Lioness Lessons Series, Passion, Pride, Self Love, Spirit

In Praise of My PRIDE

 

Where My Girls At?

Where my girls at,

From the front to back,

Well is you feelin’ that,

Put one hand up,

Can you repeat that,

 

(Performed by 702…Writer(s): R. Stewart, E. Seats, M. Elliott, Rapture D. Stewart, Eric L. Seats, Melissa A. Elliott Copyright: Mass Confusion, E Beats Music, Rap Tracks Publishing, Mass Confusion Prod., WB Music Corp.)


As I began the process of writing this blog I had lots of words for what I have been feeling lately but none of them were quite right. The poet in me (such as it is) kept taking over. Finally I decided to let her have her way. She wanted to send out words of special meaning to the women of her PRIDE. Her daughters, her nieces, her cousins, her Aunties, her close friends and the sisters of her heart. Those that have travelled this journey before her, after her and alongside her. Each of you know who you are and what you are to me but just in case there is any question in your mind…”Where my girls at?”

 

The best times of my life were spent on “Beaches”

When I was so “Clue-less”.

We were “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

Even when you wore a dress.

Yeah Sister we were living “A League of Our Own”

I was Doris, you were Mae.

But even after years have passed

You still won’t see it that way.

We’ve been our own “First Wives Club” while “Waiting to Exhale”

The bond between us spans time and space

But it doesn’t fail.

My daughters are my sisters too

The future of my PRIDE.

Magnolias made of steel

For them I’d die or ride.

Now we’re about to “Set It Off” like “Thelma and Louise”

And I got my girls with me

Living “The Secret Lives of Bees.”

Nia

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Body, Toxin Free

Pardon the Interruption…Uh Disruption

Many of the chemicals in our personal environments have been proven to be endocrine disruptors. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences defines endocrine disruptors as “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.” This system literally affects every aspect of a human’s existence and should be of particular importance to those raising children.

The WHO (World Health Organization) informs us that pregnant women and small children are the most vulnerable members of society to environmental toxins and anything that stands between us and the proper functioning of our hormones. Affecting healthy growth, neurodevelopment and maybe even causing them to be more susceptible to non-communicable diseases. http://www.who.int/ceh/risks/cehemerging2/en/#

Last Saturday I woke up in a potion making mood. There was cleaning that needed to be done but I don’t ever want to add to the toxic load in my household. I desperately want to protect my growing nieces, my elderly dad and my adult offspring whenever and where ever possible.

My nieces are six years old and still have a lot of growing to do. I feel compelled to do all I can to make their home as toxin free as possible. Insulin, leptin and ghrelin are all hormones that affect appetite and metabolism. We have a family history of diabetes and obesity. I don’t want history to repeat itself.

My adult daughters may want to reproduce at some point. I don’t want to contribute to the toxic load they may already be dealing with and I know that one of the key ways to “DE-tox” is to prevent or hinder as many new toxins as possible from entering them and causing road blocks to their wellness.

Environmental toxins are also a danger to my sons and son-in-law. According to the Men’s Journal, prostate cancer may be triggered by the chemical BPA which is probably the most well known endocrine disruptor. In addition to cancer causing BPA, other toxins have been shown to affect male reproduction. Before you decide reproduction is only a female issue…think again. In 40% of those couples dealing with fertility issues it is a joint problem or the man’s fertility is the primary dysfunction. http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/toxins-the-environment-and-your-health-20140319

And then there’s my dad. He’ll be 78 in August. The website for Centre for Studies on Human Stress states “Older adults’ bodies contain a lifetime’s worth of environmental contaminants, many of which can remain in their systems for decades. Elderly people are highly vulnerable to these toxins, because their brain has a reduced capacity to compensate for impairment, and because they have been longer exposed than younger adults.”http://www.humanstress.ca/stress-and-you/elders-and-stress/environmental-toxins.html

I know I can’t protect them from every chemical they may come in contact but I can certainly do more to control what toxins are in our home. So Saturday I went to the kitchen with my potion making supplies in hand. And with one twin on each side of me I made up a batch of Pride Lands All Purpose Cleaner. In addition to being a cleaner non-toxic product, making my own gives me an opportunity to use essential oils that lift my mood and energize me which is just what I need when I’m cleaning since it’s not my favorite thing to do. Come to think of it just knowing I’m protecting my loved ones, my Pride, improves my mood too!

Pride Lands All Purpose Cleaner

1 tsp borax

1/2 tsp washing soda

1 tsp liquid castille soap

Essential oils* – (I find that citrus oils work best…lemon, orange, grapefruit or some combo)…14 drops plus 4 if you like your clean scented.

2 cups of purified warm water

Add to spray bottle (preferably glass as citrus reacts to plastic over time).

Cover bottle and shake well.

Use as needed.

Works well in bathrooms, kitchens and other solid non-porous surfaces.

 

 

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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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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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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

Pinterest Be Well Lioness

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

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Lioness Lessons Series

Some People Enjoy Cooking…I’m Not One of Those People

I’m not that person. I once was a person that cooked but could really take it or leave it. As a single mom cooking for me was a necessary evil. A thing I did each and every night to ensure my children were taken care of, like doing laundry gave them clean clothes and cleaning the house gave them a relatively germ free environment. But it wasn’t exactly recreational for me. It was a get in, get it over with item on my daily task list.

 

Now here I am again. The one expected to provide most of the meals for round two. My kids are all grown and I am living round two. Round two, for those who don’t know it, is what I call my identical twin nieces and my widowed daddy. My nieces are 5. My dad is 77. And cooking is still one of those things I do because it has to be done. Not because I enjoy it.

 

The major difference this time around is that I know so much more about nutrition now than I did the first time around. The first time I went for fast, easy, convenient and of course tasty. I had to get my kids to eat it after all.

 

This time around I want the same but I understand the health consequences of a diet of pre-packaged, processed, convenience foods. 30 years ago I assumed, wrongly I might add, that the department of agriculture and the FDA wouldn’t let anybody put things on a supermarket shelf that was not only not good for my children but were actually bad for them and for me.

 

Now I know so much better. I’m not counting on the government or big business to protect me or guide me to good health. I’m taking the grass fed bull by the horns and doing the research, reading the labels and making decisions about the foods that come into my kitchen. I’m finding that healthy, whole, clean foods can be just as quick and “convenient” as the boxed stuff with enough thought and planning. I don’t need MSG and artificial colors and flavors to entice 5 year olds to eat their veggies and in my house brown rice is just rice. The twins would probably think all rice was brown or black or red if it weren’t for the occasional Chinese take-out. Several meatless meals per week don’t bother the little ballerinas at all. In fact sometimes they choose not to eat meat even when it’s on the menu.

 

My nutrition education is making healthier meals this time around but I admit I wish I had known then what I know now. I could have given my own children a better start. Sometimes the guilt I feel is a bit overwhelming and then I remember that even my adult offspring and my dad are experiencing better health as they take a  page from my book and make lifestyle and nutrition changes. The point then for me is not when I started but that I started. Maybe that’s the point for anyone contemplating a healthier lifestyle shift.

 

Ok so maybe I still don’t love to cook. But I do love my family and there is definitely something to be said for demonstrating that love by providing them with the best quality foods I can get even if it means I have to cook.

 

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

FaceBook

www.facebook.com/BeWellLioness

Twitter:  @GoLioness

Pinterest:  Be Well Lioness

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

 

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