From Scarcity to Abundance – Healing after loss

heather edwards grief loss wellness“How do you want to die?” These are the haunting words spoken by her doctor after being diagnosed with stage four cancer. Three months after her passing, I’ve turned toward and through my grief seeking peace.

Grief takes time. It can feel overwhelming and eternal. But it eventually changes. The cloud lifts. Clarity and lightness return.

Our love for those who have passed before us never dies and perhaps that’s what keeps us moving forward. They’re never really gone. They live on in memories, moments, and a felt sense of connection to them.

While sitting on the edge of loss and wholeness, I’m struck by the flood of ideas about cultivating a robust authentic life. It’s an integration of real science from multiple areas of psychology, neuroscience, trauma treatment, somatics, and mindfulness.

It takes effort to embody them sometimes. But that’s natural, too. From time to time, we are all challenged by real trauma and loss that interrupts our natural flow toward health and happiness. So today’s blog is a free association about the science behind wellbeing. Take a moment with each concept and consider ways to incorporate it into your everyday life.

Love

Abundance

Passion

Connection

Meaning

Movement

Wellness

Happiness

Authenticity

Showing up

Trust

Courage

Mind body

Engagement

Purpose

Flow

Yoga

Gratitude

Relationships

Silence

Meditation

Nature

Stillness

Reflection

Mindfulness

Notice

Observe

Let go

Drop in

Presence

Groundedness

Openness

Non-judgement

Hear

Sense

Experience

Positivity

Light

Choose

Imagine

Act as if

Family

Friends

Support

Animals

Sunsets

Music

Nutrition

Wholeheartedness

Boundaries

Yes

No

Truth

This moment

Vulnerability

Freedom

Breathe

Love


Since our bodies and minds naturally move toward wholeness, healing, and wellness a concerted effort can only accelerate the process. I’m not suggesting ignoring or numbing the painful feelings. That’s part of the hard work. It’s necessary to feel them. It makes the other side of those feelings more joyful when they’re reached. The contrast, the conflict, and the competition of emotions beckons us to examine them and welcome them.

heather edwards grief loss happinessIn the words of Rumi…

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,

translation by Coleman Barks

Jumpstart Productivity: 7 Tips to Get on Track

productivityThose long lazy days filled with sunlight and flowers are nearing an end. Dawn and dusk last a bit longer as the sun’s angle lowers in the sky. Shadows dance through the trees upon the breeze while the air cools, just a touch. As the gardens wilt and turn to seed, shorts and tee shirts no longer comfort you. Instead, you reach for sweaters and pants each morning and enjoy the crisp new season. You begin looking forward to what autumn brings – change, purpose, and productivity.  While summer will be missed, you know it will come again. It’s bittersweet but the time is nigh to look ahead and plan for your most abundant fall and winter.

Here are a few tips to get started on making the new season a fruitful one.

  1. Establish a routine. The power of routine is immeasurable. Once you’ve created an order in your life that allows your brain to focus on higher level or creative pursuits, the mundane and trivial activities of everyday life become almost unconscious. This allows your mental effort to be applied to what you really want to accomplish, rather than getting bogged down in the details.
  2. Create accountability. Verbalize your goals with people around you to create an external source of responsibility to them. It’s motivating to answer publicly to your proclamations. Set clear boundaries and expectations for what you want. Use timers, calendars, and a daily schedule to keep on track.
  3. Clear your mind. Meditation is the most effective way of creating peace, clarity, and focus in your life. It can happen in just 20 minutes per day. It physically changes your brain structure to allow better coping with stress. Madonna, Clint Eastwood, Lady Gaga, Howard Stern, Katy Perry, and the list goes on… practice meditation to create a sense of calm groundedness amidst the chaos of a busy life.
  4. Just say, “no”.  This is an undervalued skill that makes life more manageable. How often have you overcommitted? When you’re frantically striving to complete many tasks, your quality of work is reduced. When you focus on only a few projects that are really important to you, your quality of work skyrockets. Practice the art of graciously declining invitations. It’s better for outcomes, relationships, and your health.
  5. Get some shut eye. The research into sleep is exploding. Recent studies are finding that sleep allows your brain to encode (save/remember) information, organize information, and cleanse itself of toxins. It not only allows your mind and body to rest, it can improve learning and memory, performance, and mood.
  6. Fuel your machine. Would you drive your car on an empty tank of gas, or expect your cell phone to ring when the battery is depleted? How could you expect peak performance from yourself without the proper fuel? Reduce your consumption of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and other vices. Increase consumption of lean meats, leafy greens, fruits, fatty fish, and nuts. They provide nutrients that reduce depression, increase energy, promote healthy brain function, heart health, and immunity. The benefits of eating right are endless.
  7. Burn it off. Exercise increases feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It lowers stress related hormones like cortisol & adrenaline. Combined, these improve energy and balance emotions. Getting sweaty develops brain regions responsible for memory and learning, improves your overall physique, and can boost your self esteem. Commit to regular exercise.

productivityWhile the long, lazy days of summer are coming to a close, a new season of growth and opportunity beckons. Go with the flow, stay in the present moment, maintain your focus. When you implement these tips, you will improve your life. Start small. Begin with one change that will get you closer to the way you want to experience life. Make it a habit. Reap the benefits.

 

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
1st Photo courtesy of free digital photos.net. by David Castillo Dominici.

At the Table (Podcast)! With Nutrition Expert Jessi Haggerty

heather edwards nutritionNutrition experts, Allison and Jessi invited me to join the conversation, “At the Table with Allison and Jessi.”

At the Table is the love child of two nutrition experts who want to help others improve their relationship with food by making eating a sacred and enjoyable experience again.

Allison is a Holistic Nutrition Counselor and blogger behindwww.friskylemon.com. She specializes in empowering people to heal their digestion by creating their personalized healing diet based in the Paleo Diet framework.

Jessi is a Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer who provides an excitingly educational, deliciously nutritious, and slightly sarcastic sustainable approach to food and wellness. To boot, she’s my amazing cousin! You can find Jessi on www.jessihaggerty.com

In this episode of At the Table, we discuss everything from mindfulness and positive psychology to a milkshake-a-day diet I followed as a teenager, and our Mastermind group!

Find out about how Jessi and I find our flow by getting lost in our favorite activity.

There’s a secret and goofy holiday mix up revealed, too that will get you rolling with laughter at the chaos we call family. The one rule in Fire Island is bantered about.

Jessi asks me questions like, “What’s your favorite food memory?”, “What was your relationship to food like growing up?”, and “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”.

It all ties into health, wellness, and being the best version of yourself. You’ll find that it’s light, fun, and entertaining! Kick back in your comfy chair and listen to a conversation about food and wellbeing that’s exciting, educational, and inspiring.

Stop reading and check it out here!  Please let me know what you think about it and if you’d like more posts like these… audio blogs, podcasts, and videos.  See you at the table!

 

 

 

Glow From the Inside Out: Deliciously Nutritious Tips

Deliciously NutritiousThe excitingly educational and deliciously nutritious, Jessi Haggerty, RD authored this blog post about simple ways to keep your skin healthy and glowing year round.  She is a Boston based Registered Dietician and Personal Trainer with a decade of experience in the health and wellness industry.  She uses her expertise in weight loss, gastrointestinal disorders, functional movement, yoga, and culinary arts to offer a 360-degree, all around, completely integrated wellness experience.  She tops it all off with a little bit of fun, and whole lot of fabulous to give you one of the most unique, gratifying, and sustainable solutions to long-lasting health around.  Her 10 tips below for prolonging that youthful appearance also aid in mental, physical, and spiritual health to boot! Check them out…

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You know that saying true beauty comes from within? It’s true… literally.

Raise your hand if you’ve been tricked one too many times to buy this-really-great-wrinkle-cream-that-your-friend-susan-uses or some vibrating machine that swears to exfoliate YEARS from your face?

Is your hand up? Mine is. Don’t be ashamed. We’ve all been there. Sucked into some shiny new object that promises us weight loss, beautiful skin, more money, or a worry-free life. But the truth is beauty does come from within – but I’m not talking about your soul. I’m talking about your diet.

See, when our body takes in nutrients, our skin is the last organ to reap the benefits. Read: only a well-rounded nutrient dense diet paired with high quality nutritional supplements is going to change your skin, NOT a magic pill or that-green-juice-you-had-that-one-time.

So let’s get into the juicy stuff. What types of nutrient dense foods am I talking about?

1. Fruits and Vegetables – this may be an obvious one. Fruits and vegetables are packed with fluid, antioxidants, and fiber. But they also contain phytonutrients – powerful disease-fighting nutrients that can be only found in plants.

2. Water – think about what happens to a plant when you forget to water it. It droops and wrinkles, right? Well your skin pretty much works the same way! Drink plenty of water (until you urinate clearly) to keep skin cells full and radiant.

3. Omega – 3 Fatty Acids – Yes – fat is GOOD. It is the major building block for your skin cells so start adding some high quality fats like flax, hemp, chia, walnuts, and fatty fish to your diet.

4. Probiotics -If your suffer from acne, or even the occasional stress pimple, you want to start taking care of it from the inside. Its a clear sign of a bacterial imbalance, so load up on the good stuff. Try eating fermented foods like sauerkraut or kombucha, or take a daily probiotic supplement.

5. Fiber – Fiber helps your digestive syst – ok, it helps you poop. AKA it helps eliminate toxic waste from your diet. Aim for 25-35 grams per day from whole food sources.

6. Vitamin C – Vitamin C, along with the other antioxidants found in berries, greens, and omega-3 fatty acids are your number one defense against sun damage as it fights free radicals. Try getting it from whole food sources versus a dietary supplement for best absorption. Yoga and Meditation

7. Coconut – Coconut has natural anti microbial and anti fungal properties. Try coconut oil for cooking and baking or use it as a topical moisturizer for an extra boost.

8. Sleep – I know I don’t need to tell you about this one! But there is no cream or lotion strong enough to get rid of dark under-eye circles. Aim for 7-8 hours every night.  

9. Meditation – Sometimes when I’m thinking or worrying, I realize that my face is all squinted and wrinkled. Figure out your most stressful moments of the day, pause, and take 10 deep breaths. This helps hit the ‘reset’ button on your brain and send some extra oxygen to your muscles.

10. Sugar – Eating processed sugar essentially leads to increased wrinkles and overall decreased skin integrity. Find pleasure in the natural sweetness of fruits and try limiting intake of processed sugar.

Yes, this list has A LOT of information in it. To start, just pick one thing from the list and start there. Once you feel like you’ve mastered it, pick another one. Before you know it you’ll be a glowing rock star!

Check out more tips and recipes on my website: www.JessiHaggerty.com

First Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Second Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net