Your Only Real Safety Net in Uncertain Times

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Before COVID-19, you may have felt secure in your job. Or maybe you were certain you’d be taking a spring break or summer vacation across the country. Perhaps you were convinced there’d never be a shortage of toilet paper!

It’s always been the case that there is very little that is truly secure or certain in life, and the pandemic has spotlighted this fact for us all. Life is full of surprises. Always.

But according to Pat O’Donnell, environmentalist and former president and CEO of Patagonia (among many other accomplishments), there is one safety net we always have: OUR VALUES.

In his early years, Mr. O’Donnell left a comfortable and secure job as an engineer in San Francisco to flip burgers in Yosemite National Park because he wanted to do more rock-climbing. When asked how he made such a big decision, he responded that:

“Each choice I made was consistent with my values and my vision, at the time. That’s what I’d always come back to. Your values are your only real safety net.”

Yogic philosophy and Ayurveda suggest that values are what connects you to your Higher Self, what creates integrity and allows you to discover your dharma, or purpose in life. In fact, Ayurvedic wisdom goes so far as to say that one of the main causes of disease and suffering occurs when we don’t act in accordance with our values, our inner wisdom.

In other words, knowing your values and aligning your actions to those values brings fulfillment, joy and healthy living. 

Do you know what your values are? Do your actions and habits align with those values?

Despite the fact that we all have values, many of us go through life without clarifying or articulating what our values are.

Are you interested in learning more about clarifying your values and leanring how to live in alignment with them for a more meaningful life?

Contact me for a free Wellness Strategy Session and I can help! We’ll clarify what you value and what’s getting in the way of you acting on those values.

Help for Moving Through the Discomfort of Change

When all of this is over, or at least as we start a return to some sense of “normalcy,” my hope is that we have If there’s anything 2020 is teaching us, it’s that we are adaptable. And that we can make big changes in our lives that, 6 months ago, we may have believed were impossible.

You might have also noticed that this process of change can be really uncomfortable! It has to be. Because growth and change don’t happen in the comfort zone. 

But there are three key factors that can help us move through this uncomfortable space with more grace and ease than we otherwise might.

First (and probably foremost) is self-compassion. We may think that self-criticism motivates us to be better or do more. But self-compassion expert Kristin Neff says this is not the case. Self-criticism instead creates anxiety rather than progress. And that self-kindness is a more successful motivator and brings along with it other benefits such as improved life-satisfaction, more calm and more confidence.

Change is disruptive by nature, and it can put our ego and nervous system into a panic and cause us to make unhealthy decisions. So another key skill in making change more gracefully is knowing methods of calming ourselves and bringing ourselves back to our center. Methods may include anything from breath work and meditation, to spending time in nature or doing yoga. What’s important is that you know, and practice, what works for you on a consistent basis. 

And lastly, we must have community and connection. This was something I struggled with for a long time, believing I was better off doing things on my own and that personal growth was a “private” affair. Turns out we really don’t thrive that way. We need connection, because we are all connected. We need support because we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Some of us may need bigger communities, others may need smaller communities. But we all need to tap into our sense of belonging. And we also need to understand that we are essential to the communities we belong to. 

I’d love to hear what you think of these ideas. Is there one or more of these areas where you would like to improve? Or where you’d like more support?

These key factors are all a part of the work I do with clients and course members. If you’re curious about how I might be able to support you, let’s chat. You can schedule a complimentary call with me to talk about what you’re looking for in the next phase of your life, and we’ll discuss potential strategies to help you get there.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself, stay calm, and stay connected. We’ll all get through this and I’m hopeful that all the inner and outer work we’re being called to do this year is making us better humans.

Stabilize and Nourish

It’s been an intense week with lots of emotions. And also a lot of hope. 

As we continue to move through uncertainty and change, it’s important to focus on creating stability for your mind, body, and spirit, and to make sure you’re staying well-nourished.

Processing big changes and intense emotions can upset and weaken our digestion, so it’s important to keep our diet light and clean right now. This means avoiding processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Instead, try to incorporate simple meals like soups and stews as well as herbal teas with natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.

I’ve been eating a lot of kitchari, Ayurveda’s incredibly nourishing and healing comfort food. Packed with nutrients and easy to digest, this amazing stew also helps detoxify the body.

Never had it? Check out my recipe. In this PDF I share 3 variations (stove top, slow cooker and instant pot). And if you have any questions about it, feel free to reach out to me. I respond to all my emails and I’m always happy to hear from you.

We Need You!

When coronavirus came around, we had to act.
We had to wear masks, wash our hands, stay at home, work from home, take our kids out of school, use less toilet paper, etc. 

It was inconvenient, uncomfortable and difficult for many of us. We made sacrifices. But we did it because people were getting sick. People were dying. 

But a worse health crisis has been on our hands for centuries: racism. And many of us have not acted. We haven’t inconvenienced ourselves, gotten uncomfortable or made sacrifices to do something about it. Even though black people are getting sick. Even though black people are dying. 

We have to act.

Racism hasn’t been declared a pandemic by WHO, but it should be. Racism has been recognized as a public health issue by numerous medical groups and last year was declared a public health crisis in Milwaukee. And yet there have been no apparent changes or healing to this systemic disease. No rush for a cure like there is for a vaccine. Sit with that for a minute. It’s packed with uncomfortable truths, both racist and economic.

Not sure what you can do? I’m still learning myself. But educating yourself is a good first step. Here is a list of anti-racism resources. It’s big. There’s lots to learn and do. Just start somewhere. Share it with others. 

If you’re buying a book on this list, please consider purchasing from a black-owned bookstore here: https://aalbc.com/bookstores/ rather than Amazon.

This work will take strength and energy. It will be difficult and emotional. Change always is. Please make sure you are also taking care of yourself. We need you.

Remember that we are all works in progress. And when you mess up, try not to defend yourself. Instead, listen more. Making mistakes is how we learn. And doing something and messing up is better than not doing anything at all.

f you are not black and believe there’s nothing you can do about racism, or that you’re not part of the problem, I get it. I was the same way. For a long time. But it’s not true. I implore you to open yourself up to the possibility that there is more for you to learn about racism, more you can do. We need you too. 

What does it take to make lasting changes to your habits?

Making changes is not simply about will power or discipline. But instead a shift in your beliefs about who you think you are. 

As author and “habit-change guru” James Clear says:

“Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity. What you do now is a reflection of the type of person that you believe that you are (either consciously or subconsciously). To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself.”

For some of us, the idea of changing our beliefs or identity can feel anywhere from a little edgy to totally terrifying. To some extent, this is normal. We have a function in the mind (the ego) whose job is to try and keep us the same—even if we are miserable. For the ego, old and familiar is better than change. 

That’s why it’s so important, as a first step to creating real changes in your life, to learn how to work with the ego. Otherwise, we allow ourselves, and our lives, to be led by the smallness of the ego. We get stuck in its stories and beliefs and forget that we are SO much more than the ego. 

As part of getting unstuck from these stories, we want to dream, and dream big. As James Clear indicates, “you need to start believing new things about yourself.”

So I want to invite you to dream up: What new things do you want to believe about yourself?

I’m giving you full permission to fantasize here. Any holding back you do in your dreams, means the ego is still involved. Free write about this and see what you come up with.

For pragmatists, this may be a difficult exercise that seems futile. ‘Why dream about something you can’t be?’

But I would argue that only when you allow yourself to dream, could you begin to see the possibilities of how to make it a reality.

What are you dreaming for yourself? What behaviors do you want to change? And what do you need to start believing about yourself to become more of who you are?

If you’re having a hard time connecting to your dreams–it’s not uncommon. We often get ver disconnected from our deeper desires, especially if we are caretakers of any sort. If you’d like to have a complimentary session with me to discover your desires, let’s chat.

What Do You Believe About Yourself?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” 
~Henry Ford

During the pandemic it’s become more clear to me than ever that our attitude and beliefs shape our lives.

I have a friend who is a wedding planner. When the lockdown began, she believed her business was over. Communications with her clients all but came to a screeching halt and she told me she “had to move back home.” She seemed utterly defeated. 

I recently met another wedding planner. When the lockdown began she helped her clients re-schedule everything. She connected with new venues in more remote areas where she guessed lockdown restrictions might be lifted sooner. She worked with her clients to make videos for their “future” wedding guests to share their story and help them all stay connected and excited about the event. She believed she could help her clients, and she did. As a result, she’s gained 8 new clients in the past month through referrals from her current clients. It’s the biggest bump in her business she’s ever experienced. 

What does this have to do with health and wellness? EVERYTHING!

What gets in the way of improving our health more than anything else are our beliefs about what we can and can’t do.

But beliefs are NOT reality. They are a pattern of thinking, a “habit of mind” that we have chosen.

And if we want to make changes to our health, it’s important to examine how, or if, our beliefs are serving our well-being.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can address limiting beliefs, let’s chat! I offer a free Wellness Strategy Session where we will look at what’s getting in the way of you achieving you wellness goals and how to move past those roadblock. Contact me today to set up your free session.

Want to Know What Your Future Holds?

I read a great article by Benjamin Hardy the other day. The gist of it: Whatever you’re saying yes to today, determines your future self.

In other words, are you saying yes to binge-watching Netflix until late tonight? Or are you saying yes to getting to bed early so you can rest well and attune to your body’s natural healing rhythms? This choice impacts your future self. 

Are you saying yes to eating processed foods that ultimately make you feel like crap, or whole foods that make you feel grounded and nourished? This choice affects your future self. 

Are you orienting your mind and activities towards stress and worry, or taking steps to cultivate more calm and ease in your life? You get the idea.

As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” So when we continue to say yes to habits and activities that don’t serve us, we know the consequences show up in our future. 

However, if we take the steps to create new and healthier habits, which includes making sure we get the support we need to make those changes, we know there’s a different future in store for us. A future that involves improvements in how we feel on all levels–physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. A future in which we experience more personal growth and development. And a future which gives us the health and energy to experience more of the life we want to live. 

What are you saying yes to today? What do you want to be saying yes to?

My Biggest Hope for All of Us…

When all of this is over, or at least as we start a return to some sense of “normalcy,” my hope is that we have allowed this experience to transform us in a positive way.

And according to Dave Gray (author of Liminal Thinking), times of crisis such as these can be the perfect opportunity, a threshold, or a doorway, for us to become more present to the reality of our lives. In these past weeks, we have been taken off our auto-pilot mode. Disrupted. And it’s an opportunity to look at where we are in our lives.

Are you taking care of yourself the way you’d like to?

Are you investing your time, energy & money in a way that serves your well-being?

Are you clear on what’s working or not working in your life?

Dave Gray suggests that this doorway is a chance to “get in touch with our ignorance.” In other words, asking ourselves: what have we turned a blind eye to? What have we tolerated? And what are the consequences if we continue to make that choice?  

They are big questions. Tough questions. But crucial if we are interested in creating more clarity and harmony in our lives, and even in the lives of those around us. 

Empower Yourself with This Simple Mindset Shift

It was beautiful here in Los Angeles this past weekend–and if the beaches hadn’t been closed, I would undoubtedly have been there. I admit it was frustrating. But I was able to shift myself out of frustration, as I have had to do many times during this pandemic, because of the concept in yoga philosophy that tells us: Whatever we focus on expands.

In other words, I could have focused my attention on my frustration which would have only increased my sense of feeling less in control of my life altogether. It would’ve created more stress and ultimately put me in a foul mood all weekend. Yuck. 

When I decided to shift my focus on what I CAN do and what I DO have control over (such as, I can sit in my backyard and enjoy the beautiful weather, I can connect with others through technology, I can cook and eat nourishing food) suddenly my weekend got a whole lot better.

That’s not to say any of us should pretend that difficult feelings aren’t there. Acknowledging frustration, sadness, and fear, and giving ourselves space to process these emotions is one of the most loving things we CAN do for ourselves right now. 

And when we focus our attention on the things we can control, like nourishing and taking care of ourselves, processing our emotions and practicing gratitude for what we do have, we put ourselves in a much better position to:

  1. Feel better and create a healthier environment for ourselves and whoever we may be sheltering with.
  2. Stay healthy and strong.
  3. Have a more balanced perspective on the whole situation which will help us endure whatever lies ahead.

The Key to Starting Any New Habit

I’ve been speaking with a number of my workshop attendees–can you guess what I hear about the most in these conversations?

1. I know the habits I have are not great.

AND

2. I want to change those habits, be healthier but I don’t know where to begin

OR

3. I’ve tried making some changes, and it works for a while but then I get thrown off track and struggle to get back to those bad habits.

Change is rarely easy. We’re often working against some deeply rooted patterns. But it’s not impossible to change those patterns.

Today I’m sharing my top tip for getting started on creating a new habit:

GET CLEAR ON WHY YOU’RE DOING IT. 
The first step I take with any client is clarifying why they want to make changes. Understanding what’s sparking this desire to change will keep you anchored to your motivation. It will help you get through the tough times on your journey and remind you why you started in the first place.

And we gotta go deep here. No one wants to lose weight simply because they want to fit in their pants. So it’s important to keep asking yourself “why” in order to get to your deeper desire. For instance, ask yourself: Why do I want to fit in my pants? Why is that important?

And whatever your response is to that question, ask again–well why is that important? I recommend asking yourself “why is that important” about 9 times.

There is always a much deeper reason underlying your desire to change that you may not have admitted to yourself before. Find out what it is. 

TIPS: As you ask yourself why, get out of your head. You’ll never find the answers there anyway. See if your responses can come from the heart or the belly. Allow the deeper desire to emerge from your whole self. Try not to edit what comes up. You may want to “free write” or talk into a recorder without worrying about anyone (especially you!) judging what comes out. 

Once you’ve got your BIG why answer, write it down. 

How powerful can this be? As an example, that client who thought she wanted to lose weight to fit in her pants? She made another discovery. What she really wanted, was to lose weight because she wanted to have more energy to spend time/play with her kids, and to show them that they can do things they set their minds to.

A little more powerful than pants right? And by the way, she’s lost almost 30 pounds.