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.

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.

How Ayurveda Helps Us Manage Life Changes

There’s been a lot of change in my life this year.

A lot of time and energy spent in unknown territory. Which is not a place many humans prefer to be. It’s uncomfortable, unpredictable and it’s easy to get insecure in what we’re doing and who we are.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, life changes can often throw someone’s vata dosha out of balance. Vata is an energy that everyone has to some extent. It is composed of the elements air and ether (space), and is often referred to as the windy dosha. When someone’s vata dosha is in balance, it spawns lots of creativity and big ideas and can help one solve difficult problems.  When there’s too much, it can generate anxiety, fear, worry, confusion and we often feel scattered by its windy tendencies.

During times of upheaval and change, it’s important to keep vata in balance so that we can move into the unknown with more ease and confidence.And one of the best ways to do this is by creating and sticking to daily routines. Because when we structure our day, we create a container for this windy dosha, so it’s not scattering our energy all over the place making us feel anxious, depleted or fearful.

Something as simple as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can work wonders. Having a morning routine that includes a grounding practice like yoga or meditation is especially good for balancing vata (even if it’s just for 5 minutes!) because it sets the tone for balance for the entire day.

And while for me, it wasn’t always easy to stick to my routines, when I did, it made a world of difference in how I felt and how I handled the challenges that come with making big life changes. 

The Power of Practice

Hello Everyone!

It’s been a while! Too long I’d say. As some of you already know, my husband and I moved down to Southern California a few months ago.

It’s been a HUGE transition and a tremendous test of maintaining the healthy Ayurvedic habits I’ve learned (and teach!). Because, as I’m sure you’ve all experienced, stress and change have a way of bringing up old patterns. And I was not exempt from this.

Even after years of practicing these habits, my past patterns showed up, seducing me with familiar and comfortable ways in the face of new and challenging situations. And at times, against my better judgment, I gave in to those old ways in hopes of some relief from the stress I was feeling. 

But here’s the thing: When we practice taking better care of ourselveswe develop a solid foundation of self love and self respect. And THIS is what helps me forgive myself when I did (do) have momentary lapses of judgment. THIS is what reminds me that sometimes I fall down so that I can learn how to get back up, and that self-criticism and shaming  myself are a waste of energy because they only take me further out of integrity with the healthier, more aligned, more courageous and more fulfilled person I’ve become because of these habits.

So I want to encourage you all:

If you are working on embracing healthier habits: Keep going! Don’t worry about doing things perfectly. If you mess up, forgive yourself and take small steps to get back on track. It WILL get easier with time. And the foundation you are building will sustain you even during the most difficult of times.

OR

If you’re not yet making steps towards healthier habitsWhy wait? Start small and start today. Even the tiniest step in a positive direction is better than no steps at all. You are totally worth it and you CAN do it.