“What’s your story, morning glory?!”

Just read Geneen Roth’s, “Women Food and God,” in which she cites the connection between how we think of life, and how we treat ourselves. Geneen sees our self treatment as highly correlated with the ways we use food. She is obviously addressing women who have had eating issues (Welcome to America, what woman doesn’t ?)

She goes on to say, brilliantly, that it’s not the uncomfortable feelings that causes us to numb out with food, but the “stories” around our feelings. These feelings are largely rooted in our past, when we had little choice in the matter; drive us to “check out”. Of course, this is not limited to food. Chronic busy-ness, perfectionism, alcohol, clutter, drugs, and shopping, are all “great ways,” to numb out as well.

My newfound commitment is to really examine what I eat , using the lens of “stories” to address my hungers on all levels. This practice has opened up for me much more than my relationship with food. I’ve gotten to identify my personal “stories,” the ones that have kept me overwhelmed, playing small, and feeling endangered.

As a result, I’m able to help clients identify their own “stories” as well, freeing themselves from their outdated, antique tales.

The more I continue this practice of mindfulness around food, and life, the more I can  step into the observer role in my moment-to-moment experiences and allow these old “stories” to die off. It’s been an extraordinary time of personal renewal and joy.

Since applying this mindfulness practice to my own life, I find myself far more able to address the long-standing issues that had plagued me, overwhelm and stress. Not to say that I’m Serene Sally as I burst out of bed, joyfully embracing my daily to-do list. However, more and more, I’m able to look my “stress stories” in the face, and ask myself, “Do I really want to go there?” More often than not, I respond, “No!”

As a result I’m feeling far more productive and passionate in my day to day life. Having shared this concept with other clients and colleagues, they too, report, that it’s often the “stories,” more than the experiences that keep them stuck and stressed.

So as you go through your week and look at your Completion Initiative, I encourage you to really listen to your “stories,” as they emerge. It may be the Itty Bitty Committee saying, “You have too much, you’ll never handle it all.” Whether you chose to lighten your load or not, start to look at your habitual self-talk. Ask yourself, “Will these stories move me toward my authentic self, or keep me stuck in the same ol’, same ol’ rut?” You can then  have the freedom to choose to act accordingly. I encourage you to use the voice of compassion, or alternatively that of the neutral observer during this discussion

Please share your insights, thoughts and feedback on this week’s topic. I really am interested. Also, feel free to pass this along to others you think might benefit.

Blessings,

Lois

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Kaizen Principle Week 5: Bestow Small Rewards

I am a huge fan of “bestowing small rewards.” When I was a life coach for SELF Magazine’s, SELF Challenge, I created a tool called “reward sandwiches,” which I now use in most of my speaking and training programs. “Reward sandwiches” is a about structuring a small reward before and after, a particularly daunting task.  We want this reward to engage one or more of the senses in a distinctly pleasurable way. When this is done consistently, studies suggest that the reward center of the brain, (the parietal lobe, I believe), starts registering the “daunting” task as, actually, pleasurable. This is a part of my “outwitting your DNA for distraction,” series which I adore!

So in the context of my ongoing “Accessing My Inner Vixen,” project, I am looking for different healthy and wholesome ways to reward myself. It’s easy to confuse behavior that numbs oneself out with rewards and here we’ll try to make a distinction. One reward I revisited this week was a delicious, long hot bath, serving as my “night cap”. I noticed how deeply I slept and how wonderful it was the next morning to have the extra minutes I would have spent showering. I also love long walks, so even though my foot is still healing (next week, belly dance class here I come!) the exhilaration of walking a few extra blocks feels like a treat. I’m also taking on new projects. Some of my work stints extend, so to recharge I’ll shift gears by diving into a compelling article or cranking up some reviving music.

I encourage people to avoid focusing on food, alcohol or retail therapy (aka shopping) as the bulk of one’s reward sandwiches. I did make an exception this week by rewarding myself with this new Rose Gold Fossil watch. I had my eye on this “Boyfriend Watch,” because it looks like a man’s watch with added feminine bling. When I look down at my new time piece, I smile. I remind myself, “less is more,” less stuff, less activities, but more fulfillment. It also reminds me about the power of waiting for what you really want (my watch was sold out for months so I had to develop the virtue of patience). Lastly gazing at my wrist reminds me of the value of feeling self-expressed in all that we are and all that we do.

So this week, I ask you to look at, what “small rewards” you can bestow on yourself. How will these tiny treasures move you closer to your goals, dreams and luscious life; you’re Completion Initiative?

I really would love to hear your comments, thoughts and feedback.

Always,

Lois

Kaizen Principle Week 4: Identify Small Moments

Well as they say, “The beet goes on.” Last week I received a new Cuisinart for Valentine’s Day. And yes, I did pick it out myself. (Do you recall that wonderful doghouse commercial where a husband gifts his wife  with a vacuum cleaner for Valentine’s Day? Brilliant!)  Well, I made lots of beets in a million different iterations from beet slaw to beet salad, wow, what a colorful and versatile vegetable it is. So why am I telling you this, you may ask? I’m sharing this with you because I had the chance to identify a small but beautiful moment in my life. I found that I really enjoy cooking and preparing food when it occupies a workable (metaphoric as well as literal) space in my life.
 
Given that my kitchen counter is the size of a postage stamp, and I usually have little patience for maintenance and clean up of most appliances, Cuisinart was this little jewel of a gift; so simple to use, and even simpler to clean.
 
So often it’s easy to be hard on ourselves and make blanket statements about our likes and dislikes, skills and liabilities, when in fact, making a modest adjustment or bringing in a handy little tool or habit, can make all the difference in the world. Identifying those small adjustments makes space for the mundane to become magical.
 
So as I move forward on my Completion Initiative, “Accessing My Inner Vixen,” I’m finding that by doing a few simple things like steaming some greens a night before, and whipping up a quick Beet Salad with my Cuisinart, I can give myself some simple staples for my next few meals. This leaves me feeling so much healthier, more vibrant and aligned with my true energy. Charlie is crazy about it too! Self-care doesn’t have to be this big chore, and as I eat more greens and raw veggies, I am less drawn towards processed foods that weigh me down. It happens organically.
 
And great news, I get to exercise next week. Hip Hop and Bellydancing will have to wait, but recumbent bike, here I come!
 
By the way, in case you’re interested, here’s the recipe I created. It was a great hit at this party I attended where everyone was asked to bring something which describes a little bit of who they are! I picked this as my dish because it’s colorful, substantive, though not heavy, with a little zip which leaves you feeling nourished yet light.
 
Barth’s Beet Salad
(all in Cuisinart shred mode)
4 beets
½ pound carrots
1 whole daikon (Japanese radish)
3 Granny Smith apples
½ inch piece of raw ginger
¼ head of cabbage
3 large tbsp. of orange juice concentrate
2 big handfuls of raisins
 
Mix all together, a total no-brainer
 
How can you “Identify Small Moments,” that will lead you closer to your Completion Initiative?
 
Let me know, I’m really interested.
 
All the best,
Lois
 
PS: Check out the events page today! I’m speaking tonight and it would be great to see you there.