Mold, Coffee and Self Love

So we discovered a leak under our kitchen sink earlier this month. Sadly we hadn’t discovered it soon enough to prevent mold. Not wanting to expose the little ones to any potential mold exposure we moved into a hotel. Luckily for us, we checked in the day before the Hill and Woolsey Fire broke out. One more day and we’d have found no hotel room. Given that we were likely here for a little of a long haul, we were very lucky to have found a two bedroom two bath suite at the local Residence Inn complete with daily breakfast included. Needless to say the kids were ecstatic.

Staycation!

So while on vacation I usually will indulge in drinking caffeinated coffee. You see my hubby is an amazing brewer of coffee. And well, let’s face it. Illy Italian coffee is the real deal.

So for the first 3-4 days we both woke up and enjoyed an absolutely delicious cup of coffee.

On day 5, I started to notice that I was hypersensitive to sounds. Everything was irritating me. I didn’t sleep very well that night either. Never fell into a deep sleep. I felt every toss and turn that Jason made (he obviously wasn’t sleeping well either). He was breathing too loudly, tossing too much, tugging at the sheets when he did…you get the picture- everything annoyed me.

And yet- what he was doing wasn’t new behavior. He was a super light sleeper, prone to waking up at o’dark hundred and then tossing and turning, or reading till he put himself back to sleep.

What was different was my response to it.

My response was different because I had introduced something into my chemistry that I usually never consume.

Heavily caffeinated coffee.

No noticeable difference the first couple days.

But then, the caffeine started to build up.

And started to alter my chemistry.

Which manifest in new behaviors.

Which if unchecked could have (and definitely has in the past) been unhealthy to our relationship. Staying in close quarters for an extended period of time, and going to work and continuing business as usual. It could have been disastrous!

The next day when he asked if I wanted coffee, I declined. And told him why.

Interestingly I observed that it had affected him too. Even though he DOES have caffeinated coffee daily. Just one cup of good espresso made into a short latte.

He was impatient about practically everything.

Because I had acknowledged my own irritation and recognized it early on.

Because I had checked it.

Because I had shared it with him.

I was now able to remove my emotions from the conversation and gently remind him that he too was experiencing symptoms as a result of the coffee.

His knee jerk response was ‘it’s not the coffee.’ But he knew better.

And I knew he knew.

So let’s just speculate how this would have gone down, had we NOT addressed this early on.

  • I would have woken up that first day of being irritable with very poor sleep and snapped at him for every toss and turn. I would have admonished him to be more sensitive to me. That if he couldn’t sleep, the least he could do is let ME sleep.
  • Lack of sleep would have led me to have less bandwidth to be gentle and compassionate with his impatience.
  • So when he snapped at me for the slightest, I would have snapped right back.
  • We would have likely blamed each other for whatever inconsequential thing was causing us to be irritated with each other.
  • And pretty soon, full blown war of the roses!
  • And unchecked this would have continued.
  • And in the close quarters that we are, our kids would have been fully exposed to behaviors and words from us that would have been potentially damaging.

So often in our relationships that falter we fail to be able to see our role early on to nip it in the bud. It’s so easy to assign blame to someone else or somewhere outside ourselves. Especially when life throws a curveball and we are hoisted from our comfort and regularity of actions. One of my mentors used to say ‘you can’t see your own eyebrows.’ Meaning you need others to point out certain things to you about yourself. You can’t see it for yourself.

So how do you become self-aware so that you can catch yourself in the act of being an a$$?

  1. Meditation helps you to center and ground yourself. It also helps you to not take yourself too seriously.
  1. Developing self-discipline helps you to develop body and mind awareness. This simply means having small daily actions that you do for yourself NO MATTER WHAT.
  2. Having an attitude of gratitude for the small things. Whisper thanks the next time you get a sweet parking spot. When coincidences happen, or when mold causes you to have to leave home for an extended period of time, say thank you that you caught it early enough for it to be just 3 weeks out of the house instead of 3 months. You get the idea. There’s ALWAYS a silver lining if we look for it.
  • Let’s face it we all make well intentioned resolutions for ourselves at the start of a new year. Most often these fall off before January 15. What we don’t realize is that when we allow ourselves off the hook that way (and we usually have the best of reasons) we are sending a subliminal message to ourselves that says we’re not worth it. That work, family obligations or even new volunteer efforts are more important that maintaining a commitment to ourselves. And if you think about it, that’s probably not the first time you have allowed yourself to be put on the back burner.
  • How can that be good for self esteem?

    If we’re a parent, what message are we sending our kids?

    If we’re in a partnership/marriage/relationship…how can we expect our significant other to respect us, if we don’t respect ourselves enough to follow through on our word?

    We teach people how to treat us by the way we behave.

    What are you teaching people?

    To love and respect you and acknowledge your contribution with gratitude.

    Or

    To think of you as SO dependable that you’ll do anything for them, even at the cost of your own health and sanity.

    Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s self love. Self love is good for you. And it’s particularly good for the people you love, the community you serve and the world you are changing.

    Be A Magnet

    On Thursday evening, I came home from work and kids activities feeling nauseous and barely able to lift my head for fear of throwing up. I thought it was food poisoning. I thought i would be back on my feet in 12 hours. But– i had no ‘ejections’ of any kind. Hmmm.

    Friday- I stayed home and after I got the family off to school and work, I fell back into a deep sleep for nearly 5 hours.

    My body was craving rest.

    It’s been a hectic few months– between fundraisers I have to attend, kids activities, work, business, family, it’s been nonstop.

    My 45 year old body needs attention too. Running, spinning, boot camp, yoga, dance. (More on the dance later.)

    Nutrition and hydration are always top of mind.

    I’ve been sleeping ‘fairly’ early — averaging about 6hrs 45min a night. Ok so that’s on the low side. I do make up for it by sleeping nearly 9 hours on Saturday/Sunday. Not ideal I know. Our bodies are creatures of habit and consistent good sleep is way better than inconsistent good sleep.

    So– what was this knock-me-off-my-feet episode all about?

    You see, when something like this happens to me, it’s always an opportunity to go deep and see why.

    It’s never the thing you think it is.

    It wasn’t food poisoning.

    Or even the 24 hour stomach bug that it turned out to be, complete with fever and achy body.

    It’s something more.

    It’s a message to me.

    From me.

    From my Inner Guidance System.

    It’s a message to slow down.

    Not just the outer body shell that executes all the instructions of the mind.

    Slow down the mind.

    I have meditated off and on for over 15 years now.

    But lately, the meditations were few and far between.

    The only time I was truly meditating was during the twice a week 5am walk.

    And while moving meditations are powerful.

    Your conscious mind is still activated and keeping you safe from the 21st century versions of saber tooth tigers and wooly mammoths. That is; fight or flight is still activated.

    It is only when sitting in what your conscious mind can consider to be a completely safe environment that it can even remotely attempt to quiet down, and allow your subconscious mind to be accessed.

    So today- after I sent my family off to their various activities.

    I sat.

    I primed my body with a powerful breathing technique by Dr. Joe Dispenza and then I meditated.

    And through my meditation this is what I received:

    Be A Magnet

    Keep your vibration high

    Keep your vision clear

    Keep your intention focused

    Keep your body nourished

    And your soul satisfied

    with the love you share

    the company you keep

    the gratitude you emanate

    Be a magnet for the best and limitless possibilities of all time.

    I came out of meditation with this profound sense of gratitude and love. I didn’t realize it but tears were streaming down my face. I had envisioned a wonderful world and it felt so real.

    Peace

    Bliss

    Joy

    Abundance

    Love

    So much love.

    Isn’t this what John Lennon said when he asked us to Imagine?

    Be A Magnet for all that is wonderful and good in the world.

    Take a stand for love.

    Love is truly magical.

    Time Shows Up

    So I ran into a friend at Target yesterday. I was there shopping for home supplies and she was in line for her prescription. I walked toward her to hug her but she paused me — ‘pneumonia…’ she whispered hoarsely.

    This friend, I’ll call her ‘Kay’ is one of the most inspiring people I know. She had a vision to make a change in her community and not only did she rally the community behind her idea, she got government and community leaders behind it as well. This vision is becoming a reality. And the entire city and county in fact will benefit from Kay’s idea.

    Kay will go down in history of our area as being THE WOMAN who brought value to our kids, tourism to our area and tax dollars to our city.

    She’s my hero!

    This summer Kay’s vision moved forward very significantly. There was an outward showing for the community. The public could see this idea become a reality.

    When I saw her at the public showing- she said that her whole summer had been spent for the most part in getting ready for this preview. Her little kids, her inspiration for this vision and this idea were a big part of helping her. This was their summer.

    This woman doesn’t stop. She at everything. She’s networking, doing 1:1 visits and volunteering at places that will help increase visibility for her vision, she’s doing all the right things!

    AND

    She’s running on fumes.

    When life is that busy, it’s easy to continually put yourself on the back burner.

    Because self care feels selfish!

    I’ll sleep when I’m dead!

    I’ll rest after my vision is a reality.

    I can’t let my family down.

    I can’t let my community down.

    People are expecting me to be the face of the organization/project/company.

    Sound familiar?

    Some version of this is always going through our heads.

    Until our body collapses in sheer exhaustion.

    It’s almost always the case that after a big event, project, presentation etc. we experience major exhaustion.

    Our body carries us through the process, but then the minute it’s done—

    Collapse.

    Illness.

    Fatigue so deep that you can’t move.

    Complete system shut down.

    Your body has been carrying you on adrenaline the entire time.

    You’re way past normal functions, your mind is in flight or flight and fighting for survival!

    And once you release the breath breath you’ve been holding your mind recognizes that the danger is passed and it can relax.

    And it does.

    Every cell

    Every nerve ending

    Every emotion

    Releases

    Relaxes

    Collapses

    Takes you out of the game for a while.

    Or a long while.

    So how do you avoid complete collapse?

    Make your self care non negotiable. It doesn’t have to be complex, you don’t have to spend hours on yourself. But you can.

    Go ahead, I give you permission.

    30 minutes a day is all it can take.

    Breathe: before starting your car, take three deep breaths. Before exiting your car do it again.

    Walk: one mile can take you less than 15 minutes. If that’s not an option, find a way to move your body. Park as far from your destination as you can – and walk.

    Hydrate: (water not coffee!) aspire to drink 1/2 your body weight in oz. e.g. a 130 lb person would be drinking 65oz.

    Nourish: higher intake of lean protein keeps you full longer and gives you sustained energy. A plant based protein shake blended with berries, greens and a good source of fat (think avocado or nut butter) is an ideal breakfast for the dats when you don’t have time to sit and eat a good meal.

    Sleep: 7 hours at least

    And probably the single most important thing is to have intention.

    Don’t make your self care another checklist item on your to-do list.

    Promise yourself that you will care for you.

    So that you can care for your family, community and the world.

    And yes, it feels like if you do these things for yourself you’re stealing time from other more productive things you could be doing.

    I can promise you this.

    Time.Shows.Up

    Exercise is Poetry of the Body

    Exercise moves your physical body and occupies your human mind for you cannot exercise and think about anything other than what you are doing for fear of injury. Stay focused. Exercise helps you engage all parts of your body and mind and get them working in unison in a way that few other activities can do. Exercise is the execution of God-consciousness. It is poetry of the body just as meditation is poetry of the soul. 

    Diary Entry 3/27/16

    surrender
    This is a few weeks after I wrote it, because I was unsure I wanted to share. Somehow in the past 48 hours, I have felt compelled to update my blog site and add some elements to it. And this is the first page that I opened to, after deciding to share some of my writings. This entry is from my journal written on Easter morning while in Sedona, AZ.

    “I just finished reading the Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. I highly recommend it. I’ve been trying to get through Untethered Soul for nearly 2 years with little success. But this one, I could hardly put it down. I have come to see how I ‘should’ all over myself even for my spiritual practice. I’ve been trying to control it. My biggest take away was that my meditation practice is the single most important thing I can do and the more I bring my focus there, and let go of some of the other practices then everything will fall into place. Even my writing, which is usually stream of consciousness is directed by the personal mind. Let it all go. Simply allow life to lead me. Whatever needs to fall away will, whatever needs to accelerate will. Don’t do it based on my need to control. Everything is on the table…EVERYTHING! Let go of all the control, the preconceived notions, the thoughts that control, the personal mind voice, that chatter that can keep me up. Just talk to it and see what it is; don’t manage anything…just allow yourself to be managed by Source and watch your life start to flow…and simply allow all that power that is to course through you. You’ve wanted this, you’ve known yourself to be at the cusp of what is possible, so all;ow it – let go of the need to control, let go of the desires you think you have and watch and allow the magic of God’s creation work through you. LET GO LET GO LET GO BE BE BE BE BE BE BE BE ALLOW ALLOW ALLOW ALLOW SURRENDER SURRENDER SURRENDER EXHALE!”

    6 Words That Rocked My World

      My husband Jason is a scientist and someone who has a very intense filing system for a mind. His mind never shuts down. If the average person has over 20,000 thoughts a day, he probably has more like 10x! 

    For 13 years that we’ve been together I’ve suggested, pleaded, begged, implored, recommended and pretty much done everything I could to ask him to develop a meditation practice. I’ve sent him articles from journals that he respects that espouse the benefits of a meditation and mindfulness practice; all to no avail. 

    This past week was extraordinarily stressful. Both our kids had birthdays and instead of parties we settled on a weekend at Legoland which while a lot of fun is exhausting if you’re not under 12! The drive to Carlsbad which is usually 2.5hrs took 4+hrs on a Friday afternoon after school. The bonus there was  seeing friends we hadn’t seen in over 4 years and dinner with my best friend!! 

    Later in the week, other things happened to us which threw us off kilter and by Wednesday we were not our best selves. We got into a big argument which ended in a 4 hour must-needed conversation about many unspoken things– things that got put on the back burner when kids and life happened. By now it was 11pm and my husband with the filing system of a mind the size of a museum was in overdrive. And then he said the words I’ve waited all these years to hear him say…

    Will You Teach Me To Meditate?

    I immediately burst into tears…relief, joy, gratitude and a feeing of closeness to him in a way that has been sadly missing between us for a while. We sat on our living room floor, across from each other, candles lit, mantra music barely discernible in the background and I led him through a Black and White breathing meditation. I emerged from meditation before him, and as I sat there in silence watching him with his head looking down, he never looked more beautiful to me. His face, usually wears the weight of our life that he’s chosen to bear, and in those few moments he looked so serene, so at peace, so reminiscent of how he looked to me when we first met. The light of the candles caused his rugged features (which I adore) to be softer, almost fluid. My eyes welled up again. I was never more in love with him than I was at that moment. I was transported to our wedding day and how I loved staring into his handsome face on Hearst State beach as we said our self-written vows to each other 10 years ago. 

    It’s only been two days but he’s asked that we do this every night together as a new ritual for us. 

    It’s been 13 years in the making and I never lost hope that one day we would sit in silence together and allow our energies to dance in the candlelight together. Yes indeed, dreams, even seemingly impossible ones can come true. 

    Next up, couples yoga and (dare I say it) couples spa day. 

    Maybe.

    I’m patient.

    I can hope.

    Why I Am Happy

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    Now has come, an easy time. I let it roll. There is a lake somewhere so blue and far nobody owns it. A wind comes by and a willow listens gracefully.

    I hear all this, every summer. I alight and cry for every turn of the world, it’s terribly cold, innocent spin. That lake stays blue and free; it goes on and on.

    And I know where it is. – William Stafford

    Where’s your blue lake? When times get tough, or when you’re in a state of overwhelm where can you retreat to? Even if only in your mind, even if only for a few moments? Do you have a sanctuary? A place that is yours and yours alone? One that you can’t share with anyone because you feel like you’ll get laughed at or ridiculed?

    Yes, I have a blue lake. A place where I retreat to for safety and to regenerate. A place that sets me free and strengthens me. It’s a place of my own construct. I laid every brick, nailed every nail, painted every wall and flawlessly and lovingly furnished every room. My blue lake is a home…with a view of the ocean, with a room for me- painted white, elegantly appointed with rich upholstery but minimal furnishing. This room is where I meditate. It offers unobstructed views of a deep blue ocean! I can see dolphins beckon- and after my meditation I join them. I’m free, strong and completely One with the universe. I Am.

    I got pulled over by a policeman today

    Yes I did. I was driving home with my 7yo after dropping my 3yo off to school so we could have a ‘girls’ day off’ while on Spring Break. I turned down a street, just one turn away from my home, doing a California Roll (barely stopping) at the stop sign and in the microsecond that I made that turn and saw him, I just knew he was going to stop me. I looked him squarely in the eyes as I drove by, watching my rear view mirror to see if he would turn his car around…he did.

    Now first off – in the past, whenever I have been stopped (just about 3-4 times in my life) my heart would race and I would get really nervous – this time, I was calm. Curious!

    Anyway, he probably ran my plate then came up to me and I was handing him my license and registration before he asked. He said what I knew he would say, that I didn’t stop; (I did tap the brakes, I just didn’t stop long enough) – I looked at him and said that I knew the moment that I saw him that he would be pulling me up for this. He took my stuff back to his car to do whatever it is they do. And in that moment, as I waited to receive the ticket (I saw him pull out a pad and start to write something) I remembered my meditation class from last week. It had been such a good teaching that I pulled out my iPhone and started taking notes, making sure to tell the teacher after the fact, that that’s what I was doing, lest she think I was texting in the middle of her teaching.

    What she said was profound yet so simple as profound statements tend to be. She was talking about the effort that it takes to train your mind and that it is as important to clean our mind as we clean our bodies, our homes and our cars. The statement that I went to, in that moment waiting for the policeman to come back and give me a ticket for the California roll was that of finding a spiritual practice in every mundane act that we do. In my case sitting there, I thought of this: ‘thank you Universe for one more sign that I should slow down. I receive this message with humility and a sense of acceptance of whatever the consequence is for my action.” And I actually found myself smiling at that moment.

    So Mr. Policeman with a very sweet Eastern European accent returns to my side and asks me for my home or cell phone number. (is that usual? Don’t remember that from my last pull over from over a decade ago) He asks me what I do – I tell him I am self employed. He asks in what? I say I am a Wellness Coach. I am figuring he’s filling out details on his triplicate ticket that he’s about to rip out and give me. He then says he isn’t going to give me a ticket this time…rather let me off with a warning – that I have a child in the car and that I am in a residential area and that I should be more careful. I thank him out loud, bless him in my heart and make my way home basking in the love that has just been shown to me by The Universe, by way of a very thoughtful police officer.

    So my invitation to you is to consider what ordinary activities do you engage in everyday that you can transform into a spiritual practice. Here are some thoughts to ponder:

    1. Food cooked with love and consciousness is an expression of love and kindness.
    2. See the potential in every activity you engage in – whether that be cleaning your bathroom or doing your taxes
    3. Develop a mind of compassion in everything you do
    4. Recognize that even an intention to control your mind and develop peace causes a karmic event. No action is ever wasted.
    5. You’ve created the cause, you will experience the effect.

    Think of negative thoughts as ‘bad weather in the blue sky of your mind’ turbulence is momentary – blue skies ahead!

    Let me know how I can assist you on your journey. I’m in your service and sending you light & love

    Day 11: 30 days to fit

     

    MY CHOCOLATE PROTEIN POWDER CAME IN TODAY!

    Arbonne Chocolate Protein Powder

     

    I haven’t been this excited about receiving my chocolate protein powder in a long time! It’s been on back order for over a month and since I drink this daily – I run through my bag in 2 months! I’ve learned now to keep one in reserve always!

    Today I really really really enjoyed my breakfast shake! Almond/Coconut unsweetened milk, chocolate protein powder, strawberries, blueberries, almond butter, celery, kale, green beans, and a handful of raw almonds for texture, ice and blend!! YUMMM heaven!

    I ran around with my kids quite a bit today – forgot to eat lunch on time, so came home ravenous…why is it that moms remember to feed their kids like clockwork but forget themselves? I will remember to sunblock my kids, carry snacks and water for them – but never think about doing the same for myself…have to change that ASAP! As a result of that…I came back to ZERO will power – cheese pizza is what I found in my fridge to eat…UGH – dairy and gluten – two of my no nos! Not good to be that hungry! It prevents your ability to choose wisely. I realized around 4pm that the only liquids I had had was my protein shake and decaf coffee (yep, with my soy creamer and turbinado sugar). I quickly drank 2-3 glasses of water…again, not a good idea. This made me realize that I have to get better organized when I’m running around town with my kids! When I pack snacks/water for them – I must do the same for myself. It’s that airplane oxygen mask philosophy – put yours on first (care for yourself first) before you help your kids (so that you can be a better parent to your kids!).

    I want to talk about recipes….not cooking recipes, but  my recipe for success…I have a list of things that I must do, to be my optimal best! To be a good mum, wife, daughter, sister, professional, etc.  I need to take care for myself a certain way. My recipe goes something like this:

    • Meditate daily
    • Run three times a week for a total of at least 10 miles
    • Cook from scratch for my family at least 5 days a week
    • Sleep 7 hours a night
    • Sleep no later than 10 pm
    • Wake no later than 5:30 am during the week (that gives me 1 hour to myself in the morning)
    • Sleep in till 8 am one weekend day
    • Read 10 pages of a good book every night

    When I adhere to this – I feel completely invincible! Everything flows exactly the way it should and I have energy that would put the energizer bunny to shame! I am disciplined in a way that is empowering to me in all areas of my life. This is not to say that I am regimented…it just makes me feel in control!

    However, when even one thing falls to the wayside – other things start to slip! When I haven’t had a full night sleep, which has been the case for me these past few weeks, except for an occasional here and there day when my toddler does deign to sleep all night long – I can’t get up at 5.30 am, which means, no meditation, no running. No running means too tired to cook and too tired to read at night…when the discipline of  my routine is disrupted, it disrupts my overall discipline in all other areas of my life. I have intentionally experimented with this and then it’s happened organically – and the results or lack of them are the same! I feel unfocused, disorganized and not at my best. I am going through motions – but not taking the reigns. I am letting life happen to me, instead of me making my life happen.

    I know that sleep is the falling domino for me – everything else falls down. It’s really good to identify that one hot button thing for you – being aware of it, is a big part of knowing how to deal with it.

    So – what is that hot button thing for you? What makes life fall down around your ears? (what does that even mean???) And…what can you do to fix it?

    Will you share?

    Healing Rhythms with Drs. Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish

    Meditation has long been proven to be one of the most effective ways to alleviate stress and take control of our own health. Even just 10 minutes a day can make a difference and set us on the path to calm and teach us to quiet our mind! Yet that is difficult for many. This is a wonderful step by step process for those of you who have thought you might want to, but don’t know how! I’d love your feedback through comments as to your progress!

    Namaste.

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    click here to sign up for the 15 step Healing Rhythms Program- it’s free