Monday, November 24, 2014

Feel & Eat Better (More Relaxed & True to YOU) This Thanksgiving & Holiday Season

Let's face it: Thanksgiving (and the whole holiday season) is challenging for almost everyone, in terms of healthy eating, balance, and taking care of ourselves.

Why do you think we hit New Years hungry for resolutions? We're hungry to come back to ourselves and to come back to our centers after so much cultural and big-business driven pressure to Indulge, Spend and Expend energy (money as well as our personal reserves).

I've been on a non-mainstream, alternative path for quite some time. I'm not interested in what is normal or mainstream - in fact, those things have been what tend to make me (and most of us) sick and stressed.

I am more interested in what is "mystream" or my way of being and operating optimally. Naturally, when we do things according to what we truly need and desire, we feel better all around. We're more healthy, happy and we make better choices for ourselves.

Seven Ways to Feel & Eat Better (More Relaxed &True to YOU) This Thanksgiving & Holiday Season:
  • Remember: This is a holiday. Family (& all associated stresses) are around. We have a lot to do, including our regular lives. Many of us travel. The food is amazing and too much. The social and cultural programming say "It's only once [sic] a year! Indulge!" Realize you are human. Don't set up unreal expectations. And don't just throw it all to the wind, later feeling huge, stuffed and like total garbage either. The repercussions of doing that reverberate into all kinds of personal guilt, shame and beating ourselves up.
  • Be grateful. It's the Giving of Thanks Day! Gratitude elevates our mood, mindset and energetic vibration (yes, they can actually measure this with machines now!), releases feel-good, calming hormones and brings you back into the present moment, out of all the other thoughts in your mind. Write down 3 things you are grateful for first thing in the morning, before you go to see anyone else or check your phone, and/or right before bed.
  • DO set an intention and write it down. The written word is taken more seriously, even by our own subconscious. How do you want to feel? What do you want to eat? What do you want to enjoy? How do you want to be more yourself this Thanksgiving and holiday season? 
  • Find someone else who's at dinner who has similar intentions and buddy up with them. Social support is HUGE.
  • Get connected with your body. The day before AND the day of. Make time for a yoga or spin class (bring a family member, everyone seems to want to feel healthier these days). Go for a long morning or suggest an after-dinner walk. Breathe fresh air. FEEL your stomach. Ask it if and what it's hungry for.
  • Savor. Make a commitment to be more mindful and to really slow down and enjoy what you are eating. Fully chew and swallow each bite before taking the next. When you're in conversation, pause eating and just be with the other person. There will be plenty of time to eat... it's Thanksgiving. And when you're eating, be with the amazing deliciousness of your food. Get out of your head and enjoy the bounty, after all! Use good judgment with what and how much you eat, but eat what you really want. 
  • Have compassion for yourself. Every day is a fresh day. We all (even when we've done a lot of inner work) seem to expect/dream/hope, in some facet of ourselves, that we'll do it perfect this time. Let that go. You're not perfect. And that's perfect, beautiful and real. Thanks for being you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Catching the "Poor Me" Mindset & Two Keys to Changing Your State of Mind

It was the morning before I had to leave and I was feeling heavy. Pouty. Sorry for myself. I knew I'd be working all through the coming weekend and my mind was going all sorts of unfortunate places. "It's everyone else's weekend and I'm going to be WORKING. I'm already tired and the weekend hasn't even started yet. I'm going to be exhausted. My back is probably going to hurt and freak out on me. I don't really want to do this. This is going to be stressful. I'll have to be 'ON' the whole time. I'm not ready for this. I wish I could just stay home and veg..."

I had the honor of being invited to cook and bring my essential oil alchemy to David Cho's Fall Yoga & Meditation Retreat. The Friday morning of, I wasn't feeling it. I found myself dreading what was coming, wanting to curl up and go back to bed.

And then I caught myself.

Not "I caught you doing something bad!" but a catching myself gently with compassion and love. This has taken practice, presence and a keen awareness. But what I was able to shift for myself in that moment, before I even walked in my front door, in a way feels nothing short of world-changing.

At least, it completely changed my attitude, my mood and my experience of the weekend.

Catching myself meant being able to see the stories and the reality I was creating for myself... to see the "Poor Me" dialogue I was telling myself in my head. And to realize that I had a choice. I said to myself, only one block from home and minutes from starting my full-on packing preparations,

"This is not the experience I want to have. I don't want to go in bitterness, heaviness and dread."

It would have been easy to let myself play out my victim "this-is-happening-to-me and I-don't-have-any-choice-in-the-matter" game. But I didn't want to bring that energy to the retreat, for myself or for the other beings there. That was not the experience I wanted to create. That wasn't who I wanted to be.

Ok, self. What experience DO you want to have? How do you want this to go this weekend? How DO you want to feel and show up?

I took a deep breath noticed how hunched my body was. I stood up and straightened my spine. I lifted my heart and chest, letting my shoulders fall down my back. I wanted to go in a spirit of capability, nourishment, service, openness and empowerment. I began walking into the sense of self-knowing I wanted to embody.

I envisioned myself in my favorite red dress, owning it. I let myself feel and swing my hips, feel sexy and alive. I told myself how capable I was, reminded myself that I knew what to do and all I had to do was show up and be me. That was enough. I could trust myself to do that.

I filled my lungs and stretched my arms out, looking up to the sky, feeling somehow bigger, like more was now possible. When I got home, I showered, changed into one of my favorite outfits and put on my most sensual, empowering essential oil Skin Scent.

Did I still have resistance to letting myself shift like that? Yes. But I asked myself to let it happen, to let it be that easy. Change is only as hard as you hold onto your resistance.

Here are two keys I use to change my mind:
  1. I changed my body language. I walked my inner talk until I could feel and believe and be it fully, inside and out.
  2. That morning and parts of the weekend still required me to stay out of my "poor me" stories, which continued to surface. When I noticed them, I took a breath and looked around. I got present. And then I focused on what I was doing, one moment at a time.

The weekend was beautiful. We had our first autumn rain and the air was fresh, cool, earthy, sweet. We were cozy inside. The food was delicious and nourishing. I let myself be me, surprising myself by making $200 just showing up and sharing what I love. I let myself take my time and take care of myself and the whole weekend felt mindful. I connected with and exchanged ideas with a beautiful community of people. By the end, I was tired. And I enjoyed myself.

I like to think that letting myself enjoy is to be "in joy" which is to embrace and experience all of what comes, all of what I feel. To me, that is inner peace.

The next time you catch yourself in a pouty, pissy or poor-me mental space, remember that only you can make you happy. You can change your mind at any time.

All that stuff going on outside of you? It really is happening. But you get to decide how you're going to respond. Your state of mind can be managed and shifted if you allow for the possibility and put your energy towards what you want.

What do you think? What's the most challenging part about this for you? What tricks do you use to help yourself stay present or make the shift?