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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Lioness Lessons Series, Self Love, What it is and What it Aint

If The Shoes Don’t Fit…You Still Have To Wear Something

Imagine, if you will, having only 1 pair of shoes that fit you perfectly.  Oh, you have others. Various colors, textures and styles but those don’t really fit quite right. Other folk have admired some of the other shoes but they’re not really your taste. You could wear them but they pinched a little because they’re too tight or chafed your heels because they’re too big.  That one special pair took you years to find as you tried on 100s of other pairs.  Some came close. Others were just something you settled for because you had to wear something on your feet.  And then finally, one day, the heavens opened up and you saw them. They were so you! Not just the outer you but the inner you as well. Those shoes reflected the shoe diva you were and still are on the inside. They became your trademark. People who described you to strangers started with your shoes for goodness sake.

Now imagine something goes horribly wrong and you must give up that one favored pair. Imagine the sadness and the disappointment as you contemplate having to remove them from your feet knowing you will never wear them again. The heavy sigh as you realize your whole wardrobe is built around those shoes.  In your mind’s eye you try to picture yourself wearing some other pair of shoes and all you feel about it is grief and loss.

I’ve never been that attached to a pair of shoes or any material thing actually. I lost my home when my marriage ended more than 20 years ago and it hurt but it was a wooden box and some windows and doors in the final analysis. I got over it. He…the ex…managed to wreck a half dozen cars as well before it was over but once again…just metal boxes on wheels. They could be replaced if I wanted or not. Whatever. There’s always the subway.

But something did go horribly wrong. I developed an auto-immune condition that attacked my hair. My beautiful, treasured hair, my locs that I have loved and been growing for almost 14 years. And while there are some treatments and cover ups and cosmetic things that I can do I have been in denial for many years about what was going on under all this hair and I can no longer pretend to myself that it’s not happening. So I am cutting my hair.

14 years is a long time to have an image of yourself and then to have to cut away. Especially when that image is not one you wish to give up. No. My hair isn’t all I am but it’s been a big part of who I am for a very long time. Through my weight and health issues and when I was so broke I couldn’t afford nice clothes.  When I was feeling insecure or nervous, my hair was my armor. When I was feeling joyous and victorious it was my crown.  When I was feeling flirty I winked from behind it. When I wanted to isolate myself it was my wall.

And soon it will be gone. I suppose as a Health Coach I should wax poetic about the beauty of new beginnings or write about how I found some positive in this situation. But I didn’t find one and I prefer not to lie to you or delude myself. I have other body parts like I have lots of shoes. That won’t make me any more comfortable in the ones that never fit in the first place. I’ll just have to learn to deal with the ones that don’t quite fit me.

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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

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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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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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