Singing Bird Holistic Health Coaching

De-Programming the Diet Mentality: Giving You Free Reign to Eat Whatever You Want

It’s been proven that you end up gaining more weight with each diet that you go on. Yet, the diet industry is still booming. Americans spend billions of dollars per year trying on the latest fad diet, despite the mounting evidence that diets don’t work. We blame our lack of willpower each time that we fail. We beat ourselves up and swear that next time we will do better.

But we don’t. Each time we fall off the wagon, despite telling ourselves that this time it’s not a diet; it’s a lifestyle change.

What is the allure of a diet, or restrictive way of eating?

I think when it comes down to it we don’t trust our bodies. And why should we? We have repeatedly been told how they can break down at any moment, how even the most basic of needs requires medical intervention. Left to their own devices they will steer us straight into the depths of chaos.

But the thing is, our bodies are not trying to sabotage or trick us. Consistently, every second of every single day, whether you are asleep or awake, all of your millions of cells are doing exactly what they need to do to keep you alive. Your body isn’t trying to derail your diet. It’s trying to save you.

By nature, I am a restrictive eater. When my skin started breaking out after I went off the pill a few years ago, I instinctively turned to my diet. Taking out gluten, then dairy, then sugar. If my diet is clean enough, I will be rewarded with clear skin.

If I am perfectly good, I will be worthy of my desires.

Now I have come to realize that kind of thinking does more harm than good. It causes excess stress. Puts us at odds with our bodies. Sets us up for failure and feeling like we are not worthy of happiness.

My way of eating now is more about listening to my body and eating intuitively.

What does that mean?

Well it sounds like it should be the easiest thing in the world. Listen to what you want to eat and eat it. Boom. Done.

But if you are a chronic dieter, a restricter, or even just believe in a healthy lifestyle, what is your reaction when a health coach tells you to eat whatever you want? Usually it’s a mild level of panic, fear and/or confusion.

We have grown so accustomed to having some external source tell us what we should be eating, that the thought of total food freedom is often paralyzing. Our minds immediately go into fear mode. “I can’t eat what I want. I will eat everything. You don’t understand; I have no self-control!!”

Interestingly, the same fears show up when you ask someone how they would live their lives if feeling good were the primary intention. As a culture, we don’t trust ourselves and we sure as heck don’t trust pleasure. We tend to believe that the things that make us feel good, those that make us happy, aren’t good for us or the world at large. We fear that when we are left to our own devices, we will become hedonistic, selfish, and out of control. But that may not necessarily be the case.

For example, a study was conducted a few years ago where they gave people the option to eat whatever they wanted from a buffet for several days in a row. At first, everyone went for the unhealthy stuff – pastries, sweets, simple carbohydrates, etc. But after a few days, they grew tired of eating that and started moving on to the healthier options.

Have you ever gone for several days without eating fresh vegetables and find yourself craving a crisp, fresh salad? See, that’s your body talking to you.

Many of us don’t allow ourselves to have any of the bad stuff, and so it becomes our white whale. We think about it constantly. We obsess over it. As such, we create an even stronger craving for it.

We deprive ourselves of what we really want (the chocolate cake), so instead of ever craving a salad, we constantly crave that damn chocolate cake. This furthers our distrust of our bodies.

But if given half the chance, your body will crave the salad. We have complicated things by making food such a charged issue. Food is sustenance. Energy. It’s supposed to be a pleasurable experience. Instead, we have made it so that what we eat says something about who we are, what we value, and how worthy we are.

When we are being “good” we feel great about ourselves. Then when we “fall off the wagon”, which always happens at some point, we beat ourselves up endlessly for it and feel like worthless individuals. The judgment doesn’t stop at our own perimeter either. If our friend skips the dessert, they are clearly more virtuous than we are when in reality maybe they don’t even like cake.

In order to be able to truly listen to our bodies, we have to let go of the restrictions that we have created in our minds. Does this mean that you should go on a sugar binge? Not necessarily. But it does mean that when you don’t heed your desire it will only continue to grow.

Emotional eating complicates the issue further. If you are lonely and reach for the tub of ice cream, the craving you are having isn’t for the ice cream. What you are really craving is connection and companionship, but to make yourself feel better you will allow yourself something that you don’t usually.

It’s murky water; I so understand that. But the first step in having a healthy relationship with yourself, food and your desires, is ending the war with your body. Trust that it has your best intentions in mind, and that it holds all the information that you need to know in order to feel your best.

Because I know how difficult this can be, I am developing a 6-week group coaching program called Reclaim Your Body Wisdom where you will learn to ditch the restrictive eating and dieting mentality for good, find peace with your body, and find a way to eat that is pleasurable, fun and nourishing for you. Since this is my first group program, I will be running a beta group this summer. What better time than summer to stop worrying about being on some stupid diet and actually start loving yourself in that bathing suit?

More information will be coming in the next couple months. I will be running a super special beta deal for all my newsletter birdies if this sounds like something you’d be interested in!

 

Declaring Your Desires Can Lead to a Magical Life

Last week I read Liz Dialto’s latest post “Getting What You Want In Life Is Easier Than You Think (Hint: All You Have To Do Is Ask).” You can find it here.

Feeling like you manifested something is amazing. You ask for this specific thing and suddenly it shows up in your life. Suddenly your life seems magical. YOU seem magical.

Occasionally, it doesn’t work quite that easily though, for whatever reason. You ask and you ask and you ask, and yet that thing you are waiting for doesn’t seem to want to show up. That can leave anyone feeling a tad bit discouraged.

This is why I love Danielle LaPorte’s idea of declaring how you want to feel instead. It leaves a little more room for mystery and something even better to come along than what you originally imagined.

So earlier this week, I felt this longing.

WhatYouSeek

You know when you feel that desire for something, but you can’t quite put your finger on it or it seems just out of reach? You can’t leave that kind of gnawing, aching desire untended. Like a river making its way to the ocean, it will carve its way through rock, seep through every tiny crevice and crack, if its main thoroughfare is blocked.

It’s the same with desires. If they seem too difficult or out of reach we try to ignore them. But they will continue to bubble up from our core and fill us with this empty yearning, which we then try our best to fill with other distractions (food, booze, drugs, tv, etc.).

So the first step is to slow down, listen and look your desires in the eye. What is it that you really want? How do you really want to feel?

If you long to feel energized and alive, dig your toes in the sand and feel the wind in your hair, downing a bottle of wine and gorging on Ben and Jerry’s ain’t gonna cut it. A lot of times those blank behaviors actually bring us further from how we want to feel.

For me, I realized the ache I was feeling was for adventure. I wanted something new and exciting, and that got my blood pumping. Since one of my core desired feelings is WILD, I also wanted it to be outdoors.

Once I figured that out, I owned it. I wasn’t sure what form it would take: a road trip, a weekend camping, or planning an actual full-fledged vacation for later this year. Then, I declared my desire to the universe in the most effective way possible: I put it on Facebook.

A note on declaring your desires: Don’t cut them off at the knees by getting stuck in the “how” or immediately following them up with a “but” i.e. I want to feel freedom but I have all these responsibilities, I can’t take a vacation right now, I am forever mired in this life that I don’t want. Just say what you want. Put it out there and stay open.

A day after declaring that I wanted to do something outdoorsy and adventurous, a post popped up in my Instagram feed about a special on ziplining across Lake Travis. Eric and I have wanted to go ziplining for a long time. We have talked about it on several occasions, but for whatever reason, it just hadn’t happened.

As Liz said in her post, it’s at this point you have to say thank you and CLAIM it.

WhatYouSeek

That’s what I did. I called them up and made a reservation for later this month. Did I manifest this experience? Who knows. All I know is that I was looking for an experience to feed the wild and adventurous part of my spirit, and this showed up. Was it exactly what I was expecting? No. It was actually better and more exciting than what I had imagined.

So ladies (and gentlemen), don’t be afraid to look your desires in the eye. Don’t run away from them because they seem too outlandish. State them in full confidence and trust that you deserve for them to come true. Then open up to all the crazy magic this world has to offer.

 

 

Fresh Citrus Salsa with Blood Oranges

INGREDIENTS

1 cup organic cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large avocado, peeled with pit removed and cubed

2 blood oranges, peeled

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno, finely diced

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

juice of ½ lime

¼ tsp. sea salt

pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cut your blood oranges in half. Separate the sections of 3 of those halves and cut into bite-sized pieces. Save one half as is.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze over the juice of ½ lime and the juice from the remaining half of the blood orange. Sprinkle on salt and a little pepper to taste. Toss gently.

 

 

The Most Natural Way to Help Regulate your Cycle

Today I want to talk to you glorious goddesses about one of your favorite subjects I am sure. Yep, I am talking about your menstrual cycle. Aunt Flo. The rag. That time of the month.

I used to have this belief that getting my period was a serious pain in the ass. It would always come at the wrong time. Beach vacation? Check! Bachelorette party? Check! Music festival? Check, check, check! And not only did it seem as if it was always out to get me, it also brought a slew of other annoyances with it. I felt cranky a few days before. Cramps were the worst. My face would break out. I kinda saw the whole thing as a big F-U for being born a woman.

But as I have been moving along on my wild feminine journey, I have come to appreciate my menstrual cycle. It’s such a gift! And that mentality has made such a difference in how my cycle manifests. There are few signs that it’s coming, or symptoms once it’s here. For a while I was also able to sync my cycle perfectly with the cycle of the moon, and if you know me you will know this brings me tremendous joy and excitement. (I did my 8th grade science fair project on how the cycles of the moon affect humans and animals. Clearly this topic has interested me for a LONG time.)

FullMoonPhoto source.

“What does my menstrual cycle have to do with the moon?” you may ask. The answer is, a lot. Back in the day when women used to live together in close quarters they would bleed together. I am sure many of you may have experienced this when you moved into your college dorm if you weren’t on the pill. We sync up with one another; it’s totally a thing. So way back when, women would not only bleed together but would often bleed in time with the moon. Typically, menstruation would be around the new moon and ovulation around the full moon. I mean, is it simply a coincidence that the average menstrual cycle and moon cycle are the same length? I think not.

For me, tracking my cycle with the moon is a great way to feel connected to the earth, Mother Nature, other women, and the feminine energy. The wild feminine is cyclical. It is associated with women, the body, the earth, and the moon. What they all have in common is that they go through regular cycles of birth, death, and regeneration (the menstrual cycle in women, the waxing and waning of the moon, and the seasons of the earth).

Also, when your cycle is synced to the moon your bodily energy matches the moon’s energy. Basically, during menstruation and during the new moon the energy is inward, introspective and quiet. During both ovulation and the full moon the energy is high, outward and magnified. However, if your cycle doesn’t line up with the moon in this way, and many women’s will not (mine isn’t right now!), simply keeping track of your cycle in relation to the phase of the moon can still allow you to feel the same sense of connection. And you may begin to realize that the moon’s energy exerts a force on you regardless of which phase of the menstrual cycle you are in. For example, if you get your period around a full moon, the emotions you experience may be especially heightened!

Women don’t bleed in time with the moon as much anymore because of all the artificial light that we are exposed to (and of course artificial means of controlling our cycle, like the pill). That’s why if you want to sync your cycle with the moon, or simply want to help regulate your cycle, I recommend you try this simple light therapy trick:

  1. Syncing your cycle with the moon – Sleep in total darkness for most of the month. Then in the three days or so surrounding the full moon, let some light into your room. This can mean opening up a curtain so the streetlight streams in or turning on a light in an adjacent room and leaving the door open a crack. Basically, you want the light to mimic that of the full moon. When you do this for several months, you will begin to see your cycle start to align with the moon phases. It’s pretty crazy. You will basically be ovulating around the time of the full moon, and bleeding with the new moon.
  1. Regulating your cycle – Maybe this whole cycle syncing with the moon is a little too out there for you right now; that’s cool too! BUT you can still use the same light therapy technique described above to help regulate your cycle. Instead of sleeping with a little bit of light during the full moon, sleep with it on during the days surrounding your own ovulation. This will begin to regulate your cycle back to 28 days.

Many women have no idea when they are ovulating. I sure as heck didn’t! While there are many apps that can help you track this, I haven’t found them to be very accurate. Hands down, the best source of information is your own body! She will send you signals when you are ovulating; you just need to know how to read them. For this, I highly recommend the book The Woman Code by Alisa Vitti. This book is all about your glorious cycle: what to eat, what to avoid, how to live, even how to sync your work projects to your menstrual cycle!!

Of course, if you are on the pill unfortunately this doesn’t really apply. Personally, I am no longer a fan of hormonal birth control but that will be the subject of a whole other post!

As women, reconnecting with your body and its natural cycles feels glorious. I hope that you find this information helpful and that you can use it to not just regulate your period, but see how interconnected we all are to this beautiful world in which we find ourselves.

Why We Should Care About that Cindy Crawford Photo

v2-cindyPhoto credit.

A few weeks ago I shared an allegedly unretouched photo of Cindy Crawford, showing the 50-something super model with a little bit of saggy belly skin. Now there is some confusion about whether that image was real after all; both the model and the photographer are claiming that the photo was stolen and doctored to make Ms. Crawford’s skin appear older than it may be in real life.

To be completely honest, I don’t think it really matters whether the image was altered or not. Of course, stealing an image, changing someone’s appearance, and releasing that image on the interwebs is not kosher, and I in no way endorse that sort of behavior.

But I think when it comes down to it, the response to this image points to a much larger issue in our society.

American women are starving for something real (the irony of finding it in a potentially faked photograph is not lost on me.) After the image was released, women across the country flocked to social media applauding Cindy Crawford for her courage and bravery. We have grown so accustomed to seeing plasticized skin and digitally sculpted bodies that sharing an image of our real human form is seen as the ultimate form of rebellion. When did it become revolutionary to accept and love your body just as it is?

This longing, this yearning, this deep ache for something real has been bubbling up underneath the surface of our collective skin and it doesn’t stop with the body. We see it in food movements. The rise of urban farming. Restaurants promoting local growers and using seasonal ingredients. The caveman diet. The concept of re-wilding has become popular in health and wellness circles.

What this signifies to me is a desire for the wild feminine. Because as women, we are of this body, of this earth.

In line at the grocery store yesterday the cover of National Geographic grabbed my attention. It read, “The War on Science” and mentioned things like climate change, anti-vaxxers, and genetically modified foods. How could any rational, intelligent being question the all-mighty power of science, the headline seemed to be asking.

We have lived in a masculine age, driven by logic and reason, for a long time. It has given us tremendous progress, but sometimes at an equally tremendous cost. Questioning those ideas, asking if there is another way, is how we begin to balance the masculine with the feminine. Thinking not at the expense of feeling, but in service to it. The marriage of intellect with intuition, of faith with fact.

Because unlikely as it may seem, it’s all connected. The importance of Cindy Crawford’s altered belly skin and our questioning of science and so-called “experts” are all part of the same transformation.

In order to stop the destruction of our planet from artificial chemicals spewing into the environment, the destruction of our bodies from artificial foods labeled as “healthy” because they are calorie-free, and the destruction of our sense of self from the images of artificial bodies and lives that we are fed on a daily basis we must not only begin to question, we must demand a return to the real. To our bodies. To nature. To ourselves.

 

Why Knowing What You Desire is More Important Now than Ever

Intimately knowing what you desire is more important now than it has been at any other point in human history. From the moment we get up in the morning we are picking and choosing the life that we want to live, from the small-scale (what we put on, what we have for breakfast, what songs we listen to in the car) to the big things (what kind of work we do, who we date and mate with, if and when to start a family).

Our lives are filled with choices that our ancestors never had to wrestle with. Ancient people wore the same thing everyday, ate the food that they could get their hands on, mated with other people in their tribe. Their “work” was doing whatever they needed to survive. They had families when they happened to get pregnant.

Now all these questions take up space in our consciousness, and the choices just keep multiplying. Suddenly everything is personalized and on-demand. You no longer have to listen to what is on the radio because you can create your own playlist or radio station. The whole world is at your fingertips. You can watch/listen/date what and who you want, when you want.

So this begs the question, what exactly do you want? Like what do you really, really want?

We have gotten so used to wanting what we think we want, what we are supposed to want, what other people want us to want, that our truest desires have become buried and hidden. Every so often some little piece of this treasure will find its way to the surface, a little whisper in your ear late at night. But if you continue to dismiss these desires, these callings from your soul, as childish fantasies, they will show up less and less and eventually stop all together.

We are bombarded by hundreds, if not thousands, of images and words every day that are trying to tell us what we should desire. New sports car. Designer purse. Diamond ring. Carl’s Jr.

That’s why now more than ever it is so important to take the time to hear, listen to, and heed your own intuition. Your desires aren’t somewhere out there, waiting for some witty advertisement and svelte body to sell themselves to you. What you really desire is already within you, desperately waiting for you to start to take notice.

So take time to get quiet. Step away from the TV and the computer and your smart phone. Meditate. Pray. Go outside. Turn down the volume on everything “out there” and turn up the volume on your own feelings, your own voice, your own soul. Get to know your desires intimately. When you strip away all the stuff that doesn’t really matter you are left with your own raw and bleeding desires. The desires that quicken your pulse, flush your cheeks or just make you go ahhh, this is what life is all about.

And if that’s not beautiful and honest and pure, I don’t know what is.

Kale and Winter Citrus Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 head organic lacinto kale

1 large avocado

1 sumo citrus (or other large citrus fruit)

1 blood orange

¼ cup raw almonds, chopped

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

¼ tsp. Trocomare or sea salt

black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Wash your kale and remove stalk. Dry and cut into thin strips. Pour olive oil and squeeze lemon over kale. Add salt and pepper. I use a pepper mill and typically crank it 5-10 times. Massage kale with your hands for a minute or so, until the fibers start to break down. Allow kale to sit for 5 minutes and soak in the gorgeous juices.

Peel your avocado and citrus fruits. Cut all into bite-sized pieces, looking out for any seeds in the citrus and removing. Finally, add in your almonds and toss gently.

 

The Book that Every Woman (and straight man!) Needs to Read

Don’t let the title of this book scare you. To be completely honest, I let it scare me away for a little while. I ordered other books thinking, “Nah, I don’t need this one,” but it kept popping up in ways that I couldn’t keep ignoring. Random blogs I read mentioned it. A picture appeared on someone’s Instagram feed that I follow. It was on some top 10 list of books for women.

Finally, I relented and added the Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston to my Amazon shopping cart.

The fact that I even hesitated on ordering this book says something. I don’t consider myself conservative in that sense and I believe wholeheartedly that sexual health is paramount to women’s overall wellness and joy. Yet, the title was so…apparent, in my face, its contents could not be misconstrued, and I found myself feeling slightly uncomfortable. Like many of you, I have grown up in a society where sex, especially the enjoyment of sex by women, is a taboo. As American women, we are simultaneously told that we are to enjoy sex and not lay there like a dead fish (more for our partner’s enjoyment than our own), but if you enjoy it too much society is quick to slap you with a “slut” or “loose” label, or worse. So women’s arousal, while being a completely natural subject matter, comes with a good deal of cultural baggage.

I recognized my discomfort and realized it was a perfect time to practice what I preach, knowing that a huge part of reclaiming the wild feminine is about reconnecting to all parts of our bodies. I clicked “Complete Purchase”.

Once I received the book, I devoured it in a matter of days. And as per my usual custom, I would share interesting or particularly juicy tidbits with my husband and friends. Truly, this book is a beautiful look into how a woman’s body is built for pleasure. The Anatomy of Women’s Arousal is the user’s manual that every young woman should have been given, a guidebook to her own body, told in a way that is not shameful or clinical, but natural and loving. Sexual pleasure is our birthright and it’s a tragedy that as women we have disconnected from this part of our body and human experience, feeling that it is dirty and shameful.

I particularly loved how the author illustrates the inextricable link between sexual pleasure and fertility/reproduction. In Western medicine and textbooks, we tend to see the two as completely separate systems that just happen to use some of the same “parts”. Reproduction is seen as the beautiful and the true purpose of intercourse, while pleasure is only a base, carnal and hedonistic instinct. But they are all part of one glorious cycle and once we reclaim that interconnectedness we will begin to feel more wholeness in our bodies and become steeped in the magic of the feminine.

I want to share one sample tidbit that I learned from the book that you might not know. Did you know that when a woman is sexually aroused her uterus pulls up and out of the way? When I read that I was like, “Wait, whaaaa??? The uterus MOVES??” This movement serves two purposes. One, it makes way for the penis. If you allow your partner to penetrate you before you are ready, you not only get a lot of uncomfortable friction, but the head of the penis can actually hit your cervix resulting in doubly painful intercourse. Second, the space left by the uterus and cervix pulling up and back make a little gathering pool for the sperm at the back of your vagina, which increases your odds of fertilization. Basically, if you are enjoying sex and having orgasms, you better your odds of having a baby than if you ignore your own pleasure!! The moral of that story is that even if you are “trying” to get pregnant it’s best to make it a steamy and saucy affair.

This was but one of the many things that I learned about my own body by reading this book. I came away from it with a renewed sense of awe of how beautifully we are created. I don’t want to give away too much, so I urge you to order this book now and develop a deeper understanding of your own feminine body. PLUS, there are little callout boxes scattered throughout and a special chapter at the end with wonderful tips and tricks for you gentlemen to ensure that you are keeping your woman fully satisfied. Perfect in time for Valentine’s Day…

 

 

2015 is Off to Quite the Start!

Hello my lovely birdies.

I am writing this on February 1st at a coffee shop in my parents’ neighborhood. Outside it’s cold and windy, and I am enjoying a macchiato and free wi-fi while trying to grasp everything that has happened thus far in 2015. We are only one month in and yet my life has changed rather dramatically! For that reason, I am straying a little bit from my usual format in this newsletter to catch you up with what’s been going on in my life. It has definitely solidified my faith in the power of desire and intention, and showed me how important it is to carve out little moments for my feminine self.

Let’s start at the beginning. Winter Solstice 2014. It was time for me to revisit my Desire Map and start planning for 2015. How did I want to feel this year? What would I do to feel that way? What did I want to accomplish? Last year I did this work solo. At that time I was brand new to the Desire Map, I had never done anything like it, and I needed space and quiet time to hear my soul’s calling. This time around I realized how interwoven my core desired feelings and intentions were with my husband’s. I knew that 2015 was going to be a big year, and we needed to be on the same page; our plans and desires for our joint life needed to align.

So we made dinner and then we got down to business. We started by talking about how we wanted to feel in all areas of our life. We looked at our goals with a critical eye. Would achieving those goals make us feel the way we wanted to? If not, we looked at them closer and if they still didn’t cut the mustard, we scrapped them all together. We set new intentions. We fine-tuned. We drank wine. And when we were done we had a list of all the things we wanted for ourselves in 2015. #1 on that list? Move to Austin.

Cut to a couple weeks later. The Tuesday morning after Eric had gone back to work post-holidays I get a text. “LA office is closing. Will call you when I know more.” The company my husband works for is based in Austin. Roughly two weeks after we declared our intention to move back to Texas, an opportunity presented itself. The company would relocate us, help pay for moving costs, and a job would be waiting for my husband when he got there. He would just need to start by the end of the month.

Our decision was a no-brainer. This was the perfect opportunity for us. Once we had a firm move date, I went into full-on planning mode. In order to get everything done, I had to rely on the masculine side of myself: goal-oriented and task-driven. Not only were we moving cross-country in three weeks, but I also decided to move up my Desire Map workshop planned for mid-February to January 24th. I knew that workshop aligned perfectly with my core desired feelings {WILD. MAGICAL. CONNECTED.} and I didn’t want to let it go. It was a beautiful day, but I will elaborate more on that in a different post.

For most of the month I was running around like crazy, checking items off my various to-do lists, packing up boxes while simultaneously buying new things that I needed for my workshop. But I also made sure to carve out times for my feminine self. I knew I needed that to maintain my sanity. I meditated. Did yoga or the S Factor workout on my mat surrounded by boxes. Had dinner with friends. I gave myself solo time to reflect and feel what this move would mean for my life. I cried. Quite a few times I cried.

Many of those tears were met with, “Oh no, don’t cry! This is exciting!! This is a great move for you!” by well-meaning friends and people in my life. But here’s the thing. I needed to cry. I wanted to cry. I was sad. I have always been quite the emotional little creature and quick to tears of both happiness and sadness, and I have learned to embrace that about myself. I knew that I needed to allow myself to actually feel my feelings, to not run away from them or have them get lost in an endless of sea of tasks. The only way out is through, or however the saying goes.

This move signifies a new phase in my life. A shift from youth into adulthood. For some, the phases of their life appear to flow seamlessly one into the other, but mine has had definitive chapters. And in order for my new chapter to begin the previous one must be wrapped up. My Los Angeles chapter has been my longest one yet! LA was college, my twenties, my first job, being underpaid, the initial taste of responsibility and independence, amazing friends, getting drunk and spending Sundays hungover on the couch, figuring out what I wanted out of life, growing up and no longer wanting to waste Sundays on the couch, hiking after the rain, yoga, becoming a doggie parent, meeting my husband and beginning to build our life together, more amazing friends, finally leaving my job, starting my own business, embracing my desires instead of hiding from them. If I were to give my life in Los Angeles one word, I think that word would be BECOMING. It was about finding and becoming who I was meant to be.

I think it’s natural to grieve the ending of one chapter or phase, even when we are excited about the new one coming up. Our feelings aren’t black and white, and in order to have the richest life experience possible we need to embrace the gray. In the last month I have felt excited, anxious, sad, worried, happy, and hopeful…sometimes simultaneously. Was it comfortable? Not really. But the alternative was to numb out and not feel at all.

It’s with all these conflicting emotions that I am driving down to Austin tomorrow to move into our new home. I have no idea what this next phase of my life will hold, but I am pretty darn excited about it.

 

What in Your Life are you Just Dealing With?

RiskToRemainTightBud

I came to a massive realization the other day. I had this sudden “aha” moment after coming back from a physical therapy appointment. The therapist asked me how long my left shoulder had been bothering me. I thought for a moment, and then replied, “Mmmm probably something like two years or so.” He looked at me a little astonished and said, “Wow that’s a long time to be dealing with something like this.”

I had never really thought about it that way. Instead I would say to myself, “It’s so much better now than it used to be! I mean, I still can’t do pole tricks on my left side, or do a vinyasa in my yoga class, or even tuck the tag back into my shirt with my left hand, but that’s no big deal, right?”

Hello, wake up call. If this injury affects me on a daily basis, that’s kind of a big deal. My husband and friends had been pushing for me to go see a doctor for so long, but I kept resisting. To me, my shoulder injury was more like a nuisance that I could tolerate. But now I had to ask myself, why was I tolerating this? It wasn’t a fear of doctors (though I can be a little hesitant to go see them). It wasn’t the money. I just felt like it was fine; I could work through the pain.

In a flash, I could see all the times in my life where I knew that something was completely right, but I had just “dealt with it”. Staying in jobs that didn’t resonate with me. Other injuries that I never took care of. My car being stolen and never replaced. The list went on and on.

“Holy schnitzballs”, I thought to myself, “I am really good at dealing with shit”. This behavior pattern was rooted in the make the best with what you’re given mentality; the old when life hands you lemons you make lemonade belief. But if life hands you lemons and you are really not feeling lemonade, why not just go to the corner store and buy a freakin’ orange? I realized the orange was within my power. I didn’t have to accept the lemon! This was huge a revelation! I realized all the time I accepted the lemons, or “dealt with” something that I knew wasn’t right on some level (whether that be physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually), I was actually preventing myself from thriving. You simply cannot thrive when you are tolerating.

So this is my question to you. What you are you dealing with or tolerating in your life? What doesn’t really feel good to you, but you accept it anyway? How can you begin to shift some of those circumstances so that you allow yourself to really thrive and shine? And it doesn’t all have to happen overnight. For me, going to physical therapy for my shoulder twice a week is huge. In the past, I would have never taken the time or money to take care of myself like that. I would have let the pain run its course until one day I would probably injure myself to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. And I have to say that taking care of myself in this way feels glorious!! I gotta walk my talk on this whole self-love gig!

And while I am not buying a new car quite yet, just being aware of my own propensity to deal with things that are not ideal is a big step for me. And that my birdies is an achievement worth celebrating!