Archives for the month of: June, 2015

If you are like me, my clients, family, friends and the rest of the world, you’ve been through some stuff the past six months (well more like the past two years, oh heck, since the Fall of 2008!) that has tested, stretched, stressed and made you confront some not-so-pleasant realities about yourself, your life and the people in it.

This meant lots of changes, whether forced upon you from the outside – i.e., having no choice but to move; getting laid off from your job; dealing with a divorce, breakup, or loss of a loved one – or internally, i.e., you were so sick of yourself or your situation that you had to do something, not the least of which was to change your perspective, or finally accept the reality of how things are, rather than how you imagined or wished them to be.

The more challenges you have and the more you resist, the worse things get. This has been a time of “go with the flow,” so whatever you’ve been through, know that it is exactly what you needed to make you stronger and get you to where you need to be next.

A lot of my work is about teaching you to trust yourself, have faith in the process and possess the patience to let life unfold as it should – even with those bumps in the road and unexpected twists and turns along the way. As long as you are intimate, honest and honoring with and of yourself while consistently being in action (which is sometimes non-action), whether internal or external, have confidence that things will shake out the way they are supposed to, in time and on time, in whatever form the Universe deems is best for you.

It all starts with knowing and owning who you are, where you’re at, what you truly want, and realizing you have the power to be the fullest, deepest expression of yourself if only you make it your responsibility and yours alone.  It means we have to grow up.

One of the tools I gave those ninth-graders last month – which I referred to it as a superpower- was to be grateful whenever things get a little rough. Like those magic words “Open Sesame!,” by simply focusing on something you can be thankful for, all of a sudden the pressure is lifted and a metaphorical door or window opensto let in a cool breeze, provide an answer to that riddle, or reveal a hidden treasure.

So no matter what you’ve been through recently, make sure you see the gift in the gristle, which is GROWTH.  Give it up with a great big letting go of the past, and exhale heartfelt gratitude for whatever life handed to you, having gotten through it, and embrace all the good you’ve gained and have yet to experience as a result. 

Need to survey the lay of the land as the dust settles to sort out who’s who and what’s what? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you thank that unexpected messy house guest who disrupted your home, but in the end left it better off than it was when he got there.

(*Today’s PGG was originally posted on May 14, 2014)

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As someone who is pretty dyslexic, I often switch prefixes and mash up my words when writing and speaking. When talking to a good friend recently who was very scattered and exhausted, I somehow came out with the word “mentical” when observing how she was mentally disconnected from her physical body. It seemed to be a perfect way to describe the   “dis-ease” that a lot of 21st century urbanites suffer from, and we immediately adopted it into our vocabulary. And then I told her: A walk in the woods is a way to mitigate the mentical.

After spending many hours in a hospital with my mom over the past two months, I knew what I needed to do in order to get rid of the accumulated “ick” from such an environment, and headed to a nearby nature preserve. I felt the benefits in five minutes! It was as if I had dipped myself in some magic potion; I came out refreshed, healed and cleansed.

Several years ago, I gave as homework to one of my clients, an African-American woman, to go spend some time exploring and journaling deep in a woodsy park.  She looked at me like I had two heads and said “You know Black folk don’t hike…?!” I laughed and of course didn’t care, and she wisely heeded the assignment and is now an avid fan of the activity, and has even influenced many in her circle to try it as well.

However this is not about “hiking” per se, in the very athletic sense of climb difficulty and views as a reward etc. It’s about letting the energy of those deep green leaves absorb any negative mental, emotional, physical and spiritual vibes within and around us and let us take in some good ones from them.  It’s purely alchemical.

Most people flock to the beach in the summer. I’ve always headed for the trees. At least in the Northeast, this is the time of the year where they are the most lush and verdant.  They are at their peak of healing juiciness and they call out to me big time!

As usual, science finally caught up with and “proved’ what I and others have known intuitively and have been doing for eons; earlier this year I was thrilled to come across this article which justified my cure to myself and others of spending time in the woods.  Apparently the Japanese have coined the term “forest bathing” and put some explanation and studies behind what I simply experienced to be common sense and feel good…they are now using as preventative medicine as well as prescriptive for asthma, depression and other ailments!  I bow and thank you for affirming my “homework,” government of Japan.

I have come to find the practice even more necessary these days with our increasing dependence on electronic devices – who knows what stuff they are emitting and what wifi is really doing to us mentally and physically.  Remember that plants and trees suck the carbon dioxide out of the air and increase the oxygen – for us city folk we need as much clean fresh air as we can get. Especially if you have been spending a lot of time in hospitals, airports, and/or inhabit the concrete jungle, it’s the perfect antidote to erratic energy, recycled, conditioned and even toxic air.

Once you get yourself to a park, preserve or forest, the first thing to do is express gratitude.  Think about how the trees and plants are always there, evolving, growing, moving towards life, no matter what they’re handed or how much they suffer – they remain steadfast in supporting and healing us. By giving thanks perhaps we can counteract some of the abuse we has humans have doled out!  I generally recommend going alone, or with just a few close friends/partners who “get it”.  Take deep breaths and move slowly. Be grateful for the miracle that is Mother Earth. Visualize and feel the trees like a filter absorbing all the guck in us at that moment. Let yourself be grounded and feel any stress, worry or disease be released from your mental, physical and emotional bodies.

If you can’t get to an actual forest, perhaps your gym’s tread mills have one of those virtual videos courses so you can feel as if you are – now this does not give you any of the alchemical benefits I’ve mentioned above, however it is still good for meditation purposes so hey it’s better than nothing!

The beach can be the bomb in a different way when it comes to healing too so listen to your body and hear what it’s asking for. You probably don’t need to go to the extreme like Reese/Cheryl  in order to your reclaim your soul and sanity, but if you’re not sure about the who, what, why and where of your personal Nature Rx, give me a buzz. I’ll be the forest ranger in the Pharrell hat that points you in the right direction, reminds you to take it all in, and will be there should you get lost on the trail.

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today.

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Newton’s famous law states that a body at rest stays at rest and a body in motion will stay in motion until some external force acts upon it.  With our 24/7 always on, hyperconnected, overachieving, digital info-media world, most 21st century Americans live in a flow of perpetual momentum with no end in sight. Neither extreme is good, so to balance ourselves we must consciously and continually self-regulate and impose as a rejuvenating or preventative measure the act of stopping all activity from time to time. Yes, I said Stop. All. Activity.

I think pretty much all the time, about practical and bigger picture things, reflecting on the state of the world, my life, my work – analyzing, understanding, observing and being as aware as possible every waking moment, and of course I am not immune to the stresses that everyday life and being human entails.  This past weekend I ‘slept’ for almost an entire day. But not due of lack of zzzz’s, or being sick, depressed or eating bad food, but simply because after everything I’ve been dealing with the past month or two, my mind, emotions and body needed me to temporarily shut down. I had nothing pressing going on, which the wisdom in my body knew and said to me, as it does every now and then, Time for a rest. 

Just like bears that hibernate each winter, we need to take a periodic pause – especially after or during a busy, challenging or stressful period – to let our bodies be still on all levels so we can reconnect, regroup and emerge refreshed and re-energized to our lives and the tasks at hand. That means (gasp!) disconnect from technology and interaction with other people, if possible, so as not to expend any physical, mental or emotional juice.

You can sleep or not sleep, but there should be no distractions or even sound if you can swing it. And no thinking, no reading, no writing. And no guilt.  Just luxuriate in the nothingness. Schedule and treat it as if it were a doctor’s appointment or trip to a resort spa – because it is that crucial to your physical and mental health. In other words,why not give your body and mind a break before they break down on you?

Our society promotes getting it all done all the time, which can take its toll when not interspersed with some serious downtime, which most folks only allow themselves when things have gotten so bad they are physically ill.  Keep in mind that even though you might be getting enough sleep and eating right and don’t have the flu, when you’re dealing with ongoing stress, you burn a different type of energy, which needs to be replenished with rest.  And resting is different from relaxing…but if you can’t rest, then relaxing is better than nothing!

Because I’m pretty good at daily maintenance, I am generally healthy and balanced (including a weekly 24-hour no-computer usage rule) so I know when it’s time to heed the call in order to nip anything else in the bud.( And hey, most of the news, entertainment, activity, tweets etc.you would be ‘missing’ are non-essential, irrelevant and often nonsensical anyway – so really, let it go!)

Stress is inevitable, it’s how we manage it that counts, and rest plays a big part. Need help putting on the brakes? Give me a buzz and I can be the external force that gets the ball moving or the hand that stops you in your track, so you can get back on the right one!

(*Today’s PGG was originally posted on February 20, 2013)

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If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person!   Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today.

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Like me on Facebook  Follow me on Twitter

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Personal Growth Gab (PGG) Volume One FROM AMAZON

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