What This Years Flu Epidemic Says About Our Society

This year’s flu season is upon us, with the CDC calling it a flu epidemic. What I have noticed with this strain of flu is the number of ‘low risk’ people who are getting very sick and being hospitalized with it. The flu is progressing to pneumonia and system-wide infection, sepsis, requiring hospitalization. This has me thinking. Even with the flu vaccine, which the CDC reports is roughly 30% effective (this is a discussion for another time though), such large numbers of cases are being reported across the United States and there must be a common factor.

 

In our society, the cultural norm is to push through it, to keep moving at our normal pace regardless of what else is going on. Taking time off, from work, from life, from play to let your body heal is hard and even frowned upon, after all, we should just pop some pills and tough it out. This does more harm than we might realize. Taking the time to listen to your body and provide what it needs to heal is, in the long run, the wise choice. I get that many times it’s inconvenient to take time off, and I am as guilty as anyone in trudging through sometimes, but what is the real payoff? By pushing through we most certainly prolong the illness and often spread it to others. There is also an increased likelihood of reoccurrence or coming down with something else. So what is the solution?

 

Learn to listen.

 

Stop and pause.

 

Give yourself permission to be kind to yourself.

 

What I mean is stop and pause to listen to your body. Tune in to the subtle messages that your body is sending. If you’re coming down with a cold you likely had some forewarning that it was coming, things like a mild headache, some nasal congestion, a scratchy throat, or feeling tired. Instead of ignoring these signals heed them. Get to bed a little earlier, drink some extra fluids, or have some hot tea with honey, whatever your body needs. Over time you will find that you notice signals that are subtler perhaps a craving for orange juice, feeling easily distracted, or strong desire to stay in and rest. Each of us is paradoxically the same and different, so while we all have these messages from our body what they are and what they mean are unique to you. It takes attention but like any skill, this gets easier with time.

 

Then be kind enough to yourself to respond to what your body needs be it extra sleep, rest, fluids, or specific foods. The sooner you listen and respond the sooner you’ll be back to full capacity.

 

One of the things I have noticed over time is that I when small things annoy me and I have far less patience than my norm that’s a sure sign I’m coming down with something. What do you notice when you’re coming down with something? Share your experience below.

 

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Which Comes First the Pleasure or the Passion?

Hi There

I’m sitting in the sunshine on my back deck soaking in the warmth as I write this note. After living in New England for over forty years, it still feels like such a treat to have warm weather in November. It’s one of the simple pleasures in my life.

It’s these simple pleasures that fuel my passion for life, or maybe it’s the other way around my passion for life allows me to appreciate the simple things.

Either way with the holidays upon us along with the joy and fun of the season it’s bound to get busier, people can get a bit crabby, and it’s easy to slip into ‘should’ mode (you know where you do what you think you should instead of what you really want). It’s a good time to pause and take stock of where you are and what’s going well for you.

No matter where you are in the world, I hope that you take a moment today to connect with all the blessings in your life.

Here is a short gratitude poem and a heartfelt thank you for being a blessing in my life.

Grateful Am I

Honoring, Appreciative, Joyful, and Reverent
Gratitude
for personal growth and expansion,
for laughter and for tears both symbols that emotion is alive and well within me,
for the deep soul-full connection with family and friends,
for the solid sense of who I am,
for the intellectual and creative interaction with my colleagues,
for the beautiful ocean and beach that nourish me daily,
for the crazy completely “get you and got your back” support and honest feedback from my friends,
for the love, big dreams, and kinship that is fostered in my tribe,
for the opportunities to share my gifts and give back to my community,
for the easy access to fresh local food,
for the dolphins that play offshore reminding me to play more,
for the sunshine that warms me when I step outside,
for my clients who inspire and teach me and allow me to share my gifts thoroughly,
for love and unconditional acceptance,
for my beautiful little cottage oasis that I call home,
for who I am, who I have been, and who I am becoming,
and for You and all that you contribute to this magnificent dance we call life
Grateful Am I

Please remember to honor yourself in your gratitude, YOU matter….a great deal.
I would love to hear one thing that you are grateful for just leave a comment in the comment box  below

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How to Make Changes That Really Last

In the last newsletter, I shared my yearly practice of choosing a word for the year. I hadn’t quite landed on my word but promised to share when I did. 2016 was spent clarifying what I really wanted(some legacy work going on there) and healing the things that were holding me back. This year I’m ready to move forward again. So here it is my word for 2017 is Action. Webster defines it as “the process or state of being active” and “an exertion of power or force.” As I wrote the word on my whiteboard and in my planner I created a 6 part list:

 

A – Allowing – to take action, I must first allow.
C – Courage – action can be scary remember to use my courage muscle.
T – Trust – always trust my gut.
I – Imperfection- imperfect action is better than stagnation
O – Open – open to possibility, collaboration, new ideas, new formats, new structure.
N – Never let go of my Why.(more on that next time)

This little list embodies what my word symbolizes for me and helps to anchor it in place. There are many reasons that anchoring it is important, but the most important one is invisible. It shifts your energy. The thoughts you think affect your behaviors, that is pretty obvious for most people. If you’re thinking the guy across the room is creepy your behavior toward him will be very different than if you thought he was a well-respected talk show host.

Thoughts also affect cellular function too. Stress-related illness and the placebo effect are good examples. By anchoring in a word every time it is seen, thought about, or heard it registers in your body and brain. The repetition makes your cells and brain react differently, new neuropathways form, and you behave differently. The word begins to resonate in your energy field, brain and your body as movement toward your desired goal. This supports you in subtle but powerful ways. It’s the secret sauce so to speak that helps you move past the old patterns and into a new way of being.

If you haven’t tried the word activity I highly recommend you do, you can find it here.
Questions are always welcome just enter them in the comment section below and be sure to leave your word in the comments as well.

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New Year – New Start Your First 3 Steps

As a new year is birthed thoughts of what to do with it, how I want to show up and what I want to create roll around my brain. Each year I choose a word to help me stay connected to my vision and move me forward. Last Year’s word was E3-Envision-Engage-Express. I used it to help me dig deeper to connect with meaning and passion in a bigger way….last year was full of healing, claiming and shifting. It also helped me choose to go back to school for my Master’s degree with an eye toward some cutting edge research in Energy Medicine.

This year’s word isn’t quite ready to come forward but there is a sense of expansion and transformation…..in pretty much all areas of my life. This process I one I do every year because it works. It focuses me on what I want to create rather than what isn’t working or what I do not like and most importantly it keeps me from becoming complacent. You know the state where it’s just too much effort to actively try and change something.

How can we maximize the energy of possibility, positive change, and dreams to reality that the New Year ushers in?

The dreams we dream, the things we want, and the goals we set all have a common thread. We believe that, in the achieving/having of them, we will feel better. Our natural state of being is happiness(yes it really is!), and we are continually seeking to reclaim more of that in our lives.

Studies show that about 80% of people don’t even think about goals, 16% think about them but don’t write them down, 3% write them down but don’t review them, and 1% write them down and revisit/revise them one guess which group regularly achieves their goals. The revisiting piece is important it allows for adjusting and increases the likelihood of actually creating a schedule not just an end date for the goal.

I’m not much into formalities, no big spreadsheet, no formal computer program, no stuffy ‘should’s’ for me the word of the year is a symbol of those goals (that I have jotted down in the back of my planner and penciled in on my schedule). It’s written in my planner and hangs on the wall in my office a reminder that I am choosing to create the best version of myself, and that takes effort, conscious thought, and action.

So why do we so often sidestep our own happiness? We set huge goals without intermediate steps or don’t set goals at all, and then we take any perceived mistake and use it to beat ourselves up creating a 1 step forward and 2 steps back sort of momentum.

What if instead, you were to have a benchmark, a guiding light to help you move forward and celebrate your progress rather than magnifying your bumps?

Try this: Light a candle, grab your favorite beverage, a pen, and paper, and gift yourself an hour (alright 30 minutes if you must). Make 3 columns on your paper and label them as follows:

  1. Things I love and want more of
  2. Things I don’t like and want less of
  3. How do I want to feel
  • Now list as much as you can think of under each heading.
  • Look at your lists and jot down words that embody what you want to feel and have.
  • Which word feels best to you, test them out, notice how your body reacts, your mind, your emotions.
  • Write down the word that feels the best.
  • Put the pen down and close your eyes, imagine how you want to embody these things in your work, your relationships, your health, your environment.
  • What do you want to create that will allow for more of what you are seeking?
  • These are your goals.

Here is part of mine that will help shape my word this year.

Things I love and want more of

  • Walks on the beach
  • Curiosity/Discovery
  • Connecting with family and friends
  • Great conversations
  • Coaching/teaching
  • Writing
  • Learning new things

Things I don’t like and want less of

  • Emotional drama
  • Overgiving
  • People pleasing
  • Swollen feet
  • Sitting for long periods of time

How do I want to feel

  • Open
  • Connected
  • Inspired
  • Expansive
  • Useful
  • Passionate

I would love to hear what comes up for you. What is your word? Share in the comments below(, and I’ll share mine when I land on it)

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3 Things You Can Do in Midlife to Avoid Dementia

head-826319 One of the things we worry about with aging is our mental acuity. Most of the women I speak with can accept the physical decline but the mental one is a source of concern. It impacts our ability to remain independent and function in a way that is satisfying to us. Research has some very encouraging news. The brain grows new brain cells right to the end of life, in part it’s our actions that determine what becomes of them.

While those with a college education are half as likely to develop symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and the same is true for those with complex jobs there are things that can be done at whatever age you are to increase your cognitive reserve and reduce your risk of dementia by more than a third. The two most important components are engagement and challenging.

artist-870105_1920Engagement well engages your brain in many ways requiring connections and associations to fire up. A challenge creates new neuropathways and puts those new brain cells into active use. If something is a challenge say learning something new it is likely also engaging as you need to devote your attention to learning it. This is why you hear of brain games and the importance of trying new things. So what exactly can you do to boost your brain power and stave off dementia??

Here are the top three things:

Learn Something New – something that challenges you, it can be a new hobby, a class, a different spin on an old pastime, the key is that it is hard meaning you need to engage and actively participate in it.

Engage – read, meet friends for dinner, see a movie, listen to live music, basically interact, connect and participate.

Move – we all know exercise is good for us but for the brain specifically it increases blood flow, helps those new brain cells survive, and boosts the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning, a simple 20-minute brisk walk daily helps brain function more than either of the two things above.

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