Posts Tagged Health

Support makes all the difference in our lives

I just finished co-facilitating a support group for young women recovering from eating disorders.  Having suffered from them earlier in life, I thought this would be a good experience for me to give back to “my people”.  

It was without a doubt one of the most powerful experiences for me. My role as a facilitator was simple: listen, support, and listen some more.  As a result, I learned so much about them and myself through them.  The funny thing was as a facilitator I barely said much. It was if they were the teachers and I was the student.  Once I got the group going each session and opened the floor up for people to check in about how they were feeling or what was going on for them that week, the group ran itself.  It was an incredible community of young women bravely and openly sharing their personal lives with others in a safe and non-judgmental place.  It was powerful to experience what on in that room each week.

 What I found most amazing was that by the sheer act of listening I became much more empathic.  At first, it was hard and I was not prepared for what started to happen. I started to feel my own pain again, and could really relate to what these young women were going through.  It felt like someone spilt open my wound and poured salt on it.  I started to relive it all over again and it hurt, a lot.  Nevertheless, each session got better and better and ironically ‘the salt’ became the remedy and cleared out the remaining debris.  By the third session, I was there in the trenches with them all and at the end of each night, I wanted to hug each one of them before they left and give them the strength to go on.  

I was so proud of them and felt it was my obligation to encourage and support them for all their hard work, because I knew exactly what they were going through.  I had been there myself and had not forgotten. These young women are already hard on themselves, hence their eating disorder, I thought.  Moreover, they know what they need to do.  I thought what they really needed was more encouragement and positive affirmation in their lives. I know how hard it is to be objective with yourself, so positive reinforcement could mean the difference between them feeling good or feeling bad.  So, I continued to tell these amazing girls how wonderful they are and commended them on their continued commitment to themselves.  I pointed out how far they have come and what a great job they were doing, and how much I learn from them.  I meant every word I said, and saw the hardwork, frustrations, tears and triumphs in them each week.  Wow, it takes tremendous strength and support to unravel and understand your self.  It is true when they say, it takes one to know one. What a determined and amazing group of young women they are! 

 Each night I walked out teary eyed, humbled and honored to be there for each one of them.  I thought this it; this is what it is about.  We are all hurt and wounded in our own ways, which can create a lot of shame.  The more we hide from our feelings about anything, the more power we give them and therefore the more pain we feel.  In order for us to move on in our lives and be the amazing person that each of us is, we need to have those ’safe harbors’ in our lives with people we can really open up with and be ourselves. This allows us to keep our hearts open, even if it means we may feel more vulnerable, and the more we do this we learn that there is strength in our vulnerability, since it allows us to stay connected and find the support and love we seek.

 This experience has been invaluable to me.  I thought I knew a lot, but what I found out was that I don’t know what I don’t know, and that you stay the course in life by keeping an open heart and mind and by using your ears and mouth in the right proportion. When you trust that, each moment is exactly the way it is supposed to be and that you are doing the best that you can, only then can you let go and trust that you are right where you are supposed to be.

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Self-care so you can Care

Self-care is about doing something special for yourself that calms you, fills you up, and brings you joy and back to your true self.  It is essential to our survival and something we must do so that we can in fact care. For it is only when we are ‘filled up’ can we give to or care for others. When we nurture others from this place of ‘fullness’, we feel revived and replenished rather than feeling taken advantage of. 

During a brisk walk last night, I witnessed a version of self-care in action. As I was nearing home a lovely woman with a cheery accent stopped me. She excused herself, said she was lost, and asked if I would kindly speak to her friend on the phone and point her in the right direction. When I found out she was not far from her destination, I decided to walk her there myself. We got chatting and I found out she is from Turkey and in the country for a few weeks visiting a good friend. As we turned the corner I noticed someone standing at the end of the block waving and asked, is that your friend?  It was hard to make heads or tails of anyone in the dark but once she recognized her, she thanked me, and in true girlfriend style they both started running towards each other. Once they met, out of pure excitement they screamed, shrieked and squealed like pigs as they embraced hello. It was such a beautiful site to see. There were no words needed; I got it, the screaming and all and it sent goose bumps up my spine.  I thought now that is good self-care. I need to spend more time with the people who fill me up with joy like that.

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Juicing for Health

Today I am a “blogger”, woohoo!  I was thrilled to write my first blog yesterday and couldn’t wait to come back and do it again today!  

As I got up this morning, I was thinking about how everything changes when the seasons change. Spring it on! As much as I am a morning person, it is much easier for me to wake-up early in the morning now. I notice that I need less sleep and wake-up before my alarm clock. Upon rising my body feels light and vibrant and my mind is clear and ready to start the day. I love that feeling, it makes me feel at my personal best. 

Then for breakfast, which I always eat, my body is now gravitating towards lighter and more cleansing foods such as cereals, fruit, or a light protein in comparison to the more warming and heavy foods I used to eat during the winter months.  In fact, I think it is time I pull out my juicer and start juicing again. Juicing is great for you, especially during the warmer months. It is the fastest way to get nutrition into your body and fuel you. Why? Because the juices contain live enzymes, vitamins, minerals, water and anutrients that don’t need to be digested or broken down by the body, so they hit the bloodstream right away and bathe your cells in pure nutrition.There is a miracle of energy supplied by live plants that comes from nothing else on this planet. I call it rocket fuel and can feel the positive effects right away. Some people have more sensitive bodies then others and can feel the effects right away, so you do have to be careful when you are first starting out. If you are interested in buying a juicer, I also suggest buying a book to get some good recipes because you’ll want to create the right ratio of fruits to vegetables in your drinks. Otherwise, if you do too much too soon it can cause the body to “cleanse” to quickly and you can feel sick, get a fast and furious headache or feel light-headed. The fruits tend to be the cleansers and the vegetables are the builders of the body.  

Some of my favorites : the carrot, apple and ginger root drink with a scoop of protein powder in it. For all you people who are worried about wrinkles and are looking to get a clear and radiant complexion, this is the drink for you!  When I start to drink this drink a couple of days in a row, my skin has a unmistakable glow to it and the whites of my eyes are brighter. It is very noticeable to me, but then again, I do a combination of a lot of things on a daily basis that can contribute to this. Another great tasting juice that tastes just like the creamsicle popsicle you used to eat as child…remember those…is the cantaloupe drink.  You MUST buy a ripe and organic cantaloupe because you juice the whole fruit, rind and all, which is actually where most of the nutrition resides.  It is one of my favorites; sweet, frothy and with a little bit of texture…  just right. 

In the summer months I tend to juice a lot, especially after I go on my long runs. Juicing is very cooling to the body, which is why you want to stay away from a lot of it during the colder months. I tend to do a lot of vegetables like celery, cucumber, parsley, green pepper, beets, carrots and apple. I choose a lot of these fruits and vegetables because of their medicinal properties. They are chock-full of nutrients and contain potassium, silicon, vitamin c, iron, beta-carotene, sulfur and zinc to name a few.

With all this talk about  juicing, I am going to pull out my juicer now! It’s GO TIME and I am ready to start my day right!

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