Taking Up Space: Going to the Edges

Taking Up Space: Going to the Edges

Right now I am coaching almost all women, all who desire to lose weight, whether the goal is 5 or 75 pounds. They echo each other:

I want to feel good in my clothes.

I want to feel confident in my appearance.

I want to have more energy.

I want to keep up with my children, my job, my life.

I want to take up space in a way that feels right and good.

No one has actually said that last one, but it’s what I hear them all saying. We all want to matter, to feel like we are doing what we want to be doing.  We all want to feel like we have the confidence we need to live the life we have been given.  Continue reading “Taking Up Space: Going to the Edges”

Why To Embrace Wildness

Why To Embrace Wildness

Henry David Thoreau once wrote the words, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Though Thoreau lived in his cabin on the shores of Walden Pond many years ago, those words hold a deep truth. Wildness can mean so many different things to so many different people, but whatever it means to myriad humans across the globe, I have found embracing wildness to provide healing, inspiration, introspection and reason to explore. I have found wildness to be a foundation from which to do my work in the world, and I have found wildness to drive my choices as I tap into the potential of life on this beautiful earth. I have found wildness reason to cultivate community and exist in the world in a way that aligns with beauty and truth.

Here are 10 more reasons to embrace wildness, in all its forms, in the months to come. Because you just never know how making some little changes to your way of being might contribute to the healing of the planet. Continue reading “Why To Embrace Wildness”

The Gift of Presence: Even When the Going Gets Tough

The Gift of Presence: Even When the Going Gets Tough

When you work in healthcare, whether it’s in a fitness center, in customer service, in management, in coaching, as a physician, a nurse or administrative assistant, you are reminded, on a regular basis, that life is hard for people.  People are stressed out, people are managing chronic conditions, people have financial issues, people are grieving, people are angry, people are unsure.  People are also happy, satisfied, healthy, and thriving, but folks tend to their struggles before they share their joys.  Interacting with humanity, especially when it comes to something as intimate as one’s health and wellbeing, is messy and unpredictable no matter how hard we try to make it into a program or round out the edges or meet our outcomes goals.   So often we have the urge to swoop in to offer a solution, to look at the numbers and provide a suggestion, or to give advice based on what we see…

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5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

Have you ever woken up late, rolled out of bed with your heart pounding, and started rushing around trying to get everything you need ready to start your day? Yeah, me too. Not an awesome way to begin a new day of life. When I get up late and frantically try to cram in all the things I like to do at the beginning of the day (i.e. put the coffee on, make a nice breakfast, practice yoga or run, and sort out the day’s to do list… before I power up the computer for coaching appointments or get my 4 year old daughter up and moving) I start the day feeling frazzled, drained and fuzzy headed. What I want to feel at the beginning of the day is calm, gently energized and clear minded. Because every day is a new day, right? Each and every morning offers up a new opportunity to make the choices that will set up a day full of actions that invite the feelings that we want.  So how can we ensure our success in starting the day off right and feeling how we want to feel? Continue reading “5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better”

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”

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Stress.  It’s something that every living being experiences.  From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet.  A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day.  A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve.  Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road.  The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.

However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.  For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response.  There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying.  Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay.  But are they life or death situations?  Usually not.  Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response:  Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react.  But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar.  But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”

5 Ways to Foster Health, Happiness and Innovation

5 Ways to Foster Health, Happiness and Innovation

The following post originates at We Are Wildness, an online community dedicated to helping improve the health of the planet by inspiring people all over the world to reconnect with Nature.  There’s an online challenge going on right now and through the summer that is designed to foster a deeper connection with the natural world for the humans who take part in it.  Check out the Rewild your Life 30 Day Challenge if you aren’t already involved, and join the rewilding movement.   Embrace your inner wildness and let nature into your day to day life in a way that reminds you of what matters.

You may have read the recent article by John Haltiwanger that points out how recent research has indicated that spending time in a natural setting provides a plethora of benefits; from lower blood pressure to strengthened immunity to an enhanced sense of well-being and happiness. I’m inclined to agree with the conclusion that “people who appreciate nature are happier, healthier and more innovative.” It’s hard to hold onto the tension of a hectic day at the office when you are laying in the grass looking up at the sky. Spending time in natural light helps the body take in vitamin D, an essential building block of human health. And turning away from the computer screen to gaze at the horizon as the sun sinks into the westerly hills reminds us that we are part of something bigger and more profound that our everyday worries. We remember that there is beauty in the world outside our urban jungles, consumer economy and man-made innovations. Continue reading “5 Ways to Foster Health, Happiness and Innovation”

Productivity Doesn’t Equal Worth

Productivity Doesn’t Equal Worth

Productivity doesn’t equal worth.  Right?  Deep down, I know this statement it absolutely true.  At the core, each living being on earth is of infinitely more value than can be measured or quantified.  Each person, or creature, or plant, or river is so much more than whatever is accomplished or produced in a lifetime.  Yet we have a hard time accepting this.  We see our land-base as a commodity more often than we see it as a partner in life.  We tend to use water and air and soil for our own gain with little thought beyond what our actions might mean for someone across the world or a child born three generations from now.  Often we mean well and even start to change our ways, but then life gets hard and it’s easier not to.  We slip back into believing that more is better and that getting ahead and making the grade is what’s important.  We start to see high productivity as the ideal and we lose faith in believing that it really isn’t when we are trying to tell the truth and the people who have the power to create change don’t believe.  Or don’t want to.

I say I am trying to be ok with mediocrity.  In another blog post recently, I wrote,

I’ve recognized that if I’m going to stay in my day job and thrive as a human being, mediocrity is my new goal for success.  It’s hard to let old tendencies of wanting to be a top performer or make good grades or always receive glowing reviews go.  But I’ve realized that, at least in my current life and work situation, being a top performer isn’t what matters to living the life that I want to live.

Continue reading “Productivity Doesn’t Equal Worth”

Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence

Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence

Spring has arrived here in Minnesota. Though the trees remain bare and the ground is still mostly brown, there is a fresh resonance outside — there’s an energy to the ground when you walk that wasn’t there just a few weeks ago. The frost has moved up and out, and the soil is regaining warmth. The moss on the shady hillsides is starting to come to life will new delicate light-green growth, and the silver maple trees are starting to bud. Things are waking up. Birdsong fills the air from dawn to dusk, I can hear the newest members of the beaver family barking to each other as they learn the lay of the lake, and the ice-free water sparkles with every breeze that ruffles its surface. I can sense the re-forging of winter dormant connections as the days progress and the sun regains power.

In my day job as a health coach, I talk to all sorts of people who work for large companies around the country. I talk to linemen who work in oil fields, coal miners, executives, sales people, secretaries, teachers, call center workers, managers, nurses, even the occasional big ag farmer or chemist….there are a lot of jobs and professions that are controlled by the corporate world today. And as I talk with this wide range of people, the theme that comes out is that there is not enough time for, well, anything and spending time outside in a natural setting is either a luxury for the weekend or something to be avoided unless it is sunny and 78 degrees. Even the farmers spend a fair of their time inside – or in the cab of a climate controlled piece of machinery. People are generally stressed out, have too much going on and spend most of their time working on their daily tasks indoors or commuting to the places where they need to be. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization and not every person who works for a corporation fits into this description. But overall, I have witnessed a huge disconnect in corporate culture between people and the natural environment.

The problems with this disconnect are many, but the one that I want to focus on today is that due to this “people as separate” approach to life and the ways that we literally disconnect our physical bodies from the bare earth, we are setting ourselves up for lowered immunity, increased inflammation in the body, and a less than desirable sense of wellbeing. Continue reading “Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence”

Weaving With Invisible Thread

Weaving With Invisible Thread

The first person I called after four weeks of training to be a corporate health coach was a gentleman named *Charlie.  The appointment was at 7pm on a Tuesday in April, and I had literally all day to prepare and worry about how it would go.  When the witching hour finally rolled around, I dialed the phone, had my paper at the ready to take notes and half hoped that he wouldn’t answer.  He did answer, and at the end of the conversation, he had a goal to play basketball once a week and eat one less serving of pasta when spaghetti was on the table for dinner.  (No easy feat when one is Italian and spaghetti rules the meal plan.)  And I knew that he had a six year old daughter going through treatment for leukemia and that he felt powerless in the face of something so important that was outside of his control.  In twenty minutes I learned what made this person who I’d probably never meet get up in the morning and what drove him to take care of himself.  I learned about some of his challenges, and I learned of his struggles to stay on track.  I asked him what his vision of a healthy life was, and he told me it was to be his best self so he could give his daughter the dad she deserved.  Most of his story I’ll never know, and he didn’t have to tell me the parts that he did.  But he chose to share, and I chose to listen, and now our stories will forever be intertwined. Continue reading “Weaving With Invisible Thread”