Nourishing Our Bodies Through Mindfulness and Gratitude

We are on to Thanksgiving, and if you sneeze or blink you could miss this special holiday. Christmas can overshadow the stillness that Thanksgiving calls us to, so let’s allow ourselves to slow down and appreciate this month.

I thought a great way for me to enter into this season of thankfulness would be to attend a series wellness classes offered at the Women’s Center For Healing & Transformation in Abita, Louisiana.  These classes were taught by some of the community’s most gifted healers and teachers.

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One of the classes I attended was on the topic of mindfulness and how it profoundly effects our health.  Mitzie R. Meyers, RN, MSN, CNE, AHN-BC, presented in one of their cozy rooms in the Women’s Center.  The small group of like-minded women combined with a rainy Fall day made the class that much more wonderful.😊

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As a health coach I have experienced through heart felt conversations how many struggle with not having a good relationship with food.  The fundamental reason is that we’ve forgotten how to be present as we eat.

Have you ever looked down at a plate of food and it has vanished?!  You feel a sense of disappointment that you didn’t even taste your food, and then the internal critic shows up and ruins the pleasure of eating.

It’s time for us to show up for ourselves and put an end to this cycle.

The recipe for mindful eating calls for the warming effect of kindness and the spice of curiosity.  Jan Chozen Bays M.D.

What is mindful eating?

It is much more than eating slowly & without distraction, although that is a big part, it involves so much more.  Meyers shared these definitions:

  • Giving focused attention to your meals (put away electronics)
  • Using all your senses with the process of eating
  • Being aware of your hunger and satiety (see hunger scale http://www.whereineedtobe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Hunger-Scale.jpg)
  • Making choices that support health and well-being
  • Awareness without criticism or judgement.
  • Having intention and attention both internally and externally.  For example, at your Thanksgiving meal think about where the food came from, the process it took to get to your table & allowing that to expand your appreciation😇

Here is a visual to help you practice these ideas:

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Why is mindful eating important?

In her presentation Meyers said,

research shows a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and reduce the risk for Type II diabetes.  Some other benefits she shared is that it improves digestion, increases the enjoyment of food & reduces over-eating.

After the class I had an opportunity to ask Meyers about how mindfulness can help us enjoy the holidays without gaining 15lbs. in the process-;)  She said, “have an intention for what you want the holiday to mean and make that happen.”

We talked a little bit about how the holidays can lead to depression for some people, but she says, “you can feel empowered to make the holiday what you want it to mean to you.  This openness in the heart will allow gratitude to come in.”  When we are grateful it removes us from walking under a dark cloud, and we realize the abundance that is present in our lives.  “It all starts with intention.”

What will your intention be for Thanksgiving and this time of the year?  What is the reality you want to create?  How will you show up for yourself and your family?

 

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Sometimes The Hard Choice Is the Right Choice

Have you ever overridden your gut feeling about something only to constantly be in a place of indecision and inner turmoil?  It can be scary to follow through with what you feel is right because of the sacrifices it might entail and the possibility that you could be wrong.

At our core we have two basic and motivating emotions, fear and love.  Fear causes us to pull back from life, but love allows us to be passionately open to life.  Think about this, if you could remove all of your fears, how different would your life be?  Unfortunately, by the time many of us get over our fears we will be too sick or too old to do those things we wanted to do, had we not let our fears hold us back.

The lesson is clear:

We must transcend our fears while we can still do those things we dream of.  To transcend fear though, we must move somewhere else emotionally; we must move into love. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I John 4:18  There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.

When you allow love to be your motivating force it will change your life.  That change may involve sacrifice, but the peace and hope that fills your soul will be the wind beneath your wings.

My life changed in a day when I moved from fear into love.  It was a painful decision that I didn’t want to make, but I kept reassuring myself that sometimes the right decision is the hard one.

When you finally surrender to doing what you know inside of you is right, fear will be kicking and screaming the entire time.  Those are the moments in your life that define you. 

So one day I’m enjoying sunshine and palm trees in New Orleans with my mom, and the next day Sammy and I are hiking through snow.

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There has been suffering and sacrifice in my choice, but I feel an inner peace that everything is going to be alright.

So how are you going to approach your life?  Are you going to be an old man or woman that wished they would have done things differently, or are you going to choose to not let your fears hold you back?  Can you be okay with settling, being unhappy and not quite sure of yourself?  Living in fear is exhausting, whereas when you open yourself up to love you give yourself a chance to be happy and to have joy and peace.

I don’t want to be a judgmental, anxiety ridden, depressed and mean person so the choice to me is pretty clear.  Love is where I want to live.  Look into your heart and find the courage to walk in love today.

 

 

 

Why not? A slogan for an interesting life

Have you ever been presented with an opportunity and thought, “Wow! I would LOVE to do that!” Then your next thought was, “That’s silly. I don’t have time.  I would make a fool of myself anyway.”

Think for a minute about that thing that you really want to do.

Maybe….There is a girl you really want to ask out for dinner.

There is a martial arts or cross fit class you heard your co-workers talking about that you would really like to try.

You occasionally feel a strong desire to go back to college to finish your Master’s degree.

From time to time you get an impulse to jump in the car and drive to the beach.

It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of great and fun experiences by anticipating the worst.  The logical left-brain side of us can make such compelling arguments that our curiosity gets crushed.

To some extent our western culture has conditioned us to be this way.  Our intuitive nature is dismissed so easily  by the value that is placed on rationality.  By ignoring our creative and intuitive nature we stand the risk of missing out on the depth and width in life.  However, relying on both, logic and intuition, will move us more deeply into the world and toward balance.

Part of my work as a personal trainer involves getting my clients to move out of their heads and into their body’s.  When I ask a new client how the weight feels or to squeeze the muscle, the response is usually a confused look with a, “huh?”  Most of their day is spent at work, in their heads where they are making logical decisions, so focusing on being in the body can take some coaching.

Here is an idea, let your workouts not only get you into better physical shape, but also be a time to practice being in tune with how your body and soul is feeling.  This is how great athletes learn to get into the zone or be in the sweet spot.

A simple way to apply this is during your warm up.  Begin to pay attention to what is going on inside of you.  Feel the areas of tightness, the stress & tension & relax.  Focus of your breathing and be in the moment.

In our modern society we are so used to living in a state of stress that it’s difficult for us to relax.  Allowing yourself to relax mentally & physically will help you move out of your head and drop down into your body & heart.  This is difficult for me too, but I find that exercising & then lying down and focusing on my breathing helps.  Also, listening to guided meditation or a yoga channel on Pandora helps me to quiet my mind.

There will always be more rational reasons not to try something. What if for once you ignore the handful of reason’s not to do something and focus on the one that is screaming yes?! 

Talk about living large…this is where the juice of life is at!  You don’t have to own a pent house or drive a Mercedes.  Just answer the call inside of your heart and go do the freaking thing all ready!!!

Why not? It is a slogan for an interesting life. Mason Cooley