Creating Peace Through Balance
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How Do We Move on When Loss Has Stopped the World?

Originally posted on March 17, 2014

No amount of spiritual work can ever prepare you for losing those that you hold most dear. You can know intellectually that everything is ok, but that doesn't mean that it is not excruciatingly painful.

We mourn at times of death for many reasons, often the biggest one is that we cannot imagine moving forward without this person being around. The world feels like it has stopped turning,and seeing anyone going about their daily business can often be painful and confusing. How can you be doing that [insert mundane task here] when the world as we know it has changed?

Sometimes we mourn from the place of release. Often when a loved one dies, this moment has been preceded by a long stretch of failing health and increased time spent caring for this person. As awful as it feels to admit (and part of why we feel guilt), we might feel relief. This can be for any of a number of reasons, some of the biggest being relief that this person is no longer suffering, relief that we can finally express the anger/sadness/fear/confusion/weakness that we had been hiding from everyone else for so long while trying to be strong and "just get through this".

And sometimes, just sometimes, we mourn from a place of gratitude. Enough said.

Recently, my cat died. (I know to non-animal lovers this could sound a little crazy, so if that is the case, just skip a bit and resume reading when you see the bolded number 1.) He had been there for me, unconditionally, for the past 18 years. He was always gave me a ceremonial greeting and was elated that I was there, even when no one else was. He was there to love me up when no one else wanted to cuddle and would sit and listen to me for hours, purring, if I were in the mood to pontificate.

In the days before Sebastian's death, people would ask how I was. I would always reply, "broken," though I can't be sure if I ever said this out loud. Despite knowing what the "other side" is like, having studied non-attachment for lifetimes, and knowing that his transition would be peaceful and lovely, it was still the hardest time of my life. For a little while, I felt I could not be certain that it was the right time. Then, when it was obvious, I felt that I was losing a part of myself and that I would never be whole again. 

I don't think it is fair that often we are responsible for the death of our animals. It brings with it layers of responsibility for things that we might not know anything about. I was angry. This was God's job and when I needed God S/He took the day off.  

Here are some tools that I've learned throughout my life that have really helped me through this process. I want to share them with you, so that you will have them when needed.

No idea where to begin? Start here:

1. Feel the emotions. Allow the emotions to come up and be expressed. Yell at God if you need to, trust me, (S)he can take it. Weep openly in the middle of the street. Whatever it takes, let them flow through you and allow them to go. You don't need to hold onto them. 

2. Release the guilt. Often, after a loved one dies, we feel tremendous guilt that we should have said, done, or tried to do more. Sometimes, we realize that we had a day or a string of days that wasn't quite as painful as we thought it would be. Suddenly we might feel some guilt for not missing them or stating in mourning as much or as long as we should. I am here to tell you that this is nonsense. 

Time heals all wounds. As much as these trite sayings can infuriate us when we are in the midst of a crisis, they are all true.  Each day will get a little easier. 

3. Know that you will have setbacks. You wake up one day and are fine. In fact, you have been fine for a while now. Suddenly, you see someone wearing the brand of socks that your loved one always wore, or there is a dog that looks just the way your dog did. Your brain might now even register this stimulus on a conscious level, but suddenly the emotional floodgates are opened and you are crying your eyes. out. Return to #1 and allow the emotions to flow through you and out so you don't get stuck in them or stuff them down.

4. Be open to communication. Watch for signs. Very often you will get signs from the other side that are your loved one's way of letting you know that everything is ok. Sometimes, they happen immediately after a death, but we are too busy morning to be able to pay attention to them. Don't expect them to look a certain way, either. Be open to allowing communication to take the shape that it needs to take. 

These are just a few ways that you can emotionally breathe through the loss of a loved one. It never gets easier, but knowing and accepting that life will go on helps us to keep putting one foot in front of the other. My heart goes out to all of you who have recently experienced loss. It seems that a great many beautiful souls have left the planet so far this year. Know that you are in my thoughts and in my heart.

These steps work for losses of all kinds—relationship break ups, divorces, employment. Use the tools provided as-needed. 

Please, if you are stuck in depression or are having a really hard time coping with loss seek the support of a professional. We are not meant to walk through any of this alone. 


Finding Balance Through Following Nature's Cues

Originally posted on January 27, 2015

More than any other aspect of food, Ayurveda pays attention to its qualities – hot/cold, heavy/light, moist/dry, etc., because these qualities make all the difference to your health. An example of this is how the qualities in a glass of water will make all the difference in how it affects your health. A glass of ice-cold water has the potential to worsen allergies, weaken digestion, hamper circulation and may even cause you to lose your voice. A glass of warm water, on the other hand, has exactly the opposite effect – reducing congestion, strengthening metabolism, improving circulation and clearing the voice. During the cold winter, it is always a better choice to opt for a warm or room temperature glass of water.

Image courtesy of markuso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net_
Image courtesy of markuso at

Ayurveda also focuses on combining the six tastes in each meal, which makes your food tasty, delicious, balanced and medicinal. These tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent, and bitter. When they are successfully combined, you are completely satisfied and not left craving anything after the meal. 

The concept of eating seasonally grown foods is a cornerstone of Ayurveda. Nature is wise and produces fruits and veggies which create balance in each season. Root veggies, squash, pumpkin, nuts and beans are readily available in the fall and store well for winter. Because the foods are heavy, sweet and moist, they balance the qualities of Vata (which are light and dry) prevalent in the winter. Therefore, if you follow nature's lead, you will stay healthy and balanced.

Need more reasons to eat seasonally?

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at FreeDigitalPhotos.net_
Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at

Just as you change your clothes with the seasons, so must you adjust your diet. If you start making seasonal to your foods according, you will be able to prevent many dis-eases. 

We each have an innate intelligence which most of us have learned to ignore. If you are craving cold foods ( in temperature or quality) in the winter—such as eating watermelon cubes during a Christmas party or having a bowl of ice cream on a cold winter night—it is a good indication that your body has become out of balance. A good way to start to re-balance yourself is to eat the foods that are at local farmer's markets in the winter.

Not sure what is growing in your area at a given time of year?
Check out your local farmer’s market and talk to the farmers!

Coach's note: I've been contacted by so many people recently who "never get sick," yet who are currently sick. One thing that they all have in common is that they are on a cleanse of have just completed one. I cannot stress this enough...winter is NOT the time to cleanse. Winter is the time to be dormant, to rest, relax, and renew for all of the new life coming in the spring. It is a time where your body is supposed to hold weight for warmth and insulation.

Once winter is over and the first berries and dandelion roots of spring appear, it is time to cleanse and release all the winter brought you (fat, mucous, cold) from your system.


Dramatically Increase the Effects of Exercise on Your Body

Originally posted on February 24, 2015

A simple shift can have you spending a lot less time exercising with far greater results!

When it comes to excuses about why someone is not able to fit exercise into her life, believe me, I've heard everything. The very idea of exercise has become overwhelming because there is so much else to do and it doesn't seem as nearly productive as those other things we "should" be doing. Just the mere mention of the word "exercise" sometimes sends my clients into a guilt-stricken panic! 

We all know that we need exercise—wait, let's re-frame that. We all know that we need to move our bodies, (Aaaaah, I feel some of the pressure falling away already….) but we don't often feel that have the extra time or energy to get it done. 

When we view exercise as a chore, it is easy to see how it can be overwhelming with our schedules already being what they are. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way.

Take back your time and energy
There is a misconception that in order to get the benefits of exercise, you have to work out long and hard. This is simply not true. In fact, overexerting yourself has the exact opposite effect on the body that you desire! Short workouts that alternate sprint and recovery periods give your body the best results. 

If I told you that simply breathing through your nose would drastically increasing the effectiveness of your workout, could you? 

Probably not. Here's why:

Deep Nose Breathing Burns Fat
Truth. And I'm not going to lie—it takes some getting used to. I can tell you from experience that the first time I tried it, I thought I was going to die. What I didn't realize is that I needed to slow my pace to bring my breathing back to a steady rhythm. 

Here's how it works:
Breathing DEEPLY in and out through your nose brings oxygen deep into the lungs, which in turn stimulates calming nerve receptors there. These parasympathetic nerve receptors causes calm within the body and mind, which allows the body to relax and repair. When the body is calm, it is able to burn fat. 

The upper lobes of the lungs have more sympathetic (fight or flight) nerve receptors which are activated during mouth breathing—especially during exercise. This triggers a stress response and the production of hormones like cortisol (which creates belly fat), and other hormones that trigger our need to consume comfort (junk) food after a workout. (NOW I understand why every gym has a junk food machine!) 

Counterintuitive? You bet!

When nose breathing, we are using all of the lungs' lobes, rather than just the upper two, which makes breathing a wonderful practice to kick off any workout. Exercise the lungs first by taking several deep breaths through the nose and expanding the entire lung! 

The Emotional Component
Over the years, so many of us have grown not to like the concept of or enjoy exercise. 

This is actually the larger reason why so many of us just don't do it! Scheduling just becomes the excuse because it is more socially acceptable. Little did we know that these negative feelings toward exercise were created by throwing our bodies into a repeated stress response by breathing incorrectly, and never really recovering. Deep nose breathing creates calm system and makes the whole process of moving the body much more enjoyable.

A side benefit of all of this is that breathing through the nose allows the mucous and the nose hairs to do their work catching germs. This causes us stay healthier than we would be just breathing out of our mouths.

I can tell you from personal experience that with practice, this becomes attainable and then second-nature. I even nose-breathe through spin classes now. I am seeing a far greater return from far shorter and less strenuous workouts. Isn't that the ideal?

Breathing deeply through the nose creates neurological calm that allows the body to handle higher levels of exercise from a calm place, therefore burning fat and detoxifying more efficiently and giving you the benefits of enjoying exercise, maybe for the first time ever. 

Just remember to be gentle with yourself and slow your pace until your breathing catches up to your movement. 

Stick with it, and within a couple of weeks, you will see and feel the results! You will see the fat start to burn off of your body just through exercising minutes per day!