Do we actually know what is in our our best interest let alone someone else’s?

This blog is inspired by my own life experience, and Harvard professor Michael Puerto who has written the book The Path and Heather Lanier Ted Talk -“good” or “bad” are incomplete stores we tell ourselves.


The phrase “getting what I want” or is it a broader interest of “doing what is best for all those I come in contact with.” I struggle with this question during this phase of my life. I am halfway through my life and as I reflect I had desired to have accomplished more and yet grateful for everything that I have created in my life. I struggle with this question in regards to advocating for my aging parents. Different things matter to each of us; we see things through a different lens of life (personally, history, values). This question weighs on my life as it takes a dramatic shift. As my parent’s age and I am looked upon to make decisions for them in the future. I mean I indeed live a different life than my family will I make the decisions about their life that they had envisioned for themselves.


This struggle comes from my western view of good and bad, as I learn through my yoga practice to stop fixating on solutions for whatever I deem as not reasonable and instead learn to take life as it comes. As I learn that things aren’t one or the other and get a higher perspective of a bigger picture I learn that it is about finding the middle ground between the opposites. As I practice this, I begin to notice more peace, joy, and love in my life. There is this ancient Taoist parable that is about 2,000 years old it is a story about a Farmer who lost his horse. One day his horse runs away. And his neighbor comes over and says, to commiserate, “I’m so sorry about your horse.” And the farmer says “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” The neighbor is confused because this is apparently terrible. The horse is the most valuable thing he owns. But the horse comes back the next day, and he brings with him 12 feral horses. The neighbor comes back over to celebrate, “Congratulations on your great fortune!” And the farmer replies again: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” And the next day the farmer’s son is taming one of the wild horses, and he’s thrown and breaks his leg. The neighbor comes back over, “I’m so sorry about your son.” The farmer repeats: “Who Knows What’s Good or Bad?” Sure enough, the next day the army comes through their village and is conscripting non-disabled young men to go and fight in the war, but the son is spared because of his broken leg. And this story can go on and on like that. Good. Bad. Who knows? The point is the western paradigm of labeling things as good or bad is a false dichotomy because it isn’t clear. If I look at my life events thus far I can see this in my own life.


Maybe you are familiar with the Yin Yang symbol in yoga. We see things as black, white, wrong, right, good, bad but they all flow and melt together on this symbol. It is not contradictory but complementary. Knowledge helps you to bring flowers to bloom again and again. In Chinese philosophy, they talk about four things. TAO “the path” no path leads in a certain direction; because we create the way as we go. MING “fate” things we can’t control happen all the time with the main question of how do we react to them? CHI “energy” when you smile, you offer someone else a little piece of happiness. Chinese philosophers say that refines our chi. YIN “head heart” train your head and heart to work together so you can think clearly and be in touch with your feelings at the same time. It is when we as humans show ourselves without reservation, our armor falls off, and it feels like glimpsing into each other’s souls. We gain wisdom through our experience – good, bad, storytelling and so on that speak to our human condition.


As I continue the second half of my life and I ponder the phrase “in our best interest” for myself and my loved ones, may I stay focused on the larger picture. May all beings be happy and free, and may all my thoughts words and deeds; contribute to the happiness and freedom of all living creatures.




The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Lifestyle change | Add Comments Here »

UGH Time to Go Workout!

Let me just be honest here a moment. I’m an Integrative Fitness Professional and I don’t love to work out.

I know my dirty little secret is out, because (if I’m being honest) there are days I would prefer to stay at home curled up in my p.j.’s all day sipping tea (or wine) and not at the studio.

I remember when I was new to making a lifestyle change and I would have this big argument in my head about going to work out. It was like New York City in there….okay, well, maybe I’m crazy but you know what I’m talking about.

You come up with all these reasons why you shouldn’t go and then as you get closer to the studio you hope that the instructor isn’t there and then even 5 minutes into the workout you are still negotiating to stay there and to be present in the lesson.

The conversation might go something like this: “Oh, I didn’t get to bed early enough last night. I’m so tired….hit the snooze. I think I’m coming down with something…. (starting to get dressed)… I know I’ll feel better when I get there….(starting the car)… I wonder if she’ll text me and say class is canceled. I could use the time at home to get ready for my week. Fat chance, she never cancels. I hate her….. (pulling up outside the studio)… Shit! She’s there. I have to go in…… (walking in the studio)… Why is she so chipper? I’m going to suck as usual in my lesson. I don’t know what she sees in me. Is this worth it? … (first 5 minutes into the lesson)… (The end of the lesson)…I feel great, I’m standing taller, I love her. Oh, I don’t need a medical overhaul " See you next time!”

As we practice the new behavior it becomes easier to embrace the lesson. It doesn’t mean the emotions we feel go away though.

See, when you are doing deep work in your body it brings up a lot of stuff that we have stuffed down into ourselves. Things we may have forgotten were still there. They come up into our consciousness because we have slowed down enough to breathe, feel and move. I guess you could say they have risen to the top surface of the water line, where, before, they were below the water line. Be curious to what has risen because once we are aware of it, we can start to heal it.

Movement is a gift, so not moving isn’t an option. Movement heals us. Two thirds of our medical expenses are because of the choices we make. Be empowered to except the gift of movement and allow it to heal you.

Please share your mind chatter pattern below and tell us your secret to taming it.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Lifestyle change | Add Comments Here »

What do you do when life falls apart?

“Human beings are not helpless. They have never been helpless. They have only been deflected or deceived or dispirited. So long as people have a vision of life as it ought to be…they can look at the world with…confidence.” –Norman Cousins

Well it happens to all of us one day in our world, our life starts to slip… it starts feeling like life, itself, is falling apart. If this is you at the time of reading this blog, please know you are not alone. We all have stories. It is one of the reasons we do a video party every year asking our clients to tell their story just once in front of the camera. Each story is unique it will appeal and inspire someone else and give them the courage to walk into the Mind Body Balance Community.

This blog is inspired by the book The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma. Yes, this book is not only part of my yoga training, it also came to me at a time that I needed it the most.

“We all like to stay on the little crutches that are familiar.” –Jules Zimmer

I love this quote because I (like the rest of us) love the crutches even though I know they aren’t stable. I love the familiar because the unfamiliar is, well, just unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and scary. I know that some of my clients don’t like the word journey, but our life really is a journey of evolution. By evolution, I mean growing into our spirit and coming into (and accepting) all that we are fully capable of being.

I know we all like to hang out in our comfort zone, but we really need to be stretched so that we don’t atrophy our body, mind and spirit. The universe whispers to us these growth patterns and if we don’t react it will start urging and insisting. This urging and insisting stage is when we feel life is falling apart. We start to take a survey of our life, looking for clues of how we got off track.
Let’s follow this example. We put on about 10lbs, our stress level seems high, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning and come midafternoon we just don’t have the zest we used to have. These are all whispers. One day we wake up and we have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and we wake up one day in the hospital as we’ve just suffered a small heart attack. These are all events of life falling apart, right! Daphne has a couple of steps she suggests that we think about:
• As far as you can tell, what is the crisis asking you to do differently?
• The name of your crisis is?
• The purpose of this crisis is to get me to?

For example, I will start to do a 10 minute meditation every afternoon at 3 p.m.. I will start to take a 10 minute walk after every meal that I eat all days of the week every week. I will hire a fitness coach so that I can learn how to exercise my heart by doing cardiovascular exercise.

“Everything I’ve ever let go of has claw marks on it.” –Michael Peake

Boy we can all relate to this one. Just think back to that first love you had and how hard you tried to make it work because you really, really, really thought they were the one. Can’t you look back now and laugh at yourself. I’ve learned over the years that when I feel like I’m trying really hard to get something to work I stop and ask “Why are you really doing this to yourself Kim?” A square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole. If you need to try this hard, it obviously isn’t the thing you thought it was.

Letting go is scary it takes courage to step out into the unknown. You leave your tears at the doorway when you step into this new future. It also means that you are taking responsibility to be the pilot of your life. I’m sure you can relate to one of these: getting a divorce, letting a friend go, quitting your job, selling your house, letting go of your self-image, etc.
Having to let go of how things were or our expectation of how the future is supposed to look like can send us into an identity crisis. We have to sit with ourselves and big emotions, forcing us to reevaluate ourselves and our choices.

That is heavy stuff!

Doing this heavy work sets us free. Can you surrender to find happiness? Can you surrender to find success? Daphne says “Don’t hang on. It’s hard to fly with bags of concrete tied to your feet. Let go. Let go. Let go.” I struggle with letting go and so my personal affirmation (that I say all the time) ends with the words “I can let go!”

“He knows not his own strength that has not met adversity.” –Ceasare Pavese

Ugh! This is what is meant when my mother tells me I’m a survivor after I’ve poured out all of my latest misery. I mean, can’t life just come with a nice, neat little handbook on having a perfect, successful, peaceful whatever….marriage, life, career, child you name it.

I know… life wouldn’t be life. Why? We are all unique, we all have these spectacular qualities. If we didn’t experience “life” we wouldn’t grow these character strengths. When our world is shifting beneath us… that continuous thread of our life, our power, our charm, our talent, our personal essence develops and we rise to the occasion at hand.
As a fitness coach one of the first things we do is find out what your top five character strengths are. This is because these strengths are your extraordinary talents that (no matter what circumstances you face) will carry you through to the other side.

Persistence gives us grace, even when we feel trapped in hell, a hell that most likely occurred by our choices. Integrate this circumstance and embrace it into your life, making it part of your fabric.

“Do what you can. Where you are. With what you have.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Take this opportunity to simplify your life, reduce your material items, your stuff, lighten your calendar by letting go of obligations, let go of other people’s expectations and live your life… the life you were meant to lead. Being overweight, obesity or sciatica is unexpressed emotion

Love! Love! Love!

As a globe, we are facing so many uncertainties, such a struggle. We all face crises. For those who say they do not have crises, embrace them more, for they don’t know how to face it on their own. We are a species that can become unconscious, not present in our daily moments, and forget how to be compassionate, loving, and helpful. Love starts with each of us. If we cannot love ourselves, then how can we let someone else in to love us too. It isn’t about being perfect. That is exhausting. It is about loving who we are at this moment; loving our flaws, loving our uniqueness practicing to be fully engaged in our life in the present moment.

We become so scared, even terrified, as the old body/ habits disappear, and as we go out into the dark, exploring being comfortable, the void, the land in-between, and if we can then accept the new body/ the rebirth, happiness, a new consciousness… a new way of being will slowly rise before us.

Please post below and let us know the following:
Having you had an experience in life that made you feel like life was falling apart? Did this experience change your view of life? Do you have a spiritual practice that helps you stay engaged in the present moment? (i.e., walking, watching the sunset, yoga, meditation, dancing, music, etc.)

If you choose to really live, you will need to accept a certain amount of grief as well. If we don’t avail ourselves of emotional support at difficult times, we run the risk of closing our hearts in order to escape sorrow. Who do you lean on during difficult times?

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Lifestyle change | Add Comments Here »

Creating Miracles – Here and Now

The light within me is creating miracles in my life here and now.

I believe it takes body, mind and spirit to tackle a healthy lifestyle.

By spirit I mean “The Listener.” Do you have the courage to go within and listen to the whispers of your body, your mind or what the universe is telling you? Your spirit source is the supply of infinite love, wisdom and energy in the universe. Your source may be any (or all) of the following: god, goddess, universal intelligence, great spirit, higher power, your true essence. Conceptualize it how you need and it can be found here and now within each of us in our inner beings or best self.

Here are three things to consider:
• The price of success is failure.
• Crying about failures won’t get you where you want to go.
• When you fail ask for help.

Can you surrender to find success? Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. We seem to self-sabotage. The universal order will give us what we are asking for in the form of opportunities. Are we listening for them or are we stuck in our negative detached rat race? Do we see the opportunities and are afraid to take them? You may work on building a new life skill and it will take practice. Sometimes we become defeated at our first bump in the road because we weren’t instantly perfect at it. I don’t know about you but I’m not perfect at a lot. As a matter of fact, I seem to learn best by failing. If failure isn’t an option than neither is success!

Have you ever been on a hike/ walk/ in a foreign city when you realize that you have no idea where you are and don’t posess the skills to get farther? Feelings like shock, fear and self-pity come flooding to the surface. We soon realize that these feelings (while momentarily necessary) aren’t going to get us further on our journey. So we look for a sympathetic ear and seek assistance with our problem at hand.

Asking for help in developing a personal lifestyle change action plan is okay. We can’t be perfect at everything. It is okay to say “Hey, I’m failing at this health and fitness thing” or to say “Hey, I had this fitness thing tackled but then my life took an unplanned direction and I derailed.” As long as we have awareness, are willing to develop awareness of our starting point or are willing to do the hard work of finding that internal motivator; then it is possible to put one foot in front of the other. You are not a lost cause. We all have a starting point, and from that point we can move forward to finding our best self. You are worth the effort!

“Every moment of your life is infinitely creative and the universe is endlessly bountiful. Just put forth a clear enough request, and everything your heart truly desires must come to you.” –Shakti Gawain

Please share your greatest health failures here and then share your biggest success.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Lifestyle change | Add Comments Here »

Determination is Everything

There are some people that just like to go through the motions of movement.

They can barely drag themselves in.

Then they proceed with a list of self-deprication… passively going through the movement… not being present… so that they can say “See? Poor me. I’ve tried and it just doesn’t work for me.”
I think they feel it gets them attention. In actuality, others just want them to be quiet and get to it.

Look, we all have our own story (our own baggage) that we try to neatly carry in our luggage. I’m not talking about those moments when our luggage springs open and those around us get peppered by it. I’m talking about the rat race of negativity surrounding every moment of your day, so much so that you can’t be present. We’ve all been there so I’m not judging. I am saying to put a time limit on it and then to dig deep into that will and desire. Look for some grit and make it happen

Basically, you are missing the work and the gifts that it provides.

Relish challenges because they lift you higher and make you better. Determination is everything to your success. If you have determination, if you do whatever it takes, you will succeed. Be determined today to improve your health.

“Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” – William Feather

If you are fully present in your practice and care about the lesson at hand (the meaning in all of it) you will learn how worthwhile movement is. You will appreciate the lessons learned throughout that practice.

Are you willing to ask “How Can I do better?” Post here how you can do better and/ or tips that you use to be present in your practice.

Being a perfect person, having a perfect relationship, or doing all things perfectly… there isn’t such a thing. Recognizing this increases our day-to-day happiness. What does your inner perfectionist look like? Why do you act the way you do? What are you afraid of?

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Lifestyle change | Add Comments Here »