Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Year's Resolutions are So Last Year

With the New Year just days away, it’s time once again to reflect over the past year, re-examine where we are in our lives today, and where we want the future to take us, or should I say, where we want to take our future.

Most of us practice the yearly ritual of setting New Year’s resolutions, which many times are just a repeat of last year’s resolutions. How many times have you vowed once again to “lose weight, stop smoking, get more exercise,” or other things along those lines? I think two out of three of those have been my running mantra for at least half of my life! 

And therein lies the problem with making NewYear’s resolutions. They usually focus on the negative, areas in our life where we feel we have shortcomings, or where we have failed in the past. One more way to beat our self-esteem up a little bit. And focusing on the negative things in our life or the negative way in which we feel about ourselves can only bring us more of the same. Our thoughts become our reality. What this means is that if we create and visualize something in our mind, that image attracts energy and whatever we’re picturing begins to become a reality. 

So if this is true, then instead of looking back, and “resolving” to make a change, or to get it right this time, we should set intentions, where we look forward, take aim, make a plan. When we focus, commit to, and are clear about the positive things that we want to attract in life, that is when we are working with intentions. But there is that little catch; we can’t just want something. We need to focus on that something, commit to that something and have a clear vision as to what that something is.

Intention is the strong desire and visualization of what you want to create in your life. Everything you do in life involves an intention and is followed by an action. We have the power, free will, and the choice to create the kind of life we want to live.

To set an intention, there are three main elements needed. The first is to know exactly what you want. So really sit with yourself and decide what that is. For example, if you want to attract a partner in life, don't just say, "I want to be in a relationship." No, be specific. What are the qualities you want in this person? Write down the details, all of them. You can't be wishy-washy here. Then, you need to visualize the desired result before it actually happens, and lastly, expect the result to happen. Intention is that magical combination of will, motivation and desire.

All of our feelings, beliefs and knowledge are based on our internal thoughts, both conscious and subconscious. We’ve all been told about the power of positive thinking. But it's not that simple. Just thinking positive won’t bring about the changes you desire. We need to truly believe these positive thoughts. And since we don't really know what old beliefs our subconscious is holding on to, we need to get these two on the same page. Here are a few things you can do to help you develop the power of positive thinking/believing:

  • Positive self-talk. Only use positive words in your inner dialogue, and repeat them often. When we hear something enough, we start to believe it. So use words such as, I can, I am able, it is possible, etc.
  • When setting your intention, visualize clearly in your mind its successful outcome. When you set an intention, always clarify, “this, or something better.” But also, make sure to show gratitude for all that you already have.
  • Surround yourself with positive people who fully support your vision and goals.
  • Be patient and loving with yourself and believe that you are worth having the best that life has to offer. 

So this year, blow off making those guilt-ridden resolutions and set a positive, empowering, intention or two instead. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Musings at 3500 feet

I don’t know if any book has moved me as much as the Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. I have read it more than once and have watched the movie several times. I am fascinated with human relationships and the mother daughter relationship may be one of the most fascinating and complicated of all.

My daughter, Olivia – beautiful, magnificent, a fire tiger, and because of this she was given an extremely strong will, a determined spirit, a fiery temperament, and as sometimes only a mother can know, a heart of gold. If what I have heard is true, the Chinese, because of their one child only law, would rid themselves of their female babies. Boy babies being much more desirable because when they become men they take care of their parents in their elderly years, while the daughters go on to live and take care of their husbands families. And if the girl baby happened to be a Tiger year baby, well heaven help her, she was definitely “disposed” of. Tigers were known to be “disobedient” and there is no room in a Chinese household for a disobedient daughter.

Flying up to Portland, deep in my own thoughts, thinking of my own daughter. If we were characters in the Joy Luck Club, Olivia would definitely be Waverly. Strong, ferocious, determined. I like to think that perhaps I would have been June’s mother, kind, soft and gentle, but I’m afraid I fit the part of Auntie Lindo much better. A bit manipulative, but a mother who wants only the best for her daughter, to see her fulfill all of her dreams, of which thankfully she has many. When Waverly cries to her mother “nothing I do seems to please you”, I feel a sadness and a keen sense of my own responsibility as a parent, knowing that on occasion my own Olivia has been made to feel that same way. But my intentions have always been good – my intentions have always been to let her be a free spirit, to live a life like a tiger should and shine in her own blinding light.

I thought about our self-worth and how hard it seems to be for women (or at least my experience with women) to know their self-worth. Whether it be the art of homemaking, child rearing, or any career we choose, we are always fighting to be recognized for the work we do, for who we are. If a large paycheck doesn’t accompany it, it is sometimes regarded as insignificant.

In a society where everything and everyone wants it bigger, from our homes, our 8-seater SUV’s, super highways, our men, the Big Gulp, the Double-Double, the big screen TV, the largest computer monitor, etc., it seems the only thing we still want small is our women. And we comply, which by doing so, we are sacrificing our own self worth.

We torture ourselves with clothing that is too tight, plastic surgery to reduce our thighs and stomachs, we keep quiet when at times we want to scream out, we let "them" win at a board game, or tennis,
or. . . we wear black endlessly instead of celebrating ourselves in color. From taking the tiniest of portions (even if we are crazy hungry) so that someone else can have more, to taking the most uncomfortable chair in the room, the worst side of the bed, the cup with the chip, is this just part of our training as women, or do we really believe we are not as worthy?  It is not our true nature. If you observe little boys and girls, she is not such a push over, she will fight for equal time on the swing.

As I sit here in this cramped isle on my flight to Portland, jotting down notes on my airsickness bag, I’m noticing the large man seated next to me, who comfortably has legs spread wide open, has taken possession of the middle arm rest (there is only one, and it is also mine to use), his USA Today is spread across his air space and part of mine. I, on the other hand, sit with my knees forced together, both arms in my lap with my fingers clasped together. It is as if I am trying to disappear. Is this just being polite or am I doing what has been expected of us women for all of time? Stay quiet, stay small.

From the Joy Luck Club opening narration:
The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum. "This bird", boasted the market vendor, "was once a duck that stretched its neck in hopes of becoming a goose. And now look, it is too beautiful to eat!" Then the woman and the swan sailed across an ocean many thousands of lei wide, stretching their necks toward America. On her journey, she cooed to the swan, "In America, I will have a daughter just like me. But over there, nobody will say her worth is measured by the loudness of her husbands belch. Over there, nobody will look down on her because I will make her speak only perfect American English. And over there, she will always be too full to swallow any sorrow. She will know my meaning because I will give her this swan, a creature that became more than what was hoped for." But when she arrived in the new country the immigration officials pulled the swan away from her, leaving the woman fluttering her arms and with only one swan feather for a memory. For a long time now, the women had wanted to give her daughter the single swan feather and tell her; "This feather may look worthless, but it comes from afar and carries with it all my good intentions."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

You've gained 10 more pounds???

This isn't my typical blog post, it's more of what they call a shameless plug. But I'm excited to add two new additions to my existing coaching programs; month-to-month health and wellness coaching, and my new hourly "Small Bites" coaching sessions. All programs are offered in person or remotely (meaning, you can stay in your pajamas!) and, there are no contracts or ongoing commitments required. Keep reading, there's a good recipe at the end :)

How would you like to have your very own Health Coach? Some people have their personal trainers, their yogi masters, their children's nannies ~ and many, are discovering the beauty and success of having their own personal health coach. It really does take a village. Health Coaches are trained to not only work with nutrition, and finding what works best for each individual, but also all other life areas, whether you need help with your career, relationship, personal development or have just kinda lost your mojo and need some help and support getting it back. You don't have to do this alone! 

Why wait ‘til after the holidays, when you’ve put on ten pounds, spent way too much money, and now are having a mini bout of depression, only to make those New Year’s resolutions once again? And with my brand of health coaching, we use intentions instead of resolutions. The problem with making resolutions is that they usually focus on the negative, areas in our life where we feel we have shortcomings, or where we have failed in the past. Focusing on the negative things in our life can only bring us more of the same. When we focus, commit to, and are clear about the positive things that we want to attract, that is when we are working with intentions.You can make simple changes to the way you eat, the way you think, and implement them now to get a jump start on one of your healthiest and happiest new years ever! My goal is to help you feel great, lose the extra weight, and get back to loving life (all this, without giving up your favorite things like wine and chocolate!)

For $49.00 per month (month to month, no contract necessary) you will receive monthly ongoing information, guidance, motivation, tips, suggestions, all via email, and 60 minutes/month of phone/Skype consulting. What do you have to lose? (maybe some weight, some aches & pains, some insecurities, some old beliefs that have been holding you back?)

Email me at and let’s schedule you in, or, this would also make a perfect holiday gift for a friend or loved one that you think would benefit from this opportunity. Visit ~ to learn about me and my services. I'm looking forward to getting healthy with you!

And also, my "Small Bites" coaching sessions are now available:

30 or 60 MINUTE "Small bites" COACHING SESSIONS

(One on One ongoing Coaching, as needed - no contracts or additional commitment)
Sometimes you just need a bit of guidance or are seeking some answers or some sound advice. These half hour or hour sessions (depending on what you need) are perfect for a motivational boost; to address some confusing questions or to to provide guidance where you feel you are needing it most. Whether you have nutritional, physical, emotional, spiritual or life satisfaction concerns, we can cover these and get you back on the path and able to pass "Go" again.
These sessions are all done by phone or Skype, so you can be anywhere in the world. Contact me and we can schedule a convenient time for us to connect. 
                        30-minute session $45.00        60-minute session $80.00

Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
5 mins
Total time
10 mins

Serves: 1
  8 ounces brewed coffee (or 1-2 shots of espresso)
  ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  3 Tablespoons pumpkin puree
  1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  ½ teaspoon vanilla
  2-3 drops of liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
  sprinkle of cinnamon

1.       In a cup or sauce pan, mix together almond milk and pumpkin. Cook on medium heat
         on the stove top or microwave for 30-45 seconds.
2.     Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, spices and sweetener, place in a cup and use a frother to foam the milk. You can also use a blender - just process for 30 seconds or until foamy.
3.     Pour coffee into a large mug, add the foamy milk mixture on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Cilantro Between Us

My life would be so much easier if I liked cilantro. Living in California, where there is an abundance of Mexican food, I’m the annoying one at the restaurant, asking the waiter, “Does it have cilantro?” Then, disappointed, “Oh, it does? Can you put it on the side?"

Everyone at the table acts shocked. “What, are you kidding? You don’t like cilantro? How can you NOT love cilantro? I LOVE cilantro!” They stare at me, stunned, like I just renounced my religion or decided to relinquish my citizenship.

Never, it seems, has there been an herb that has created such a divide. It’s like the red and blue states. I don’t see people having this reaction to basil or thyme. But with cilantro, it’s either, you’re with us, or you’re against us.

So, I kept trying it. I wanted to like it. I was sure I would grow to love it. But, I didn’t.  I tried it cooked, I tried it raw, I daringly added a dollop more of a little cilantro laden salsa on my chips, I took little baby bites, and still, I couldn’t wait to get that taste out of my mouth.

If you’re like me, I’m sure that you, too, wish you could love this little contentious herb, just so that people would stop questioning you about your choice, or so that you could stop making two versions of your favorite guacamole or salsa for friends and family. I figured there had to be some kind of middle ground, at least a Switzerland type of substitution that might work for the masses. 

So I did a bit of research and found that some people recommended a few different substitutions; a bit of coriander seeds, a little parsley, some finely chopped poblano chili’s, or a little minced green onions with a squeeze of lime. But no matter what, the cilantro lovers will definitely notice the missing ingredient, and you, the cilantro hater, will wonder why you even bothered to add anything to what might have already been a perfect dish!

And then, just when I was feeling like there must be something wrong with me, I mean seriously, how could I hate this little green delight that everyone else was touting as tasting so fresh, clean, and bright, I learned that it wasn’t my fault! They now say that people who strongly dislike cilantro are born with some genetic variant. Apparently it lies deep inside a cluster of smell-influencing genes. There is a special protein that many of us are extremely sensitive to, and for those of us with this extra sensitivity, we dislike the smell and taste of cilantro. For those less sensitive, they will love it, like it, or possibly won’t taste it at all.

So, taking a deep breath, I think we can all relax now. Nobody is wrong or right in this battle of the herb. It looks like we need to just accept this and move on. And, like the saying, two heads are better than one, so it goes, that with cilantro, there is no debate, two recipes are better than one.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Listen, do you want to know a secret?

Is there really a secret to communicating with the universe? To getting all you desire and living a life of fulfillment? I’ve read The Secret, and books like Thoughts are Things, and Your Invisible Power, and as I apply what I’ve learned, hard as I try, doors still seem a little bit hard to open. Some are squeaky, some off their hinges, others have loose hardware, or the doorbell doesn’t work. And I've been told, that if things don't flow, if doors don't open easily, you're probably on the wrong path. Hmm, how do you decide that you've put in enough time and energy, and you should head back to the trailhead and walk a different direction?

When I was attending the BTB School of Feng Shui years ago, I remember His Holiness Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun, telling us that the universe would listen, and provide, IF, what we were desiring or wanting, was in our best interest. 
Well, that’s quite a disclaimer, isn’t it? “If it’s in our best interest.” So that being said, it meant that the universe had already decided what we needed and what we didn’t, and the best we could do is hope that the two of us were on the same page.

This thinking is in direct opposition with our having free will. Designing our own life. Living a life that we map out, that we plan, that we desire. Apparently, someone had already made that decision for us in advance. Well, we all know we aren’t really in control. That life makes sudden U-turns, takes the side roads and sometimes completely derails. But we make our plans anyway. And we pursue a dream that we hold dear. Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in synchronicity and the wonder of how things unfold. How sometimes we just happen to be in the right place at the right time. And I always give the universe or God or whatever "bigger than us" power you want to call it, credit.


The problem I have with all of these books that offer the solution to our flailing, is (besides the fact that they are making a killing off of us) is that it can lead us to feel inadequate as we are. That we are not doing it right, that we are not truly invested in our dreams, that we really aren’t communicating correctly with the universe and if one negative thought enters our mind, we have blown it, completely hung up or created a great disconnect with our all powerful universe. Leaving us to feel discouraged, powerless and without direction.

I believe the power to create a life we desire is within us. That we are the ones we need to communicate with, to focus, to trust ourselves. So, we shouldn’t get discouraged when things aren’t happening as fast as we like, or in the exact way that we like. We need to believe in ourselves, and in the path and direction that we decide to take. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. You’ve heard it many times, "you win some and you lose some." It’s the yin/yang principal. Balance. But I don’t think we should feel guilty, or feel as if we didn’t quite understand how The Secret works, and that we must have done something wrong, or that thoughts become things and we thought a few negative things along the way, and it all feel apart! At times, we all think both good and bad thoughts. Everyone does! Even the Dalai Lama admits to that. Don't let them fool you.

We can’t depend on the universe, or an outside source to really be able to pay so much attention to us, can we? I mean, there are at present, 7.2 BILLION people in the world, and I’m gonna say, that’s a pretty crowded party line going on. So talk to yourself, listen to yourself, and trust that you get to decide the life that is in your best interest. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

To Everything, Turn, Turn, Turn

One of the things I miss most about where I live is the witnessing of the change of seasons. Living in Santa Barbara, the seasons change, but not too drastically. What we have here are a few seasons of “Amazing” then comes “June Gloom” (which refers to our one overcast month in summer) and with any luck, another season that consists of some rain and nights cold enough to wear my peacoat.

October has always been my favorite month, for as long as I can remember. I love the coolness of the air on my skin, the surge of energy I feel, and the way I sleep like a baby under heavy blankets. I also adore boots, jackets, scarves and turtlenecks. Yes, turtlenecks.

And there's something to be said for really appreciating a beautiful day. Here, everyday is pretty beautiful, and you would think I would be appreciative of that on a daily basis, but it seems to be human nature that if you have something all the time, you tend to take it for granted. We really do need something to look forward to. Whether it's a sunny day, a vacation, a Broadway play, we need to have plans, events, things that are not ordinary, not delivered to us daily.

I remember what it felt like, when after having a rainy winter, the first day of spring rolled around, and flowers started to bloom and birds started to sing, and there was that exhilarating feeling of everything coming back to life. That feeling of wanting to dance in the mixture of spring rain and warm sunshine. Everything seemed possible in spring. 

Yes, today is the first glorious day of October and I love how the nights come a little earlier and when I wake there is crispness in the air. It’s the time of year when things slow down, nothing seems as pressing; it's restful. Fall and winter are such quiet times. They are more in line with the likes of the hopeless romantic, where it's easy to get lost in an epic novel. There is a peaceful hush to the world. Fall and winter seem soft, nurturing, and safe. To me, they feel like cashmere and smell like freshly baked banana bread.

Even if the leaves aren’t turning orange and yellow where you live, there are subtle shifts happening outside and in us all. There is a communal slowing down. Fall helps us make the transition from the frenzied activity of summer to the deep quiet of winter. It can also remind us to pause, to be present, and to reflect on the past year. It's a time for us to look back on what we have achieved, on any unfinished business in which we need clarity or completion. It's a time to stop the fiery summer energy of running around, of trying to accomplish maybe too much at one time, and breathe. Just breathe.

So, if the idea of summer being over brings you down and the thought of the cooler and colder months ahead already have you feeling a bit blue, try to relax and embrace the notion that we are meant to change, just like the seasons ~ and rest assured that spring will return and summer will come again.