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It’s almost mid-January.  How are you doing?  Have you fallen off the New Year’s resolution bandwagon yet?

I read or heard somewhere the concept of New Year’s Evolution vs. Resolution.  The point is to evolve this year as a person, versus trying to keep strict or unrealistic resolutions.

I love this concept.  How can you set a goal, goals, or vision for yourself to evolve this year, one day, or even one moment or breath at a time?

What would your life and the world at large look like if we all evolved to our highest selves?

This concept brings up a concept that occurred to me a few years ago:

Making this moment your best moment ever

Here’s an idea:  to have the best year ever, make this your best moment ever…

Every year I see ads and magazines saying “This year will be your best yet!”  While I love this idea, we cannot have great years without first creating great moments.

How do you do this?  It’s called mindfulness.  Mindfulness is the practice of truly being here in the Now.

How do you practice being mindful?  Channel any stray, negative, or stressful thoughts into your breath.  Over time, this will get easier, and it can literally help you to build positive neural pathways, which greatly influence your habits.

When you change your health and wellness habits, guess what the result is? 

Great moments, days, and years.  🙂

Man Meditating on a Rock at the Beach --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Mindfulness practice and mindfulness meditation has Buddhist roots.  While the traditional focus is to become mindful and live deeply in the moment, in order to alleviate suffering, the practice has very useful applications that can greatly help your health, well-being, and quality of life.

It literally comes back to how mindfulness can change the structure of your brain.  The stronger your positive neural pathways are, the more likely you are to naturally make healthy choices.

This is not McMindfulness, this is science-based research, backed by thousands of years of mindfulness practice.

Being mindful is the first step toward having more great moments, days, and years…

First, be here now, in “This Moment.”  Make “This Moment” your best yet…be your best Self in this moment.

Allow yourself to evolve as your best self in this present moment, to see what can unfold

We cannot consistently have great days, months, and years without first being full present in the moment.

This is where our greatest challenge lies, but also our greatest opportunity to evolve and transform.

Evolving into our best selves’ can bring us our greatest joys, rewards, and triumphs!

All we every truly have is this moment.  Live “This Moment” with joy, awareness, and presence, and the rest naturally follows.

The opportunity to evolve and for growth and to change is absolutely possible, and we get there

~ One Mindful Moment At A Time ~

My wish for you is to focus on having great moments this year…

This is what leads to your own souls’ growth and, perhaps, finally fulfilling your New Year’s Resolutions.

What if I get stuck, you say?  We all have triggers that can cause us to feel stuck:

Shame (that we’re not good enough to deserve to be happy, for instance)

Stress (we’re just feeling too stressed to be mindful enough to stay present)

Story (we are living in the past or living in the future)

What is the solution to your lagging resolutions?  Remember, evolution is a process.

Practice peace and compassion with yourself.  Be grateful for each perfectly imperfect moment as it unfolds.  Do your best to show up for it as joyful and grateful and present as possible.

And then see what unfolds…

And, if you feel the need to make a resolution, consider living one, positive, mindful moment at a time   

Here’s to your  New Year’s Evolution and making the most of every moment, day, and experience this year!

Wishing you joy, peace, presence, love and a wonderfully fulfilling year and life… 

Be Grateful ❤

Wishing You Peace In the New Year

 

 

Wishing You Peace In the New Year

It’s been a crazy year: hurricanes, wildfires, shootings…just saying it all stresses me out.

It’s been a hard year in other ways too, perhaps…for me, at least.  Breakups, makeups, breakups…

As 2017 rolls out here, and 2018 rolls in…I’m wishing you Peace & a return to your center of Being.

#HoldOntoHope

 

Whatever trials you may have faced this year, I’m hoping 2018 is better for you, for me, for all of us…

If you’ve been suffering from illness, or loneliness, or sadness, trauma, loss, or anything else…

Wishing you a renewed sense of Hope & Peace in 2018…

Sending You Peace

I truly hope 2018 is a joyful, present, peaceful year for you!  Many blessings, my friends…

Sending you peace, love, and joy…

Best Wishes for 2018

 

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Yes, the title was inspired by a quote from a GQ article, and I’ll tell you which one shortly here. But first…

 

The men I have known and loved have taken care of themselves to varying degrees.

 

Some of the men I have known have taken very good care of themselves:

 

  • Eating well (avoiding junk food, preparing food at home)

 

  • Exercising – running, lifting weights, practicing yoga, etc.

 

  • Staying mentally/emotionally healthy, practicing mindfulness

 

 

Other men I have known have grappled more with “well-being” perhaps in the form of:

 

  • Addictions – alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, etc.

 

  • Not exercising much (if at all)

 

  • Randomly present (with me, anyway)

 

 

What does it take for a guy to embrace living a healthy lifestyle? I love men, and my wish for them is to thrive: not just at work, but in terms of health and relationships too.

 

Here is my two cents, from the perspective of a (former) wife, friend, and girlfriend:

 

I see men putting (or not putting) health & well-being into a few categories, including:

 

Comfort

 

Utility

 

Priority

   

Let’s start with comfort. In my (relative) experience with guys, they value comfort…or is that simplicity? If it feels good, there’s a better chance they’ll do it. While I feel many guys are great at blowing off stress in a healthy way (i.e. shooting some hoops vs. ruminating about a shitty situation), sometimes maybe “feeling good” also includes indulging in pleasure, even hedonism, a bit too much.

 

Too much might include:

 

Food

 

Ice Cream

 

You get the picture

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for pleasure. I value pleasure as a component of well-being, but just not at the expense of well-being.

 

Actually, here’s one of my recent favorite quotes:

 

It’s not about what you can get away with, it’s about becoming the best you can possibly can be.

 

Joe Manganiello, GQ Magazine

 

And, on the flip side:

 

I quit drinking eleven and a half years ago and I think that had I not been able to pull that off, I’d be dead.

 

Joe Manganiello, GQ Magazine

 

Chui, D. July 4, 2014. Joe manganiello true blood magic mike la bare interview. GQ. Retrieved from:

http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/joe-manganiello-true-blood-magic-mike-la-bare-interview

 

And, actually, here’s what I really love about many men. They (I’m referring to the masculine mind or sensibility) can be great at streamlining Life. This is Comfort/Simplicity.

 

This may be Utility too:

 

What works. Let’s get it done. But, what’s the best (or easiest sometimes) way of doing something, if necessary. Of course, I see many men striving for greatness and standards.

 

But, I’ve seen them cut themselves short too when it comes to their own health and wel-being. This is where telemedicine, the anonymity of the web, and generic drugs for male pattern baldness, or erectile dysfunction may work to the advantage of the reluctant Wellness Superhero.

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From Tech Crunch:

 

“’Approximately 25 percent of men with male pattern baldness begin shedding their locks before they reach the age of 21,’ says the American Hair Loss Association. Another stat that might surprise: According to the Cleveland Clinic, as many as 52 percent of men experience erectile dysfunction, with 40 percent of men age 40 affected. As for premature ejaculation, it may impact upwards of one in three men, estimates the Mayo Clinic.

 

So, why are things looking up for this large yet quietly suffering demographic? Two things: changes to telemedicine laws, and expiring patents, both of which are about to make it a whole lot easier – and cheaper – to obtain pills and other medications that no one seems to want to talk very publicly about.”

Loizos, C. Nov. 1, 2017. Life could grow easier for men for two reasons and startups and investors are on it. Tech Crunch. Retrieved from:

https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/01/life-could-grow-easier-for-men-for-two-reasons-and-startups-and-investors-are-on-it/

 

Not Wanting to Talk About or Address Health Issues

 

What I’ve noticed is that some men (just may) not wish to address health and well-being straight on. It’s not that it doesn’t concern them (well, maybe sometimes), but more that they just don’t want to address it directly.

 

Maybe it’s the Superhero image, or maybe it’s just cultural (and, maybe that’s the same thing). As much I experience men being direct in many ways (i.e. the tendency to value simplicity), when it comes to well-being, sensitive topics like balding or premature ejaculation aren’t exactly conversation starters.

 

Perhaps some of the main topics in health and wellness that are important to a lot of guys just aren’t very easy to address.

 

So what does it take to inspire your favorite guy to make well-being a Priority?

 

DIY Skills:

 

Priority 

 

From a coaching P.O.V. priority is about values. It’s what you value that drives you. So, if our favorite guys may (already) be great at drive, then it’s about inspiring them to find the drive to value taking better care of themselves too.

 

People have different reasons for doing things:

 

Rewards

 

Pleasure

 

To Feel Better

 

 

Well-Being As It’s Own Reward

 

Practical & Tactical (bringing it all together)

 

In my experience, when a guy – or anyone for that matter – embraces living well, it’s because, ultimately, it feels good. This is practical wellness to me. Whether the drive is from an injury or chronic condition, or to just be a better version of yourself, the drive is to live better simply because it feels better.

 

Of course, in the ever-expanding health and wellness sectors, startups like hims, telemedicine, and expiring patents can help in this quest to feel better (physically – and about one’s self too, i.e. better self-image, an important component of well-being.)

 

We’re still “feeling good” too and even emphasizing pleasure (it’s part of staying well – a big part, in fact). But, the drive to feel good is motivated by thriving and not escaping.

 

So, what are the DIY health and wellness skills to step into a healthier lifestyle? In a nutshell, do what feels good, and do it to be a better man, because that is it’s own reward.  This is tactical: it’s an internal motivator to feel good for the sake of feeling good, and because it helps you evolve naturally.

 

Joe Manganiello sums it up well:

 

It’s more about motivating and being the best person you can be, and as a result your body will transform. It’s not about vanity it’s about evolving as a person.

 

Joe Manganiello, GQ Magazine

 

Amen to that, Joe…

 

P.S. The title comes from the same GQ article I have quoted in this blog.

P.P.S. Check out hims as a resource for telemedicine, erectile dysfunction, and male pattern baldness. These guys are on a mission to create on open and empowered male culture around health and preventative self-care.

As the guys say on their website:

the point of it all—and the message that’s most important to us—is making sure you realize this one specific thing: having an issue isn’t weird. not dealing with it is weird.

that is hims.

 

Bravo guys…

 

 

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“I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. “

I am reviewing Legatto, Intimate massage oil for women.  You can find it here:

http://resonantbotanicals.com

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This is a very nice intimate massage oil.  It has a wonderful consistency to it, and a really wonderful aroma.  It has a fantastic, natural scent from essential oils that smells like sandalwood to me, which is a naturally very intimate, sensual aroma.  In addition, the oils used to make this massage oil include argan and hemp oil.

Argan oil is a fantastic oil that has a fabulous consistency for the skin, etc.  Hemp oil is known to have some mild, pain-relieving qualities (I believe it has natural CBD in it, correct me if I’m wrong).

It also has jojoba oil and grape seed oil in it, both of which are very easily absorbed into the skin.  This is a great combination of oils, herbs, and essential oils, designed for intimate massage and beyond.*

While this product I am reviewing is an intimate massage oil, this company also makes an opiod-alternative.  You can check it out here:

http://resonantbotanicals.com/product/qi-of-calm-for-anxiety-relief/

Leggato has fantastic ingredients, and is made by a company with a background in music, chemistry, and herbalism.  Not a bad combination!

In fact, the goal of Resonant Botanicals is to ‘counter the stressful cacophony of modern life.’    Amen to that!

Check out some of the organic, awesome ingredients in this intimate massage oil:

Argan Oil – a very nice consistency for massage

Hemp Oil – may contain natural pain-relieving properities, great for skin

Jojoba Oil – perfect for massage

Borage Oil – great for skin

Shea Oils – a very nice moisturizer for skin

Maca Root – may help balance hormones

Passionflower – a natural aphrodisiac

Damiana – a natural aphrodisiac

Amazing essential oils – sandalwood (?)…a proprietary blend

Beyond the awesome scent created by the proprietary blend of essential oils, and the great carrier oils, what I love most about this organic oil blend are the following:

Topical Aphrodisiac – This formula has damiana, in addition to other herbal aphrodisiacs.  Damiana is known to have an aphrodisiac-like quality to it.  I definitely noticed this when using this product, and I was very happy to find a topical aphrodisiac formula.  Apply to thinner areas of your forearms or abdomen.

Improved Hormonal Balance – Maca (and maybe Damiana too) may help your body to achieve better hormonal balance as well.  Again, this was my experience using this product.  Unbalanced hormones can result in symptoms like fatigue, low libido, etc.

Enhanced Libido – Again, another wonderful benefit of this topical aphrodisiac in my eyes is an enhanced libido.

From the Resonant Botanicals website:

Each [Resonant Botanicals product] is scientifically formulated with the most effective herbs in a superior delivery system designed to counter the stressful cacophony of modern life.

In creating Resonant Botanicals, I gathered together an eclectic and wildly talented group of people who share my philosophy and love of nature. My education is in chemistry, and I have a fascination with how molecules get metabolized (processed) in our body. In herbal medicine, the whole plant is extracted, with all its beneficial properties and all the “entourage” molecules are made available to assist in the relief process. While it is not patentable, these actions have been observed for thousands of years through many different cultures, and that is where we have chosen to place our focus with our products.”

Look, we live in a modern, often stressful world.  We need to counter balance this stress with Joy. 

The joys of intimacy, whether that’s a hug, massage, and beyond, are healing and necessary. 

This is a fantastic product to help you slow down and savor the joys of intimacy.

*Note: I personally don’t recommend using this oil as a lubricant, but the company implies this is ok, I believe.  It is, however, a FANTASTIC massage oil with a lovely scent, and it has several aphrodisiacal herbs in it, including damiana, passionflower, etc.  It’s a wonderful intimate massage oil!

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When my husband gave me a black eye, I was afraid to speak up and tell the police officer what happened. Years later, when my husband hit me with such a force as to knock me across the room, I was afraid to press charges, and because he told me it would ruin his life. Just like the #Time people of the year, when you speak up and break your silence, it gives your suffering a voice. I have survived a few things in my life including chronic illness and domestic violence. You can move from surviving to thriving when you give your suffering a voice. Don’t suffer in silence. Speak up. What makes you thrive, even in the face of great odds? What makes you come alive? http://bit.ly/2nyLfbL

Excerpts from my book, The Memory of Health

Journal Entry/1994 – The Terrifying Healing

 

I come from a dark forest, a deep, dark fairytale.  I don’t know where the path is that leads me out of the forest.  I am in the maze: the terrifying and exhilarating landscape of healing.  I only hope I emerge on the other side a happy, healthy heroine.

 

I ask myself this question often: Where is this place I come from and journey to? Sometimes it seems I am forever going in circles.  Maybe this is what I’m meant to do: travel, spiral in or outwards depending on what’s required of me: the journey with no real destination, but one that finds hope, gains ground, and finds some peace and healing along the way. 

 

I heal because I have to.  It is my solitary responsibility to bring myself to the world as whole and as full of courage as possible.  There is a quote by Gaston Bacheland that says “What is the source of our first suffering?  It lies in the fact that we hesitated to speak.  It was born in the moment when we accumulated silent things within us.” (as cited in Metzger, 2009).

 

Let me tell you about my silence.  It is difficult, because what is silent in me is what defines me.  The deep spaces I side-step around, don’t tell anyone about … these silent spaces haunt me.  Yet in these spaces I have found my voice.  It tells me to get off the main road, follow those blue highways, and see where they wish to lead me…

 

I was reading about archetypes and I read something about the wounded healer that resonates with me.  Deena Metzger says the wound is one means by which we reach compassion.  I can see that, how illness is really such fertile ground for spiritual growth.

 

Illness is a fire that has burned away my identity.  In the aftermath, I have begun to write and find my true voice.  I write to heal myself, to experience my inexorable pain perhaps through the eyes of the heroine who walks the unknown path toward the dawn…

 

Metzger says stories heal us because we become whole through them, “[and that] all suffering is bearable if it is seen as part of a story.” So here is where I am, suffering in such a way that only makes me wish to grow stronger.  Suffering no longer in silence, but in story

 

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The Memory of Health is a meditation and conversation on well-being. What makes you thrive, even in the face of great odds? What makes you come alive? At the age of 22, Edie developed chronic fatigue after having surgery for a ski accident. While physical therapy was helpful, she had to seek alternative treatment to regain full use of her knee. In the course of seeking answers to her health challenges, she discovered the power of mindful living.

Learn more about my book here:  http://bit.ly/2x1jRZf

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On finding inner peace:

” The transformation you will experience will be as shallow or as deep as your work.”  Or Shahar

Finding inner peace in this world isn’t always easy….but it’s always worth it and worth the journey.

Listen to my interview with Or Shahar, and learn how she discovered inner peace, along with becoming her own yoga teacher.  Listen here…

Become Your Own Yoga Teacher 11/21 by TheWellnessCoach | Health Podcasts: Over 10 years ago at only 18 years old, Or Shahar took a trip to India to take her first yoga course. Recovering from depression she returned to India a few years later where she discovered her deep connection to Buddhism, took her initial yoga teacher training and started to practice yoga seriously. For the past four years, she has taught yoga in the Berlin area, while deepening her own practice every day and spending restorative time raising her beloved dog. Or is founder of Freedom Yoga where she guides yoga practitioners who feel their weekly classes aren’t enough but they aren’t ready to commit to teacher training, to deepen their practice in a way that works with their schedules and their budgets. You can learn more about that by following this link: https://www.freedomyoga.info/deppen-yoga-practice-opt/

 

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High blood pressure is the number one killer worldwide.  It is a silent killer, and it is largely preventable.

High blood pressure kills millions of people every year and it’s preventable

It can lead to strokes, heart disease, heart attacks, severe kidney disease, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Read more on high blood pressure and dementia here: (High blood pressure in mid life tied to dementia). Bakalar, 2017

Here is what you need to know:

There are new guidelines for what is now considered high blood pressure:

High blood pressure is now 130-139 (systolic) and 80-89 (diastolic).  These numbers are down from 140/90 as they have been in the past.

 

Under these new guidelines, 46 % of the U.S. population is now considered hypertensive.

High blood pressure is the leading cause of death worldwide and the second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, after cigarette smoking (Contact me to help quit smoking)

 

What does this mean?  If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, most likely you will need prescription medication.  Some of you may know I am not a fan of prescription medication.  However, high blood pressure is nothing to take lightly, and hypertensive levels are already putting you at great risk (130/80 or higher).

The good news is that if you are hypertensive, lifestyle medicine may largely help you get your numbers lower.

Lifestyle medicine includes losing weight, lowering stress levels (or managing reactions to stress – Contact me for help), quitting smoking, improving your diet (Contact me for help), consuming less alcohol,  getting more excercise (Contact me for help), etc.

Normal blood pressure is 120/80.  It’s important to know this to visualize success in lowering your blood pressure if you are hypertensive.

High Blood Pressure & The Risk for Alzheimer’s

“Researchers have known about the link between blood pressure and Alzheimer’s for years. In 2013, investigators showed that older people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, were more likely to have biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid. Another study found that the more blood pressure varied over an eight-year period, the greater the risk of dementia.”  HopkinsMedicine.Org, 2017, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/blood-pressure-and-alzheimers-risk-whats-the-connection

Read this article to learn how to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s:  Use lifestyle medicine to reduce risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia

“The systolic reading refers to the pressure when the heart contracts and sends blood through the arteries. Diastolic pressure is measured when the heart relaxes between beats.

The lower score is expected to triple the number of younger men considered hypertensive and double the number of younger women with high blood pressure.

Men are more likely to have high blood pressure than women and blacks are more likely than whites. Many people are unaware that they have the condition because there are no symptoms.”  

Read more here:  New blood pressure guidelines

How Low is Too Low of Blood Pressure?

There can be side effects to having too low of blood pressure too (something I can relate to from having CFS).

From the John Hopkins website:

Research Shows…
How Low Should You Go?

“Lower is not necessarily better when it comes to blood pressure. A 2013 study published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that people with heart disease or stroke who had lower-than-normal blood pressure (in which the bottom, or diastolic, number was less than or equal to 70 mm Hg) were more likely to show changes in the brain that can affect cognition and memory.”  https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/blood-pressure-and-alzheimers-risk-whats-the-connection

An atom is a nano-tornado, a spinning force field…it’s not a particle, it’s made up of energy. You’re an energy field, broadcasting energy.

In a quantum world, nothing is separate. We are broadcasting like a radio. We are affecting one another. To read others’ energy and how you feel about something or someone, ask the question of your heart, not your head.

#BruceLipton

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“We Just Want Someone to Believe Our Story”

 

~ Mari Thomas

Watch this video with Mari Thomas:

Mari Thomas on Having Lyme Disease

 One of the most important aspects of healing is having our currently storylines be heard.  Most of us just need someone to hear and believe our stories.  So many people who are sick or coping with chronic conditions lack basic empathy and understanding from others.  This can keep us from healing…

 

Having someone hold space for us is crucial to healing, whatever healing may look or feel like*

 

For me, at first, I had to accept my story and where my body was.  Today, while I still have to fight to stay well (I have a liver disorder, so it’s constant maintenance with eating well, managing stress, taking supplements, practicing yoga, and avoiding toxins to my body), I do my best not to attach to my “story” about having health issues.

How we “see” ourselves is crucial as it affects our confidence and biochemistries.  However, we all need to be “seen” for who we are as well.

 

I do my best to see myself as whole, and well, and healed.

But, even today, as well as along my healing journey, I needed at least one person to believe me, and believe in me.

Believe in yourself, yes, for sure…but we are all interconnected, and we need others to express empathy for our challenging paths.

 


Today, I consider myself a wellness warrior.  I fight to be well, each and every day. 

I believe in my capacity to feel well, and do my best to live from that belief system.

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Excerpts from The Memory of Health

(Find it here: The Memory of Health)

 

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Chapter One – My Story

 

In My Shoes

 

Story

 

Finally, so many of my untold stories have found a home in this book that I write.  I could not tell some of my stories to anyone.  Either I was too afraid, or I didn’t have anyone to tell them to.  So I am telling them here instead.

 

What are you afraid to tell about yourself?

 

Maybe you, like me, can whisper them here to a captive audience, the pages of this book, and they will bear witness to what you could not bear to say on your own.

 

Tell your story.  Release your soul…

 

My story.   At first, this was the easiest part of the book to write.  Now, in the final stages, I cringe at the idea of it being shared.

 

What is worse than shame, pain, judgment, or blame?  Being stuck in a story that is no longer yours or one that no longer serves you.

 

So I release my story to you, to the wind, to the waters, to god.  It is what it is.  For whatever reason, whatever it is, this is what transpired.

 

But before I tell you mine, what is story anyway?

 

We love stories because we love the process, the journey itself.  We want to know how it starts and how it ends, and what was overcome in between.

 

We are the heroes and heroines of our own lives, whether or not we can see it.

 

Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves and others are different than the stories our bodies tell.  But your body never lies, cannot lie to you, nor can you lie to your body.  Every story you tell others or yourself about who you are shows up verbatim in your body.

 

Your body’s story is the one you should listen to, especially if you are on a healing path.  The path of healing leads you to your authentic self.  It is a true gift and a direct path.

 

What does it mean to tell your story?  Why do some people say to embody your story, and others say to leave it behind?  What is the truth?

 

First of all, it’s what is your truth.  What works for you?  This is the truth if there ever was one.  If nothing else, I hope you take this away from this book:

 

What works for you?  What truths lie in your heart that you find the courage to express and embody without an ounce of fear?

 

Here is my truth

 

I believe it is helpful, if not essential, to embody your story at some point in time, to acknowledge it, to feel it … but then, ultimately, to let it go, let it fall away down the river, float downstream and join your perfectly alchemized, serendipitous past.

 

What lies ahead?

 

The radiant, magical presence where “story” is a beautiful, blank page filled in by the joys and sorrows of the day, and then washed away by the medicine of the night.

 

What we inhabit – like our bodies – deep down we know and can feel.   What we release, releases us, and allows us to be truly free.

 

What can you know and then release?  Your habits, your fears, your body, your life, your love, your wishes, your story

 

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*”Heal” is a relative term.  Some of us recover, some don’t, some of us find a middle ground in-between.  But, I believe healing truly happens when we are heard and seen for who we are, and seen and accepted as whole beings, doing our best in any given moment in time.

 

Are you feeling lonely these days? You’re not alone (pun not intended, but it fits).

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The truth is, we’re meant to connect: it’s a basic human need.

Our brains produce oxytocin in response to connection, and it can help us stay well

Oxytocin is powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain (Psychology Today: Click for Quote)

and is a calming and connection hormone (Dean Ware: Click for Quote), which counteracts the effects of stress and adrenaline.

Listen to Kory Krogan talk about the importance of well-being & connection:

When I was super ill, I was the most isolated.  I struggled to get well, because I wasn’t getting the level of support and connection I needed to thrive.*

I tried changing my diet, my environment, using supplements, practicing yoga, practicing self-care, etc.

While these tactics were helpful, and I did make improvements – and I still use these tactics today to maintain well-being – what I needed the most was the power of LOVE.

*Note: many things contributed to me being well.  It was a holistic approach. 

Listen to this interview for more details:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thewellnesscoach/2017/01/25/understanding-the-link-between-mind-body-chronic-illness-with-shannon-harvey

There is a quote in coaching that says:

Connection is the currency of wellbeing – ~John Travis

It’s connection that helps us stay well the most, I believe. 

We are wired to connect.  It is primal and it known as social well-being.

 

Social well-being is the missing ingredient in holistic and wellness practices & protocols

 

Oxytocin is known as the “bliss hormone.”  It has trememdous power to alter our physical makeup and create trust in our bodies and relationships.

You can read more about my journey here and how I healed https://portlandwellnesscoach.com/do-you-have-health-issues-a-chronic-condition-or-chronic-fatigue/

I wrote a whole book about how I healed too, which took me 10 years to write.

You can find it here:  The Memory of Health

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Get the pdf here:


Sometimes, situtations may prevent us from producing oxytocin.  I have been here with PTSD.  However, there is always hope, and this is even more of a reason to seek healthy connections.

“Those with PTSD are in a constant state of anxiety and low-grade fear.”

From the Body Ecology Website (click here for full article)

 

What if you live alone or find yourself isolated?

Get a pet and hug your pets regularly to produce oxytocin.   If you suffer from a trauma (separate blog  post coming up on how to heal from trauma) or a chronic condition, or find yourself in some kind of other isolating situation, try to get a pet or pets a.s.a.p.  In addition, try to find ways to genuinely connect with people:

  • Skype
  • Volunteering (if not homebound)
  • Having friends come over
  • Meeting friends for tea
  • Doing something social: game night, ballroom dancing, etc.

 

From Experts Around the Web:

Oxytocin | Psychology Today

“Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. … When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels increase; hence, oxytocin is often called “the love hormone.” In fact, the hormone plays a huge role in all pair bonding.”

 

From the Body Ecology Website (click here for full article)

“Unfortunately, there are situations in life when oxytocin levels dip too low, or worse, never rise to the surface.

Some examples are:

1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Those with PTSD are in a constant state of anxiety and low-grade fear. This anxiety can climax when startled or in trigger situations. It has been found that oxytocin reduces background anxiety in those with PTSD. (1) Even though oxytocin can reduce anxiety after trauma, it does not affect the actual memory of the trauma.

2. Childhood Trauma. Trauma during infancy or childhood can affect oxytocin levels for years, decades, or even an entire lifetime. This kind of trauma can range from severe abuse during childhood to a divorce between parents. When trauma during childhood occurs, the body and mind engage an adaptive defense mechanism that reduces levels of oxytocin. This type of programming is a survival mechanism. It can affect relationships and even physical health.

3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In certain cases of autism, the receptor site for oxytocin is genetically not available. When oxytocin has nowhere to go, it cannot do its job. Sometimes in those with ASD, the production of oxytocin is also drastically low. (2)(3)

Dr. Michael Gershon, author of The Second Brain and chairman of the department of anatomy and cell biology at Columbia University, has found that many of his patients who come in for chronic gut disorders have a history of childhood trauma.”

 

Childhood trauma may affect gut health, the development of chronic conditions later in life, and may be a contributing factor in addiction*

 

Loneliness as New Epidemic

According to research done by the Journal Heart, loneliness has the same risks now as smoking (as cited by Harvard Health):

The data showed that loneliness, social isolation, or both were associated with a 29% increased risk of heart attack and 32% greater risk of stroke. The risk was similar to that of light smoking or obesity, according to the researchers.”  https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/loneliness-has-same-risk-as-smoking-for-heart-disease Jun 16, 2016

 

Loneliness has the same risks now as smoking; it is considered a new epidemic

 

Loneliness and the Gig Economy

Creating one’s one income is always a good idea.  We should be striving for 7 sources of income and thinking more along the lines of being our own boss, instead of being an employee.

Yet, with the new freedom that comes with working more for or completely for one’s self is the challenge of not staying connected to people (i.e. working from a home office, or working a job with little to no human interaction).  Connection is vital for productivity, stress, reduction, and well-being!

 

Connection is vital for productivity, stress, reduction, and well-being!

 

Watch the video above for how to cope with loneliness in the workplace.  There is no substitution for human interaction.  If you work for yourself, consider having Skype calls with colleagues to stay in touch and stay in the loop.  Also, make sure your business is tied into where you live locally.   Seek clients locally, or find a way to participate in your local community as a mentor, volunteer, etc.

 

It’s that important to your well-being.

 

Loneliness and Addiction

Loneliness may be tied to addiction* to, in certain regards.  Addiction creates isolation, and I truly believe that many people who are addicted suffer from not feeling truly attached to life or other people (note, I am not saying there may not be a physical component as well – please seek the help of a qualified expert).

*There is evidence of a link between childhood trauma and addiction: check out this blog:

Childhood Trauma & Addiction

Listen to Russell Brand here talk about addiction and unity & how you can’t purchase the feeling of well-being (hint: it comes from connection):