Cultivating Courage: 10 Tips

Cultivate Courage

 

I recently did a lot of personal exploration around my personal strengths. I have always wanted my work to exude courage and inspiration to others. My core belief is that good self care and nutrition leads to confidence and courage. 

Today what I would simply like to offer you are what I call small steps that cultivate courage. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section on what small steps of courage you regularly take or want to take.

Do you see yourself as courageous? Do you get caught in the cycle of perfection? Does your perfectionism keep you locked in a limiting habits that aren’t letting you fully live? Where would you place yourself on the courage continuum?

Conversely, if you actually thought about it, where would you say courage shows up your daily operations? I know you got all kinds of creative courage coming out of you every day, or at least up your sleeves and on the horizon.

With love,

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10 Ways to Cultivate Courage

1. Daily Meditation. Slow down, my friend. Add in 5 to 10 minutes (or more!) of meditation every day. Take a little time to calm your mind and breath and see your thoughts. Learn to sit still, learn to sit with uncomfortable thoughts, learn the art of not-doing. Mindfulness exacts right action.

2. Stop drinking, smoking, fast food, caffeine, or sugar, or whatever your non-nutritional crutch is. Start with just one item on your list. Experience your everyday life without your habit. This is not a judgy, holier-than-thou recommendation, but really a down-to-earth nudge to let go of a vice and find out what is behind it. Lighten your load and head to your preferred lifestyle destination.

3. Move your body. Everyday. Get out of your same routine and give your body a new experience. If you aren’t exercising regularly, then simple start exercising. If you are active already, try something new, like yin yoga or ballroom dance. Learn to swim. Lift weights. Try qigong. Too much of one routine or no routine will stagnate your mind-body connection.

4. Make a new friend. Gain a fresh perspective and build your community. Be strong in heart and reach out to someone who inspires you or exudes characteristics that you wish to cultivate.

5. Open your heart. Reach out to someone that has hurt or challenged you. Reestablish a new connection or recreate the relationship. Give that person a chance to change and evolve with you. Stop seeing yourself as small and unable to handle the complexities of relations. Simplify the relationship by giving what you can give and no more. Reconciliation lifts everyone up.

6. End or limit toxic and codependent relationships. Stop being in relationships that make you feel bad, small, or stuck. Take a break or create distance. Build relationships that bring you up. Regain your sense of wellbeing and confidence and readdress that relationship when you can do so from a place of love and well-being.

7. Professionally develop yourself. Learn a new skill. Pursue your passions and dreams. Educate yourself.

8. Be honest. Always. Stop doing and saying what you think other people want to hear. Develop inn fortitude and speak your truth more frequently.

9. Stop doing things you hate. Make your happiness a priority. Stop assuming that there is no other way. You are not meant to live in misery, but in light, joy, and health. Pursue and prioritize activities that make you feel strong and well.

10. Learn to see the root cause of your actions. Look at every decision you make and assess, is this coming from a place of love or fear. Learn to limit fear based decision making.

Upgrade Your Self Talk: 5 Rewarding Tips

Self Talk

Do you pay attention to the way you talk to yourself? Do you tell yourself that you need to be better often?

Do you often think that if you were just better at managing your time, your food prep, and spending habits that you would finally arrive?

I’m not going to discount the power of impactful time management, a well designed meal and shopping plan, and good old fashioned budgeting. All those things are very important, but they are what I call positive side effects of a more important issue and that is self-talk.

I love the work I do. I get to be a participant in my client’s most powerful resource: their thought process. What amazes me the most about what I am seeing and hearing, is how much we (I’m going to include myself here) expect of ourselves and how much we beat ourselves up when we perceive our shortfalls.

It is rare to meet a woman who is not actively pursuing be a better woman- she wants to look and feel her best, and she is hard on herself when she doesn’t. She wants to be awesome at all her endeavors, be it at work, with her loved ones, her home, community, and the list goes on. She wants to feel savvy, humorous, sexy and also, like she is a great mom and caretaker of her loved ones and passions.

And in this active pursuit of awesomeness, she often forgets to slow down and actually take stock on how she is truly treating herself. She wants to be so much for so many, and is so easily caught in the thought process that she hasn’t been good enough. She hasn’t done enough.

And you know what? This intense feeling and voice in our head that says we are not enough is dangerous. It drives us to believe untrue things about ourselves and disintegrates our sense of worthiness. It prevents us from taking right actions towards our dreams. This voice tells us that because we are not good enough, we are not safe to ask for what we really want. We often end up drained and discouraged.

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On the flip side, we have the power to be enough and to be worthy.  We can take rockin’ good care of our bodies, schedule our time like a kung-fu master, give the right amount to others and still have something left, and spend, invest, and save money in expert fashion. Our ability to succeed, to become the person of our truest desires, begins with our mindset, our self-talk. What happens in our mind creates every action we take and do not take.

I know how we operate and that we are already accomplishing so much in our lives, yet these accomplishments will never be enough if we can’t get on top of what is happening in our heads.

How do we turn around self-defeating and thoughts of lack? It is simple, but it does take daily action. Everyday we need to take time to cultivate thoughts that promote personal power. Choose to think good thoughts. Notice when you are not, and make a choice to change that.

Here are my favorite ways to take care of my brain and get in the right frame of mind.

1. Gratitude journaling: You’ve likely heard of this, and likely you will continue too. The practice of gratitude has been coined the #1 habit that leads to a happy mind. Gratitude combats depressive thoughts, and opens us up to receive even more goodness. I like to really go for it, myself. I sit down and write down 10 different things for which I am grateful. I include what action I took to bring that good thing to me. 10 things is pretty challenging and takes some time, but it is so worth it… huge mind shifts! If I am short on time, I just do 3 items and that is definitely enough to get my positive thoughts flowin’.

2. Mirror talk: Yes, I talk to myself in the mirror. It works. I look myself in the eyes and say “You are worth it! I forgive you. I love you. I know you can succeed. You are worth it!” Sounds like a Saturday Night Live skit I know, but I’m telling you it makes a huge difference. As we age, our thought habits get so ingrained. Mirror talk helps reverse our negative thoughts and reminds us to be kind to ourselves.

3. Soul Stroll: I have to give Erin Stutland huge props for this activity. Take a walk, turn on music, and chant affirmations. It will make you feel amazing. You can even buy her 30 minute downloads, where she coaches you on affirmations and mantras. I love the ones she uses and am a proud owner of the MP3s Soul Stroll Volumes 1 and 2. You can also simply take a walk with the focus to clear your mind and fill it with positivity.

4. Essential Oils: I can’t believe I made it this far without mentioning the oils! Put a few drops of oils on your wrists, back of your neck, ears, or throat and say an affirmation. “I trust my own goodness” is one of my favorites. “I am safe, I am loved, and am actively pursuing my highest good” is another.

5. Friends, coaches, mentors: Another human, especially one that loves you and is actively committed to being positive and personal growth is an incredible tool. It is often said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely and choose people who influence you in ways that support your growth and mindset.

I love sharing this important work with you. Let me know your thoughts.

Big hugs~

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Why

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I used to weigh about 25 to 30 pounds more than I do right now. I used to eat lots of cheese covered enchilada casserole and ice cream. Late at night. I used to be shocked when my clothes didn’t fit any more.

During the days of the extra weight, I felt trapped and stuck in a life that didn’t inspire me. I was a new mom, I worked full time, and I also experienced a lot of anger and overwhelm. My life looked nothing or felt nothing like what I once believed was possible. It seemed like every second of my time was accounted for, my partner and I fought frequently, and I felt like I had “settled” for a responsible and secure career. I was mad that my time with my young son felt so limited and unrewarding. I felt hopeless. My body felt heavy and shameful. I honestly didn’t know how to do better for myself.

I spent many years loosing and gaining that extra weight. I ran marathons, I did juice fasting, 5 am workouts, accountability buddies, etc…  but, nothing really worked for the long term. I struggled to feel happy, whole, and light again. Even though I was proud of my running, juicing, and workouts, I was also pissed and freaked out that I couldn’t seem to get back in touch with the slenderized, strong, and mentally abundant version of myself.

Do you want to know what changed things for me? I fell in love, and then bought a Vitamix. Okay, seriously though, it was the birth of my daughter that put me on a different path. I grew a new and powerful motivation, I had clear WHY which was motivated a large change the way I approached food and my body. My WHY was so clear and the pounds literally melted off. It became ridiculously easy to make these changes.

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Josefine, so happy at 18 months. Her pureness kept me moving forward everyday.

My WHY was my baby daughter’s future relationship with her body. I decided that there was one legacy that I was NOT going to leave her, and that was the legacy of a mother who hated her body. It is not okay for my daughter to think it is normal to hate your body, and I do not want to ever model that for her.

My lifestyle choices and culinary choices became so much more clear- learn nutrition, eat more vegetables, limit empty calories, and keep moving and loving my body. I stopped eating buttery waffles for breakfast and learned to love green smoothies. I limited how much rice I would eat with dinner and added more vegetables. It was so simple to eat and live this way, when I was on a mission. My body loved being treated this way. With the weight loss, I developed the positive inertia to address my other frustrations. 

Fast forward to now. The weight has stayed off, mostly, yet the resolve has changed. While my daughter inspires me everyday, I have changed. It is time to grow a new why. Weight loss and positive body image is no longer my first priority. My newest goal is about creating a lifestyle and schedule that allows for more joy and spontaneity, one that allows me to be the mom and business owner of my dreams- active, flexible, creative, and full of self esteem and energy.

As I write this and I slowly breathe in and ask myself, what is my true authentic “why?” What will push me beyond where I am at right now? Why should I get off coffee? Why should I put the effort into detoxing? Why should I share my thoughts and vulnerability? Why should I put myself out there, again and again?

As I can best say it right now, my WHY is about fully showing up in life. No more hiding behind being too busy, too old, or too inexperienced. It is time to stop giving myself the boring old message that I am not good enough. It is time to show myself more love, through food, water, exercise, and self care. It is time to be my own best friend. It is time to share my journey.

How about you? What is your why? Has it changed over the past years? How can your self-care be of service to the ones you love? Are you a good friend to yourself?

I’d love to hear from you. Please comment and share.

Hugs,

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This Time Will be Different

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How many times have you told yourself, this time will be different? You embark on a New Year, on a new diet, new exercise program, new anything and say “This time will be different!”

However, how many times is it actually different? How many times do you ditch said new program? How often you revert back to your old habits? Do you have dusty exercise equipment or a vegetable juicer that you just never use?

Habits are powerful allies and we put each one in place, consciously or unconsciously for exquisite reasons. So often our reason for not transforming an old habit into a better habit relates to loneliness, lack of joy, or lack of true inspiration. We join a gym, yet we feel uncomfortable and self-conscious when we go. Or it doesn’t feel personal enough. Or the juicer we bought takes so much time to use and what a pain to clean, right!? Isn’t it so much nicer to grab a beer and sit on the couch and watch intelligent TV or get lost on the internet, researching great ideas or being inspired by others? Or for so many woman I know, adrenal fatigue and an over burdened digestive system has made it, well honestly, difficult to add anything new to a routine that is barely working.

This post is not about beating you up or calling you out for not following through on a new program, but is to gently and lovingly encourage you to look at why your self-help habit didn’t stick. The biggest indicators in making lasting change is in having a community that supports your change, or better yet, does it with you together- think support group, exercise class, private trainers or coaches, or friends who are stretching themselves in similar ways at the same time.

I also want you to know that I am here for you and together we can make this time be different. We can lovingly create goals and put transformative habits into place. We can address the systems around your overall health, support, beliefs, and habits that aren’t helping.  The Spring Glow Detox starts in just two weeks. This group program is such a wonderful and affordable approach to creating lasting change, making this time be different.

 

The Art of Stopping

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I admit it, I used to be addicted to productivity. Six months or so ago, I quit my secure and (mostly) enjoyable job in grant management. I always felt good about playing a big game in the educational arena. I was responsible for big decisions, big dollars, and a big hearted staff. I got a lot done, and a lot got done around me.

Regardless of my pride around this work, I decided that I had an even bigger calling around holistic health and inspired living. I can’t say that leaving my job was entirely rational, however my mind, heart, and body all said it was time to take the big leap and create a soul centered health coaching business.

Would you be surprised if I told you I panicked when I left my job? Don’t get me wrong, I had many parts of my business going that were already successful. On paper, it seemed natural that my business would grow and flourish, especially now that I was free to fully pursue it.

I worked really “hard” over the next few months. And I didn’t get much done. Truth was, I really had no clue how to put it all together. My business went from a fun extra source of revenue and inspiration, to feeding my family and paying my mortgage. More than overwhelmed, I often felt paralyzed by fear and anxiety. I did my best to put a big smile on my face and do the famous “fake it ’til you make it” dance.

Then in the dead of winter, something happened. I simply could not put the same effort forward. Every blog post I had hoped to write, remained unwritten. Every marketing effort I thought I should make for my next program remained unrealized. I simply did not have the wherewithal any longer to keep pushing myself forward.

Then it happened, I got really unproductive. Gasp. I didn’t get much of anything done. If you asked me how I spent my time, I couldn’t really tell you. For the first time, maybe ever, I just slowed down. Whatever commitments I had already, clients and classes, I did just those. I began to shift and simply savor what was on my calendar. I stopped putting so much effort into trying to move forward. I stopped trying to prove to myself that I was capable.

I cried frequently. I let go. I mulched. I grew new eyes for myself. I got inspired.

I’m so glad I stopped being productive for a season. I didn’t know how much I needed a break from the cult of “getting shit done.” I took a break from being a boss, from being in charge. I stopped being that woman who does it all. I took a much needed rest. I became so much more gentle with myself.

Prior to my break, I saw myself with the eyes of no matter how good I did, it wasn’t enough.  This is a habit that I vow to NOT take into my new work or my new being. I now consciously honor every effort I make. I also look for my effort to be matched- from the universe, from others. This is a new habit for me. And yes, it is vulnerable. Cracking the whip, on myself or others, is no longer attractive. Collaboration is my new desired currency.

Now I’m back to the land of productivity. Yes, I still enjoy tackling challenging projects and stretching myself to create and build. But something has changed inside me. Clarity, confidence, and positivity have taken residence in my mindset. I’m so much less afraid. And I am so much better at receiving help and feedback.

My a-ha, simply put: productivity is not the end-all-be-all. It is so much sweeter when balanced by good long stretches to the surrender of doing less. It is also sweeter when it is shared.

So, yes, I’m back with new resolve, which is to simple “be here with you,” sharing ideas, insights, and inspirations about foods, habits, and tools that lift our health and mindset. If you don’t hear from me from time to time, it probably means I’m doing less or simply tending to another part of my life. There is an art to knowing when to simply stop. There is also an art in receiving help and sharing the journey with others.

I’d love to hear from you. When was the last time you slowed down? What happened? Did you lose out? What did you gain?

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Love & Fear

fear or love

 

Good morning lovees~ So this is me, first thing up in the morning, sitting on the balcony of our hotel room where we are staying in Puerto Vallarta. Today’s post is on a topic near and dear to my heart, which centers on the emotional work it takes to make a major life change. Going into the unknown is a scary thing, even if it is a work/pleasure trip to somewhere super awesome.

You should of seen us on our way down here. I wish I had taken a photo. You would have seen a wild and short tempered looking husband, defiant and entitled looking son, and a pouty princess with my daughter. We are normally pretty nice and calm people, however at the onset of this trip, our frazzled and overtired sides were abundant. During a pit stop at Burgerville (don’t judge~!), when we were seemly at our worst, I had a huge a-ha. It was at the point when I found myself pulling my son aside for a stern talking to, after he refused to eat his specially ordered hamburger, offended by the ketchup, that I realized all four of us were on the crazy with fear and fatigue. We have never taken a trip like this and we had no norms for how we operate as a traveling family unit.

During my guilt infused lecture to my son, while looking down at him and trying to make him feel like crap for acting entitled, especially since we were headed to touristy location where the locals lived with much less than us, I realized I was really just heaping a pile of crap on him because I too was scared. In that moment I was scared that he would embarrass me. I was scared that this trip we have worked so hard for would go badly. I was scared that this great life I have been courageously pursuing was going to fail.

So the lightbulb came on and I could see clearly again. We headed back to the table to the frustrated dad and the milkshake covered pouty princess and you know what I did? I laughed and I fell in love with all of us, once again. I laughed as my son continued to act badly and I laughed as we ate our messy junk food dinner. I apologized to my son for being freaky with him and let go of the worry of how we looked and were acting.

I was once given a life lesson from one of my teachers, which is that all choices are made from LOVE or from FEAR. At every moment we can look at what we are doing, and the choices we are making, and determine their root cause- am I motivated by love or fear? At the restaurant I could see that we were in all in a state of fatigue and fear. And when I recognized what was going on, I could make a decision to change my state. So, I started to act from love. I loved us as we were and let go of my fear of our failure.  And do you know what happened when I changed my state? You guessed it, everyone started acting different and for the better.

Did this post resonate with you sweet cheeks? Comment and let me know how you have seen the power acting out of love instead of fear.

 

With love,

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