Posts Tagged Wellness

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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 It has been said that ‘Inspiration becomes the sunshine that moves us into our new and exciting directions.’  And today was that day for me!  I recently met Kathy, a powerhouse of a woman and my new BFF, who inspired me to journey into the world of bogging.  She just launched a new website and asked me to contribute. We totally hit it off and it was a no-brainer. Blogging, oh yeah, I have always wanted to do that but never got around to it, or frankly did not think I was good enough of a writer to start one. She convinced me otherwise. 

 As a Wellness Coach, I already pull together a monthly newsletter called The ABCs of Wellness. I write about whatever ‘moves’ me and the topics range from nutrition to self-confidence all the way to inspiration. Yet all of the topics have a direct correlation to our health and well-being. Since everything we do in life is either contributing to our health (physically, emotionally and spiritually) or taking away from it, I like to raise people’s awareness and empower them to think more about what they are doing. And to question it. Is what I am doing working for me or can I do better?  

Inspiration to finding your True North

Never in a million years would I have considered myself a writer or thought I had anything worthwhile to say. On the other hand, I had no idea that once I started writing how passionate I would become and that people would  tell me they loved getting my newsletters! Since that fateful first day of writing, I have always held the intention that some day I would do more with it. Deep down I knew I had a lot to share, but didn’t have the confidence just yet. I thought that maybe I’d start to blog, but knew for sure I want to write a book one day. Now that someday has arrived, so here I am blogosphere. I feel I am half way to my goal, thanks to Kathy.  Is that not what BFF’s are for–to encourage and inspire you to do your best and become more than you thought possible?!  

I strongly believe the coincidences in our lives are no accident, only affirmations or guide posts that say; psst… over here, follow me; you are right on-track. All along, we have a sneaking suspicion that there might be more to this coincidence than meets the eye, but we don’t aways trust it. Learning to identify and follow these experiences in your life will help you develop a more confident sense of self and direction in life. There is a universal guidance system out there trying to get your attention and lead you to your ‘True North.’ All you have to do is pay attention and be open.  As the Buddhist proverb says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  The teacher can be a person, books, relationships, opportunities, and insights that manifest exactly when you need them to point you in the direction of greater wisdom and growth. Then voila, almost as if by magic, you find yourself in the right place at the right time! So start paying closer attention to whom and what is showing up in your life. Then ask yourself if these life experiences are making you feel inspired and on-track or asking you to reconsider and change tracks?

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Wellness Coaching is a unique, exciting innovation in health and nutrition. As a Coach, I have studied all the major dietary theories and will help you discover what approach works best for you at this point in your life.  While most dietitians dwell on calories, carbs, fats, proteins, restrictions and lists of good and bad foods, I work with my clients to create a happy, healthy life in a way that is flexible, fun and free of denial and discipline.

No one diet works for everyone. I will guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices that best support you. I will also help you to make gradual, lifelong changes that enable you to reach your current and future health goals.

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