Applied Yoga Philosophy

In this paper you will learn how the classical text of Ramayana has influenced my life and my yoga practice. I will discuss the core principles and/or teachings of this text with regard to historical context and to the contemporary application of it today. I will also describe how the teachings in this text have influenced my role as a Yoga Therapist and how it is applicable to my clients.  Ramayana gives insights into how to live our various dharma’s and ethical standards at times of mental turmoil. It teaches us lessons of mortality and is a guide for righteous living. Ramayana inspires old and young and cuts across all barriers such as income levels, cultures and religions from around the world. The Ramayana story retold by William Buck is one that speaks to me. (Buck, 1976)

Ramayana was originally written in Sanskrit in the tradition of Vedas. The story is about the romance of Rama and the Court and the struggle of good over evil. It contains twenty-four thousand couplets (verses). These verses were written in thirty-two syllable meters called sloka (two line verses with sixteen syllables each). The meter is called anustup, chapters are called sargas and books are called kandas (of which there are seven). Each phrase of the story is connected to the next phase. This text dates back to 880,000 BCE (before Common Era or Christian Era). (Anonymous, “Ancient World History”)

The most important lesson that Ramayana teaches us is the relationship between Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. Ultimately we are striving for Moksha and if we follow our Dharma we will obtain Moksha however at times Artha and Kama muddy our ways as we lean toward excess or scarcity in these categories rather than defining what is enough for us to fulfill our Dharma. I love how Rod Stryker describes the four desires. He says: Dharma in simple terms is the drive to fulfill your potential, you might also think of it as your duty (daughter, sister, etc.); Artha refers to material resources that will help you fulfill your dharma; Kama is the desire for pleasures of all kinds and Moksha is the longing for liberation and true freedom. (Stryker, 2011, pp. 20-23)

Ramayana is relevant more than ever in our modern society. Ramayana can be used as a set of values or a code of conduct in how to love our individual life, our family life, our career and how to connect with others in society. The young can learn from their mentors/ elders about wisdom in practicing the lessons taught in Ramayana. Currently in our society I see an undertone of solitary accomplishments being a metric of success. Success equated to worthiness, yet we are born worthy and unity is success. Relationships are being based on economy and greed instead of love, honesty and loyalty. Think of your hand for a moment. What if each finger did its own thing? How much can you accomplish with one finger? When all five units work together what can you accomplish then? We have teens who don’t heed parental advice and parents that aren’t concerned with their teen’s future. We have students that don’t respect teachers and teachers who don’t impart wisdom to students. We are one.  We breathe the same air, drink the same water and put our pants on the same way. Unity is diversity. We must all do our own work to understand ourselves better to be at peace for the world to be at peace.  One of my character strengths is the love of learning. I remind myself every day to take my acquired book knowledge and put it into practical knowledge to live by. “Ramayana is more than just a story. It assimilates principles of science and psychology, within its broader fold of spirituality and wisdom and this affords an all-inclusive solution.” –Dr. Ramesh Kumar Gupta

 How do we preserve our values? We are busy working hard to achieve individual success through greed and disregard for family, spouses, friendships, and fortunes. We have lost sight of what is truly important; unity, connection, loyalty, family, higher power, purpose and love. “Spirituality destroys narrow mindedness and confers unity, cooperation and universal peace.” ~Sai Darshan Pressures to perform deteriorate our life.  Without connection and spirituality we end up losing ourselves and our happiness. (Gupta)

Rama said in the second battle episode of the siege of Lanka: Vibhishanal! Self-confidence is my chariot and my courage and patience are its wheels. Truth and character is my flag while my strength, knowledge and self-control and goodwill are the four horses of my chariot. Forgiveness and uniform behavior are the ropes used to tie these horses. Faith in God is my charioteer while contentment and charity is my sword and axe respectively. My principles are my arrows. Devotion to the Brahmana’s and to my preceptor is my impenetrable amour. What other means of victory can one crave for? (Bhanot, 1992, p. 12)

My life and work is filled with love and through the life lessons of Ramayana. I can inspire myself and others to heal through movement. The fourteen lessons that Ramayana teaches us and I apply in my profession as a Yoga Therapist are:

If I come back to my soul’s dharma code I can relinquish my excess of wants in materialism and sense pleasures. I have dharmas or duties to carry out through other roles such as being a wife, daughter, friend, aunt, Yoga Therapist etc. Working through my four desires and developing clarity on my soul’s dharma code has helped me stay grounded as a Yoga Therapist while guiding my clients in finding clarity for themselves.

 Ramayana’s lesson of being married to one partner in our lifetime is built on long term meaningful relationships that are loyal and respectful of both parties. I like this quote by Kabbalah “We all come to this world as half a soul, we stumble about in this existence, trying other halves, preparing for the day when we will meet our kindred spirit. That’s when life really begins, that’s when it picks up speed and starts to flow and we can cast off. But we can’t meet that kindred spirit unless we discover our mission in life first.” It reminds me to do my work so others can do their work as well. Relationships are not perfect. They require growth, forgiveness and compassion especially after the affinity fades and the relationship changes into something that isn’t as new.  Relationships are a living moving piece of art that is always seeking balance and harmony. By having boundaries for myself and as a Yoga Therapist it allows me to have compassion and empathy. Happiness is obtained from the inside not from the outside.

If we take our time and speak our truth we are keeping our promises and honoring ourselves and others. As a Yoga Therapist I use my tools from Marshal Rosenberg (Psychologist and creator of nonviolent communication) and speak in a style that is non-violent and honor the profession and me. This maybe at times saying “I don’t know, I’m struggling with that myself, I feel this professional would be more helpful, I can’t fix but I can guide you to finding a more comfortable space if you are willing to do the work.”

It is my duty as a pioneer in this field to be respectful of the client in front of me, to my peers and those coming behind me. Reminding myself of my own detachment challenges without disappointment. Reminding myself to stay in a professional role rather than a friendship role with my clients so that they we can detach as a celebration of how far they have come without disappointment.

Not to listen to pointless and useless stories of my life especially stories that are vicious. It reminds me that my personality or way of healing my not be right for everyone and it is okay to excuse myself from a relationship with a client if I feel it isn’t providing healing for the client and a strain on my energy level. There are many needing guidance.

Not to accept valuable goods or presents from anyone, as this does the service of Yoga Therapy an injustice. A fair wage for the session provided is enough. I always tell my clients the greatest gift you can give me is to first heal yourself and then share your story, tell others about this service and then invite them to start their work.

Sometimes things come to you in disguise and to try and not get swayed by suspect attractions. Follow my gut and trust my personal intuition. As a Yoga Therapist I can always ask curious questions to understand things better and to see if what I’m feeling is client’s truth.

To always speak mindfully and to think before I speak sometimes my findings as a Yoga Therapist should be just that; my findings. My words could cause the client harm. They don’t need to know all of my assessment findings right from the start as they are usually coming to me wounded from a trauma of some sort. I want to create a trust, a safe place emotionally and physically- then I guide them through layers of self-discovering and healing as they are ready and ask for the knowledge and specifics.

All people have value and deserve to be treated fairly. No one deserves to be part of a violent act whether that is verbal or physical or be the subject of cruelty or bullying behavior. As a Yoga therapist I always lay out the expectations of what I agree to bring to each session and what I ask my client to bring to each session. It sets a boundary and a tone of what to expect during our times together.

My life and work is filled with love that moves people to heal; I am light in a dark world. I believe love exceeds all barriers. As a Yoga Therapist (I ask first) I always give my clients a hug on the way out. Hugs are healing and so many times I am the only loving touch they received all day. Vitamin L (love) is what will heal the world.

As a Yoga Therapist I am only their guide on this great adventure of theirs. They have to do all the work. I’m humbled and honored that they chose me to guide them.

We are wired for connection, belonging and friendships. As a Yoga Therapist I create times where there is a sense of community at the studio. A place where like-minded individuals can go, belong and friendships can be made. The connections here have a major impact on our local community.

Those that have the biggest bark, the toughest exterior, the souls that hurt others are the ones that need help the most. I pray daily for strength to be given to me, for the wisdom to ask the right question that will help them heal. On the inside they want love, connection and belonging more than anyone.

At times I have to jump into the middle of a fire to set a higher standard. As a Yoga Therapist I hold myself to high standards, others say they are impossible standards. As a teacher I guide my clients to lean into their fears to find calm waters and to set a standard for themselves and role model it to others.

 

References

Ancient World History. (2012, July 22). Retrieved October 19, 2015.

 

Bhanot, T. (Ed.). (1992). Ramayana: Part 9: Battle episode 2. (p. 12). Nai Sarak, Delhi: Dreamland Publications.

 

Buck, W. (1976). Ramayana: King Rama’s way (35th ed.). Berkeley, California: University of California Press.

 

Gupta, R. (2011, April 4). Ramayan for our daily lives – The Times of India. Retrieved October 19, 2015.

 

Stryker, R. (2011). For the purpose of the soul. In The four desires: Creating a life of purpose, happiness, prosperity, and freedom (pp. 20-23). New York: Delacorte Press.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Yoga | Add Comments Here »


Yogic Principles in Action

In this blog you will learn the Yamas and Niyamas in Sanskrit and English. How each of these principles is applicable in daily life? What role Yamas and Niyamas play in the Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics for professional Yoga therapists? How will the Yamas and Niyamas influence my personal approach to practicing yoga therapy?

The Yamas and Niyamas are foundational to all yogic thought. They are guidelines, ethical disciplines or pieces of wisdom that you can think of as the yoga commandments. This set of guidelines helps us recognize moments of self-deception such as observing what sort of communication style we are using with others. It teaches us tools in which to distinguish between cause and effect or Karma.  Yamas are restraints, disciplines, attitudes and behaviors (like our attitude we have toward things and people “outside us”- our external world). Niyamas are our inner observances and how we relate to ourselves – our self-care.

According to Doug Keller in The Heart of the Yogi there were traditionally ten each of  the Yamas and Niyamas, however for our discussion today we will focus on the main five in each category of the Yamas and Niyamas that are widely used today. The Yamas are the guidelines to help us interact with our external world, our social environments, our relationships and our code of ethics. The Yamas are Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (non-excess) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). The Niyamas are our code of personal conduct; it is about self-regulation and maintaining a positive environment in which to grow. The Niyamas are Saucha (purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (self-discipline), Svadhyaya (self-study) and Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender).

Ahimsa (Sutra 2:35) at its root means finding the courage to maintain compassion towards yourself and others in all situations. When we don’t meet our body “where it is” on the mat that day we are being violent toward our body.  we are no longer listening to the messages that it is trying to send us. Our body speaks our mind; violence and awareness do not coexist. How we treat ourselves is how we treat those around us.  if we are being a task master and critical with ourselves and then feel as though we are being light hearted and forgiving with others we are fooling ourselves. We can’t be critical of ourselves and forgiving with others. If we can’t be emotionally safe and loving with ourselves then others can never feel safe around us. The pop-culture allegory would be like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon.  There is always a “cloud of dust” around him.  People can sense this cloud of harm in actions or thoughts. You can’t expect to purchase orange paint at the store and expect it will be yellow at home when you put it on the walls. I believe Ahimsa helps us build bridges with people by being compassionate, loving and patient.  It nourishes our students.  However, this doesn’t mean we should be a door mat. The most compassionate people have boundaries for themselves. Gandhi is just one teacher whose whole life was based on this one principle.

Satya (Sutra 2:36) Patanjali describes it as truthfulness (being honest with ourselves and others). In our practice when we buy a pose by selling Ahimsa and Satya it is too expensive. We do not need to be cafeteria practioners taking only what we are good at and leaving the rest behind or compromising our truth. Our body is ever changing.  We should love it and be honest about where it is that day without apology or excuses about parts of the body that are healing or unflattering. By letting go of our competition with ourselves and others you can let go of your masks by being authentically you (bold, brave, courageous, loving, honest and compassionate). When we are vulnerable it is a language that connects all of us and allows us to be empathic. We can’t just organize our stuff in a closet and close the door forgetting about it because at some point the door bursts out. We are imperfect beings.  Be careful to not confuse truth with ‘brutal honesty’ or compassion with ‘being right’. Love is a higher vibration than truth and should be your guide in directing you on how to use your truth. By not letting the ego get in the way of the heart we can recognize when we are in need of being right rather than the more important issue of the feeling of others. Sharing our knowledge with love, compassion and authenticity feels better than causing harm to others making them feel wrong or “less than.”

Asteya (Sutra 2:37) while it consists of “non-stealing” it is really rooting out the subconscious beliefs of  “lack” and “scarcity” that cause greed and hoarding in various forms.  When we approach our practice from scarcity and hold back thinking that we won’t have enough energy to do the entire practice we are not operating at our full capacity and trusting that we have the required energy to do our practice. If you attain what you want through honest means you will have no fear. Taking time to use objects in the right way, managing our time properly and cultivating a sense of completeness are ways that we can practice Asteya. How often do you steal from yourself? We steal our time of rest and reflection because we see it as a status symbol or self-worth validation. As we allow demands of others and their perceptions to mold our images it steals our own uniqueness. When was the last time you were on an electronic device instead of being present with the person in front of you?

Brahmacharya (Sutra 2:38) is the moderation of sensual pleasures (mental, vocal or physical). What is the perfect limit for us and why do we move into excess? Learning to tame the mind to distinguish the difference between what the body needs to fulfill our health or dharma and what the mind is making up that we need. We are complex beings and many times we fulfill the surface level needs rather than pausing and taking a moment to view what our soul needs for holistic approach to fulfillment. It is neither obsessing nor repressing that satisfies our desires.

Aprigraha (Sutra 2:39) is non-clinging or simplicity. When we take away our stuff (our possessions) and we face ourselves it isn’t always comfortable, but it is a place of inspiration that makes room for growth to come.  When students look at someone else in class and want to be them and they judge their life against their peer, it is creating comparison and jealousy. Rather than the student looking inward and working on their own body in their own capacity, loving and accepting where they are in that movement everyone has a starting point in which they leave denial and start to grow awareness and understanding.  It is okay to have possessions in life as long as we stay connected to our internal self (our soul).  It is when we use the possessions to feed a spiritual starvation that we get off of our path… remaining connected to our inner desire or our soul’s dharma code and allowing life to flow and trust our journey, determining what is enough for us in all dharma roles that we play (such as child, sibling, partner, teammate at work, parent etc. Remember to check in to see how many rocks we are carrying around with us and learning to let go to detach and respect the circle of life.

Shaucha (Sutra 2:40-41) is purity and at the root concerned with keeping different energies distinct and keeping the sanctity of the energy around us. The sage Manu says “Water purifies the body; truthfulness the mind; true knowledge the intellect and the soul is purified by knowledge and austerity.” By keeping an orderly environment, ensuring that our body is cleaned and free of strong body odors… by coming into our practice and lining up with our peers rather than scattered about the room… this allows our energy to flow and keeps the room clean.

Santosha (Sutra 2:42) being content with what we have already attained and wanting what you already have, accepting what is and making the best out of everything. We may not be ready yet for what we are attempting to do and that doesn’t mean we are bad or “less than,” instead accepting we did our best and tomorrow we will show up and do the same. Approach each asana with an effort of ease. This is a practice of gratitude and grace by approaching each obstacle with love over fear. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the adage “accept that which we cannot change, change what we can and have the wisdom to know the differences.” Every day I ask for the wisdom to know which question to ask, the ability to be quiet enough to hear the answer, the courage to accept the answer and the boldness to take action without fear.

                        Tapas (Sutra 2:43) is the wiliness to do what is necessary to reach a goal with discipline. I think of this in a personal practice where wise effort can be discerned as the difference between someone who simply fantasizes and someone who is on a path toward their dreams. It takes effort for anything to bear fruit in our physical world yet we need to balance Tapas with Santosha (effort with contentment) If we try to force things we end up doing harm. If we are forcing an asana we are creating gripping muscles and joints versus meeting our body where we need it to be with effort and ease and allowing circulation and health to thrive. Sometimes we have to underwhelm ourselves so that we will build more desire to reach our goal. I am reminded of the story of the Phoenix… of burning off some layers and emerging as something new so that we can fully live our soul’s dharma… our life’s mission.

            Svadhyaya (Sutra 2:44) is the study of one’s self through careful observation. Taking pause during our over stimulated life and finding our breath, relaxing, and feeling, watching and allowing ourselves to just “be.” At these times we can journal and meditate and almost in an organic manner we can start to see our inner wisdom source guide us to our truth. Being aware of our spirit of exploration within and acknowledging the scared power it holds.

Ishvara-Pranidhana (Sutra 2:45) is something bigger than ourselves. It is about showing up in our life, doing our best and leaving the rest up to the higher power that we believe in and allowing our life to create a legacy that is for a higher purpose than ourselves.  Always asking which option will help the most people keeping self-actualizing as the goal in life and adjusting all of our actions to serve this goal in some way. When we allow growth to happen it brings awareness to our being which can then fully express our authenticity of “self” and celebrate this energy.

References

Adele, D. (2009). The Yamas & Niyamas Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice (pp. 21-175). Duluth, Minnesota: On-Word Bound Books LLC.

 

Keller, D. (2004). The Yama and Niyamas. In The Heart of the Yogi: The Philosophical World of Hatha Yoga (pp. 141-146). South Riding, Virginia: Do Yoga Productions.

 

Satachidananda, S. (2005). Sadhana Pada Portion on Practice. In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (11th ed., pp. 131-151). Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in selfie | Add Comments Here »


Become a Better Lover Part 3: Telling Your Love Story

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” – Dr. Seuss

We’ve spent this last quarter thinking/speaking about self-love and I think Dr. Kristen Neff’s quiz on self-compassion and her research is great. She says: “With self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.” How are you caring for yourself these days? For me I know that I need to schedule in my self-care or it gets scheduled out by the demands associated with leading a full life. When this happens I’m not operating as my best self. Take her quiz with this link below and see how you are doing: http://self-compassion.org/test-how-self-compassionate-you-are/ I am high on self-compassion 3.91 with my highest score being in common humanity, mindfulness and self-kindness.

“Love leaves legacy. How you treated other people, not your wealth or accomplishments, is the most enduring impact you can leave on earth.” – Rick Warren

One way our Mind Body Balance Team Members share the Mind Body Balance Transformation of Love is through our invite cards that we offer our community members. We give you these cards with free services on them so that you can have a tool to share your health journey with others. The Mind Body Balance Team Members work hard to team up and put on our best presentations. We soften our hearts even more for potential new clients and roll out our best welcome mat. Why, because Crazy Good Love encompasses the softer side of love. It is all the warm and fuzzy things about love that make us feel good. This is what drives people to do generous and wondrous things for others. You should act lovingly toward all people, even the people who drive us a little nuts! Who are you going to tell your love of your health story to? Please be uncensored and share the highs and lows because being real, truthful, authentic and vulnerable is what inspires others and it is a language they can understand.

“Storms draw something out of us that calm seas don’t.” – Bill Hybels

Trauma’s happen to all of us and we put up walls where we don’t trust others or ourselves. Research reveals that parents act as genetic engineers for their children in the months before conception. In the final stages of egg and sperm maturation in a process called genomic imprinting the activity of specific groups of genes that will shape the character of the child yet to be conceived this research was done by Reik and Walter in 2001. What they are suggesting is that what is going on in the lives of parents during this process of genomic imprinting has a profound influence on the mind and body of their child. Kind of scary since most people aren’t prepared to have a baby, so it makes a difference if you were conceived in love, haste or hate and whether the mother wants to be pregnant, or whether the parents want to have a baby and live in a calm, stable environment free of addictions and supported by family and friends. In fact there has been so much research in the last decade that they are revaluating the mental and emotional abilities of unborn children. Mothers and fathers are in the conception of pregnancy business together the father has a profound affect as does the mother. Dr. Bruce Lipton uses this example: If the father leaves and the mother starts questioning her own ability to survive; his leaving profoundly changes the interaction between the mother and the unborn baby thus affecting the developing child. So conscious parenting is important for fostering healthy, intelligent, productive and joy-filled children from both parents. We are personally responsible for everything in our lives. We cannot be guilty or blamed for being a poor parent unless we already were aware of this information and disregarded it. But once you are aware it is your responsibility to begin to apply it and reprogram your behavior. If we physically hold children and love children and don’t repress sexuality our culture would be more peaceful. A child needs love, touching and physical contact, however when put in stressful environments and deprived of love, touch, etc. the child suffers from somatosensory affective disorders (an impairment of the somatosensory system which is your sensory systems) and is a precursor to violent episodes. Everything always leads back to love, vulnerability, connection, empathy, joy and peace. Simply knowing this knowledge and then waiting on the couch for it to take hold doesn’t work. It is the equivalent of accepting the latest miracle pharmaceutical pill thinking that it will fix everything. No one is fixed until you make an effort to grow and change from your new knowledge.

“A lifetime without love is of no account, love is the water of life, drink it down with heart and soul” Rumi

When storms come our first question is usually “How can I be in so much loss and trial – haven’t I suffered enough already?” Everyone has different definitions of spirituality so we probably have to agree to disagree on this one. In my belief system I think of all religion as one God. I know that there is something higher than myself that governs the universe. How we go about worshiping that God is different for everyone and I respect everyone’s views. In my belief system I think of spirituality as listening… becoming quiet enough with our “self” to find that quietest voice inside to guide us through our life. There is so much anger and hatred in this world and my belief system is that there is a lack of respect, values, education and love. I could go off on a soap box on how I think we are even eating these emotions of fear, anger, etc. from our food supply chain but I’ll save that for another blog. We need connection, vulnerability and love to be healthy. So many people fail at their health and fitness programs because they don’t do the thinking part to exercise, they don’t heal because they don’t get to the emotional body and find the emotional root cause to the disease. We must start talking about this and making it safe to talk about it because it is literally killing our health care system and our cultures.

“When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story; we can write a brave new ending.” Brene Brown

Things are placed on our path for a reason. They are part of us. Find the positive take away. There are steps to loss and recovery:
• Shock/denial/numbness
• Fear/anger/depression
• Understanding/acceptance/moving on

Each stage of recovery is necessary, natural, and part of the healing process. When we are going through a loss we need grace, peace and to find the ability “to ask” for what we need from those around us because feeling loss is:
• Feeling helpless, fearful, empty, despairing, pessimistic, irritable, angry, guilty restless
• Experiencing a loss of concentration, hope, motivation, energy
• Changes in appetite, sleep patterns or sexual drive
• A tendency to be more fatigued, error-prone and slower in speech and movement

My favorite books so far in times of storms are How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield and 10 Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma. You have to dig deep and find something that will carry you when you don’t know how to move forward you have to be able to access your higher self, god, universe, Mother Nature.

We are asking you to share your Mind Body Balance self-love story with us this month! Whether it is in a short video or written know that in sharing your story it will have a ripple effect and change many lives. You may be doing Integrative Sustainable Movement for the first time – welcome- it is why your first visit is on us – What will it take to help you start your personal practice today? Hopefully by the Mind Body Balance Community Sharing the experience- Telling you their self-love story – and by the Mind Body Balance Team Members showing how to reach your goals you will become committed to your self-love and to your personal health in a supportive community that is a safe place physically and emotionally.
Over the years we have had incredible stories by those who had the boldness to share. The stories are unique but common. OUT OF SELF-LOVE HEALTH THRIVES! It takes hours, days, months, years to set an “intention” and be sincere about it. Forgive yourself for doing life your way without respect to your self-nurturing needs. Give up perfection. Lean into forgiveness, love and empathy. Take a step of courage and ASK! We aren’t going to give you a list of your negatives, email us through info@mindbodybalance.com and we’ll send you important next steps on how to get started on your Mind Body Balance Transformation today. STRENGTHEN YOUR FAITH IN YOU AND TRUST YOUR JOURNEY!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in How to become a better lover! | Add Comments Here »


Become a better Lover Part 1

Becoming a better lover starts with your own self-love. As an integrative fitness professional I always look at the body first and then mind, however I do understand that the body, mind and spirit are all connected and each influences the others equally. My life’s work is solely focused on the body to mind connection. I’m sure we can all relate to phrases such as:

• Fall in love
• My heart flutters
• My heart beats loudly with joy
• Heartless or Cold-Hearted
• Big Hearted
• Heartfelt
• Take things to heart
• Talk heart to heart
• From the bottom of your heart
• Half-hearted
• You have touched my heart
• You have touched the deepest part of my being

The list could go on and on but you get my point. We always picture a heart in red and red roses are taken differently than peach roses when received. If we think about it, LOVE rarely flows smoothly in our lives. We have all felt abuse, childhood conflicts, hurt or loss and sometimes these traumas causes us to lock our heart away. When we do this it serves as a protection and limits our feelings around love for ourselves and others. Often we lock away our heart we start to feel things like:

• Mistrust
• Uncaring
• Shallow
• Hateful
• Prejudice
• Fearful

We become closed of our own need for love. We are all wired for love and need love to survive. Boys are often taught not to express or feel with their emotions so that they appear brave, powerful and strong. This generally leads to adulthood with the inability to express gentleness, caring or nurturing qualities. This type of ethos instills fear, pulling back, putting up walls or defenses on the external and internally all they really want is love but don’t have the tools.

“Love is letting go of fear.” – Gerald Jampolsky

All of your passion, adoration, devotion, fear, anger, hurt, desire, yearning, gratitude and joy are expressed from your heart and through your mouth. They are expressed in words, intonation, kissing and through our body like our shoulders, arms and hands like hugs, hand holding, caring or pushing away and through sexuality or by caring and sharing. Love is a choice whether it is self-love or loving others. What is stopping you for embracing self-love and the love that is right in front of you? I challenge you for the next 90 days to write in a journal, or on social media what is in your heart. Every day start with the sentence “In my heart I feel…” (Fill in whatever comes up)! Deb Shapiro says the heart is our emotional home and here lays all of our struggles, anguishes, hurts, likes, dislikes, longings, yearnings and joy. In the case of heart transplants there have been many stories where they say the likes and dislikes of the donor were transplanted to the recipient.

It is a life lesson that we all must learn. In order to listen… to respect… to trust our feelings, we must first learn to open our heart. Alexander Lowen describes the heart as a king and the mind as the king’s advisors. The advisors go out into the world and then report to the king their findings. The king listens but makes his own decisions based on his intuition and deeper understanding of the bigger picture. So here is the skinny when you listen to your heart and not your mind you are making the right decision. Even though the heart may appear illogical or irrational, intuitively you know that it is a more real and meaningful decision. Our heart is the center of our being the center of our love. Native Americans have said about the white man: “It is strange the white man thinks with his head instead of his heart.” Our rhythm of our heart is affected by our deepest feeling such as increased undue stress, emotional trauma, shock, fear, passion, elation or joy and then once we become relaxed the heart returns to its natural normal rhythm.

Dr. Gary Chapman has a quiz on his website along with other books, dvd’s etc. on the Love Languages www.5lovelanguages.com My five love languages are in order of importance to me: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Physical Touch and Receiving Gifts. My husband’s five love languages are in order of importance to him: Acts of Service, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, and Receiving Gifts. Learning what your love languages are helps you to determine how you like to be loved and it allows you to learn to be open and to understand that not everyone loves like you so you can learn to respect and meet the needs of those around you. Don’t just throw darts without a bull’s-eye. Really, what good are a house, cars, beach, trips, and life without someone to share it with? I didn’t learn my love languages until I was in my 40’s and intuitively I knew that quality time was top for me and gifts were low. I’d much rather have memories than a material object any day.

“We are looking for love and reaching out for love, May the love that we are radiate into the world. We all have a common thread of shared love for ourselves.” – Kim Searl

I love rose quartz for the heart. Eros brought it to the earth in hopes that its beautiful color would arouse love and desire among people. It symbolizes trust and brotherly love. It is also so very helpful in affairs of the heart. It strengthens friendships, combats love sickness and opens the mind to beautiful things. I’m also reminded of candle quartz. Its energy radiates love and fosters harmony in groups; releases fear, worry and emotional dependence and heals the heart! We are all balls of light-energy filled with love. By placing a hand on the heart and a hand on your belly button in just 10 seconds with the added breath as the bridge linking these two centers of the body together you have connected to your heart anchor – I AM LOVE! (Aham Prema)

Anahata – hold your two hands together and this is the heart… it brings two things together and integrates them… it allows each to offer support to be present in its wholeness and to expand into something greater. Our love is a base within the heart. Our heart chakra is a means of going within and feeling all that we are. We learn about ourselves. We accept who we are, recognizing the positive and negatives and relaxing within them and being them. When we see another (both in a state of joy or a state of pain) we can look to that person and realize that we’ve been through the same thing. We feel compassion and if we share that compassion with them they feel our love. Because they gain the love that we are, they become stronger and they offer back love, understanding and acceptance back to us. Air is the element of our heart (which is our breath). As you reach the top of your inhale, allow it to be an offering to the exhale and vs versa. We find our whole breath within the integration of the “in” and “out” breath. The heart is an integrator it brings together two things that may seem separate and supports them on an energetic level. Anahata lies in the middle of the chakras being the energetic integrator of our earthly self and our spiritual self. The heart is reflected and balanced, when one overcomes the other there is no balance… it becomes weighted in one direction, heavy, overwhelmed. As both earthly and divine we become whole, we expand and we become everything.

“The ugliest thing that I have ever seen is a selfish human being without compassion and empathy.” Kim Searl

Does having sex make your life better or more complicated? Adam and Eve, Romance, Passion, etc. Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards Sex is the dessert that has no calories and is the antidote to stress. We are all here because of sex and the number one reason why people aren’t having sex is that they are tired!

Study yourself – determine what is enough, what you need, and then communicate it to those that love and support you. Our needs change with the seasons of life. What have you been dreaming about? It is your responsibility to determine what is enough and then to communicate it to those around you. But it starts with you. Don’t sweat the small stuff – slip of a tongue. Tone – be careful with what you say. Your words have an impact. Disregarding another person’s faults preserves love! Be mindful of your self-talk, it’s a conversation with the universe. Privately and publicly praise those you love. It feels good to hear this from someone you love. Words satisfy the soul as food satisfies the stomach – the right words on a person’s lips bring satisfaction – SO TRUE. Don’t give up even if the person doesn’t say how much it means to them – learn to speak up to say how much it means to you when someone praises you. A core value should be to never criticize someone you love publicly, including yourself. If you are in a relationship that is at a crossroads of restoration or destruction… I like the Jason Mraz song “I Won’t Give Up.” because my favorite four letter word is LOVE! Love is a choice! Start with you and then move to us. Starting with you? I love the two books by Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements and The Mastery of Love. I also like the book Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin (this is a good book to do with a loved one). Relationships (at best) are complicated and complex and yet many of us go it without any guidance. Not to say we should follow a plan labeled step 1, 2, 3, etc…… what works for one isn’t what will work for all. However, going it blind (as many of us do) and expecting for it to all fall into place isn’t necessarily correct either. What if we were well-informed, guided and learned tools to support our relationship with ourselves and others? We all want to feel loved, feel cherished, cared for, and protected. As human beings we are wired for this and human beings have been being recorded in this pursuit since the beginning of time. We are social animals. Yet, with the new age of technology we aren’t putting our romantic relationships or committed friendships first. We aren’t using them as advocates or allies against hostile forces. We get off on the accomplishment list and forget to do the joy and ingredient list of creating a home for one another that is a safe place to relax and feel accepted, wanted, protected and cared for. Remember if you aren’t taking care of you and your own self-care than you aren’t really taking care of others. Hire a counselor and start doing your own work and seek counselors to do couples work.

“Even After All this time the sun never says to the Earth “You owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.”– Hafiz

Humans are sensitive beings and we are also emotional because we perceive everything with the emotional body. The emotional body is the medium of emotions, feelings, passions and desires which is more subtle than the energy body. Using the emotional body, mankind is able to experience intense emotions including both lower and higher emotions ranging from anger, fear, stress, irritation to love, compassion and happiness. In other words, emotional body is specialized in feeling. Humans use fear to domesticate humans and fear increases with each experience of injustice. Some injustices open wounds in our emotional body and still yet some of these wounds continue to fill with emotional poison. We begin to transfer this emotional poison throughout our lives and generations to come. According to Miguel Ruiz we create the Judge in our mind that is judging everything we do, everything we don’t do, everything we feel and everything we don’t feel. In time, you begin to realize that and understand why relationships don’t work with our parents, children, friends, partners… even us. Why doesn’t a relationship work with us? …because we are wounded and filled with emotional poison. The dream that we thought relationships were doesn’t exist. Perfection doesn’t exist. We reject ourselves, we judge ourselves and we find ourselves guilty. We punish ourselves. Look around in the world. There is so much punishment and suffering going on and everyone is judging. What would happen if we each started to value and love ourselves? What would happen if today you accepted yourself as you are and that you are enough? What would happen if we gave up on abuse, blame, shame, guilt, and instead embraced love, peace, joy, compassion, accountability and gratitude?

Looking For Love
A strange passion is moving in my head. My heart has become a bird which searches in the sky. Every part of me goes in different directions. Is it really so that the one I love is everywhere? – Rumi

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in How to become a better lover! | Add Comments Here »


Transform and Upgrade Your Life Part 3:

Last year at the Global Leadership Conference Bill Hybels introduced me the concept of “seasons” in our life in his latest book Simplified. I have to say I was really relieved to hear that “seasons” come and go. My 40’s have been a difficult season thus far. I’ve been doing a lot of closet cleaning and developing inner-self. I’ve been working on embracing my “whole-imperfect-self” and allowing myself to be vulnerable. I’ve been learning to accept support from others and to truly embrace my life’s purpose; exhausting work, really. It’s scary-as-shit and rewarding all the same. This month I bring you an opportunity to look at your relationships with others and yourself.

With four close family members ill, I’ve been dealing with a lot of my own fears about life. The circle of my life is half over and I find myself asking “Am I living life that fulfills my dreams? Is my day filled full of ingredients that bring me joy and meaning to fulfill those dreams? Or am I living a life based on someone else’s ideas of how I should perform, perfect and please?” I’m scared. Can I stand on my own two feet without my parents? I feel abandoned just thinking about it. I knew that they wouldn’t be in my life forever and that I’ve had them in my life longer than most already, however I still really appreciate them in my life and look to them for support in trying times. Have I made peace with my parents over past hurts, do they know how much I love and appreciate the life that they sacrificed to give me? My kindred spirit of my sibling… how he gets me without even saying anything. Even though I’m the oldest and there is 6.5 years between us we have this deep connection. When I’m in my full-on shame sequence (mean and nasty rather than feeling hurt, acknowledging I’m hurt and choosing to not hurt back) he lets me know that I don’t have to be the perfect, older, uptight sister. I can be the imperfect me. He reminds me that I have “worth” even with my imperfections (which he happily reminds me of my weirdness). He always ends the conversation no matter how heated it gets with “I love you. PMA (positive mental attitude) kid”. What will I do without this support in my life? During this time I’m asking myself how I balance being a business owner, mentor, wife, daughter, care giver, friend, sister, aunt, daughter in-law, granddaughter, etc.
This entire circle of life stuff makes me want to hold onto my husband more, to cherish the times we have together and to live our life now. He has been working out of town more than ever during the last four years and all I long for is to go back to the life that we had when we lived together every day. When I think of how things were when they were going really well… it had all the ingredients: sleeping next to each other, working out together, family walks, healthy food, cooking together, time off together, weekends away, going to church together, being present with each other, a sense of control over our money, supporting our family together, working but working at a pace that didn’t consume us, time to putter, time for entertaining friends, time to hang out reading and chatting with each other, daily hugs, intimacy, working on home improvement projects together, dreaming, being there for each other, etc. To me, this is joy! Somehow, there became an accomplishment list that had nothing to do with making our life fuller. We get along better when we spend more time together. We both have a tendency to go into “protections” of over-busying ourselves, going silent and building up walls when we are apart. When we are together we talk a lot, we love a lot, and we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, which creates more connection between the two of us. Every day I have a practice of gratitude to remind myself of three things that I’m grateful for. Brene Brown has opened me up to an idea to take this further. She calls it the T.G.I.F.

• Something I’m trusting in-“T,”
• What I’m grateful for -“G,”
• What inspires me -“I” and
• How am I practicing my Faith -“F.”
I think I’d add an “H” to this. What did I do for my health today?-“H.”
TGIF+H

After 18 wonderful years of connection and togetherness my husband very coldly, in an unkind and non-healing way told me on January 27, 2015 that he wanted a divorce. That he felt after working away for these past few years that he felt disconnected from me, animosity toward me, pushed out and undervalued. He so coldly said “I’m Done! I have a couple of things to take care of here in MI and see to completion. Once these things are done, I’m out.” In doing this, it gives him back his sense of control. He realizes this is a selfish decision and that leaving allows him to not try his hardest. Even though we talked on the phone three times a day, spent weekends together etc. it still wasn’t “doing life” together. I couldn’t see what he was struggling with. That he was trapped in his head in this dark, cold place… not letting the light shine in. Brene Brown “the dark does not destroy the light; it define it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.” He hadn’t recovered from losing his business, the loss of our home, the loss of the life that we had dreamt of and created. We had worked hard together to build a life. One with a six-month emergency fund, complete insurance coverage, 2.5 cars, the big house with a 2 car garage, a rental property, savings… you know, all those things that your parents dream of for you. Now, for the first time, we were living paycheck to paycheck, worried about what was coming next. He seems stuck there.

I am devastated by this declaration that he has made. I literally went into physical shock that lasted days. I cried. I felt lost, shocked and scared. I didn’t see this coming; neither did our friends and family. His decision affects not only my life but those of our families too. After 18 years we are part of each other’s families’ fabric; maybe even more-so because Nick and I have always prioritized each other’s families’ right from the start. Family, Us, Faith and then everything else came after that.

With the work that I do I thought, “Wow. Kim, how did you mess this up? How did you not see this coming? How did you not recognize that his procrastination is his itty-bitty-shitty-committee of “I am unworthy?” Procrastination is one way to keep us from getting where we say we want to go. He has been away berating himself, making himself out to be a bad person. He was surprised that I wasn’t happy about his request for divorce. That instead, I was devastated. He thought I would actually thank him. I had moved past this traumatic storm in our life but he had not. I thought we had grown stronger and moved on together but he was still stuck right there as if the day had just happened. Happiness is tied to circumstance and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude. Joy and happiness come and go in our life. It isn’t a constant. In other words, no one ever feels joy and happiness all of the time. To me marriage is two imperfect people that never give up on each other. To me our marriage is a joyful marriage; one filled full of moments gracefully strung together by moments that we created… moments of trust, moments of gratitude, moments of inspiration, moments of faith, moments of ordinary life and moments of darkness. But with the other’s support we allowed light to bring joy again. Yes, sometimes we missed opportunities of joy because we were too busy chasing an extraordinary moment but it is in the simple moments that I find our love.

So, by now you’re thinking, “Wow. This is a bit heavy (and a bit of a vent session) because I don’t see how it affects my health and movement practice.” Well, I believe that courage has a ripple effect. That when we are vulnerable and choose courage it is a language that others can understand, it makes the world a little braver and kinder. How would you describe your relationships with yourself, your loved ones or the friendships in your life? Take a moment and describe the people you are closest with and don’t use the default: “Things are great!”
We have all experienced seasons in our life where we feel alone or separated from others. A quick search on Facebook or YouTube and all you see are everyone’s highlight reel and not the muck that they walked through to get that highlight reel. It sets us up for expectations that aren’t reality. If we aren’t careful, our subtle beliefs overtime will allow us to drift away from the people that matter most to us. This same subtle belief system happens with our health too. You don’t enter into relationships with others with a plan to hurt them. Your parents didn’t raise you with a plan that you would require talk-therapy for the rest of your life to overcome your childhood traumas. You didn’t become an adult and think “I’m going to start treating my body poorly so that I will live an unhealthy life later.” but we do, don’t we?

Relational pain doesn’t come from our enemies, it comes from those that we are closest to, including ourselves. So I started asking myself this question. “How does a love that starts so good between Nick and I end so distant and far away?” How does our love for our body start out so full of life and end so detached and ungrateful for its wonders?

I love Brene Brown (I also met her at the Global Leadership Summit when she spoke on her book Dare Greatly – great book you should read it. Mine is dog eared with wine stains on it. lol). She states that “we are hardwired biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually to love, to be loved and to belong.” We have a deep sense to belong to and be loved and without it we are a mess. To take this one step further through self-acceptance… the heart of compassion is acceptance. Hopefully I’m not alone here when I say it is easier for me to accept and forgive others than it is for me to accept and forgive myself. Several years back in my yoga journey it was required reading for me to study Deb Adele’s book Yama and Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practices. I carried this book around in my handbag for over a year. It was eye opening. I wasn’t as loving, compassionate, forgiving and kind as I thought I was because I can only give to others what I first can give to myself. Darn! I had more work to do than I thought I did. As uncomfortable as it is to work on myself because of the sense of vulnerability that it brings; to me it is worth the journey because when I lean into my fear and relax into my fear, I come out lighter and free!

One of the lessons that I’ve learned in being a business owner is that I had to set up boundaries around my personal practice time. For example, my evening shift of clients know that the door may be locked when they arrive because I’m doing my meditation and that if they quietly wait in the hallway I will greet them five minutes before their scheduled time. My morning shift of clients know that they may hear voices in the studio but the door will be locked because I’m taking a skype lesson from my mentor or it could be quiet while I give myself a lesson. I had to teach those around me that I needed my movement practice to be respected as much as theirs. I had boundaries in my relationships prior to the relationship that I had with my husband and I even had boundaries for my husband when we were dating but somewhere after we got married I let those boundaries go. Without boundaries for others and holding those around us accountable for their behavior we can’t be compassionate. Instead we fall into blame and anger. For me at least, I think the reason I don’t set boundaries and accountability standards in my marriage and in my family is that I’m lazy, I’m tired, I’m busy, I don’t want to have to follow through because it seems like one more task in my over-scheduled life. Now, I’m thinking it would have been easier to set boundaries and accountability because it would have been more compassionate and respectful. This is one of my imperfections that I’ve learned to honor in my delay. I have a delay in learning things, in seeing the “Ah-Ha” most of the time because I want to see what I want to see. When I fail to set boundaries and hold those around me accountable I feel used and mistreated. If I’m really living a mindful life that encompasses being accepting and compassionate then I need to set boundaries and accountability standards in all areas of my life.

Another book that was required reading in my yoga journey was by Daniel Goleman Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships he talks about how we are hardwired for connection and that our relationships shape our biology as well as our experiences. My husband and I are natural introverts and learned extroverts. We have default settings to want to do things alone. When we do things together we laugh, we have more joy in life and we feel connection, belonging and love. Brene Brown’s research indicates that we need to let go of the myth of self-sufficiency because it is the greatest barrier to connection. As a society we almost boast about not needing anyone’s help, going it alone is more success, we are reluctant to reach out and accept a helping hand and we are scared to offer a helping hand to others. I like this quote from Brene Brown in her book The Gifts of Imperfections: “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.” We need to make conscious choices on how we do life, how we practice courage, compassion and connection because it is affecting our health, our cells, and our body does speak our mind. We cannot experience the fullness of life in isolation from others or our higher power. Don’t wait to be the “perfect you” before you start to work on your health. It is okay to ask for a helping hand from an integrative fitness professional.

You don’t have to be perfect. It is okay to say, “This isn’t a strong area of my life. Can you help me?” Here are some of my favorite MBB secrets…
• We work with the “de-conditioned” primarily. We work side by side with them to encourage them to “conditioned” in a way that suits their personality and pace with a few gentle nudges and maybe one or two introspective questions to help them find their way.
• We see fewer “conditioned” people than you’d expect looking for more accountability and direction in their personal workout. MBB loves being challenged by this type of athlete hoping to find the “next level” through mind, body, and inner spiritual training.
• Being “thin” does not make you “conditioned;” it makes you thin. Many (most?) thin people have limited strength and need exercise to build the necessary muscle to move their tiny frames around and hold their bones correctly in place. Bones are held in place by muscle. The entire torso is held in place by the body’s core. The spinal column is mainly just bony protection for the spinal cord; it’s muscles that keep your back “in.”
• Having an elevated BMI does not necessarily mean you’re “deconditioned,” it means you have an elevated BMI.

Many people of larger mass have great strength and general physical health but need exercise to maintain their level of fitness or increase their level of flexibility. Healthy and generally fit people also use MBB for our other services such as “Intuitive Eating” or “You Can Fix You” personal energy/ lifestyle modification.
Love (whether you feel this or not) is a direct link to your belief in your worthiness of you. When my husband said he was not worthy of my love my heart sank and a deep sadness went through my entire being. When I hear clients say that they are not worthy of self-nurturing through sustainable movement practices I feel deep empathy. I like the definitions for love and belonging that Brene Brown has developed so I will share them here now:

Love: We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection. Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, and connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them—we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and repaired.

Belonging: Belonging is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us. Because this yearning is so primal, we often try to acquire it by fitting in and by seeking approval, which are not only hollow substitutes for belonging, but often barriers to it. Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

Loving and accepting others for their imperfections is much easier on us than turning the light of loving-kindness on ourselves. I believe love is a choice. It takes work and it is a choice that we make for ourselves. The phrase “Falling in Love” seems superficial to me. It is a choice for me to love all of me… my authentic, imperfect self. It is a choice for me to love others. When our self-talk doesn’t honor us it takes a toll on our self-love on our self-compassion, it shows up in our relationships with others, and it shows up in our health. Our body shows us what is happening in our emotional body. To feel shame is human, it is a painful feeling and it says that we are flawed and unworthy of love and belonging. We need to start getting to the root causes of unworthiness, shame, blame and our fears because they aren’t serving our best self. I feel that if we have the courage to be vulnerable, to slow down, to be able to sit in the “uncomfortable of ourselves” and to bravely reach out to others with a helping hand our world will become a world of love and peace rather than a world of hate and anger. We need to stop pretending that everything is okay and that we need to change to be accepted. We need to love ourselves as we are so that others can love us. We are a society living on scarcity, hungry for joy and starving from a lack of gratitude. We need to decide what is enough for us; choose gratitude and sufficiency.

My husband asked me to read his Chakras and he is blocked in his 2nd, 3rd and 5th chakra’s with is 4th out of shape. Basically, the reading was saying that he is living in shame, guilt, believing and telling lies. His 2nd chakra is lacking perspective and closed to the bigger picture of divine. His 3rd chakra is attempting to create health or balance by processing or clearing negative energy. His 4th chakra is oriented toward unconscious programming, emotions and right brain creativity but lacking action and follow-through. His 5th chakra is damaged from previous overuse, exhaustion, fatigue, blocks, strongholds unhealthy attachments between beliefs and feelings and probably repressed memories or feelings. The rest of his chakras are healthy and balanced.

Faith is a mystery, were we find courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty. My chakras are struggling in 3rd and 6th with my 2nd being mis-shaped. I struggle with shame and intuition/ illusions. My 2nd chakra is attempting to create health or balance by processing/ clearing negative energy. My 3rd chakra is closed. Function is shut down and I am working on looking for a block that is causing the present issue. My 6th chakra is under-functioning and must be cleared and open. The rest of my chakras are healthy and balanced. I have to learn to say “I’m feeling vulnerable right now. I’m scared, hurt and that’s okay. I’m grateful for this opportunity to …..” Intuition is not a way of knowing it’s our ability to hold space for uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge, insight, instinct, experience, faith and reason.

Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is about who we are. Guilt is about our behaviors. Guilt is just as powerful as shame but guilt usually has positive effects while shame is destructive. Shame corrodes our belief system that we can change and do better. When we are full of shame (or the fear of shame) we are more likely to engage in disruptive behaviors and to attack or shame others. When we parent by shaming children we teach children that they are inherently unworthy of love. Fear plays a powerful role in our lives and underlines every relational conflict we have. Fear is our undercurrent that drives our Cortisol levels up. It pre-loads our body with adrenaline and sends us into flight/flight mode. Cortisol levels that are unbalanced lead to weight gain, fatigue, sex drive is down; crave unhealthy foods, hard time sleeping, etc. Cortisol also shuts down a hormone called oxytocin which is known as our bonding chemical or relational hormone or the cuddle hormone. When fear is present in our life and cortisol is in charge because we are over stressed we lose our ability to connect with others because oxytocin isn’t being made. If we aren’t connecting with others we aren’t feeling a sense of belonging and love and so our life goes into the crapper because our needs aren’t being met. We break, we fall apart, we numb, we hurt others, we get sick, we overeat, etc.

According to Rick Warren fear causes three things to happen:

1. Distance! When fear is present in our life it causes us to create distance. We distance ourselves from people because we are afraid of being vulnerable so we keep everybody away. We hold those that love us at arm’s length. It is hard for you to belong or get involved because you feel shame and unworthiness should others realize your life isn’t perfect. Where perfectionism exists shame is always lurking. Perfectionism is not self-improvement so a belief system of “I am what I accomplish and how I accomplish it.” is dangerous. A healthy system is “How I can improve?”

2. Defensive! Fear of failure or people disapproving of who we are sets us into a defensive mode. “What will others think?” So we start pointing at everyone else’s problems and faults in some twisted way to validate our own life. We fall into judgment, blame and shaming which creates more distance and not the connection that we are craving. Perfectionism is an unattainable goal and is a self-destructive and addictive believe system.

3. Demanding! We get demanding when we are afraid. Our shoulders come up, our heart sinks back because we are trying to gain control. When we are demanding we lose control and don’t get what we want. We place demands, controls and expectations on the people around us in an effort to feel in control. Perfectionism hampers success.

When we get Distant, Defensive and Demanding we ruin our relationships. The paradox of fear is that we are afraid of something but we can’t let go of our fear because we are convinced that if we do we are going to lose something that is valuable to us. The reality is fear will destroy our relationships. Nick admits that he is making his decision for divorce based on fear, afraid and unworthiness. I admit that I’m addicted to him, to us and that I need to work on shame myself. We base our lack of choosing health and self-care on those same things fear, shame, blame and unworthiness. The only fear we are born with is the fear of falling. Fear will destroy our relationships with others and ourselves. Fear under the surface has destroyed relationships with the people closest to you. I’ve recently discovered Dr. Kristin Neff research on self-compassion she says that self-compassion has three elements self-kindness, common humanity and mindfulness. She even has a quiz you can take to see how your are doing with self-compassion on her website www.self-compassion.org
Ben Snyder says love is a choice:

• L = Leaning into the relationship, initiate and engage. DO NOT DISTANCE – REAL LOVE LEANS IN! Lean into your support of loved ones. Do not run away. Don’t let time, work, busy, internet, take you away – Let’s connect – Let’s lean in! When we serve/ volunteer we organically get to connect with others. When we lean in we transform our relationships and we are given an opportunity to create new friendships and self-compassion.

• O = Offer to help. Meet a real need for someone today. Give of yourself to help someone else without anything in return. Offer Deep Value by living a life filled full of love. Be uncomfortable with sacrifice to help others. Give others your undivided attention, listen, be truthful, joyful, offer financial support if you can. Give first and offer a helping hand to transform your relationships. Remember you must be able to receive in order to give.

• V= Value! YOU ARE WORTHY! YOU ARE LOVEABLE! YOU ARE VALUABLE! Demonstrate with words, deeds and actions. When was the last time you told the people in your life how valuable they are to you? Busted! Busy? Assumed? I can tell you this: I knew that I took my wonderful life and relationship with my husband for granted I assumed it would always be there and that he knew how I felt. I was working on a book titled “What I love About You Is” when he made his announcement of wanting a divorce. I plan to finish it and still gift it to him. The hardest part of finishing this book is that there is so much to say. Find something specific to say in how they have impacted your life. There are no excuses because in this digital age you have a lot of options to make this happen: facebook, texting, twitter, email, letters, drive, skype so many options. Lean in and value your relationships!

• E= Endure! Mistakes are made. We are imperfect. Forgive, stay connected, be patient. We all sin, we can be rebellious, apathetic, we make foolish choices, we push people away when we really want them to hug us. Continue to endure. LOVE WINS! YOU ARE ENOUGH! Love never gives up, love never loses faith and it is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance. We don’t fall in love, we choose love! Do you choose to love yourself? Do you choose to love your body? Do you choose to love those closest to you? When things get hard people quit because they don’t love themselves anymore… because it doesn’t feel the same in their relationships. Sometimes we need a breakdown to have a huge breakthrough and on the other side is a deeper level of relationship. Some of you are thinking of giving up, distancing yourself again. Please hear the message in this blog. It is okay to endure. Have the courage to be brave, to be vulnerable and to accept a helping hand. Get clear, lean in and create something deeper in your relationship with others and yourself.

It is scary but lean in. See what the response is. Lean in. Have the courage to lean in – in the back of your mind behind the silent walls and distance – reconnecting is what we are looking for – family – even if at the time it isn’t the choice that has been made – make a choice to try something different so you feel something different – choose to go, to listen, no expectations, participate in counseling, in a support group. Choose to Lean in, Engage, Date again. Your out can be your opportunity to re-engage, reform your marriage, your life, your spirituality, your health. Fill in the broken pieces. Allow this breakdown to be a foundation to rebuild stronger. You will be grateful for it. We only live once. Lean in, Offer Value, Endure the season! Don’t let the moment pass – Stay Connected.

When we have spirituality, we have connection when we lack spirituality the entire “how to’s” and best laid plans won’t fulfill us. Spirituality is listening to the quietest voice within us. Brene Brown defines spirituality as “recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.” Love when we are connected with ourselves and our higher power/ spirituality we stop laying the expectations of our life and our relationships on others because our heart has satisfaction and love from something greater than ourselves. When we are disconnected here with our spirituality we set everybody up in our life to fail us – because we can’t receive the love we need.

The reason you have a hard time in relationships is because:
• You have forgotten that you are worthy
• You are having a hard time believing
• You’ve distanced yourself

It is time to expel fear, to connect, to feel your value. Lean in and receive! If you are done living by yourself, if you’ve been alone for far too long, if you want love in your life then ask for courage to lean in, extended a helping hand so that you may receive a helping hand, find strength in courage, connection and compassion.
Hope is not an emotion, it is a way of thinking. Hope is a thought process. Hope happens in our life when we set realistic obtainable goals, we figure out how to achieve those goals, are flexible in developing alternative routes when needed and we believe in ourselves. Martin Luther King Jr. gives a good definition of power “Power is the ability to effect change.” Being hopeful is tough, “This is uncomfortable but I can do it if I have hope and that means setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them and believing in my abilities.” Hope is learned. Love is a choice. Health is a choice.

You have a choice to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Mind Body Balance is an emotionally and physically safe place to explore living mindfully. Stop and check in with yourself right now. What are you thinking? Is it true? If it is a thought of unworthiness, anger, hurt or fear how do you think it will come back to you? I believe love heals all hurts! I hope for you, my husband and myself that we can recognize our patterns, our default messages, to change our attitudes toward the past, to stop punishing ourselves and others with our words, deeds and actions, to forgive others for not being the way we wanted them to be because forgiveness sets us free. Be brave enough to tell those that you love and care about around you that you are going to work on the health of your mind, body and spirit, that you will do your work of improving your self-acceptance and self-compassion and invite them to theirs so that your relationships will transform because in upgrading you… it ripples out to those you love and beyond. Love Wins!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Transform and Upgrade YOU! | Add Comments Here »


Attitude of Gratitude

“The sun is always shining. Even though clouds may come along and obscure the sun for a while, the sun is always shining. The sun never stops shining. And even though the earth turns, and the sun appears to go down, it really never stops shinning.” – Louise Hay

Does anyone besides me struggle with this? I’m sure we all can recall a time when as a child we ran home to our parents just devastated because something didn’t go as planned. I can quickly recall one year I didn’t make it on the cheerleading team. I’d been on it 7th and 8th grade and then didn’t make it on the team in 9th grade. I expected I would just make it. At the time I felt so rejected.

When moments like this happened, when I expected to be great at everything, my mother and father would let me have a 24 hour pity party and then they would say “Okay, you are a survivor. So what are you going to do now? You are great at so many things.” and they’d begin to list off all these things they thought I could do well. That just annoyed me to no end. I think, sometimes, I moved ahead just to quiet them.

The point is… now, when I fail at something, I have a self-loathing time period, do a self-evaluation and then look for the positive in the experience. Now, I’ll be honest, this easier to do sometimes more than others. For example, when my fuel pump on my Jeep went out one morning; as I went from having a wonderful, peaceful morning to “Oh, my gosh! I’m going to miss my first client and I don’t have their cell phone number.” After a few choice words, I started to count my blessings:
• Thank goodness this happened close to home and I could walk to my studio to greet my client, even if I was late.
• Thank goodness I had AAA to pick up my car and transport it to be repaired.
• Thank goodness I had a cell phone to make this happen.
• Thank goodness I was fit enough to make the walk quickly and
• Thank goodness I was in a safe neighborhood and it was daylight instead of evening.

This, of course, is an easy one. Some more difficult ones to overcome are losing a grandparent, struggling to have a relationship with my brother, losing a pregnancy, having financial problems, crushing my 12th thoracic vertebrae or going through a rough patch in my marriage. These take more time but the process is the same. I mourn my loss and then refocus on my abundance. This coping strategy keeps me in a state of happiness and well-being most of the time.

An “attitude of gratitude” creates more blessings in our lives. If we can pick ourselves up by our boot straps put one foot in front of the other and focus on the lesson to be learned and search for the positive we are stronger for it, humbled, compassionate for ourselves and others. It is not too late to start changing your lifestyle today to a healthy one. Even if you’ve failed at it before because either life (or you) got in the way; you can learn from the experience, find the positive and move on.

Please post what you are grateful for today.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Personal Development | Add Comments Here »


I climb to outrageous heights of success!

If this whole “economy thing” has taught my husband and me anything, it’s that we never really have a safety net. You think that you have all the basics covered.  You’re living a responsible life.  You’re a productive part of society that your parents would be proud of. But really… there is no safety net.  It is an illusion, if you will. Since this is the case, you might as well soar to tremendous heights and go after your dreams.

Think about it.  There aren’t jobs that can’t be taken away through loss of work or being fired.  No matter how good you are at it. There isn’t a house that can’t be lost to fire, natural disaster or foreclosure. There isn’t a life that can’t be lost to an accident, terminal illness or jewels or wealth that can’t be stolen away or depreciated. Yet we seem to define our entire life by these very things; giving up our dreams, creativity and passion for the illusion of security.

Maybe it is time that we start to re-define who we are as a person.  When you get right down to the fact of the matter… all we really have is the one and only internal self. Go after your hopes and dreams and if you fail (which you are bound to do at times) have the faith and belief that you have what it takes to get back up, that you are still worth fighting for. I know it is very scary, thinking that you can swim with sharks or survive the toughest storm.  But if you seek balance and have goals, grit, determination, will, resilience and creativity you may just find that you can lead a happier life.

I see clients (more often than not) that are afraid if they actually take a lunch and movement break that they won’t look like a team player; that the boss won’t think they are working hard enough or that they could lose their job for taking a walk and eating away from the office. This is really sad to me because getting up and moving, stretching and eating mindfully makes us more energized, pain free and increases productivity. Or the story about the obese, sedentary, diabetic worker who had to pass a physical to keep their job was afraid to tell their doctor that they are exercising and share their fitness and eating diaries because they had convinced themselves that it could get them fired. WHAT?

Let me just go off on a rant here.  If you can’t take time to eat a mindful lunch, walk around from time to time and or share your movement success with your boss for whom all of these actions help improve your quality of life, productivity and health. Than maybe you are either working for the wrong the company, have the wrong doctor or you need to revaluate your beliefs and thoughts because they are leading you to an unhealthy lifestyle and that, in and of itself, will jeopardize your job security not the healthy lifestyle choices.

Doubt destroys. Faith builds!” – Robert Collier

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Personal Development | Add Comments Here »


Gratitude, Kindness, Happiness Lead to a Healthy Life

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor…let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile and kindness in your warm greeting.” — Mother Teresa

 

Our body was made to move. It wasn’t made to sit in front of a computer for hours on end or sit in front of the TV watching shows and playing games, and it certainly wasn’t made to sit in a car driving through a drive-through having food passed out through a window for us to sit there and eat it. (Really, if the food comes through a window is it really food?) We’ve become so lazy that we can’t even walk in for the instant gratification of food delivered to us in seconds across the counter. Stop and think about our behaviors a minute.  It is kind of funny when you think about it.

When you first start movement, start small. Consider just walking for 5-10 minutes after every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and once you’ve mastered this then add in a 15-20 minute walk most days of the week.  As you take this walk, smile and be thankful that you’ve been given the gift to be mobile. Happiness is catchy! A gift of a smile to a loved one or stranger brings a smile to their face and day; and it didn’t cost you anything.  Instead, you are creating a link with yourself and others as a circle of abundance.

I thank God everyday for the abundant gifts he provides for me. He made us so that we could live an important plan of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual activity. If you can get the physical thing working, then the rest (mental, emotional and spiritual) will follow through. You only get one body, so feed it with healthy energizing food vs. junky, sluggish food. I say ALL FOODS FIT but there is a difference in the quality of your food so pay attention. Just as a little housekeeping goes a long way… well, so does a little movement. A little movement in your life goes a very long way.  A simple 10 minute walk after meals can help your body process the glucose in your system. Just a little weight loss of 5-10 pounds can significantly impact your blood panels.

This idea of health doesn’t have to be complicated if we don’t make it complicated.

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease” –Thomas Edison

A wise Turkish saying is: “No matter how far you’ve gone down a wrong road, turn back and get on the right road!”

It isn’t too late to lead a healthy lifestyle.  You just need to find the right resources to help you along the journey.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Weight Loss | Add Comments Here »