gardening, housework and activity with my kids became my “Gym” my workout.

Then I began working with young adults mostly college students at an environmental education camp and together we worked with children. In an 8 year period I was sick with a cold once and it lasted 3 days, I can count on one had in that period the times my 3 children were sick. Yet what I observed in my co-workers was a plethora of “issues’ mostly with the digestive system. Many were sick with colds on a regular basis, and had a variety of other symptoms, which I would relate back to inflammation. I was amazed at the lack of knowledge about the human body these college educated kids had. My favorite question was “how much protein does a strawberry have?” No one ever knew! I also observed the climbing rate of “drugs” that were brought in by the school nurse staff for the youth that we were teaching. I once asked a group of teachers what they learned from a keynote speaker at an event day of learning for educators. They replied in agreement that “ they had to get the parents on board for medicating their child” I saw health forms of 1,000’s of children many who were on 3 or 4 medications. Allergies, anxiety, and depression and those that were on Adderall or When I first started in 1994 there where just a handful of children who needed medication, mostly allergy. By the time I left 8 years later there were sometimes 3 milk carts of medications to deliver for these children over the course of 3 days. Meals were served family style with all food groups represented and I increasingly saw these kids eat as if they have not eaten before. We did a lot walking and many could not keep pace with the “old lady” It was an eye opening experience.

 

I found myself one day needing to “get a real job” quickly. After spending a few years raising my children and working fun jobs to help with the finances I “woke up” one day to the realization of a problem in my home. Alcoholism, I did not understand the disease. I tried to fix it for many years as I tried to fix others on their way to health and wellness. I did not know that I couldn’t fix it. I did not know that I did not cause it. I did not know that I could not cure it. I am continuing to understand this this disease and about addiction. This has been my exercise. I am grateful that it has brought me on a different course in life. There are enough trainers for fitness out there. We have a problem in our country it could be food, sugar, drugs or alcohol just to name a few, and yes even exercise or body image. I hope I can spend my last years helping others to a healing and healthful path in life to wholeness.

For two years I sat for the first time at a desk, in a cubicle, facing a wall attached to a phone chord, with a 45-minute commute each way and kid activities to get to afterwards. This combined with menopause (no symptoms until this stressful situation at 55) The last thing I had time or wanted to do is exercise. Much like many of my co-workers. I found that at work what I needed was the ability to stand and move throughout the day. I got my desk situated that I could work sitting or standing. When I needed to or it was appropriate I would stand and rock side to side, balance on one foot or the other and keep myself moving. The more stressful it got the more I moved. When I was sitting I sat in my chair with upright posture and took big long slow breaths often. Stretching occasionally at my desk, twisting and bending when I could. I basically worked my body all day long when it (my body) told me so. That is from all the years of training to listen to my body. I now stand all day, I move and stretch and twist and turn, I balance on one leg or the other and remind myself to stand tall and be watchful of balancing out my repetitive movements with opposing movements. When I get home I rest and put my feet up, go for a walk, garden or take a yoga class. I find when taking a class they go to fast or don’t focus on functional movement for daily living, but they are young and more is better when your young (or is it?) I often a condensed version of my own practice, which is much more focused, slow and deliberate. For this assignment day one was a yoga class, Day 2 was a pleasant walk in nature with winding paths and hills, both days have been beautiful and refreshing and got me out of a momentary funk as movement will do when I am stressed. It does not take much and sometimes it is a matter of just breathing a few big, long, slow regular breaths

Sitting for me for two years was an emotional “workout” a physical drain, it was up to me to find balance in my life, body and mind. I had to use all my tools of knowledge to keep my endocrine system in balance before it took me down as it has for so many. I left that world and moved into a standing position that is equally as constricting yet an eye opening experience in respect to healthcare. Hired as The Wellness Guide at the corner of Happy and Healthy (Walgreens) I get an upfront look at another side of health and wellness and how little people know, how they are impacted by marketing, magazines and Google. I have learned that there are really are good Drs. out there. An many who are old school. I thought it would be easy to get back into the workforce after my children were raised. I thought with my experience I could get a good “real job.” Poor timing combined with coming to an understanding at how sick I had become even though I was not the drinker. It has not been easy, and it may be the lack of degree, lack of confidence, or the lack of knowing how to get technology to work for me. I’m not sure. That is another story.

So what am I doing going back to school with all the reading, research and writing I have to (“get to” sounds so much better!) do? You ask how much sitting are you doing now compared to before you were studying? Too much! How it is affecting my body? It is treacherous! Not only for my body but my mind which ultimately affects my body.

I have cultivated over the years a unique ability to “simplify,” incorporating health and wellness into our busy daily lives, getting back to the basics, and nurturing others back to nature for the health of it. I specialize in relating health and wellness to our environment and how to listen, learn, and grow from the wisdom of nature. I continue to study under many professional teachers and healers in a variety of modalities, as I continue to clarify my path forward. In my experience and because of my age in life I understand the urgency and necessity, of this mission and to teach the ease of incorporating health and wellness in the corporate environment and continuing on to the aging population. It’s not just about a diet that has not worked for us for years, it is not just about exercise, not everyone is buying into that either. It is about education, simplifying and making some choices on a bureaucratic level. The path we have been on needs help to carve out better way.

I like writing an that means sitting, my intention is to motivationally speak and teach again, I am in “training” and experiencing life as an everyday average working woman who is raising a family. I have found in my experience in health and wellness has contributed in keeping me well (so far) and also in making me ill. My training all those years has taught me to eat well, exercise regular and learn the functions of the human body. What has made me ill is the frustration over the years, with all of our knowledge, health clubs, fitness promotion our country is still failing. It is costing us now and our future generations for years to come beyond our wildest imagination. Drugs, surgeries and technologies are both good and bad, diabetes and obesity is rampant. Our food supply to the majority is lacking the nourishment for building healthy communities. Through education we can help but the real problem exists on a bureaucratic level.

I have received a variety of certifications over the years and studied on my own many of the subjects that I wanted to study. My regret (and I think it is ok to have them) is that I never got a “degree” so here I sit in my later years, too much? Maybe! The trick is to find the balance for health and stability, in mind, body and spirit. For me I found I need outdoor activity, I need it every day. It does not have to be much, but I must move every day, I take the principles that I learned in the gym and in yoga and apply them to just about everything I do for it is getting out of the chair that matters to me, putting one foot in front of the other, stepping in and out of a car, twisting and turning, lifting and carrying for the rest of my life. It was a long way to say that I need to “exercise” I don’t feel well when I don’t. It affects me spiritually and mentally. I don’t get as much as I would like but I get what I need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wise Dumb ……Wisdom

 

Wisdom is the knowledge of what is true or right coupled with best judgment and  action. Wisdom comes from what you have learned in the past. Older generations have  been through more life experiences than younger generations, but does not necessarily mean they are full of wisdom, they may be wiser in some circumstances and then sometimes maybe not. Being wise is looking out for things to make sense, it’s not just because somebody is older. Wisdom can come from life experiences, it’s a type of maturity that one develops over time. I do not believe being wise and being older are synonymous. Being intellectual or having experience about a subject is one thing, wisdom  comes more from the heart, an internal spiritual alignment. A wise person has gained knowledge and understanding based on  life’s  past experiences whether it be good or bad. One with wisdom  has a  knowing.

Socrates said “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

I have always thought that I was a pretty wise girl with a deep understanding of life. As a matter of fact I often heard that I was wise beyond my years. Then I had kids! I found out quickly that I pretty much knew, not a darn thing. The truth is that with age comes experience, and those life experiences may make one wise but not necessarily full of wisdom. Wisdom is when we have a sense of self-worth and inner peace. When we can confidently live in accordance with our conscience and make the best decisions based on our knowledge and understanding without guilt or shame. Wisdom means having and understanding of consequences of all that we say and do. Wisdom brings us in harmony with self and others and we can remain free from conflict.

An often said prayer by many  “God grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Wisdom is the knowledge of truth and the understanding to recognize the right course of action and having the will and courage to follow it.

Proverbs 3:13-18

How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.

Wisdom,  it does not come easily or naturally.  It is easier to follow our less-than-wise impulses however the reward for acting with wisdom is greater. When we give  our best effort in everything we do, the payoff in self-esteem and inner peace will compensate us many times over.