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What To Do When You've Tried It All

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  Have you ever wanted something so much, you were willing to do anything to make it happen? Where do you get the incentive? The drive? The focus?

What do you need to actualize your dreams and make them a reality?

What do you do when everything you try, and I mean everything, doesn't seem to make a difference?

What do you do?

WHAT do you do?

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There have been more than a few times when I was so focused on a goal, I was willing to do anything to make it happen. I worked my ass off, in fact.

Sometimes, I hardly lifted a finger and things magically fell together.

Other times, I worked and worked and did everything I could think of and it still didn't seem to make a difference or make things come together. These can often feel like the most difficult experiences. More difficult than not trying at all is trying and feeling like it was wasted effort.

Unless I reconsider that line of thinking...I encourage you to, as well.

Sometimes we learn everything we need to from giving something our best effort, even when it doesn't pan out the way we thought we wanted.

When I was 20, I applied to do my student experience abroad. It had been a dream of mine to go to South Africa since I was about 13 years old but never in a million years did I think I could afford the cost. So, I listed my choices of destination in this order:

1) Ireland (because I'm half-Irish) 2) England (because it's close to Ireland) 3) South Africa (because...it was my dream destination)

When I got the required GPA and necessary other items, the last part was my interview. They asked me, "why did you list South Africa last?"

"I'll be paying for this trip myself," I said. "It's the most expensive. I don't think I will have enough money."

A few weeks later, I received my letter in the mail and saw my assigned destination: SOUTH AFRICA. I still have the letter tucked safely away in a memory box.

Instead of giving up or backing out, I was motivated beyond belief. I wasn't going to let some little old money stand in my way. That summer I got a job as a server in a small family-owned pub and worked every possible double-shift I could get. I earned about $4,000. Well over what I needed to go to South Africa the following winter.

When I returned home from that incredible trip, coincidentally Winnie Mandela was visiting my school. I raised my hand and addressed her in front of a huge crowd and earned the chance to take a picture with her. Effortlessly, that amazing experience came to me. Also still have that picture.

The trip experience proved to me that hard work begets results. When I want something, I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

And yet, sometimes things just aren't meant to be. No matter how hard we work.

I've developed severe acne not once but twice in the past 6 years. Both times it was a very difficult experience because I was an adult and it was really embarrassing! Why was I experiencing this major skin issue so late in life? The second time around, I was an experienced health coach and did every single thing I could think of:

1) more greens 2) more water 3) more exercise 4) more sleep 5) less sugar 6) less meat 7) more meditation 8) energy healing sessions 9) therapy 10) every topical cream and lotion on the market, from both drugstores and natural food stores

Nothing made a damn difference. I was defeated. Discouraged. I was damn pissed.

Days turned into weeks which stretched into months. After almost a year, it finally started to go away.

I wish I could tell you the magical formula or solution that finally seemed to be the remedy I'd been wanting. I wish I knew the precise mixture of "all the things" I tried. I know more about what didn't work. In this instance, unlike with the South Africa thing, the harder I worked the worse things seemed to get. It was incredibly confusing and frustrated the hell out of me.

This time, the thing that seemed to work was my decision to surrender. My decision to stop trying.

I've seen the same thing happen with my clients. Sometimes they set a goal and take action step after action step and make incredible progress. Sometimes, they do all the right things and still feel like they aren't getting anywhere---and then they stop trying so hard and focus on something else and suddenly things fall into place.

Sometimes we have the conversation that they may not actually need or want the thing they thought they wanted and they change their goal. They surrender to the process and go with the flow a bit more.

It seems the best thing you can do, when you've tried everything, is to do nothing at all.

This can be especially difficult for people afraid of failure. Or people who want to look good and are afraid of looking bad. What does it say about us if something doesn't pan out? Are we a failure if we don't persevere enough?

Or, are we persevering at the wrong thing and surrendering our efforts is actually the best thing we can do?

 I definitely found that giving things some space and time, and turning my attention and energy to other things like self-care and relaxing a bit helped whatever was "stuck". Ironically, I guess, doing less and not more was the cure for whatever ailed me.

I read this quote over the weekend while I was eating and literally had to put my fork down:

This means that the highest forces of energy, any kind of extraordinary energies there might be, become absolutely workable rather than taking you over. This is because, if you are not offering any resistance, there's nothing to take over. Whenever there's no resistance, there is a sense of rhythm happening. The music and dance happen at the same time.

-Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

 

 

What's your experience with this? Have you ever seen this happen in your own life?

What would happen if you tried it with something that isn't working right now?

Make Your Own Muesli

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Have you been wanting to make your own muesli?

You all know I'm a huge fan of oatmeal. But one recent morning, it was too damn hot to eat oatmeal and I hadn't planned ahead to soak my oats for cooler breakfast consumption.

SO! I decided to make my own muesli. I knew a little bit about what was included (raw oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit) and had just about everything I needed at my house. That's how to do it, folks. For pretty much anything in life. Start with a general idea and do your best.

Why do you want to make yer own muesli?

Muesli is an incredibly delicious, healthy and convenient breakfast option. Heck, you can eat it pretty much any time of day, really. It was first developed around 1900 by the Swiss physician, Maximilian Bircher-Brenner, for the patients at his hospital. He was an early advocate of whole foods and nutrition as the solution to most of what ailed folks. I heartily agree and can testify that the shift toward more whole foods and less refined products in my own diet has greatly improved my overall well-being. Many of you don't know the crap I once ate. I promise to write more about that in subsequent posts because I think it is a big gap in my story of transformation.

Here's my recipe/suggestions for building some kick-ass muesli. You want to have a fun and colorful assortment of dried fruit, nuts, seeds and fresh fruit to be served over/beside/under some fresh yogurt or milk of choice, like unsweetened almond—homemade or store-bought


I wasn't keeping up on my homemade coconut yogurt batches so I bought some incredible homemade Greek yogurt from a local shop—Sherman Market in Somerville which is now CLOSED :(.

It was sure damn tasty but my belly and my sinuses weren't having it. That’s the thing with food: sometimes what we LOVE doesn’t LOVE us back, and we need to adjust accordingly. I'm currently whipping up another batch of homemade coconut yogurt because I think it will be easier for me to digest. 

Another thing you want to consider with your homemade muesli: keep the ingredient amounts to a minimum because, while it's fantastically nutritionally dense it is also mega calorie dense. Make sure you find a nice balance between being full and ready for the day and not overstuffed. Mix the following ingredients together and serve in a bowl over fresh yogurt of your choice.

MAKE YER OWN MUESLI

1/2 cup dry, raw quick oats (some folks use rolled oats. That's a lot of chewing for me.)

1 Tbsp roasted, salted pumpkin seeds

1 Tbsp sunflower seeds (raw or roasted)

1 tsp raisins or dried cranberries

1 Tbsp diced, dried apricots (make sure to get unsulphured!)

1 tsp chopped/sliced almonds

OK, I could go on. Here's are a few more tasty ideas:

-chopped walnuts

-chopped dried dates

-dried coconut

-raw cacao nibs

-fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries or cherries (OR ALL OF THEM!)


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10 Tips to 2011!

Ok friends! It's about that time.

We have 10 days until 2010 is officially behind us and, I don't know about you, but I am REALLY jazzed about it. 2010 was challenging and rewarding for me in many ways--and I am really excited to implement all the valuable lessons, skills and brilliant insights I gained from the past 12 months.

In celebration of "waving good-bye to the old" and "Welcoming the New", I am posting 10 Tips to 2011 each day until January 1st, 2011.

Each day, I'll share one way you can improve your life for the better. If you strive to coordinate each tip into your daily life--you will see improvements in:

  • quality of sleep
  • energy levels
  • interpersonal relations
  • general outlook and attitude

These are just a few of the benefits you should experience as a result of living a life of more intention and balance. These next 10 days are a snippet (love this word) of what my clients experience in our work together. I am so glad to welcome 2011, I am now sharing a slice of what makes my life so good with you.

DAY 10: DRINK MORE WATER
from the U.S. Geological Survey:
Water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90% of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight, as is the brain; body fat contains 10% water and bone has 22% water. About 83% of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten.

From what I can find, 2.4 litres is about the same as 2.5 quarts.

Are you drinking 2.5 quarts of water each day? That's an 8-ounce glass of water, 10 times.

Water is absolutely essential but many people seem to think it's optional. I run into so many people who casually comment on their water intake like it's a game they are playing---you know how people do that with plants? They will let the leaves droop and get dried up and then water it and watch it become green and spring back to life?

No?  Only me?

Ok.

Seems people are doing this to themselves and don't really understand the many ways it is negatively affecting their health. On a basic level, we need water to hydrate our hard-working brains to think clearly and execute simple and complex motor functions (think school, work, relationships, etc.)

Water is physiologically necessary to transport minerals, vitamins and nutrients to our organs and through our intestines. This isn't something we can opt-out of without experiencing some painful and uncomfortable results.

Want to look younger? More awake and healthy? Drink water. It hydrates your skin from the inside out in a way no over-priced face cream can.

Want to feel less aches and pains? Drink water. It lubricates your joints, tissues and helps pass toxins on through.

Want to have a better outlook on life? Less headaches? More energy? Drink water.

This holiday season, do yourself a favor. Drink about 16 ounces before leaving the house for any holiday party or gathering and notice how it affects your experience. Note how you feel and send me a message and I'll send you a free bottle of HINT water just for taking on my challenge.

More H2O for 2011!!