Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stress and the light bulb

Do you know how you know when you are really stressed?  You can’t remember anything; you walk in a room and forget why you walked there in the first place?  You cannot seem to focus on even the most mundane jobs and then you beat yourself up for being so stupid?  Does this sound familiar?

This is all too familiar for me.  Stress can sneak up on you too.  I think I am being super productive, working so hard, doing all the right things.  I push myself to do one more task, got to get that “to do” list done before I can rest.  I often say to myself, if only I had more time, (or you might say more money, the right job, car, clothes etc.…) I might then get everything done that I need.  I might then have peace and happiness. But instead I find myself with signs and symptoms of ADHD, (or at my age is it Alzheimer’s?!)  My productivity slows down to a dribble…this is when even the simplest problems and decisions can seem so overwhelming and I cannot see the simplest solution right under my nose.   It is also when the little roadblocks also seem like mountains.

Case in point, I’ve been trying to clean out my office and especially my office desk for an eternity, guests are coming so the Ego says this is eminent.  To add insult to injury, the days are becoming shorter and although I have a sunroom for an office the lighting sucks and when the sun goes down so does my eyesight.  I even splurged and had my husband buy me two new office lamps for me for Christmas which came yesterday to solve “THE Problem” but last night as I tried to assemble them so I could see start cleaning the office out (of course it was close to midnight….) I discover they came broken…..ARRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!  Father time is clicking and I’ve convinced myself there is not enough time, money etc.….  It is also this week that my old office furniture decides it has had enough of my abuse.  The pretty looking file cabinets decide to collapse under the mountains of paper that I try to stuff into them, the handles come off my desk cabinets (because I’ve stuffed them too full, the bottom falls out of the big center desk…. You get the picture.  I get the message that it is past time to purge.  To let go of the old so I can bring in the new.  I’ve detoxed my body, lost the last 15 pounds to obtain my ideal weight but now need to clean the clutter in my office and my mind.  Like my nutritional coaching, I have to be kind and gentle to myself, listen to the messages that are being delivered to me.  STOP, LOOK and LISTEN.

I need to stop the negative mantras or ANTs in the head.  Deepak Chopra says that if you think there is not enough time, that is the surest, fastest way to high blood pressure, a heart attack and stress related illness and you will indeed succeed at your self imposed self fulfilling prophesy.  So I have to admit it, so it is with money too, or weight loss or finding that dream job or whatever goal it is that you are seeking.  You will only obtain that which you feel worthy of and the only way to self worth is to look at and accept both the light and the dark sides of ourselves clearly and kindly without harsh judgments.   To honestly look at what is holding us back. We must look at our fears and have the courage to move forward in spite of them.  This is why I have my own coach, my own sponsor and my own beautiful support groups.

So my only option last night was to stop and go to bed.  This morning when I woke up I took the time to journal (a beautiful and necessary gift from me to myself).  I wrote my to do list and then returned to my dark office to begin the process of cleaning off the desk.  I then noticed that one of the bulbs in the desk lamp is burned out and the other environmentally better bulb, (that was supposed to last 100’s of years without changing) had gradually slowly over time, lost almost all of its lumens. 

Isn’t this how chronic illness, anxiety and emotional discomfort develop?  Slowly over time, barely noticeable until some message hits us, we wake up and realize we cannot continue doing things the same way?

I went into the kitchen to find a new light bulb (forgetting why I walked in there when I saw the mess I’d made there the night before) finally found a new bulb and replaced it.

VOILA!  What a difference the new light bulb made on illuminating my desk!  I can now begin the process, one step at a time and it really wasn’t all that difficult or expensive to fix. How often do we create and or amplify our problems by not taking time or the steps to care for ourselves first?  How often do we ignore self care until it comes up to bite us (yes Lisa, this means organizational and financial health too) How often do we let our perceived stress control us instead of us controlling our time, money and attitudes?

It’s our successes that enable us to more freely move forward.  Recognize the small successes; celebrate the progress and the journey.  Maybe we can even laugh at our own humanness.  As my daughter Dana says, “Practice not perfection”.  Being mindful of what we want to bring into our lives.  Replace the fear with light and hope, self love and forgiveness.

Today, I am not only going to just clean off the desk, I am going to purge that which I no longer need. 

Can anyone tell me how to dispose of this “environmentally safer” mercury bulb?

Food for thought; I would love your comments.

Carpe Diem & Namaste.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

More thoughts on Healing From Within

It was no accident that I titled my blog, “Healing from Within”. Intuitively I knew that all health, all healing has to come from within.  I say intuitively because this is not what I was taught growing up or in nursing school.  Our western thought is that science is king and if we just have the right diagnosis, the right doctor, the right therapist, we can get the answer we are seeking to “fix” our problems.

But what if our problems, our discomfort, our dis-ease isn’t a bad thing?  What if we took a paradigm shift in thinking and looked at these “issues” as gifts?  As a message to us from ourselves, or from God or from a higher power or whatever you can accept for the moment.  What if we looked upon ourselves lovingly like a parent looks at a child learning to walk when they fall down?  That falling down is just a natural part of the journey of life.  Scraped knees teach us balance, how to stand erect and ride a bicycle.

What if we took the negative judgment away, could we be more apt to find a solution?  Might then the journey feel loving and kind instead of fearful and overwhelming?  Might the journey even be joyful?

What if we focused on the first root chakra in Yoga Dance and the mantra, “I have”. What if we truly believed that we had enough?  We had enough time, enough money, enough food, enough shelter.  What if we changed our internal dialogue of “There’s never enough time” or “if I only had more money, more time, more whatever….” What if we felt and acted like we do have all that we need right here and right now, to be happy and satisfied with ourselves, in this moment.  What if we accepted that we are here where we are supposed to be to learn what it is we need to learn in this journey called life?  Could we then give ourselves permission to breathe deeply and fully? Could we then lessen our anxiety and fear? Could we possibly even be more productive?  Might we even laugh at ourselves? 

Could we then accept that we are all perfectly imperfect?  I believe that this is the reason to practice the art of (self) loving kindness and the practice needs to begin within, here and now. 

This is where a coach, a group, a therapist, or a good trustworthy friend can help.  Come begin to practice self care and loving kindness with me at a Let Your Yoga Dance Class Sunday afternoon in Great Falls, Va at Beloved Yoga Studio

Namaste & Carpe Diem,


Sunday, November 18, 2012

One more on ESSENCE....

I’ve heard that we teach that which we need to learn.  That is certainly true for me with both the Fall Food Demo classes and Let Your Yoga Dance.  Last night, I couldn’t sleep.  I woke up again to pain in my neck and instead of berating myself for not knowing why I can’t “just fix this” with the right yoga stretch and massage, the thought occurred to me, “What is my body trying to tell me?”  Perhaps, I need to practice more of what I preach….

So I came downstairs to meditate on this question, to surrender to my need to “fix it” to let go of the need to control it and to just feel the pain and it occurred to me to practice the ESSENCE meditation that I had written about earlier this summer in my newsletter and then again in a blog (that I had written but just now posted).  I write a lot, but for one reason or another have not posted all of my blogs.  Why? Perhaps it is due to my own censorship, fear of inadequacy, lack of social media skills or the belief that I don't have enough time.  Deepak Chopra says, “If we think we don’t have enough time we won’t”…

So if my body is trying to tell me something, do I believe that my body is punitive or loving?  I choose to believe that my body loves me; and that our God (or higher power) also loves me, like a parent.  What are these loving thoughts then?  Is my pain telling me that I am weak or not good enough? That I'm innately bad? Is it telling me that it is my fault that I am ill?  Is it judgmental?  Is it shameful?

OR is my body merely just trying to get my attention?  Does it have to scream louder because I refuse to slow down… to stop, look and listen?  Or is it because I refuse to take time to meditate; to believe in myself, and the wisdom that lies innately within.  Is this really the essence of healing?

Which thought is more conducive to health?  Which thought would you choose today?  One that you are broken and need to be fixed; or one that is about taking back your health and of self-empowerment?  This is the paradigm shift in thinking that has to happen to heal healthcare.  This is the essence of what we do together in a coaching session.  This type of breakthrough thinking is what leads to self-love and self care.  We learn to choose to silence the ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) and to create a new more loving script to live by.

I then Googled “yoga poses for insomnia” and reviewed exactly what it is I need to teach in this afternoon’s yoga class.  The workshop series I am doing at Beloved Yoga Studio offers food and a discussion after each Let Your Yoga Dance Class, and today our topic is staying “Healthy through the Holidays”.

I then slept for 5 ½ hours straight; which is exactly what my body needed!   Namaste & Carpe Diem!

More on Essence

I’ve had several opportunities that remind me of the challenge to face our own fears and the power of a meditation and spiritual practice.  Whether we are struggling from chronic pain, a life threatening illness, or simply the courage to change, we all experience fear.  Unchecked fear is self-sabotaging at best, and worse case, can be incapacitating.

This weekend I felt a sadness that I had difficulty putting my finger on or explaining why.  This morning I allowed myself time and introspection to explore this.  I recently attended my daughters best friends wedding, a wedding celebration that was so beautifully and generously given by a large extended catholic family who like many families appear to be filled with good fortune, good looks, good incomes and close family relations.  Knowing something of this family for the past 22 years, I know that they are like every other family or individual, not without their many trials and tests, not without times of sadness, doubt and fear.  But this weekend was a celebration of hope, love and joy, the essence of what sustains us during our times of doubt and fear.

So today I have given myself the time and the gift to continue to read Healing Essence, The Proven Path to Wellness by Mitchell Gaynor, M.D. and Medical Director, Cornell Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine.  I was also gifted by two phone calls that came out of the blue at the exact right time.  First from one of my coaches, a peer coach from Institute of Integrative Nutrition who encouraged me not to give up on my chosen path and journey or which I have had many doubts and fears this summer (ever since Dana’s Oncologist gave us his statistics on her prognosis, statistics that breed doubt and fear and despair).

The second call was from another coach and sponsor in my own recovery program who happened to call after about an hour of my own ESSENCE meditation.  I was able to share with her some of my sadness and tears that I felt and to talk about where they are coming from.  How my doubts and fears keep me paralyzed from moving forward.  How sitting with and accepting and acknowledging the sadness has opened up the opportunity for conversation, for productive learning.  I am recognizing how my own fears of not being good enough keep me frantically looking outside of myself for the answers.  I so intuitively titled my blog Healing from Within and yet I continue to look outside of my mind, body and house for the solutions.  For instance, this past week I met with two different compounding pharmacies, read another book on amino supplementation and spoke with a Medical Doctor about my clients and my daughter and what supplements and cellular renewal products I should be recommending.  I spend hours researching to discover the “right recommendations” that I might give, as if it is my responsibility alone to “fix, heal and cure”.  I needed this reminder that I am a coach, I am human and I do not, nor never will, have all of the answers.  But most importantly, the answers to our own self-healing and health are inside of us each moment of each day.  

To quote Dr. Gaynor, “Doubt has become a habit for most of us.  Bad habits, like cancers, can multiply out of control if not checked. This is why meditation is so important.  When you can make a habit of trusting your essence, even when doubt is present, an inner peace can be maintained throughout adversity.  It is all a matter of living in the moment and being conscious of what is internal and what is external.  Then you may choose to trust what is inside rather than doubt what is outside.  You can doubt only when your awareness is in the past or the future.  When your awareness is in the moment, no matter what you are doing becomes a meditation in itself.”  Remember in the Karate Kid movie, “Wax on, Wipe off”?

“That is why now-this very moment-is synonymous with eternity.  When you are aware of your essence, you can always only be in the moment….” 

“By maintaining the intention to experience your essence and its truth, you bring forth your ability to experience healing, abundance, and a deep sense of your own worth in all situations.”  When you begin to see your obstacles and misconceptions as opportunities for growth, you begin to understand the Buddhist saying, “The greater the hindrance, the greater the enlightenment.” The depression that can arise from adversity, illness, and loss can thus be seen as stepping-stones along your own path for healing.”

In that case I should be quite enlightened by now!!

As I was working through the meditation to releasing sadness and melancholy I realized that first I need to release the fear (and the self-doubt that perpetuates the fear).  I realized that I am asking others to believe as I do in the idea of healing from within, but that I have not practiced this myself to overcome my own limitations that are keeping me stuck.

Here is the exercise that Dr. Gaynor outlines:

Begin with the breathing exercise.
1.    EXPERIENCE: Experience exactly where in your body you feel your fear (or pain).  Feel its exact location, size, shape, color and temperature.  Visualize this as energy.  Pick only one area of your body at a time.
2.    SEE:  Visualize the light of your essence located above the top of your head.
3.    SURRENDER: Surrender your fear to the higher power of your essence by visualizing its energy being released upwards into the light of your essence.
4.    EMPOWER: Empower and strengthen this healing by recalling your essence. Feel this as warm, healing light, which you can direct with each in-breath, into the area you are working on.
5.    NURTURE:  Nurture the idea of a life free of fear.
6.    CREATE: Create a space for your higher power to continue to guide you by visualizing a channel through which the light of your essence can continue to flow in and the negativity you are working with can flow out.
7.    EMBODY: Embody and externalize this healing by visualizing the light of your essence flowing into each cell of your body.

Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, and this moment.  Lisa