Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Twin Organics: Cultivating Wildness

Prairie Grown

Eva, my four year old, and I took a little field trip last week 50 miles to the south of our home in the St. Croix River Valley to my family’s other organic farm.  Twin Organics is located just outside River Falls, Wisconsin and is owned and operated by my twin brothers, Jacob and Andrew Helling.  Jacob and Andrew were instrumental in helping Hillside Prairie Gardens resume larger growing practices in 2010 and are now branching out to their own place to grow organic veggies for restaurants in the Twin Cities area.  They’ve rented 5 acres these last two years on what used to be a grass fed cattle operation, and they share space with a group of jovial Kenyan farmers wielding hand tools to the north and Clover Bee Farm, an organic CSA and market grower, to the east.   They won’t stay here forever, but for now, it’s the home of Twin…

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Review Season

Review Season

Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first. -Anna Quindlen

It’s annual performance review time for a lot of people right now.  Every spring in companies around the globe,  work from the past 12-14 months is complied, analyzed and formulated into a number that dictates a merit based pay adjustment for the following year.  Accomplishments are acknowledged, and opportunities for growth are identified. Depending on the outcome, it can be stressful, status quo, or the best half hour of the year.   The review process is a huge part of modern business culture, and one that is probably not going to change anytime in the near future. The question that comes to mind today is this: How can we take the score – the outcome – from the previous 12-14 months, and keep it from dictating how we feel about our worth, both to ourselves and to our employer? Continue reading “Review Season”

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

Today is April 22nd, and it’s the 46th April that has recognized an ‘official’ day to honor the Earth.  As the day fades into night, the moon is full and shining over the waters of our little lake.  We have a full length window in our shower, (weird, I realize….the former owners of our home had some slightly odd design ideas..) and as I washed off the day’s grime after putting my daughter to bed, I felt like a moon goddess being purified as the water shimmered under the tawny light.  (or something like that…at any rate, the perk of having a full length mirror in your shower that looks out over a lake is a great view of the lake.  It’s worth noting that we have no close neighbors.)  So let’s start with that.   Continue reading “3 Ways to Live Earth Day”

Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of Grief

Practicing Gratitude in the Midst of Grief

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them. ~Paulo Coelho

*Jane started coaching with me in 2010 or so.  She came into our coaching relationship as a former heart disease patient, just looking to keep up the healthy habits that she’d put into practice after a cardiac surgery ten years prior.  With a clean bill of health and the okay from her cardiologist to simply visit him annually for a regular check-up, her goals stemmed from the desire to support her husband in eating healthier as he struggled with some of his own health issues.  She embraced gardening, got really creative with whipping up interesting dishes from quinoa and millet, and loved to share her new finds with me in the realm of healthy eating.  She struggled with her goal to get to the gym even though she always felt better after going, and…

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The Other: Crumbs of Despair

The Other: Crumbs of Despair

Part of my day job is calling people to schedule coaching appointments.  Usually  people are polite and respectful, and even sometimes downright kind hearted and pleasant to talk to.  Which is good news, since I’m calling them to put them on my own coaching calendar, so we’ll be talking again.  It’s helpful to start the relationship off on a positive note.

But today I called a gentleman who wasn’t any of those things.  Quite the opposite, really, he was quite mean and disrespectful.  I asked if he wanted to set up a call, and he responded with sentences that tended to start with “you people” and “do you even realize” and so on, punctuated by sarcastic chuckling.  In short, he made it personal and he wanted me to acknowledge that I was in the wrong.  I was the enemy, and he was going to let me know it.  Usually I am good at being able to internalize the fact that everyone is dealing with a plethora of issues that I do not know about and that are quite probably very challenging, resulting in unfriendly behavior; and hey, maybe this man was just having a tough day, or week, or year.  His energy is absolutely the product of our broken culture, and at the end of the day, he needs love, too.  But today when he was essentially scolding me for not being able to meet his expectations, all I could hear was “you aren’t good enough” and “this is why it’s doing me a disservice.”  I felt like the bad child who doesn’t measure up, and I found myself apologizing and trying to hold back tears.  Which is really interesting, as 1. I did nothing “wrong” and 2. I was quite kind, professional and offered what I had to give.  He just didn’t find it acceptable.   When on the call, I knew intellectually that his issues and his anger were not about me at all, but in the moment his energy triggered a response that I couldn’t control.  I had to hang up the phone. Continue reading “The Other: Crumbs of Despair”

Questioning Beauty

Questioning Beauty

Guest post by Melissa Kirby of Wildfire Wellness

Tonight at the health food store where I work, I had a random conversation with a stranger about chocolate (imagine me, imagine that). Her eyes were beautiful, her cheek bones piercing.  She couldn’t have been more than 80lbs.  She physically ran to the store, which meant she was limited with what she could purchase because she had to be able to carry it back home.  Through our conversation, it was evident that she was struggling with a number of things in life, yet she hung on my every inch of chocolate wisdom. She complemented me on my hair and then she said, sighing, “You are so pretty – you make me feel so ugly. Thank you for helping me.  Thank you for listening to me.” Speechless and somewhat shocked by her words, all I could do was give her a hug as we parted ways in gentle tears. I found myself thinking back to looking in the mirror that morning;  I had joked to myself that my…

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Where the Magic Happens

Where the Magic Happens

Here we are at the end of another December.  A time for looking back over the past year and looking ahead into the new one.  Some of us will indulge “one last time” before beginning a strict diet on January 1st.  Some of us will set lofty goals to exercise 6 days a week at the gym that we hate.  Some will get out a blank journal with the intent of getting up early everyday to write down three positive thoughts.  New years resolutions come in many forms, and sometimes they even stick for awhile.  Benefits have been seen by setting one’s sights on making change with the turn of the calendar year.

But.  So often it’s the same old same old every year.  The diet starts strong and tapers off by February.  It turns out we still hate the gym enough to stay home more often than not.  “Thinking positive” starts to feel like pulling the wool over our eyes and avoiding the root issue.   New years resolutions come in many forms, and they also fail a large percentage of the time.  They don’t do what we really want them to do.   They don’t change what we want them to change.

Do we throw in the resolution towel then?  Stop setting goals just to fail at them over and over again?  Embrace our negative thinking since that’s what feels real?

Maybe.  Actually, I propose we do all of those things. This is what I think we should do as a new year begins. Continue reading “Where the Magic Happens”

It’s Only A Door

It’s Only A Door

“The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door”
~Adrienne Rich

Crossing that thresold into your uncharted future is an act of great courage and self compassion, and it changes your relationship to life in a fundamental way. It embodies your willingness to employ a new form of risk taking, to consciously choose growth-stimulating, soul-nourishing conflicts, to live through the accompanying anxiety, and to accept your life as open ended and unpredictable. Passing through the door commits you to living in the present in a way you never before have.  ~Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

Have you seen that movie, Sliding Doors?  I have to admit that I don’t really remember the plot very well, other than in tandem story lines, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses her train by seconds as the doors slide shut in one and in the other she makes it and goes on with her day as planned.  Her choices as a result of missing the train and going through a different door alter the course of her life almost beyond recognition.  In the movie, at least as I remember it, she doesn’t consciously choose to miss the train of course.  But she does and goes through a different door that she normally would have chosen, and we see the chain reaction of events that emerge.  It can be a scary thing, a door.  An unwanted thing.  And it can be life changing. Continue reading “It’s Only A Door”

On Being

On Being

When I was trained as a coach 8.5 years ago, one of the things that stuck with me the most was the emphasis on helping a person see who they are “being” – that is to say, helping each individual look past the surface doings into how he/she is showing up and how that way of being is effecting their choices.

I read an article by coach and writer Danielle van de Kemenade this morning, and her words resonated with me a lot:

The biggest impact I’ve been able to make in my clients’ lives is on their states of being rather than changed acts of doing. The coaching paradigm itself is perhaps the best way of exemplifying the belief in doing as a primary method to achieving a better way of being. After each session, I’ll ask my clients to come up with five things they’ll do between our sessions to start to move towards greater personal well-being.

Fundamental to all of the above seems to be this thought: I’ll be a better, happier, more fulfilled person through more (focused) doing. I do (or have done), therefore I am. And yet, lately my views on this have started to shift, subtly.

Perhaps one of humanity’s challenges this century won’t necessarily be to do more better and faster, but to refine our ways of being and to let our actions flow from this.

On one hand you might think, “Wait, that doesn’t quite jive with what we are trying to do with small steps.  Isn’t the goal to help people make tiny changes that will eventually lead to lasting health improvements and better well being?” Continue reading “On Being”

Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions

Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions

I stumbled upon a post on social media earlier this summer by Dr. Lissa Rankin that made a lot of sense.  She’s a medical doctor who left her traditional practice to explore what it would mean for her to practice healing in a way that truly resonates with what she values.  (That’s the short version of her story)

She posed a number of questions that align quite well with the world of wellbeing coaching.  I can only imagine what health care might be like if more physicians asked them, too.  I’m posting a few of them here as food for thought as we continue to work toward bettering the health and well-being of all those which whom we come into contact.  Dr. Rankin titled her post Questions Your Doctor Should Ask You (But Probably Doesn’t)  It’s worth noting that some of these questions are likely to stir things up emotionally for people, so developing a good rapport and a sense of trust is essential before delving into some of these areas. Continue reading “Healing Healthcare: The Hard Questions”