Blog Posts

Health & Fitness, Yoga

On Meeting Your Future Self

Who are you?  What’s your motivation??

Well, I just spent 25% of the time I had allocated for writing this post on searching for a segment from Community where they are trying to capitalize off of Ben Chang’s momentary stardom by creating an absolutely terrible sci-fi movie wherein they use previously filmed clips of Chang, and in those clips, he keeps repeating, “Who am I?  What’s my motivation??” 

Wow.  That was a really impressive run-on sentence.

What’s the point, you’re wondering??

Two points.

  1. If you are hankering for some brilliant TV, and you haven’t watched Community.  Stop reading this right now and go watch Community.  SO GOOD.
  2. That question of “Who Am I?” is kind of an important one.

As I mentioned in a previous email, I recently finished the book Healing Ourselves. This week I also finished Healers On Healing and started on Helping People Change.  Guess what common theme is present in all 3 of these books, written by a whole slew of PhDs and doctors and scientists?

We have tremendous power to heal ourselves.

But, just because we have the power doesn’t mean we know how to use it.  We are not conditioned to look inside ourselves for answers. We’re taught that answers are to be found in Parents, in Teachers, in Books, in The Science, in The Government, in People Smarter Than Us.

But what spiritual teachers and philosophers have taught for decades (and what current research on consciousness and meditation is proving out) is that the answers we seek are found by turning inwards and realizing that we are whole, and while we are One, we are also connected to Many, and that connection to Many (call it God, Oneness, the Universe, Zero Point Field, Universal Consciousness, Spirit, etc.), gives us access to all the answers, support, and guidance that we need – ALL INSIDE OF US.

But HOW?  How do we start to find answers within ourselves??

All of these books, in addition to more secular books like Atomic Habits, and Working With Emotional Intelligence, emphasize the importance of tuning in to the Higher Self/Future Self/Best Self as a way of getting guidance and motivation for lasting behavior change.

But, again. HOW! 

This is where I struggle.  I understand the theory behind “the answers are within” but sometimes The Within is deathly silent and uncommunicative!

This is where I think “different strokes for different folks” can be very helpful.

When I’ve been guided by therapists to “ask your heart” when faced with a question, I’m often met with anxiety.  “Shit.  My heart’s not saying anything.  I must be doing this wrong.  How long will she wait before she gets impatient for an answer??  Why am I paying someone to make me do this?  Ooh!  There’s a thought.  But is it coming from my mind or from my heart?  Am I just projecting what I want my heart to say, or is it really saying it??” 

And sometimes I do get an answer that way, even despite the Ego going into panicked overthinking.

But what I have found more helpful are writing exercises and guided meditations.

Several years ago I took a workshop from Ariel Kiley called Business of Yoga Success.  One of the exercises she did was “Dream Lifestyle – Describe what your most fantastical ideal lifestyle would look like.  What is your schedule?  What’s your home like?  Travel?  Trainings?  Family and friends?  Have fun creating a fantastically comfortable and vibrant life that reflects your highest values.”

And I DID have fun with that.  And the Future Heather I created in that writing exercise has come back to visit me often. 

She came back to me when I did this Future Self meditation, where you meet 5 different versions of yourself and spend time connecting to the one who resonates most thoroughly.  Path 4 Heather is, Man!  SO COOL.

Meeting and tuning it to the energy of your Future Self can provide inspiration, motivation, and guidance.  WWMFSD?? What Would My Future Self Do!  James Clear recommends asking this question when you are trying to shift your behavior.  How can I make a 1% better choice in this situation, aligned with my Future Self?

Your Future Self is a pretty handy mentor, guide, and healer.  If you are interested in seeing what help you can give yourself, you could try out the Dream Lifestyle writing exercise or listen to the Future Self meditation (10 mins), or if you have a chatty heart, you could sit down, spend a few moments watching your breath, put your hand on your heart and ask for help.  We are all unique snowflakes, so try out a few things and see what works for the N=1 experiment that is you!

Space to be Human Updates

  • I’m hosting an Introduction to Mindset class on 1/24/22 from 1PM-2PM Central.  If you feel tortured by your monkey mind (any fellow High Functioning Anxiety peeps out there??), you will find some relief in this class.
    • Please register in advance for this meeting:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrd-ChpjMoEtYpcCkbuZuBn2JXR5S4dDE1
    • After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments.  I really do love to hear from you; otherwise, I’m all like.. “Bueller…..Bueller….?”

Happy Sunday, My Lovely Readers!!

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Health & Fitness

On Flow & Boogers

Are you the kind of person that sets goals or resolutions for the New Year?  What is your experience with that?  Do you enjoy the process?  Does it help you stay on track? 
 
My New Year’s resolutions were usually setted and forgetted by January 20th or so.  Then, two years ago, one of my friends gave me the book, “One Word That Will Change Your Life.”  Instead of setting multiple resolutions, the authors encourage you to essentially pick a theme word or short phrase, a guiding principle, for the year.  This word serves to give you clarity and focus, two experiences that are so hard to come by in our over-stimulated, over-busy lives.  One word is also easy to remember.  When my business coach asks me what my goals are for the year, I’m always like, “Erm.  Let me remember where I wrote them down, so I can re-read them, and then I’ll get back to you.”  Ask me what my Word is for 2022, and I can tell you in a flash.
 
FLOW
 
My word came to me clearly when I was sitting on the soft white sands of the Gulf, listening to the surf rhythmically pound the shoreline.  I was reading “Healing Ourselves” and was YET AGAIN reminded that in order to be healed and to help other people heal, you really just gotta feel those feelings.  Instead of laminating them over with a big suffocating brush of “I’ll get to you later when I have time,” you need to SLOW the f*#k down and notice those feelings and stay with them.  You have to let them flow instead of damming them up.
 
Flow also means letting go off resistance, letting go of clenching, letting go of not being at peace until everything is JUST the way I want it, releasing the need to be in control. You can’t ride the current of life if you have a death grip on the dock. 
 
Flow also means getting into that state where you lose track of time because you are SO engrossed in what you are doing.  It’s actually an altered state of consciousness!  It happens at this sweet spot where you are challenged *slightly* beyond your capabilities, but not so much so that you freeze.  This is where the magic happens. 
 
Flow also means opening up to your innate creative potential.  In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert describes how there is this undercurrent of creative ideas flowing through the ether.  An idea will jump out and grab you, and if you don’t bring it to life, it will abandon you and move on to a more willing subject.  I’m opening to that flow, letting go of the fear of “doing it wrong” and taking imperfect action on my ideas.
 
What word bring clarity and focus to your 2022?  Here are some questions that might help ignite your creative fire:

  1.  What do you need?
  2. What do you need to let go of?
  3. What do you want more of in your life?
  4. How do you want to feel?
  5. What makes you lose track of time?
  6. What gives you goosebumps (in a good way :P)?
  7. What do you secretly desire?

If you can manage it, I recommend finding a time and space where you can be alone.  Bring a pen and paper.  Get into a comfortable seat.  Watch your breath enter and leave your body for 5 breaths.  Notice the connection of your feet on the floor and your butt in your chair.  Settle your awareness in your chest (for me, if I think about moving my vision from my eyes to my area right behind my sternum, I can make that instruction to “settle awareness in your heart center” make sense.  :P).  Then ask yourselves these questions and be open to whatever comes up.  If you feel like sharing your word, I would love to hear it.  Text me at 319-360-9662, or email me at heather@spacetobehuman.life.
 
And here is a practice to help improve your PHYSICAL flow.  It’s that time of year where between colds, Omicron, allergies, excessive dryness, etc.  the nasal passages get all blocked, dry, and boogery.  But breathing through the nose is essential for our health (it improves immunity, promotes better blood flow, slows breathing, increases lung volume, improves the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide).*  So what to do??
 
BOOGER PRACTICE
This!  This is what to do:  Nose Unblocking Exercise.
 
*Source: Buteyko Instructor Training Manual.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Please respond to this email if you have any questions or comments, or book a session with me here if you would like some help to bring more balance and peace to your body, mind or spirit.
 
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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On The Hardness of Going Soft

Tim and I took a perfectly timed trip to Florida over Christmas break. We left at 5AM on Christmas day and just positively SAILED down to Destin, FL.  We were there in 15 hours, even with pee and fuel breaks.  There was NO traffic, and the time passed swiftly due to some fascinating podcasts and the audio version of Wheel of Time: Eye of the World.  We returned home on Thursday, right before Davenport got buried in about 6 inches of fluffy white stuff that was most definitely not sand.  On our way back north, we saw so many instances of cars at a standstill going south.  Sometimes it really pays to go against the grain!  😛

We had 4 full days down in Florida.  Our hotel was right on the beach, so our days consisted of waking up (without an alarm), partaking of the free hotel breakfast (the Fairfield Inn hot breakfast is really not bad!  They actually had protein options instead of just bagels, oatmeal and sugary yogurts), grabbing our gear, and heading to the beach.  We sat on the beach, read, watched the waves, actually got into the water a VERY little bit, headed to town for lunch, came back to the beach for more reading, watching, wading, then walked or drove to supper, and then tried to watch TV in the hotel (SO MANY COMMERCIALS), and then went to sleep.

It was so eye-opening how HARD it was to actually let ourselves relax though. 

Should we “make the most” of being there and DO more stuff – go stand-up paddle boarding, go hiking, check out museums, visit Seaside (the town where Truman Show was filmed), find all the best restaurants?? 

We decided that outside the door of our hotel was a gorgeous ocean with soft white, squeaky sand dissolved from quartz ages ago.  That was enough to appreciate for 4 days.

Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

While at the beach I read a really amazing book, Healing Ourselves – Biofield Science and the Future of Health.  The whole book is about our ability to heal ourselves and others via energy practices.  At face value that may sound very woo woo, but there are dozens of studies that show the healing power of our thoughts, attention, and intention (what do you think causes the placebo effect!).  Two things are very clear from the research the author relays in the book:

  1. We are all interconnected.
  2. We have so much more power to heal ourselves that when have been taught. 

I plan to dive in to the practices outlined in the book and will share with you the ones that I love.  In the meantime, to explore the concept of self-healing for yourself, you could start simply by taking a moment to notice your feet on the ground, soften up those soles, think about plugging your feet into the earth like you would plug your charger into a wall socket.  Notice the energy in your feet, calves, and upper legs.  Take a moment and ask yourself, “Who do I want to be today?”  Set that intention for the day (I prefer to write it down to make it more concrete and visible), revisit it often, and see what changes in your experience of your physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual self/layer/body.

Space to be Human Updates

  • If you were unable to make it to my Introduction to Meditation class, but you are interested in the topic, you’re in luck!  I recorded the class, and you can watch it here at your leisure.  Feedback and suggestions are much appreciated!  If this class piques your interest, and you would like help in developing a meditation practice, you can book a session with me here.
  • Did you know that the Quad Cities is hosting its very own yoga festival?? The QC YogaCon will be held March 4-6, and guess who is teaching!  Me!  I am teaching a Yoga Tune Up® class (Total Tension Tunedown) on 4/5 at 4PM.  You can find more details here.

That’s all for today, my friends!  Happy 2nd day of 2022!  Please reach out to me at heather@spaceotbehuman.life or book a session with me here if you would like to feel better in your body.

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Awakening, Health & Fitness, Yoga

On #Winning & Secret Desires

We are at the start of new year, which means it’s time to run a Lessons Learned to close out this project that is Life in 2021.  What went well?  What could we do better next time? 

What Went Well

Why should we review “What Went Well?” Oh for SO many reasons!

  • Our brains are wired for negativity, which is a helpful yet annoying survival mechanism.  We downplay our successes, and we latch on to our failures.  Does any of the following sound familiar?
    • We get our annual review.  The boss says, “You did an amazing job this year.  We love you.  You’re awesome.  Next year we would like you to show more leadership on your projects.”  What runs through your brain?  “Shit.  I’m a loser.  I should have been more assertive.  I should have worked more.  I better start looking for a different job…”  So much good feedback, yet we glom on to that little bit of feedback and use it as proof that we are a failure.
    • Here’s a personal example.  A few weeks ago, I co-presented on the topic of Emotional Intelligence for Lead(h)er.  Public speaking is a big trigger of panic for me, but by using some calming techniques and mindset work, I was able to keep my voice from shaking, I logically went through the material, and my face did not freeze into any weird contortions.  But.  Then came the Q&A.  A question popped up that did not compute in my brain.  I stumbled through some answer that I’m not sure made any sense or that even remotely addressed the question.  So – great little presentation where I actually exhibited some poise and overcame something very scary for me  – but the rest of the night I had a pit in my stomach, and my mind kept recycling the core belief, “I suck.”  Fun times!
  • We need about a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity to offset the negativity bias.
  • Life moves fast, and we are usually focused ever on the future.  “What do I have to do tomorrow, next week, next month to move towards my goals?”  But, Baby, look at how far you’ve come!!  You’ve grown SO much, accomplished so many of your goals, Past You would look at Current You and be like, “Daaaaammmnnn – that’s me?!”  Take some time to relish this.

What are your Wins, your Successes, your Peaks for 2021?  Don’t be shy!  Write them out.  Send them to me or share them with a friend.  Get them down on paper and DOCUMENT THEM.  Brag!  Don’t let self-judgement hold you back you in this exercise.  When it pops up, say, “Thank you, Sir, for trying to keep me safe and small, but I don’t need you right now.”  And Write.

Here are a few of the things I accomplished in 2021 that make me proud:

  • My therapy practice almost tripled.
  • I worked with a psychologist and a life coach and did a lot of work on learning how to feel what I am feeling (instead of stuffing it down to deal with “later”) and how to question the stories on constant, speedy, reflexive repeat in my head.
  • I asked and was granted a decrease in my hours at the bank, enabling me to put more time into my therapy practice.  And I was able to deal with the, “Oh God, Oh God, how am I going to have enough money?!?!” fairly well.
  • I co-presented 2 Emotional Intelligence presentations, which made me super duper DUPER nervous.  One of the worst case scenarios actually did happen during the first presentation – the network at the presentation location was down, so none of the A/V equipment worked.  We printed out the slides as a fail-safe, only to scramble madly when the network came up minutes before the presentation was scheduled to begin.  But, BIG BREATH, it all ended up totally fine.
  • I put my money where my mouth was and hired a personal trainer, and I’m getting stronger. I overcame one of my most favorite thoughts, “I’ll do it later, when I feel like it.”

What could we do better next year?

I propose a new take on this.  Instead of thinking about things that went sideways and how we could keep them on track next time.  Let’s think about what we want for next year.  What do you desire for next year?  Better yet (and thanks to my coach, Kate Reuter for this question), what do you SECRETLY desire? No one else has to know besides you and your pen and your paper.  If anything was possible, what would you desire?   

Don’t be alarmed if you try this exercise only to find out you don’t know what you want.  You might know what you DON’T want (that one is a lot easier).   Ask yourself, if you DID know what you want, what would that be?  If you are an intuitive, empathic person, chances are you are used to having your feelers attuned to what everyone around you wants.  So when you ask yourself this question, you may just get a blank stare.  But trust me.  You do know what you want.  You just need to practice asking and listening.  Again, bring self-compassion, non-judgement, and a sense of massive curiosity to this.  THERE ARE NO WRONG ANSWERS!  If you do it wrong, you’re doing it perfectly.  😛

To give credit where credit is due, I’m borrowing, mixing, and integrating the work of so many people in this post.  Here are links to my main teachers, should you care to dive into this stuff more:

The Life Coach School Podcast – How To Be Proud of Yourself

Kate Reuter Coaching

Dr. Yoga Momma – Yoga for the Mind program

Lashaun Dale

I hope you can find some time to reflect on the year and appreciate how far you’ve come!

And that is it for today.  As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Have a fabulous day!

Awakening

Pay Attention to what you Pay Attention to.

Have you ever noticed that you when you’re shopping for a new car, suddenly you see your object of interest everywhere?  Overnight, everyone started driving Hyundai Konas somehow (to use a personal example).  You know why that is?  You see what you look for.

And WOW is that powerful.

One of my favorite movies is The Matrix.  Just the original one.  The sequels are horrible.  HORRIBLE!  But the original Matrix is a piece of art.  It shows you how constrained we are by our thoughts.  They literally, every day, every minute, create the world around us.

  • Do you believe that people are always out to get what they can out of you?  That will be your experience in the world. 
  • Think you don’t have the skills necessary to excel in that job you really, really want?  That’s right you don’t.
  • Think you’ve had this pain for years, so no matter what,  you will always have it.  Yes, that will also come true.

Research actually supports the concept of the power of our thoughts – placebos work because we think they work.  Our body processes food differently, depending if we think it’s good for us or not.  A combination of intention and attention can heal.  More details on the the power of of our thoughts can be found in an article I wrote here and in a podcast about psychoneuroimmunology here.

We have more power than we realize over the results we get in life.  Our thoughts create our feelings, our feelings create our actions, and our actions create our results (and confirm our thoughts to be true).  And our thoughts ARE changeable.  Once we start to take the immense super power of Attention and focus it on the utter craziness our ego is spewing out non-stop, we can start to shift our Matrix.  Little by little, we can watch that voice, question its veracity, and try on some new thoughts that might create better feelings > actions > results.

Here are some fun questions to play with, when you encounter an exceptionally annoying thought such as, “I suck and will never be good at this.  Life is unfair.  This shouldn’t have happened.  He is so successful because he came from money.  I don’t have enough money/power/formal education to be “successful.”  She shouldn’t be so talkative/bold/lazy.” 

  • Is that true?  How do you know it’s true?  What if the opposite is true?
  • What are you making that mean?
  • Why?  Ask this one at least 5 times to get down through some layers.
  • Who would you be without that thought?
  • What feelings is that thought creating in your body?  Where do you feel those feelings?  What sensations are associated with that feeling.
  • How could I rewrite this story I am telling myself?

Once we start to glimpse a different reality, outside of the matrix we have created for ourselves, we start to realize how empowered we truly are to go after what is meaningful to us.

This is HARD and exhausting and uncomfortable work.  And it’s slow.  Decades of patterns of thought take time, loving and compassionate attention, and present moment awareness to start to unwind.  But, man, isn’t it worth it to be able to rewrite your story of what’s possible for you?

If this piques your interest, there are about a zillion resources I could share with you, but here are two that have really helped me on my journey:

The Life Coach School Podcast – search for podcasts on the Self Coaching Model

Loving What Is

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

And that’s my quick note for today!  Hope you are having a fabulous day! 

Productivity, Uncategorized

On Liberating Constraints (aka Bossy Calendars)

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “calendar worship”?  When I first heard it, my ego was like, “Nuh-uh. Nope.  That’s not healthy.  That’s too restrictive.”  But then when I was introduced to the concept of “liberating constraint” in conjunction with “calendar worship,” my perspective shifted.  By putting self-imposed restrictions on our time, it can actually free up more brain space and energy to actually DO the things we want to do.  It can be a boon to focus and flow.  Let me explain.

I’ve been working with a business coach, Kate Reuter, and in response to my frustrations about having too much to do and too little time in which to do it, she encouraged me to start following The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One protocol.  With this protocol, you take your whole To Do list, and you book EVERYTHING on your calendar.  And then you throw away your To Do list.  You don’t need it anymore, because everything you need to do is now on your calendar. 

Easy Peasy, right?

Ha!  Well, it’s not easy.  But it IS eye-opening.

First I pulled together all the random to-do lists I have.  Then I put them in a To Do app (Todoist), and then I integrated that with my Gmail calendar.  That didn’t work so well.

Next, I actually did what Kate told me to do (Funny how one resists taking advice from an expert that one is paying quite a bit of money for.  Human brains are funny). I took my bullet journal (which is where I keep some of my tasks/appointments), my Acuity calendar (which is where I keep my bodywork appointments), and then I pulled up my Gmail calendar (which is where birthdays, some reminders, and some appointments are tracked).  No wonder I consistently feel overwhelmed – so much data in so many places.  Not to mention my Outlook calendar (which is where my appointments/tasks/reminders for my job as a project & resource manager at the bank are kept), but I’m keeping that sequestered for now.

I took all of my non-bank stuff and put it ALL on my Gmail calendar.  I started by putting in my recurring stuff:  Morning coffee & reading & writing, meditation, work-outs, showers, meals, blocks for when I work at the bank, blocks for when I see clients, and blocks for sleeping (8 hours/night). 

O M G

Before this exercise, I experienced so much self-recrimination for not accomplishing more in my week.  Why don’t I actually DO the classes I have paid for?  Why don’t I read more?  Why don’t I write more?  Why has my car been perilously close to empty for a week? 

Because my week is already pretty damn full with Living Life stuff – eating, sleeping, working. 

This was so eye-opening.  Yes, I do have some blocks of open time in my week, but I don’t have enough blocks to do EVERYTHING at the same time.  Which means I have to look at my values, and schedule those open blocks in alignment with my values.  I have to CHOOSE what is most important, and then block out time on the calendar to accomplish that.

For the past 3 weeks I have been spending an hour on Sundays planning out the upcoming week.  I already have all those recurring appointments in my calendar, which takes care of a big chunk of my week. I then take my list of To Dos that have accumulated over the week and book time for them in my calendar, and I reserve time for the following:

  • Relaxation and NOT doing stuff (usually Saturday afternoon and evening and tidbits of time throughout the week)
  • Finishing the Buteyko Breathing Certification class I bought LAST YEAR
  • Connecting with friends and/or family
  • Creating the Bodymind Blindspot Assessment and Program
  • And the misc. appointments and meetings that need to occur that week

What have I learned whilst doing this process:

  • Scheduling “free time” is liberating.  I can NOT do anything and NOT feel guilty.  “I’m just following my schedule, Ego, you can just be quiet now.”
  • I can’t do everything.  I have more realistic expectations for myself now.
  • Putting stuff on the calendar gets it out of your head, reducing “cognitive load.”  What that means is that all that stuff floating around in your head that you know you have to do “some time” takes up working memory and makes you less focused and efficient.
  • It takes discipline to do what you have scheduled to do.  Sometimes I don’t “feel” like it.  And then sometimes I don’t follow my calendar.  But sometimes I do, and then I feel very proud of myself, which is a lovely feeling!!
  • While I love working with a paper calendar, working with an online calendar makes setting up recurring events and adjusting the calendar much easier.
  • I continue to refine my calendar, based on how things went the prior week.  Each week I have a better idea of how much time things should take and what kind of balance of doing vs. being I need in order to stay sane.

If this concepts piques your interest, here are some additional resources:

Flow Research Collective – Calendar Worship and Time Tracking

  • This introduces you to the theory of “liberating constraint” and the logistics of how to start creating a calendar that will help you get into Flow.  Plus the host of the class has a gorgeous accent.  <3.

The Life Coach School – Monday Hour One

  • Brooke Castillo walks you through her approach.  I personally use kind of a hybrid between the FRC and LCS approaches.

From a spiritual, whole-person wellbeing approach, here is time-tracking guidance from “Yoga Therapy as a Creative Response to Pain” by Dr.  Matthew Taylor:

“Abusing your time commitments is participating in violence against self.  This may be in the form of overscheduling to the point that you are never still.  Or it may be by allocating your time in a manner that doesn’t reflect your inner priorities.

Both create strain and turbulence.  We aren’t machines designed to run at maximum capacity.  Try making a list of your values and prioritize them, then compare those priorities with how you actually spend your time.  Keep this list and check it each week as you plan your time.  Schedule just “being” time and honor that as a high priority.  Set the intention, set the schedule for a human (I LOVE THIS), then review.  Every week.”

Let me know if you have any questions about how I am implementing this advice, or if you need some ideas about how to get started without overwhelming yourself.

And now on to some news to share with my clients:

I am likely going to be moving in to MY OWN SPACE within the next month or so!! The new space will enable me to offer additional appointment times, and I’ll be able to offer you more treatment options including restorative yoga, mindful movement coaching, and resources to help with shifting your mindset.  I will also have an electric table, which will make it easier for you to get on and off the table, as well as enable me to lower the table, so I can more effectively treat those hips!  I am finalizing the details, but I wanted to give you a heads up as early as possible.  When I move to the new space, I will send an update in the newsletter and within your reminders from Acuity. 

Due to a variety of factors, I will also need to increase my rates.  Starting 2/1/22 rates for follow-up appointments will increase by $10.  I have options that will help keep your cost per treatment down, so please reach out to me if interested.

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  I want to know what YOU want to know!  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here

Whew, I budgeted 90 minutes for this letter, so I better scoot so I can get it loaded and sent out within the remaining 20 minutes.  Hope you have a great Sunday and chat with you next week!

Cooking/Recipes, Paleo, Product Reviews

On Schmergersburds

Thanksgiving Smorgasbord

I really had no idea that you spelled “smorgasbord” that way.  I thought for sure it was “smorgesboard.”  Doesn’t that look more legit to you??

ANYWAY

Today’s letter will be about a random assortment of things, because it’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I’ve not meditated in about 5 days due to busyness/guests, I’ve eaten a lot of sugar, and my routine is all shot to hell.  So my mind is a bit on the bouncy side.  But I want to share a few things before I forget.

Topic 1: Turkey!

I hosted Thanksgiving at my house this year for the first time.  We had 8 peeps here, several of whom are most excellent cooks, and one of whom (Myla) who produced an entire amazing Thanksgiving meal singlehandedly in an unfamiliar kitchen in a rented condo when we lived down in Florida.  So I put a lot of pressure on myself to NOT FAIL with the turkey.

I took the turkey out of the freezer a day late, which meant I couldn’t put the salt rub on until a day late, and I couldn’t get any salt INSIDE the bird because all its holes were frozen shut.  But all that self-induced pressure and worrying paid off. 😛  The turkey turned out quite tasty!  I did a dry-brine, and my 18-lb bird was tender and juicy.  Here’s the recipe in case you’ve developed an addiction to turkey and want to make another bird. 

Topic 2: Shopping

If you haven’t blown your wad on all the Black Friday deals already, here are a few items that I love that help me stay healthy and happy.

  • Lems Boulder Boot:  I LOVE these.  Why do I love them?  Let me count the ways:
    • They are zero-drop, so they don’t funk-up my posture.  If you want to know more about the effects of heeled shoes, check out Born to Run.
    • They are waterproof, so they keep my feet nice and dry.  I also bought them 1 size larger than I need, so I can fit very cozy, thick socks in them. 
    • They have a wide toe-box, so my digits can spread out and respond to the surface on which I am walking. Your feet provide a TON of input into your brain, but they can’t do that when they are in super-cushioned, super-thick soles.  Feet gotta feet.
  • The Women Who Run with the Wolves:  Myths, legends, and stories that re-introduce us to our wild nature.  Let’s sell all our junk, move out to the woods, and dance in the moonlight.  Who’s with me??
  • LMNT:  Electrolytes with none of that bad stuff and all of the good stuff, from my couple-crush, Robb and Nikki Wolf. 
  • Millennium Falcon Microfighter:  Best, funnest $10 you will ever spend.  Go purchase it post haste.  We all need to play more, and you can SHOOT LEGOS FROM THE CANNONS on this thing.  It legit works.  Amazing.  Han Solo is a *little* out of scale, but he has to be so you can appreciate his luscious head of hair.

Topic 3:  Slowing Down

As I mentioned, I’ve been neglecting my meditation.  Any my journaling.  And my breath-practices.  I have this story in my head that I have to do things in a certain way, at a certain time, in certain circumstances or I better just not do them at all.  None of that is true, but I let myself believe these thought errors, and as a result I am now all wound up, moving fast, feeling anxious.  And I bet I’m not the only one feeling that way today! 

If you are all torqued and tight and speedy today, here is a short half-hour yoga class from yours truly that might float your boat.   Body scans/yoga nidras are one of my favorite ways to decelerate.

On that note, I best take my own advice and reconnect with my Self on this sunny Sunday (told ya I love alliteration)!

As always, if anything I wrote piques your interest, and you want to know more, holler at me.  I want to know what YOU want to know!  And if you need some help with reducing pain, improving your performance, or with feeling more at home in your body, you can book with me here.  I also offer gift certificates (click on the View Products/Packages at the top of my booking link) if you have a friend or loved one who could use my help.

Health & Fitness, Paleo

On Better Butts & Hot Flashes

Talkin’ ain’t doin’

Man, what a gorgeous Sunday.  We spent the day yesterday doing yard work – cleaning dead bugs out of the lamp by the front door, getting the trees out of the eavestroughs, cutting out all the hostas that got murdered by the frost, raking leaves, etc.  While I got sore and tired pretty quickly, my stamina was better than it was last autumn, and I am less incapacitated today.  WHY?
 
Because I started strength training.
 
Putting on slabs of muscle is just, SO SO critical for our health, wellbeing, and longevity.  Here is a laundry list of some of the benefits:

  • The psychological benefits are what I find most interesting (and probably least talked about), so let’s start there:
    • Lifting weights is empowering.
    • It increases confidence.
    • It can boost mood (when you strength train, your body produces anti-depression chemicals).
    • It encourages us to TAKE UP SPACE.
    • It shows us WE ARE CAPABLE.
  • And now for the physical benefits:
    • It can reduce your risk of experiencing osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, and injury.
    • It can improve metabolism.
    • Muscle is anti-inflammatory (unlike fat which is pro-inflammatory).
    • Muscle can REDUCE MENOPAUSE SYMPTOMS like hot flashes!
    • It can decrease your risk of falls by helping you move quickly and react to falls.
    • It gives you a better butt. 🙂 

Source:  Menopocalypse by Amanda Thebe and https://drgabriellelyon.com/muscle-centric-medicine/
 
So, I know all this stuff.  I’ve probably consumed a jillion podcasts and books on the subject, but in the immortal words of Zoe from Serenity, “Talkin’ ain’t doin’.”  There is such SUCH a large gap between knowing what needs to be done and doing it. 
 
So, what to do in that situation??  Get some help!
 
So that’s what I did.  I contacted Sarah Strange at Basis Health & Performance, who I discovered via Robb Wolf’s Healthy Rebellion community.  Sarah and I met for 2 hours over Zoom and she did a full assessment on the range of motion (ROM) for each of my major joints.  She then compiled a summary doc that listed where I had “opportunities” to improve my ROM, and she provided links to several videos/exercises that could help.  I wanted even more help though.  Basically I just wanted her to tell me what to do.
 
So I joined their Train Heroic platform, and now Sarah loads daily workouts for me.  I open the app, and the workouts are all listed there, with videos and notes showing me how to do the movements.  She tailored the workouts so I can do them with the equipment I have at home (some dumbbells, a bench, yoga blocks, etc.).  The workouts consist of Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) joint mobilizations for the targeted area (e.g. shoulders), a series of  strength/power training movements, and then FRC exercises called PAILS and RAILS that help you build up strength in the joint in a variety of positions.
 
I work out for 45-60 minutes 4 days a week at 5:30 AM now, and my mood, stamina, and self-concept have all improved in just 3 weeks of training.  I have a better relationship with my body and I just feel more capable.

If you are interested in learning more about strength training, here are a few resources for you:

If you are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, you could check out this 10-minute video.  In 10 minutes, without using any weights, you can start to build some strength.  If you are interested in working with a local coach, I have a few people I can connect you with.
 
Well, that got longer than I intended, but hopefully it helped you understand why putting on some muscle mass could save your life, and it gave you some ideas about how to take action on that knowledge.
 
And remember, if you want guidance with finding more freedom in your body and mind, I’m here for you.
 
Have a great Thanksgiving week!!

Awakening, Health & Fitness, massage therapy, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Yoga

On Feeling those Feelings

My Emotions!

Happy Sunday!  It’s grey and windy here in Iowa today, but I’m digging it.  I’m tucked in at the kitchen table, watching the gusts blow the flame-colored leaves from our bushes, and appreciating that I now have time to write.  If it was nice outside, I would just HAVE to go for a walk or a bike ride or a car-ride to Crawford Brewery. 🙂

So, the big question is, what to write about??

Well, the thing that’s been on my mind most often lately, is Feelings.  I dig how the Universe will continually tap you on the shoulder with something that you just REALLY need to know or figure out. Like over and over and over again, in many different ways, via many different sources, until you finally listen.  The current in the Ether in my world is revolving around Feelings, and more specifically, the need to actually Feel those pesky things.

Why?  Why is it important to feel your feelings?

Oh, for SO many reasons!!  But here are 3 good ones: 
1.  When I don’t take time to notice what I am feeling, I miss vital information.  Emotions provide guidance on what you need more of and what you need less of. 
2. When I don’t take time to process my feelings, when I ignore them and push them away to be dealt with “later,” I add yet another layer of tension, another layer of armor.  Emotions are energy, and if that energy is not transmuted, it will get stuck and take up space in the body.
3. Finally, if I don’t learn to how process emotions, they scare me, and I avoid doing things that could cause me to feel that emotion.  The desire to not feel certain things creates false bumper rails, making my life and experience more and more narrow.  Life gets smaller, less colorful, less interesting.

Does that happen to you as well?  

What can we do about it?  How does one start to “feel” feelings, when one has never been taught how to do that?

Here is a practice that might help.  When you notice the impulse to grab your phone, grab something to eat, grab something to drink, take a breath and pause. Ask yourself, what am I feeling?  If you have the time and space to do so, set the timer on your phone for 2 minutes and sit and watch what that emotion looks like on the inside – Where do you feel it? Is it heavy or light? Does it have a color? How would you describe the texture?  Does it stay in the same place or does it move around?  Notice what happens when you turn towards the sensation with curiosity instead of turning your back on it with resistance.

When I practice this, sometimes the emotion stays with me, and sometimes I watch it move around and then leave.  And when that happens – wow – I feel more space inside.  One layer of the onion has dissolved!

This podcast really made me think even more deeply about the need to feel and process our emotions.  Here are some questions you can ask yourself:  What am I avoiding because I don’t want to experience emotional pain?  What emotions am I afraid of experiencing and who would I be/what would I do if I wasn’t afraid of experiencing these emotions?

As always, thank you for reading.  I hope you have a fabulous week.  Have some fun.  Find a safe space and feel some feelings.  Get outside.  Connect with someone for realsies – talk about Life, The Universe, and Everything.

And remember, if you want guidance with finding more space in your body and mind, I’m here for you.

Take care,

Heather

Awakening, Health & Fitness, meditation, yoga nidra, somatic meditation, body-based meditation, meditation for beginners, Movies, Quest

On Running With Wolves

“Women Who Run With the Wolves.” The title grabs you, does it not?

What does it invoke in you?

To my mind it brings the image of the wild child from Princess Mononoke, a beautiful film about Industry and Progress killing the Spirit of the Forest.

Princess Mononoke LITERALLY runs with the wolves.  She was raised by them.  She loves them, and she loves the Forest and hates the Industry that is stripping the mountains of their resources and beauty.

Ugh.  Just such a beautiful movie. 

But, I digress.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is about ancient stories full of symbolism and signs, almost un-interpretable to the modern woman, disconnected as she is (we are, I am) from the Earth, the body, the cycles, the rhythms.

Fortunately, author Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a Jungian psychoanalyst/poet/scholar who collected these stories and breaks them down for those of us who want to learn their lessons.

I am 1/3 of the way through it, and it’s helping me find my heart, my teacher, again. 

Despite 10 years of investigation into the mindbody realm, I still remained “separate than” – an analytical observer of things, dispassionate, unfeeling (except for when it comes to annoyance, frustration, and anxiety – those I experienced in spades).  Oh, I had glimpses and shimmers of connection with Self, but they were so fleeting – a flash of connection, and then the mind retreated upstairs, and the body went back to being an overlooked, shy, beautiful (but with glasses, frizzy hair and hand-me-down clothes) girl sitting in the shadows surrounding the dance floor – just hoping to be noticed and escorted back into the limelight. 

This book is helping me reintroduce my heart to my head.  It reminds me that as a Woman, I am meant to be Wild, attuned to nature, full of darkness and light and mysticism.  That is my birthright. 

Really, if this topic at all intrigues you, you just have to read this book!!  But here, to get you started and to pique your interest, are some symptoms of a disrupted relationship with wildness force in the psyche (I’m paraphrasing below):

  • Feeling dry, depressed, without inspiration, without meaning, stuck, uncreative, compressed, powerless, chronically doubtful, unable to follow through, inert, uncertain, overprotective of self, self-conscious, drawn far into domesticity or intellectualism or inertia because THAT IS THE SAFEST PLACE TO BE for one who has LOST HER INSTINCTS.
  • To fear to venture by oneself or reveal oneself, fear to set out one’s imperfect work, cringing before authority, numbness, anxiety. 
  • Afraid to try the new, to stand up/speak up, becoming conciliatory or nice too easily.
  • Afraid to stop, afraid to act, ambivalent yet fully capable.

Does any of that resonate?

This reads like an autobiography of my life.

But things are shifting – maybe like a 10% shift.  Not super seismic, just enough to notice, just enough to put me on a new course. 

When I feel myself rushing.  I slow down.

When I feel my insides getting pulled upwards by the storm in my head, I pull myself back in to my feet, my pelvis, and my heart center.

When I need to make a decision, I pause.  I check in and see what the answer is.  And I try to listen to whatever message comes up (and often nothing comes up, and that’s OK).  I express gratitude and respect to my inner teacher – my heart.

As a result, I NOTICE things.  I see the person in front of me, I notice the bark of the tree by the side of the path, I watch the urge to pick up my phone to kill time and I DON’T PICK UP MY PHONE

It’s a nice shift.  I feel more real.  I also feel scared that I will lose this.  But now I know that life is full of rhythms and cycles.  If I lose this.  I will find it again.