Where’s the Fun?

Day three of solitary confinement, and the dogs and I are plotting a prison break. . .


Who knew that the hardest part of surgery would be . . . the recovery?

Seriously? This is the part I was looking forward to enjoying! Seems I seriously underestimated my ability to relax, have fun, and just be.

After taking away the cookies from my inner-toddler yesterday, I had to listen to why she was still having a total temper-tantrum. Turns out I was ignoring her need for attention and fun.

My adult, responsible side had viewed this time off as an opportunity to study for my upcoming exam for coach certification. And if I felt up to it, maybe I would get some work done, too!

So I told my husband, David, to go back to work on the Monday after, and I told my parents not to come. I didn’t stock up on books or movies. “I can read the books I have,” I said. “I can watch the DVD’s in our library,” I said. “I don’t want to distract myself from what I need to be doing,” I said.

My inner two-year-old has had every right to kick-up her heels and throw an absolute fit. And now it makes total sense why she was falling into the cookies. It was the only outlet for fun I was giving her.

Lesson learned. David will be hitting the bookstore for me this morning and I have the TV all set up for pay-per-view so I can watch a movie—or even two! And I have every reason to believe that the responsible side of me will still get in some studying and all my doctor-prescribed walks.

While my situation is a little extreme, I suspect that many of you Fabulous Readers may be feeling the holiday stress, and be unable to find the “you” time to relax, have fun, and just be. You may feel that taking some time for yourself isn’t important.

Making your wellness a priority gives you the energy and stamina to take care of others. Often, our self-sabotaging behavior—like over-eating sweets—can be our inner-selves screaming at us to slow down, be present, and enjoy the life we’re living. It is a reminder that we are more than just this physical body going through the motions. Letting yourself have some fun will actually boost your energy level so you get more done.

And if you truly can’t find the time, how can you shift your attitude so you are having more fun doing what you are doing?

Together we can do it!

Photo by Ian Kahn

Tame the Inner Cookie Monster

My inner toddler seems to have taken control of my eating since my surgery last Wednesday and has turned into a bit of a Cookie Monster.

This came about because my tummy wasn’t very accommodating for the first few days, so it seemed OK to enjoy saltines, ginger ale, and a few cookies. But as my body has gotten better in balance, my indulgence in cookies has only increased.

Granted these are “healthier” cookies than normal. Before the surgery, my wonderful husband, David, made my recipe for peanut-butter oatmeal cookies, which have no additional fat from the peanut butter and just a little dark brown sugar and honey. When he mentioned making some chocolate chip cookies, out of self-preservation I went on-line and found a lightened up recipe that substitutes oatmeal for much of the flour and cuts the fat significantly. (And wow are they good!) While these are better choices that are fine for an occasional indulgence, they are still more calories than nutrition.

After I set my intention yesterday to eat clean, but wound up having cookies for two of my meals (what works for me is to eat five to six smaller meals a day) and was sneaking in one or two more, I realized it was time to tame this beast and get back on track with my healthy eating. I really do want to be able to wear my jeans at the end of the week!

What I would ask a client is, “What are the feelings that are leading to eating the cookies?”

For me there is some boredom (which makes total sense because my activities are curtailed for the time being and David has had to go back to work, so I’m having to entertain myself) and a sense of entitlement from my inner toddler that feels like I “deserve” cookies because I went through surgery (and behaved really well!), it’s the holidays, and I just plain want them because they are easy and delicious.

(I can almost hear the whining and feel the temper-tantrum coming on!)

Since my commitment to eating healthy is pretty darn high and I’m putting this out there to you fabulous readers to help me stay accountable, what can I do to tame this inner Cookie Monster and meet my goals?

  • I can put the cookies in the freezer, which will require that they thaw before I eat them, making sure I have a good 20 minutes to decide if I really want them or not. (Done!)
  • Every day, I can read my affirmations and my list of reasons why I want to start the New Year feeling great. (I just went and read them.)
  • When I want cookies, I can offer myself a choice of an apple or orange instead.
  • I can plan out my meals in advance. (Done)
  • I can plan to eat some cookies on Christmas day.
  • If my inner toddler throws a tantrum, I can mentally walk away and just let her throw a fit. But the answer will still be “No.”
  • I will post how I am doing with food and exercise for the next two weeks so that you can keep me accountable.

I suspect that I’m not the only one who has found themselves eating foods that generate guilt rather than a feeling of ease and alignment with their goals.

If you are in the same boat, ask yourself what you are feeling as you reach for that treat? Look at your commitment to eating healthy—if it’s fairly low, what can you do to raise it? What are some strategies you can engage to make the changes you want? How can you hold yourself accountable?

You are the only one responsible for the things you eat and put in your body. What can you do to eat foods that feel good, rather than create guilt?

Together we can do it!

Look for the Garbled Message of Your Gremlin

Our thoughts are often our worst enemies. We hear the negative messages offered up by our inner critic and we accept them as true. And we feel bad.

Stop yourself right there!

Engage your logical side and ask yourself, “How true is this?” Chances are those flimsy arguments offered up by your inner Gremlin will begin to cave-in and collapse. Search through this mental rubble with the bright light of Truth—those Universal Truths that are true no matter what—and you will discover the issue the Gremlin was trying to lead you away from.

Now you can choose a different—better feeling—thought that creates an entirely new path.

I was surprised to encounter my Gremlin during the night Saturday. My first tipoff was negative emotion—which always means negative underlying thoughts.

What I was feeling was . . . guilty! There was also lazy. Where were these emotions coming from?

My recovery from a full hysterectomy on Wednesday is going so well that I’m having to sit on myself not to do too much. (Do you know how hard it is not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk? And I’m going to have to do this for four to six weeks?!)

My Gremlin was speaking up because I feel good enough to help out around the house more, but I’m not. There’s also part of me that feels like if I do too well I won’t have the “excuse” to be lazy and I’ll have to do more than I want, which was swinging me back to guilt.

Geez! The nonsense we can put ourselves through. Fortunately I know this is not the voice of reason speaking, so I’m thanking my Gremlin for its input, but am disregarding its message.

The Universal Truth here is it’s OK to slow down, relax, and let my body heal.

I’m trying to remind myself that the bruises on my stomach are a pretty good indication that healing is going on. And wouldn’t I rather heal while I’m feeling good then have to be in pain?

I’ve talked to my husband about it and asked him to remind me of when I need to rest (he reminded me before he left for work this morning not to take the dogs for a walk, which I was absolutely planning to do), but I’ve also asked him to encourage me to do more when that seems reasonable. (He let me know that I didn’t even have a toe on the side of not doing enough.)

My follow-up appointment with the doctor is next week and I am hopeful that I will be doing so well that I can get early release to get back to my usual activities.

So my new thoughts are to celebrate that I feel good, and to allow myself to relax and take it easy. That’s what this time that I’m taking off is for. I am having a wonderful recovery, and by taking some time now, I will be back to my full activities more quickly. All is well and everything is unfolding just as it should.

This new mantra gives me a feeling of well-being—and that good feeling lets me know I’m on the right track.

When you catch yourself feeling a negative emotion, use that as a cue to look at your thinking. If you think it’s your Gremlin talking, reason your way through its messages looking for Truth. Then choose a new better-feeling thought that moves you forward.

Together we can do it!

Do What You Can Do

I just finished up the first of four (doctor ordered) walks today. Walking and drinking plenty of water are the two things my doctor recommended to speed my recovery from surgery, so my commitment to doing them is unshakable.

There are other things I can do, too. I can rest in-between treadmill sessions, eat healthy foods that are easy on my stomach, and resist the temptation to lift anything heavier than a carton of milk (for the next four to six weeks!).

I can also focus my thoughts on how well I am doing instead of fretting about the things I won’t be able to do for a while. This recovery period is temporary and I will be back to my regular workouts–and strength and energy–before I know it!

Beyond doing these and a few others things, my wellness is beyond my control. I can support my immune system and healing process, but I can’t control it. Regardless of whether anyone else would see me right now and think “optimal wellness,” I can maintain my knowing that wellness is absolutely and completely mine. But I can’t dictate how quickly it will come or when others will acknowledge that reality.

The absolute best thing I can do is spend the majority of my time feeling good—and doing what I can do—and letting go of all those things I can’t control.

Too often we wrap our mind and results around the things over which we have absolutely no influence and ignore the things that we actually can do.

One way to shift this dynamic is to draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper and on the left-hand side, write down all the things that you can actually do to meet your goal—and then do them. On the right hand side, write down all the things that are outside of your control. Those are the things you have to turn over to the Universe (God, Source Energy, Higher Self, All-That-Is—whatever works for you)—and then let those things go.

Whenever you catch yourself worrying or stressing about those things that are outside of your control, shift your thoughts back to what you can do and celebrate what you are doing.

The key to optimal wellness—and living the life of your dreams—is to look for more ways to feel good everyday and let go of what you can’t control.

Together we can do it!


Thank You for All the Support!

I am doing amazingly well after having a full hysterectomy on Wednesday. Even the doctor’s and nurses commented on how well I was doing before they sent me home yesterday. Other than being very sore, I feel good. And the soreness is no worse than how I have felt after a really intense workout.

The doctor’s orders are to walk 4 times a day, and I have already completed my first 10 minutes on the treadmill, am showered, and feel like getting in a short blog. My big plans for the rest of the day include watching at least one Christmas movie, doing some light reading, and napping. Even though I’m feeling good, I don’t plan to overdo it.

While I think being in good physical shape before the surgery and positively focusing on wellness have a lot to do with my recovery, I also believe the incredible support I have gotten from family, friends, and my fabulous readers has made a huge difference.

Seriously, I have been blown away by the positive thoughts, prayers, and messages coming my way. Thank you all so much. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me.

Not only is this positive support a boost mentally, but there have been studies showing the power of prayer and intent. (If you are curious, check out The Intention Experiment: Using Your Thoughts to Change Your Life and the World by Lynne McTaggart)

I have no doubt that the gifts you all have been giving me have made a huge difference to my wellness and wellbeing.

One of the things I’ve run into as a coach is that many people are really good at giving, but they have a hard time receiving.

How we receive gifts is a pretty good indication of how well we allow the Universe (God, Source, All-That-Is–whatever works for you) to work in our lives. If we won’t let others support us, we often are not letting the Universe support us, either.

Open your heart and mind to allowing yourself to receive the gifts that others want to give you. And then watch as other blessings flow into your life.

Together we can do it!


The Road to Recovery

I’m heading home from the hospital today after undergoing a hysterectomy yesterday. This is the interesting part for me—the part where I will want to forgive myself for not being able to jump right up and to do what I could just a few days ago.

I will need to remind myself that I am where I am, and that where I am is OK.

Recovery will be a process that may last a few days or a couple of weeks. I am determined to do what I can do, but will also allow myself rest and recovery. It will be interesting to see how quickly I bounce back, but whatever I do won’t be good or bad—it will just be what I do.

When we can take judgment out of the equation—particularly negative judgment—it gives us the opportunity to be more present and experience where we are on the journey. Being present gives us clarity and helps us move forward on the right path.

Where do you need to allow yourself to be exactly where you are?

Together we can do it!


Catching the Wave

At 4:45 a.m. this morning, my husband David drove me to the hospital to get spade. We are to arrived at 5:30 a.m., with surgery to begin at 7:30 a.m.

Surgery was scheduled to last three hours and I will spend another hour in recovery. By lunch time, I should be settled in my room, where I will spend the next 20 hours or so. By Thursday morning, I will be heading home.

My goal today is to surrender to the process. To surrender and allow all the well-trained and skilled doctors and nurses do their jobs and see to my care. To surrender and allow Source (God, the Universe, All-That-Is—whatever works for you) to facilitate this experience on my behalf. And while I am surrendering, to consciously choose how I react and perceive what is happening.

Really, this is a wonderful opportunity to focus on success!

federico stevanin's portfolio is: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=149I know that surrendering and focusing on what I want will build positive momentum that will be like a tidal wave moving me towards my goal of optimal wellness

Where do you need to surrender control of the uncontrollable to better meet your goals?

Together we can do it!


Photo by federico stevanin


Choose Your Focus

I’ll admit to some nerves this morning.

Some of it is from my husband who told me last night that he is feeling anxious about my surgery tomorrow, which I think is pretty normal and expected.

Some of it is my very full schedule today that includes an early meeting that is compressing my time to blog. OK, a lot of it is just that there is so much to get done today!

Some of it is anticipating all the new things I’m going to experience in the next 48 hours and trying to follow all the steps that are required, such as bathing tonight and tomorrow morning with germ-killing soap, not taking anything—not even an aspirin—and not eating or drinking anything past midnight.

Some of it is reminding myself that I can’t hit automatic pilot and accidentally put on lotion or forget to take off my nail polish, and then there is just trying to think through all logistics. Have I missed anything?

As I sat down to write and felt those nerves, I reminded myself to take a deep breath and to choose my focus.

I can focus those nerves into anxiety, or I can turn those butterflies into excitement that will help keep me focused and give me the energy to get everything done.

I can make this stressful by focusing on everything I have to do, or I can make this fun by prioritizing and tackling those things that I want to get done.

I can make this scary by focusing on the unknowns, or I can think of this an adventure and be confident in my well-being and the great care I’ll receive from well-trained doctors and nurses at a hospital that has an awesome reputation.

What I focus on is a choice, and it is my intention to use this experience to practice focusing on what I want, who I want to be, what I want to do, and how I want to feel.

Photo by luigi diamanti's http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=879True freedom comes when we realize our joy is totally within our control. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. We can focus on the beautiful and aromatic rose, or we can focus on the danger and potential pain caused by the thorns.

What are you focusing on? How could shifting your attention from what you don’t want to what you do want make a difference? Decide right now that today is going to be an awesome day!

I know I have.

Together we can do it!

Look for the Solution

Do you focus more on what you want, or what you don’t? What you like, or hate? What you judge good, or bad?

Often we look for the solution by studying the problem. While we need to have a clear understanding of the problem, we then need to shift our attention to the solution. It’s looking at what will be rather than what is, or was. It’s focusing on what’s working, what’s right, and what’s the answer.

The reason for this lies in the underlying energy. Focusing on the problem creates catabolic (destructive) energy, while focusing on the solution generates anabolic (constructive) energy.

Just think about the feelings you have when you are looking at a problem. Let’s say you are in an animal shelter and you see a puppy in a cage that will be euthanized if it isn’t adopted. For most people, that can generate some pretty negative (catabolic) emotions, such as fear, distress, and even anger. Let’s say you see a family walk in the door and adopt that puppy. That probably changes how you’re feeling and generates positive (anabolic) emotions, such as satisfaction, peace, and even joy.

When we’re in a catabolic emotional state, our body is generating harmful chemicals and hormones and other physical reactions, which actually impacts our minds making it harder to think creatively, generate ideas, or even recognize solutions.

We literally need to release the problem and shift our focus to the solution, like turning a coin from heads to tails. The problem, however, is often so compelling and distressing, that we get stuck in it. It’s almost as if we’re afraid to take our eyes off of it because it might get worse, or it somehow means we aren’t compassionate or concerned, or it just upsets us so much.

If you think about it in the context of the principle Energy Attracts Like Energy (also known as the Law of Attraction), you can see that focusing exclusively on the problem generates more problem energy. By shifting our focus to the solution, we then begin attracting solution-energy.

For a while now, I’ve been paying attention to where I focus more on the problem then the solution, and trying to shift my energy on those topics. What I find interesting is how subtle those thoughts can be. It’s like I’m so used to thinking those thoughts and feeling those catabolic emotions that they’re almost invisible to me.

When we ignore catabolic emotions over a long time, our bodies begin to register the destructive internal processes as illness. Headaches, back pains, and other physical problems often begin to appear. We may associate these with stress, which is basically just an umbrella-term for all the catabolic physical processes generated by a variety of negative thoughts and emotions. When these thoughts and emotions continue to be left unchecked, those catabolic physical reactions can escalate to bigger problems, such as heart attacks.

Of course things like diet and exercise play a role, but there is scientific research that associates heart attacks and strokes with episodes of extreme anger, and other stress.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about my female problems and where chronic catabolic thoughts and emotions have played a role. It’s definitely a bit of a Gordian knot that probably started at my absolute shock and horror when I started my period at age 11. I truly thought I was dying. And I never came to peace with that particular aspect of being female.

But it’s even shown up in my resistance to surgery. Doctor’s had been telling me I would need to have a hysterectomy for about six years and I was pretty determined to avoid it. I definitely had some catabolic thoughts and emotions about surgery.

When the doctor told me in August that it was truly time, my first fear-based reaction was total panic. I came home and meditated on it and during that hour I somehow was able to accept it and come to peace with it.

As soon as I did, the solutions began to fall into place. I had one day—December 14—that I could do the surgery where it would have the least impact on my busy schedule. When the nurse called to schedule the operation, she said the doctor wanted to do it December 14. Incredible solutions also appeared in my work schedule and in our finances.

When we release catabolic energy and shift to a more anabolic state, we truly allow All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source, Higher power—whatever works for you) to provide the solutions we could never create on our own—and often couldn’t even imagine.

Where is your focus stuck in the problem? What can you do to accept it, and shift your focus to the solution? What difference does that make in your life?

Together we can do it!