Necessary Evil?

hospitalI read a great deal about staying healthy. I coach clients on healthy living on a weekly basis. I put a great deal of effort into keeping all the rocks of my healthy living cairn equally attended to and balanced.

This last week I came face to face with why I’ve decided to do that. My mom needed to go in for surgery and as the only child of an only parent, I’m the kid on call. I spent more time in the hospital over the past few days than I have since having my babies. This trip struck me harder, too. The smells. The (eck) food. The woman screaming “STOP. IT HURTS!” anytime someone would try to take her blood pressure. (Her screaming would be followed by the same dialogue each time about how they don’t have a larger measuring band and her asking the irritated nurse to check again.)

When we first arrived for the early morning appointment, it was so freakin’ cold in the prep center I thought I was going to have to go buy a blanket. They put my mom in this gown and said, “Here’s a heat pump to blow hot air into your gown in case it’s too cold.” See, they know it’s too cold. Ummmm, a heater maybe, so the rest of us without holes and pumps don’t freeze, too?

I learned a new word: emesis. Yep. My mom’s roommate had LOTS of emesis. Every few hours she’d puke (that’s emesis) into this little plastic thing which is very disturbing not only for her, but for my mom and I two feet away and separated only by a gray floral curtain. Hacking up phlegm noises filled the halls day and night and most everybody I saw had a dazed vacant stare, pain meds no doubt.

This was NOT a bad hospital. In fact, it’s one of the best stays my mom has had. The nurses were excellent and caring. Nobody seemed to hate their job. But this is not some place you want to be. It’s hard to rest. It’s uncomfortable. There’s so much interruption. It stinks REALLY bad. (Did I mention the smell?)

In our society, it’s a hard to avoid the hospital if you need a surgery. So here’s what you do. Do EVERYTHING in your power to avoid a surgery. Take care of your organs. Eat uber healthy foods. Hydrate like crazy. Limit your sugar and alcohol to infrequent sometimes-foods. Exercise daily. Nourish your mind and your creative spirit so that you catch an enthusiasm for life that is contagious. Serve others as often as you can, not because you feel guilty but because you want to live a full life and this is the best way to do it. Learn something new. Make a new friend. Visit an old friend. And love. Just love.

This way, even if you need to go have a stay in one of our lovely western hospitals, you’ll be better equipped to take the journey.

Posted in friends, health, healthy living, Inspiration | 2 Comments

Collaging Your Soul, Part 2

DSCN4761Now I know.  Soul Collage© finds its true magic in the experience. Having this experience at Esalen Institute made it that much more magical. Sharing it with my friend longtime friend Michelle closed the circle of perfection.

First, you should understand this place called Esalen Institute. Here’s how it works. You move between various soul-nourishing stations. First, the dining area sits high on a cliff overlooking a coastline that takes your breath away. The amazing organic, vegetarian, gluten free food, much of which comes from the local garden, is served community style and everybody is very friendly and eager to connect while staring out at the gorgeous view. An assortment of local Monterrey wines are available, or you can opt for 1 of the 20 decaf teas which was my personal  fave.  Who doesn’t want locally infused lemon lavender water with their seafood bouillabaisse?coast

The next station is the incredible baths which sit on the south end of the property and are nestled into the rocks of a steep cliff over the Pacific. From the baths, which you can enjoy under the stars and moonlight or in the beautiful sun, you can see the rocks and crashing waves below. From the open air shower, we watched whales pass and seals bob up and down while washing our hair. I had a massage under a sun umbrella listening to waves crash against the shore that combined Swedish and Thai techniques. The place is known for its top notch massages and healing waters. I knew this, but to experience it brings a whole new understanding.

Then there’s the Art Barn. We traveled there during the course of three days to create art in the form of SoulCollage© cards. We would meet in a circle upstairs in the loft, talk about the concepts and theory which was more involved than I realized at first, then make cards with visual images that spoke to us. Getting to know SoulCollage© originator Seena Frost and her right hand lady Mariabruna Sirabella was a treat. She’d thrown Dove chocolates all over the floor and my wrapper spoke the truth: You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

highcreekThen, there was the last station: the forest. We trekked back into to redwoods and crossed a bridge, following a path along a babbling creek.  I love forests. The light, the sounds, the quiet—just wow. We ran up against a huge tree that had fallen, looked at each other and said, “Well? End of path?” No!  A closer look revealed steps up the tree and arrows pointing across the creek. There was much more to explore. Life metaphor 524—sometimes we see a block in front of us without a passage. When we refocus, we see the perfect solution we didn’t see two seconds earlier.

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And that’s really what this art medium—and Eslaen–does. It helps you shift perspectives in a fun and communal sort of way.  Simple,  yet complex. The idea is to unplug and create. The product is an ongoing deck of cards which is personal to you and which you can use as a tool in your life for the duration in various ways. Everybody’s cards were strikingly different and all cards were honored equally.  It wasn’t a beauty contest.  You give voice to the card by starting with “I am the one who…” which, to me, was a visual adaptation of Stephen Aizendat’s Dreamtending© concept where you animate a symbol to find deeper meaning in a dream.

I think what I enjoyed best about the whole process was giving intuition a playground to explore and letting intuition be the rock star of the weekend with its own close parking to every move of the psyche. To reach for the stars. It reminds me that we know so much more than we think, if only we’d quiet down enough to listen.

Posted in conscious living, creativity, Esalen, friends, healthy living, hiking, Inspiration, Seena Frost, SoulTransformation, spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Collaging Your Soul? Part 1

soulcollageTwo things have been pulling on me lately. One is Esalen, which gets its name from the Esselen Indians that have used the hot springs in ritual and healing for more than 6,000 years. It’s a magical place, a retreat center on some of California’s most gorgeous central coast. This year I vowed to add some Esalen time into my cairn of healthy living and am grateful to say that when you read this, I will be there for the first time soaking up the Bir Sur Coastline.

The second thing that’s been tugging on me is SoulCollage®,  self-described as an accessible collage process with practical applications. From what I can gather this like scrapbooking from the inside out. Not so much Aunt Martha on Turkey Day as the creator’s innermost callings.

The pull to do SoulCollage® has come in threes in a short period of time. First, my friend Katie was talking about it one day when we were having lunch. She told me about a local therapist who was not only using it in her practice, but holding groups outside her practice for anybody who wanted to come. I’d always liked collaging and I’m all about the evolution of my soul, so I loved the concept when we talked. Then, I sort of forgot about it for about a week.

The next time I heard about it was when I was looking at the Esalen calendar and saw a workshop featuring SoulCollage®. It lined up with the weekend that I could get there, but I also liked a different workshop the weekend before. I asked my friend Michelle if she wanted to go to the workshop I was eyeing, and she said, “What about the SoulCollage®?” Take two. I knew we needed to sign up even though I didn’t really even get what it was entirely.

Didn’t matter. It was intuitively engraved on my to do list. After I signed up, I had a dream. Throughout the dream, the words “SOUL COLLAGE” kept popping up on random signs (take three!)  in the dream landscape. Subtle, Subconscious.

Two weeks later, I was sitting nearly 100 feet from the restaurant where Katie and I had originally discussed this medium having tea with my friend Stella. We had finished a lovely restorative yoga class and were enjoying the morning sun. “Have you ever heard of SoulCollage®?” she asked.

I laughed. That was four. I gave her the back story and told her I was actually going to be taking the class with Seena Frost at Esalen. Seena is the SoulCollage Rock Star® and creator of this medium and from what I can tell already from my brief research, a marketing maven. Stella had seen, like I had, that the very weekend I was going to be in Esalen, there was a local class being offered as well. It’s spreading.

What is SoulCollage®, then? I’m a kid who loves surprises so I don’t want to look too hard. But here’s just the little bit I know lifted off the website:

It’s easy to learn and inexpensive. Best of all, it inspires individual creativity and encourages good communication in families and groups.

Founder Seena B. Frost’s first book ignited a worldwide interest in SoulCollage®, which invites anyone to be creative and undertake an adventure of self-discovery. All you need is a good pair of scissors, pre-cut mat board cards, images you can find anywhere and glue! After you have made some cards, you can consult them, ask important life questions and let your cards speak your own intuitive wisdom back to you. Seena’s first book, SoulCollage®, was a finalist for the Nautilus 2002 Book Awards for titles that contribute significantly to conscious living and positive social change.

SoulCollage® has evolved into an international community of Facilitators and SoulCollagers enjoying and sharing this simple, yet profound, process. SoulCollage® Evolving gives the basic instructions for how to make and do readings with SoulCollage® cards, and describes how individuals and groups are using this process with different age groups and in many socioeconomic, cultural, and religious contexts to discover their wisdom and change their world.

I’m not sure why I’m being called to do it, but I know that I am. Isn’t life fun? I’ll keep you posted.

Posted in conscious living, creativity, friends, healthy living, Inspiration, spiritual, Uncategorized, yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Modern Meditator

meditate3The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that meditation is the one tool that makes the biggest difference in my daily life. To live in a constant healthy flow, I meditate daily and not  because I have to, like with exercise. To clarify, I exercise every day, mostly without pouting, but every once in a while I just have to give myself a strict talking to.

With meditation, it’s something I look forward to. The earlier in the day the better. The reason for this is that the whole day flows in such an exciting way. Synchronicities fire right and left. I feel like I’m in a boat flowing down stream through a gorgeous canyon and people I love are hopping in my boat (as the ones that annoy me hop out.) If a crisis arises as inevitably they do, I can handle it and stay calm like the t-shirts tell me to do. Everything just works.

On the flip side, if I get really frazzled or am out of town and on a different routine and miss my meditation, I notice a difference. My boat feels like it’s caught in a whirlpool. I draw people to me that I didn’t mean to and it’s not always pretty. I’m not appreciating my interactions with others as much as I’d like to. It just feels sloggy.

To me, it’s a very personal practice and very forgiving. There’s not a right and wrong way. To setting, I don’t really have time to go to a mountaintop in Tibet and sit for a day (though that’s on my Bucket List). Sometimes, I’m lucky if nobody pounds on the door while I’m on the pot. We’re all busy, with deadlines, and kid schedules and lots of needs that demand to be filled before we sit on a pillow in the lotus position. I get it.

So here’s what I do. I’ve devised many different ways (that are not perhaps the traditional ways) to do my meditation. I embrace the idea that all settings are fair game. My favorite happens to be sitting in the hot tub under the rain, but granted this requires special tools. I also love the shower. Or even getting to school a few minutes early to get the kids and finding a spot where nobody will bug me…or staying in bed a few minutes longer (which may require waking up earlier)…or going to bed a few minutes earlier. The sky’s the limit.

Just like setting is anywhere, so is time. I’m not rigid with myself. Some days allow more, some less. Just practicing deep breathing, taking 10 deep breaths in and out will shift a person’s body chemistry. Guided meditations are great for monkey-minds. When I’m particularly distracted, I’ll listen to one while walking the dog, or on the Stairmaster, or on the treadmill at the gym. It does not escape me that this Zen-multitasking concept is a paradox, but somehow the combination of both works for me and I embrace it.

Stacks and stacks of research on meditation tell us the benefits and you’ve seen it all. In this tech-ridden, multitasking, world where the days–I can’t prove it yet, but I know it’s true–get shorter and shorter, our brains are waving a red flag for some down time.

I’ve recently become interested in studying meditation both in a live class and an online course. My sense is that the collective conscious is growing stronger and my suspicion is that results from more people discovering this practice and putting it to use. When we take a practice like meditation and look at it cognitively, we can get judgy. Think there’s a right and a wrong way or balk at its hippie connotations.

I refuse to go there. Any time, any place, naked, dressed, upside right, upside down. You decide. Having said that, I’ve recently become interested in the principles of Transcendental Meditation (TM). Picture your mind like an ocean with waves active on the surface. In TM, you drop down to the stillness below while silently repeating a mantra 20 mins. each day. There is a recipe, then, but the recipe claims to be natural and effortless. I’m going to do an experiment and try this for a month or so. I’ll let you know.

Whatever method, the research shows that meditation drops cortisol (the stress making hormone), raises Serotonin and Prolactin (the happy neurostransmitters), and gets the brain humming like a fine-tuned machine, all for free. Who doesn’t want that?

Just try and take a few minutes to let your breathing become deep and your mind become still. Then watch your life blossom with possibility.

Posted in anxiety, conscious living, hope, Inspiration, meditation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Got Creative. (Part 2–Dare to be You)

Recap of Part 1: I’d signed my husband and I up for this really awesome Paint A Splash adventure where you paint and drink wine in the tasting room at a winery. The project was lavender fields which is pretty much my favorite thing. This launched a birthday celebration get-away for the two of us which made it that much more special.

General Yelp Review: 5 –no 10– stars! If any part of you wants to paint, you’ve got to find a class like this and go.

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*****************

We drove out into the oak studded hills, where wineries like to live, and to a tasting room set up with 20 easels, each with its own paint plate, canvas, brush set, and apron. Each artist can choose a spot at the table, and a glass (or bottle) from the bar.

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Our very attentive Erin was at the bar the entire time to refill glasses, shoot pictures, and share local fun facts like “we now have 32 wineries in the North North.” Who knew? Even if you don’t imbibe, it’s handy to have an Erin lurking around.

We had a picnic while we waited, primarily due to our poor planning on checking the time of the restaurant which closed (oddly enough) at 2 on a Friday. Make lemonade! We hit the Holiday deli and ate al fresco under the trees.

After everyone settled in we had step-by-step instruction from Sylvia Bee, instructor extraordinaire. She had this sketched out on our canvas before we got started which really helped newbies like us who have never painted a stroke. Most people were new painters so this took the edge off the fear of a blank canvas.

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At Sylvia’s instruction, we started at the top and worked our way down the canvas. My “aha moment” came when I looked at how unique everyone’s creations were at each level of the landscape. We all were told how to make the sky, but each sky was very different. It made me think about how each of us are all here for a purpose, but the manifestation of that unique thumbprint plays out so differently for each of us. That’s why comparing our journeys (or our paintings) is silly. We all live our own unique trajectory. And dismissing our process (“it’s like painting by numbers” was a common murmur) is counterproductive. Baby steps are master teachers.

On that comparing thing, there was definitely a palpable current of nervous energy from many of the painters in the room who worried that their neighbor’s trees (clouds, lavender rows, etc.) were better than theirs.  The wine helped a little, but not entirely. I suppose this is human nature, but if I’d had a wand and could pick my wish for those painters, I’d have wished for each painter to relax, enjoy the journey, and just appreciate the beauty of her own creation.

And process. Even with measured instruction, everybody has a different style. Take my creative husband, for example. He did his lavender rows upside down. So clever.

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After walking through each layer of the canvas, and blow drying our levels in between, we had our big decision of the night: a house or sheep. I picked sheep, which looked a lot like fish until we learned the secret “sharpie in the legs” trick.
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When the evening wrapped three and a half hours after it began, I couldn’t believe that much time had passed. We had created our own masterpieces just as we each do with our lives each day.
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If you live locally and want to do this, Sylvia rocks. http://winewebdesign.com/splash/ If you don’t live locally, find one near you. Go ahead! Get creative.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Plan to Get Creative (Part 1)

lavendar

Part 1 of 2

I come from a long line of talented oil painters. When my oldest son was little, I took him to private classes and sure enough he had it, too. I was intimidated. What if the painting talent skips a generation? What if my fruit bowl bananas look like street lights or something? If my drawing skills were any indication, I could easily end up with street lights in my fruit bowl. Just ask my second graders who used to tease my shamelessly.

Then there’s the other part. Somehow, I always thought of oil painting as something seniors do when they’re not at the VFW. You know, something my husband and I would do when we retired and got old.

Guess what? We’re old. Just ask our teenager.

But there’s still the commitment issue. Painting takes time, and patience, and…a paint room. Yet, I’ve been feeling a stronger and stronger prompting to put oil to canvas. In a synchronistic twist, my hair stylist (who knows everything about everything), told me about this local wine and paint night. It’s just one evening and takes place either at a local winery or wine shop. Each canvas is set up with oil paints and some starter sketches. There is a theme each meeting for the paintings.

One evening? This sounded perfect. I immediately looked up the link she sent me to Paint a Splash and checked it out. I signed up immediately, sending giddy messages to the instructor about how we had never painted before and we’re so excited about taking the class in the middle of a winery (we’re really willing to do just about anything in the middle of a winery), tasting the local wines and painting lavender fields. How awesome is that?! She seemed excited, too, eager to mold her unspoiled future Monets with her own painterly style.

You may have already guessed that the top photo is not my painting. That is a shot of the lavender fields behind Mt. Shasta which are gorgeous. That’s because we have yet to take our class. Stay tuned.

(to be continued…)

Posted in conscious living, creativity, healthy living, Inspiration, Uncategorized, wine and food | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tap Your Way Happy

tap Last week, I blogged on anxiety. In response to that, my friend, Damien, pointed out that I hadn’t mentioned EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in the article, and while I’ve done speeches on this, used it on friends and my own kids for various things, and myself, I neglected to mention it as a tool for your Get Happy Toolbox. (Damien, this one’s dedicated to you. Thanks for stopping by.)

EFT, aka “tapping”, is a tool I’ve seen thrown around the past decade in various venues with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I think this might be because some people see it as too “wooey.”  I’ve concluded this based on the look on mainstream people’s faces when I bring it up as a tool they might consider.

But I’ve seen it used by therapists, particularly child psychologists with great success. Perhaps that’s because kids, ten and under, are usually more receptive to new ideas than older adults who’ve already developed in their minds what is acceptable and unacceptable. I’ve also seen it used up close and personal used on everyday people for everyday things. It takes 5 minutes and can change the whole direction of a day. I especially love it for the jitters I get before public speaking.

Here’s what I’m going to say about tapping. I think it ROCKS. You can use it any time, any place. It’s free and it’s very, very effective. Don’t believe me? Think it’s too freaky to try? Go find a dark closet where nobody can see you, find something you need to deal with, and try it. I dare you. Worse case scenario, nothing happens. Best case (and most likely case) scenario, problem solved…or at least, substantially reduced.

The core thought of EFT is that “all negative emotions are a disruption in the bodies energy system.” The basic concept is that by resetting that energy system, you can reduce and/or eliminate negative emotions like stress, overeating, anger, whatever.

Here’s how it works (and this is summarized nicely in the flow chart above.)

1. Rate the issue from 0 – 10, 10 being worse and 0 being best. Think of it like “Yelping” your issue.

2. Tell it like it is. Even though I have this (describe the issue in your own words), I deeply and completely love and accept myself. Say this 3x while tapping on the karate chop.

3. Reminder Binder. Say “this (whatever your issue is that you described) causes me (whatever happens in your own words).” The idea here is to describe what is happening. I would say for a speech I was about to do “thinking about giving this speech is making me feel like throwing up, I get so nervous when I think about it, etc.,” trying to name it as honestly as you can. While doing this tap through and the points, while starting at the top of your head, 5-7 times. You go through the whole circuit 3x.

4. Status check. After one round, rate your issue again. If not at 0, repeat the set up. Use this wording. “Even though I still have (some of this issue) left, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” Keep going around the circuit until you feel you are done.

That’s it. Easy peezy. There are a number of “tapping practitioners” out there to help you tap your way happy if you don’t feel like you are having success on your own. They need guinea pigs to complete certification courses and put in “tapping” hours. If you feel you need support, this may be a way to go. There is also a movie called “The Tapping Solution” that chronicles tapping used in the lives of various individuals (particularly effective with PTSD–post traumatic stress disorder) and you can watch vicariously how it works.

Go forth and tap!

Posted in anxiety, bipolar disorder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Anxiety Nation

anxietyI love language and play these little language games that nobody knows about but me (and now you.) I tune into a certain word, let’s say “worry” for a whole 24 hour period. This signals to me where the collective consciousness is focused. I listen to how many times I hear it from others, I see it on the news (if I’m bold enough to watch it), I read it in literature or magazines. Here’s what I’ll tell you. We are, no joke, a nation of worry warts.

It starts young. For the last 8 years, I have taught classes for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill which talk about all types of mental illnesses, but a key one that nearly everybody is affected by in one way or another is anxiety. I’m seeing it more and more with younger and younger people. Here’s how it goes.

anxiety3A person can move up this chart and hover in the top few categories of stress and anxiety for over an extended period of time, dropping in and out of panic attacks when certain triggers push up the mercury. Six months of that will give you a General Anxiety Disorder diagnosis and may also spring out some OCD, hoarding, and other sub-categories.  Just like any other mental illness, anxiety is a brain chemical issue, and if the brain continues to get hit with anxiety-causing neurotransmitters, medication can be a life saver. I’ve seen that make a crucial difference in the lives of many people I love.

So can environmental changes. The times in my life when I have found myself out of the relaxed section of the thermometer (which was much of my 20s and 30s) and up into the stressed categories, were when I just simply had too much going on and not the right kinds of things. I was in dysfunctional relationships. While I was making a high salary, I was working jobs I hated and jobs that were not anywhere near in sync with my life purpose. (In fact, if you would have talked to me about life purpose, my answer would have been “my only life purpose is to feed my baby” which I was doing on my own in a city without any family while working full time at those jobs I hated.)

I knew I needed a change the day I woke up and the room was spinning. I was in the middle of the only panic attack I’ve ever had and it was horrible. That day, I went in to my boss and quit with no idea how I was going to pay rent or feed my child. I just knew my health was being compromised and without my health, I couldn’t do those things anyway.

That was a turning point for me. I realized how much an environment can impact a person physically. I vowed to create, through intention, a more relaxed lifestyle that would keep my red down.

As a culture, though, we create this tension. We value it. We think it makes us grow. We get more, bigger, better toys if we work harder, longer, smarter. The message starts when we’re little with mommies in the Mommy and Me classes.

Mommy 1: Is Chad walking yet?

Mommy 2: Almost. The doctor said when he’s 3 months we can put him in a walking acceleration program. He’s been sleeping through the night since he was 6 hours old.

Mommy 1: Wow. You’re so lucky. Chad never sleeps. He’s too busy walking. He walked right out of the hospital, actually.

Mommy 2: Impressive.

So I’m prone to hyperbole, but variations on this conversation exist. I’ve heard them. I’ve been in them. You’re pregnant and you’re not on the waiting list? Which schools? When? Get them in early so they’re not behind. It goes on and on through the child’s life.

By the time they get to high school, they’re burnt out. I’ve seen it over and over. Now, it’s a race for college opportunities. Then, jobs. Then, better jobs–the ones that will help them accumulate the most stuff with the least amount of work. Then they’re the parents. Then, the cycle repeats.

And so many opportunities all along the way to worry.

A recent trend has intrigued me. It’s the “Keep Calm” trend. Why has it taken off?

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Have you seen these shirts? Why are they so popular? Because everybody can identify with the cultural anx.

In a few weeks, I’ll be 50 years old. It’s taken me half a century to figure out how to keep the red down in the relaxed zone. For me, it takes a dedication to daily meditation (Ommmm), which means I really do it, not just talk about doing it. It also takes me using the filter of “does this thing that I’m doing right now line up with my life purpose” to consider EVERY decision. It’s a very conscious process. It takes trusting that I am a spiritual being living a human experience not just for myself, but to leave the world around me better than it was before I got here. This means, taking care of my body and my mind, which are the tools I need to complete said mission.

And, it takes knowing, really, that the only moment I have is the moment I’m in and that’s a gift.

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Posted in anxiety, bipolar disorder, conscious living, early onset bipolar disorder, facing your fears, Goals, habits, health, meditation, mental health, mental health and children, spiritual, subconscious | 14 Comments

Seventy Salads Long

DSCN1523I’m reading “Nature” which is one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays, originally published anonymously. They talked funny back in the 1800s so I don’t understand it all (despite having studied him at length during my undergrad years as an English Lit major), but every once in a while I get sound bites that stick. They can take over my thoughts for an entire day.

Towards the end of the essay, he’s writing about how humanity constantly tries to speed things up (better, quicker, faster, smarter)  though nature doesn’t buy in.  It just is. He says man’s life is “…seventy salads long, grow they swift or grow they slow.”

This was the sound bite that started to take over. I started thinking, what if at the end of your life you lined up all the foods that went into your body while here on earth? Would each era be easily identifiable?

I’m thinking of my high school years right now where I think I drank 800 grape juices, ate 1,000 chocolate chip cookies, and gobble down 500 stuffed burritos from Roger’s Frosty made in the deep fryer after closing hours. My current line would be filled with lots of fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and pounds of peanut butter and raw honey with the occasional red wine/chocolate binge. Oh, and TONS of S’more bars and chewy chocolate chip Medifast bars because I love those. (But definitely no deep fried burritos!)

What does your line look like? Would you be embarrassed for other people to see it or would it make you proud?

I’m pretty sure Ralph Waldo didn’t think I’d take this reference off in this tangent, but hey. He did tell American authors to be original in their thoughts and find their own voices after all.

And now I’m wondering what Ralph’s line would have looked like…

Posted in coaching, conscious living, health, healthy living, Inspiration | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Bypass the Bypass

gastric bypass-1My youngest son is at that age where he’s recently graduated from the pediatrician and has begun going to the family doctor. Conversations have switched, accordingly, from team sports to “sex, drugs, and rock and roll talks,” as the doctor calls them. No longer do we have the nice nurse come in for shots, but we’re handed a lab slip and told to high-tail it over to the lab.

While at the lab waiting for the dreaded “blood draw,” a woman in the waiting room struck up a conversation with me. My kids were confused. They were pretty sure I didn’t know her (and I didn’t), but she was speaking filter-free about the health journey she was on.  This came up because she was drinking a small bottle of water and she said, “Man. I can’t even drink half of this. My stomach’s about this big right now,” and she held up her hand making a circle with her thumb and forefinger.

Turns out, four days ago she had a gastric bypass down at UC Davis. She was supposed to stay down there, but had decided that didn’t work for her so she’d come home. She talked about how painful the surgery was, how she’d had to take multiple pain meds and give herself so much morphine on the self-regulated drip that she couldn’t breathe at one point. She told us how she had staples all over her stomach and wasn’t supposed to drive, but couldn’t stand the dependency factor on her friend, so chose to anyway despite the risks. I couldn’t help but feel how this was not the easy way out that some people think it may be.

“How long will it take you to take off—“

“The weight?”

“Yah.”

“They said about 9 months for 85 pounds.”

She said she’d tried everything. When I asked her if she’d tried Take Shape for Life, she said no, that was the one thing she hadn’t tried. Now I know everybody’s different, but if it took me 6 months to lose 80 pounds without pills, surgeries, morphine, etc., isn’t that at least worth a try?

I feel sad when I talk to people in this situation. I feel like I just missed an opportunity to help them down a completely different path filled with hope and empowerment, vs. a lifetime of side effects. TSFL doesn’t use money on advertising so it’s a program that depends on word of mouth. It’s a fantastic program and I’ve personally helped over 70 people drop around 3,500 pounds collectively over the last 4 years. That’s just me, and there are many other health coaches out there like me. Not everybody sticks with it, but all those that do, consistently lose each week, and incorporate all types of healthy habits that will keep them mentally and physically healthy throughout their lives as they continue to apply them.

Please, if you know anybody that is considering gastric bypass, send them to me or another health coach you know, and at least let them try this program. The permanent repercussions from the surgery are just not worth at least giving the program a shot. What do they have to lose besides weight?

www.jamieweil.tsfl.com

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