So often we look outside ourselves to find out who we truly are on the inside. We look for gurus, models, mentors, more experienced or more self-confident people who have more guts than we do to tell us what we need to do to get life right. Oprah Winfrey, Eckart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, and other popular gurus are put on pedestals, and yet, they are simply people who have stopped asking for permission to be who they are and now use their power to influence our decisions on how to live.
I do this a lot. I keep looking for the right book to tell me how to go forward-what to do next-how to tell my story. I recently spoke with a book editor/publisher who said-“stop listening to everyone else. You have a story. Only you will know how to tell it.”
Spell the word guru, and you have Gee You Are You. The greatest gurus point you back to yourself. Although there are billions of people, there is only one you and yet we are all connected. Sometimes it is helpful to seek advice or ask for guidance along the journey, because of this connectedness we sometimes need an outside opinion. But then it is important to do an inner check and see if it fits for us. Eventually, you have to listen to your inner voice. That’s the key.
I used to teach this in my yoga classes. I never wanted to be looked at as a guru or all-wise teacher. I taught what I wanted to learn-what I needed to hear. I had followed someone as my guru, and it almost took me took me away from the life I think ( I hope) – do you hear the self-doubt?) I was meant to lead.
I just finished listening to an audio version of the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse.
In this book, Siddhartha lives a very full life with many teachers as he quests for his deepest answers. Finally he realizes the answer lies within himself.
Authenticity is hard to find when there are so many of us influenced by outside sources. I loved a little cartoon I saw recently where the first cell is beginning to divide, and now there are almost two and the one nucleus, the center of the cell, says to the other – It’s not you. It’s me. Who is it then? Is it Oprah or you? Is it you or your guru? Who are you? Pretend for a moment that there is no guide. There is no Oprah. There is no role model. There is no textbook. There is no Bible. There is nothing but you left to guide you.
This is a scary thought but also one that can free you to be yourself. I think we all have an inner Jiminy Cricket or Holy Spirit that guides us. We just need to make room for quiet time, whether it’s meditation, yoga, or simply sitting on a bench in the park. Then listen to what your inner voice is telling you.
Do you have the inner intelligence to move forward and know what to do next? What would you do if the world were up to you? What would you do if no one could tell you what to do? Who are you all by yourself? What would happen if we believed in ourselves and simply followed our hearts and our inner guide?
I feel like I am at a precipice. I am almost ready to tell you my story.
The problem is we don’t know how to listen or who to listen to anymore? I imagine myself waking up and just listening to my own voice and yet I am so full of everyone else’s thoughts and all the books and magazines and helpful hints I read.
I am listening and slowly finding my own voice. The hints I write for you come from my own life and experience.
Why can’t I just think of that or this? Why do I need someone else to tell me something that is right in front of my face?
And so it is with you-take the hints but see what fits in your life. Who are you and who are you meant to be?
It’s self-doubt. We grow up not believing in our own personal power. Our parents often tell us how to be, what to believe in and how to behave. As children, we look to them for advice and approval. We are human beings after all, and we need others to confirm who we are. We look at others for approval.
It is difficult to finally grow up and get in touch with the decision maker in you. I grew up very different than the way my own life has evolved. I hardly could tell my children how to to be or what to believe in. I was growing up with them. I had lost my parent’s approval long ago. As years went on I think they respected my inner growth.
As we grow up we continue to seek advice from books and approval from others. There comes a time when you need to stop reading, seeking, and asking and start believing in your own inner wisdom.
I teach what I want to learn.
You have the power to simply Be YOURSELF!
And so I hope you enjoy the me that shares more and more of my deeper self and story.
What are your self doubts and how do you boost your confidence?
What is the self you imagined and how different is that from the self you are living today?
What are three things you heard your own inner voice telling your self?
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing…not healing, not curing…that is a friend who cares.”
Friendship is an art. We are born into families but we must cultivate our friends. A true friend is priceless- someone you can call when you are confused, have a problem, or when you are excited and want to celebrate. Sometimes we need a friend to listen and not fix our problems or advise us with the best solution. Yet, how many people have someone in their life who will listen and love unconditionally without an ulterior motive; without asking for anything in return; someone whose own spirit is lifted by allowing you to share your dreams, worries, fears, confusion, anger, and other emotions.
This is rare in today’s society because we are in a hurry and listening takes time. It is also difficult these days because much of our communication is lost in texting, e-mail, facebook, and lack of self-awareness and mindfulness. How can we understand what someone else is feeling if we never take the time to understand our own inner world? Make friends with yourself first and you will be able to open your heart to others.
Like doctors, we want to give our friend a solution. Often we don’t want a solution; we just want to talk it out. A true healer will listen until they don’t exist so the other person can come up with their own solution, but this takes time.
There was a time when I went to a doctor and I said to him, “You know, Doctor, I think there is an emotional component to this and I really want to heal at a deeper level.” He looked at me with a sense of helplessness, and said, “Well, get up on the table and let me listen to your heart.” After putting the cold stethoscope on my chest, he proclaimed, “You are just fine.” Isn’t that funny? Would he really take the time to listen to my heart and soul and mind? No, not because he doesn’t want to, but because he doesn’t have time. Listening to someone’s feelings and emotions is difficult. We quickly want to solve the problem, hurry the pain away, and heal the person. We can’t expect our doctors to be our friends, but if we had more friends we might not need as many doctors.
You may have a “ton of friends,” but how many of your friendships are open and unreserved allowing you both to expose your soul and unleash your feelings and emotions without fear. You are fortunate if among the multitudes of people you know, you have one or two trusting friends who will be there for you even when they don’t understand you.
Cultivating friendship takes time and thought and the ability to give and to forgive. It is the desire to want to be in a relationship with another human being for no other reason than the healing energy of knowing you can count on that person and they can count on you in life when it is challenging or when it is exciting. This kind of friendship is the best medicine.
|“If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.” – Robert Breault
Spring is in the air and it is time for planning your garden and planting seeds.Think of your self as a garden, and nurture your own well-being. Dig in the dirt and see what you discover. After a long winter, during which many of us were still in hibernation, there was time for lots of reflection. Now we are coming out to a whole new world.
It’s a world still fraught with conflict and COVID-a new war and lots of suffering. Still so much havoc within our political arena. It’s also a world that invites us to begin again; to plant something new; to remove the weeds and create space for color. I don’t know about you, but I want to savor this time and these moments.
Sue Stuart-Smith, a psychiatrist from England, where they have beautiful English country gardens wrote the book, The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature, and in it she says “Gardening can be understood as a form of space-time medicine.”
I love working in the garden. I put on my overalls and garden clogs, a good hat and sun screen and just enjoy the work. I love that because gardening is so healing. It’s work, but I find those days digging in the dirt are some of my most contemplative moments. An incite comes in and I sit back in the grass, look around, take it in and feel something inside myself has grown.
Dr. Sue Stuart-Smith says that in the garden we can grow hope. It’s a metaphor isn’t it? You plant seeds and hope they grow in the right place; spaced enough to spread their roots, but not too far that they look lonely.
Our plants become our daily friends. They offer excitement and surprise. They teach us about living and dying. Not everything comes out perfect. Gardening grounds us. There is something about digging in the dirt and cultivating the soil. And trying new things.
Last fall one of my pumpkins rotted all the way down to just seedy mush. I took it and just put it in my garden. Now there is a mini pumpkin patch that I may need to remove if it takes over, but it will be fun to see what happens. I’ll let you know.
Gardening takes planning, organization, integration, and soil that needs to have a healthy balance of food, sunlight and water. So do we. Every garden is individual and authentic and so are you.
Whether you are a gardener or not, think of the seeds growing within you. What are you working on? What is your inner voice telling you to do next?
Coaching is like gardening. As a coach, we plant seeds, nurture, guide, and come up with a strategy for moving forward and growing in some area of your life, personally or professionally or both. And I have to add spiritually because within us all is a true spiritual guide. Let’s get in touch with that!
The Middle Way is living with spirit grounded, balanced and healthy.
Have you planted seeds and wondering how to proceed with your next steps? What’s holding you back? What would it take to help you move forward?
Book With Me Here
“I don’t know what people need to do or who they need to become. When I first meet with someone, I have no idea where we are going, and where we end up is usually a surprise to us both.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD. from Kitchen Table Wisdom
|I am planting lots of seeds for my coaching practice and will be offering Middle Way Webinars to support your well-being and nurture your personal, business, or spiritual life. We dig deep and watch you grow. And all “The Middle Way”.
|Loved this video about growing. BELOW. Remember even though we are “grown up” and aging, we are all still growing! Enjoy
The Heart of Wellness
Wellness isn’t just about a healthy heart, low cholesterol, low blood pressure and living at an ideal weight in a disciplined exercise program. It’s more than avoiding cancer or staying safe. It is so much more than that. And, yes, it involves your heart, but your soul heart. And, yes, when your soul heart is healthy, your body often follows. But it is important to note that if your body does get sick, it may be the perfect time to accept your humanness and get in touch with your soul.
Your life just works better when your heart is open.
How do you measure this depth of wellness? There are no biometric measures, or blood tests for spiritual health. You can’t get on a scale and see how much your soul weighs. But you can go inside and see how you feel. What’s churning? What’s getting in the way of your happiness and peace of mind? What do you need right now-physically, emotionally, spiritually?
Do whatever it takes, a walk in the park, reading a good book, helping a friend, giving to a charitable cause, or sitting in a quiet space with your own kind of prayer or meditation.
Health and Well-Being begin with a healthy mind and heart. Here are some of my favorite books for physical and emotional heart health.
BOOKS THAT HEAL THE HEART
You Can Heal Your Heart by Loise Hay and David Kessler
This book is about finding peace after loss from a breakup, divorce, or death. David Kessler was mentored by Elizabeth Kubler Ross and Louise Hay. I attended one of his all day workshops on grief, and learned so much about to work with grief in a way that promotes growth and finding peace of mind. Sharing real life stories that open the heart and comfort the soul, this book is a journey well taken for anyone suffering loss.
When The Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd
I love Sue Monk Kidd. The author of The Secret Life of Bees, goes on a journey into her own soul, to find her authentic spiritual self. Her heart waits as she dives deep into her own dark night of the soul by contemplative self direction and direction from others as she finds some answers to the sacred questions that guide her life.
Feeding the Hungry Heart by Geneen Roth
I have used Geneen Roth’s work on emotions and eating with coaching clients. I love how she writes about her own journey and shares stories of those she has worked with in her own practice. Eating was meant to be both to feed our bodies, but also in joy to nurture our souls, and when the heart is starving, we look for fulfillment in unhealthy overeating leaving us empty instead of satisfied.
Journey of the Heart by John Welwood
John Welwood is a psychologist who teaches the path of conscious love and deep spirituality as a way to nurture our relationships with ourselves and others. Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. said it perfectly “ A profound and wonderful book. It is a spiritual text on intimate relationship that is grounded in real life.”
There are so many other books that help us with that journey from the head to the heart, and books about healing. These are just a few.
If you are interested in exploring your own heart’s journey, I’d love to chat with you to see if I can help.
My coaching doors are open. To schedule a free consultation with me, use my calendar link.
Figs Fabulous Figs
I love dates and figs and recently experimented with some fig bread recipes.
I am sharing the recipes but also wanted to share some interesting facts about figs.
- Figs come from the Ficus Carica tree. They can be eaten fresh or dried and have a significant amount of fiber as well as carbohydrate. When mixed with Senna they have been used as a laxative.
- Figs were one of the first plants that was cultivated by humans and dates back to 9400 BC. Figs were widespread in Greece and a favorite food of Aristotle. He noted that figs have an interesting cultivation cycle and recorded that the fruits of the wild fig contained a wasp, called a fig wasp. Like other wasps, they begin as a larvae, then pupa and finally as an adult flies out of the fig into a cultivated fig and eventually drops out of the fig. The figs you buy today have been cultivated without the fig wasp but what an interesting fact!
- World production of figs is led by Turkey, then Egypt, Morocco and Algeria but have been bred in other countries and the United States.
- “High priest of the Fig” Ira Condit and William Storey started a fig breeding program at the University of California Riverside in the early 20th century that closed in the 1980s. James Doyle and Louise Ferguson revived the program in 1989.
- Figs are a superfood and quite impressive in how they are beneficial to health and well-being. For my bread I used dried figs. These dehydrated figs contain 30% water, 64% carbohydrate, and minimal protein and fat. They are high in calories but also rich in fiber and essential minerals like manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin K. They also contain phytochemicals including the polyphenols. They are an excellent prebiotic and healthy for the colon.
- Figs also have Vitamin C and Vitamin E- great for skin and hair.
- In folk medicine, the milky sap, which is considered toxic to the skin if exposed to sunlight, has been used to soften calluses, remove warts and get rid of parasites. The syrup of figs mixed with Senna has been available since the 1800s as a laxative.
- In Babylonian mythology the fig tree and it’s fruit have been linked to female sexuality, and the Goddess symbol of the fig leaf is the conventional form of the yoni. (what is that) Even today figs have been touted as a fertility enhancer.
- In Genesis, Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit and then cover themselves with fig leaves. Could the forbidden tree have been a fig tree instead of an apple tree. In some Jewish texts the fig is the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
- Figs have been a symbol of fertility and in Micah 4.4 the fig was a symbol of peace and prosperity “each man under his own vine and fig tree”
- Muhammad loved figs and felt they descended from paradise because they were a fruit without pits. He also recommended them for preventing hemmorhoids and gout.
- Cautions with figs? Do not overeat them as they can cause diarreah and if you are on blood thinners, be cautious as they are a source of Vit. K. A daily dose of 2-3 figs is recommended.
THE WINNING RECIPE
The Winning Fig Bread Recipe
I recently spent the morning making three different recipes for fig bread. The first recipe had figs and bananas. The Second recipe was made with only figs but I added chocolate chips. The third recipe had no additional sweetener and more flour. I added flax seed to all three breads. When Steve and I did a taste test in the evening, the first bread won.
Here is the recipe for the winning bread. If you would like any of the other recipes, simply email me and I will be happy to share it.
Walnut and Fig Banana Bread
· 3 – 4 Bananas, very ripe
· 1/3 cup olive oil – my favorite oil
· 2 Eggs
· 1 tsp Vanilla
· ¼ cup of honey
· 1 1/4 cups Wholewheat flour
· ¼ cup ground flax seed
· 1 tsp Baking soda
· 1/4 tsp Salt
· 1 Tsp Cinnamon
· 1/3 cup nuts, roughly chopped- I used walnuts and almonds
· 1/4 cup Diced dried figs- I cut them up with kitchen scissors
- Preheat the oven to 350. Oil or spray a loaf pan for one loaf. I usually make three small breads for every traditional size loaf.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas and then mix in the oil, vanilla, and eggs. Then add the honey.
- In a separate bowl mix the flour, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Stir into the wet ingredients just until moistened.
- Add the figs and nuts.
- Pour the batter in the prepared pan or pans. For one large loaf bake 45-50 minutes. For small loaves back 30-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick and make sure the center comes out clean. Better to be moist than dry.
- Take the bread out and cool for 5 minutes then remove from the pan and serve warm or at room temp.
- I always double or triple my recipes and freeze breads. Wrap them in foil and put in a plastic bag or plastic container. They make wonderful gifts or spontaneous treats with coffee or tea.
I have spent over 40 years studying the body and health, both illness and wellness and how the physical systems work and break down. I have also spent the last 30 years studying how we can prevent those systems from breaking down by adhering to a healthy lifestyle. I have dedicated the last 25 years of my life to studying how our thoughts and attitudes influence our health and wellness. I can summarize my findings by using four questions to evaluate your health and wellness or lifestyle.
What are you eating?
What are you drinking?
What are you doing?
What are you thinking?
Chances are if you are not feeling “well” or suffer from “dis-ease” one or all of these questions include some unhealthy practice. The most important question is What are you thinking? But first let’s look at the others.
What are you eating?
Let’s look at what you are eating. There is so much written about diet today that many have been suffering from mass confusion. The truth is the laws of nutrition have not changed much and we still need to eat a variety of foods to stay healthy. There is no magic bullet and no magic diet. We are hear to enjoy food and eat what feels good and healthy and give us pleasure. We need to eat to live and live it up while we eat.
So what feels good and what does feel good mean.
In a nutshell after studying all the diets and after going on many of them myself, I conclude the healthiest way to eat is:
- With variety
- Not too much meat
- Fish at least once a week
- More plant based
- Limit dairy products
- Lots of vegetables and a some fruit
- High fiber grains in breads, cereals and pasta
- Protein at every meal
- Limit simple sugars and avoid high fructose corn syrup
- Eat what your body is calling you to eat.
- Eat the foods that bring you joy and energy.
- Eat in moderation
What about drinking?
It is no secret that water is important. Our body consists of 75% water. Our cells and organs need water to function. Water keeps every thing flowing. Water is cleansing. The most important thing you can drink is water. There is controversy about the amount of water one needs, but there is no argument that we don’t live very long with out water. Can you over do water? Of course! We can overdo everything.
What about other beverages? There are other ways to get fluids into our body. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are wonderful supplements for health.
Coffee and tea have some benefits, but only in moderation. They are caffinated beverages and actually encourage our system to eliminate water. They actually can dehydrate us. The plusses of coffee is that it is a stimulant and can give us energy when we are tired and also, let’s face it-those of us that love a cup of coffee with the morning paper are drinking it because of the ambiance of it-for how it feels as it goes down and more than likely because we are in the habit of drinking it.
Tea is a little different. Caffinated tea can be a stimulant and Green tea has been reported to prevent and even attack some cancers. All the data is not in.
Tea has been found to have some strong antioxidants that help prevent disease and in some cases aid in curing cancers.
Decaffeinated herbal teas are not only refreshing but can have some medicinal value. Herbal teas have a connection to relaxation and quiet.
Wine and alcohol seem to have a place in a healthy diet, when consumed very moderately. For men this is about 2 drinks a day and for women no more than 1 drink a day. A drink is 6oz of wine, 8 oz of beer, 1 oz of liquor. Beyond this amount alcohol does more harm than good. Alcohol adds calories to the diet and also can be dehydrating.
Whenever you are consuming any beverage other than water it is best to have a glass of water with the other beverage. This allows you to enjoy the beverage of your choice but also to dilute it and allow the water to rehydrate your system.
What are you doing?
Whatever you do it must be in line with your values and goals. Your body needs to move so hopefully you are doing something other than sitting or driving. Your body needs walking and bending and stretching and playing. Without movement on a regular basis your body will become stiff and your entire system will suffer.
The doing should include daily exercise of some sort. It needn’t be so strenuous you dread doing it, but it should be enough that your body has to make some effort and in the act of doing the body is lubricated. Walking is by far the best and most natural exercise. Buy a pedometer and make your goal 10,000 steps (5 miles) a day.
Are you working at a job you love? Gardening is great doing. What about traveling. Are you doing some traveling – even if it is exploring a local park or place you have never been to? Pretend you took an airplane to come to this beautiful place and enjoy all the sites.
Do what you love.
What are you thinking?
This is the most important question, because if your thinking is in order all the other questions will fall into place. We do not over eat or drink or become sedentary because we are happy people and it feels good to our system. Generally happy people are full of life and enjoy what they eat, what they drink and what they do. Unhappy people abuse food and drink and either do nothing productive or resent everything they are doing.
This is the most important question to ask yourself.
Recently I was talking to someone who said, “You know, I am doing everything right. I am eating practically a vegetarian diet, I don’t drink, I don’ smoke, I work out with weights every other day and then walk and do aerobics 4 times a week, but I still feel like crap.”
So I asked – “What are you thinking?” she said – well –that is a problem. My thoughts are very conflicted. “ She proceeded to share some of her most recent issues. The main source of conflict is her interpersonal relationships and some issues at work.
That was it. She could do all of the exercise she wanted and eat very healthy indeed, but if her thinking stays conflicted she will continue to feel bad.
Each person needs to examine his or her own thoughts. What do you think from one moment to the other? What motivates you? What are your values? Who are you? What do you believe?
These are the questions that need to be examined in order to fully be healthy and alive.
And while you are questioning you may feel like crap, because it may be the first time you are really honest with yourself. It may be that for years you covered up all of your conflicting thoughts with distractions. Some people become workaholics. Being deep in thought about a project that needs to be completed prevents you from looking deeply within at your true thoughts.
Everyone is struggling in his or her own way with the existential questions. Some have found answers enough to move forward and live life fully. Others retreat to a mountain where they feel most comfortable with themselves and no interpersonal relationships to contend with. Look deeply within. You can only hide from yourself for so long