Sunday, July 20, 2014

Do You Have Healthy Boundaries?

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or to the future are certainly to miss the present.”
                  -John F. Kennedy

I have a vision of being out at a pool, keeping cool, letting the sun slightly bake my skin and bathe my body in good old vitamin D; sounds good to me. How much skin do I expose? Do I need to let it all hang out? Do I have some protection? And, if I am a bit shy, maybe I don’t want to wear a small two piece or bikini. What are my boundaries here? 

This is such a small thing to be concerned about, but it is something we do concern ourselves with; especially in July. If we think about it, in various ways, we concern ourselves with our boundaries much of the time. How much time should I spend in the sun, how much time should I spend with my children, how much space do I need, how much time alone do I need without getting grouchy, and so on. These are daily questions we concern ourselves with. Other questions we ask are, how do I think about this idea when my friend and colleague thinks differently, or my family thinks differently? Who am I, and what are my boundaries are issues that we confront in us daily. 

One of the things I do with me and with  my patients, is to ask, does this make me feel fuller and better, or does this hurt me or diminish me or keep me the same? In fact, with every question that comes up in my life, I frequently ask myself those questions. Another thing I do is to step back, give myself some personal space, and take in all my senses, and then feel the answer in my gut.

Do you know that we make more neuro transmitters in our gut than we do in our brain? As we are developing in the womb, the same cells and tissue that compose our brain tissue separate and many of those cells move to the area that is soon to be our stomach, digestive organs and intestines. We actually make more neuro transmitters in that area than we do in our brain. So, yes, we feel in our stomach and around our umbilical cord. This is why when we are frightened we get a feeling of butterflies in our stomach. This is why when we hear bad news or when we know we need to do something that we are frightened to do, we feel it in the pit of our stomachs. 

Sometimes I know that something is the right thing for me to do or say at the time because of the uncomfortable feeling I get in my gut. And, just the opposite also occurs. When someone is in my personal space, or when I feel invaded or pushed by someone, I also get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. In this latter case, the feeling is slightly different than the uncomfortable feeling I get when I know I need to do or say something. That feeling is uncomfortable, but with a knowing that it is right; it makes me feel fuller and better to do or say this thing.  When I am invaded, the feeling is more to push away from it and that it feels wrong. Then I ask myself the key question; does this make me better or keep me the same?

I have a friend, who when she isn’t sure what to do, she asks herself a different question. She asks the question, “If I don’t do this, would I later regret not doing it? “

I am speaking of outer boundaries and internal boundaries, from the mundane, to the greater questions. Each mundane action builds on itself and makes us stronger. As we contemplate our boundaries, we are working and dealing in the present time. We are not mired in the past; we are moving and building towards our future. If we were to make decisions which make us feel smaller or the same, then we can know this is something that we have yet to resolve inside of us and we are still feeling compelled by something in the past in making those decisions. The devil is in the details. As we continue our work to know us and our boundaries, we build lives full of health, vitality and wholeness.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:

The exercise I am about to suggest here is one I find fun, but not necessarily easy. I am sure by now you can guess where this exercise is going.

At the end of the day, take out a pen and paper and write down questions you have had throughout the day. What would have happened if I said that, should I have done that instead, is this right job offer, and is this right thing for me to do, and so on. 

Beside each question that came up in the day, ask yourself; as I said that does that make me or the other person better, worse, or the same?

In other words, ask yourself if this makes you better, fuller, more, or if you don’t say it or don’t do it would you regret it after each question you had from the day.

After you have written these questions and answers down, read through your day with this new lens. Do this every day for a week, and see what happens inside of you and what kind of feeling you have in your gut.

I find this very helpful, and hope you do too to live a life of love, connection, wholeness and vitality!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

How Do We Have Fun?

“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they are happy.”
-Anton Chekhov

It is July; my favorite month, and my birth month. It is warm and the days are long and light. We can take walks, ride bikes into the night, lie in the sun and bathe ourselves in warm and refreshing water. We can watch the fireworks, eat snow cones, bar-b-que, and so on.  It is summertime.  It is a time when we dress lighter in cool clothes. We bare ourselves. 

Do you find that you consciously and unconsciously keep some of you and your thoughts from others; even the ones you love? Are there places where you don’t bare yourself? Do you keep yourself from enjoying ‘you’ by limiting the amount of fun you are allowed to have? Do you have an allowance of fun?

Some of these may seem like silly questions. What I am getting at is how you live more fully, in the present, with joy and love. July is a time I love. It is a fun time for me also. I think back to things that keep us from love and from loving ourselves and others. We have looked at this issue from different perspectives through issues we carry and how we can change them to live more fully and vitally through tools like the family constellation work. Now, when we don’t live in fear, and we are gaining a sense of who we are and know we have a right to healthy boundaries, we become open to love. Some people say that the opposite of love is hate. To me, the opposite of love is fear. When we live in fear there is no way we can love ourselves. Moving through fear by having good boundaries can open us to love. When we know we can protect ourselves and also be open to who we are, we can be in the present and take in the good things in life; like having fun.

To me, part of having fun and loving myself is baring myself. It is fun to go out with friends and be true and open and bare my thoughts and feelings. When we are defended or don’t have boundaries between our ideas and thoughts and other’s ideas and thoughts, it is hard to have fun. Then it is work. 

Let’s have some fun together and play a word game where we take each letter in the word “fun”, F, U, N, and with each individual letter think of a word which starts with that letter. Let’s start with the letter F. What word do we want to use for F? How about “favorite”? Now, what word for U? How about “unique”? What word for N? How about “noodle”? We now have an acronym for fun: Favorite Unique Noodle!  This is a game I play with my nephew and family. It is fun, teaches spelling and gives a way to remember the words. When we drive, we look at the letters in license plates and make up words to go with the letters. The sillier the better. It is loads of fun.

When we allow ourselves to be us, to be silly, to enjoy life and have fun, we can come up with many things to enjoy. This too is part of life and opens more and more to us and we are able to live fully in the present. 

Shift Your Story: Guided Visualization/Meditation

Take a moment and breathe deeply. You can do this either in a leisure walk or sitting comfortably. Breathe deeply a couple of times and still your mind. With your eyes gently open or closed, in your mind’s eye see yourself doing something that is pure fun for you. Without trying to actively determine what that is, just let it appear in your mind. We are asking here for us to open to fun without predetermining what that would be or would look like. Just see in your mind’s eye something that some part of you, possibly your unconscious views as fun. Just see it in front of you, and let it go. Now let something else just appear in your mind’s eye. See it and feel it, and let it go. Let this happen a couple of more times, and let it go. The last time, let an image appear to you and look it in the eye; it could be a person, a thing, an activity…anything. See it and let it register inside of you, and listen to its message to you. Then breathe deeply a couple more times and slowly come back to the present. Before the last image leaves your consciousness, get a piece of paper and pen and write it down. This message is just for you!!

Have fun with this visualization and see what this does for you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Fun

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
                   -George Orwell

This summer, July through September, I am exploring what we can do in the present to make our lives more fulfilled, happier, and filled with vitality and health. We all want to be and live full and healthy and vital lives. Without health, how can we feel good, have the energy to grow and expand, and be vital humans? This summer I am looking at the middle portion of the Body Presencing Hologram; the moving and being in the present. 

This past spring I took a look at how we get stuck on our past, even over generations, and how to move from this place of uncertainty, fear, anxiety, etc. to one where we are able to be here in the present and working on us and our full selves. Here we are, in the heat of July, often the hottest month of the year, for those of us in this middle latitude. And we are heating up!

When we feel healthy and full of energy, summer is a great time to eat well and get out and move our bodies as we soak up some summer sunshine. Here I begin to look at what we can do for ourselves as we feel capable and able to nurture us and be present to us and our families and friends and to also continue learning and growing.

Boundaries, integration, growth, distance, perspective, and truth are six precepts in our being able to be and live in our present.  We are learning how we get to this place. What do we do when we are here?

Having boundaries also includes having boundaries with our eating patterns. When we aren’t ruled by unresolved feelings and beliefs that aren’t really ours, we have a chance to look at our food, food choices, and amounts. We begin to eat when we are hungry, stop when we are full, and eat from need and fun and for health and well being. The question becomes, what will make me feel good? This replaces, what satisfies my cravings, or makes my emotions feel temporarily better?

Then we can look at what foods are best for our body type and how we metabolize food best. Some people are primarily protein metabolizers, some are carbohydrate metabolizers, and some are mixed. We can also look at what foods we might be sensitive to, and so it is best to not eat them most of the time, and what foods our bodies love. In this day and time, if we find that we are sensitive to dairy or to wheat or to gluten, there are many other choices easily available for us. All this becomes fun and possible. Then, one of the things I teach is to rid your pantry of all foods that don’t serve you. Get rid of the potato chips, the white sugar and white flour, for example. Go to the store and fill it with foods that serve your body and are easy to prepare. This becomes things like whole grains, stevia, beans, fresh spices and herbs, healthy granola bars, and such. I actually enjoy going to the store with a client and helping them to fill their pantry in ways that serve them. We also come up with many ideas together on what to prepare and how.

What also begins to happen is that we find we don’t have to obsess about food and our food choices. If we mess up, or we eat more indulgently, we then find we want our next meal to be a healthy one, filled with nutrients and vegetables and protein. This begins to happen naturally. For those of us who have more severe food sensitivities, it becomes easier to eat for ourselves because we just feel better. 

This is eating with boundaries and consciousness in the present. Do we ever have set backs, yes we do. Do we bounce back more quickly, yes we do. Are we less hard on us, yes we are!

Fun with Food:

I like having fun with food; enjoying different textures, tastes and combinations. I also like it to be relatively simple.
Do you like to bake? Or do you like to make casseroles, or do you like to follow a good recipe, or do you like to create? Ask yourself these questions. Also ask yourself, how often do you like to cook, how often do you find yourself cooking? Sometimes making a plan is very helpful. Make enough chicken for a few days, for example, and each day then prepare it a little differently. One day make a chicken salad and add a lot of vegetables, another day make a stir fry with it, another day make a chicken pot pie, and so on. That way the chicken is pre-made by you, and the rest is cutting vegetables, making a sauce, cooking rice, etc. 

Try out making a few sauces that are easy to make and have then on hand in your refrigerator. 

Make a big pot of rice that can last through the week, and add something different to it each day.

I also love having seeds and nuts on hand to easily add a little splash of crunch and flavor to these dishes. 

Have fun with food and let it talk to you.

Recommended Resources: 

A great cook book I recommend for creative tasty ideas is: True Food; it is by Andrew Weil.

Check it out and see what you think. I also am interested in recipes and books which you all find fun and good which you would like to share.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Eye of July in Winter

Yesterdays the past, tomorrows the future, but todays a gift. Thats why it is called the present.
-Bill Keane

It is a weird experience for me to be writing about July and the summer as I am actually sitting and looking outside my front picture window of my house out at the snow billowing around my yard. Presently, we are in the middle of a snow storm, I am gazing out at the wind and snow, watching walkers all bundled up, and writing about the hazy, lazy summer.

I am writing about the eye of July in March. My work is about being present in ourselves, in our lives, in our bodies, in our souls. It is about being present in relationships, and present to all around us. And I am writing about summer. How many of us do things like this; write about things happening at a later time, think about the future while we are living presently, live in the past while the present is happening in front of us, and so on?

The trick for me is to be able to project myself into the summer while I am also with myself in the present moment. I write ahead because I am a planner, I have an idea of what I want to bring to others, and a method I follow so that I dont get overwhelmed when I have a ton of things going on. Another example of this is cooking ahead before a large dinner party. I am thinking and planning for the party ahead of time. I cook some dishes early so that I am not overly inundated on the day of the party. I know that if I do too much on that day, I get
exhausted and dont enjoy myself. I think we all do things like
this in our own ways. In doing so we are present to our souls and our needs as we plan ahead so that we can continue to be present. It is a misconception that time is linear. The past, present and future are all linked and interdependent. Yet, it is important to take a step by step approach so that we can move towards our goals. Take cooking for example. Cooking involves a step by step process creating an alchemy of elements that produces a delicious end result...hopefully. 

We get stuck when we make a mistake and keep thinking about that mistake, which then keeps us from moving forward towards our meal. Being present then involves having a plan of some sort, having some perspective on our selves and our goals. It creates distance and closeness where we need it, integrating all the parts to a vibrant whole. Growing through the process as we learn, having healthy boundaries, and seeing the truth weaving throughout our movements, our thoughts and our inner knowing.

So we know what we want to create and we plan it. We gather all our information and what we need to create our masterpiece. We tune into our needs as we do this so that we arent interrupted at important places. We see the dishes we are creating forming right in front of us, and we look at the truth of what we are creating and why. We integrate all the elements, and voila!! The truth is we are constantly moving from the past into the present and creating a future...unless we get stuck along the way. The step by step process involves being present. I am visualizing my flowers in my flower garden, what I need to do to get my garden ready, the long day into night as I sit outside on my front porch, and I write about summer as I also look out my window over my front porch, watching the snow flail about and the wind strike my wind chimes creating a symphony of wind sounds. I am in the eye of July.

Healthy Recipes:

So lets create a masterpiece of a recipe that is healthy,
planned well, and keeping our goals and desires in mind. Lets be in the eye of the plan.

Lets start with a healthy, hearty, tasty pasta entre:
  • Soba noodles to boil
  • Saut4 garlic heads and chop up fine
  • Carefully dice and chop one half an onion and add to the
  • Sautwith olive oil or coconut oil; 2 tbsp
  • Peel 4 tomatoes and dice finely and add to the pan.
  • Chop green and black olives; a good handful and add to the
    sautat the end
  • Chop and grate a carrot and add to the saut
  • Add one quarter cup vegetable broth
  • Add pepper, salt, a pinch of oregano, a good bunch of
    chopped basil and sautall together for about 5 minutes and
    then let it all simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Boil the pasta noodles for 5 minutes, I like them al dente
  • Add it all together at the last minute.
  • If you like, add fresh parmesan cheese and serve!!!
    For a summer recipe, add fresh zucchini to the mix, and use only 2 tomatoes, add a bit extra drizzle of oil, and serve cold!
    Let me know how you like it and if you feel the need to change or add anything, please do. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Want More, But Do I Have To Change?

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”
 -Victor Frankl
The month of June overall, is a beautiful month. It is easy to feel good when all is beautiful, the sun is shining, and the flowers are in full bloom. Ah, life. It can be easy to have high or spiritual thoughts, but not so easy to implement them or to live them.

How many of us have wished things could be better or different, but really don’t want to do what we need to do to change? It is a bit of magical thinking to want change and even expect change without doing something to initiate change.

The change I am talking about is from within. Change from within does instigate change outside of us. Most of the people I see come to me because they want something or they are unhappy with something. This unhappiness could be with their physical health in some way, or even something emotional like feeling depressed, melancholy, stuck, afraid, wishing for better relationships, and so on. For example, when we talk about changes they can make, with their physical health such as changing their diet or adding supplementation it can be very difficult for them.

I have a client who suffers from intermittent pain, discomfort in her back and with her digestion. She knows that much of this is emotional for her and yet can’t seem to do anything differently. Her mother is mentally ill and has been throughout her life. Much of her early life was spent with her father as caretaker and her grandmother. She experienced her grandmother as mean, while her father would take off for periods of time to work and also probably to get away from his troubled wife and family. This woman today is grown, has a full time job with lots of responsibility, and has great trouble taking care of herself. When her boss requires lots of extra time, it is hard for my client to say no. When I might recommend an herb or supplement to aid her digestion, she wants to use it consciously, but she forgets to go purchase the herb, or forgets to take it. She wants to feel well and to make changes for herself, and yet, in many ways, she is unable to.

We are just beginning to look, together, at the impact of having a difficult mother, and being able to digest how hard it was for her, especially when she was little. We are looking at and feeling the power of the generations of women who suffered, and how it is so difficult for her to feel well and not suffer when they did. We are looking at the impact of having to take in such abuse from her mother and grandmother and yet needing them and yearning for them at the very same time. How can she love them, at a safe distance, and still have them available for her in her heart while not taking in their suffering and poison? When she was little, that was extremely difficult to do. Now as a grown woman she can safely begin to take steps of inward change to live a life with the ability to digest feelings, take care of herself, and attract positions and careers where her health and well being is a consideration.

All of us have trouble with change. We know we need to do something differently to have a different result. Yet we can be stuck in unconscious feelings, traumas and desires, which keep us from moving forward. Moving forward is important. Often we do need someone to witness, be present, and hold our hands as we step through the past’s quicksand without getting mired in it. Holding new images of ourselves, different images of those who helped shape us, feeling the new truths inside of us, seeing what is possible and how things are possible gives us the path. We need to walk the path. Only by doing so can we change and live full, happy and vital lives.

Recommended Resources:

Body Presencing is a resource I recommend when any of us are struggling with something that makes us unhappy and makes us suffer in some way. Body Presencing is a system of working, which combines images, experiences, new feelings and understandings to help propel us forward in our lives. I work with the individual through the use of hands on chiropractic techniques to help diagnose and address the root of the problem, the tools of Family Constellation work to understand the language of the body and brain development, which helps the brain change from trauma to help them grow, change and live whole, vital and full lives.

Go to my website,, to read more about this work and how it can help you. Click on the ‘What’s New’ tab to read what new workshops or classes I am leading. Also, a new tool I now have on my website is the Body Presencing Hologram. It is an interactive hologram where you can have a mini experience of what is possible.

Monday, June 16, 2014

How Do We Change?

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
-Mahatma Ghandi

June is a month where we can watch, see and feel spring turn into summer. We can literally take part in the awesome change of the seasons. We can feel the warmth of the sun, we can see the vital full blossoming of summer flowers and trees, and we can go out and use all our senses to leisurely enjoy our outside world.

As the seasons shift, change is vital and visual. What does it take for nature and for us to make real changes? It usually takes a period of chaos and pain. Heavy rains, spring storms and inner shifts can even shift the foundation of the earth and our foundation.

I have been working with a woman, using the tools of Family Constellation work and my Body Presencing formula to help her make some shifts that have been pressing in her life. She senses time is of the essence and she wanted to move forward yet, she feels stuck. 

I use the tools of figurines and footsteps, in working with her, to help to create the visual image(s) and feeling(s) necessary to have a deep understanding. Her issue had to do with feeling undeserving or that she will sabotage herself. She also felt great urgency; like she has to do something right now. We put out footsteps to represent her sense of urgency and for what she is aspiring to or towards. Aspiring where she is going was very clear and integrated. I told her that her urgency, which she represented with larger footsteps, felt a lot like addiction. She agreed. She put her own small footsteps on the urgency. After working with these feelings and images for awhile, I asked again what her urgency was about. She said it is her personal time now, and she needs to take her time. Before, her life had been about other people’s time, be it her mother or her father, or when she was married, her husband. Now she is a single mother and doesn’t feel she can wait anymore. Yet, her daughter needs her; thus the sense of urgency. She told me she was closer to her father growing up and distant from her mother but she is closer to her mother now. Her mother had wanted her daughter to be a go between between herself and her husband. This woman had obliged. In doing so, she gave up her needs and her childhood and things became about them and not about her. 

It became very clear; she was still angry with her mother. She needed her time and for things to be about her, as all children need. This anger and separation from her own feelings towards her mother is the urgency because she has her own daughter who needs the same things she did when she was little. No wonder she was stuck. The movement here is for her to work with her little feelings with her own mom.

It is so true that the devil is in the details. These little unresolved feelings can niggle at us in such a way that they undermine our own soul’s movements and cause us to be unable to move forward. The profound shift here was in recognizing a truth in her and in her life and then being able to go to where some seed or young healing needs to occur.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:

So, where are you stuck in your life? In what ways and places would you like to see change occur? Do you love your career, or are you stuck in a career or job that doesn’t suit you? Do you have many friends, or are you lonely and wish for more connection? Are all your relationships satisfying, or do you wish for more closeness or appropriate ones? How is your health, and where could there be some improvement?

These and more are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself. I love writing out or drawing out ideas, situations, etc. So, take out a piece of paper and pen. In the first column write out where you are stuck in your life and what you would like to see occur. In other words, write out an outcome that you would like for yourself. In the second column, write out what actions you could take for that outcome. Take your time with this and look at it for a week. Each day as you look at your columns, make any additions or changes that seem right. Don’t censor any of your ideas on either column.

Lastly, after a week, ask yourself the question: As I see myself taking these actions, what emotions or feelings come up inside of me? For example, as I see myself changing my eating habits, what emotions do I feel; scared, anxious, doubt, excitement, etc.?

These feelings that come up are the keys to your change because they hold within them the conscious and unconscious reasons we stay the same. Through them, the Family Constellation work and the Body Presencing work, we have tools to work through these feelings so we can move our lives forward and experience full, whole and vital lives.

To read more about this work, go to my website, and click on Body Presencing and Family Constellations.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

What Takes Away Your Energy?

“Change always comes bearing gifts.”
-Price Pritchett

Life can be so funny….when we are in the depths of winter, we crave warmth, and when it heats up, we crave cold. This June, as temperatures begin to soar and life begins to heat up we find ourselves out and about later in the evenings; my thoughts tend to go to how the grass is often greener on the other side.

The more I am with this thought, the more I understand that it seems part of our nature is to want something we don’t have and to want to be someone we are not. If we spent as much attention to who we are instead of who we aren’t, we would be way ahead in the game of life.

What does this have to do with our energy? Well, when we wish to be someone or something we are not, it takes our energy away. Much of my work involves helping others to know who they are and to allow themselves to be who they are in all their glory. Many of my patients come to me tired, fatigued and drained. It is like there is an underground river taking their energy away. I say underground because it is a source, they are not aware of, beyond their consciousness.

What empowers us and allows things to flow is when we are who we are in our bodies, minds and soul. They all have to be connected. When traumatic things or events occur in our lives, to varying degrees, often a part of us stays back in that place in time. It is like we get frozen in that time. That frozen age then stays with us and robs us of who are and what we can become. Often, with that trauma comes the beliefs, ‘I am not good enough or they would have stayed,’ ‘I am a bad person,’ ‘one has to be such and such to be part of the family,’ etc. Those beliefs, unconsciously, can become who we think we are causing us to act in such a way to keep it the same. This underground river of belief robs us of our energy and vitality.

There is a man who had a major trauma in his life at the ripe old age of 17. His mother found a little bit of marijuana in the bottom of his clothes drawer. What she was doing looking through his things, I don’t know. She had an uncle who was an alcoholic, addicted to prescription medications and who knows what else. This man had been drinking, drove and crashed into a truck killing her sister, who was a passenger in his car. That event traumatized his mother. When she found marijuana in his drawer, she went temporarily crazy, and kicked this young man out of the house. There was no preparation, no warning; just out immediately. When she looked at her son she saw her fears and not her son.

Today this man is in his fifties and still, in some ways, lives as if he is 17. In a way, he is frozen in time. He lives in fear and has difficulty being successful in life, health and relationships. He doesn’t feel good enough. He also has illnesses and physical disabilities which keep him from working and keep him occupied. He chooses life situations which are not good for him and has struggled with addictions over the years. 

The underground river of trauma still lives in him as if it happened today. What really didn’t have anything to do with him, as to who he is as a person, was given life as if it was and is him.

As we gently extricate him from his false self it slowly frees him to live and be who he really is and to have life and energy to grow and change and be vital and healthy.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:

Awareness and self truth help us to grow and change.  A simple exercise you can do is to take a sheet of paper and write out when you feel energetic. In other words, what gives you energy. Look at the different categories of at home, at work or work related, relationships, financial, and health and/or lifestyle habit(s) like food and exercise. Write or list these out.

On a separate sheet of paper write out what drains your energy. Again, look at the different categories of relationships, financial, home, work health and lifestyle. You can also just list what drains you or write a statement or sentence.

Now, take the two sheets and compare them. Usually what you will see you already know on some level. This just helps to see it more clearly and bring it to the surface of your consciousness. It will also show you where you give yourself away.

Then, take a few minutes and see how you can incorporate some changes into your life so you can live a more conscious and energetic and vital life.