CLAIM YOUR INNER WILD WOMAN THROUGH EMBODIED TRANSFORMATION
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Many of us admire women who shine their lights brightly. I’m talking about women like Oprah, Brene’ Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, and others… These women are empowered, confident, and self-possessed. If you’re like me, you may have asked at some point, “How the did they get there and how can I get some of that?” What I have come to realize is that sometimes getting to the point of shining our own light requires that we go through a transformation of sorts.  In order to transform, we have to drop all of the false stories and beliefs we’ve relied on to define us. We also have to uncover the truth of who we are so we can shine in ways that are meaningful to us.

The Disconnect

I remember feeling like a sparkly little unicorn as a child; I was quirky, funny to others, and rather introspective. Then I grew up learning to feel ashamed of myself for things that had nothing to do with me. College helped me to start uncovering those parts of me that I’d learned to hide and I leaned in to my adventurous spirit by honoring my intuition and my quirkiness throughout my 20’s. I shelved it all in my 30’s by embracing the sometimes soul-choking role known as “adulting”. I woke up around age 40 and realized that I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I’d compromised myself so others would feel comfortable with me to the point where I no longer had any idea of who I was anymore. I wanted myself back. I was even willing to fight for it and to let go of things that weren’t working for me anymore in order to reclaim my SELF. The first casualty became my marriage and the loss hit me like a ton of bricks.

My Day of Reckoning 

Thank God for my day of reckoning…I remember it well. I was sitting on my couch, talking with my Spiritual teacher and my sangha (my community of spiritual brothers and sisters) who I was grateful to have met a year earlier. My teacher dropped a verbal bomb that shook me to my core; she posed this question to my group, “Who would you be if everything you used to define yourself suddenly disappeared?” Mic drop. And with that, my transformation began. I had to face the truth that I wasn’t coping well with my newly found freedom. I was faking my okayness. Who was I now? How could I get to the place of living my truth and embracing my fire from a place of deep strength and wisdom? The answer would only unfold when I began to truly LOOK at myself and SENSE my own TRUTH. I needed to feel my life again.

My Journey Home  

I was turned off by therapy; I’d participated in it for years but it didn’t really touch what I was dealing with in a way that helped me to feel resolved. I was trying to “think” my way into healing. I also was approaching healing from a perspective that there was something I had “to do” in order “to fix” myself. What I came to realize is that I wasn’t broken; I just had to “come home” to myself and to reconnect with who I am at my core. And to do that, I had to simply listen, allow myself “to be”, and to trust my intuition. Yep, you heard me! There was nothing to do; I just had to give myself space to be. The solution sounds simple but it was challenging to me. However, I was determined to feel my life again and to connect with that inner Wild Woman I sensed was still there. I began to open up to listening to my body.  With the support of teachers, coaches, and practitioners, I learned/relearned a number of things: I learned how to quiet my mind and how to be still through meditation. I also spent time out in nature. I took walks and laid out in my favorite parks. I also took hikes and spent weekends in the mountains. Nature is healing. I also received healing touch through massage, which helped me to feel my body again. Additionally, I learned how to breathe more deeply and fully through breath work, which helped me to let challenging feelings go. And, best of all, I learned how to move through feelings, express myself, interact with others, and how to play again through dance. 

Coming Full Circle

Today, I can feel my life again. I have a reignited sense of passion and growing freedom. I can feel my Inner Wild Woman! While I still have triggers that give me pause, I also have a willingness to try new things and to push myself beyond my comfort zone. I approach my life differently; I’m gentle with my limitations (we all have them) and I focus a lot more energy on the things that I do well. I have desires that I can now see are completely okay to have. Life is good! We aren’t taught that our bodies can be our most trusted ally for living fully in our own power; we are often taught that we have power if others approve of us or if we achieve that thing that makes us worthy. Not true. We hold the keys to our own freedom if we give ourselves the space and time to listen.

 

“One cannot understand the rhythms and meanings of the outer world until one has mastered the dialects of the body.” 

 ~Timothy Leary

GET EMBODIED: The Healing Power of Breath, Massage and Movement

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Who am I? I don’t recognize myself in my life anymore.” Or do you have that feeling that your life doesn’t quite fit you as comfortably as it once did…it feels like a constricting suit that is a few sizes too small? You aren’t alone. Many people ask themselves this same question and feel these similar feelings, especially around mid-life. The “Midlife Crisis” is real, folks! We hear a lot of sound bytes and platitudes encouraging us to live an embodied life. What does that mean??? It means learning to live from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. The words may sound nice but finding time to implement a practice can be a challenge as we go through our daily paces. (You know the drill: Do the job, care for kids, clean the house, mow the lawn, buy groceries, do laundry, participate in neighborhood or school or community groups. You know…doing “stuff”.) Truthfully most, if not all, of our daily and weekly responsibilities direct our attention and energy to a place outside of ourselves.

Go Inside, Li’l Grasshopper!

Regardless of how much we thrive on outward interests and productivity, it is equally important to make time to connect with ourselves in tangible, enriching ways. Focusing inward helps us to connect more fully with ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and Spiritually. The first few tries at getting quiet and mindful might feel odd or challenging but, when you commit to a practice, the openings can come and be rewarding. If you choose a deeply involved ritual to follow…great! Deep, intentional ritual is amazingly juicy! However, if you feel crunched for time, easily accessible rituals ensure that you can make time to care for yourself in ways that you deserve and they can open the door, and help you make space, for a deeper dive when you so choose.

My go-to practices of embodiment include breath work, massage, and conscious movement. These three modalities assist me in tangible ways and, honestly, they can all be done at home.

Breath work

I take time to breathe deeply every day. I take time to breathe when I’m working on clients or am concentrating on a work project. I breathe when I’m driving and notice that I’m anxious, feeling not-so-charitable toward my fellow drivers, or am simply sitting at a traffic light. I especially breathe when I’m stressed out, sad, angry, worried or am feeling “off kilter”. A few minutes of deep breathing, regardless of where I am, can truly “reboot” my system.

  • The breath is a natural muscle relaxer. When we breathe deeply, we pump blood, nutrients, and oxygen through our muscle tissue which, in turn, helps our muscles to relax.
  • The breath can help to clear brain fog because oxygen is actually getting into the brain, which can help improve focus
  • The breath can restore your energy naturally. The breath IS energy; it’s our life force. When we breathe shallowly, we are prohibiting the intake of energy and are reducing our body’s ability to regenerate and thrive. (It’s like how you feel when you breathe at sea level versus breathing in the mountains; breathing is easier there is more oxygen at sea level.)
  • The breath also helps to ground and relax us, emotionally, because it helps us to move through feelings that aren’t serving us; it helps to return us to a place of openness, joy, and compassion.
  • The breath can also help us to live in the present moment, which can help us to connect more fully with ourselves. Ruminating about the past and worrying about the future deplete us of energy because one event already happened and we have little control over what will happen next. All we have is this moment; this moment is what deserves our energy.

Intrigued? Schedule a Transformational Breath® appointment with me! You will never see breathing the same way again…

Massage

 Have you ever gotten a massage for simple relaxation, only to discover—mid massage—how your body REALLY feels? Our muscles automatically respond to stress, overuse, and misuse by tightening up. That tightness becomes our new “normal” even though we may not feel it. That “new normal” is what allows us to continue pushing ourselves until our bodies say, “I’ve had enough!”, in the form of a muscle tear, strain, general pain and/or serious challenges regarding coping with stress. Regular, monthly massage helps to maintain proper muscle functioning and helps to reduce stress.  

Massage can also be incredibly helpful for people who have suffered trauma for these reasons:

  • Massage helps to sooth an overly taxed nervous system; the nervous system is what triggers our “Fight or Flight” reflex.
  • Massage helps to relax muscles that might be tight due to “guarding”, or protecting, ourselves from future harm.
  • It helps us to like, love, and appreciate our bodies more fully and to see them as something more than mere “objects of violation”.
  • It can help to unwind emotional energy that has been locked in muscle tissue at the cellular level. As my teachers in massage school used to say, “Your issues are in your tissues.”

Massage can also help us to trust our bodies and our personal space again because it allows us to FEEL our bodies again. It also helps us to learn how to trust others with our bodies; a good massage therapist will ask questions, read your cues, and will honor the boundaries you set on safe touch.

You want to feel more connected to your body? Schedule an appointment to see me; I’d love to work with you!

Movement

 Conscious movement is creative and a kick in the pants. (Gawd, I love to dance!) I love the feel of dancing around a room and adore feeling how my body moves while in dance. But it’s so much more than simply moving my body; conscious dance teaches me how to show up for myself in my life. Not bad for an hour of play, eh???

  • Conscious movement can serve as my voice when I don’t have the words to express what I’m feeling or simply don’t know how I feel; no words are ever needed or required.
  • As with massage and breath work, it helps to release emotional energy at the cellular level; like the other modalities, it can serve as an “expressway” for emotional release and open up space for more joy.
  • Movement can also bring ideas and dreams to the surface; inspiration in the form of thoughts or feelings can motivate us to create new experiences and/or life paths for ourselves.
  • Conscious movement also invites us to lean into dancing our own dance independent of other people’s judgnents, desires, or expectations; it helps us to recognize what staying true to ourselves feels like in our bodies so that we can recognize it when we are engaged in our lives.
  • Conscious movement also helps us to remain settled within ourselves when we are dancing with others. It helps us to appreciate how other people are doing their own thing, both on the dance floor and in life. It also teaches us how to step away and dance our own paths when we need to do so.

Come rock your body into juicy embodiment with me the third Friday of every month at iBody Movement Sanctuary! http://www.ibodydenver.com

I will be talking more about these modalities at Parillume’s Shine Soiree on July 27th! Check out the Shine Soiree on my events calendar or go to http://www.Parillume.com to learn more.      

  

SELF CARE 101: GET BETTER SLEEP

(Including you, Beloved Insomniacs...)

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I value sleep. A lot! I struggled with chronic insomnia for more than 10 years and sometimes still do for short periods of time. It's miserable to drag myself through the day after getting only three to four hours of sleep. I can manage with less sleep for a couple days. However, if the insomnia lasts longer...oh, sweet baby Jesus, deliver me! And, regardless of how perky and alert I try to be, after a while, I begin to feel like I've been hit by a bus. Stress, an overactive mind, hormone fluctuations, and the like can wreak havoc on our physical bodies. (Brain fog, depression, irrational thoughts, digestive issues, increased susceptibility to illness and disease...to name a few.) So it's important to take control of our sleep cycle before our cycles start taking control of us. 

What Good Sleep Can Do:

  • Curb inflammation (which has been linked to heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes)
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve memory and mood
  • Support weight control and muscle mass
  • Optimize physical performance…the list goes on.

If you wake up feeling fully rested, energized and ready to face your day, you have gotten a good night’s sleep. If you get out of bed in the morning feeling fatigued, exhausted, and on edge, you could use more shut-eye. If you have trouble sleeping, try creating a sleep plan.

The Magic of a Sleep Plan

I didn't believe that a sleep plan would work for me when my naturopath gave me one a few years ago; it seemed too simple. But it worked, gratefully! A sleep plan trains your body to calibrate for sleep so that you naturally get tired, which is wonderful if your sleep issues are related to stress, and overwork. (For people who have issues related to something more serious, consult your doctor.) There are also things you can do if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Here is an easy to follow sleep plan that can support you. This is what my naturopath shared with me and I threw in a few of my own helpful suggestions. Use any combination (or all) of them to promote a restful night’s sleep!

Establish a bedtime for yourself. Rest comes more easily when our bodies have a set time for rest.

Establish a time to turn off all electronics. (No cheating!) The electromagnetic frequencies emitted from TV’s, computers, routers, and phones can be stimulating and can disrupt our natural rhythm when we are ready to “wind down”. Seriously, turn that shite off.

Take a soak. I recommend Dead Sea salt, Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, magnesium flakes, and baking soda. The heat from the bath water is relaxing. The minerals in the salts are not only relaxing, they're also replenishing to your body and the baking soda can help to clear any energetic sludge you have picked up throughout the day.

Make a cup of tea. Not just any tea, though. I’m a fan of chamomile tea made from whole chamomile buds because it is stronger than premeasured sleep teas. You can find chamomile buds at most natural food stores and at local herb shops. Steep two tablespoons of buds in 16 oz of boiled water for at least 15 minutes and then drink all of it. (Note: the tea gets stronger and more bitter the longer it sits so be careful not to let it steep too long.) If you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, have a cup of tea ready to drink on your nightstand.

Breathe deeply. for five minutes when you get into bed. The breath is a natural muscle relaxer, it helps you to get present, and it can also be a great way to help you to shut your mind off.

Use tinctures and essential oils to turn off your brain and chill. These old-school remedies were helpful for me and can help even the most hard-core insomniac to fall asleep.

Tinctures: Take a dropperful every 15 minutes until you fall asleep

  • Scullcap helps to slow down the racing mind
  • Kava kava helps to ease anxiety. 
  • California Poppy, Passion Flower, and Valerian Root tinctures are traditionally used for sleep. (Note: Valerian Root doesn’t work for everyone. For some people, this tincture can be stimulating. If it amps you up, don’t use it.)

Essential Oils: Rub them into your feet and relax

Mandarin, Lavender and Marjoram essential oils rubbed on the soles of your feet are also relaxing and sedating. These oils can be reapplied if you wake up and they smell great too! Just an FYI, mix a couple drops of marjoram in a carrier oil before using. It's a strong one!

Rub the soles of your feet together upon getting into bed. This action is comforting, soothing, and relaxing and can be repeated if you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night.

Still not falling asleep? check these out:

  1. Are you getting enough protein in your diet to maintain long term energy? If not, increase your consumption of protein at dinner or keep a cup of nuts at your bedside to snack on if you wake up.
  2. Are you getting enough Vitamin D? Many people are suffering from a deficiency of Vitamin D. Chat with your doctor to make sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be and increase your levels as needed.
  3. Are you getting enough magnesium? Many people are also suffering from a deficiency in magnesium. Natural Calm is a great supplement to use during the day and before bedtime.
  4. Have you gotten your hormones checked? If you're entering perimenopause and are having trouble staying asleep, chances are your hormones or organs could use a little TLC. Check with your doctor or acupuncturist for additional support.  

There are other homeopathic and natural remedies available that can support a better night’s rest as well.

As always, I recommend monthly massage appointments for stress reduction and to calm the nervous system, Maya abdominal massage to support hormone balance, and relaxing breathing techniques to help break the pattern of poor sleep.

Book an appointment or call me at 303-325-4150 for a strategy session. Let's get you sleeping!