From Now Until Infinity

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I came into the world with happiness as a goal.
I came in wanting to change fear into compassion.
I came in with more love than I knew what to do with.

Then I realized adults dominate children.
I learned they put their hands on you wherever they want.

My spirit died a slow death early in life.
Gone was the sprinkles and the sparkles.
Gone was the innocence.
Gone was the love I came to give.

Now I rise; knowing more, paying my karmic dues.
Filling the void of tears, pain, judgment, criticism,
With self-love, self-acceptance, and self-confidence.

I stand taller. My shoulders resting on my back.
Head held high and heart beating through my hands.

I am brave. I have a voice.
My spirit healed and ready to soar.

I saw the skies open up to me.
I saw the sun shine through me.
I felt the earth support me.
I found my God…within me.

And I promise to love her fiercely–
From now until infinity.

9 Lessons Learned Through Breathing

This blog was originally posted on eatlivelife.com 

“The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned.” Albert Einstein

In my experience, too many people are affected by breathing because they are either not breathing fully, or holding their breath, or breathing incorrectly.

Most of us squeeze our bellies in when we inhale and push our bellies out when we exhale, keeping all the air in the upper chest area. This is incorrect. The reason we do this is because subconsciously we feel we only breathe with our lungs, which are located in the chest.

The truth is the diaphragm is the main breathing muscle. This muscle when used correctly performs all the breathing and helps our lungs fill to capacity. Breathing correctly means being mindful that your diaphragm moves down and out when you inhale, in and up when you exhale.

Breathing affects our focus, clarity, health, and our temperament. If you aren’t breathing correctly, you aren’t allowing enough oxygen in your body. Essentially depriving our bodies of what it needs most to survive and depriving our minds of peace.

At the same time, breathing doesn’t just keep us alive, it teaches us beautiful lessons we can carry into our daily lives.

1. Natural Detox.

Our lungs take in oxygen from the air and remove carbon dioxide from our bodies. This exchange of gases is cleansing our bodies. If we don’t bring enough oxygen into our bodies the carbon dioxide pools in our blood and causes improper function of organs. So every breath is teaching our bodies to detox itself.

2. Giving.

Only when we can fully give all of ourselves, can we truly receive.

When we cleanse the carbon dioxide out of our bodies we give it to the world. Plants and organisms use it as their main source of survival. When we release every last bit of breath, we are truly learning to let go and give back to the earth.

3. Acceptance.

Accepting fully without judgment or criticism allows our self to feel complete.

Every time we inhale, we are accepting the oxygen created as a by-product of plant synthesis. Our entire survival is based on this one gas emitted from the plants around us. When we fill our lungs to capacity, we are fully and completely accepting every bit of oxygen into our bodies.

4. Trust.

Trust can only be felt. Try it. Take a large inhale. Bringing your belly down and out. Expanding your chest and raising your collarbones. Then exhale completely, Bringing your belly in and up and expelling every last bit of breath. You almost feel like you can’t breath because you have expelled all the air. Keep the air away and hold your breath for a count of 4 seconds.

You can do this even if it’s hard because you trust that in the next moment, you will choose to inhale and your lungs will be full again.  This is the trust between humans and the universe.

5. Magic.

Do you have tightness somewhere in your body? Well sit in a position that will stretch that area. Try the pigeon pose, for someone who has tight hips. The pose or your stretch may bother you initially, and be uncomfortable.

Now focus on your breathing, inhale allowing air into the tight area. Exhale all stagnant energy from that area. Keep focusing on releasing the tightness through your breath. After a few breaths something magical happens. Your tightness releases or the stretch is way more tolerable. Magic.

6. Love Your Body.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

Oxygen is our survival. By breathing we keep our organs and systems functioning properly, so we can keep living. Every time we breathe, we are showing care and love for our bodies.

7. Internal Massage.

Breathing allows our blood to circulate and supply every cell of our bodies. When our bodies feel the blood flow through our muscles and joints, it gets a whirlpool like massage; a natural massage to our internal organs. And who doesn’t love a massage?

8. Proper Posture.

Just mentioning the word POSTURE to people has them sitting straighter, now tie breathing into that and you have the shoulders going back.

A natural and automatic reflex to proper breathing is proper body mechanics. Your body naturally has to be in good alignment and posture to create more space in your heart center and expansion of your chest to allow more air in.

9. Balance.

There is a balance of good posture and allowing more air in. The balance of giving away carbon dioxide and taking in oxygen. A balance between detox and massage and loving our bodies. This balance creates life within us.

The simple act of breathing, can teach us so much about life. Be apart of it. Take a proper deep breath and accept this beautiful gift that breathing gives.

8 Tips to Staying Alive While Traveling

Being on a seven hour flight by yourself, sans kids, sans husband, sans a neighbor in the seat next to you fighting for the arm rest…gives you a lot of time to think and write.

I’ve been hearing too many stories lately about tightness and pain caused by traveling, and more importantly the cause of blood clots when on long flights (greater than 3 hours). The statistics vary for blood clots, recent data, rank it 3rd for leading cause of death right after cancer.

Yes, they are deadly and dangerous. A recent scare in my own family has caused me to bring this information to light, and speak on its SEVERITY!

Blood clots form when you are immobile for long periods of time, like on an airplane. From the immobility the deep veins have slowed return of fluid back up towards the heart, and the blood pools in a certain area of the body, usually the legs and in the calf area.

Everyone is at risk for blood clots. The risk is higher for those:

  • Taking Birth Control
  • Pregnant and upto 6 weeks post-partum
  • Older than 40 years of age
  • Overweight
  • Had surgery within 3 months
  • Have Varicose Veins

Symptoms of a blood clot include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Skin feels warm to the touch
  • Pain and unexplained tenderness in calf

If you have pain, do not repeatedly squeeze the calf because you can aggravate the clot. Some blood clots can dissolve on their own, however, and more commonly, they break apart and travel through the blood stream and lodge into your heart or lungs blocking blood flow and oxygen from vital organs in your body, causing death.

The reason I feel so strongly about the subject is because there are very simple steps to take in the prevention of it!  Here are 8 things you can do to keep your blood flowing, stay flexible and alive while flying.

1. BREATHE.

Keep your eyes closed look straight into the inside of your eyelid (your third eye). Take deep slow breaths, pushing your belly out as you inhale and belly comes in as you exhale. Exhale completely releasing every last bit of breath, before your take your next inhale.

I am always a big proponent of breathing, in every situation, in every place. A few breaths per minute keeps the stress away. A quick side story: I was on a flight to London and we pulled away from the gate only to 5 minutes later, an announcement that something was wrong with the AC and we had to go to another gate and have maintenance crew check it out. This delayed our already late flight by about 1 ½ hours.

The Gods were definitely on my side because I had just done a 20 minute meditation. I felt calm as a feather and there was everyone around me, agitated, angry and even yelling at their loved ones over the phone, as if it was their fault. I count my blessings and find peace in the chaos,  all because I believe in the breath!

2. HYDRATE.

The humidity level in the airplane is much lower than normal ranges. This dry environment can cause your body to become dehydrated very easily. Drink lots of water to help replenish your systems. Alcohol, coffees and teas actually have a dehydrating effect, and can cause increased fatigue.

Staying hydrated also helps combat the higher chances of contracting a virus on the plane. Humidity keeps your air passages moist and the lining can protect the germs entering your body. If the airway becomes dry the mucous doesn’t work properly and can allow germs into the body.

A good target is drinking one 8oz glass of fluid for every hour on a flight. (3 hours of a flight means 3 cups of water)

3. WALK.

Sometimes on short flights, it can be hard to get up and walk. There are no excuses, when it come to your health and staying alive.  Get up from your seat and walk up and down the aisle. Especially for long flights greater than 2 hours.

Some people feel shy or embarrassed about walking up and down the aisle on the plane. Seeing all those faces staring back at you as you pass by for a 3rd time, feeling like you’ve lost your seat. Well feeling that way is much better than the pain and feeling of having a deadly blood clot. So keep moving.

4. ANKLE PUMPS

Ankle pumps decrease swelling in the extremities by increasing venous return or pushing blood back up towards the heart to recirculate.

Ankle pump exercises, inadvertently strengthen your pelvic floor. Don’t believe me? Flex your feet up, bringing your toes up toward your body. Do you feel something happening at your pelvic floor (yes men feel this too)? And who doesn’t want better bladder control on a plane!

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  • Straighten out your legs under the seat in front of you.
  • Lift the legs about 6-12 inches off the floor, depending on how much room you have.
  • Begin to flex your feet up towards you and then point them away.
  • Repeat about 20-50 times. Repeat every 30-45 minutes. You can’t do enough.

5. ANKLE CIRCLES.

These help keep your ankles from swelling, stiffening and tightening. Keeping the mobility of your ankle joints so those long walks to the baggage claim isn’t painful.

  • Straighten out your legs under the seat in front of you.
  • Lift your legs about 6-12 inches off the floor.
  • Start by flexing your feet up towards your and then make circles pointing your feet in all directions.
  • Repeat 20-50 times.
  • Reverse directions.
  • Repeat 20-50 times. Repeat every 30-45 minutes

6. SPINAL FLEXES

Sitting on a plane or anywhere can really close off your heart center and cause poor posture and circulation. Spinal Flexes help decrease stiffness, and keep your spine flexible and strong to lift those bags, so get to it.

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  • Sitting straight with your chin tucked slightly, shoulders back and down and spine straight.
  • Begin by arching your back. Opening up your chest area and pulling your shoulders back. Pushing your hip bones forward.
  • Now go in the opposite direction curling your spine, bringing your shoulders forward and bringing your chin to your chest.
  • Inhale as you arch. Exhale as you round.
  • Repeat 20-50 times. Repeat every hour.

7. Neck Rolls 

Our necks are placed in funking positions from sleeping, looking at the screen or twisting and turning to talk to your neighbor. Neck Rolls help keep your neck from stiffening and causing headaches.

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  • Sitting with your spine straight and shoulders back and down.
  • Bring your chin to your chest, inhale.
  • Exhale as you take your right ear to the right shoulder.
  • Then inhale as you take your head back and look up toward ceiling.
  • Exhale as you take your left ear to the shoulder.
  • Inhale as your return with your chin to your chest.
  • Repeat about 10-20 times.
  • Reverse directions and repeat another 10-20 times. Do every hour.

If you can’t do neck rolls due to pain or limitation. Break up the exercise into two parts:
Rotate neck side to side, repeating 20 times.
Then bring chin to chest and chin to sky, repeating 20 times.

8. WRIST PUMPS.

These help keep the blood flowing in your upper extremities. These are similar to ankle pumps, but for your wrists.

  • Sitting with your spine straight.
  • Stretch your arms straight in front of you, so they are at heart level.
  • Extend your wrists, pointing your fingers up toward the ceiling.
  • Then point your fingers down toward the ground, flexing your wrists.
  • Repeat 20 times in each direction. Do every hour.

Staying alive is the most important thing to living. Practice Prevention!

I’m Nobody’s Role Model

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I recently have had a few of my dearest cousins and friends say, “you are truly my role model.” My immediate response was, OMG! How amazing! How sweet! I even said thank you and had a massive smile on my heart.

AND then reality hits!

Although, I am so grateful and appreciative that someone would see me this way. Role models come with expectations and goals and the pressure to be on my best behavior. Think about your role model. Some of you may be thinking about athletes, philantropists, or celebrities. Do you think you put some pressure on them to be the best…for you?

Let’s take Tiger Woods, for example. Fantastic golfer and probably a huge role model to many many people out there. Unfortunately, when all the stories surfaced about his personal life, think about how many people were shocked, offended, maybe even hurt.

Why? Because he was titled their role model. Did this mean he wasn’t still a great golfer? No. He is still a great golfer. Did this mean he was going to lose tournaments? No. He still wins them.

What’s the problem then? The problem is we expect role models not to screw up. We hold them to a higher level of output. Is that fair? I mean these people are great at their trade, but may have a lot of growth that’s needed in other areas of their life.

Athletes, writers, singers, they are fulfilling their purpose, they are doing what makes their soul happy. Its very easy to see that and want that for yourself. Especially if their trade is what you’ve always dreamed of doing. We may even take it an extra step and try to imitate them and dress like them, some how we think it will get us closer to our dream.

The truth is only YOU can bring you closer to your dream. Know yourself. Know what you like, don’t like, what kind of person you truly want to be. If you try to copy someone else, you may be disappointed. Just for the pure fact that you are dressing like Beyonce and your body type is Winona Ryder. The point is Be You!

When you live for you, you stop relying on someone else to do the work. Looking up to a role model means sometimes we see how their life progressed and think that that’s what we have to do. Well she went to this college, so I have to go there. She has 4 kids, maybe I should… I hope you are LOL’ing literally, because you know how ridiculous this sounds. What if your happiness doesn’t lie in having 4 kids? You will be sorely disappointed… and your poor 4 kids?

Look within, do the work and find out where your happiness lies. I am not saying don’t let people inspire you. Of course, look to these actors, athletes, poets, presidents and be reminded of how great someone can be if they believe in themselves. Don’t look at them to imitate their life path, or lifestyle. Its not yours.

So, as grateful as I am to be able to be someone’s role model. I have to say, please don’t do that to me. Because I may mess up. I may eat an extra piece of cake or take that shot of fireball that’s going to put me over the edge.

I spend about 95-98% of my life trying to be healthy, full of wellness. I spend maybe 2-5% living with the idea of moderation. If I want a piece of cake, its because I want cake. If I want a glass of wine, its because I want a glass of wine. Nothing outside of that, it doesn’t mean anything. Well it means, I’m still a work in progress too.

But if I was your role model and you don’t believe in drinking or eating sugar 100% of the time, you may put the pressure of “why are you drinking or eating cake?” on me, and that’s not good for anyone.

If you want to be a PT or a blogger or a mother or meditation teacher or … great! Let me inspire you to see that when you believe in your dream, your truth, yourself, you can do anything!

In the end we are all just souls in human form. We have life lessons, we have a journey. Look to someone else’s story as inspiration rather than something to model; so that you can tell your own story and let it inspire others…