Making the best of it

retrograde

So they say several planets are in retrograde and that lots of things will go wrong…those not into astrology say “BS”. I like to think I can enjoy astrology without having it run my life. On this topic I’ll say, “something actually might be happening” because the past month and a half has been one of constant change and action.

I related a few weeks ago about my ongoing quest to find just the right foods to make my mind and body healthy. It has been complicated, but I’m getting the hang of it. Of course, stress makes me eat more chocolate, but overall, I’m hanging in.

So what else is shaking up my world these days?

I took an amazing trip to Australia to attend a live event with Jess Lively of The Lively Show. This was a big deal in my life for several reasons: I live in Philadelphia, which means it takes 24 hours at least to travel to Sydney; that kind of travel costs a lot of money and I’m not swimming in it; and I was going to leave my kids and husband for a week just because I wanted to.

I could write about this experience till the cows come home. It was intensely life affirming, wacky and wonderful. If you want more details, let me know. All I can say it that it was a big leap, and it was sooo worth it.

So then I came home from watching a rainbow form over the ocean to jet lag from hell, and found myself behind in all my usual stuff: my house looked like bomb had gone off, I was behind in my online graduate classes, and had stacks of things in my “to-do” box in the office. No wonder Americans don’t travel as much as, oh, anyone else in the world. There is always hell to pay when you get back.

It’s become clear that I have over-extended myself by trying to work part time, keep up with these classes that seem more demanding than usual (#$%!), and continue taking care of  myself and this household. There just isn’t enough time so I’m scrambling and it’s stressing me out.

I know it won’t last forever, and my best bet for surviving is sticking to a healthy diet and making time to relax. It’s easier said than done, but I know I’m going to make it.

On that note, I started reading a new book I thought would be inspiring. (You knew I was going to mention books, right?) Well I’m reading Let your life speak by Parker Palmer. He talks about his journey and learning to listen to his heart/ soul/ intuition (whatever you want to call it.) All I can say is that it relaxes me like no other. He’s made mistakes, unconventional career decisions, had people tell him he was crazy, and survived to tell about it quite happily.

It reminds me that whatever life throws at us, and even if we make mistakes, we can still come out the other side in one piece and wiser for the experience.

May we all survive the planets in retrograde and emerge from the experience richer than before!

 

 

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Nobody said it would be easy

food

Happy mid June to you all!

We just experienced the new moon again, which reminded me to check in with last month’s intention, and set a new one going forward.

Well, last month was no barrel of laughs, food-wise, anyway. You may remember I decided to re-dedicate myself to my gluten and dairy free diet, as I’d previously fallen off/ torched the wagon. I joyfully climbed back on the wagon and resumed eating my go-to foods like eggs, oatmeal, almonds, salads, fruit, sweet potatoes, chicken, etc.

I thought, channeling Emeril Lagasse , let’s kick it up a notch and go REALLY healthy. I had my trusty food guides, but I wondered if there were any food sensitivities I was unaware of. I’d been eyeing the EverlyWell website for a while, and finally decided to spend the money to test my food sensitivities. It’s a bit pricey, but simple home blood test, and in less than a week, you get a custom report of foods that are a “yes” and those that are a “no” for your body. My impression was that the “no” foods were causing inflammation.

I thought I knew it all, after all, I had been experimenting with foods for a while now. Surely I knew what the results would be…right?

The good news is that no foods gave me a high reaction (yes) and only one food gave me a moderate reaction: brewer’s yeast. You may not be acquainted with brewer’s yeast, but if you drink alcohol, cook with vinegar or consume any fermented foods – it is acquainted with you!

I already knew that I could no longer drink alcohol without feeling awful, and frankly, vinegar regularly gave me heart burn, so this made total sense to me when I read the fine print. People have been pushing kombucha and apple cider vinegar for years as health foods, but I could never tolerate it, and now I knew why. (I’m cringing just thinking about the last time I tried to drink kombucha!)

So I was like, wow, this test is right on, this fits with my experience, yay to the yay. Then I continued reading. Turns out I’m mildly sensitive to eggs, sweet potato, chicken, broccoli, almonds, apples, oats, green beans, oranges, oregano, and baker’s yeast. Before I get to the yeast again – that list consists of things I eat all the time! I’m Italian for goodness sake, how could I have a reaction to oregano?! Thank goodness my grandma isn’t around to hear about that one.

And the yeast, well, that’s the worst part. The fine print says if you are sensitive to both kinds of yeast, as I am, that I likely have the dreaded candida overgrowth in my gut. Lovely.

I’ve just lost many of my staples, am facing a yeast issue, and then it gets even worse. It says I have no reaction to milk (dairy – what?) and gluten (#$%&!?). At this point I just look at the list with dismay – what the bleep does all this mean?!

All of a sudden, I have nothing figured out at all.

I finally realize that the gluten-yeast thing is related. I’ve been feeling great while I avoid gluten foods like bread (made with yeast) and baked goods (made with yeast and/or lots of sugar.) So while gluten on its own may not trigger any symptoms in my body, it’s hard to find foods that include gluten/wheat that don’t also include yeast and/or sugar. How’s that for a chemistry experiment?

OK, my brain starts to fire again, and I kind of get it. But now I have to figure out all different staples to eat on a regular basis. I know you’ll be relieved to know I can continue to eat kale, kelp and lima beans. Woo-hoo, party at my house!

I’m not sure how it happened, but I fell down another darn rabbit hole with food and have to recreate the wheel. I have my trusty list, so I know I’ll figure it all out eventually. It just feels like I’m starting over. Sigh.

Knowledge is power, but also, sometimes, a pain in the butt.

So, you know, send me your best lima bean recipes, please, there has got to be one out there!

 

Where are we?

compass-rose

Do you ever wonder how you got to a certain point in your life?

And wonder at a cross roads what might be next?

Last fall I wrote about my new journey with food, how I decided to eat healthier and give up gluten and dairy (mostly) and processed foods.  I saw huge improvements in my mood and general health – I lost weight, my cholesterol went down, and generally just felt so much better.

These are two guides I used: Eat Right 4 Your Type and The Wahls Protocol.

Both of these ways of eating seek to reduce inflammation in your system, which makes a huge difference in how your body functions.

So after months of success, even making it through the holidays unscathed, I fell off the wagon. Maybe it was more accurate to say I lit the wagon on fire? Because when I go rogue, I really do it fully!

The last month my eating has been all over the place, and surprise surprise, so has my mood. I’m snapping at my kids and sulking in the office and my face even broke out. (Let me tell you, to have your face break out at 41 is no joke!) But you know what the worst thing was? BRAIN FOG. From day to day I might be clear or I might be a medicine head, it really was not fun.

I don’t know about you, but I have too much to do to be a medicine head and scatter brain. It was also kind of scary because I had a hard time focusing and remembering what I was doing five minutes ago! Waaahhhhh!

I think the only good thing about my month of chaos is that I sought refuge in books. You know how I love to read! I read several fun books and several really useful books on health and life, etc. These put me back on track to rebuild the wagon and double up my seat belt so I won’t fall off again.

One of the things I learned is that our lives cycle with the moon. I’m not just talking about women here – men and women have a large amount of water in our bodies, and the moon pulls us like it pulls the ocean tides. The book I’m reading about this now is Lunar Abundance, and you may want to check out the book or the website.

Since today is a new moon, I’m setting my intention to eat healthy for the next few weeks. Sure, I want to visualize attracting money, but I can do that next month. For this series of weeks, I’m going to fine tune the diet and get myself clear and happy again. THEN I will be in a better place to conjure whatever else I want afterwards.

What would you find most useful to focus on for the next month?

There really is some freedom in picking a direction just for now, as long as it’s a good stepping stone for whatever comes next. You don’t have to have all the answers, you just take the next step and do your best.

……………………………………………………………………………

Books I’ve been reading and recommend:

Tribe

Braving the Wilderness

WomanCode (for the ladies)

Send me your recommendations, too!

Reach me via email at devine.coaching1@gmail.com or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/devinecoaching/

Yeah…what Thoreau said

thoreau

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.”

― Henry David Thoreau

How many times have we heard this advice?

Whenever I hear this phrase, my heart lights up with happiness and inspiration.  “Yes, I think, I want to do this!”  And then within about five minutes, I think to myself, “I don’t know what this means or how to do this.” Cue the frowny face, and I get back to whatever I was doing at the time.

I think I may have found some addition information that adds meaning to this wonderful inspiration within the context of the real world. What is it?

Why, it’s the Law of Attraction!

Stay with me here…most of us either read the book The Secret or saw the movie.  The simple premise is that you ask the universe for what you want, and it gets delivered to you.  Simple as that.

Of course, I’ve been coveting a Subaru for some time now, but it hasn’t shown up yet. Why? Because asking for what you want is only the beginning.  I recently came across more information about the Law of Attraction and why and how it can work.

Resources to explore below!

Here is the shortest possible explanation:

  1. First you have to imagine what you want – custom order and all.
  2. Then you have to ask why?  How will getting this thing make me feel?
  3. Then you have to focus on the feeling (as if you already got your prize).
  4. Then you keep it in your heart like a treasured souvenir, revisit it daily and expect it to really happen.

OK, I know right now you are thinking, yeah, wishful thinking, that will totally work.

Here’s the theory behind it: when you create that feeling as if you already found your heart’s desire, the energy you create goes out into the world. If you can regularly conjure up that good feeling, and you have confidence in getting it back, then matching energy will return to you.  It’s not too different from putting positive thoughts and works into the world, and hoping your good deeds will be returned. I think that is something many people can identify with.

Naturally, the things that light us up inside will correlate with our intuition.  So if you decide to try and manifest a speed boat, but you are just doing it for a party trick, it probably won’t work. (Sorry)! I think I haven’t gotten my Subaru yet because I’m pretty darn happy with my Jeep at the moment.

This process asks us to suspend our dis-beliefs and toss aside the reasons our brain tells us it ain’t gonna happen. Just five minutes a day, indulge your un-jaded inner child who still sees wonder and promise in the world, and believe it! I found it makes my day so much happier to focus on the positive.  Sure, crap still happens, but you don’t have to let it ruin your day, you can still find a silver lining most of the time.  I like to laugh at myself when things fall apart and think, OK time to start again.

As I read more sources and takes on the Law of Attraction, I can actually find evidence of it working in my own life.

Exhibit A: I am a down to earth kind of person who has a strong work ethic and values a sense of humor. It probably is not a fluke that I married someone who also shares those traits. Those traits are just who we are, so we can’t fake being posh and glamorous, and so our essential selves put out matching energies, and they found each other. Er…we found each other. 🙂

Exhibit B: My husband has a killer work schedule, and I spent years resenting how much I had to do with the kids and the house. One day he invested in a side project that would take even more time and money away from us, but it was his dream. I couldn’t fault him for chasing his dream, could I? So I decided not to be mad any more. Just. Like. That. This is the man I married and this was his dream, and I wasn’t going to knock it (it wasn’t crazy). What happened? I got more happy and flexible and supportive and he responded with appreciation and happiness. Years of tension pretty much gone in a flash – not too shabby, hmmm?

Now let me take you full circle back to Thoreau. When I looked up the phrase, I didn’t know who said it, and I had never heard the full thing.  Here’s what Thoreau actually said:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”

What the what?! Here I had been reading and contemplating the universe and energy and this phrase popped into my head and when I look it up it references the laws of the universe?! I thought my head was going to explode. Wow!

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennon pretty much sums it up for me today.

Happy reading and dreaming…

The Law of Attraction just a warning, this is very woo-woo.

Jess Lively I have fallen down the rabbit hole with her podcasts. She does a nice job of explaining the science of emotions and energy.

Reality Transurfing A slightly different take on the Law of Attraction. The author has a strong science background.

The Secret the book that brought this idea to our attention.

 

 

 

 

Excuse me, do I smell?

bear-smell

Have you ever caught a whiff of yourself and instantly wondered,” Do I stink?”

I feel like most of us have waged the battle with body odor pretty much since puberty.  We can obsessively shower and use deodorant and antiperspirant and still not smell like a rose.  It can be down right frustrating!

I wanted to write about this, because I’ve been on a mission to get healthier, which led me to start using natural deodorants that are free of aluminum, etc.  But can they really work?

A few things I’ve figured out…

Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so if you use perfume, cologne or scented deodorant, you need to find a smell that matches your natural smell.  Ever notice that your best friend’s perfume smells great on her, but makes you stink?  That’s individual body chemistry for you! I love the scent of lemongrass and fresh citrus, but if I put it on my body, I smell like someone sprayed me with air freshener (boo!) I seem to be able to work with warmer scents like vanilla, cinnamon and ginger.  It takes some trial and error to figure out what works, so give it time. Unscented deodorant is always a good option!

What you eat matters. I think most people have noticed that after a spicy meal with garlic or curry, that they kind of smell like that spice.  It really does matter what you eat, because the by products of your food may be excreted as sweat.  My personal revelation? The less dairy I eat, the better I smell.  And, yes, I do miss cheese and ice cream!  Generally, I also think the less chemicals and preservatives we eat the better, which leads to my next point…

Chemicals! I’m going to link to an article below which talks about a number of factors, including chemicals in medication, deodorants and antiperspirants. While I was testing different natural products, I would alternate with traditional antiperspirant.  Over time, I was surprised to find that I actually smelled worse at the end of the day when I used the chemical based products. Not lying, and I was baffled!  I guess artificial = bad when it comes to smell.

Clean yourself better. I have probably used hundreds of products over the years from shampoo and conditioners to soaps and body washes.  Let’s face it, some just work better than others, and I’m sure it varies from person to person.  (Did you ever notice you still kind of smelled after a shower? So annoying!) I recently stumbled upon detox soap.  I think you can buy detox deodorant, too.  They have been using charcoal and activated charcoal in clay face masks for year, and now they put charcoal into pretty much any product you can think of.

I started using a charcoal soap and have been very happy with the results.  I have used it from head to toe, and it has thoroughly cleaned my skin without stripping the natural oils.  My pits smell totally fresh and clean after each wash, no matter how dirty I was before. This is the kind I’m using right now.

See the difference between regular vs. activated charcoal here.

It’s your clothes, too. Are you wearing too many synthetic fabrics?  I find that if I’m not wearing a cotton blend, then my skin isn’t “breathing” enough, and I start sweating buckets.  This, of course, is a problem, since many cute new clothes are made of rayon and similar fake fabrics.  When I need to wear a fancy dress or something that doesn’t come in cotton, I use my natural deodorant to keep down the smell, and I regularly blot the sweat with tissues in the bathroom.  It’s not ideal, but that approach works better than layering on more commercial deodorant.  I’m jealous of people who can wear any fabric without breaking a sweat!

Last, but not least, I have found a natural deodorant that works for me.  There is definitely a transition phase from commercial deodorant to natural deodorant, so give it a week or so for your body to adjust.  And remember the difference between a deodorant, something that keeps the smell away, and an antiperspirant, something that stops you from sweating.  I know it can be super annoying, but our bodies need to sweat in order to moderate temperature and excrete waste, so it’s not a great idea to blunt the sweat glands.

I have used a few kinds of Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant, as well as a product called Primal Pit Paste.  Both of these were OK, but they didn’t work as well as Native. I tried this on a whim and was shocked at how well it worked.  I started with the unscented and am starting to try some of their other scents.  I just can’t believe how well the unscented native deodorant works.  End of story, it just works magic in my opinion!

To wrap up this smelly subject, check out the shape article here. My apologies to any guys reading this, because it’s aimed at women, but the general points are universal.

May you have a healthy and sweet smelling day!

 

 

The Gifts of Imperfection

brene

It’s been quite a while since I’ve reviewed a book, so I thought I would get to it!

I am an avid reader, and I like to read everything from sci-fi to chic lit to paranormal to self help.  Sometimes I like to escape into a book, and sometimes I want to learn something.  This book definitely falls in to the category of “learning something” or more accurately “discovery”.

I am on a journey of self discovery in order to live the best life I can for me.  That would include happiness, meaning and connection with work and with people.  I want to be engaged and use my unique skills.  I like to talk about following intuition and being true to your essential self.  This often means not following trends or “fitting in” with society and culture.  Not the easiest things to pull off when “everybody” out there is telling you what you should do for work, parenting, making money, etc.!

Now, let me turn to this easy to read book by Brene Brown.  This is the first thing I’ve read by her, but her work has been recommended to me many times by kindred spirits.  I ran across this book in the library quite by accident, and was amused to find that its paperback cover was totally beat up.  When I tried to check it out, the scanner wouldn’t work because the whole cover had been “weathered” by so many hands.  I giggled to myself about how many people must have checked this book out of the library before me!

Brene Brown is  a researcher and often studies things like shame. (Sounds like a barrel of laughs, right?)  She’s earned her Ph.D. and is a legitimate academic. I love that fact that her type A personality and serious academic chops led her to the subtle but powerful themes of gratitude, play, and creativity.  She explains that her own research knocked her off balance and sent her into a spiritual breakdown/awakening!

I feel a kinship with her.  We both were brought up to achieve and to strive and to work our butts off.  We both value reason and research and feel insecure when we have to buck the trends of culture.  In short, we both feel compelled to compete in the rat race and have it all, and we have both been bewildered when that constant striving to achieve more and more did not lead to happiness or joy.

Weren’t we following the rules of success?  Doing what we were supposed to do to get ahead?  Well, a lot of the times we did.  The problem is that the “rules of success” perhaps weren’t meant for us after all.  I think you get the idea.

This book talks about ways for people to embrace themselves as individuals and build authentic, meaningful and joyful lives.  There is more than one way up the mountain, so to speak, and we should find that path that works best for us.

Chapters include: Authenticity, Self-Compassion, Resilience, Gratitude and Joy, Intuition and Faith, Creativity, Play and Rest, Calm and Stillness, Meaningful Work, Laughter, Song and Dance.

I found these chapters to be funny, I recognized myself in Brene’s own struggles, and ultimately found inspiration or food for thought.  I would recommend reading one subject chapter at a time, and then giving it some time to sink in.  Let your brain and heart mull it over a bit and see what sticks out as meaningful for you.  When you’re ready, read on to the next.

I love this book because it is so simple, easy to read, and so so real.  Life is hard, peer pressure is real, being unique or different can be a struggle.  I think the take away here is that if we figure out how to fine tune our lives in ways that are meaningful for us as individuals, it will lead to greater joy and happiness.  I’m all about that!

Find the book here on Amazon or hit the library.  If you are looking for ways to make your life richer, this is a great place to start.

Happy reading my friends!

 

 

 

The only constant is change…

delta

That symbol you see there is the Greek Delta, often used in mathematical expressions to symbolize change.

Evidently, the idea “change is the only constant” was first introduced by Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher. (Who knew?)

So I wanted to announce that I’m closing my coaching business.

I have loved coaching and through it, I’ve met many awesome people.  However, I’m being pulled in other directions for now.

That being said, I will be continuing to blog, and I’m available for any burning questions you may have via email!

Yes, change, what do we know about it?  Most people dislike change because we seem to be creatures of habit. (I know I am.)  When there is no schedule, or the schedule keeps changing, it kind of stresses me out.  What day is it and where am I supposed to be?!

I cope by obsessively putting everything in my calendar and assume that soon the rhythm will return so that I don’t feel so adrift.  Often, the schedule does settle down into a normal pattern and stays that way for a month or a season, but change will inevitably creep in again.

I used to really fear change, but now I’m starting to make peace with it.  Navigating change can be a challenge, but in those challenges we grow, learn new things, and meet new people.  It’s not easy, and it can be upsetting, but I realized that if we don’t keep growing, changing, and evolving we’re gonna die.  Plain and simple, we have to keep going with the flow so we don’t shrivel up and get mistakenly placed in a time capsule!

A side benefit for me, dealing with change, is that as time rolls along, I know myself better.  That, in turn, makes it easier to figure out what to do in times of upheaval.  There are simply options that are possible, and ones that aren’t.  Will I have to move? Change jobs or go back to school?  Those things are fine with me.  Will I let myself be distanced from my family?  No way, no how.  We’re a package deal, and whatever is happening, we are all in it together.

Think back to some really big changes that have occurred in your life.  Did you sink or swim?  Did you follow your instincts to help make decisions?  Did something good or meaningful come from an unexpected event?

The biggest thing I can think of is having children!  It was a ROUGH transition for me, and for a while I was drowning.  I mean, it was really ugly.  One day, when my daughter was about 4 months old, a light bulb moment occurred. I said to myself, “I hate my life!” Saying those words out loud shocked me so much that I knew I had to get help.  Depression and anxiety were ruining my life and depriving me of enjoying my perfectly pleasant baby, not to mention my marriage.  Talk about a disaster.

That day started me down a path to get better.  It took a long time, I tried talk therapy, medications, acupuncture, and just eating pounds of dark chocolate!  It took about two years, but I eventually felt like myself again.  When I looked back, I saw that these problems had been hanging over my head much longer than I’d realized.  It just took the shock and awe of becoming a parent to send me over the edge.

What I’m trying to say, is that something wonderful came out of this terrible experience.  I hit bottom and began to search for answers, and though it was slow going, I was able to find myself again and become so much happier for the journey.

I sincerely hope that you never hit bottom, and that moving a house full of IKEA furniture is the toughest thing that comes your way.  I just want you to know that it’s possible to navigate crazy change and come out stronger on the other side.  So who coined the phrase, “life is never boring?”  That should be the corollary to change is the only constant!

Wishing you fair weather and calm seas!