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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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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Body

When To Do It Yourself and When to Call For Back Up

I try to keep a real balance in my life. I eat as cleanly as possible most days. I work out moderately (although I plan to step that up in preparation for completing my 3rd half marathon at the end of the year). I try to adjust my schedule in order to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. 8 would be optimum for me but until someone develops a 30 hour day I don’t see that happening.

In an effort to increase my chances of reaching the optimal health I’ve been working toward I have also begun decreasing my exposure to chemical toxins such as the ones in the class called obesogens and other hormone disruptors. Obesogens are a class of toxins which affect us in such a way as to make weight loss more difficult or that may contribute in some part to weight gain in the first place. Hormone disruptors are chemicals which prevent the normal functioning of hormones within the human body.

Hormones are responsible for most of the functions within you. They are the keys that unlock and the messengers that tell your body’s functions when to start and when to stop. Puberty, reproduction, metabolism, growth and sex either would not or could not take place without “go” orders from your hormones.

The changes I have made so far have been modest:

I still transport my “away from home meals” in plastic containers for safety but I don’t microwave in those containers. (I’ll leave the microwave discussion for another time). Instead I use glass bowls or paper plates.

I have begun the switch to more hormone friendly versions of toiletries and personal care items. I make the switch as current products with questionable chemical foundations run out. While I would prefer to just toss what I already have I admit to being on a budget like most of the country. The non-stick pots & pans are going the way of the dinosaur as fast as I can get rid of them.

Many of the changes I have made in the course of my wellness journey have been things I was taught by others such as my growing knowledge of environmental toxins courtesy of Ms. Lara Adler http://www.laraadler.com/ or they have been outsourced outright to someone else such as my little urban farm courtesy of Meredith Sheperd and Love & Carrots www.loveandcarrots.com. But some things require something else.

Sometimes it’s good to call for backup. I do this in areas where I know a little something but despite my best efforts I just can’t seem to wrap my mind or my body around it enough to make to reach the goals I have set for myself. In this case I’m talking about designing a physical fitness routine. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE my treadmill, my hand weights, resistance bands and yoga mat. And DVDs are my friends but I don’t have the expertise to design a cohesive plan to get me to where I want to be. I just don’t. But…I know who does, a Personal trainer. 

 

Personal trainers can design, help you implement and hold you accountable if need be to the goals you set for yourself. A personal trainer can jump start you or help you over the hump of an annoying plateau. You can find them in gyms and fitness centers or catch one that freelances to get truly “personal” training. 

 

When choosing a trainer for yourself, keep these things in mind:

  • Education: A personal trainer should be certified through a reputable personal training organization. An exercise science or other related college degree isn’t necessary, but the more education your trainer has, the better your workouts will be.
  • CPR: your trainer should have an updated certification in CPR and/or first aid.
  • Experience: Make sure your trainer has experience, especially in relation to your goals. For example, if you’re a bodybuilder, you want someone knowledgeable in that area.
  • Specifics: If you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition (such as being pregnant, difficulty getting pregnant, heart problems, diabetes, etc.) make sure your trainer has education in these areas and will work with your doctor.
  • A good listener: A good trainer will listen closely to what you say and make sure he understands your goals.
  • Attention: A good trainer will be focused only on you during your sessions.
  • Tracking progress: A good trainer will regularly assess your progress and change things if necessary.

Excerpt from: http://exercise.about.com/cs/forprofessionals/a/choosetrainer.htm

Yes. I have learned a lot since I turned my attention to my own personal wellness and since I trained to be a Certified Health Coach and I intend to learn even more but I don’t feel any burning need to become a PT myself (at least for now). So I’ll work on the toxins, nutrition, hormones etc and when it comes to physical training for my bod…I’ll call for backup.

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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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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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

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

 

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Uncategorized

Exercising My Bliss

In the world of health, a big deal is made of the foods we do or do not put into our bodies.  A bigger deal is made of the cardio vs strength and flexibility vs endurance, but an often overlooked piece of the wellness puzzle if the effect of nourishing the spirit. Prayer can nourish our spirit much as locally grown, nutrient dense produce feeds our bodies. Communing with nature & reconnecting with its rhythms can offer us much needed balance in the same way the practice of yoga can teach us to find balance in our bodies. A spiritual practice provides refreshment, restoration and renewal. It can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, keep hunger within manageable levels and help us to find a remarkable peace.

The spirit can be refreshed in many ways and in many places. Yesterday I spent the day with my daughter. We had brunch at Eatonville in the U Street corridor of Washington, DC. The ambiance was compelling. The staff was welcoming, knowledgeable and generous in their recommendations and enthusiasm.  We sat in a booth and enjoyed good food, great conversation and exceptional company. And I was at peace. There amongst murals and memorabilia we discussed business and family, fashion and nutrition and I felt balanced. And her smile lit up my world like it always does and made feel closer to our creator. The day was a blessing. 

After brunch we found a pleasant salon and stepped in for some girl time. Side by side with our feet in the whirlpools and backs being worked over by the magic fingers of the massage chairs we looked at pictures of bathing suits and lingerie on our smart phones planning for an upcoming cruise for her wedding. More laughter. Giggles as the nail techs used those scrubby things on the bottoms of our feet. She is much better at holding back the laughter than I am. She is ticklish everywhere but I am only ticklish on my feet. And yes…laughter is therapy. It is almost impossible to release a real chuckle and remain tense.

The nail tech worked my calves and feet like she had nothing better to do the rest of the day and OMG! I needed that after my 13.1 mile run/walk from the day before. I fell asleep in that chair with my feet in the bag of hot wax and I only hope that if I snored it wasn’t too loudly.

I’m not suggesting that my day was healthier than running a 5K or eating fresh fruits and veggies would have been. Nor am I telling you that every weekend spent with your feet in warm soapy water will bring you optimal health. I’m just saying never underestimate the power of brunch and a mani-pedi to exercise your bliss.   

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