Fully Expressed Me

photo-7The Road To Greatness Begins with Realizing your Fear, Letting It Go,
& Believing in Yourself. 
My Journey Started Here…

 I wasn’t upset with you for leaving, even though I felt alone.
I understood its what you had to do.

When you would call, I wanted to hear “I love you.” “I miss you.”
Instead I heard “eew your gross,” when I coughed into the phone.

When you came back to get me I wanted hugs and kisses.
Instead I got clothes and gifts.

I wanted you to motivate me, be proud of me, push me to believe in myself.
Instead I was told “girls shouldn’t talk loud or laugh loud.” “Girls can’t be doctors.”

I wanted so bad to be shown love, so I could show you all that was hidden inside of me.
I wanted so bad to feel I was worth something, so I could own that for myself.

I wanted to be free, to speak, to think, to feel, to be My Self.
Instead I have a building size load of crap, of what I shouldn’t be, couldn’t be, wouldn’t be,
and what do I do with that.

People tell me I’m so fun, so free, so powerful, so inspiring.
Yet I see emptiness there.

I see someone who has beautiful thoughts, but cannot speak.
I see someone who has big dreams, but is too afraid to act.
I see someone who is driven and full of energy, but lays around wasting away.

I want to change the world.
I believe I can.
Yet here I still stand, in this shit that doesn’t even smell anymore.

4 Changes That Made Me a Wellness Addict

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 What’s all the fuss with wellness: eating well, living well, exercising well?  Simply put, wellness is taking your health into your own hands; knowing if you put clean in, you get clean out.

Diseases like Urinary Tract Infections, Liver Diseases, even Mood Disorders, they can be a result of poor mental and physical hygiene. Understand that we are not laundry machines. Our bodies, minds and spirits cannot be clean and full of energy when we are putting dirty in. If we put dirty in, we are going to get dirty out.

I was a junk food and sugar addict. Every night after dinner I needed that sugar fix. As I searched my pantry for chocolates or my kids fruit snacks, I would think this doesn’t make me an addict, does it?

DENIAL. I lived in denial that the gluten-full meals, the “does-your-body-good” milk, even the sugar fixes were causing my stomach cramps, bloating, and fatigue. Denial that being sedentary was causing my anxiety and inability to think clearly.  I realized if I keep my body and mind clean and positive, I begin to rewire my spirit for wellness.

This realization allowed me to become in tune with myself.  I could feel, sense and truly acknowledge what prevented me from a healthy state of being, or wellness. I made 4 simple changes to my life, and learned a funny thing about wellness; once you get a taste, you start to crave more.

1. I Started Meditating

 Studies show that meditation affects the brain waves allowing us to have better focus, less anxiety, less stress, better memory, more compassion, and more creativity with just 20 minutes a day.

We spend 8-12 hours a day at work, whether on the computer or at home. We cannot expect 5-10 minutes of meditation to counteract that. We have to go deeper 20-45 minutes. I’m sure you’re saying, forget it, I don’t have that much time.

Realize that meditation is like strengthening a muscle in your body, if someone told you to begin with 50 reps you’d probably quit before you even started. However, if you start with 10 repetitions and build up to 50, you’ll actually start to notice gradual changes, that keep you motivated to do more. Same with meditation, the first 5-10 minutes you do will give you some peace and clarity. The more you do, the more peaceful you become, and the more focus you gain. Becareful, feeling peaceful, calm, loving throughout the day can get addicting.

2. I Changed the Way I Ate

Foods you eat give you energy! Foods with too much sugar or fat cause an overuse of insulin and bile, to break them down. The overuse of these enzymes can cause diseases in our bodies, like diabetes or hypercholesterolemia.

Ever notice what happens when you eat the wrong foods? For me, I would have runner’s block or creative blocks, I couldn’t focus and think of new ideas. I’d also have personality blocks, this was the worst block for me. I became frustrated, tired, and lost my cool very quickly.

I started with a 3 week cleanse called the Clean Program by Dr. Alejandro Junger. It transformed the way I ate and how I felt. I felt lighter, energized, focused, and my body actually began to crave healthier foods.

Even when I stopped processed sugar, I felt nauseated when I smelled it in cakes and cookies. My body was guiding me toward healthier, more energy-imparting cravings.

3. I Focused Activities to What I Needed

When we become stressed or have anxiety, the levels of cortisol and other hormones in our bodies rise. I turn to deep breathing, yoga, running or weight-training, and become instantly relaxed and ready to respond calmly.

Over time, by exposing my body to these activities when I was stressed, it became like a prescribed medication to improve my mood.

My body started to crave activity to release the stress. This also allowed me to have a deeper connection with my body, sensing the tension building up and learning what activity I needed to calm it.

4. I Started Being Kinder to Myself

I used to criticize myself, it seemed like all the time. I would tell myself I can’t run as far, or that my butt wasn’t tone enough to wear those new bright red pants yet. I would even criticize my own writing.

What I told myself became true. I wouldn’t push myself to run longer because I had already succumb to my slow pace. My pants hung in the closet because I never did feel good enough to wear them, and my writing was never shared because I believed it wasn’t good.

Denial! I was denying myself all the goodness I am and have to offer.  This had to stop. I told myself, I’m fabulous. I rocked those red pants and ran that extra mile, because I told myself I could. As for my writing, well look how far I’ve come just by being kinder to myself!

It allows us to become empowered, and anytime the mind says “uh you can’t,” We have the courage to say “shut up!”

Positive thoughts, not only make you feel better, but they motivate and inspire you. What comes next, the craving to have more.

You’ll start saying, I’m ready to take responsibility for my health, my moods and my life. And that’s how a laundry-machine believing junkie becomes a wellness addict.

Searching For Love

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I’ve been searching for love,
I’ve even asked for it from above.
I’ve searched through the depths of the sea,
And looked from the tallest of trees.

I’ve been searching for love,
To be matched up like a pair of doves.
I’ve looked inside of you,
And even gave a chance to someone new.

I’ve been searching for love,
Trying to make a fit, like a hand to a glove.
I’ve prayed, and cried and smiled,
Waiting here in the wild.

I’ve been searching for love,
And found myself trying to get rid of,
The wonderfulness that is me,
I change for no one that is true indeed.

I’ve been searching for love, in all the wrong places,
I look in the mirror to see recognizable faces.
I must have been wearing a visor,
For I could hardly recognize this tiger.
Lines on her face, darkness under her brows,
Cheeks bones strong and definition they still allow.
Scars where she’s fallen, creases where she’s laughed,
Some pain so deep, you couldn’t see it if she cracked.

I’ve been searching for love, so I take another look,
At this goddess who’s been mistook.
I see beauty and passion,
I see courage and compassion,
I see honesty with a sense of fashion.

I see love…its here,
I can say with no fear.
My heart on my sleeve,
I’ve been searching for love and I can’t believe,
Its always been in me.

No One is Born Racist

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When I recently saw this picture it really touched my heart. The back story is that when my youngest daughter was 2, there was a few days where she would walk around the house and say, “My face is dark, and no one likes me.” I realized that someone in school had said this to her. We addressed the issue calmly (even though there were moments I thought I might lose it!)

The entire experience allowed me to heal with her. All my life I have been told I was dark, I was skinny, I was a just a girl. The worst part was that it was by other dark, skinny, Indians! Joking aside, it completely affected my self-confidence, self-compassion and self-love. If I lacked all that in myself, I definitely didn’t have the compassion and love to give anyone else. The worst thing a person can do is define someone by anything other than their soul and spirit.

I am called to share this story, because the topic keeps following me. I went to dinner with my girls and my cousin sister. Our waiter came to take our order and as he turned to walk away, my 3 year old daughter says, “ Mommy, why is his face black?” My immediate reaction was OMG! Thank God he didn’t hear! Then I looked at her innocent big brown eyes as she waited for an answer, and realized the beauty of this  child.

I am grateful that she is wondering this, because it means that in her heart, mind, body, soul she believes we are all one, but we just look a little different. I heard a recent quote: “souls recognize each other by the way they feel not the way they look.” (Anonymous)

We are all souls, who are on a journey; a journey of growth and fulfillment. There is no judgment in that, there is no color, or creed, or sex in that. Just beautiful light knowing this body is the vehicle to get the lessons we need and make whatever changes we can in the world.

We are all still individuals, and no one person is alike. If I look at my own daughters, they are as different as night and day, from their looks, to their thoughts, to their likes and dislikes. If they can be so different having come from the same genetic make up, I know that stereotyping people based on religion, or race, or sex is absurd. Forget what you’ve been taught in the past, you get to make your own choices in the present.

The reason I really wanted to share this experience is also because so many mothers, like myself, want to be like “uh check please,” and get out of there. I got embarrassed and started to question my mothering skills. Instead we can share these stories and realize that we should be patting each other on the back. We can look at our innocent toddlers and realize we have encouraged this beauty of oneness, curiosity and truth. The next time my daughter tells the hairdresser she doesn’t like her haircut, I can shrug my shoulders and think well atleast she’s honest. I know if I keep guiding her openness and love, she will be able to honor others and use words that heal people without compromising her own truth.

The lessons she reminded me of were so much greater than any response I could have given her. For what its worth, I told to her we all look different to make the world interesting. Where’s the fun in looking the same as everyone else. (She’s 3 and everything revolves around dress up and being fabulous.)

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can learn to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than the opposite.”—Nelson Mendela

Photo Credit: http://weheartit.com/entry/105315826

Stay Young: Prevent Back Pain

 

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Your age is not determined by the number of years, but by the flexibility of your spine.

Think about your functional daily activities: brushing your teeth, washing dishes, reading, playing with your kids, working on the computer. The theme of your day is the Hunchback of Notre Dame, bent over and flexed forward!

Quick anatomy lesson: your back is made up of irregular bones called vertebral bodies. These bodies stack up on top of one another with intervertebral discs in between them. The discs function to absorb shock, support the bones, and allow increased mobility of the spine. The disc is made up of a center, called the nucleus pulposus, which consists of a semifluid mass. The nucleus is surrounded by collagen fibers.  The posterior portion of the disc has thinner fibers compared to the rest of the disc. Making the disc more vulnerable in the back portion.

Increased forward bending of the spine, creates gapping in the back of your spine. Making it easier for the disc to leak out and cause disc herniations or disc bulging. The disc can then put pressure on nerves, causing you to have tingling, numbness, even a pins and needles feeling down your legs. Over time, if these discs keep pushing on the nerves, your muscles can become weak and cause limitations in function.

Maybe you’re thinking I don’t have any back pain. Well I’m saying, Not Yet!
8 out of 10  (80%) people in the USA claim to have back pain at some point in their lives.1  Total cost on healthcare, ranges in the billions, for low back pain in one year.2 This is the largest of any other disease for which analysis is available.3

Oh and it gets worse. Of those people who report back pain, 73% have a reoccurrence within 12 months.4

Repeated flexion of the spine puts strain on your back. If the repetitions are close enough, the back does not recover to full mobility causing imbalances in flexibility, leading to pain.

Test it: turn to one side and look in the mirror. Place your hand on the small of your back and bend backwards, that’s extension of your spine. Look at how far you can extend. Now bend forward 15-20 times in a row, go as far as you can like you are trying to touch your toes. Then check your extension again in the mirror. You will probably have less mobility, and/or you now have some aching in your back. Imagine if you are doing this all day everyday, which you are. The limitations you create are much greater.

The proof is in the research. Compression caused by loading the spine during activities like weight-bearing or bending forward causes about 10% water loss of a disc in one day.6 Which results in about 2% height loss during the day.7  Although your disc rehydrates once compression is released and overnight. The viable cells you have to help this process decrease with age.

You have 98% viable cells in infancy, 50% in young adults, and only 20% in elderly. This is why people get shorter as they age.9 Unfortunately, no one has found the youth fountain so yes, this will happen to you. So whether you are 12 years old or 60 start preventing low back pain.

Need more convincing?  In the early morning your back is 300% stiffer to flexion forces, and is at the highest risk for injury from bending forward.8 This is why brushing your teeth is the most complained about activity for people with back pain and can very easily injure your back.

Prevention Tip:  open the door of the cabinet under your sink and place one foot up onto the shelf, while you brush. This allows for you to use your hip to flex forward, protecting your back.

7 out of 8 research trials found only extension exercises were effective in preventing low back problems.10 
Watch the Video to Stay Flexible. Stay Young. Practice Prevention!

Note: This may not be for everyone especially people with anterior disc issues or spinal stenosis. If you already have back pain, use caution and don’t continue if you get increased pain or stiffness.

References:
1.Medline Plus. Back Pain. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/backpain.html. Accessed March 11, 2013
2.Mehra M, Hill K, Nicholl D, Schadrack J. “The burden of chronic low back pain with and without a neuropathic component: a healthcare resource use and cost analysis.” J Med Econ. 2012;15(2):245-52
3. Maniadakis N, Gray A. The economic burden of back pain in the UK. Pain 84 (2000) 95-103
4. Liset H M Pengel, Robert D Herbert, G Maher, Kathryn M Refshauge. Acute Low Back Pain: systematic review of its prognosis. BMJ 2003;327:323
5. Hirsch C, Nachemson A. New observation on mechanical behaviour of lumbar discs. Acta Orthop Scandinav 1954;23:254-283.
6. Brown T, Hansen RJ, Yorra AJ. Some mechanical tests on the lumbosacral spine with particular reference to the intervertebral discs. J Bone Join Surg 1957, 39A:1135-1164.
7. Stokes IAF. Surface strain on human intervertebral disc. J Orthop Res 198, 5:348-355.
8. Adams MA, Dolan P, Hutton WC. Diurnal variations in the stresses on the lumbar spine. Spine 1987 March;12(2): 130-7.
9. Buckwalter JA. Spine update. Aging and degeneration of the human intervertebral disc. Spine 1995; 20:1307-1314.
10. Bigos SJ, Holland J, Holland C, Webster JS, Battie M, Malmgen JA; High-quality controlled trials on preventing episodes of back problems: systematic literature review in working-age adults. Spine J;9:147-168, 2009.