Super Woman Slowing Down

Gay Pride Day 2008_32

I’m proud to be featured today in fellow Retreat Coach Judith Geiger’s blog with an interview.

Our conversation revolves around a long time ally that I am now choosing to not be so controlled by; The Super Women persona! She’s been around awhile and has gotten me through some really rough times by being a powerful drill sergent that kept me going, but mostly she just tires me out now.

Super Woman might be pretty, and she is one hard driving soul! She expects everything to be perfect, requires no mistakes, allows no rest till it’s all done, leaves no time for healthy eating, has high expectations that are often unreasonable and unattainable, and is critical and demanding.

On the other hand, she doesn’t accept no for an answer, which often can be a positive thing as she gives support and encouragement to push through the fears. She believes anything is possible and that she has the strength and personal resources necessary to push forward. She says, “we can fly to the highest places, handle anything that comes along, and still look pretty in the end”.

I have to admit, she has been a good friend. However, there comes a time when the opportunity to choose a gentler path comes our way, and it’s looking pretty inviting to me!  Having developed the 17 Elements to achieve a Life System of Whole Health, I am acutely aware that there are other options now. These possibilities allow for life to weave it’s magic through the day, for me to honor my bodies needs as they come up, to give space for feelings and emotions, and to follow the murmurings of my heart versus some predetermined goal that may not make sense anymore.

While I am letting go of my own personal Super Woman, I am not completely saying goodbye. I know that there are elements of her that are useful and important to keep around. Knowing the difference between the positive and negative attributes of her allows for choosing empowering ways to have her work with me, rather than against me, and allows me to lead a much more sustainable life. I’m happy to have her back me up, and I am no longer willing to have her run the show!

Oh! Blissful Sleep!

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under emotional energy, Health & Wellness

Sleep the good sleep...

Quality of sleep is important for many reasons.

A 2004 study in the journal Science reports that the quality of our sleep has a greater influence on our ability to enjoy the day, than our marital status or financial situation.

Oh boy, do I know that one! As a survivor of Epstein Barr, which has symptoms similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia, sleep is something that is top on my priority. Unfortunately, I don’t always get the best of it.

My partner has a weird twitching syndrome (no just restless leg, we are talking whole body twitches here!) and while I often fall fast and deeply asleep, I get woken up frequently to the point that it disturbs the quality of my sleep immensely. This can have me waking up in the morning very grumpy, just ask him!

Some medical folks believe that Fibromyalgia is actually a sleeping disorder, where for some unknown reason, those afflicted with this often debilitating condition are unable to reach the Stage Four sleep cycle where all the muscular and cellular repair is done. All I know is that when I don’t get enough quality sleep, I feel it in my body. And then I experience it my temperament!

What I know for sure (as Oprah is fond of saying) is that sleep is super, duper important in maintaining a healthy and balanced outlook, a clear head, and a feel good body. More and more it becomes a priority to get to bed on time, be certain not drink caffeine late in the day, reduce stress and worry, and eliminate negative dynamics before bedtime so that I can be more assured of getting a good nights sleep.

And, for those seemingly to often nights when I don’t get the quality of sleep I desire, other strategies must be engaged. I allow myself 5 minutes of whining and complaining in my journal about how crappy I feel and bla, bla, bla. Then I read something inspiring, that leaves me feeling good, or something that makes me smile. I watch a short, funny video to get my happy hormones moving. I take a walk to get some sunshine and increase my serotonin levels.

This brings me to the biggest lesson I have learned on my journies with Fibromyalgia, Epstein Barr, and a partner with a weird twitiching disorder. How my body feels does not have to equal what my perspectivve and attitude is, nor does it have to ruin my day. I can feel bad in my body, and be ecstatically happy to be alive. I can choose joy, rather than despair. I can take a nap in the middle of the day.

And, I can pray for a good nights sleep tonight!

Retreat Bliss

Tea in the Garden-always a great retreat!

Tea in the Garden-always a great retreat!

Hard to believe a whole week has already gone by since my last entry. Where does the time go? Sounds like it’s time for a home spa treatment to relax and unwind from the week.

Being a Retreat Coach it’s only natural that I strongly advocate the idea of retreating. Think beyond an expensive spa or long weekend retreat, although those are really great and certainly you are worth it as much as anyone! What I am thinking about is the concept of retreat as a way of life, as an attitude, a way of being. In other words, retreat can happen at anytime, in a variety of ways. All you have to do is recognize, and claim, that retreat is what you are doing.

A quiet moment in the garden. Closing your eyes at your desk for a few moments. A long hot bath. Time out in nature. Candle light. All these moments can be turned into a retreat that refreshes your mind, rejuvenates your spirit, and calms your heart.

I recently came across a great little book called “The Busy Women’s Home Spa Book” by Liz Wilde. Liz is also a Life Coach as well as a beauty, health and well-being writer. This book is fun, and easy to read. I got refreshed just looking through the pages at all the beautiful photographs that look so inviting!

She suggests that the rules are simple for what you could do every day that would make you feel-oh-so-good and what I would suggest is integrating the idea of retreat as a way of life. Your habits need to be: simple, give you energy and be things that you want to do! Easier said than done perhaps, and remember, you are in charge of your own life. Choosing to be relaxed, healthy and happy is up to you.

Here are some ideas for leading a retreat oriented life.

  • Take time to find stillness and quiet every day, even if only for 5-15 minutes.
  • Indulge in self massages
  • Turn off your television
  • Stretch and move your body
  • Spend time in nature; reflecting, observing, just being
  • Laugh often
  • Get to bed early
  • Eat healthy, organic foods
  • Use candles and turn mundane events into special ones
  • Take an “emotional health” day off from work
  • Dance wildly in your living room to music you love

While all of these suggestions might look like every day activities, when you do them with the intention of retreat they become so much more.

As for me, I am going to get off this computer and go try Liz’s Easy Relaxing Face and Neck Massage recipe, before meeting friends for a silly game of miniature golf (laughing is essential!)

Celebrating Birthday’s

Birthday candleToday is my birthday. 48 years old.

First thought: Can that really be true?

Second thought: I don’t feel 48. (What exactly does 48 feel like?)

Third thought: Oh dear!

In some ways it feels just like any other day-except that I got tons of love messages on Facebook, a girlfriend arrived waving a bouquet of white tulips, I got a fabulous massage and taken out to lunch by another friend, and I’m being treated to dinner by my sweetie tonight.

However, the morning didn’t look like anything I anticipated, the things I most wanted to do got neglected, I’m yelling at myself for that chocolate brownie at lunch cause I have a super sugar hangover happening and feel like crap, and my to-do list didn’t get touched.

Of course this is a great opportunity to love myself unconditionally, practice letting go and embracing what is, and looking for the gift therein. After all, it’s my birthday, gifts are a part of it, yes?

Birthdays usually cause lots of reflection and renewed commitment to my goals for the year. Since my birthday is in mid May it”s perfect timing for that. But here is the truth. I don’t really feel like doing that today.

Today I just want to have fun. I want to be surrounded by all my friends and feel their warm hugs around me. I want buckets of laughter and tons of silliness. I want to skip and play. I want all my cares and concerns to go floating away. I want to feel free and unencumbered in my body. I want  be a kid again.

48 years. That’s a bit of time. I know I am entering into a profound and powerful period of my life. Actually, I am looking forward to it, and just the other day as I contemplated the arrival of this years birthday, I began to plan for my 50th (and a grand one it will be!). It’s just that it is really hard to believe that I am here already. Stop the ride, I want to get off for awhile!

I pause for a moment and gaze out the window. There is a delicious play of light filtering through green leaves, and the hummingbird is at the feeder. Colorful prayer flags on the fence flutter in the breeze while the sun catches a crystal and sends rainbows across the room.

Suddenly it occurs to me. I am 48 yrs young. Amazing! Wonderful! How lucky am I? I’ve still got 1/2 my life, at least, to live. When I am 100, (I’m planning on getting to 105) 48 will feel like a kid! So, what am I waiting for? It’s time to play!! And, it’s my birthday. I’m sending those cares and concerns packing, saying to hell with the to-do list, transforming this morning to a growth opportunity, and stepping deep into the gratitude for all the gifts in my life, especially for friends who show up waving flowers and give super loving massages.

Happy Birthday to me. Hold on, we got one amazing ride coming up!

Wave Swinger (#5)

Relationship Sustainability-Myth or Attainable?

Ocotillo

Yesterday morning I took a long walk. My getting-better-all-the-time-routine is to take a walk every morning. This time however, I walked with a bit of a heavy heart.  Relational dynamics with my partner were really troubling me, and my soul (never mind the Coach in me!) was aching to find some solutions .

I walked with the question of: What does designing sustainable relationships really mean, and is it even attainable? Quite honestly, this isn’t a game I feel I have played so well over the years, at least within the realms of intimate, primary partnership. My father once said that I go through boyfriends faster than he goes through trucks! (Of course I wasn’t sure how this applied as it seemed I was going through way more boyfriends than he was trucks! But I guessed he was trying to tell me something in his John Wayne style of fathering). While in the past my successes haven’t been so great, it is a game I continue to master and am learning to play in a whole new way!

Since I’ve read Marci Shimoff’s “Happy For No Reason” book, I have been making a practice of increasing my happiness set point. She talks about how you can choose to be happy, no matter what circumstances or situations are occurring in your life. While my heavy heart wanted to have a pity party, something else decided it was more important to somehow put this choice into action. I began to focus on all the beautiful things around me, and there were so many! The exquisite orange Ocotillo blossom against a lush green background of trees.  The delicate white thistle flowers. The grey silhouette of the Elm and Chiricahua Mountains in the distance. The sweep of wispy clouds against the dramatic blue sky. The call of the Cactus Wren. So many things to bring joy to my heart!

The more I walked, the better I felt. Suddenly,everything I needed to know came tumbling through with great clarity! What needed to be said, how to say it, and the awareness that it needed to all be said very, very quickly. There was no more waiting, no more pretending, no more allowing. A certain rush of emotion came up with it, and I tenderly allowed for it. As I continued to focus on all the beauty around me, a calmness spread through out me and I moved into a grounded place of knowing that was soothing and comforting.

SweetheartsMy ultimate belief is that sustainable relationship is attainable. What this means to me is a relationship that gives and nurtures energy, rather than draining it. What I know is that I’ve just been doing it wrong all these years. I looked outside myself for the energy, rather than harvesting it within myself. In doing so it was hard to see the beauty that was all around me, available for my own personal harvest! When, on my walk, I focused on that which brings me joy, I found the answers to that which was bringing me sadness. I went home, we had a great talk and the dynamics are in a positive place. And that is happy making! Which creates more energy, which builds on the happiness, which expands the energy even more, which……well, you get it, right??

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