#Empowered

My purpose in life is to help empower women of all ages to be their best and most loved self. These girls are my inspiration! They are strong, beautiful, funny, charismatic, and empowered to take on the world. Hockey (and their parents) gave that to them.

These young women are champions on and off the ice. This is my tribute to them and all that they have taught me!

A letter for my daughter

 

On January 31, 2018, my daughter sent me this draft of her declaration for her english class at school.  Proud doesn’t begin to express how I feel. For all our daughters and ourselves, I share with you the words of a powerful and strong young woman.

 

January 30, 2018

A Letter for My Daughter

by Jordan Manning

 

“Jordan, that’s not ladylike.”

I’m sorry, I’m 8-years-old. I’m not a lady yet.

“Jordan, you throw like a girl.”

What are you talking about? Tom Brady throws like me.

“Jordan, you’re such a delicate flower.”

What does that mean? Flowers can’t do anything. They just sit there and look

pretty until someone plucks them and they slowly die. I’m not a flower.

“Jordan, that wasn’t very polite.”

I thought I was supposed to stand up for myself?

***

Society, don’t you dare try and change my daughter.

You’ve tried to change me so many times. You’ve even been successful once or twice.

But she’s the future and she’s where change starts.

Society, your standards for women have become a tool for oppression.

A self-conscious devil on the shoulder, reminding girls where you think they belong.

Society, you need to change.

***

In middle school, my friend was asked to change her shirt at the nurses office

because her shoulders were showing.

She missed the rest of science class.

Why?

Why is it my friend’s fault if her bare shoulders are distracting?

She was born that way. Telling her to hide herself from the rest of the class is not a

solution to a problem. Teaching girls to hide and shrink themselves is to say that we

were born the wrong way.

There’s something wrong with us?

How about we raise our boys to not be distracted by a girls shoulders.

There is nothing sexy or provocative about a shoulder.

So was my friend really the problem?

Every time we force girls to make themselves change in order to make up for our

inability to correct society, more problems erupt.

Why is a girl’s education less important because she has to leave class to change while

boys, who caused the concern in the first place, can remain in class?

Boys will be boys .

And girls will be whatever we need them to be.

***

Freshman year, my health teacher taught the girls in my class how to hold a solo cup in a

way that our hands protected the cup from roofies.

She told us to never lose sight of our drinks at a party.

She told us that of all the girls in the class, statistics showed that at least one of us would

be sexually assaulted in college.

***

Dear Society,

Stop training girls to adapt to the way you have allowed America to become.

Don’t prepare girls for college.

Don’t prepare girls for the real world.

Teach college how to behave.

Teach the real world respect and equality.

You told me:

Take small bites.

Salads are attractive.

Makeup is attractive.

Look good, feel good.

Carbs are the enemy.

It’s a man’s world.

Did I mention makeup is attractive?

Society, why are there standards in the first place.

If I don’t follow this etiquette am I below standard?

***

To my daughter,

Go on a date and eat the biggest burger on the menu.

Go to prom without makeup.

Wear sweatpants to school.

Practice the bench press until it is truly impressive.

Eat your favorite pasta like an animal.

Be the first female President of the United States.

Use your outside voice.

Rise above hate.

Be a strong woman.

Be polite, but stand up for yourself and others.

Play sports. You and I are a team.

Don’t be a delicate flower. Be a cactus.

Don’t worry about being ladylike. Be kind.

Don’t let American society change you.

You were born perfect.

 

Show off your shoulders.

Celery Juice for Gut?

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As many of you know, my gut rules my world. It seems to react to so many foods and emotions. For me, one minute my stomach can feel malleable and relaxed and the next hard and swollen, like a balloon. It’s really uncomfortable physically and clothes don’t fit right.

Because of this, I am always looking for ways to reduce my sensitivity to foods, reduce inflammation, and feel better.

Your gut health can be affected by what you eat, your emotions and stress, bacteria/viruses, and dis-ease. In my experience, your gut symptoms are RARELY being caused by one thing. You gotta work on the big picture; and it takes work.

Recently, I read the Medical Medium by Anthony William. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a fascinating read. With regard to gut issues, he recommends drinking fresh celery juice first thing in the morning. According to Anthony, “celery strengthens hydrochloric acid in the gut and provides mineral salts to the central nervous system. ”

The first time I tried the celery juice, my gut felt so good. The swelling went down and it really functioned better. He had me sold. I did it every day for a week, then slowly decreased to about 3 times a week; which is where I am today.  It has really helped me feel better, digest my food better, and have fewer instances of inflammation/swelling. I even started following some of his other advice with great success. I have also noticed that I am not reacting to as many foods. Go figure!

If you have ANY gut issues, try the celery juice. You can juice yourself or find a juice bar.

If you want to learn more about gut health and other chronic illnesses, read Medical Medium.  You just might find a treatment that works beyond prescription drugs and expensive treatments.

Be Well!

 

How do you reset your diet?

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Lately my stomach has been a nightmare. I am sure everyone can relate to that feeling. I miss feeling light and energetic. I know how I got here…to much eating out at restaurants, too much junk/sugar, emotional eating, and too much alcohol for my system.  By most standards, I don’t do any of these things a lot. I actually have a pretty healthy diet but for me the combination of all these things in a little bit of excess over time caused some annoying health issues to return.

I know what I have to do. I need to stop and reset. BUT HOW?

Here is a list of things I pulled together that I know will help me…

  1. Just stop eating crap
    • (easier said than done) I know need to stop eating those things that I know irritate my stomach and watch my portion sizes. I have been a little lax in that area lately. Plus I need to limit eating out at restaurants…there is NOTHING better than homemade. We all know what we SHOULD do, but doing it is a whole another ballgame.
  2. Take Zantac
    • Last time time I felt this way, I went to the doctor because it was such a new and terrible sensation. Zantac did help it go away BUT there are many downsides to taking such prescription meds and I prefer to heal the root of the problem and not just treat symptoms because that’s just a bandaid.
  3. Do a diet cleanse.
    • Eliminate the sugars, processed foods, foods I know I know cause me symptoms. Heal my gut. Eat simply.
  4. Hire a health coach.
    • I am a coach and I know how beneficial a coaching relationship can be to help people overcome obstacles and reach their goals. I also know how motivating and energizing talking to a coach can be.
  5. Retake my MRT food sensitivity test  with my nutritionist, George.
    • Over time, food sensitivities can change. It would not be unlikely that foods that used to be safe for me are now causing issues. Identification REALLY helps.
  6. See Sarah for ART
    • My friend Sarah specializes in the “Allergy Relief Technique” or ART, which has helped a number of my friends overcome food allergies, lyme, and chronic inflammation by teaching the body to stop over-reacting to stimuli.
    •  Per the website….”A.R.T.™ is a unique combination of advanced energy medicine and Western technology, working to balance an individual’s energy to allow the immune system to function optimally.”

This is a pretty good list of things I can do to get better. I don’t really have any excuses and there are definitely more benefits to doing something than staying where I am.

What did I decide?

I decided to start with a diet reset as described in the book “If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit” by Hale Sofia Schatz. I don’t do juices and I don’t starve myself but I need a plan. My friend Carol is in the middle of this plan and feels and looks great. The gist is to eat simply…just vegetables for 2-6 days, then add grains for 2-6 days, then add protein for 2-6 days.  For me the slow add is a good way to test for foods that I am sensitive and getting rid of my cravings.  No juicing, no dieting, no crap; just simple whole foods.  However, this is NOT a long-term approach.

Quick resets do NOT establish healthy eating habits and we are most likely going to go back to bad habits if we don’t establish good ones.  But this type of approach does work for me as a reset and helps me re-establish a better and healthier relationship with food. I lose cravings and the emotions attached to eating. I also re-establish good habits such as meal planning, preparing meals, getting creative in the kitchen, and enjoying the taste of whole foods.

I also called Wellcoaches for my own personal health coach today. I am coach and I know the benefits of having a coach. What I love about BEING coached by someone else is that you don’t have to work on just one thing. Really, the factors in our health are all related anyway. I can get support and accountability for my healthier eating goals AND receive collaboration and support in my business and personal goals. It’s a total win-win! The proverbial killing 2+ birds with one stone.

My next steps, which I haven’t done yet, are to reach out to Sarah (ART) and George (Nutritionist). I want to find out what foods I am reacting to, just in case there are new ones that are causing these negative effects. The easiest way to get rid of symptoms is to identify the cause by retaking the MRT test. Then I can work with Sarah to heal my body and my gut so that it stops reacting to foods all together.

This is MY plan.

What do you do to reset when your eating habits have gone awry?

Teen Communication

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Teens have a special place in my heart. They are emerging adults but still have some child-like qualities and a zest for life that is untainted by the demands and experience of a full adult life. In find this dichotomy comical and amusing. It reminds me to let go and have fun.  As a teacher, I learned from them as much as they learned from me.

What I have really learned about teens is that they just want to be supported, understood, and respected. You do NOT get a teen to do what you want by demanding, threatening, and treating them like a child. (heck, even young children rebel against bossiness) That authoritarian stance will mostly backfire. It might work for some or for a little while but it just might create a tension that will get in the way when there are bigger issues to resolve.

I have noticed in my child’s high school, what seems like an increase in the carrot-stick approach to behavior management. For instance, they are cracking down on student tardiness. The school decided to give detention for students’ repeated lateness but what they fail to consider are the reasons for the lateness because most are driven by parents.  Then I saw a friend post a pile of tardy slips her daughter had accumulated and thought to myself “the detention thing sure doesn’t seem to be deterring this tardiness behavior”.  I am sure this solution is just a result of not knowing what else to do and relying on past experiences instead of trying new progressive approaches.

What could be done?

In my experience teaching and coaching, engaging the students in a discussion of WHY they are late and HOW they can overcome the obstacles getting in their way works much better. If it’s the parent’s fault, why punish the child? This teaches student that these policies are unfair and we lose their respect. Instead talk to the parent or help child do that. If it is the child, we can help them find strategies that they can work with; help motivate them to WANT to change. Let them own the process and choices but with adult guidance and support. Let them own their successes and learn from their mistakes.  I wonder how often a student is asked “What’s going on?”, “How can I help?”. I know from personal experience not as often as it should.

Power struggles between adults and teens degrade trust which is needed to accomplish great things together. If they are sent to detention…then maybe detention could be a forum for positive discussion with supportive and caring adults who can help teens figure out how to change their behaviors, and perspectives. Create the positive relationship. Honor their ideas. Instead of punishment, it could be a form of coaching.

Now more than ever, we need to create that positive relationship and a culture of teamwork. Teens just want to feel respected, trusted, and cared for. If we want them to change, we must change.  How do we do this? Non-violent communication is one way. This doesn’t just mean don’t hit/hurt. It means to observe, not judge. Ask, not tell. Work with your teen, not against them. Help them develop and own their behavior change with your support. Let them know you care. Caring and empathy go a long way.

For example, a student is not doing work. Instead of detention and ignoring them as bad or uncooperative. Talk to them…”I notice X, and I was concerned about Y. What’s going on? “. “How can I help?” and “What do you need from me?”  get a lot closer to success then “just do it”, or thinking “that’s not my problem, it’s yours”.  I have seen this work and I have helped turn student’s disengagement into success through this approach.

This goes for parenting…but it is a but harder and the relationship is MUCH more complex. But the essence is the same. Approach teens with love and respect. They are just kids who still need you while they break free and find their way into adulthood. I have done it the “my way or the highway” authoritarian approach and it only works for so long and/or it degrades the relationship and potentially the child’s self-esteem. When I changed my approach with my own children, I noticed a huge shift in them and in our relationship. No parenting relationship is perfect but my kids seem much happier with the new me.

So judge less, listen more, curiously inquire.

This is why I am coaching teens. They need more adults who are willing to help them find their way in a positive and supportive environment.  It takes a village, right?

Want to read more about teens and communication?

Parenting: “Get Out of My Life but first can you take me and Cheryl to the mall?”

Growth mindset? “Growth Mindset; the psychology of success”

Non-violent communication? Nonviolent Communication website

 

 

 

 

love in troubled times

When I first met my husband back in my college days, he was this calm and grounded guy (still is, I suppose). Initially, I actually thought something had to be wrong with him because he was so different from anyone I had known. Over time, I realized how nice this was to have someone who didn’t have a temper or was not easily provoked. He was thoughtful with his words and ALWAYS able to see multiple sides of any situation. He read books by Carlos Castenada and about the Tao and Buddhism and other religious and cultural practices that I knew nothing about. It was intriguing. It opened up a whole new world to me.

I was a stress case, highly emotional, judgemental, and aggressive. His understanding untitled-7947and grounded nature helped me become the person I wanted to be instead of who I was at the time. He always reminded me that tough times were just temporary and transitional, they didn’t last forever so don’t hang on to the emotions of it. However I remember telling him “it’s easy to be all zen when you have no stress, but can you do it during times of turmoil?” Being married and raising children certainly put him to the test.

Today, I still think that is a valid question. Can you remain loving, gentle, understanding, grounded, and with a healthy perspective when times are tough? …with someone who has hurt you? …when life is not going your way? These are the times that your resolve is tested and these are the times when your beliefs get put into practice. Can you walk the real walk?

There have been many times that I have been hurt or perceived some injustice. In the past, I would get angry, hateful, depressed….all sorts of negative behaviors and thoughts. More recently, after years of living with Jeff and surrounding myself with books and peope who value love, I find myself able to just observe and honor that there is a reason for what is happening. Maybe I needed to learn a lesson, maybe they did. No matter what, it is an opportunity for growth and practice.

It’s a lesson in love and patience.

Every day, we can get mad, get even, or move on. Its our choice. When I chose to come at a situation from a place of love and understanding, I really feel better…even if my feelings have been hurt or if something bad has happened. I can feel the pain but understand its part of the journey and I will survive.  I will be a better person for the experience and I say “thank you” for the lesson.

Life goes on…make something good from bad, but don’t hang on to the negativity. Don’t punish yourself or others. Say “thank you” for the opportunity to grow, learn, and be challenged.

I could give SO many examples to help illustrate this but I won’t…there are just too many and there is no reason to bring up the past and possibly hurt people. But we have all been there. To minimize the hurt, try to find the other perspective, the other side of the story….see everything from multiple points of view.

I say this a lot…ask my students: Life is like a car accident. Envision two cars, having their own journey, collide with each other. Each car/person has their own story of what happened. It is their own experience. Many times it doesn’t match the other car’s story/experience. Yet, it’s the same event with 2 unqiue and true stories.  Step away and see the other car’s story and how it looks from that angle. It can teach you a lot about yourself and how the world works. You also begin to observe and respond with thoughtfulness instead of reacting with emotion.

I promise, if you can stop for a second and see the rest of the story…your life will be richer for it. The hurts won’t seem to big.

Am I perfect at this….heck no! But I keep trying. Each time I get a little better, a little more loving, a little less broken.

“Be mindful in your personal actions and act with empathy and compassion towards the environment and others.” – Tessa Wardley from The Mindful Art of Wild Swimming

Homemade Luxurious & Effective Face Routine

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I am eternally on the hunt for organic skin care products that have minimal ingredients and don’t irritate my skin. I have dry, sensitive skin and I break out easily.  So my lifelong hunt for face products is fueled by vanity and the desire to have that clear beautiful skin that so often eludes me.

I have been doing pretty good with my routine of Dr Hauschka Soothing Milk Cleanser, Simple Micellar Water, and Pai Geranium and Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream. All of which I still love….especially the Micellar Water in the summer.

However, nothing is perfect. I still break out and as I am getting older, the clogged pores are getting deeper and I am getting milia; little white bumps that are keratin-filled cysts, or simply little globs of protein under the skin. Harmless enough but I don’t like things on my face. So now I am trying to find ways to minimize these new imperfections. Yes, I should just embrace them but I cannot.

A friend, who has the most beautiful skin, told me she uses a homemade mixture of Avocado and Castor Oil and the follows with Carrot Seed Oil with Frankincense and Myrrh. Water based cleansing products don’t work as well because water and oil don’t mix, they cannot “dig out” the oil in small little pores. They would just stay on the top because the oil will repel it. Oil attracts oil, so an oil can remove the oil from your pores. However, if my face gets oily, I break out. It’s like a catch 22. Or at least I thought.

I must say I was intrigued and desperate so I tried it. I mixed 2 parts Castor to 1 part Avocado and mixed in an empty glass herb jar. I rubbed a little on my face (dry or wet) and then removed with a warm/hot face cloth. The mixture is luxurious feeling. I actually enjoy using it. Follow up with moisturizer if needed…I need it.

Moisturizer tip: add 1-2 drops of Frankincense and 1-2 drops of Myrrh to about 1 ounce of your moisturizer. The Frankincense is one of the best anti-inflammatories for skin (and other conditions) and Myrrh is a natural antiseptic antimicrobial. You can also the oils to Carrot Seed Oil and use as your moisturizer or add 1-2 drops of this new mixture into your favorite moisturizer as you need it. This is what I am doing right now. (1 squirt of Pai with 1-2 drops of Carrot Seed Oil compound).

NOTE: The Carrot Seed Oil also seems to be absorbed much better than Olive Oil or Vata Oil..2 other  oils I have also tried using on my face and still do at times.

The result….my face was soft and my imperfections started to clear up. I had this one area that just kept filling up like a cyst and I would try to leave it alone but it would fill up again. This new routine stopped the madness.

I cannot say this would work for everyone but if you are struggling like I do, it might be worth a shot. Use brands you are comfortable with.

I also don’t know which of these is having the most effect but I really don’t care. Its working!

I also tend to change my routine based on the seasons and my skin’s needs. We’ll see if this new routine will need to be changed or if it’s good for all year round.

Cleanser Recipe

  • 1 parts Avocado Oil
  • 2 parts Caster Oil

 

Moisturizer Recipe

  • 1 oz bottle of Carrot Seed Oil
  • 1-2 drops of Frankincense
  • 1-2 drops of Myrrh

Wellness Coaching a Top 20 Trend for 2017

According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual fitness survey, Wellness Coaching is #15 on the top 20 list. Here is what they had to say…

“15. Wellness coaching. Wellness coaching has been in the top 20 since 2010. It was listed at no. 17 in 2014, no. 13 in 2015 and 2016, and now no. 15. Wellness coaching is the integration of behavioral-change science with health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation. Wellness coaching often uses a one-on-one approach similar to a personal trainer, with the coach providing support, guidance, encouragement, and confirmation when short- and long-term goals are reached. The wellness coach focuses on the client’s values, needs, vision, aspirations, and goals. According to the 2017 trends survey (and results from past surveys), it seems as though some personal trainers and other health and fitness professionals are now adopting wellness coaching and its principled techniques of behavior change into their clients’ exercise sessions.”

Other top trends for 2017 are #1 Wearable Technology, #3 HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training, #7 Exercise in Medicine (doctors recommending exercise in conjunction with other treatments), #8 Yoga (my favorite for mental and physical well-being), #16 Worksite Promotion (another bonus for my career), and #17 Smartphone Exercise Apps.

Follow this link to read the whole list. ACSM Annual Fitness Trends for 2017

So if you are looking for a way to improve your health, there are some great ideas on this list that might help you get started or that can help you add a little variety to your current health regime.

There is always SOMETHING you can do to feel better.

Even baby steps count.

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Mother Yourself

 

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Today my friend and I met at a local pool to take a water exercise class. Yes, we were the youngest women there but we are both rehabbing injuries that heal really well in the water. You should try it for joint pain.

Anyway, after class we went into the sauna to relax and catch up. We were talking about perimenopause, how we are feeling, and ways to support this transition.

Lately, I have been feeling tense, unfocused, foggy, irritable, and just out of sorts. My neck, shoulders, and upper back are now tense and my head feels like a vice. I am seriously having trouble concentrating and that does not bode well for my health coaching. I have been trying to work on all the things that are, or could be, contributing to this ickiness. I am walking in the woods every day, meditating, practicing my breathing exercises, thinking thoughts of gratitude and kindness, and trying to be more mindful. Plus relaxing with a  nice cold ice pack can do wonders for my neck and forehead tension.

My friend shared information about supplements and what was working for her. One thingblog-1717-edit that is helping her is a book by Christiane Northrup, MD called Goddesses Never Age (follow this link to Amazon). This book provides spectacular insights into leading a vibrant life, especially through and after menopause. Dr Northrup has many books on women’s health and menopause but this was the first book my friend has read. From her recommendation, I bought this book and have just started skimming the contents.

As we talked in the sauna, an older woman joined us. Obviously, she was listening (it’s hard not to) and she piped in with some sage advice.  “Listen to your bodies, girls“. “If you are feeling foggy and out of sort, that is your body’s way of telling you to take a break and relax.” She would continue with…” When I was going through that, I would listen to some music, maybe take a nap or read a book. Do something kind for yourself. You have spent so much time mothering your children, now it is time to mother yourself.”

At such wonderfully kind and supportive words, I got teary. It felt nice to be mothered and to be given permission to take care of myself without feeling selfish.

After that, I went home, made a nice healthy lunch, and read some of my Goddesses Never Age book. To top off my afternoon, I laid down for 20 minutes with a cold face cloth covering my face, listened to music, and drifted into relaxation mode.

Feeling immensely better.

Grateful that the universe placed this beautiful mothering angel in my path this morning, to whom we lovingly refer to now as Nana.

Thank you, Nana.

 

 

YB+

My father in law used to say…

“The bullets a man fires with his mouth cannot taken back.”

Words, positive and negative, can affect someone forever. They embed in that back of people’s psyche and don’t let go. We can never know how much harm will be done when we speak carelessly or negatively. Just read social media or watch TV and we can see that some people speak to intentionally harm others or are overly critical and judgmental. This negativity is infectious and the perpetrator is harming himself just as much, if not more, than he is harming others. He is creating a shitstorm of negative energy and what goes around, comes around.

When our mind is aggressively negative, angry, spiteful, mean, or fearful, our brain is in a type of fight or flight state…we are essentially emotionally unbalanced. In this state, we cannot think clearly or strategically, there is no creativity, you will struffle to learn, to grow, or to adapt.

How does this work? When your brain is in emotionally charged or in an agitated state, it is incapable of remembering or recalling and storing information. This involves the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, and the hippocampus.

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Courtesy of Mindfulschools.org

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for emotional balance and regulation, intuition, and intention to pay attention.

The amygdala is responsible for the fight, flight, or freeze reactions, where emotions activate these emotional responses and naming your thoughts and feelings through awareness can actually deactivate the fight, flight, or freeze impulses.

The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for memory. When stressed, the ability to recall and store information is inhibited.

In a nutshell, we are not at our optimal mental ability when we are anxious, stressed, angry, or emotionally charged.

Instead of lashing out, it would actually be more productive to figure out what’s really going on inside. What are we really angry with? What are we afraid of? What insecurities is this bringing to the forefront? What are the names of the emotions we are feeling? What underlying needs are not being met?

When children are surrounded by these heightened states of negativity they are not able to function at their best and learning declines or is impossible. (hint, hint: support mindfulness in schools)

Adults need to be careful about the words they use, especially around and to children. This is where mindfulness can really be helpful because “Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally,” says Kabat-Zinn.

Through practice, when we are aware of feelings, we can deactivate the amygdala and allow the brain to calm down and function at its best.  But this takes practice.

So why be positive?

Because when we allow the negative to take over, we are not being our best self. We are not mentally functioning at our optimum.

It’s time to raise our awareness, kindness, and mental acuity and lower the negativity and hate.

Think about how much it would help our children, our education system, and society at large.

Happiness does not come from focusing on what’s wrong but what’s right and building from that.

Let’s spread positivity, not hate.

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#kindnessrocks