Lessons from a Mother…

This morning as I walked to my car the calmness and warmth of the air stopped me, as if to say, ‘Stay’. It was zero degrees Celsius, but in mid-winter that can feel ‘warm’. I got in my car anyway and drove to the gym, paused briefly, and answered to a tug that pulled me back home. I decided to park my car and walk straight to a nearby park, where I often go to spend time in nature.

My early morning intention to get my blood and sweat pumping with a good workout was quickly forgotten as I entered a the park; serene, blanketed in snow, awaiting my arrival. To an outsider looking in, my time in the park was just a walk, a lady trying to talk and make friends with the squirrels, a woman leaning against a giant tree for no reason, a girl taking photos on her iPhone to post on Instagram.

To me it was taking time to reconnect with Mother Earth with each step. It was rounding and energizing with my feet rooted as deep as the tree I stood with; feeling a warmth and energy move up my spine. It was saying good morning to the squirrels who ran off as I attempted to approach. It was recognizing later with one playful squirrel that some things shouldn’t be chased; they need the space to find you when ready. By the way, this spunky squirrel ran to me as I stood leaning on the tree and invited me to a game of peek-a-boo,  each of us looking for each other as we moved around the tree. It was basking in solitude, the beauty all around me inspiring me to remember a favourite hobby and capture light through my own filter.

As I rounded back on the path, thanked Mother Nature for our time together, and headed home I reflected on these lessons…from a Mother.

  • In that brief instant, when your spirit connects with the spirit of something bigger, listen.
  • Keep an open heart and pure intentions; connection and love will find you. 
  • Beauty survives and life exists no matter how cold and dark the day may seem.
  • Walk mindfully in each moment, and each moment will greet you with what you need.
  • There is a space within that is grounded, centred, and wise; we crave time in Nature because it reminds us and reflects back to us how to come home. 

Spending time in nature is grounding and centering for the spirit, energizing to the body, relaxing to the nervous system, and calming to the mind. Take some time often, everyday if you can, to spend time in your favourite outdoor environment; a forest, the beach, a local park, barefoot in your backyard or garden, etc.

How does time with nature nourish you? Would love to hear about it!

Share your experience in the comments below.

 

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No Mud, No Lotus

One of my favourite symbols that has spoken to me since the day a teacher spoke of it is the lotus flower. Without the dark and murky swamp in which it roots itself there is no lotus, no beauty, no strength, no deep connection to the shadow as well as the light. Lotus flowers grow out of a muddy pool of dirt. The lotus flower has a deep rooted connection to its journey from darkness to light. Never forgetting the journey from which it comes as it draws sustenance from that very place. Remembering that darkness and impermanence were and are necessary.

Mlotusay you recognize the muddy murky waters that have held you and shaped you, given you strong roots from which to rise up. May you have faith that the flow of your life, whether smooth or choppy, will lead you into a space where you can blossom and flourish.

jbolus:

One of the #1 things you can do for your health! MEDITATE

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Many people have tried to sell me on the idea of meditating. Sometimes I try it, and have an incredible, refreshing experience. But usually, as I close my eyes and focus on my breathing, while I know that I’m supposed to be letting all thoughts go, more and more fly through my mind. Soon I have a laundry-list of “to-dos” in my head … and then my legs fall asleep. It’s all downhill from there.

Today’s TED Talk, however, might actually convince me to give meditation another shot.

“We live in an incredibly busy world. Our pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something,” says Andy Puddicombe at the TEDSalon London Fall 2012. “The sad fact is that we’re so distracted that we are no longer present in the world in which we live. We miss out on the things that…

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WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH?

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How To Build Your Personal Healthcare System

As I left my office this morning I was speaking to a dear friend and RN, telling her how excited I was to be meeting with a new doctor in a couple weeks that was like-minded and took the approach I take with my own health. Holistic, integrative, open-minded, prevention focused. He does energy work with his patients for goodness sake! How perfect could this be? She nodded and said, “It’s so important. That’s who’s in charge of your health, right?” As I left and walked to my car that comment had me pondering.  I thought I was in charge.

In my opinion, YOU are in charge of your health. Most modern day practices however, have you in the passenger seat.

Don’t get me wrong; I respect doctors. I have worked with many personally in the last six years; some of the most caring and compassionate individuals I’ve met with best intentions at heart. But when it comes to who should be directing your health it has to be YOU. Why? You are unique and your system of healthcare should be too. You are also the only one who truly knows what you need.

Here are a few ways to start building your personal health squad and healthcare system:

Build a team around you of all types of health professionals and people that can support your vision of and approach to health.

This can include a doctor, naturopath, your best friend, a healer, a spouse, or a friend from your spin class who is like-minded and ‘gets you’. What matters most is that you and your team are on the same page and you feel supported. Negativity and judgment can be toxic in your on going health journey.

Take the knowledge, expertise and evidence out there from various sources, from both sides of the topic. Ultimately you have to decide what works for you.  Listen to those you know you agree with, but try to stay open to those who you think are out of their minds. What remedies one person can be another’s poison. Its naïve to think that we can apply a one size fits all nutrition/exercise regime/health plan on everyone. I’ve experienced this first hand with various health issues that I now know were just symptoms of imbalance. If I was following the Food Guide I’d be bloated, itchy, gassy, and sick.

Keep an OPEN mind. Find out what a dosha is. Investigate your chakras (you definitely have a few). Ask an acupuncturist what your meridians do. Visit a vegan café. Remember that science is one way of studying and viewing the world. ONE. There is an abundance and wealth of knowledge and ancient wisdom all around you if you choose to see it, explore it, open your eyes to it, maybe even just entertain the idea of thinking about it!

Learn to discern for yourself what your body needs by developing self-awareness.

Explore practices that build self and body awareness like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Take some time each day to be with yourself and fully experience your body. This cultivates awareness and puts you in touch with your inner wisdom. It’s like going on a daily date with your inner guru.

Finally, make the shift.  Allow your health choices to be inner directed versus outer directed. Consult others as needed and let the final decision be guided by you!

Photo Credit: http://www.prepareforrain.com/2012/11/14/who-is-in-charge-8-critical-considerations/

Regular Grounding Does A Body Good!

Hope you enjoyed your day and are able to spend some time outside this week…
Spending time in nature is relaxing and calming (unless you’ve got seasonal allergies which can be a bummer, I know). Whether you have your feet in the sand or the ocean, you’re camping, or you’re taking a hike in a forest full of trees, most will agree that they feel less stressed and refreshed from a good dose of Mother Nature.

“Regular grounding restores the body’s natural electrical state, calms the nervous system, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation. No pill on Earth can do what Mother Earth does!” Dr. Stephen Sinatra


It also keeps your first energy centre (chakra in Sanskrit) located at the base of your spine nice and healthy. A distorted first chakra can lead to: eating disorders, malnourishment, adrenal insufficiency, problems with feet/legs/coccyx, rectal or colon cancer, spinal problems, immune related disorders, osteoporosis or other bone disorders.

Watch below to hear more physical benefits of grounding.
Easy and cheap. Go on, get grounding! ;)

 
“Grounding” / “Earthing”

http://www.youtube.com

In this video, Dr. Sinatra discusses “grounding,” or “Earthing,” the direct and indirect means of improving health by absorbing the earth’s natural, electrom…

If you have found this interesting and helpful, please share. If not, please share anyway…it might help someone you care about. :)


Be well, 
Jennifer

Masquerading

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.  Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.  ~Oscar Wilde

For a long time, I’ve struggled internally, as most of us do I believe. I’d call it an identity crisis, of sorts. The last few years have been filled with lesson after lesson about life – who I was, what I wanted out of life and what I thought I knew. Working in primary health care required training in the traditional medical model of the modern world; evidence-based, science-based, ‘show me the proof’ mentality. My complete trust and belief in this system started to shift in the last few years, though my suspicion is that it happened when I first experienced acupuncture that ‘cured’ me of my eczema. But the biggest shifts started four years ago after attending my very first real yoga class. Real meant I made it into a studio instead of watching  a yoga VHS tape. “Focus on your base chakra, its red…see if you can sense which way its spinning…”, my teacher said. All I could think was what is a chakra, but there was something about it that really intrigued me. Immediately after class I approached her and asked where I could learn more about this stuff. After my first book, I was hooked. Something deep inside resonated with this energetic system. It made sense. I didn’t question it. There was no ‘science’ or double blinded trials. It still made sense. I still didn’t question it.

Fast forward to today, THE day I decided to ‘come out of the closet’ at the monthly meetings I have with fellow dietitians at work. There comes a point in the meeting where we do a roundtable – everyone shares what’s going on in their practices, conferences coming up, clinical queries, and anything personal they want to share. In the last year I struggled with having to be a sensible Western minded evidence based healthcare professional at work, but deep down I embraced this system of healing from Eastern traditions so fully and passionately. The most stifling part about this was not being able to talk about, feeling terrified that I’d be judged if someone found out.

Fortunately, the last year and a half has been one of accelerated personal growth and deeper self-awareness. ‘Becoming who I really am’ as they say, bit by bit. Something in me this morning as I prepped for the meeting said, “its that time”, today is the day I’m going to share a huge part of me that I’d buried in any situation where I didn’t feel safe enough to. I grabbed my pen and added ‘EM’ (my short form for Energy Medicine) beside the ‘personal’ on my agenda. Deep breathe.

The meeting attendance was much smaller and the room was a little darker than usual; this for some reason made me feel good. I walked by a fellow RD reading the back of her shirt. ‘Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone’. I welcomed this message as a gentle nudge and affirmation to go ahead as planned. As we rounded the table and it came close to my turn to share I could feel the usual pounding in my solar plexus (I wonder sometimes if its my heart dropping and trying to escape through there and avoid pain). “And, I’m also studying energy medicine which is based on more Eastern philosophy. If you’d like to hear more about it, feel free to ask me. That’s it for me”, I blurted out quickly.

After the meeting as we all sat down for some delicious Indian food, Anne (who’s t-shirt I’d read) asked, “So Jen, tell me more about this energy medicine, I’d like to hear about it.” This opened up into a beautiful conversation about my journey, energy medicine, bridging East and West in healthcare, and the challenges I faced on a day-to-day basis in an environment that doesn’t welcome other schools of thought around health. As I spoke I could feel a weight lift off of me, and my body ‘sighed’.

Today I became my own ‘life coach’. Much of what I have written below is not new to me, or you, but there’s power in repetition. So this is what I would tell myself after today:

  • It’s not all about you; what will they think, they might judge me, this will embarrass me – by not sharing you may be depriving those around you of an experience, an ‘aha’ moment, and maybe most importantly depriving the world of the real YOU. We are all teachers and lifelong learners should you so choose. Masquerading around to suit the different roles you play day to day is withholding a potentially valuable lesson YOU have to share.
  • Stop caring what everyone else thinks – everyone thinks through their personal filters, and its okay if theirs is a different colour than yours is.
  • Get UNcomfortable – the rewards of taking a scary leap (I suggest keeping your eyes open) are greater than the discomfort and fears that only last a few seconds of your life.

Living congruently, heart and head in cahoots. Say what I need to say. I plan to keep practicing this more, and masquerade less.

Why? A heart that is content, a mind that is at peace, and a soul living out its purpose will help cultivate a thriving body.

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ASK YOURSELF -

  • Where in your life are you misaligned?
  • Do your thoughts, words, and actions contradict each other?
  • Do you say “yes” when you really want or need to say “no”?

Ie. Maybe you’re a nurse, but would rather be a musician. Maybe you always say ‘I’m good’ when asked how you are, when you’re really feeling awful.

Take some time today to reflect. Notice day to day where you’re not being honest with yourself, and with others. Maybe you’ll notice how infrequently you are honest.

 

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.  ~Dr. Seuss