Empower, Enlighten, Equilibrate

Posts tagged ‘chad’

Manifesting One’s Vision

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What does it take to visualize something in your mind and feel it so strongly that you know in your heart of hearts, that is what you are supposed to create, and then bring it into reality? Many times fear of being rejected, not feeling smart enough, not enough finances, or other excuses, prevent us from moving ahead and manifesting our visions and dreams. You know a vision is inspiring when you feel equal amounts of excitement and fear about “what if” this dream could become a reality. It takes courage to some extent, but anytime you choose to serve the greater good, I have always found leads to fruition.

Why is it so difficult for many, myself included, to leap off the precipice of indecision and venture into the unknown? The fear factor immobilizes and also provides us with the excuse to not take action. So what does it take one to overcome fear? Any person can face fear, but oftentimes when there is no escape route or option, leaping becomes the only solution. Why does it take so long to create a sense of urgency, and how can you manifest your visions without this added incentive?

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Besides fear preventing one from pursuing their dreams, complacency and contentment also stall one from achieving their goals. The reason is that, if life is calm and tranquil, why would we want to upset the apple cart and create unnecessary perceived stress into our lives? This is where many advocate the utilization of motivation to get the job done, however because motivation comes from an external source, the sustainability of the action is usually short lived. One must tune into inspiration and find a deeper internal reason to take action, helping one to overcome any obstacles or pains that come across the path to manifesting their visions.

Being truly aligned in your values and possessing clarity of intent, are the necessary catalysts in helping manifest your visions. Determination and dedication are by-products of these two elements. A clear mission and sense of purpose become the internal drivers providing the fuel and sustenance when one hits the proverbial wall, and encounters obstacles along the way. Being understanding that the journey towards manifesting a vision will have its ups and downs, and twist and turns, will help one navigate through times of hardship and frustration.

This was the case for creating my phone application, “Infinite Body Awareness.” Practice members often ask me questions such as, “What does pain in my right knee represent?” or “Why do I always throw out my back whenever I don’t pay attention to how I lift heavy objects?” Over the past sixteen years, I have worked on thousands of people, who have come to me in search of pain relief or to address different health ailments. I have learned that the secret to discovering what is causing one’s disharmony, lies in the quality of questions that one asks oneself, being brutally honest with the answers, and having a sincere desire to take ownership and responsibility of one’s healing and happiness.

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Besides prompting by practice members to create something to help them understand the underlying mental/emotional components of health ailments, body aches, or bizarre health crises, I too yearned to help people discover a way to take ownership of their bodies and lives. My mission to empower people to trust themselves, and make decisions that help them achieve ease and harmony was the internal driver for me to make this app a reality. It has taken 16 years of practice, going over people’s histories, and helping them to link body pains or ailments to life experiences and perceptions, which has given me the body of information in my app and second book, Infinite Body Awareness. My challenge in creating the app and second book was organizing and attempting to explain the mind-body correlations with health conditions. I wanted to create a resource for people to access as well as give “action steps”, for those who wanted to apply the mind-body connection in healing their maladies.

Over the course of two years, there were moments I was inspired to write and organize my thoughts; there were other moments of non-inspiration. I was frustrated at times after spending a day of writing and organizing, only to reread what I wrote and have only half a page of good content. Along the way, I learned to ask for, and be open to receive help and assistance. Without the assistance of Erin Ushijima Creative Assistance, my app and book would be far from complete. Understanding that we all have timing and rhythms, assisted me in keeping on course as well. However, through the odyssey of getting my app created and released, also had its twists and turns. What I had determined as the release date for my app to be in March and then in April, only to have it finally released in May were all learning lessons.

It taught me patience and also to reassess, then refine my vision, so it was absolutely clear. The old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is so true and valid. Each time an obstacle arose, it forced me to pause, make the necessary changes, and move forward once more. Always remind yourself of the bigger picture and by keeping that in mind, and knowing that your vision can serve the many, will be the lighthouse in the midst of the storm. Believing in yourself, your ability, and your vision to provide service to the many, will help you to manifest your visions.

Self-Acceptance – One of the Keys to Master the Mind-Body Connection

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Self-Acceptance – One of the Keys to Master the Mind-Body Connection

In this life letter, I will be discussing one of the three keys essential to establishing and sustaining an intimate mind-body connection and navigating through life seamlessly. If we are able to incorporate just this one key into practice, it will allow a sense of peace and “ease” in one’s body and life. Self-acceptance is this key. May seem too simple of a concept, but it is very difficult to achieve and maintain, due to our incessant need to compare ourselves to others. Living up to the Jones’s is a common reality that many are plagued with in society – living up to someone else’s lifestyle, financial status, or social acceptance. It’s all based on sacrificing one’s self to a perceived higher authority or the need to feel accepted.

How many times have you found yourself attempting to keep up with the latest fashion, or look in the mirror and wish that you had one less love handle or a single chin versus a double? It doesn’t help that society pushes us to value what’s trending or to have a certain appearance. What does it take for someone to gain self-acceptance? The first step towards self-acceptance is understanding that we have parts of ourselves that we admire and parts that we don’t care for. Instead of focusing on our “likeable” and redeemable qualities, we mull and fuss over the “undesirables” and the parts of ourselves that we want to be different. This judgment amplified by comments made by family members or loved ones oftentimes crafts and molds the way we behave and perceive life. Remember when we don’t accept something about ourselves, how can anyone else do the same and accept us for who we truly are?

Take the initiative to start accepting the parts of yourself that you don’t particularly care for such as your weight, over-bearing personality, need to be right, desire to be heard and seen. Although there are individuals who have no problem walking to the beat of their own drum, there are many others who want to be loved and accepted, and will bend to others’ wills and requests. Remind yourself that it takes time to alter one’s behavior and modify one’s perspective. Be gentler on yourself when you start berating yourself for returning to old patterns of thinking and behaving. Know that life is a process and beginning now to accept yourself will go a long way to enjoying a fulfilling, satisfying life.

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Understand that your inability to accept one or all body parts will slowly lead to physical, mental, and emotional blocks; eventually leading to “dis-ease” and many body dysfunctions amounting to discontent and suffering. That is why self-acceptance is vital to one trusting and establishing a strong mind-body connection. Until the mind and body work together in unison, either the mind will overpower the body until the body takes over in the form of extreme pain, health ailments, or sickness. The time is now to start honoring and accepting your uniqueness. Take baby steps to appreciate your body and how it is an expression of you! Get accustomed to looking in the mirror from time to time, and accept the face looking back at you. Begin to love and accept all of your features and see how your inner beauty is expressed in the outer form. By following these simple steps, it will eventually help you to accept yourself fully, and bring connection to your body and usher more harmony into your life.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

Connection

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Connecting with loved ones, family, friends, and associates are important in this day and age. Many research studies have shown the vital importance of a close-knit community in helping people live longer and more fulfilling lives. Cultivating relationships are essential in establishing this support system. The ability to communicate clearly with others is a valued commodity in order to establish trust and loyalty.

How do we know when we are over-extending ourselves to please another, or have we gotten so habituated that it appears normal for us to behave in this manner, and not even realize that we are over-extending ourselves? Having been a people-pleaser for most of my life, it has taken me a while, with a bit of trial and error, and listening to my body signals, to understand when I am not in alignment with what is true for me. Knowing when a “yes” means “yes” instead of meaning “no”, just to avoid conflict or an uncomfortable situation. What I have discovered is the importance of knowing one’s truth and boundaries, and that it is essential for one to maintain them. In the long run it will serve you and your loved ones as well. The end goal is to achieve true “authenticity” and know one’s self-worth.

Often times we get caught up in the shoulds, ought tos, musts, and all the obligatory “have tos.” Whether it is a family member, close friend, or significant other, why is it so difficult to be true and call a spade a spade? There are many individuals out there who do not toil with this situation, but I have come across numerous individuals who create health ailments due to their inability to speak and live their truth. Self-knowledge when applied appropriately and at the right moment leads to wisdom. Self-knowledge is established over time and through diligence and practice leads to self-acceptance and self-love.

Health ailments are expressions of the body informing one that they are out of balance in their life. Sometimes the body will express pains to get a person to stop and reassess what they are currently doing in their life that need to be addressed and shifted. At other times, when a person is making improvements and transforming their life they may also experience pains or health ailments as well. Right now, you may be thinking, how can this be you? Why would a positive shift in a person’s life create pain or a health ailment? The reason is “change”. It takes time for us to deal with, and assimilate, change in our lives. Over time we become habituated in how we function and deal with certain situations. The moment we begin to shift the way we deal with certain circumstances, or try to shift our mindset and approach, there is a disturbance in the “force.” The “force” is our natural conditioned response to life situations.

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So how do we find a way to keep true to ourselves and yet find a way to build solid interpersonal relationships? The key is in understanding that every relationship is a fifty-fifty contribution from both parties involved. Every interaction is equal by design, but many times people are attempting to establish their view point and be in the “right.”

Take for instance when someone is hurt by what their significant other or family member said to them, and want to maintain that they were hurt by the other person’s words. In their perception, being hurt by the other’s words is true for them, but by the same token, they are responsible for the way they are experiencing and feeling this event. It may be true that the other party could have expressed things differently, but if expressing their truth, and their intent was not to be mean or cruel, then who is right and who is wrong? The answer is that neither are right nor wrong, but both have contributed to the interaction and resulting situation.

One last point is the idea of compromise. How many of us have heard this term and how many of us truly understand its meaning and are able to truly compromise? What I have discovered is that although we attempt to compromise in our different interactions and relationships, many times compromise does not occur, and one party has to give in to the other party’s demands. Often times the one who holds the stronger boundary tends to get their way and the other one has to give in. This lends to silent resentments due to the fact that one gets their way and the other has to concede. Many times this type of interaction is like a seesaw and goes back and forth building up tension over time because each party wants to establish their position in the relationship. True compromise occurs when both parties are able to obtain what they desire.  It may not be completely what they want, but at least both are able to establish a “win-win” result. By knowing one’s boundaries and what one is willing to do and not do, this will help to establish a proper compromise that is harmonious and leads to a balanced relationship.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

The Fountain of Youth

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For centuries, eternal life and preserving one’s youth has been a lifelong search for those desiring to live forever. Call it a pipe dream or a fantasy, but does a fountain of youth really exist? A magical elixir, an advanced technological discovery, or bizarrely enough, becoming a vampire, have all at times been purported as ways to achieve eternal youth. Although scientists have done extensive research in finding out the secret in unlocking the body’s ability to stay young, a way to achieve this goal has still proven illusive, which prompts the question, “Are we supposed to live forever and always keep our youthful appearance?”

What drives us, as we get older, to not want to lose our youthful looks, where we find ourselves constantly looking for youth enhancing products? Why are grey hairs considered the bane of our youth, showing that we are getting older? Is it vanity or just the perspective that we no longer will be desirable to the opposite sex, because of our aging visage? Why not take a different perspective – that the trade off of aging is gaining experience and wisdom, which is truly invaluable. Learning to accept the aging process can go a long way in helping someone accept themselves and the life they lived.

However, besides self-acceptance, another way to address the aging process is to utilize stress instead of managing stress. What I have come to understand over the past fifteen years is that stress causes one to age faster than necessary. Have you ever seen a loved one, friend, co-worker, or boss age before your eyes after they have gone through some major health crisis or intense life experience? Stress is ever present in our lives, so how do we find a way to not let it get to us and age us? There are many ways to manage stress from meditating, quieting our minds, yoga, breathing exercises, maintaining a proper diet, possessing a positive mindset, and other stress managing/reducing strategies. So how do we utilize stress?

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The first way to learn how to utilize stress is to become aware of how certain life experiences or situations impact our physiology and body. Becoming conscious of how certain life stressors are expressed in one’s body, helps determine how stress is affecting us. Gaining this self-awareness is essential, giving us the ability to then choose how we want to address the stressors that are impacting us. At the moment we feel tension building in our neck or in our low back after experiencing something challenging, we can choose to breathe into that area and/or look for the hidden positive reasons for this particular situation.

This next step in seeing how a particular situation has a positive purpose in your life can be rather difficult when you first attempt to do this.  The reason being, when you perceive something to be challenging, oftentimes you get tunnel vision, not to mention, emotionally attached to, what has happened “to” you, versus it occurring “for” your personal growth and development. Someone may create a story about what has happened “to” them, which becomes amplified by their emotions. Stories are also created for positive and happy experiences, which we all tend to hold onto, because when life circumstances are less than desirable we reflect on those “good old memories.”

What I have discovered is that whenever we choose to hold onto our old stories, whether they be good memories or bad/challenging ones, they all take energy. This energy is expressed as tight musculature, stiffness in one’s joints, and less than optimal breathing. It takes a lot of energy to hold onto memories, which prevents one from staying in the present and it ages you. The goal is to balance mentally and emotionally, your experience and the stories created, in order to free up this energy so that it can be used to heal your bodies and bring more ease into your lives. When our bodies are in a balanced and relaxed state, it engenders deeper healing and slows down the aging process leading to our very own fountain of youth.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

To Be or Not to Be

To Be or Not To Be… That is the Question

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This famous line is from a soliloquy from William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Hamlet is contemplating choices of life and death due to his life circumstances. Throughout the play, Hamlet is tormented with his mind (mental chatter) and is plagued by too much thought and not taking action until the very end.

How many of you can relate to Hamlet in trying to figure out the best course of action to take in your life? How often do you find yourself with many thoughts running through your mind? Have you noticed that the more you try to think and rationalize what to do, you end up not taking any action at all? Or worse yet make a decision and choice that you later regret? This course of action is commonly known as “analysis paralysis” – thinking too much, getting stuck in our mind, and not knowing what to do.

The way to escape the labyrinth of your mind is to begin asking yourself a very simple question, “What do I want?” This is essential and necessary in order to make clear and decisive choices in how you want to live your life. This life is ours to live, so why not take action now and begin deciding how you want your life to be. If you are currently happy and satisfied with the way your life is, that is wonderful. If you feel deep down inside that you are not living the life you desire, then you can consider two ways to approach this feeling and discover what your truth is.

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The first choice is to take time and reflect on how your current life situation is serving you. There have been several times in my life where I resisted admitting to myself that my life was exactly the way I wanted it. The reason for this discontent was due to comparing my life with a fantasy where nothing was ever going to be challenging and was always nice and peachy. The fallacy in believing that life will always be happy and never sad or disappointing leads you down a road, where you will unfortunately always be searching for something more. We then begin to perceive that we are missing something, when in fact we truly are not. However, what we perceive is and becomes our manifested reality.

The second choice is to take a good, hard look at your life and current situation, and determine if you want to make a change. Whether a job, partner, certain close relationships, or a family obligation that you once enjoyed that is no longer fulfilling you; only you can decide if you need things to change. Change is a normal process of life and the more you can embrace this, acceptance isn’t far away. Sometimes you may have to examine how these past and current relationships have served you, or how you benefit from the way you behave and view life. The choice is yours to make and taking full responsibility for your actions and how you want things to be different is entirely up to you. We technically only have one life to live, so why not choose a life that you are happy and content with?

Just keep in mind that anytime we make a change, there is the universal law of cause and effect. For any action that we take, there will be an equal reaction or response to that action. Be prepared to experience some resistance to your life change, possible friction or misunderstandings that may arise with certain individuals, and even body discomforts due to your change in behavior and habits. Although change is inevitable, we all resist what we don’t know or are unfamiliar with. In those moments of resistance, take a few deep breaths in to bring you back into the present and remind yourself to stay on track with the choice you have made. Continue to trust your intuition and welcome harmony and ease back into your life.

The Essence of Be-ing

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The expression of our minds and thoughts will manifest in some form in our bodies. What I have discovered is how powerful our minds are, and yet the body is its true equal or possibly more powerful. The amazing organizing wisdom of our body and its ability to process so many different details and functions all instantaneously. For instance, we do not have to constantly think of making our heart beat and pump blood to the rest of our limbs and organs, nor do we have to consciously focus on our stomach and small/large intestines to break down and digest foods we have eaten to provide us with nutrients for our body’s sustenance. This is where our mental and emotional state can truly affect the overall functioning of our body.

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Have you ever experienced a physical pain that came from feeling emotional anguish or uncertainty? Have you ever experienced tightness or an uncomfortable gripping sensation at the pit of your stomach? Sometimes a perceived slight by a loved one can create a physical pain in some part of our body, or cause our minds to go into a frenzy, attempting to make sense of the situation.

One such charged emotional state that can affect our bodies is the act of blaming and shaming. When we blame, it creates a certain mindset and in blaming another for causing us anguish or pain, we in essence give our power away. The reason being is that we were co-creators in the interaction and shrugged off our responsibility in what took place. Work towards making it a habit to understand why you feel the need to blame another, or blame a situation, for why you felt a certain way, or the way your life is. Reflecting on how a challenging experience is just as much our responsibility as the other party’s, will help to shift one’s mindset leading to a more balanced mental and emotional state. Taking ownership and equal responsibility of the conflict, enables one to take control of the situation and see how our reactionary behavior patterns have influenced our lives and may have been the underlying reason why we have perpetuated certain experiences from past and present conflicts.

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Strive to see the conflict from different perspectives to gain a more global awareness and understanding. Oftentimes feeling helpless engenders one to inflict control on another, and assert oneself, all to avoid feeling helpless. However, this action will oftentimes lead to the building of resentment, that in the long term, erodes any trust or willingness to connect with the other person. It is through taking responsibility of one’s words and actions in our life experiences, which determines the growth and maturation of a solid relationship. So stop with the blaming, and take a look at how you participated in creating either a harmonious connection, or a highly charged and explosive situation, from which one has to back pedal in order to preserve this connection.

Allow your body and conscience to be your guide in helping you navigate through conflicts that arise, either by you being the instigator, or the recipient. By tuning into your body, connecting with your feelings, and paying attention to bodily symptoms that arise, will help to establish a greater confidence in how you handle and deal with current or future conflicts. Become pro-active and start observing how you behave when you are challenged by another person, or perceive to be hurt or shamed. Your friend, loved one, or peer will thank you, as well as you will thank yourself in the long run for taking responsibility and bringing balance to your life!

Old Patterns and Habits

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As one begins to develop a stronger mind-body connection, the next step, besides discovering how one feels and connects with their body, is to become aware of one’s behavior patterns.  Recently I have had to face a lot of my old patterns in how I operate and experience my life.  We all have our own perspectives of how we experience certain instances that will always be seen through our own unique filters.  No two people will ever see or experience a particular event the same.  Everyone’s experience is their own; due to influences of the past.  So how can we stay in the present moment and not fall back into old behavior patterns?

The first step is to become aware and recognize when you are falling back into old patterns of reacting and thoughts.  Sometimes we need others to help us to see when we become unsure and begin reacting to situations.  We all have created different strategies to deal with uncomfortable situations, people, and even ourselves.  I have discovered that one of my old patterns is to avoid uncomfortable situations.  I tend to be a people-pleaser, and will do whatever it takes to make sure everyone around me is happy in my perception.  I will even sacrifice my own happiness to insure that others, especially loved ones, are happy.  What I have come to discover is that you cannot please everyone, even if your intentions are good.  It’s the battle between what I feel is right, and wanting others to be happy in spite of my own happiness.

Before I’ve felt that if I chose my happiness over another, I was being selfish.  Listening to many personal histories over the years, I have discovered that I am not alone in feeling this way.  Many have shared that when they choose themselves first, they feel selfish and guilty about it.  I have come to the realization that until we choose ourselves first, then we can never fully love or give to another.  Loving and putting one’s “self” first, is necessary to truly love others.  Even in the Bible, Mark 12:31 states, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”  By simply loving yourself, you are able to love others.  So begin immediately and choose to love yourself first, which will then allow you to give, serve, and love others.

We develop certain habits or act a certain way, because it serves us.  Good habits such as brushing our teeth, helps us to prevent dental decay and cavities.  But why do we also develop such things as bad habits?  Such considered bad habits are procrastinating, stretching the truth, avoiding confrontations, making excuses, etc.  We all have, from time to time, done those things, but why are some people more prone to acting this way?  Until one can be brutally honest with themselves, and take a look at how a particular behavior is benefiting them, they will keep reenacting the same behavior until they choose that it no longer serves them in a positive way.  Once a person knows their truth, sees how they want to experience their life, and accepts themselves fully and unconditionally, there is an alchemical moment when they can transform a bad habit into a different form.

However, know that it takes time, patience, dedication, and determination to address and eventually change old patterns or habits.  Reason being is that all behaviors were created by you to deal with certain situations in your life.  Change takes time and doesn’t happen overnight.  Learn to be more gentle with yourself, because there are going to be moments when you will go back into your patterns and repeat behaviors.  When you do it’s because you didn’t stay consciously present and allowed yourself to enter autopilot mode, not making a conscious choice with your actions.  Take this moment to choose to be present and take tiny steps towards freeing yourself from those old, crusty habits.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

The Impacts of Food

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In this day and age, there is so much discussion about the foods we eat, making sure we have enough nutrition, or the ramifications of eating genetically modified organism (GMO) foods.  Nutrition is definitely important to ensure that we have the right amount of minerals, proteins, sugars, and fibers that our bodies can use.  We are told to have a balanced diet, get adequate amounts of sleep, get enough exercise, and maintain a positive mindset, which will help to ensure a healthy and wellness lifestyle.  If that was the case, why do we still find it difficult to be healthy?

I am not negating the importance of what we put into our bodies, but what also is vitally important is our mental and emotional state of being at the time we are preparing our nutritious foods or when we are eating.  Just think about this for a minute, what if you had healthy, organic, local grown produce but at the time you were preparing the food, you were angry with someone or some life circumstance?  Have you had comments from family members or friends criticizing how your food tastes bland or too salty, or even bitter perhaps?  Reflect and see what was going on at the time you were preparing the meal; were you uninspired or irritated?  Or has the opposite been true, parents or siblings even children expressing how amazing the dinner was and how good they felt after they ate?

Another case in point, have you ever been to your favorite restaurant and on one occasion felt the food was flat or didn’t have the usual “wow” factor?  Often we attribute the mishap to the chef having an “off” night, or that the substitute chef was responsible for the disappointing entree.  Could it possibly be a combination of the chef not being in a happy mood or possibly some form of unrest among the staff and servers as well?  I am asking these questions to spark awareness about how important our state of mind and emotions dictate our appetite and tastes.

This concept is known as the mind-body connection and has been researched for over forty years, linking the mind with physical expressions in the body.  Right now if I mention sucking on a lemon, how many of your lips started to pucker and mouth begin to water?  It’s truly amazing how a picture, a smell, and even a thought can create a physical response of the body. We can either choose to work with our minds and control our mental thoughts and emotions, or we can learn to connect with our bodies and gain another way to be more present in our lives.  The time is now to start connecting with your body if you haven’t done so.  The more in tune you are with your body and its subtle signals, the more you don’t have to be surprised by some health crisis or major health ailment to make you mindful of how the stressors in your life are impacting your physical body and overall well-being.

I want to share a few easy-to-do things that you can do to start connecting your mind with the body, utilizing food consumption as the method.  The next time you sit down for a meal, take this opportunity to observe how you eat.  Do you take little or big bites?  Do you wolf down your food, or do you allow yourself time to savor the flavor and enjoy the food in your mouth?  If you eat fast, do you find yourself rushing through life and many times feel overwhelmed by all the things that you need to get done?  If you are a slow eater, do you find that you tend to take time before coming to decisions, and taking action?  Neither way is right or wrong, but it is a simple expression of how you operate in the world.  Observing your eating habits will slowly illustrate how you experience and deal with life.

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Another example is to look at your cravings for comfort foods.  Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or worried about something, you tend to reach for chocolate, sweets, or salty chips?  How many times have you started to eat a bag of chips, telling yourself I will just eat a few chips and then 10 minutes later the whole bag is empty?  Then how often do you proceed to mentally flog yourself for eating all the chips and now have to exercise for two hours to offset what you put into your body?

My suggestion is to enjoy your comfort foods when you crave them.  Eventually, the more you give yourself permission to eat these foods, the more you will find that after you start eating your comfort food, you’ll stop sooner.  The only reason you crave comfort foods is an attempt to fill a void or an emotion that can be linked to anxiety, fear, sadness, or lack of love.  When you address this void or charged emotion, is when you will be free of the cravings for comfort foods.

Learning to listen to your body and establishing a clearer communication with your mind-body takes time.  This strategy does not happen over night, but if you stay mindful and work towards this goal, it will serve you and help you navigate through life’s experiences in the long run.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

Sleeping Peacefully

images There has been a lot of research done on the sleep problems that have been plaguing many people in this country.   Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to significantly affect one’s health, performance, safety, and financial well-being. A lack of sleep, especially the quality of sleep, can lead to many things such as increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. It also affects one’s immune system, leading to increased incidences of colds and illnesses. Obesity has been linked to a lack of sleep, and when one diets while physically tired, it’s been shown that your body is burning off muscle, not the fat you want to lose.

Lack of sleep alters hormone levels associated with appetite, and affects one’s mental and emotional health. Learning and memory consolidation research shows that a good night’s sleep after learning something will help you better retain the information. Research also showed that driving while exhausted is nearly as dangerous as driving drunk.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

Why is it so hard for us to get restful sleep? Have you noticed that as the years go by, even though you may get seven or eight hours of sleep, you still wake up exhausted? There are a variety of factors that affect our ability to get a restful night’s sleep, from light emitted from our electrical hand-held devices, to worries about work projects or deadlines. The underlying cause is stress.   Stress impacts us more than we realize and whenever there is anything unresolved mentally or emotionally, it prevents our parasympathetic nervous system from activating, which is responsible for cellular and body repair. Worries about a family member or disagreements among siblings, a parent, or a significant other impact us negatively as well.

Our mind, expectations of how life ought to be, and our need to make sure that everything will be alright creates a low grade disturbance that keeps us in sympathetic mode, which is the fight or flight response. Our bodies stay activated and remain on yellow alert even though our eyes are closed. Can you relate to times in your life, where it was hard to get relaxed and drift off to sleep, because your mind was so active? Have you ever found yourself unsettled and restless, tossing and turning in bed because of having to make a decision or deal with an uncomfortable issue? Many times we will either put all of our energies into work, or exercise excessively, to the point of exhaustion, in order for us to crash and go to sleep.

Being able to sleep peacefully starts from dealing with our daily stresses and addressing any past or current issues that bother us. Learn to acknowledge this stress and accept that by dealing with these stresses we can establish a new way to experience our lives. Make it a point to resolve any matter that creates a mental or emotional disturbance inside. The more harmonious our minds and feelings are, the more peace and ease we experience in our bodies. A settled mind will lead to a settled body.

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One simple exercise that can help prepare you for sleep is to place your hands on a part of your body that feels comfortable. Take eight to ten breaths into your hands staying focused on how your breath feels coming into your body and exiting your body.   Be really present in the moment and with your body, and slowly but surely you will find yourself starting to be more at ease and drifting off to sleep. The power of being present with your body and in the moment insures that your mind does not get trapped in the past or projecting into the future. Hence, by staying in the “Now”, present moment is one of the secrets that help you to achieve peaceful and restful sleep.

Weighing Issues

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What does being overweight represent? Or one’s inability to keep the perfect waistline or figure? For many it has become an obsession to stay in shape, but obesity is on the rise, and many things are to blame, from bad diets, fast foods, cravings, lack of self-control, and many other reasons. What are your reasons?

We can blame the frantic pace of life and not enough time to prepare a proper meal, but beyond all that, excess weight serves as a perfect strategy for a person to protect oneself. Biologically our bodies were designed to store any extra food as fat, in order for our bodies to have a reserve when we could not find food to eat. Now many of us live in a society where food is abundant and there is not a lack of food, but rather excess. So why do most diets fail, and even exercising all the time, not keep the weight off?

This is where each individual’s body has different reasons for holding onto excess weight. One reason is weight insulates us from any uncomfortable energies, emotions, or situations that we have to face on a day-to-day basis. It could be an uncomfortable work situation, a difficult relationship or family relations, and just being unhappy with our life’s circumstances. What I have seen over the past 15 years is that most people who tend to hold their weight are usually very sensitive and overly caring, many to their own detriment. Hence they use the weight as a way to protect and insulate themselves from all the emotional experiences they have encountered.

Many will cite that they lack self-control, give into the cravings, and eat their comfort foods. How many times have we been stressed and started to eat a bag of chips and in 10 minutes, voila, the bag is empty? Or the chips could be in the form of chocolates as most chocoholics can attest to. Many times we use comfort foods as a way to satisfy a part of ourselves that we feel is empty, but after we consume our comfort foods, why do we end up beating ourselves more than celebrating? I have discovered if you crave your comfort foods, to enjoy it as much as possible, and do your best to refrain from mentally berating yourself for having no control. By not judging your desire to eat comfort foods, you free yourself from guilt and can keep your mental state more balanced. One day, after starting to eat your comfort foods, you will find that is not what you really wanted and will stop.

Here’s where the example of Constance comes to mind. Constance discovered upon many years of trying different diets and cleanses, that the damn weight never stayed off and would exponentially compound over time. She viewed herself as being lazy, having an inferiority complex, and lacking self-discipline. However, as we worked together, Constance learned to trust herself and as she began to gain greater clarity of her life and what she truly “wanted,” one day she had an epiphany. It began when her husband was constantly calling her names and putting her down for being fat. Constance learned to value herself, and understood what her values were.  When her husband asked point blank, “How do you see yourself?” Constance felt something shift inside her being and stated, “I am the most beautiful woman and have the biggest heart of anyone I know.  I don’t deserve to get all this s#%t from you. I cannot change what you think of me and if you cannot see that, then you don’t know me, and I want to know why we are together.”
Constance shared further that self-acceptance is key when she looks in the mirror now. She has learned to know that inside, it’s still her. It’s up to her husband to see that. Constance had lost 35 pounds a long time ago, due to the urgings of her husband after the birth of their second child. Upon which other people, especially men began to notice her. Constance felt physically beautiful at the time and was flattered by all the extra attention. But the moment she did, her husband became extremely jealous and possessive. Since family and security was highest on Constance’s values, there was no way she would entertain any of the male suitors. However, once she began to put back on the weight, people stopped paying attention and her husband calmed down. Realizing this, Constance saw that keeping the weight wasn’t due to her being insecure, it was a strategy to keep her marriage, family, and security intact. Now Constance knows it is her choice to change this strategy if she wants and doesn’t need the weight to keep her husband or family intact.

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By reflecting and taking a look at how your extra weight is currently serving you, like Constance, you can discover the reason your body has created this strategy of keeping the extra curves. Begin by asking yourself,“ How do my love handles benefit me?” Is it the story I tell others, or more importantly, what do I get from being on the “heavy” side? Once you discover your answer, that’s the first step towards you shifting your weight from the plus to a more balanced state of being.