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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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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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

Pinterest Be Well Lioness

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

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Lioness Lessons Series

Valentine’s Day For One

The road to any relationship can be a bumpy one. Fraught with all kinds of challenges. That is also true of the loving relationship you build with yourself, particularly if it is a relatively new one. Take my romance with me for example. Now as a general rule I don’t care much for Valentine’s Day. Definitely right down there at the bottom of my list with root canal day and mammogram day. Historically it is a day that reminds me how unloved I have felt in my past as bouquets of flowers and boxes of candy have passed me by on the way to someone else’s desk. Yes I got my share of construction paper hearts from my kids over the years and my dad, bless his heart, has always made the effort of getting me flowers but let’s be frank here…whatever else Valentine’s Day was supposed to be it has morphed into a holiday for lovers. Anything else is cute, adorable even and much appreciated but not quite enough somehow.

I was rather down on the Feb 14th like always. Deep in my annual 24 hr funk. Lamenting the fact that once again I was left out of the love vibe. When I was reminded by a dear friend and fellow Health Coach that I did in fact have a lover of my own and I was neglecting her every bit as much as previous loves had neglected and let me down in the past.
Now lest you begin to wonder what exactly this has to be with wellness let me enlighten you. It is the inherent not enough-ness that causes many women, especially single mothers to place everyone else’s well being above their own. How quickly I fell back into the habit of not being enough for me. Of allowing my single-ness be cause for the Blues. Foolish Lioness I said to myself. Are you any less lovely than you were yesterday?

But I have decided to tell myself every day how amazing and spectacular and Flawless I am…several times a day actually. I’m gonna keep doing it until I believe it like a reflex. I’m having a love affair with myself. If somebody comes along one day he’d better into threesomes. He’ll have to join my relationship with myself already in progress.
So I am feeling quite lovely….I woke in bed with the woman I love. She was happy to see me. I said good morning to her and asked how she managed to wake up so beautiful and she said…I woke up like dis! (Quoting Beyonce) That made me laugh. Then I told her I loved her and she said…obviously. Can’t argue with intelligent women…especially when she is you. Right?

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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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