Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Lessons Learned & New Year's Resolutions

This has been a year of intense grief and sorrow, and as my beautiful daughter so elegantly expressed, coexisting with periods of joy.

 https://www.facebook.com/existdetroit/videos/2083596808535202/ We started with the one year celebration of our grandson followed two weeks later by the passing of our son in law. I’ve struggled on how to support both my daughter and clients during times of loss. One client who lost her husband after 50 years together and another client in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. What do you do when you are at a loss for words? I read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Option B but that didn’t resonate with me like Maria Sirois, PsyD book, A Short Course in Happiness After Loss (and other Dark, Difficult Times).  Here I am struggling on what to do to help my daughter, and she went and did it herself. Which by the way, is the only way for transformation, growth or change to occur. She took her grief and started the Forced Joy Project to find some joy, meaning and purpose amongst her immense sorrow. As a health coach I’ve learned this very valuable lesson. No one fixes you. You are not broken. You are a perfectly-imperfect, human being, with your own journey on this planet. We can share our experiences, we can be guides through difficult times, but the body, mind, spirit and soul are self-healing and self-repairing. You have the ability to heal from within. The practice of yoga can help release tension, pent up feelings and emotions, as well as help cultivate awareness and focus leading to physical, mental and emotional growth and peace. Dana again, beautifully shows us how. 


I’ve written about the pancha maya model of yoga and how the body follows the mind and the mind follows the breath. I’ve had clients overcome anxiety and fear through dedicated breath work practice. The only thing we know for sure is that all of us will die. Some like Bradford Frost,
my son in law, far too soon. Others like Simba (who woke me up one morning bouncing up the stairs, took his normal one mile walk, in seemingly perfect shape) without any warning.

 As adults, what we do have control over is how we choose to live our lives. One dear client of mine shared this analogy. We are like flower pots. We can decide what soil we put in the pot, what we want to plant, how we feed and nourish ourselves. What can we do to live awesome full lives NOW? What little changes can we make in 2018 to feel our best? According to one of the largest health studies, the Framingham nurses study, the number one factor for overall health and cancer prevention, is diversity in the diet. Yet most of us eat the same 4 foods day in and day out consisting of wheat, corn, soy and dairy. Foods that have been subsidized and adulterated. This monoculture that has led us to the current epidemic in chronic disease. With so much abundance of food, our choices are often lacking in essential phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. To fight fatigue, we resort to caffeine and succumb to sugar cravings that keep us on a mental, physical, and emotional roller coaster. My pledge this year is:
  1.  To expand my Kick-Start recipes to add more diversity. The best way to add diversity is to eat seasonally. Here’s what I had for breakfast at the Detroit Parks & Rec Diner:
 
Fisherman’s Board of citrus smoked salmon, dill crème fraiche, local radish, soft boiled duck egg, picked vegetables that included garlic scape and cranberries. Delicious!
  1. Follow my daughter’s lead and find more joy. I’m going to start teaching Carpe Diem Dance (my joyful movement to music incorporating breathwork, meditation and yoga) Wednesday mornings at Rise Wellbeing Center in Reston, Virginia Wednesday mornings in January. 
  2. Continue to grow my business being mindful to include boundaries and schedule in time to celebrate a new Granddaughter, family vacation, and to prioritize self-care. 
To keep me on track and at my best, I've started My Life Plan and just renewed my contract with my own coach and mentors.


What are your plans for the New Year? How will you choose to live your best life? I would love to hear from you!

Lisa


About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT-500, FDN-P, AFMC
Lisa is an author, inspirational speaker and coach, with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age. 
 
Lisa's book, Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven step process towards optimal health that is fun and transformational. 
Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Healthy messages for Capitol Hill Luncheon

Friday, I had the privilege of speaking on Capitol Hill for Congressional staffers, Government Relations, and Lobbyists on, "Effective strategies,  and thoughtful ways to avoid unwanted excess food, sweets and drinks during the Holiday seasons."


Here’s a few strategies from my talk:
  1. HALT - Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (you will grab and eat anything)
  2. Eat before the party. Include healthy fats and protein to sustain you.
  3. Hydrate. Drink plenty of clean filtered water throughout the day between meals.
  4. Make or bring a decadent delicious dessert that is also healthful and energizing. (see below)
  5. Recognize that the purpose of the party is to socialize and connect. Food and alcohol are secondary and optional.
  6. Cultivate mindfulness in each bite. Is this nourishing and loving to your body or will this create further dis-ease? Your body will let you know.  Breathe deeply and eat slowly to give your body the message that it is safe to rest and digest and repair.
  7. Most of all enjoy the holidays!
Here's my dessert recipe that the Executive Chef prepared for us to practice mindful eating:


Chocolate Pudding Dip  
  • 3 avocados
  • 6 T Raw Cacao Powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • dash sea salt
Puree first four ingredients in food processor until smooth. Sprinkle with sea salt and enjoy! Garnish with mint and serve as a dip with organic strawberries and/or pineapple with toothpicks for dipping.
Includes 5 grams of Protein, 13 grams of fiber and essential fats and omega's.
 Wishing you Peace & Pure Joy throughout the Holidays & the New Year!


With Love & Gratitude,

Lisa


About Lisa Jackson, RN, CHC, RYT, FDN-P, AFMC

Lisa is a retired Registered Nurse, yoga teacher, author, inspirational speaker, and a Certified Functional Medicine Coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.

Lisa's book Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step system towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is founder of Carpe Diem Wellness and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking, or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.



Sunday, December 3, 2017

Clarity

This morning I sit in clarity.  This is the power of yoga and meditation. Today, I’m preparing for my clients.  I love my client’s; they inspire me to keep doing what I do.  I have some clients with scary diagnoses; a couple of clients with more than ten diagnoses. Successful, well-educated individuals whose “job” now is spent going to doctors.  I have other clients who simply want to lose a few pounds or want support to rediscover lost passions, purpose and direction.

This morning, I’m reviewing complex organic acid and hormone testing. I’m putting together the unique puzzle for my individual clients. I’m looking at urinary bi-products to ascertain missing nutrients, biological markers of toxicity, neurotransmitter insufficiencies, gut dysbiosis, and oxidative stress markers. In doing so, a simple solution emerges. One that is essential for all of us, no matter our goals. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the complexity that we forget the power of simple solutions.



Yes, reviewing testing to find root cause is extremely powerful. It gives us concrete action items to develop a personalized plan towards rebuilding health.  This is the power and essence of functional medicine testing. It enables one to look below the surface signs and symptoms so often simply palliated with medications.


Equally important is to understand what is needed to follow through to execute the plan. To uncover and address the common roadblocks that gets in the way. This is the power and essence of coaching.
What is the medicine that we all need the most? A Mother’s medicine. Your job, no matter the dis-ease, is to unconditionally love yourself. To nourish, nurture and love your God given body. For most, this is a new skill.  If you did not have a stellar role model, you may wish for guidance and support.

It’s true, love heals. A heart in love is physiologically different than a heart filled with worry, pain or fear. Different chemicals are emitted, sending different messages to cells and organs affecting function. Send love to your body every day and the body will heal.  A hug and a teddy bear are as strong as any synthetic medication, without the side effects!

This holiday season, what loving messages can you send to yourself daily? This does not mean to feed addictions or addictive behavior. As your virtual coach, I’d like to challenge you to find new ways to feel good. If sweet sugary substances are your addiction, what else can you give yourself that feels sweet and yummy to you? Is it a walk, holding hands with a loved one? Is it touch? (sometimes needed without the drama or baggage of sexual performance.)

This means cultivating self-compassion. It requires listening to your unique body. It means consciously choosing gratitude over fear and the automatic negative beliefs that pop up in your head. Maybe it’s sitting in silence with a pet on your lap. Or perhaps writing a heartfelt, overdue letter to an estranged family member or friend. What can you do to heal and nourish your soul as well as your body?

For me it’s a daily yoga practice; sometimes practiced alone, sometimes in a class. My practice includes breath work, physical movement to music, and meditation. This keeps me grounded and in my body.  It allows time and space to feel areas of my body that are stuck. It clears my mind and makes me appreciate the simple solutions.

Carpe Diem and Happy Holidays. I am eternally grateful to you.

Lisa


About Lisa

Lisa is a retired Registered Nurse, yoga teacher, author, inspirational speaker, and a functional medicine coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.

Lisa's book Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step system towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Ancient Wisdom from the Celts: Samhain (sah-ween) preceded Halloween

Happy Halloween! Do you know where our Halloween tradition comes from? Samhain, pronounced Sahween was a Celtic tradition. The Celtics believed the veil between the living and the dead was the thinnest today. The idea was that if you put out treats you might be able to attract the energy and wisdom of our passed loved ones. They believed we could learn from, and therefore grow, from lessons from our beloved ancestors. 

In celebration of Halloween, I will be giving a Karma (free) class at the Great Falls Beloved Yoga Studio. It will include halloween music and maybe allow you to open up our energy to a more spiritual side.  Who knows what ancient wisdom you might glean from this experience!

Speaking of wisdom, how apropos is this poem?
(poem by: R. A. Melos )

A Witch's Words To Her Familiar On Samhain



Still your mind, 
and still your soul,
heed the words that make you grow,
listen to the winds of the sages,
learn the wisdom of the mages,
handed down to us from the ages.

Time is ours,
but only fleeting,
hear the wings of eternity beating,
soon enough we'll all be meeting,
and each of us merrily greeting.

The moon will be full,
and round,
and bright. 
And we'll be wisked away,
in the dead of night.
To the place we are meant to be,
to learn and grow,
and maybe see,
a spectre of what we should be.

Time is ours, 
frozen, but brief,
allowing us to release our grief,
to open our hearts and minds once more,
and step through the sacred door,
of time and space, and futures past,
to teach us the spells to cast.
So we may once again be free,
to live and love and blessed be.

So still your mind,
and still your soul,
and open your heart,
and set yourself free,
on this Samhain, I challenge thee.
Learn the truth from mages old,
the truth which was foretold.
The time is right, the night is new,
we can learn what not to do.

Warnings from the great beyond,
we'll heed them or all cry,
for lies can no longer be told,
when you look me in the eye. 
I've learned a lesson, bold and true,
and now there are but a few,
who understand the depth of change,
and how we all must rearrange,
our thinking and goals,
for times anew,
if the world is to survive,
for me and you.

We've got our work cut out for us,
my friend.
And we must not fail,
before the end,
or all will be lost,
and fate will be no more,
and finally the great beyond,
will close the door.

Time and space will exist no more,
my friend, 
my familiar,
we must work to prevent war.
Peace must prevail for ten thousand years,
and we must make sure it does.
Our souls eternal bond will hold,
as our bodies grow old.
Fear not the great beyond,
my friend,
for it is a beginning,
not an end.

Our work will continue for eternity,
until everlasting peace shall set us free.

Happy Halloween and Carpe Diem,

Lisa


About Lisa

Lisa is a yoga teacher, author, inspirational speaker, and a functional medicine coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.

Lisa's book 
Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step system towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Forced Joy Project

This is something beautiful, created by my daughter, who has had a nightmare of a year, losing her best friend, her lover, and her husband.

This morning, I'm in my 6am yoga class and directed to choose a word to embody for the practice. I came to the mat not feeling well. Fighting a cold, body aching. The first words that popped into my head were peace and joy. Always my words. I want more peace. I want joy.

Feeling less than joyful, I realized what a struggle it can be to feel joy when you are not well. When you feel incongruent. When you feel estranged from your loved ones. When your loved ones are struggling. Or when you are unable to soothe or support them.

How do you find joy in these moments? Do you "fake it till you make it?" How do you find forced joy? Or as my daughter has eloquently portrayed, sometimes you just choose to feel it.  You accept and feel your pain, your angst. You do so, without judgment, resisting the need to beat yourself up. You do so with compassion. You do so, with love.

This morning, I recognize how I hold "my issues in my tissues". How my attempts to meet all of my demands, to be strong and stoic and supportive of family, friends, and all of my clients can sometimes weigh on me. I recognize how important my yoga practice is to me. If not, I hold these emotions in my physical body, particularly in the hips.

So this morning, amidst a challenging workout, I just tried to focus on my breath to stay centered and focused, even though I didn't feel like it.  When we finished our hip opening exercises (where we hold most of our emotional energy). I just let it go and had to weep. A sudden release of tears flowed. Weeping for my daughter, weeping for myself. Letting go of what no longer serves me. Guilt, shame, fear, worry.

Can we find joy among the messiness of our lives? Can we laugh and cry together in challenging times? Isn't that the essence of life? Isn't that what joy is all about?

Do you ever give yourself time and space to fully feel without judgment? To move your body in new ways? To open up stuck patterns in your body? Do you ever take time to open up your mind? If so, you might discover a little pocket of joy.

To learn more about the forced joy project, click here

Carpe Diem,

Lisa

Lisa is a yoga teacher, author, speaker, and a functional medicine coach with a mission to inspire others to feel and look their best at any age.

Lisa's book 
Savvy Secrets: Eat, Think and Thrive outlines her seven-step system towards optimal health that is fun and transformational.

Lisa is part of the New Self Health Movement and the Wellness Inspired Network. When she is not coaching, speaking or writing, you can find her practicing yoga and joyfully sharing Carpe Diem Dance.