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Top 5 Mistakes Depressed People Make

Top 5 Mistakes Depressed People Make

Depression is a highly common, but very treatable disorder, that affects over 17 million American adults annually.  Women are affected nearly twice as much as men, with either depression or dysthmia (Research Agenda for Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors in Women’s Health, 1996).  And depression has been called the most significant mental health risk for women, especially those during childbearing and childrearing age (Glied & Kofman, 1995).  However, once identified, depression can almost always be successfully treated utilizing a balance of psychotherapy, medication (if indicated), and mindful lifestyle practices. 

Let’s consider five activities that are often forgotten, but you can use to empower yourself, and improve symptoms of depression.  

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of your “diet”. More and more people are becoming aware of the intrinsic link disease development and impaired brain function to the health of our gut.  With 90% of the mood stabilizing neurotransmitter serotonin produced in our intestine, it proves to keep an anti-inflammatory diet, that is full of whole, organic foods.  But remember that we have five senses, and they all have a diet to consider and maintain. Take a moment and consider what you are feeding yourself…

Everything is food for our body, mind and spirit. 

Taste- How much caffeine, chocolate, sugars, processed foods, heavy foods do you take in daily?  Are you prone to “grazing”, and therefore overwhelming your digestive organs before they’re done with your last meal?  Do you tend to (over-)eat while otherwise occupied (watching tv, working, reading, screen gazing)?

Touch – Try some massage, either given yourself or received, with aromatic and nourishing oils. Make sure you have cozy contact and give and get hugs, cuddles, cozy time with your pets.

Hearing – Make a habit of listening to soothing music, sounds of nature, water, vibrations/tones, mantra, and use gentle, soothing speech.

Smell –  Take in fresh air daily, keep clean surroundings, and diffuse or inhale delicious essential oils, or flowers. 

Sight – Surround yourself with pleasing imagery and pictures, art, nature, and colors that are soothing.  Take regular breaks from screens to relieve the eyes from constant bombardment of stimulation. 

 

  1. Breathe like a baby. The majority of us typically breathe in our upper 1/3rd of our lungs as we race around from activity to activity.  Relax your belly, let it go, and breathe there. When you drop down into the lower body, it grounds us, and allows us to take it more life giving prana and oxygen.   

 

  1. Remember the medicine in endorphins. Exercise and aerobic activity naturally releases pain relieving, euphoria producing endorphins.  So take a brisk walk, swim some aps, take a dance class or jump on a trampoline.  It doesn’t matter, as long you do something daily.  You know what else releases endorphins?  Laughter.  😊

 

  1.  Just sit there. And meditate. Meditation has been proven to improve depression, anxiety, test scores, levels of concentration, attention and many chronic health conditions.

 

  1.  Don’t forget to nurture the most important relationship-  a spiritual one. Whatever your beliefs may be, finding a connection to a Source of Divinity of your own understanding reminds you that you’re not in this alone, you’re not responsible for it all, and there’s so much out there, so many other people out there, who struggle and come together all over this world. Even if it’s simply a practice of giving thanks every night before you go to bed, connects and remind you how precious you are to have been chosen to live this day.  

 

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The Senses are thawing…

The Senses are thawing…

When I use to drink alcohol, I had alcohol.

It offered me great relaxation, ability to numb out, and an “outlet” that I was able to take advantage of when shit got crazy. I admit sometimes I still miss having The option to drink and tap out. Being sober is anything but Numb. You feel everything. And as an ultra sensitive woman, quite intuitive, I am much more vibrantly alive than ever before. For better or worse.

But the thing is, when I relied upon alcohol it was the only thing I relied on for relief.  For better or worse.  And trust me it was worse.  Thankfully I didn’t have any tragedy that precluded my decision to abstain from all alcohol.  And that first year was tough.  I only had this day, and then the next day.  Some days it was hour to hour, minute to minute, moment to moment.  Thank Goddess, it DID get easier.  Just like they said it would. 

I always knew that in order to find sobriety, my emotional tool kit required a hefty overhaul.  I needed to strengthen my available coping mechanisms. While connecting with others was instrumental, whether online or live, this was quite challenging for me.  Ironically, I can experience some significant social anxiety, and connecting without the crutch of alcohol could be quite the challenge. 

In my sobriety, I have found a great many magical touches that enlighten, Inform, entertain, and deliciously heighten my senses beyond what I was able to achieve when I was abusing alcohol. When I offer my clients five sense therapies, it is truly therapies for all five senses, and then some. While indulging the five senses we cultivate our sixth sense, our intuition and deep connection to the divine. What a treat!

In fact, all the five sense therapies are beautiful delicacies. I enjoy Music not only for the melodies but for the vibrations, as well as the delicious landscapes in which to dance the temple that is my body. In Nature I am in treated to a feast for the eyes, the nose, the ears and the touch on my skin as I am surrounded by all of nature’s bounty and beauty. To have plants and flowers in my home is an exceptional indulgence, and to enjoy selecting a bouquet from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods provide exquisite aromas and visual beauty for not only myself but my entire family, while cultivating appreciation for all that can be found in nature.

I love aromas, whether it is a delicious herbal tea, fresh ground ginger, astringent tumeric, or defusing or massage with essential oils. The bounties I have been able to enjoy from essential oil’s is immeasurable. They provide so many vibrations to indulge in, whether I need deep grounding, inspiring vitality, clarity and concentration, or the keys to the gateway to greater connection to the Divine.  To work with the essences of flowers and essential oils remind me of the connectivity of all of nature, our unified field of consciousness that includes all of us, you, me – ourselves.

To think that I allowed alcohol to rob me of the gifts of these levels of awareness boggles my mind. There is a Sanskrit word, Prajnaparadha –literally, “an offense against wisdom” – which happens whenever one part of you insists on an action that is detrimental to the rest of you. It happens when you know deep inside that something is not right for your body-mind-spirit, but you obstinately go ahead and do it anyway, ignoring Nature’s warnings. The path of the sober one is indeed the Warriors Path, forcing us to work in concert with the wisdom of nature.  My path is the path of the warrior Goddess.  For me my battle was to wage in concert with the five senses, not to paralyze them.  My path winds and turns, for better or worse, but offers me sensation and experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world, for all of nature’s bounty is at my fingertips to experience and indulge. 

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Hello from my Peri-Midlife crisis

Hello from my Peri-Midlife crisis

I’m sorry, did you just say “peri-midlife crisis”?

Yeh, yeh I did. 

What in the blue blazes is that, you ask? 

Well, my dear sistAr, it’s like this.  I am turning 40 in less than a month. And although I hope I will live beyond my 80’s, clearly this is nearly mid-point for this precious life (God Willing and the creek don’t rise)!  It does seem that turning 40 is a pretty pivotal birthday for most.  Aside from no longer being a 30-something (remember that show??) and standing on the precipice of a new decade of age,  I have a suspicious amount of newly recurrent aches and pains that seem to correspond with activities that I used to do without another thought.

Par example, in my thirties, dropping into a split spontaneously during a belly dance performance was no problem. 

Blooming into crazy back bends during asana practice?  Yes, please. 

Shimmy drills and mad drops?  You betcha. 

Perhaps the inherently less exciting but inevitable nonstop stooping over to care for children as I fasten pants, strap on shoes, or wipe tushies was the beginning of it all.  It now leaves me a little…. achy.  Or worse.  And yet, these activities are a part of my life that I am not able or willing to part with.  I am a mother, I am a yogini, and I am a dancer.  And just like all specialties and skill sets, we learn how to hone our abilities to not only improve and grow in these areas, but if we want to continue them, we must also adapt as our environment, and we, change.  And age. 

Deepak Chopra is loaded with thoughtful statements that I enjoy, but this one is short, and sweet.

“The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.”

Nice huh?  I love the idea of creating ourselves.  Like a beautiful work of art and full of mystique.

Here’s another one…

Our perception creates our reality, not the other way around. 

If I envision myself as midway through life, already peaked (gasp! – that’s harsh) and rolling uncontrollably down the other side of this existence, that creates a perception that my reality is none to my creation.  I just roll with it, and accept what is.  Where’s the creativity in that?  

Creativity embodied- Frida Kahlo.

Creativity embodied- Frida Kahlo.

In searching for an image capturing feminine creativity to place in the post, I came upon the lovely Frida Kahlo.  Frida was extraordinarily creative, and a total bad ass.  After suffering a spinal fracture as an adolescent, and suffering for the rest of her days because of this injury, she continued to seek out a life of exuberance, artistry and general bad assery. 

Not that we all need to seek out to live an iconic life, but one thing that a peri-midlife crisis incites is a hearty dose of mortality.  As in, “Hey- yo!  This ain’t no dress rehearsal, boo.  Let’s get to steppin’ and make it the best we can!” 

Because We Can. 

So I meditate.  I exercise in the way that I like to (in that sneaky way that makes me feel like I’m not really exercising but just having fun and getting a turbo endorphin boost…Barre classes, hiking, walking, dancing, swimming, yoga).  I cook more.  I eat lots of rainbow colored things that grow in nature. I don’t drink alcohol, use drugs or tobacco.  I am constantly working on this project called self-care, in a way that feels really nurturing, and not contracting or forced.  Surprisingly that last part is often the most challenging.  But it’s a path, a journey and I am learning how to continue to live fully in this body, with as little aches and pains as possible. 

I share much of what I have learned and practice in the Purnima Path, my 10 week online course in Dynamic Self Care.  if you want to learn more, and possibly join us for the next session, email me.  We’ll schedule a phone consultation and discuss the process of the course, your current health and well being goals, and see if it would be a good fit.   

 

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A Certain Place

A Certain Place

I’ve always been a headstrong woman. 

Yup, even as a kid.  Can you just see it?  My hand on my hip, my Ogilvy home-permed red hair bouncing and my stork-like skinny legs dancing wildly to the music of David Bowie.  Quite the sight to behold, you can imagine.

I’ve always been a passionate and emotional gal.  In college, I studied dance performance, and then after suffering an ankle injury while rock climbing 3 Coronas deep, as a registered nurse and APRN.  It certainly takes a lot of moxie to make it in either of those professions, and I suitably held my own.  I got married to a man who sent shivers through my body on first contact.  We soon relocated to Fairfield county from Detroit, and have since been blessed with two baby boys.  Nothing there has lessened my intensity or drive, to be sure.

I was always used to being somewhat talented, and completing tasks reasonably well, and I wasn’t prepared for the hearty dose of surrender that came my way with parenthood.  Coming from a place of high expectations and achievement, and learning how to relinquish control over the state of my house, my schedule, my body, my sleep – hell, even what I eat (when’s the last time you inhaled your kids remaining chicken nuggets??) – was just so challenging.  But I was able to numb that frustration and overwhelm with wine… And it was all good.

To be completely honest, it would’ve been easier to name all the occasions I would find myself drinking alcohol, versus when I would be comfortable not imbibing.  It was my preference to liven up an occasion or event with a tasty beverage.  Growing up in the Midwest there was plenty of beer at family functions, and running in a punk rock crowd was certainly not done sober.

Life was always so busy – grad school, my work (as a nurse practitioner, dance teacher, yoga teacher), marriage, moves, and being a mama.

 I was navigating it all, but it was a rare day I didn’t drink in the evenings.  From my certain place I was still “fully functioning”, but becoming very familiar with stores along all of my routes.  I found myself staying up alone after my husband had gone to bed and drinking, celebrating my ME time.

I could see that my compulsion was proving time and time again to be harmful and out of alignment with the health sustaining practices I purported as an APRN and yogini, and most importantly, a mother.  But I continued to seek relief from the intensity of over-scheduling, the constant demands of motherhood, sustaining a marriage while parenting two young kids, and fitting-in in Fairfield.  The only way that seemed to be possible amidst it all was TO DRINK.

We live in a country where you can purchase a wine glass labeled “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” and Kathie Lee Gifford openly imbibes before noon on national television.  Cosmos are the quintessential girlfriend door prize, and all over Fairfield recycling bins contain wine bottles from the week prior.  It is not surprising that the amount of alcohol consumption by women has increased with 47% of white women reported being regular drinkers, up from 37% in 1992 (Glasser, 2013).  Our expanding reality is heavy with the overlapping roles of career women and business owners, caregivers and mothers, volunteers, daughters, wives (and sometimes recreationists).  It is epidemic, the women who maintain this certain place of “Functioning Alcoholic.”

When I started to refer to myself as an alcoholic to a dear drinking friend of mine, she would correct me to and say that she preferred the term lush…  It was enough to perpetuate the belief that I was still Not an alcoholic.  It was in one of my first AA meetings with my first sponsor that I publicly declared myself an alcoholic, and it was incredibly freeing to finally admit to others, in broad daylight, and sober, that this was definitely not the norm.  Presently, I don’t regularly refer to myself as such, but I know in my heart of hearts that there is no way in hell that alcohol and I can ever share this body.

With the recent observation of Memorial Day, and being just short of my 2nd anniversary of sobriety, I am thrilled that these quintessential party weekends are getting easier to navigate with seltzer alone.  It was July 13th, 2014 that I entered into sober, authentic living.  And by authentic, I mean no holds barred, cranky, pissy, weepy, outburst-y, humbled and amazing.  For all it has been and is yet to be, it is my new way of living: in my truest self without the aiding and abetting of alcohol.  Hallelujah!

I am so grateful for my family; my husband and our sons – they gave me the much needed wake up call to change, and it was a long time coming.  Unfortunately, I didn’t value the present moment, nor my health enough to take steps before, but I thank my lucky star-stuffed soul that I finally got a clue.  The mind can be such a bastardly opponent, right?? We can become so damn skillful at creating mental novellas that cast us into a slurry of self-degradation and loathing.  We rationalize our behavior because of what is presented on television “reality” shows or at parties with friends.  I’ve spent many years circuit training that skill set.  All being said, it was the fear for my children that finally resonated enough and forced me to realize that I could never drink alcohol again.

I worked with AA and a sponsor for some time, but I find brilliance in the simplicity, yet sheer genius of the comprehensive wisdom that Yoga and Ayurveda offers those who struggle with addictive behaviors.  It drives us time and time again to reach for something outside of ourselves for satisfaction as we seek the infinite in the temporary. I am ever grateful for my dear teacher Durga Leela, the creator of Yoga Of Recovery, and her way of presenting the patterns of addiction, with the 12 steps, yoga and AyurvedaHer eloquent integration of the Vedic arts and sciences has been life changing for me.

Now I have redefined my Certain Place.  I’m not a super active member of AA, although I will get my ass to a meeting if I am struggling.  I am not currently working with a sponsor, but I have a handful of sober superstar soulmates that I enjoy supporting and being supported by.  And I practice.  My practices keep me rooted.  My breath, my movement, my meditation, the mindful pauses that stop me short of the cliffs.  My beautiful family.  My beloved Mother Earth.  A grateful addict am I, and standing tall in this certain place.

Originally published on Suburban Misfit Mom.  

3 Life-Saving Affirmations for Mamas

3 Life-Saving Affirmations for Mamas

Ah, motherhood.  

The toughest job there is, so they say.

 I certainly haven’t held every job in which to qualify or negate that statement, but I am a mother, and damn… this shit is HARD.  I am so relieved to be beyond the point of having an infant attached to me whenever I was within his reach and the extreme sleep deprivation that absolutely threatened my sanity, and the status of my NPI number.  

But even just tonight as I carried in two backpacks, their preschool aged owners and my own work bag, then proceeded to make dinner and wash the dishes as everything in our household with a mouth, and anywhere between 2 and 4 legs, screeched and whined demands, I kept my composure, breathed deeply and recited some affirmations silently in the Utopia of my mind.  

 It has taken me almost 6 years of parenthood to time test and prove these affirmations, but they certainly set their roots in the first year.  I come back to them time and time again, like when my toddler kicks me in the face and in doing so manages to smear the contents of his diaper up my arm during a well-intentioned clothing change, or on evenings after a crazy day at work, then grocery shopping, and the grande finale of dinner-making climaxes with my eldest screaming how much he hates whatever organic, well balanced and beautiful meal I’ve just labored over and placed on the dinner table, then goes and makes a dinner of PBJ and a Babybel cheese wedge.  

 

Mommy’s Buffet! It’s the best on the block.  

 

But I digress…

 

Affirmation number one: This time is fleeting.  

 

Sometimes the only measure we have for how fast these lil’ nippers grow is by noticing when their pants become too short, or their bellies peek out from below tees.   I know I’M not aging, but they sure are!  And just like that, all of a sudden my eldest stopped asking to be rocked and sang to in our chair.  I used to hum an Israeli lullaby to him, and rub his little back.  He would snuggle and murmur into my ear to sing the song, until he became he became so drowsy his little lips would fall open and out would sneak his delicious deep slumbering snore. 

 

Now he is obsessed ninjas and Jedi’s, and the cuddles are few and far between, and that lullaby doesn’t come to recall as easily as it once did.  You better believe I rock and serenade my youngest every chance I get.  

 

Affirmation number two: This too shall pass.

 

Although seemingly similar, please do not confuse this for #1.  

 

Dig, if you will, a picture …

 

 Your happy family of 4 is traveling to VT in a snowstorm, and the road conditions and delays have put you no where near your destination, but all are needing dinner.  The snacks just aren’t gettin’ it any more, and so you decide to stop.  Of course, you aim high, as you refuse to eat Subway, give your kids McDonalds, and you just can’t take one more slice of pizza (this week, anyway).   Thai food looms ahead on Yelp, and what kid doesn’t like noodles?  

 

Once inside we realize it’s kinda fancy…  delicate and ornate Buddhas furnish the place, and there’s table cloths.  

Oh shit. 

 

Welp, we were committed, and hey,  we have just as much right to eat out as anyone else…  right??!?  Uh huh.

 

After a few screaming tantrums, multiple attempts on the restaurant’s étagères, numerous glares from our fellow fans of Thai food, and a visit to their ridiculously NOT baby friendly bathroom, we “completed” our meal and made our exit back into the snow tracks.  I would like to think that what we left in their garbage was a significant clue to get a trash can with a lid and maybe a pull down changing tray, but more likely resulted in a posted diner age minimum.

 

Harried, frazzled, and still hungry, we continued our travels to VT.  Later that evening once the kids were in bed, David and I shared some belly laughs and rosy cheeked chuckles at what a disaster we had become.  BUT, everyone survived, we would never see those people again, and we did what we had to do.  It passed.  

 

Number three isn’t an affirmation per se, but it does give you a strong smack of clarity:

 

Does what I am trying to do, forcing to get done, and getting angry about really matter in the grand scheme of things?

 

 Like, does it really mean my kids will starve if we feast on a dinner solely of watermelon?  Does my toddlers ridiculously deficient tooth brushing technique really guarantee that he’ll have wooden teeth by age 42?

 

Shhh.... the ninjas are sleeping.

Shhh…. the ninjas are sleeping.

 Sometimes the kids will insist on repeatedly switching on the light and playing for hours after bedtime until they collapse on one another in pure exhaustion despite the 2 hours of traipsing up and down the stairs, asking, reminding them, screaming at them, and begging them to JUST  GO  TO  SLEEP.  And  who am I to say that running around without pants on before dinner is kind of fun, for everyone… at least sometimes??

 

I remember reading a mommy blog years ago where a woman gave some advice on how to handle those horrible times of mommy-rage when stuff just became unbearable.  Its a very scary place, and feels awful, but wow- it can come up quick.  It’s totally naturally, and yes- some are more seasoned than others in their level of spice, but it happens to us all,  She said that she would imagine that someone was watching her at all times, and it allowed her from losing it with her kids when she needed the extra Oomph.   That idea has helped me a few times, and it was actually pretty crucial right after I had my 2nd ( and then we moved 5 days later ).  Deep down I know that it’s not a properly rooted frame of mind for me, but like I said…whatever works and keeps you from booking a solo one way ticket to Vieques.  

Lastly, when I was pregnant with my eldest, I was completing my 1st yoga teacher training, and we studied with the lovely Kundalini teacher Anne Novak.  That class inspires me to this day, and in my own prenatal classes that I teach.  The mantras and the music of Snatam Kaur Khalsa left me deeply moved, and one particular chant,  Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, was absolutely instrumental in keeping me rooted in my inherently wise and ever present Inner Guru that is me as a mother.  I would chant it over and over when I was pulled in every direction, awake at all hours, tending to and feeding the greatest teachers that I have ever known.  

 

May your teachers give many cuddles, try and test you- but not break you, and reveal your greatest gifts and strengths, time and time again.  

 

 

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8 Best Foods to Detox Your Body This Spring 

8 Best Foods to Detox Your Body This Spring 

 
With flu season in high gear, and summer drawing near, now is the perfect time to detox your body! A simple detox is the foundation of a long-lasting, healthy, and vibrant life. Not only is it a program specific to improving your inner body, but detoxing is beneficial for the mind and soul as well.  
 
First of all, what is a detox? Detoxing is the process in which you rid your body of the harmful toxins that have built up over a period of time, and in turn, you’ll have a healthier inner & outer body, mind, and soul. Detoxing can help to increase your energy levels and fight fatigue, as well as assist in weight loss and strengthen your immune system!  
 
Here are 8 super~foods that should be making their way into your shopping cart this Spring!  
 
Watercress, Spinach, and Kale are staples to your detox, and can be used in a variety of ways such as smoothies or salads.  Aside from the fact that these leafy greens are packed with high-quality nutrients and vitamins, they also aid in lowering cholesterol, restoring energy levels, and help to decrease your chances of developing cancer.  
 
Asparagus is one of the most beneficial super~foods, offering kidney and bladder cleansing support. Asparagus can be oven roasted with a little bit of seasoning, which brings us to our next two super~foods, Garlic and Cayenne Pepper!  
 
Garlic and Cayenne Pepper act as the perfect bridge from tasteless foods to delectable meals!  By seasoning your food with Garlic and/or Cayenne Pepper, not only are you aiding in detoxifying your body, but you’re ensuring that your meals taste delicious! The sulfur found in Garlic works specifically to rid your body of toxins, while Cayenne Pepper helps to support weight loss and promote heart health!  

Can’t seem to stomach eating raw garlic? Try garlic in pill form, which can be found at most health food stores!  
 
Dried fruit is the perfect alternative to those tempting, yet unhealthy grab-n-go snacks! For example, dice up some dried Peaches and throw it into your morning oats, or snack on dried Apples throughout the day! In moderation, Dried Fruit helps to reduce excess fat and lower cholesterol while aiding in the detoxification process. 
 
Carrots are rich in glutathione which aid in the detoxification of the liver! Additionally, Carrots are loaded with Vitamins A, C, & K! It’s best to consume carrots raw, perhaps with avocado or hummus.   

 
Keep in mind, it’s crucial to eat all of the foods mentioned above, raw, as heating can destroy some of the beneficial properties they contain!   

Does a cleanse sound like something you’re needing right about now?

My group guided Spring Cleanse starts April 18th!

I’ve extended the Early Bird pricing of $99.oo, but it ENDS APRIL 15th!  Then the price increases to $127.00!  Believe me, it’s worth it.  
Check out all that is included in this whole foods, pretty-packaged cleanse:

  • Spring Cleanse Guide: a step-by-step manual showing you exactly how to detox in a safe and natural way.
  • Recipe Guide: packed with over 60 delicious recipes that will improve digestion, decrease inflammation, and keep you feeling satisfied.
  • Daily Email Support: just like it sounds, I will email you daily to provide encouragement so you don’t feel alone.
  • 2 coaching calls; 1 at our launch, PLUS you will get a 30 minute post- detox strategy session!
  • 14-Days of Suggested Meals: this will help you stay on track and take the guesswork out of planning meals during your detox.
  • 14-Days At a Glance: a day-by-day overview of your entire detox, with easy-to-follow recipes that make this journey easy as 1-2-3.
  • A Shopping List: to make trips to the supermarket super simple, which makes prepping, preparing, and cooking for your detox a breeze.
  • Food Diary: this amazing tool will help you keep track of how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally throughout the program.

PLUS you get a BONUS 30-Minute Post-Detox Strategy Session with me !

Want to read more, including testimonials?  Read on…

Blossoming Your Body and Soul This Spring

Blossoming Your Body and Soul This Spring

 

Are you feeling sluggish, tired, or stressed? Have the last few months of cold winter days made you gloomy?

Spring isn’t only for cleansing your body, but also for cleansing your mind and soul.

Traditionally, many cultures have adopted the art of cleansing your mind and soul through meditation, especially during the springtime.

 
Introducing meditation into your life will renew your inner self and bring light to the life you live.  Find a mantra (a word or phrase) that resonates with you, an area that is peaceful, and a comfortable seat. Setting a timer for the amount of time you wish to meditate will help to avoid any distractions and interruptions during your session, as well as alleviating any tendency to check the time. Typically, most meditations last approximately 20 minutes, but adjust the time you spend meditating to your specific needs!  Don’t NOT meditate for lack of time.  I know that 2-5 minutes when I can is very effective in grounding me with focus and clarity when i can breathe calmly and with attention to the moment. 
 
Ideally, you will want to have two mantras. The first, focusing on something you would like to bring forth into your life; the second, focusing on something you would like to transition out of your life. It is crucial to focus on your breathing during meditation, inhaling when thinking about bringing something into your life and exhaling when thinking about letting something go.  For example, inhale Light or Love, exhale Anger or Judgement.  After choosing your mantras for the day, you are ready to begin your meditation. Repeat your mantras until your timer goes off. To further your reflection, you may journal daily about your meditation.
 
Studies have shown that morning meditation helps to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce anxiety and stress, and promote relaxation. Cleansing your soul by releasing those negative feelings in your life while bringing in positivity promotes a healthier and happier lifestyle.
 
Aside from meditation, waking up at the same time every day ensures you are establishing a routine and helps to eliminate those sluggish feelings incurred from waking up late, or after the sun has risen. Some ancient rituals also recommend splashing water on your face first thing in the morning to wake up, energize and hydrate the skin. Developing a routine that includes meditation will ensure you wake up eager to tackle the day with a positive outlook and vision.
 
Meditation is an art form that takes time to develop and perfect. Simply focus on your breathing and your mantras and you’re well on your way to a relaxed mind and renewed soul this Spring!
How to Use Essential Oils

How to Use Essential Oils

If you haven’t incorporated the health blessing that is essential oil into your life yet, your health and happiness are missing out. Essential oils are one of the most wonderful things known to man.  Don’t believe me? Give them a try and you’ll be amazed at how rejuvenated essential oils can make you feel, and how many benefits they can afford your life.

Essential oils are natural oils derived from plants, stems and botanicals. When you integrate these oils into your life, you’re getting a gift directly from Mother Nature. There are a wide variety of essential oils and essential oil blends, too many to name in this blog post. Though, you can check out some of my favorite oils here.

Understanding how to use essential oils is simple. There are three ways: diffuse, ingest and apply topically.

Diffusing them is one of my favorite ways (okay, they’re all my favorite ways) to utilize oils. You can purchase a diffuser from any store. The directions will depend on your diffuser, but typically you’ll dispel five or so drops of your favorite essential oil in the diffuser. Some of my favorites to diffuse are frankincense, or a blend of lavender and peppermint.  Experiment to find your favorite.

You can also ingest them by including them in your cooking, smoothies, juices, water, or even taken in a capsule. I love incorporating lemon oil in my water, and oregano and basil oils in my veggie dips. In fact, you can substitute any dried herbs with essential oils. It only takes two-three drops when cooking and one drop in a smoothie or juice.

The options are endless for how to consume delicious essential oils, though it’s a good idea to dilute your oils before cooking. To do this, add a drop of essential oil into one teaspoon of honey, olive oil, or any cooking oil. If you’re adding oils to a smoothie, dispel the oil directly in your milk or coconut oil before mixing.

In addition to diffusing and ingesting oils, you can also apply oils topically in places like your wrist, the nape of your neck, under your armpits and on the bottom of your feet. To do this, you’ll mix a carrier oil such as almond, coconut, grape seed, or evening primrose oil with your essential oils. You can also mix essential oils into your homemade face cream and moisturizers. To learn how to create DIY face cream using essential oils, click here.

One of my favorite blends to boost my mood when I’m cranky is frankincense, peppermint and wild orange. Breathing this blend in will make you feel like you’re walking under sunshine and rainbows.

It will also give you a natural boost of vitality. I also enjoy rubbing frankincense on my temples to boost my concentration on days I’m feeling sluggish.

Be sure that when purchasing oils, choose therapeutic-grade oils that are completely free of toxins.  I am a huge fan of Young Living oils, and highly recommend them!    I hope that this inspires you to integrate this life changing sense therapy into your life and daily routine. I’d love to hear what you learn and experience!  

Start your day the yogi way.

Start your day the yogi way.

A Certain Place

I’ve always been a headstrong woman.  Yup, even as a kid.  Can you just see it?  My hand on my hip, my Ogilvy home-permed red hair bouncing and my stork-like skinny legs dancing wildly to the music of David Bowie.  Quite the sight to behold, you can imagine. I’ve...

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Life is short and we are all blessed beyond measure.

Life is short and we are all blessed beyond measure.

These universal truths had eluded me for many years when I couldn’t see past the dark or get out of my own way. I’ve always struggled with depression and my relationship with alcohol as a soothing remedy began in my teens. Alcohol was abundant in family and social gatherings, and it was a rare occasion that didn’t call for a drink or four.

Despite getting a DUI after a concert when I was 20 I failed to realize the trajectory I was on was abnormal or detrimental.

Fast forward into the future: I am married, my graduate degree obtained, and I was practicing as an advanced practice nurse and had two beautiful children. I practiced yoga lots and loved being outdoors exploring.

But alcohol was full ingrained in my life. I was already requiring a drink or two to ease my nerves in social scenarios, enjoying a road soda en route, but now as a working professional and mother, the demands of it all hit me hard. My only “self-care” became alcohol.

I took to putting beer in my kombucha bottle as I walked the kids to the playground, and drank daily. There were two times of day- coffee time, and time for wine.

I knew I was harming myself, my body was angry with me. I was bloated and weighed 40 pounds more than I do now. As soon as the kids were tucked in bed, I isolated myself on the front porch, smoking and drinking, until my husband nagged me enough to come in an enjoy some television together.

But I was still going to work, teaching my yoga classes, running my household.
What could be wrong??

And then one day I got a long overdue smack upside my head. My oldest son, who was 3 at the time, asked me to have him his toy, which as he pointed out, was sitting right behind my wine glass. It was 11 am. I was drinking wine while hanging out with my kids. And he knew it.

I don’t know how I thought this was going to persist, but I somehow expected to have more time before I would have to hide from him.

Wait- what?!

I’m HIDING from my kids because I need to drink?? I was terrified and felt like I’d just been drenched with ice water. Later on during naptime I reached out to a fellow yogini who I knew was sober. I came clean with her, and she served up a whopping reality check.

“Don’t wait until you get pulled over with the kids and have DCF take them from you”.

It had happened to her.

Holy shit. In all honesty it was no small miracle that I hadn’t been caught before.
This is not how my life; OUR LIVES would be. I couldn’t be a mom, a health practitioner and yogini, and continue to endanger or trash others or myself. My therapist kept insisting that I needed to quit drinking. 

But, I needed to address the inner angst that led me to self-medicate.

I needed to learn how to take care of myself.

I went to AA, and had a sponsor who was incredible. She got me through those first few months of sobriety that were totally scary and so challenging. She was with me when I claimed publicly at a meeting that I was indeed unable to control myself when under the influence of alcohol. I accepted deep down in my heart of hearts that I could never, ever drink again.

But what about all that inner ick that kept that nasty mix tape replaying over and over in my brain?? What about the anxiety and deep sadness that kept me in that protective mental isolation?

Turns out that alcohol really is a depressant (human disclaimer: goes to show you that no matter HOW MUCH YOU READ something, unless you can speak from experience, it doesn’t mean shit) and once you stop flogging your body with that poison, your antidepressant can actually work for you.

I dove deeper into my studies of yoga, and then Ayurveda, and started to deeply know myself in ways that I had suspected, but that my training and common practice as an APRN (nurse practitioner) downplayed.

I studied myself and developed habits, daily practices, and dietary guidelines that are deeply supportive. In doing so, I have cultivated self-love, honor and a most delicious relationship with my maniac kids, and this BEAUTIFUL, UNIQUE, once in a lifetime LIFE.

My life’s purpose has been unveiled. All the struggle, self-hatred and self-medicating has led me to this Divine purpose: to inspire and support women in connecting with their own deeply beautiful and infinitely wise Authentic Joy.

chimpy signed Joy