Self Love

Beautiful

“Beautiful”

[Spoken] Don’t look at me

Every day is so wonderful Then suddenly it’s hard to breathe. Now and then I get insecure From all the pain, I’m so ashamed. I am beautiful no matter what they say. Words can’t bring me down. I am beautiful in every single way. Yes, words can’t bring me down… Oh no. So don’t you bring me down today.

As sung By Christina Aguilera

If you….like me…have undervalued yourself for far too long and have allowed other people’s opinions of you to mean more than your own opinion of yourself. THAT is a hard truth you must come to grips with. You must recognize that you are truly the only real constant in your life. Everyone else can come and will come and go. Whether they are dear friends, beloved family members or your chosen mate, they can be gone from your life between one breath and the next. We are the blood we cannot walk away from. We should be our own support systems. We ourselves are the friends we must not ignore.  And yet we are our own worst critics when we should become our own best cheer leaders. Not just in word but in deed.

A while back I saw a trailer for a movie called “The Incredible Mr. Ripley” with my best friend. It was about a young man that completely made himself over in order to assume a lifestyle to which he has grown accustomed. As we watched it we became fascinate with the idea of making ourselves over. Not in order to usurp someone else’s life but to improve upon our own. After the movie, over dinner we designed our new lives. Our “look”, or lifestyle, how we would walk, talk, shop, dress, everything about ourselves. We were going to work on that. Set time tables, toasted our future selves but like many other plans we’d made, life got in the way.

 I submit to you that we were not going to impersonate anyone else. Many of us HAVE been impersonating someone else all this time. WE have been impersonating the women our parents groomed us to be, circumstances bullied us into being, or that life coerced us into being. Ding! They won round one. Round two belongs to us!

Our commitments must be to ourselves. We must be answerable to our own highest purposes, our own deepest desires and our own best interests. Only THE MOST HIGH’s purposes, desires and interests should supersede them. If fear is holding you back then recall that much quoted poem:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Wear these words as a breast plate and shield and prepare to do battle with your own demons, in spite of the obstacles whether real or imagined. I understand those obstacles in you because I recognize them in me. But I am making a concerted effort to see “Nia” as my client, my first priority from a coaching standpoint. I say to myself…would you accept this kind of “run for cover” from a client? Wouldn’t you expect and therefore push a client to be her best, brightest, highest version of herself? Well the answer to that is yes. So I force myself to look in the mirror. And I force myself to see the reflection looking back at me. I can’t always do it for long but I do it. The demons of uncertainty and doubt blink back at me. Confused because they no longer have the power over me they once did. I’m making peace with the “me” that I am in order to embrace the “me” I am choosing to become.

And everywhere we go (and everywhere we go)

The sun will always shine (the sun will always, always shine)

And tomorrow we might wake on the other side

We are beautiful no matter what they say

Yes, words won’t bring us down, no, no

We are beautiful in every single way

Yes, words can’t bring us down, oh, no

So don’t you bring me down today

Oh, yeah, don’t you bring me down today, yeah, ooh

Don’t you bring me down ooh… today

 

http://www.be-well-lioness.com

http://www.mydoterra.com/bwl

 

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Lioness Lessons Series

Crazy Busy Is Just Plain Crazy

The last 6 weeks or so of my life have been crazy busy…with the emphasis on crazy.
Planning for seminars and workshops followed by conducting them. Webinars and teleconferences to work out plans to enhance my website and add elements to my wellness practice. Dance class for the twins and rehearsals for their dance showcase sometimes 3 or 4 of those per week. Then there were Kindergarten field trips, pediatric appointments, costume fittings, photo shoots for promotional materials for the aforementioned dance showcase…for them…not me. And then there were events to check out potential new schools, end of year parties with their classmates and 2 out of town weddings.

Every single week was crammed so full that I was up by 4 every morning and couldn’t seem to shut it down before 11 and believe me I tried.
My schedule was so full that I was forced to do something I abhor. I had to go to the side of my closet where I hide all my dresses. I HATE dresses! This isn’t just a case of preferring pants. I have to meditate before putting on a dress just to calm my anxiety enough to seriously consider it. But I was soooooo busy that I didn’t have time to do laundry. So with a shortage of clean clothes available to me I had to do the unthinkable…wear a dress. Not one or 2 but several. In fact I have worn a dress or skirt every day but one for the last 2 weeks. *Sob*

I have gleaned several very important lessons from this:

  • Never, ever get so busy that there is no room in your schedule for personal care.
    Of course I knew this before. This is a topic I discuss extensively with my wellness clients. There really can be no substantial improvement in health & wellness if there is no room in your life to take care of you. I’m not just talking about a missed mani/pedi here & there. I’m talking rest, relaxation, exercise, proper nutrition and as it turns out laundry. This is a lesson where I am remedial. Or cyclical in my case. Periodically I just plain forget about me. Scandalous? Yes I know but not all that uncommon for women.
  • When you are a parent (or parenting) or have older parents of your own that you are caring for you are not the only one scheduling your time.
    Yes. I know I should have taken this into consideration. But I didn’t …clearly. This is my round two of parenting. I haven’t had to figure out how to schedule around classes, pediatricians and ll things elementary school for almost 20 years. The trick to this is to take all the printed out schedules from all the twins activities, my father’s activities and add them to my calendar on my iPad so that they are as integrated as possible with my personal Google Calendar and my business’ MindBody calendar. And yes I’m going to block out some non-negotiable time for me. (That note for my own Peer Coach who would kill me if she knew just how much I neglected me lately. Forgive me Coach.)
  • If I don’t want to be forced to wear dresses I had better either schedule more laundry time or hire somebody to do it for me.
  • Finally…2 weeks of dresses won’t kill me. I do in fact look quite attractive in dresses. A fact, I find both creepy and annoying. That, my friends, is the very definition of crazy!
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Brain, Lioness Lessons Series, Uncategorized

Ah To Sleep…Perchance to Dream

You’ve heard the saying “a cluttered desk equals a cluttered mind” right? Well you know what else equals a cluttered mind?… A cluttered mind does. Seriously… there are days when there are so many thoughts, ideas and plans running through my head that I can barely form a coherent thought. So I started really using the task app on my iPad in order to break things down into more manageable steps. It was a great idea until it got… well…cluttered. The problem is that I just want to do everything!

I feel like I found my passion late in life and I have so much ground to cover. I have about a hundred years worth of things I want to do and only about 50 left to get it done in. I worry that I won’t get it all done unless I create some more time. So I sleep a little less. I skip a few exercise sessions. I’m not as careful with nutrition; sometimes eating the same thing for lunch every day rather than wasting time thinking up something fresh and engaging.

These are all incredibly bad strategies however because when I miss my sleep I risk becoming ill, my thinking becomes foggy and I get clumsy. Like the time I decided to turn around on a moving treadmill, fell and broke my coccyx (that’s my tailbone for those who prefer). One year and I’m still paying for that dumb move. If I had gotten a good night sleep, I might not have thought that was a good idea just because the woman on YouTube did it.

I think better on a good night sleep. My meals are better planned out and more enjoyable. My workouts are more productive and not only do I tend to be more creative; what I create makes more sense to me and everyone else.

I’m getting more sleep these days and sometimes I miss a late night email or text message and I try not to schedule clients after 9pm so I can prioritize the next day’s activities, work out and meditate before bed. On Friday nights I turn in as early as possible. I want to be energized for the twins’ ballet classes on Saturday mornings and the seminars I conduct on Saturday afternoons.

I have accepted that I won’t accomplish everything on my list every day and that many of the things I dream of doing with the rest of my life may not get done at all but I have more energy for the most important ones. I don’t fall down as much as I do when I overtax myself and I pass on dancing backwards on treadmills…while they’re moving at least.

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Lioness Lessons Series, Self Love, Spirit

In Another Woman’s Kitchen

This past weekend I got this tremendous surge of energy! I’d felt it building steadily for the last 2 weeks so when I woke up Saturday morning I knew I would feel good. I just didn’t know how good I was going to feel! This was a feeling of well-being, strength and energy like I haven’t experienced since before I ran my very first half marathon. It was amazing! (And long overdue.)

You see I ran that half marathon 4 months after my mom passed away. I was ill-prepared. I hadn’t trained all that well. Hadn’t lost the weight I’d planned to lose. I was in fact a mess. I started that race with pure adrenaline that dissipated at mile 5 or 6 but finished the race just short of crawling with nothing but fear of the sweeper bus to get me over the finish line.

Grief is a powerful force. It can sap your will and zap your energy. I knew that having lost my younger sister less than 12 months earlier and in between my step mother and step brother. What I didn’t realize was how long it could linger. How long unresolved mourning could continue to drain you. At least I didn’t realize it until…until it lifted! I woke up this past Saturday morning and jumped out of bed like someone had hit an eject button!

I relocated to my parents’ home to raise my nieces and care for my dad and I’ve made some changes in the house but the kitchen really hadn’t been touched. My mom was an amazing cook. I mean the things she could do in a kitchen seemed like the product of magic rather than any human skill. The kitchen represented my mom to me and I just didn’t want to “do” anything to it. So for the last 18 months or so I’ve just worked around it. Squeezed myself and my spices, oils and herbs in between those she left behind. It wasn’t the most convenient way to prepare meals but I was apparently still in a fog that allowed me to function without questioning whether or not that made any sense at all.

So any way Saturday I woke up and worked out as usual…maybe with more bounce in my step than I’d had for a while. Took a shower and sang a little bit as I washed my hair. Then I went down to my mother’s kitchen to make breakfast. I reached onto the spice shelf to get my turmeric and knocked over several bottles of stuff. I picked them up and looked at them. One or two of them contained spice combinations I would NEVER use and one or two of them had expiration dates that had expired. So I tossed them in the trash can without giving them a second thought.

I prepared my breakfast but noticed that one of the skillets had a cracked non-stick coating. The Wellness Coach in me was appalled because I know that the chemicals in non-stick coatings are toxic. Heck I’ve conducted seminars where I shared that very same information. Yep! I tossed it! It felt good. It felt right. It felt better the more stuff I threw away. By the time I finally sat down an hour and a half later my breakfast was cold but my spirit was on fire!

I felt liberated and at peace as I again prepared my breakfast. This time as I prepared my breakfast most of the jars and bottles on the shelves were ones I had purchased myself. The pots and pans were stainless steel and scrubbed clean using essential oils and baking soda. The veggies came from my own little urban garden in the back yard. I smiled a peaceful smile as I took the first bite of the breakfast I made in “my” kitchen. And I truly believe my mommy would have wanted it that way.

 

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Eat Well

Shopping Cart Drag Races

My twin nieces love the grocery store. It’s bright and colorful and busy however they are still at the age (almost 6 years old) where it is still best that they be confined to a shopping cart to prevent them grabbing, touching and occasionally breaking things I have no desire to pay for. They are both energetic and hate being confined but I keep them happy by pushing the shopping cart faster than most people do and by being able to get in and out of the store pretty quickly.

Now since I’ve been on my wellness journey I have been a real advocate for label reading but label reading takes time. Time I don’t really have when the twins are shopping with me. But I have found a way that I can still know what I’m getting and keep up the pace. I shop the race track. No. Not that one; the one in most grocery stores. I try hard to confine my shopping to the perimeters of the stores. That’s where the majority of the healthiest stuff is. It’s also where there are fewer labels because most things there don’t need a label.
That’s where the fresh produce is. You know where the colorful, crisp, insanely nutritious veggies and fruits are.
Fruit like oranges, bananas, cherries and berries need no introduction and they don’t need a label. They are 100%… oranges, bananas, cherries and berries. Vegetables like carrots, celery, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and beets provide a rainbow of colors and an almost inexhaustible supply of nutrients. And they do it with just one ingredient each.

Dark green leafy veggies for salads or for a light sauté are pretty easy to recognize but even if you come across one you haven’t tried before it’s only got one ingredient so there’s still no need to spend 20 minutes deciphering the label. SCORE!
Fish and seafood? Yep that’s there too. This is where you’ll find some of the best sources for Omega 3 fatty acids available from an animal source. Grab some wild caught salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies or light tuna.
It’s also where the fresh meats, eggs and dairy (if you go in for that sort of thing) can be found. While I have really cut back on my dairy and barely consume it, I confess I am still dealing with my addiction to cheese. *Heavy Sigh* If you just love your dairy this is definitely the place to slow down long enough to read a label. Look for organic. Organic means the animals were raised on organic feed (i.e. pastures cultivated without the use of fertilizers or pesticides), have access to grasses and the outdoors and that antibiotics and hormones use are restricted.
When choosing from the meat case, remember, a fresh chicken is…well chicken. The only label you need is to one that tells you it’s organic and how much it weighs. If the store has “doctored it up” with seasonings ahead of time you’ll need to read the label. So just pass on all that and choose a chicken you can season yourself. ijs

I do believe it’s best to get your chicken whole and cut it up yourself. It’s more cost effective than paying someone else to cut it up and pre-package it and you can look at it and tell whether the chicken as a whole was healthy. You won’t have to wonder whether they cut the legs off all the sick, defective chickens and just sold you the “good” parts. As with all animal products look for grass fed and/or organic whenever possible. Oh! Avoid the processed lunch meats, ground, pressed, packaged are an invitation for fillers and chemicals to be added. And they generally are.

Lastly in the spirit of full disclosure I do have to move toward the middle once in a while. That’s where I find my dried herbs, spices, and dried goods liken quinoa, brown rice, beans, lentils, nuts seeds, stevia and teas.
In case you are wondering about my paper goods and cleaning products. Most of these come from the bulk store. I’m learning to make my own cleaning products now using essential oils and glass spray bottles. I want to lessen my family’s toxin exposure so someday soon I won’t have to venture into those aisles anymore and I’ll know exactly what’s in my cleaning and personal care items. I won’t have to slow down to read those labels either.

So that’s it! Gentle folk….Start your engines!

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Brain

All Stressed Up and Nowhere to Go

Too much stress 1

 

 

We live in an incredibly fast-paced and complicated world where more and more of our lives require clear thinking and sharp minds. Lucky for me my brain works pretty well. But I noticed some time ago that sometimes my brain abandons me for parts unknown…and at the most inconvenient times, even more so recently. I tried many techniques to “clear” my mind with little or no improvement that I could see or feel. Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t coming apart at the seams but the incidences of not remembering why I walked upstairs and what exactly I was looking for were becoming more frequent. Was it just age? Maybe. But growing evidence tells us that it’s not necessarily about that. Maybe my recent lapses were more about my mental juggling while on a high wire act.

 

You see, I have a job as an employee benefits professional. I own a business as well. I have family responsibilities including the raising of my 5 year old twin nieces and caring for my retired dad. I have four adult children whose lives I keep an eye on in spite of their insistence that they are grown ups and don’t need me to. (Yeah. Right. Motherhood is a lifetime sentence…uh I mean commitment.) I have my own health and fitness goals. Friends. Continuing education and business building activities…and a partridge in a pear tree!

 

Not all that long ago the world was encouraged to MULTITASK. That is to do several things at the same time. And practically everyone jumped on that band wagon including me. This was supposed to allow us to cram as much into our already busy days as possible. Guess what? Turns out we may get more done but it’s probably not nearly as efficient as we thought and more importantly to me. It increases stress in our lives and in our bodies.  In fact many researchers now believe the human brain doesn’t actually multitask very well.

According to ABOUT.COM PSYCHOLOGY:

“Multitasking can reduce productivity by approximately 40-percent according to some researchers.”

 

“Switching from one task to another makes it difficult to tune out distractions and can cause mental blocks that can slow down your progress.”

http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/costs-of-multitasking.htm

I don’t know about you, but missing deadlines or rather the fear of missing a deadline causes me a great deal of stress. Now while I accept that I can’t avoid all stress or stressful situations there are some things you and I can do to lessen it:

 

  • Focus. Concentrate. Multi-tasking may seem more productive but dividing your attention can be very stressful. Limit Distractions and interruptions when possible.

 

  • Don’t procrastinate. Use a paper planner or electronic one to plan your tasks each week. Seeing scheduled tasks on paper can keep you focused on what needs to be done. Break a large project into small steps, and set a deadline for each one. Meeting deadlines can eliminate stress.

 

  • Schedule your “Me” Time. Self care like a mani/pedi, a massage,  a facial, journaling or just being alone with your own thoughts shouldn’t be negotiable or pushed aside. Make an appointment with yourself…and keep it! You’re worth it!

 

  • Just say “no”. Simple. Don’t commit to something that will overload or overwhelm you.

 

  • Pray. Meditate. Breathe. Spend time daily centering your thoughts and your heart on God or your personal belief system. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly.

 

  • Schedule time to have fun. Put it down on your schedule. Make it a priority.  

 

  • Move your Tail regularly. Physical activity can be the best stress relief. Find something you enjoy doing – run, walk, jog, practice yoga, Pilates, dance, cycling, hiking, climbing, etc.

 

  • Talk it out. Sometimes the best stress-reducer is simply sharing your stress with someone close to you. Make sure you have a support system of trusted people. If you don’t have one look form an organized support group or start one.

 

  • Stay positive. Remember that everyone has good and bad days. Think positively. Develop your own PRIDE Positivity Protocol.

 

  • Reward Yourself. When you make progress toward or complete a project, celebrate. Enjoy a healthy snack. But the best rewards are non-food related. Schedule some more “Me” time. Give yourself that spa treatment you always wanted to try. Call a member of your PRIDE and take in a movie or a show or shoe shop.

 

 

Source: http://www.webmd.com

 

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Lioness Lessons Series

MY LIONESS LIFE!

When I first came up with the idea of living My Lioness Life from Mane2Tale it was a vague but exciting idea I had for living the life I envisioned for myself and being the me, I always dreamed of being. It was meant to be an all encompassing transformation, changing everything about who I was to who I wish to become. After a few months of soul searching my vision became sharper, clearer and here are the components I have settled on. The Six Circles I invite you to join me in creating for yourself (in no particular order):

Circle One – My BODY transformation will be a move toward greater and greater physical health. Control of chronic health issues by becoming leaner and stronger. I will work to increase and fine tune my fitness regimen, eat cleaner, lessen my dependence on animal protein, avoid and eliminate as many environmental toxins as possible. I want this Lionesses body to be in hunting form

Circle Two – My BRAIN transformation will move me toward greater mental focus, clarity and memory. Improve my mood, my attitude and my ATTITUDE! I desperately want to make my brain function as sharply as possible. I don’t believe it is necessarily set in stone that our brains slow down as we age. I just don’t believe it and I don’t intend to just roll over and surrender to the aging process as far as my mind and memory are concerned.

Circle Three – My SPIRIT transformation. I want to deepen my relationship to my creator and his creations. I want to get back to a place where it is second nature for me to check in with God on the decisions I make, the work I do, the thoughts I think and the desires of my heart.  

Circle Four – My SELF LOVE transformation. Yes I’m talking openly about having an affair with me. Many women have a very, very bad habit of thinking less of themselves than makes sense considering we are…beautiful, intelligent, talented, witty, charming, caring, generous, thoughtful, sexy, strong, dependable, loyal and loving. I have been having an affair with myself for the last month or 2 and I think you ought to consider doing the same. Heck we all ought to. Love ourselves the way we would love someone else. Love ourselves the way we envision BEING loved by someone else. When you are the lover and the beloved that should be the yardstick by which all other loves are measured.

Circle Five – My PRIDE transformation. When I refer to Pride I mean my loving relationships, my inner circle which includes family, friends and those not of my blood but of my heart. Those I would give up or lay down my life for.

Circle Six – My PASSION transformation. I have lived quite a bit of my life doing what was expected or needed or safest. It is my continued intention to embrace those things that bring me genuine joy, that pique my curiosity, that my nerve endings dance, that make me glow.

I want to face the second half of my life with boldness, fierceness, curiosity, dignity, strength and faith due a Queen of the jungle. I want a Lioness Life!

 

Keep Up With The Pride at www.Be-Well-Lioness.com or www.BeWellLioness.com

FaceBook www.facebook.com/BeWellLioness

Twitter @GoLioness

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Contact me at CoachNia@Be-Well-Lioness.com

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