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Alternatives authenticity Featured Gender Dysphoria Inspired Love meditation mental health Non-Binary Transitions

Do I Fit-In to the Transgender Community?

I have asked myself this question again and again. Early in my journey into gender exploration, I lived in Baltimore, MD where I first visited transgender support groups. In my short-lived visits among the communities, I felt I didn’t fit in, because I didn’t want to get surgery or take hormones. My entire life I felt like I could not engage with our western medical model of pills, surgeries and managing symptoms. Something inside me was very clear that this was not for me. I don’t and won’t take medications. Instead, I have learned about herbal medicine and natural methods to healing. If I get a headache, I take skullcap, drink water or vinegar or close my eyes and breathe deep. I am attracted to natural cures, alternative medicine, and vibrational healing. It’s as much who I am as my gender identity.

I found myself staring into the eyes of Ian Harvie at the Central Pennsylvania Keystone Conference. I was presenting on GenderQueer and as I began to speak about my experience of accepting that I was born into a ‘female’ body and choosing to not change it, does that still make me transgender? Ian looked at me, Man to Man, and validated me. Reassuring me that I was as much part of the transgender community as I wanted to be and that my transgender experience was as real as his surgeries. I didn’t even know who Ian Harvie was until I looked him up because I had a free ticket to his show as part of my payment for presenting. It wasn’t because he was a well known trans man but because after hearing his jokes I knew for sure he had surgeries and synthetic hormones. He was the “REAL THING” in my mind and his validation pushed me further onto my path to transition naturally. I had recently begun to engage in daily meditation and yoga practices to convince my mind that I was a man.

Gender Dysphoria takes me for a ride, too. I would spend my two days off in my garden, starting the day with deep meditation and vision of my ‘male’ body. Feeling my flat chest, my large upper body, my penis and testicles between my legs and knowing in my mind that I was male. I would include this vision in my play, as a drag king. I love to dance and perform, and drag won my heart. I would spend my days knowing and walking in what I knew to be a ‘male’ body. When I looked in the mirror it was often disturbing because it did not match my vision of myself. So I often didn’t look in the mirror unless I was practicing drag. I did this daily practice for over a year and eventually, my body began to listen and I began perimenopause.

The journey in menopause has been real, hormones have a way of making one sick in all ways. Emotionally, of course, we can find ourselves sideways and this can lead to issues with our thoughts and beliefs. I didn’t realize that perimenopause had begun until a relationship ended, life changed quickly, and my life began to look like mine. I had also spent that time, when I was focusing on my ‘male’ body, on clearing trauma and finding my authentic self. So when I changed my resonance, the vibration I was attracting, my life changed very quickly and my dreams began to manifest. Life was awesome yet now my body was changing and I was having ‘hot flashes’ – It was my time to dive deep into this whole women’s journey thing. Early yes, although feeling overwhelmed, I dove deep into menopause. Reading and learning all I could from wise women who spoke about their journey I found myself awakening to the realization that I had fully experienced life as a woman and now I was entering full androgyne. Truly, physical androgyne. When I understood what wise women have been saying about menopause for years I began to truly comprehend my change. Apparently, some people going through menopause struggle with losing their ‘womanhood’. I was not having this struggle and I was eager to get through, naturally and fully. I comprehend that it could take years and still I vision my male body. All the things I do, I see myself with a male body. There are times I truly think top surgery would be an option but at this time it is not on my priority list.

When I do look in the mirror now and see my ‘female’ body I know that my experience as a ‘female’ has ended. Now I realize that it was only the first part of my path, only my first step in truly understanding androgyne. Now as I see myself ‘male’ and know that I am ‘male’ I am often less bothered by misgendering. On my better days misgendering leads me to feel sorry for the one that just misgendered me, they haven’t comprehended the fullness of my gender. They are only seeing my physical body and this leads me to believe they only see my body, it’s clear the rest of me is male. They are unable to fully comprehend my gender identity. My gender identity is BECAUSE of my experience of being born into this body. My birth into this body has awakened a Divine Androgyne that is clearly both male and female, and if someone misses that, they don’t see me. It’s okay if people don’t see me, I accept that not all people need to see me. This understanding has to lead me to pay close attention to those that DO see me. The ones that do see my masculine, my maleness, my full gender spectrum, my both, my divine androgyne – those are the people that I want in my inner circle. These are the people I trust, these are the people I call friends. Of course, friends misgender me, but rarely, and when they do they follow it up with the opposite. So if someone calls me a ‘she’ by accident, they will soon call me ‘he’ several times, and then return to ‘they’.

I explain to my friends and people that inquire, that when I hear myself as a ‘she’ it hurts, like punching me in the gut. When I hear ‘he’ it feels like a hug, a pat on the back or a kiss. When I hear ‘they’ it feels right, it feels like I belong. In this, they know that using ‘he’ for me can kind of ‘make up’ for the accidental ‘she’ without having to have a long ‘sorry for misgendering you, geeze I thought I had it.’ conversation. So instead of feeling like a burden because I ask all my friends to change their language to accommodate me, it helps me feel loved and respected, which is a basic human need. I have noticed that if a friend and I are hanging out with someone that misgenders me a lot, it pushes them out of their habit and back into misgender language. When my friend applies this tactic they are better able to keep it balanced, it reminds the person that is misgendering me and my friend serves as the perfect ally. I am constantly expressing gratitude for anyone that does this for me as it shows true love and respect for me, and shows they see me on a much deeper level.

I feel that transformation is a lifelong process and I love my natural approach to my gender experience. Yet, there are times that when I reach out to the transgender community they judge me. They judge me because I didn’t take the hormones because I didn’t have the surgery. It hurts, it hurts when your own people see you as other. I have had to really process this hurt and I turned to Brene’ Brown for some guidance. I had received some public shaming in a Facebook group and had spent too much time taking it all in. First, many of them weren’t ‘in the arena’ as Brene would say. It meant they weren’t writers or bloggers, yet I was, and their feedback doesn’t matter because they weren’t in the arena. Second thing that really changed the experience for me was her study about fitting-in vs. belonging. She talked about how there was a clear difference between the two and how trying to ‘fit-in’ only took us away from our authentic selves. My spiritual path, my reason for being alive is to be authenticly me and for me that means no hormones and no surgeries. Yet now my body is changing, naturally, and would anyone deny me my right to claim that I am a trans man? Occasionally, it does still happen but I must remember that regardless of someone else’s opinion, my experience is still valid. It is clear that I don’t ‘fit-in’ to the transgender community but I certainly belong!

Those of us that don’t ‘fit-in’ we serve a very important role in the evolution of the human race. We go against the status quo and in that we help reinforce the most important things of all, we are all important, we are all connected and we all need love. I believe that people that push gender boundaries, regardless of how, are here to serve as a Divine Androgyne. This means that as long as they embrace their most authentic self, they will change the world to more fully understand the concept of gender. Humans will evolve out of gender eventually, we don’t need it anymore. For some people, this concept is scary. For me, it is a concept I see as obvious. We are moving away from separate, we are erasing the lines that separate us. Gender deconstruction is a large piece of what separates us, and we know it. Divine Androgynes, regardless of how it shows up for them or what they decide to do with the experience, are here to help us have a deeper understanding of how it separates us and how to move past it, beyond gender. I am not sure if I will ever see the end to gender, but I know that I am alive and I am to be part of the revolution. I belong in the transgender community, even if I do challenge the status quo.

 

 

 

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authenticity Featured Holistic Inspired Love Non-Binary Transitions

Spirituality for Gender Non-Conforming People?

By Hollis Taylor

When I first began on my path of gender-bending, drag, and general queerness I consistently would feel that connections lacked depth. I was desiring something much deeper than how to apply a beard with spirit gum, walk like a man, or find a supportive community. It was great that we could connect into safe communities yet I was still seeking something deeper. I found myself reading articles about how ancient and indigenous cultures treated their gender-variant people as shamans or spiritual guides! I often found myself wondering how my friends in the queer community felt about spirituality. When I asked them I was disappointed by what I heard. Some would take the time to explain that most religions see us as evil, that by bending gender we are essentially ‘the evil ones’. Some of my friends even celebrated their desire to ‘corrupt’ and would make tons of jokes about it. Then I began to distinguish the difference between religions and spirituality and some queer friends got it right away.

I would find myself in sad conversations with other spiritual gender variant people. It would turn out that a lot of us felt like we had no place in the world, much less no right to claim any spiritual path. When I spent time in prayer about this I found that my call to spirituality was for a very important reason. No, I didn’t need to get on hormones to change how my body appeared and nor did I need surgery. NO, I needed to write a book! I resisted and self-sabotaged for years and eventually with a community to support me I was able to finally produce a book that would hopefully empower gender-variant people to explore their spiritual path. The book, Divine Androgyne: A Sacred Path for Gender Variant People, outlines the steps that can be taken over time to help us get in touch with our authentic path. That was my first step and now as I pray more I get that I must do more to bring us all together, now.

There is a spiritual meaning to all gender variant people that have lived and will live. It is likely much deeper than I have come to understand over time. In my lifetime I have constantly noticed gender variant people in my world and I have been called to them like someone gets called to the mountains. Ok, so I was called to the mountains, too! (Giggles) Some of us don’t really understand why we are called to this identity, we just know its deep down inside like a bubble that must come up! The reason is many-sided I am sure but the reason I have come to understand is that the future of all humanity depends on the abandonment of gender roles. We must abandon gender roles because it hurts everyone! It forces us into a box we don’t necessarily need to be in and in that we are revolutionaries. We are here to change how humanity interacts in the world. Its a necessary evolution for the human race. I am sure there are other deep reasons for our existence and I would love to hear them! I know for me this means that regardless of what religion has ever done to any of us or our ancestors, that today we are all meant to develop our own relationship with the divine. Authentically and completely ours as we see it, know it deeply to be real and meaningful, and to follow that as our guide. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all came together as a group and validated each other, supported each other, and listened and learned from each other? As a group of authentic beings to spiritually support each others growth and yes we likely will influence each other. I think we are supposed to influence each other, yet right now it comes out as control and submission. Eventually, we will evolve away from that dynamic into a more harmonious connection. I believe gender variant people are here to walk that path, to carve it out of our future. Why gender variant people? Simple. Many of us are truly connected to our most authentic selves, and in that its harder to control us. The more you walk authentically the less likely you are to tolerate or allow manipulative control tactics, even the subtle ones. Then what happens is that forces the controller to re-evaluate their own behaviors, therefore becoming more authentic. When you’re authentic you become aware of what really resonates with you and what doesn’t. Even if something doesn’t resonate with you, its easy to shrug it off as ‘not for me’ and move on. So YES we can influence each other and YES in a healthy intentional way!

As I walk my own path I am sometimes overwhelmed, sometimes I trip and fall, sometimes I even step off, sometimes I celebrate and dance, giggle and laugh. Sometimes I cry and scream and sometimes I whimper in pain. Other days I smile and breathe in peace, some days I even breathe OUT peace. All the while I feel held by something bigger than myself, something larger than life, larger than the universe itself. The divine to me is all energies together and none of them singularly. To me, the divine embodies all I need in the world. When I connect to the divine, I get clearly what I am to do next. When it turns out a mistake, I ask for the lesson I needed to learn and inevitably I find it. Simply because we are all divine, we are all connected to a whole that is divine and in that we all deeply know exactly what is good for us. When I ask the divine, ok the book is out there, now what? Promote it & create retreats for your readers! A safe place for them to be them – and explore their spirituality in depth. Of course, I resist with “Who me?” and “Why me?” and I am reminded that there is no choice I must just keep moving forward.

When I do dive deep with another gender variant person I am often moved to tears of joy and release. It’s like something overcomes me when I connect with a gender variant person and I want to see them grow, succeed and bloom. I suppose that’s for all people I meet, regardless, I find deep satisfaction to hold the hand of a person looking to walk their most authentic path. It’s as honorable as holding the hand of a person on their death bed!

I want to dive deeper with other gender variant people and support each other on a deeply authentic and spiritual path. There is a strong chance that I might do a retreat, Costa Rica 2020 – specifically for Gender Variant or Questioning people. It feels scary, maybe more scary than sharing my personal story in my book yet I still feel pushed at it. Creating safe space to express authentically, creating a ceremony to help us truly integrate our own authentic spiritual path, and creating lifelong bonds with each other as a community of gender-variant people.

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Healthy Inspired Love Permanent Change Transitions

Weird? Strange?

Ever stop yourself from doing something because its weird? Strange? Often the judgement of weird and strange come up for me. Although I realize that I am the one judging myself at the same time I am aware that people also have this judgement of me, they use those words! Some of us that are more unusual often feel this way and find ourselves holding back from our communities because of the judgement. Why do we need to conform like everyone else? Is it necessary to be “normal” – the opposite of weird? There are times being weird can be dangerous, like male bodied people that wear dresses could find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Of course, its dangerous for most gender benders in the world. Also people on the spectrum and other unusual expressions are called “weird”. This judgement mostly arises when someone has done something that everyone else is not doing, whatever that might be.

First, we must deal with our own judgement. I find myself often not saying anything about my gender expression to strangers out of fear of being seen as weird. Why am I afraid to be weird? First I stop judging myself because my gender expression brings light to the world in a variety of ways and to hide it from the world will leave me feeling oppressed. When I do bring it the the world is blessed with  gender diversity. Diversity does a very special thing, when we can move past judgement we can instead celebrate each other. When I catch myself judging myself, I instead move to a space of celebrations. I find all the reasons why its good to be a gender bender, a bug lover, sex positive person, or a herp fan. I assure you I have a dozen other “weird” traits. I try to find a way to celebrate these traits, for instance being a Drag King helps with my gender bending, because its a way to celebrate my gender bend. I also express the bug lover through environmentalism, the planet certainly needs more allies. As for being sex positive, having a female body makes it even weirder, but instead I celebrate that even for all I have been through sexually I have found healing. As a result I can express myself sexually and be proud of my sexuality, not ashamed. Sex is a natural expression of the human being.

Once I get past judging myself I move into expressing it outwards. I usually start with safe communities but eventually I will be so busy celebrating my “weird” that I forget people are going to judge me. So, at some point, someone will give me the “weird” look or tell me how I am not anything but a WOMAN! The other way some people judge me is that I am just so “out there” that everything I do is dismissed and considered ridiculous. In this I challenge them, when its safe. I ask about their judgement and when confronted almost no one will admit to it, naturally we all know its not a peaceful act. Simply, they know they have judged me and its likely unfair, therefore they let it go and deny it ever happened. This is a typical human response. Other times the more I explain my side of things the more the judgement falls away and understanding is found. The ones I respect the most are the ones that, even though they did judge me at first are willing to admit they were wrong and apologize. This is the easiest way to earn respect after judging someone.

I know that changes must begin with me so I try not to judge a person. This has been a real challenge for me as a sun sign Virgo, we often struggle with self judgement and judgement of others. So when I find myself judging someone I try to stop immediately an then find the space to apologize. If I simply judge in my mind I try to explore why I judged. Does this person scare me? Do they threaten me? What am I judging – them or their behaviors? Once I am clear I can apologize and move past it quickly. I subscribe to karma theories and feel that the less I judge others – the less I will be judged for my so called “weirdness”. In this lack of judgement I have made many unique friends and am blessed with their “strangeness”.

Like in the song from the Doors “People are Strange” when we are judged, we are often judged by others and ourselves. Therefore we often judge others and our perspective of the world ends up being very dim and dark. Although the Doors might have been categorized as strange, and I assure you Jim Morrison was very strange for his time. He was constantly judged for his “weirdness” maybe this is what lead the genius to an ending with drugs. I feel like our culture lost as a result of his death but gained with what he left behind. Whatever is strange in us is likely to light up the world once we arrive authentically.

When someone arrives completely authentic some of us might be quick to judge, but often those of us that have found ourselves judged are likely to pull back from the judgement. We have realized that when we bring our “weird” things out we can actually improve the space, improve the togetherness, improve understanding, improve gender choices, improve unconditional love among the human race. When we celebrate others those things are increased around us. We all want peace, safe space, togetherness, understanding, and unconditional love…..right? So the next time you hesitate with that so called “weird” thing remember you are likely depriving us all of your bright new light on something. So wear the dress, wear the bow tie, wear that silly shirt, wear the make-up, and don’t be afraid to purrrr outloud. Call me at 1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094

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Alternatives Healthy Holistic Inspired Love Permanent Change ReWiring Your Brain Transitions Yoga

Rewiring the Brain to Receive Comfort

My history is horrific including extreme neglect at an early age. Of course I don’t remember but many psychiatrists and psychologists have informed me that it would be next to impossible to overcome the neglect I suffered as an infant. This explained most of my insecurities and needs for affection, including the seek for sexual attention as a sex worker. This is the message I heard in my teens and twenties regarding my mental health. I received diagnosis and medications as a result.

I was highly disappointed in the medications! I found them to certainly cure me of my ills but slowly they seemed to suck all my creativity, spice for life, and even personal awareness. I noticed first becoming more and more “Eore-ish” on the medications. Then the things I normally cared about seemed to have less meaning and after a while I didn’t care about those things either. My personal awareness became non-existant until finally I stopped trying “new medications”. In the end they all lead me to the same place. I refused to see any type of professional guidance as a result of feeling pressured to take medications.

Years past until finally it was time for me to revisit professional help. Again, I heard how my past would define my tomorrow and that without medication it would be very difficult if not impossible to overcome. After a few trials I finally landed with a counselor willing to try something different, even after he tried to convince me to medicate. When I refused all medications, including synthetic hormones, he began to really think about how to help me. He researched new techniques and came back to me with Cognitive Behavior Therapy techniques for General Anxiety Disorder. I was able to blanket the techniques as a tool for a large piece of my mental anxieties.

I took those techniques and I began to use them in my yoga practice. I was and am still determined to continue to rewire my brain from unhealthy to healthy. The techniques helped me get centered into myself through breathe work and an awareness to our bodies, mind and spirit. Then I apply the same techniques in my practice with a simple gentleness. Since I can be extra hard on myself I must practice being gentle with myself. I must find a way to practice gently in order to heal myself, especially during my monthly feminine cycle.

Taking our time during yoga and really becoming centered in our selves is our intention. We move in sun salutations focusing on only breathe, allowing the mind to clear. Then finding ourselves in child’s pose we take a full rest. We really settle into our breathe in order to fall completely into our most authentic selves. On the days I know I need extra gentle care I use pillows to support various positions in order to fully rest in them.

A good place to start with this practice is to end each of your yoga sessions with just a few minutes laying flat on your back. Place your right hand on your heart in order to fill your heart with self love. Your left hand empowers your third chakra by holding that spot just below your belly button. Then while holding your hands repeat to yourself or outloud “I am a good person. I deserve all my love. I love you!” or whatever you think is good for you! The intention is simply to empower the third chakra to bridge the gap to the next chakra – to encourage self love, empowerment, and a compassionate self opinion. All the while working on steading your breathe. If anything enters your mind, simply let it go. No need to hold onto it since meditation will often fill our brains with 100 domestic distractions. Instead let them drift out like clouds and focus on the clear blue sky.

I find that music is empower for me and I particularly enjoy hang music, kirtan, or even inspiring music like MC Yogi. I would highly recommend this as a daily practice to solidify your ability to not only give yourself gentle kindness but also to be open to receiving it. Comforting ourselves is our own best medicine! Rewire your brain, nothing is impossible!

We don’t need medications, a lover, or our family to comfort ourselves. The one person in the world that is most reliable is ourselves. With that understanding we can conclude that we are responsible for comforting ourselves and often the best at it. In comforting myself I have found my prescription. Its called self-love!

I would love to teach you the techniques! I want to empower you to take care of your own health! Let’s Rewire your brain!

1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094

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Healthy Holistic Inspired Permanent Change Starting Transitions Uncategorized

A Holistic New Year Resolution

What-is-New-Year-resolution-300x300Its that time again!! What New Years Resolution are you making? “I will lose weight this year” – “I will quit smoking” – “I will do yoga regularly” “I will exercise” Every year hundreds of people make New Years resolutions they won’t keep. Most don’t keep their new resolution till the end of January and some of us MIGHT make it to 6 months. I struggled with this personally for many years. I made the resolution to quit smoking 4 years in a row before I finally did. My other favorite resolution was to lose weight, it rarely made it past Valentine’s Day. Eventually I did quit smoking and I lost weight after many years struggling. My changes started with New Year’s Resolutions – after years and years of failure I finally picked myself up and was successful. I finally began using New Year’s Resolutions as ways to change my lifestyle, slowly – year after year.

I know that many of us struggle with getting past spring and often make the same resolution every year. Sometimes I would even change after a failure and a couple of times I gave up before I started. I would say things like “Well this is the 4th year I will quit smoking” as I lit another cigarette. I would say “Well I obviously didn’t quit smoking so maybe this year I should lose weight.” I quit exercising because it seemed useless to exercise if you smoke cigarettes. Excuses were everywhere but really I just didn’t know what to do. I had no idea how to change these unhealthy habits I had picked up in my teens & twenties. I ate McDonald’s several times a week, I smoked almost a pack of cigarettes a day, and I would eat an entire birthday cake on a bad day.  Most of my time was spent on video games, TV, and unhealthy relationships with the internet. I was unhealthy inside, my family was unhealthy as a result, and my body was showing signs of wavering. I was barely 5′ and 250lbs, smoker, fast food consumer, sugar addict, a racing heart and heavy lungs. A doctor told me I was showing early signs of diabetes. My mental health was full of diagnosis psychiatrists would want to medicate as a result of my unhealthy lifestyle. When we live a life that doesn’t match our values we are easily met with depression, bi-polar, and anxiety – which can lead to more choices that don’t match our values. Its easy to get lost here, I understand, I did!

I was very lost, I felt very alone and I wanted to die. I was dark and grimm and I was happy to try to end my life. One last New Years Resolutions I was willing to make, I thought. One last resolution. This time I was serious, so deeply serious! I studied, I read books, I joined healthy websites. I managed to do it. With certain support systems in place and a counselor at my side I was able to create change. When spring happened and I had quit smoking I was so proud of myself I cried every time I talked about it. Then I spent the last 6 months of that year figuring out my weight loss. My resolution was a holistic one, “I would gain a more healthy and holistic lifestyle.” I have done it and still do it every year.

A Holistic New Years Resolution is only the beginning. There are many ways some of us make this fresh opportunity for ourselves even harder by simply setting ourselves up for failure by either making the resolution too hard to keep, not creating a clear plan, giving up, or some other self defeating behavior. Many of us give up even trying yet another New Year’s Resolution, so much it has become a joke on social media. I am here to offer a more positive outlook. A way. I want to serve as your counselor to help guide you through the first 6 weeks of your new habit. No charge. My gift to you!

Today, I take my New Year’s Resolutions very seriously! I want to help three people make a good plan for a Holistic New Years Resolution. Regardless of what change you choose we can create a plan together that will bring the success you need. We will create a goal together during our initial consultation. Then we will have 6 phone sessions where we will check in on how the changes are going, helping to guide you through the first six weeks. This is an incredible start to a new habit. In this process you will have learned the formula for the next habit you change. Leave you empowered with the ability to change your old not so healthy habits into healthy holistic habits that create healthy happy lifestyles.

Changing and creating new habits that are aligned with your holistic values can help relieve depression, give confidence, and inspire desired change. Together we will build you a plan of action for the whole year and a support system that works in your favor. The most important thing you need “A passionate desire to change” All of this at no financial cost except for your willingness to be interviewed about your experience. My intention is to help heal the world.

Everyone wants good health and our ability to end old unhealthy habits and create new healthier habits is our first steps to living a healthier lifestyle. Healthy holistic lifestyles are built one good habit at a time which leads to healthier happier lives for ourselves and those around us. Health is not overnight and many of us need support on these life changing journeys. The gentle guidance of an experienced counselor is what I offer. The struggle of the journey can be relieved with support, love, and gentle guidance. I am here. You are not alone. Let’s do this together!

~~~~Details about signing up here~~~~

Three people will be randomly selected on New Year’s Eve to receive this incredible offer from Hollis Taylor at AHolisticLifeForMe.com

Selected people will be contacted via email regarding getting started. If someone does not follow through on signing up, another person will be randomly selected.

SIGN UP HERE to be randomly selected for this New Year’s Offer.

 

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Alternatives Healthy Holistic Inspired Permanent Change Transitions

PTSD – Bring it to the mat

The unexplained emotional strike of PTSD resembles a lightning strike in an otherwise positive perspective and lifestyle. One of the things I learned in therapy was that PTSD likes to spike its head when you least suspect it. When everything is safe, life is happy and we find ourselves in a good place. Some of us awaken or find ourselves reliving some traumatic experience that could have happened over 20 years ago. Some of us have unexplained anxiety, depression, or some other combination of uncomfortable feelings.

In the past 10 years I have made an effort to do Yoga everyday partly because I want to start my day off in a good space. In my practice there have been many occasions in which I arrive to my mat in tears. Most of these times it is obviously PTSD. When there is nothing to cry about because life is getting better and we find ourselves in safe space we are confused by these horrific feelings. They can overwhelm us and push us to find a reason for their emergence. Some of us might get lost in the emotion, some of us enjoy the attention it gives us, some of us are comfortable there – in a way. I have had many experiences in these unexplained emotions and reacted in a variety of ways. I have tried to blame someone else for these overwhelming emotions or blame myself for eating the sugar the day before. We can turn the knife inside ourselves like no other can. But if we listen to those emotions and dig really deep we can find their roots. There will be some hints like a dream, memory flash, or present reminder and/or trigger.

When I get deep into the roots of my emotions I have discovered that many of them are injured. Some of them have simple bruises and cuts but some of these roots have been twisted, burned, and torn in ways that make it unrecognizable. This is often where the psychiatrist will prescribe a pill. A pill to make me happy because of the so called “Irrepairable” damage caused by my traumatic experience as a child. The horrors that are just memories that creep up arrive in my heart just when I am ready and when they do I am prepared with a daily practice of prayer and yoga. I relive those moments on the mat. I feel the beatings for not cleaning the floor the way she wanted it. I feel her words cut through my soul like knives. I feel how she hurt me. I feel the damage. I see how I have always believed I am bad. I remember the dark place I lived in for too long. I remember and the emotions get so overwhelming I want to lash back at her. How dare she reck me so completely? There is story after story about the neglect and abuse I endured in my first 17 years of life. There is diagnosis after diagnosis that tries to label me as “broken”. Not only did my mother regularly reinforce how bad I was but also every doctor I ever told my story easily labeled me with a diagnosis that required medication for the rest of my life.

The violence that swells inside me at the pain in my heart only wants to protect it from happening again. I know that an eye for eye only makes us both blind  and in that I take another perspective. I understand her fear, she was a single mother with two boys in jail, a young confused girl at home and a baby on the way. She wanted so badly to discipline my brothers but instead she made sure I didn’t get out of control. I understand the abuse she also endured as a child. I recognize that it was likely that her mother was likely abused by her mother. Generations past in my bloodline were neglected and abused children with controlling manipulative mothers. As I arrived into motherhood I arrived as a rebel in an effort not to carry on the same behaviors. I recognize my mother also tried this and was more accomplished in it as she raised my little sister. Each generation has gotten a little better. Each one of us finding tools in our lives to help us heal.

There on my mat in the emptiness that was my childhood I recognize the importance of my journey. As I allow the child to completely arrive instead of running away or flailing in an effort to protect myself I instead just allow the child to cry. To feel the emotions I once stuffed deep inside in an effort to hide my vulnerability. When someone is being physically beaten at some point, without thinking, will put their hands up to block some of the blows. This same things happens with our emotions, we stuff it inside until there is a better time to experience it, because experiencing it in that moment could bring on further abuse. So I held the child that cries outloud at the abuse and rejection inflicted by my mother, her mother, and all those that came before. I feel it. I cry. I hug myself. Never dismissing emotional and/or mental abuse as less than other forms of abuse. All abuse does its damage.

At my delight this usually only lasts a few minutes, sometimes as long as 5 minutes. Some of the memories last longer than others. Sometimes realizing a lifelong struggle had roots in that memory can bring on more tears. Then as I sink deep into child’s pose I feel my heart melt to the earth and I feel her wisdom reach up to mine. As my head clears I come into the now. The only moment that exists. In this now I am no longer a victim. There is no longer a need to be a victim. I have overcome those traumas and I am ready for healing. I move myself into poses in which bring my head to hang upside down. In these hanging poses I am reminded just how helpful this position can be and how important it is to pay attention to how we hold our bodies. Suddenly I am back into my regular yoga practice.

Once again a trust in yoga to comfort me in my time of need has lead me to overcome yet another memory. The loneliness and abuse I endured as a child has driven me to be the best mother I could be at age 17 and now it drives me to find my own personal healing. My personal healing has lead me to some amazing places including the realization that I have a choice about my moods. I have a choice about my reaction and response to my emotions. Finding understanding and compassion helps me heal my own victim, helping the child to understand that it was not their fault. It was not because they were so different, so weird, or too fat, too bad, too loud, too sad, too angry or whatever “too much” that I had overwhelmed the world with at that time. I helped the child understand that this was old stuff and that instead of repeating the abuse and ignoring it, we would hold her. We would love her. We would lift her up and tell her that all those traumas from the past are over and today we are safe. Today that child can feel it, forgive the perpetrator, and heal those roots.

As I continue in my practice I can feel those roots untwist and as miraculous as the healing in my heart happens in just that hour the roots burns and cuts are sealed over. Although there is some scar tissue there  I am healed and someday that scar tissue will be less and less. What a short time those 17 years were compared to the rest of my life. Today I have found personal healing and begin to build a divinely lead life of gratitude, joyfulness, and peace. My tools are many and the gratitude that flows toward myself for bringing the child to the mat is like a hug from the nurturing person I am today. I am no longer ruled by my past instead I am inspired by my future.

 

 

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Food Healthy Holistic Permanent Change Starting Transitions

Ewww! Vegetables! They just don’t taste good!

By Hollis Taylor

image

That was my response when I learned I wasn’t eating enough vegetables. Then of course I learned to smother them, overcook them and add tons of calories to them. Later, I had to change my ways and my pallet. How could I ever enjoy vegetables? I needed and wanted to be healthier but I just couldn’t see how vegetables could be part of that. I had to learn to love vegetables, it seemed like an unpleasant impossible task.

Many of us grew up hating vegetables for a variety of reasons but one of the most common reasons is the way they are prepared. Also I notice many people cannot stand vegetables unless they are smothered in sauce, dressing, or cheese. Then of course there are some of us that only eat tomatoes and potatoes! Many of us rarely eat raw and many of us are not buying bags of vegetables in the frozen food isles. Frozen dinners and prepared foods way over rank bags of vegetables in sales. Vegetables have left the American diets. Most of us are removed from how they are grown, just how important they are or how to prepare them.

I personally struggled with vegetables. I had only been introduced to the basic ones and of course they were usually smothered in something that wasn’t too healthy for me. Stuff like broccoli or spinach with tons of cheese and of course there is corn. First of all I had to learn what vegetables tasted like, without anything. Some of them have more taste than others but when you are reprogramming your pallet it is ideal to taste them raw and/or cooked with nothing on them. I did a daily exercise for a while that I would try a naked vegetable each day. I chewed it up slowly and paid attention to the taste. I found that I do love spinach and broccoli but was content without all the tons of calories of cheese and sauces. I learned I liked both steamed or raw. I also learned I enjoyed many types of greens and found many healthy ways to prepare them. Then there was corn which I had no idea just how messed up corn had gotten. I found out that most of it is pure sugar and all of it is mostly GMO. I have never been comfortable with chemically grown or lab prepared food, I just don’t trust scientists to cover all their bases. I learned a lot of about corn from a great documentary called King Corn. Today, corn is rarely in my diet.

The other thing about vegetables is that canned vegetables are not only kind of gross but they are also the most unhealthy.  If you base your taste buds on canned vegetables you are likely to find yourself drowning them in sauces or something else to add tons of calories. Astonishingly I was disgusted at the level of vitamins you lose in the process of canning. It just seems to me that they are mushy and full of preservatives. Canned vegetables are a terrible source for vegetables. First of all I feel like if I am going to eat more vegetables they better be so delicious I can barely resist and they better pack a major nutritional punch. I found the best way to get high quality vegetables is to buy fresh organic vegetables or frozen. Either way you get high quality, crisp vegetables that can be prepared a variety of healthy ways.

Of course most of us have no issues managing frozen vegetables and often its the easiest alternative to fresh. I found the bigger challenge to be with fresh vegetables. My first hurdle was affording them. I found a local CSA, community supported agriculture, and at the time I had very little money so I simply offered to work for my share. After a few years and a slightly improved financial situation I was able to afford to pay for it and it was still cheaper than the grocery store. The best part about a CSA is that its a community and they are more than willing to share how to prepare vegetables among other things. There are tons of benefits of being a member of a CSA and anyone should seriously consider it. I was challenged each week to not only use the vegetables but often learn to prepare vegetables I had never seen before. It was a culinary adventure that ended up being priceless.

The other way to be sure you have a great variety of fresh vegetables is to grow your own. I had a small urban garden for many years and I was very happy with its production. I am a 100% organic gardener. I am a passionate gardener and compost, use companion planting, and froze or gave away my excess. I often would batch cook after a large harvest which would usually lead to freezing food for later. This of course is talked about in my article Time vs. Healthy. I could also easily throw a handful of tomatoes in the food processor to just chop them up a little and then freeze them.  I loved the cycles of growing my own food. When you know what to do with tons of vegetables its easy to see how much money you can save by having a simple urban garden. Also a little known fact is that once you pick a vegetable from its plant it begins to slowly lose its nutrient value. Imagine the vitamin impact you get when you eat a vegetable that was just picked off the plant an hour prior. Of course there are other benefits of having your own garden and cooking out of it. I also used gardening as another high quality time builder with my son and today at age 22 he thanks me for all I taught him about growing food. He plans to now teach his children. I also used it as meditation, destresser, exercise, and a way to make friends. The benefits from keeping a garden are often too many to list or count. I am grateful for all my years with a garden.

I learned so much about preparing vegetables. I learned that boiling vegetables takes the nutrients into the water which is why vegetable broth has some nutrient value. I learned that steaming them is a way to cook them but also leave the nutrients mostly in tact. Although a quick fry of spinach in the frying pan with a bit of oil, garlic, or other spices you can easily add it to hot pizza or pasta adding nutrients to a quick meal. I also discovered that hummus and vegetables are super healthy and filling. When I make pasta I cut the amount of pasta in half and instead replace it with things like Broccoli and cauliflower, then I had the red sauce. This ends up being mostly vegetables with a little pasta mixed in. Flipping meals from heavy starches and proteins to heavy vegetables and lean proteins was a shift that seemed so simple but ended up being very effective.

I learned so much in my exploration with food and most importantly today I notice if I don’t eat vegetables, my body craves them. The first time this happened I was very suprised. I had never craved a vegetable before, only sugary treats. I maybe had craved a potato before but really that is all about sugar again. I was actually craving broccoli. I was suprised when I found myself just craving plain old, nothing on it uncooked broccoli. This was one of those moments during my transitions that I realized that all the work I was doing to get healthier was working. This was more promising than losing 10 lbs. From a long term perspective if I could enjoy and even crave health food I would be on my way to some big changes. This pushed me further and today I find myself craving lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and vegetarian proteins. Now I notice if I haven’t eaten enough of something or too much sugars. I can tell by my cravings, energy levels and mood. I am grateful to recieve healthy signals from my body about what to eat, instead of the old ones that lead me to unhealthy places.

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Alternatives Food Healthy Holistic Permanent Change Starting Transitions

Healthy Eating vs. Time

Healthy Eating Vs. Time
By Hollis Taylor

The biggest excuse for not eating well is TIME! I hear it over and over that people are lacking the time they need to cook, exercise and make good choices. I understand!

time vs. health
No time for healthy eating? I don’t have enough time to cook healthy! I have no time to exercise!

One of my biggest challenges was incorporating healthy eating into a very busy schedule. When I first began I had a child, volunteered in my community, ran my own business, and enjoyed occasionally doing something for myself! My schedule was packed solid but I knew I really needed to find a way, otherwise my schedule wouldn’t matter anymore. I had to make a variety of adjustments to my perspective and life in order to manage a healthier diet. I had to change my busy unhealthy life to a something manageable and healthy. What good are you to your commitments if your are NOT healthy? I know the challenges of being a parent, a wife, running a business, and full time employment….don’t forget being involved in your community or having fun!!

The very first thing I did was turn off cable TV. It immediately freed up more of my time and helped my child become more interested in household activities. With no TV he spent more time outside and I suddenly had more time to cook, relax, and follow my personal interests. I do have netflix but I still limit myself to only my favorite shows and now after 10 years I almost never sit to watch anything. TV is a waste of time. Although I am seen occasionally playing games I still limit my time. I like all of my time to be effective. My value system leads me to be grateful for every moment and therefore use it very wisely. I live a very active life these days but still make time for exercise, yoga, and cooking.

One thing I learned to do was batch cook. So on that Sunday afternoon that I want to lounge around in my pajamas and finally have a few hours of rest, I would prepare large batches of food. I would be creative because it made cooking fun. I would bring the family together to cook something and often it could easily be seen as quality family time. There is always something kids can do and teaching them to use a knife is often exciting for them. Learning to cook is a priceless skill. Then I would also use my tools. I would prepare it in the morning after my breakfast and put it into the crockpot. I have also done it the night before and simply plugged it in during my morning rush. I freeze leftovers. I leave just enough for a quick warm up but I know we will get tired of it after a couple of meals so I only leave out a little. The rest gets tucked away into the freezer, labeled and dated. Later you can pull them out when your in a hurry.

I also learned that grocery stores are typically just as fast as your local fast food joint. They are also readily available in just about anywhere and often carry very healthy food. I can easily put together an easy healthy meal in a grocery store. My favorites are hummus, vegis, fruits, cheese, yogurt, granola bars, healthy smoothies, and sometimes you can find some other alternatives easily accessible. I have seen a salad bar in grocery stores, which is obviously a fantastic choice. So when you are in a hurry and need convenient food try a grocery store. You will likely find yourself delightfully surprised at variety and healthy choices. Most grocery stores sell chilled water beverages and sometimes they even have other options available.

I have also learned about the most convenient healthy treat available, fruit. After eliminating sugar from my diet I missed having little sweet treats. I began to notice that I really enjoyed all sorts of fruit including apples, oranges, pineapple and berries. I enjoyed them most when they were in season and of course they are super healthy. I found that fruit tamed my sugar cravings enough, especially if I just at the fruit fresh. By the time I was done eating the apple or orange, assuming I had been off sugar for over 3 weeks, I had forgotten all about my sugar craving. The best part is that fruit is simply easy and convenient. I realize that pineapple can require some preparation but once you do it you can easily just store it in the fridge in a container and eat at it as your are ready. You can also purchase most fruit already prepared. But I like to keep oranges, apples, and bananas on hand. I can simply grab them and go. Fruit can hold off hunger pains for another half hour or more until you can sit down for a meal. Fruit is nature’s convenient food!

I also began to shift my activities and hobbies to something more active. I picked up gardening and the entire family joined in. I also made efforts to take the steps or walk from the back of the parking lot. I also began to make sure my child’s activities were exercise in some way such as camping, sports and skateboarding. I joined my son’s activities as I could. I picked up a fun family activity called Geocaching. I also began to do yoga from home, it was too much to get to a class. I noticed how I felt after exercise and began to make it mandatory part of my life, so I made time for my physical activity. It became priceless and would put me in a better place to get everything done in my very busy life.

The other adjustment I needed to make was tendency towards excessive busyness. As a child I wasn’t very busy but all the adults in my life were. When I first started to move my lifestyle to something more healthy I found that I had over committed myself. I was so busy I was having panic attacks because I often felt like I couldn’t keep up. I was constantly running from one thing to another. I had a school aged child and it was easy to over commit. I liked being busy it helped me forget all my problems. I had no time to think about my unhappy marriage or anything else that I was miserable about. When my therapist suggested that I might be over committing because of my lack of contentment with my life I had to really think about it. I began to adjust my commitments and made sure to keep them at a minimum. Today I love an active lifestyle but if I don’t have time to do my yoga and exercise than I know there is something wrong with my level of commitments. Its a slow adjustment but there are times that I find myself over committed and I must ask what I am avoiding.

Living a healthy lifestyle is not just about eating, although that’s a big part of it. I found that over time the harder I worked at eating well and exercising, I would be more compelled to do other healthy activities. The healthier I was the more I wanted. I love how I feel in my now healthy lifestyle and I know that every struggle I ever made in the past 10 years has been completely worth it. Today I am grateful when I have time for exercise, yoga and healthy meals. I am grateful for down time although at times I am not sure what to do with it. Change is the only constant!

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Food Healthy Holistic Inspired Permanent Change Transitions

Sugar is as addictive as Cocaine!

When someone suggested to me a few years ago that sugar could possibly be addictive, I felt the strong desire to explore the theory. There wasn’t as much public information about it at that time but when I read a medical journal discussing the effects of sugar on the brain I was convinced this was my problem. So the first step is admitting there is a problem. Figuring out how to manage in a world full of sugar and other addictive substances was a completely other ball game.

I began to eliminate sugar from my diet. “High Fructose Corn Syrup” was the first to go and I certainly noticed the withdraw symptoms, by no means was it easy. I had a headache, was fatigued, and lacked focus for at least 4-5 days. As time went on I was able to mostly eliminate it by baking my own treats or buying organic products with cane sugar. Once I was off of it I would occasionally revisit it and was immediately disgusted by the physical reaction to the substance. Not only did I feel like crap but I craved more of it. I found myself craving sugary products and becoming compulsive about it at times. I would compulsively eat cake, pies, cookies, ice cream – I would even sneak it so no one knew that I was cheating on my diet or eating THAT much. I would shamefully give in to the cravings, beat myself up about it later and find myself looking for more comfort with food. An ugly cycle I was happy to put a big stop sign in. Now HFCS is completely off the menu and if I do ingest it I am very aware of its addictive properties.

I try to do most of my own baking and cooking, this greatly reduces sugar and salt intakes. You can eliminate sugar in yogurt by simply buying plain yogurt instead of vanilla, instead add honey to the yogurt. You can bake your own bread if you cannot afford to pay for organic varieties. You can make your own salad dressings, ketchup and drinks. I began to learn to make more and more things from scratch. I also got better at freezing whatever I made and finding time to squeeze it into a very full life. It became a priority after a while and I made it non negotiable, as if sugar was a poisonous substance. Sugar acted like poison each time ingested it and certainly hurts the body in so many ways. As scientists learn more and more about the effects of sugar on the body it becomes easier to identify sugar as poison.

I found that honey, agave nectar and cane sugar had less addictive responses. Honey and agave nectar seem to have very little if any addictive responses. Cane sugar has some but its much easier managed than HFCS, for instance. I don’t find cane sugar compulsively irresistible but I know HFCS drives me to compulsive over eating and binging. This discovery took time and forgiveness with myself. I had to eliminate the substances and then reintroduce them slowly. Then I had to pay attention to my responses. I had to forgive myself when I gave into these substances and then reprogram my brain to notice how shitty they made me feel. Each time I would eat them I would pay attention, then note just how sick and ill I felt. I didn’t always feel sick from eating sugar. I didn’t realize just how shitty it made me feel until I eliminated it and fell off the wagon. When I did fall off I would think to myself and usually share with at least one other person just how shitty I felt. I would note what I ate, how much and how I felt a little while later. At first I found food journals to be very helpful with this. Not just writing what you ate but also how you feel, emotional state and stress levels. Food journals are fantastic tools to help you to a better understanding of your habits.

I also noticed that if I am active my addictive responses are less because I greatly reduce my daily stress. If you greatly reduce your stress levels your addictive responses will be less intense. So slowly I trained my brain to think of exercise, doing yoga or taking a walk when my stress levels got too high. There were sometimes that I would reach for food compulsively, more often than I care to admit. I would have to forgive myself and find the silver lining. The silver lining of falling off my wagon? Simple I get a chance to reprogram my brain. I would Notice what I ate, how much, and how it made me feel. Then I would tell my brain that sugar does not feel good and its just fooling me with its addictive traits. It wants to take over my brain, it is poisoning me. The times I have stopped myself from eating a cupcake on a stressful day at work in the break room I often walk away from the cupcake feeling grateful for the work I have done. This gratitude reinforces this marvelous behavior. The trick is to convince yourself that sugar and fast food make you feel sick, soon enough you will get the message.

Addiction is hard and some of us struggle with it more than others. Personally I have been a sugar addict my entire life, I have only recently had it under control. I have also found myself addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, and sex. Regardless of my drug of choice it was always about the same thing, numbing my emotions. Addictions can take over your entire life and create havoc with your health, relationships and work. I have found that addiction is better dealt with emotionally. Meaning, find a way to comfort yourself so that food is low on the list. Prioritize your list of comfort measures, try the healthiest ones first. This conscious choice to pick the healthiest comfort measure before you reach for food is the hardest part – it requires deep passionate intense self love.

Self-love is something I have struggled with a lot in my life. I often struggle with patting myself on the back or compliments because I don’t want to be egotistical. I also don’t want to brag or be in people’s faces. I have greatly improved my self-love but there are days I struggle more than others. Self-love is so important for your holistic health and often I like to start here. This post is NOT about self-love but I include it in this post for one very important reason. Self-love is the KEY to recovery from addictions. No matter how you develop it I strongly recommend that this is your highest priority. I want you to fall in love with yourself, I assure you no arrogance needs to be expressed. Self-love requires reaching inside and harvesting all your talents and skills. Once your self love grows you will find that you will naturally take better care of yourself and that addictions will seem counterproductive.

I have and still do work to keep my addictions from taking over. I harvest my self-love daily in order to create a wall between me and my addictions. I do not completely refrain from sugar, alcohol, or sex but for sure I am aware of my addictive personality and pay attention to my emotions when I find myself reaching for them too much. Its OK to have one slice a cake a week, its an issue when its the whole cake or every day. Its Ok to have one beer, its a problem when your drunk all the time. A healthy balance is what I am looking for because never treating myself to these little pleasures is a form of self abuse. Developing a balanced lifestyle is the key to permanent weight loss. Its a constant effort to adjust my lifestyle to be more holistically balanced but the struggle is what keeps the balance. If you stop struggling to balance you will slip one way or the other. Only YOU can decide what balanced looks like for you and the best way to discover what balanced looks and feels like to you is to simply harvest self-love.

In my exploration of the newest information online regarding sugar and its effect on the body I found this great video. It seems to be part of a series that I plan to check out. Watch this video to better understand how sugar addiction works.

The Skinny on Obesity (Ep. 4)

Food and sugar addictions are not a passing theory, they are reality. It was so refreshing to see this video regarding the hard evidence of food and sugar addiction. I found this video to fully explain the effect sugar has on the brain. The information in this video is accurate, informative and complete. I was impressed with the simple explanation of such a complicated process inside the brain. I have one criticism… the assumption that the results of obesity, sugar and food addiction cannot be reversed. At the end they discuss that there is quite possibly no answer the to the problem. I strongly disagree! I am physical evidence and there are plenty of others just like me. I cannot be convinced that sugar and food addiction are incurable, especially since I have the cure right here! If you struggle with addiction of any kind give me a call and let me help you in your journey!

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Alternatives Food Healthy Holistic Inspired Permanent Change Starting Transitions Uncategorized

Believe you can change your life!

Believe you can change your life!
Hollis Taylor

I opened this site a couple years ago but it hasn’t gone very well. Part of the reason was because I was simply busy working hard to move my life across the country. I had been dreaming of moving to the Boulder, CO area for several years. The other and main reason for the neglect of this site was simple, belief. I didn’t believe that it was time for a variety of reasons, I am very good at coming up with reasons as to why I CANNOT be a holistic life coach. But in the turning of the New Year and now having completed my journey from PA to Colorado I am choosing to believe in my ability to make this work. I believe in my ability to not only help others with the pursuit of holistic health but also to write a daily article about Holistic Health. Certainly I am still transforming, change is the only constant. I have transformed from a fast food eating, lazy, depressed person to a healthy from scratch vegetarian cook, fairly fit hiker and yogini with a lifestyle of gratitude, happiness and hope.

I am constantly paying attention to my own transformations, each time I learn something new about myself. I like to pay attention to what motivates me, what keeps me focused, what inspires me, and what rewards me. I have explored all these in the past 10 years of my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, part of that healthy lifestyle is for me to share it with the world. I know that true happiness comes when we are helping others and that is my hope. So in the spirit of true happiness I awaken this blog and continue my pursuit as a Holistic Life Coach.

I know what inspires me to do this blog but what transformed the self doubt about my abilities to a belief that I can actually do this? Simple, its my perspective. When I recently found my self on the darker side of life I realized how far I have lead myself. I have been depressed, manic, addicted, and found myself at the bottom of many barrells. Today I can look back and see all I have overcome, holistically and totally. Now I just needed to believe that it was possible that I could also share my wisdom with the world in a way that benefits everyone no matter where they come from. I had to believe that I was capable of helping others. Since I have spent my life as a caregiver in one capacity or another most people would imagine that I would feel empowered. But to help a sick or elderly person to bed is way different than helping YOU change your life. I also questioned my ability to ever move my life from eastern US to a more progressive area like Boulder, CO. Well here I sit just outside Boulder with new opportunities in my lap and a passion to make it all happen.

So when you find yourself questioning your ability to make the changes you need you make, remember some important keys. Always remember that the whole job can look very large but each step is actually very small. I often relate this to climbing a hill, mountain, or rock. Sometimes when I first began to exercise I would find myself standing at the bottom of the hill wondering if I could ever get my out of shape body to the top. I struggled with muscle tiredness and weight induced asthma that makes the climbing very uncomfortable. Some days I had to stop in the middle of the hill and many days I simply made it to the top, one step at a time. I focus on each step, rather than the entire hill. I see the hill and then I simply refocus to the tiny steps. Each step you get closer and closer, don’t give up, no matter what. You can climb, you can overcome, you can do this. Its one simple step at a time.

In each step you get a little closer to the top! You know this is true so why do so many of us struggle with reaching our goals. I think there are many reasons, one of them is belief. Believing is certainly half the battle! When you find yourself reaching for a mountain top you can easily get overwhelmed by the large task at hand. Many of us lack personal belief in our ability to acomplish goals and most of us have a list of excuses. I know I had excuses about my childhood screwing me up so badly that I was doomed for failure. I also believed that being fat and lazy made me happy. I used to think that some of us are simply big people, which is true, but certainly big doesn’t need to mean unhealthy. I also believed that the numbers they gave for what is a healthy weight were wrong. I believed that food was food, why does it matter? I thought vegetarians were crazy. The list goes on and on…I had a very long list of why I was so unhealthy. When that doctor looked me in the eyes and said, “If you don’t do something about your weight you will find yourself diabetic.” I heard her and realized that I had some ideas about things that were obviously mistaken. I was wrong and it was time for me to face my fears and overcome my unhealthy habits. That was 10 years ago.

Over those 10 years I started with small steps. I started with my soda habit. It was a small step but many people start there because it seems so obvious. We all know we shouldn’t be drinking soda every day. We all realize that candy, cakes, and fast food are not good for us. I noticed something as I began to make these little changes. I noticed that we couldn’t expect fast changes. I had to stay patient and persistent, never taking my eyes off the goal. I also found that when life got hard I would reach for those comforting foods. Cake was my favorite! A cake left unattended and a stressful day would certainly lead me to binge on cake with tons of icening. There was nothing healthy about this habit. I simply numbed myself with a sugar buzz and a full belly so that I no longer noticed the stress from the day. I had to find new tools. I struggled for years trying to figure out what worked for destressing and what didn’t. I fell back into food habits repeatedly and still do occasionally 10 years later. I had to understand why this was happening. I searched for the reasons why I struggled so hard with this particularly unhealthy habit. I realized that I have been eating that way for over 30 years….I was taught as a child to eat when I was upset. Child falls down, cries, adult hands them a cookie. We all have seen this and many of us still carry these habits into our adulthood. We cannot change what happened as a child but we can change what happens today. So instead of food I go for a walk in the forest, do yoga, play games, or write. I have a variety of activities that can help me destress. I sometimes still find myself reaching for sugar but interestingly when you don’t eat it all the time, it has a reverse effect on a stressful person’s day. Now if I was to binge on a cake I get heart palpitations, an upset belly and it doesn’t taste nearly as good as it used to. Now it tastes more like cardboard. I have successfully taught my body to react to sugar as it should, it has taken many struggles, many mountains and loads of persistence. Today, if I can barely eat 2 pieces of cake. I cannot drink soda and have no desire for fast food.

Today, life is simple. I want food that tastes good, feels goood and leaves my soul thanking me. I love healthy food and healthy habits simply because I like to feel healthy. Healthy feels good and looks good but I would never say it was easy. Although today staying healthy is easier and easier. Now that I live in a progressive area I have better access to organic and vegetarian food. I also have access to the outdoors, where I like to spend most of my physical exercise. Yoga has enriched my life in a variety of ways including as a destressor tool. Yoga is valuable as a tool to heal yourself. Yoga has filled my life with healing and good health. It started with occasional yoga at home with a video to a daily practice of yoga. Today I have aspirations of sharing the healing nature of yoga with the overweight world.

Now that you see the mountain search in yourself for the belief that you can take one small step at a time towards your goal. What is your goal? What are the steps to get there? What will be your first step towards teaching yourself belief? Belief will keep you stepping all the way to the top! I am here to help you! Let me help you make plans for your goals, let me support your journey up the mountain.