Turning Reactions Into Curiosity

Over the course of a lifetime reactions become habitual, whether it’s fear, anger, judgement, the list goes on and on. Perhaps a certain unwanted pattern of yours always elicits a reaction of shame, or a partner’s behavior causes you to react in anger.

These learned reactions are a normal result of living in this world. They have served us all in some way or another throughout our lives. These reactions also have great lessons to teach us, because our reactions provide us with greater insight about ourselves than they do about others. In addition, when we can shift from reactions to curiosity, a whole new world opens up to us.

By moving beyond reactions and opening up to curiosity, we also open ourselves up to compassion and empathy beyond our previous capacity.
Viewing our life, our work, our relationships from a place of curiosity requires us knowing ourselves on a deep level.

Reactions to emotions and behaviors are normal and may be justified, but when we can learn to be curious about the root cause of our reactions, when we can become an observer of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions- we can live from a higher vibration and live in peace.

Perhaps the next time you find yourself reacting in judgement to a belief or action of yourself or another person, stop and look at this judgement with curiosity: What is the origin of this judgement? What is it here to teach me? Do I want it to stay or leave, and why?


Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

This is also how I approach coaching clients– I come from a place of curiosity. I truly want to know your history, your eating or body image concerns, and provide insight and guidance into how you can be the best version of yourself.

I do not view coaching clients as a problem to be solved, and I am not their “fixer”. I can be utilized as a guide, a teacher, a mentor, a partner, a teammate, a friend. It is my job to empower you to utilize the gifts that are unique to you and only you. Together, through the power of curiosity, we can peel back the layers of your unwanted behaviors around food, movement, body image, and more, to heal.

What are some reactions that you can begin to be curious about? I’d love your thoughts on this!

The light in me honors the light in you.

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Cultivating Intuitive Movement

It’s easy to talk about how we should always push to reach out goals. The messaging is made to seem simple, and also to imply those that aren’t currently training for a race or competition are lazy and unworthy.

Society’s messaging is always pushing us to be more- at home, at work, in our relationships, our health- always asking for more of us. Until we have nothing left to give. The fitness industry is no exception.

With quotes like the above, it makes sense why people feel so much guilt for missing one workout, for becoming injured, for making a “bad” food choice.

Can we stop dressing up shame and calling it motivation? We’re only causing more harm when we do so.

Studies have shown that when individuals exercise as a form of punishment, they are more likely to become injured and overall their workouts aren’t as effective as those who exercise intuitively- those who exercise because their body is asking for movement, and they provide their body with the movement that makes them happy.

Spouting 100% happiness is unattainable and unreal. We can’t be expected to live in a world of “good vibes only”, and frankly who would want to? I honor my joy because I’ve experienced sorrow. I appreciate my body now because I spent so many years hating it.

I also don’t beat myself up for missing a workout. If my body is asking for rest, I will honor that request.

Building a relationship with our body is just like any other relationship- we may assume we understand it’s communication only to discover later that was wrong. So we try again. We close our eyes, we breathe, we tune into our body’s signals. And we make our next choice accordingly. The more we practice listening to our body, the stronger this relationship will become.

What type of movement is your body asking you for? If it’s a run, go for it. If it’s a dance class, get your groove on. If it’s a nice long nap or a movie on the couch, honor and enjoy! Your body will thank you!

The light in me honors the light in you.

Mind Body Eating Coach Journey Update

I’m so thrilled to be far enough along in my education at The Institute for the Psychology of Eating that I can put this up on my site!

My education at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating has been more than I could have ever imagined. It has vastly increased my existing knowledge of disordered eating, emotional eating, binge eating, eating psychology, and has added to it information about biology, chemistry, nutrition, and more.

I will be a Health At Every Size (HAES) practitioner, meaning my goal is not weight loss, but instead to empower each individual to harness the incredible power they already hold, as they are.  Of course if weight loss is a journey that you would like to explore, let’s explore it together!

There are so many components involved in healing one’s relationship with food and with the body. Often this healing journey can seem overwhelming, and the pressure from society & the diet industry can become too much to bear. I agree, it can be too much to bear- alone. I am here to help you peel back the layers of your specific eating concerns, while also providing scientific data and solid strategies to begin to heal.

I am not a practitioner who puts someone on a meal plan and send them on their way. I truly want to get to know each client- what truly nourishes you- not only physically, but emotionally, spiritually? What gives you pleasure in life and how can I help you create a life in which you do more of that? Food is emotional and physical, which is what makes it so complex. However, the tools I am gaining give me the ability to dive deep and create personalized sessions based upon each individual’s unique needs.  I like to call it “embodiment through empowerment”.

I can’t wait to continue to share the information I am learning, and to begin to implement it with clients. I have some exciting things to offer in the near future so stay tuned! Let’s become empowered together!

The light in me honors the light in you.

Your Ego Vs. Your Soul: Guest Post

I am thrilled to have my first guest post on the blog! Amanda’s post below is so relevant to some realizations I’ve been experiencing lately so it is such a gift to have her offer her words to all of you!

I am an avid reader of anything and everything I can get my hands on, but in the last year or so – pretty much since I decided to quit my “normal” job and become an entrepreneur – I’ve landed in the world of self-improvement books. As I surrounded myself with successful people that were living a lifestyle comparable to my goals, I was inundated with motivational and inspirational suggestions, including reading empowering, knowledge-inducing books.

I’ll be honest. I’m an intellectual, hands-on evidence-backed person. I had a hard time buying into the “woo woo” positive thinking, the Universe sends you what you put out, Law of Attraction stuff they were dishing out. But the more I immersed myself in those who were successful, the more I started to wonder if there was something to what they were saying, so I started trying to live that way myself.

Amazingly, I quickly realized that yes, there was something to this motivational mumbo jumbo. Whether it was seriously the Universe, attraction laws, or whatever, the fact was the more I tried to plan ahead, be optimistic, get up and show up, and look for the good in the world, the better I felt. There really is something to be said for working towards a goal in life rather than just existing day to day.

Along this journey, I ran into a book that truly helped me understand and put a lot of my daily life into perspective. A good friend of mine twisted my arm and made me read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Actually, she made me download the audio book and LISTEN to it. Listening, rather than reading, was very important, she said. And, as she had never been wrong in giving me advice so far, even when I didn’t want to hear it, I did as she instructed.

The book was really interesting to me, as a writer, and I totally understood why she said listen, and I suggest if you go buy the book you get the audio version, too. However, between all of her wonderful stories and advice, the part that stands out the most was when she talked about your ego versus your soul. I needed to hear it and I needed her to shout it, so I listened to it over and over, louder and louder each time.

You see, I’ve got a mighty big ego that I didn’t know I had. I thought I was humble and all that, but it turns out I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Apparently, it’s your ego that causes all of the stresses in your life. Who knew? Before you shake your head and disagree with me, hear me out.

  • You post on social media and no one, or just a few people, respond. You’re bummed, sad, depressed, thinking you are no good at what you’re doing. You start to wonder if you should just give up and go do something else. Because your ego was hurt. Check. That’s me.
  • Someone disagrees with you, on whatever topic and for whatever reason, and you want to lash out and tell them they are wrong and you are right. It’s imperative that they understand why they are so wrong – it could even change the world! But that’s just your ego talking – your ego saying that what you have to say might make a difference, and when they don’t listen, it’s your ego feeling the strain, and when they do listen, it’s your ego that feels the buzz and blows up like a balloon. Check. Totally me.
  • Your boss, spouse, relative, friend, or anyone gives you constructive criticism and you defend your reason for why you did what you did instead of listening to their critique, absorbing it, thanking them for their thoughts, and then reflecting yourself later. Your ego was hurt because someone criticized you. Check. How can they criticize me when I work so hard to be the best version of me in the first place?

Do any of these situations sound familiar? They did to me, too.

Now put them in another perspective. Did they hurt your soul?

Your soul doesn’t care about what other people think about you. Your soul isn’t going to be injured if someone criticizes you or disagrees with you. Your soul doesn’t care if you get likes and follows on social media. Your soul simply focuses on right and wrong – more specifically, what YOU are doing that is right or wrong.

And when you focus on what your SOUL wants, you can block out all of the ego-draining things in life. There’s a reason that the good things are “soul deep,” “soul-pleasing,” and “happy to the soul.” When your soul is content, things are right in your world. All of those ego-damaging words and actions from other people simply roll off of your shoulder.

Bruised egos result in so much friction in the world. Wars have been started because of damaged egos. I’m not talking about abusive situations. Those are soul-damaging and you have to work hard to get past them. I’m talking about a perfect stranger’s cutting words causing you sleepless nights. I’m talking about your neighbor’s fancy new car that you wanted stressing you out because you can’t pay your bills right now. I’m talking about that someone who wanted to help you improve but offered you constructive criticism and the way you reacted to them.

Yet, peaceful souls have been responsible for so much good. Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., all were troubled about the state of the world, but they used their peaceful souls to help make a difference, putting aside their egos for the good of others. The difference is huge: they responded to criticism, negativity, hurt and hate, instead of reacting.

Get the difference? Your ego reacts, your soul responds. You take time to internalize what was said and the best course of action that will be for the best with the least negative consequences, and you respond in kind.

In the end, only kindness matters.

So think about this when you go out into your interactions today, tomorrow, forever. Is your stress, hurt feelings, anger, or other negative emotion due to damage to your soul or your ego? The only one that matters is the damage to your soul, and only you can really do that or let that happen.

Let your ego go, and watch your stress go out the window with it. Respond instead of reacting. Give it a try, like I did with the self-help woo woo stuff I didn’t believe in for so long. You just don’t know if there may actually be something to it until you do it.

Drop me a line at www.beautifullymadelife.net and let me know when you differentiated between your ego and your soul and if it made a difference in the outcome. You may just inspire me, too!

About Amanda:
Amanda lives with her family, two dogs, and three cats in the middle of Florida in a town where you have to drive two hours to do anything fun. Instead of daily excitement, she writes creatively for enjoyment and non-fiction to pay the bills. To make up for living in the middle of nowhere, she travels a lot. You can find out about her travels through her inspirational, motivational, and empowering blog, Beautifully Made Life, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Twitter: BeautifullyMadeLife @CannadyAmanda

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beautifullymadelife.net

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautifullymadelife/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/beautifullymadelife/

Empty Calories Don’t Exist

Empty calories don’t exist. All calories exist to provide us with energy, to give us life.

The only thing that’s empty when we label foods in this manner is our relationship with our body. We end up feeling empty and depleted when we label foods as “good” and “bad”, resulting in us continuing to reach for more food as comfort.

By relaxing into all food options, by surrendering to our body’s infinite wisdom and honoring our cravings, we can begin to feel whole again.

Relax. Take some deep belly breaths. What is your body asking for? How can you honor your body right now?

The light in me honors the light in you.

Own. Occupy. Accept.

OWN. OCCUPY. ACCEPT.

OWN

Own the body you have right now, just as it is. Without relaxing into the body you currently occupy, life is filled with dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Why? Because if we can’t truly love and accept ourselves for who we are, then attempting to find external happiness, or chasing a happiness that will occur once we have a “goal body”, is futile.

OCCUPY

Occupying your body means living embodied. Living in your body. So often we find that we’ve just existed, that we’ve filled our life with distractions of diets or exercise regimens. When is the last time you just sat with your body? When is the last time you looked in the mirror and spoke words of kindness to yourself? Making the choice to occupy your body tells your body that you are here, you are present. Choosing to occupy the body is a massive step in healing your relationship with food and your body.

ACCEPT

Acceptance is a celebration of living life in this very moment, with the body that has gotten you this far! Acceptance is honoring your past bodily incarnations, loving your current body, and sending gratitude to your future self for all of the adventures you will take with that body.

Accept that you were put on this Earth to be more than a body. Accept life free from diets and restriction and shame. Accept it because you deserve it.

The light in me honors the light in you.

Living with Intention Series

I’m excited to announce that Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, a community outreach program designed to heal negative  body image through the power of yoga and community, will be hosting a mindful eating series in January at Haven yoga studio in Middletown, OH. You can check out more details of the series here or here.

I’m the co-founder and co-facilitator of Good Vibes Tribe Cincinnati, and have seen firsthand the power of a group of individuals coming together to heal their relationship with food and their body.

In 2019, let’s chose intention over resolution.  Join our Tribe for a four week series designed to empower each participant with a greater understanding of their own unique body, how it communicates, & how it is asking to be nourished.
Through the practice of mindfulness, we will explore the body’s innate wisdom, using intuition, cravings, emotions, & physical sensation as our guides to restoring relationships with food & body image.
This year, ditch the diets & let your body be your guide.  We will be meeting Wednesday evenings 7-8:30pm, January 2-January 23.

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Here is some of the feedback we’ve received from surveys after our past workshops:

“facilitators were honest & open, creating an environment where participants felt comfortable being vulnerable”

“this workshop was so much more than I even knew I needed”

“facilitators are EXTREMELY knowledgeable & incredibly supportive”

“thought provoking, healing, & encouraging… amazing experience… thank you!”

 

If you’re in the Cincinnati area, I hope to see you in January! Please send me any questions or concerns you may have. Let’s make 2019 a year of healing and empowerment!

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Photo by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

The light in me honors the light in you.

Winter Diffuser Blends

December is just days away, which comes with it some scratchy throats, house guests, and busy schedules! I have transitioned what I’ve been putting in my essential oil diffuser, and have shared below some of my favorite diffuser blends for this time of year. I use doTERRA essential oils and you can read more about them here.

So when you have guests coming over, you’re trimming the tree, or you start to feel a cold coming on, reach for one of these recipes and let the essential oils do their thing! Enjoy!

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joyful and bright

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

Embracing The Holidays

With Thanksgiving a week away and the holidays in full swing, this is also prime time for diet talk, juice cleanses, low carb diets, and fasting to dominate social media feeds, television and radio commercials, and our general discussion amongst friends and family.

This time of year and it’s diet-obsessed energy always kicks my messaging into high gear, because I know what it’s like. I know what it’s like to be terrified of the food that will be before me that day, and the day before, and the day after. I know what it’s like to feel weak, like a failure because my willpower failed me once again. If you are feeling anxious about being around family and friends this holiday season, if you’re feeling anxious about this body you inhabit, and the food you may or may not be consuming- I see you and I hear you.

I also know that you deserve so much more than the experiences described above. You deserve to feel empowered in your body and around food. You deserve to be able to be around food- any type of food- and be relaxed. And you deserve to set healthy boundaries.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I’ve listed a few simple tips below that may be helpful to keep in mind over the next couple of months.

1. Identify & Acknowledge Triggers

If we don’t identify and acknowledge what is triggering our feelings of depression, anxiety, or perhaps body shaming during this time of year (or any time of year!), we won’t be able to heal it.

This is a difficult journey because we have to come face to face with the deeper reasoning behind these feelings. However, once we get to this place, the healing can begin. You may know right away what may trigger emotions this time of year. If you do- excellent! If you aren’t aware of underlying emotions or triggers, journaling is a great way to identify and acknowledge. Simply put pen to paper and write about feelings or thoughts that have been arising for you lately. Don’t stop to analyze what you’re writing, just keep writing for 3-5 minutes. You could also ask trusted friends or family and they may be able to provide you with some insight.

Identifying and acknowledging is an amazing first step. Once we identify and acknowledge, we can start to pay attention to our feelings and emotions as they arise. At first we may only recognize them after the fact. This is fine- still acknowledge and sit with that feeling. Identify it- give it a name. Then perhaps you will be able to identify these feelings in the midst of the trigger, and maybe you’ll then be able to notice when they may occur before the trigger happens. Also keep in mind, you may never reach this point and that is ok! The power lies in identifying and acknowledging, not preventing the feeling from occurring.

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2. Set Boundaries

As the incredible Brene Brown says “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.” Wow, how powerful is that?!

If you find yourself at a place where you’ve had or attempted to have healthy discussions about your feelings and the environment remains toxic, it may be time to set some boundaries.

Setting boundaries is choice we make to no longer expose ourselves to an environment that is harmful or toxic. They exist to give us permission to establish or maintain our mental health.

The concept of boundaries often comes up around the holidays because much of the anxiety that is felt this time of year is related to being around family members that we may only be exposed to during this season.  Further, many of us are taught to suck it up, to tolerate it in the moment, only to walk away feeling shame, pain, resentment for the remainder of the year until it happens all over again. Yes, there may be some anger or pain in response to boundaries being set, but this time the energy of this response will be different- because you will be different. When healthy boundaries are set, you will be treated differently because you have established your value.

Even if this means no longer participating in the family’s traditional holiday celebrations, you have freed yourself of a toxic environment and can move forward in your new boundary-setting journey!

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

3. Eat Food

Yes, most of us are surrounded by and consume more food than we normally do on holidays like Thanksgiving. Sometimes we also have parties to attend with friends, events at work in which food is catered or provided by your fellow co-workers. Simply being around food and consuming food does not mean anything about you as a person. Not eating some food does not inherently make you better than others, and eating large quantities of food does not inherently make you less than anyone else.

Diet culture kicks into high gear around the holidays. I’m always amazed with the advertising of the average number of calories that are consumed on Thanksgiving. Just think about that- what is the purpose of this discussion? Does it change what you chose to consume that day, or does it only serve to make you feel worthless while doing so? On a day that is meant to stir feelings of gratitude for all that we have in this life, many of us expend that precious time and energy berating ourselves for what we’re putting in our bodies on one day. I also discuss how dangerous it is to label foods as “good” and “bad” here, and this is very apparent around the holidays.

Maybe this year instead of focusing on the food, take some deep breaths and look around. Look at the faces of your loved ones around the space. Feel your body and send gratitude towards it for keeping you here one more year. List some things you are grateful for, in that moment. And then eat.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Frankincense: Benefits & Creative Uses

I’ve been sharing my journey with essential oils on the blog here and there. As I learn about the incredible healing powers of essential oils, I get so excited to pass along this knowledge to you!

Although I have yet to come across an essential oil I don’t love, I have a few that I consistently reach for based on their amazing benefits. One of these oils is Frankincense and below I’ll explain why this is one of my favorites, and share some creative uses for this oil in your life.

What Is Frankincense?

Frankincense oil is sourced from the resin of Olibanum trees, otherwise known as the Boswellia Carteri. These trees grow in Oman, Yemen, Somalia and Ethiopia. Frankincense is the dried sap of these trees, and when dried, the sap is burned as incense and thought to have several medicinal properties.

Frankincense oil has been discovered in the remains of ancient Egyptian and Anglo-Saxon civilizations, and is closely associated with religious traditions and rites, particularly the Christian tradition. Although it is ancient, it’s healing properties are still closely studied and utilized by traditional and non-traditional practitioners.

Benefits & Creative Uses: 

Anti-Inflammatory Properties: 

An active agent within Frankincense called Boswellic acid is thought to be the reason why this essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and can mimic the action of NSAIDs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

If you’ve been following my healing journey as well, you’ll know that I’ve been dealing with inflammation related to Dyshidrotic Eczema, and Frankincense has been imperative throughout this process. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of Boswellic acid, Frankincense can be used to treat diseases such as arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s, and even bladder, pancreatic, and skin cancers. Frankincense also shows a lower risk of unpleasant or dangerous side effects compared to NSAIDs.

Home:

Frankincense is naturally disinfecting, so it can be used to get rid of bugs and germs in your home, without the need to introduce harsh chemicals.  Dilute the Frankincense by adding 5-7 drops into a medium sized spray bottle.  Bonus: Your home will smell amazing!!!!

Beauty:

Frankincense has the ability to encourage skill cell regeneration while also toning, tightening, and lifting. It can also help to decrease wrinkle, reduce acne breakouts, diminish stretch marks, scars, sun spots, and more. Tip: When applying to the skin, be sure to use a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or sweet almond oil. I know it sounds counter intuitive to put oil on your face, but they can do wonders for the skin!

Stress Relief:

Using Frankincense to relieve stress, fatigue, and anxiety is how I was originally introduced to this oil. I typically rub it on my pulse points (wrists and sides of neck), and also rub it into my feet. Did you know the soles of the feet have over 200 pores?! Also be sure to use carrier oils such as jojoba, coconut or sweet almond oil, when putting essential oils directly on the skin.

I also rub it on my palms, hold my palms up to my face and take 5 deep breaths. Sometimes I will also speak affirmations or mantras on each inhale and exhale. The combination of the aromatherapy, the long deep breaths, and the mantra immediately decreases my stress and anxiety. Some examples of mantras would be: inhale “I breathe in safety and peace”, exhale: “I release what I cannot control”. Or simply stating “I am breathing in” on each inhale and “I am breathing out” on each exhale.

Have you tried Frankincense, or any essential oils? If so, how do you use them in your life?  What are your favorites? You know I love to hear from you!

The light in me honors the light in you.