Get in Shape & Thrive: Intention

“Intentions are causes that create effect. Choosing an intention is the fundamental creative act. An intention is the reason or motivation for doing what you do. Every act has an intention….it comes from fear or from love.” Gary Zukar

Let’s face it, meditation is hard to prioritize, it feels embarrassing. What should I meditate on? How often should I meditate? Do I use certain words in my intention? Is it okay to use my intentions during meditation to ask for material things? Should I always use the same meditation and intention?  These many questions often get in the way of our actual action of setting time aside to meditate. Artha is one of the four desires in yoga philosophy (Dharma – duty, ethics, Artha – prosperity, wealth, Kama – pleasure, sensual gratification, and Moksha- pursuit of liberation). We can meditate on any of these areas as long as the intention is to support our soul’s dharma.

Yes, there are some who meditate for hours effortlessly. For me, some days three minutes is difficult and I want to avoid it at all costs and then other days forty-five minutes didn’t seem to be enough and it came effortlessly. Why is it easier to meditate in the storms of our lives? When tragedy such as grief and loss happen in our lives all the time, intentions, words, spring from us and we hope. The books that have helped me during storms in my life are How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield, MD, Melba Colgrove, PHD, and Peter McWilliams and The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart by Daphne Rose Kingma.  For many of us, meditation is a struggle because we focus on ourselves and control over life, rather than a higher power.

Rod Stryker, one of my favorite presenters, of the four desires (check out his book The Four Desires) says, “it pays to pursue the meaning of the word itself purusharthas. Purusha roughly means ‘soul’ – the essential Self that is unchanging, that isn’t born and doesn’t die, but belongs to the universe. Artha means ‘the ability’ or ‘for the purpose of.’ Purusharthas means ‘for the purpose of the soul; and the very concept asks that you take the broadest view of your life.”  Are your days balanced in such a way that you feel supported from your inner work? Our spirit is the nonphysical part of us that is the seat of our emotions and character.

Meditate often, honestly, unselfishly, and confidently. Challenge yourself to meditate often. Two books that help me meditate in the morning and evening is The Daily Om by Madisyn Taylor and First in the Morning by Osho. Meditate until you are clear, inspired, and your heart is on fire with love, kindness, and compassion. Now don’t get crazy and act all goofy with your new found energy and annoy your friends. Just allow your heart and mind to engage with your spirit on an intensely personal level. We do this by meditating daily on love, kindness, compassion, intention, and our soul’s dharma. We need to get fired up, meditate, because it is what magnifies the spirit in our lives.

You can do a burn and release session for setting an intention for 2016, then release control and let go.  Take a moment to sit, grounded feet on the floor in your best posture, find your breath, and then begin. Take a piece of paper and write everything you want to invoke. These are feelings and circumstances that you want more of. On the other side of the paper or a new one write your intentions. Start with the feelings or circumstances that no longer serve you, the things you want to release.

Now say something like:

I no longer need the lessons that these feelings, things, or circumstances would teach me. If I haven’t already, I vow to learn these lessons in a different way that feels better and opens my heart.

Burn the list!

I invite these emotions and circumstances into my life this time to serve my highest and best good. I intend that these things will fuel me to be of better service, to be more present and to keep open my heart.

Burn the list!

Suggested intentions to release might be: Thinking you are not enough, breaking promises, dwelling on the past, worrying about the future, living up to others expectations, comparing yourself to others, etc. Suggested things to invoke might be: fun, financial freedom, intimacy, connection, creativity, etc.

Meditation isn’t an option for those wanting to live with mindfulness.

Questions?

  • What priority do you place on meditation?
  • How do you show this?
  • How can you benefit from writing out your intentions?
  • What are the disadvantages to writing them out?
  • How sincere and honest are you in meditation?
  • How can you avoid doing meaningless meditation or having been nap time?
  • What should we practice and what should we avoid? Make a List!

Intention:

Developing meditation and intention toward our greater good draws people to us!

 

Taking a Fast Challenge:

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that powerfully directs our attention towards a higher power. Consider for the next two weeks replacing breakfast, lunch, or dinner with meditation.  Four ideas or places to start your meditation practice from could be:

  1. Candle gazing for 3 minutes daily.
  2. Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes daily (repeating an Om).
  3. Doing a guided meditation from your iTunes account.
  4. Following your breath in and out for a predetermined amount of time.

Next Steps:

Meaningful-have this be quality time for you

Educate- yourself on what you should practice and should avoid

Discipline- to be honest, confident often, and to prioritize your practice

Intention-allow the healing process to be what it needs to be for your greater good

Try- keep trying, keep practicing

Appointment- make one to meditate

Train- physical movement is good & makes sitting for prolonged periods of time easier

Each- day ask how we can be part of the greater good

 

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Get in Shape and Thrive: Plan

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Seneca

We are here to inspire you to movement! As we begin in 2016 and we are excited even pumped about the possibilities the New Year brings. What inspires you about 2016? What are you hoping for? What are you dreaming about? According to usa.gov the top five New Year’s resolutions are: Lose weight, volunteer more often, quit smoking, get a better education, and get a better job. Are any of these on your New Year’s resolution list? If you accomplish one or more of these on your list what would that mean for your life? A 2007 study reported that 88% of New Year’s resolutions never get accomplished. Why? One reason is that we don’t understand the difference between a dream and a goal.

SanKalpa means – Kalpa is a way of proceeding or more revealing the role to be observed above or before any other rule. San means a concept or idea formed in the heart, so basically it means the determination or will of an intention or most commonly a resolution that reflects your highest aspirations. Swami Rama says: “On this path you must first awaken your Sankalpa, the power of will and determination. Overcome your resistance. Expand your capacity… you must order your body and senses to function under the leadership of your mind.” A sankalpa is a desire that you are absolutely determined and committed to achieve. In our western culture a goal is probably the closest thing that we have that is similar to a Sankalpa from the yogic lifestyle. You will have many Sankalpa’s in your lifetime and you should plan to achieve and refocus on a new one every 6-18 months.
“A goal without a plan is just a dream” if you do not have S.P.O. R .R.T.S. written out for each goal or Sankalpa giving you a way to gauge your progress and celebrate your achievements the likelihood of success is very low. Harsh but true if you can’t or don’t measure you will not achieve.
Specific: measure your success and progress in numbers, percentages, milestones, dates. For example, I will attend Yoga at Mind Body Balance for 55 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Positive: the goal should be uplifting and positively phrased. Have confidence in yourself! We tend to rise to the level of our own self-worth. Picture yourself reaching your goal.
Obstacles: what obstacles might you encounter working toward your goal? What might come up that would prevent you from obtaining it? Take action to put contingency plans into place and resolve the problems before they occur.
Realistic: your goal should challenge you, but it shouldn’t be a fantasy or a day dream. Make it realistic so you don’t set yourself up to fail. Yes it should be a stretch and uncomfortable but it should be achievable.
Rewards: we stay motivated to work toward our goals when we know the rewards. What will be your rewards once you’ve accomplished the goal? A Thai Energy Session perhaps 🙂
Tangible: goals must be written down or else you’ll tend to edit in your head as you go along. Many people daydream about being healthy and what they want to accomplish goals written down are tangible and concrete.
Self-Serving: the goal needs to be yours and yours alone. It is alright to accept advice and suggestions from others, but you will be more motivated to complete your goal if it is something you truly want to do.

Now write it into a sentence and post it everywhere:
I will (verb/ action) by (date) because (motivation). I will evaluate my progress by (measurement). I will reward myself through (reward).

Work the plan of:
Coming to Mind Body Balance regularly with consistency no hit or miss
Connect with others on the Integrative Sustainable Movement plan at Mind Body Balance Community and volunteer in the Seva programs
Commit discipline yourself and be devoted to your practice leave scarcity thinking behind

Next Steps:
• Get quiet and decide what inspires you for 2016 and are you healthy enough to achieve it with zest
• Write a S.P.O.R..R.T. S. plan so that your goal becomes more than a dream
• Start by doing your work of healing through movement
• Get Inspired through Integrative Sustainable Movement because You Can Fix You

Questions to Ponder:
1. What will you do now?
2. How and when will you start?
3. What does it mean to have movement in your life?
4. What will change in your life if you take responsibility to your health?
5. How will it feel to be part of a community that is living life on many levels?

Affirmation
I am the one who creates who I am. I can forgive my past failures and be free to learn new healthy movement patterns that serve me today.

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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!

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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!

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Don’t Approach Your Life with Dirty Dishes

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all have that person that comes to mind that we feel is perfect, never makes any mistakes, never says the wrong thing, never is angry with others or at herself.  This person just loves everyone and everyone loves them. They are admired and humbled.  We focus so much on this person that we feel bad about ourselves. No matter how hard we try we just can’t live up to the standards, the ideal.  It makes you crazy.

I ask this:  Why are you comparing your behind the scenes movie-reel with their highlight-reel?

Few of us would eat dinner on the dirty dishes of last night’s meal.  Why do we approach our life with the same cluttered, self-defeating and negative mind chatter? If you want to tackle your lifestyle change from that of old habits to new habits, you are going to have to put on a new record.

Face it, you are not perfect and you are not a saint.  You are human who makes mistakes.  You love and care for yourself and those around you. Take care of your own self-efficacy concerning health and fitness.  Be honest, faithful and true to yourself. Accept who you are in this moment and embrace your starting point.

Here is an affirmation to try out this month:

I am enough. I accept myself unconditionally just the way I am.

Please post below what dirty dish you struggle with and how you plan to approach it differently.

Because we are sentenced to the consequences of our accumulated thoughts, it is important that we learn to observe and elevate them. Write out some negative thoughts you commonly have and practice elevating them to positive thoughts. As an exercise in helping you observe and elevate your thoughts, imagine that everyone can read your mind. When a negative thought comes into your mind that you would rather keep to yourself, acknowledge it non-judgmentally and then replace it with an uplifting one.

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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?

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Relish New Experience

When was the last time you took a small risk and tried something new?

“When I’m about to take a risk, I consider the down side. If it’s not death, I do it” –Nancy Sardella

I’m continually amazed at how people will take any chemically made medical treatment without exploring other options or questioning the side effects. I’m amazed at how fast we spend thousands eating out and on clothing without needing to; yet we agonize over self-nurture care and costs. The general populous are often fearful of whether natural-pathic medicine and physical exercise will harm them physically, emotionally or financially.

Often, people tackle self-nurture solutions to lifestyle problems only when “forced” to. Having finally made the commitment, they work hard to reach goals and experience the benefits/ positive impacts these changes make in all areas of their life. Even after all this, they will still quickly toss it out the window for a perceived “quick fix” solution.

I’m aghast at all of this.

Step outside of your comfort zone today. Step to the edge of the box. The box represents your comfort zone and I’m not asking you to go completely past the boundaries of your box into the unknown depths. I am asking you to poke the box, to stand at the edge, to take a risk. I’m not saying to quit your job and move to another country but to, instead, take some small risks. Risks like trying a new grocery store, driving a different route to work, watch a foreign movie, listen to music that is international, try to add a vegetable to every meal, join a co-op, try a Pilates chair class, maybe just sleep on the other side of the bed.

Many of us are afraid to take the risks that would see our dreams to fruition. Do you have a dream? Is there an activity in which you secretly long to participate? One of the best ways to transform your fears is to figure out whether or not they’re realistic. Encourage yourself to live your dreams. List some ideas below by commenting. That will help them manifest.
Please post here what you are willing to do to step to the edge of your box and try something new that will enrich your quality of life.
farmer's market photo

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