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Feeling Authentic In Your Gratitude Practice

Happy Gratitude Month

I love November when we seem to give all of our blessings some extra attention no matter where we are in our journey. However, some days everything is breaking down including your family members, and it’s more of a struggle to feel authentic being grateful. That’s when I like to use “even if” statements or intention statements. These statements directly address that little negative voice in the back of your head, and neutralize it. So on a particular day your intention statement may be “I am grateful for the ability to provide safe transportation for my family, even if it just took a major bite out of my budget” or “I am grateful for my beautiful children, even if they drive me crazy sometimes”. Experiment with your own intention statements to see if they feel more genuine to you. Remember that with any practice the more you do, the better it becomes.Hope

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5 Ways to Simplify your Home and Life

“Simplify, Simplify, Simplify”
Henry David Thoreau said it, and he meant it, as he took off to live in an isolated cabin in the woods with barely any earthly possessions.
Now, nearly 200 years later, it still holds true. Even in this time of unlimited choices and advanced technology, the simplest answer is usually the best one for us. The simplest foods tend to be the healthiest, the simplest drinks tend to be the purest, the simplest medicines (herbs, nature) tend to be the most healing and least damaging, the simplest toys encourage more creativity, and the simplest lifestyles tend to be the most fulfilling.
One of the places where I like to encourage beginning simplification is the home. I work with so many Mom’s that feel overwhelmed with day to day life, and keeping up with the breakneck pace that their entire family is committed to. Life is busy, but when your home is busy too you can find yourself in constant overwhelm. Tackling your home gives a very visual sense of accomplishment and allows you to drop your shoulders and breathe fully.
When your home is organized and uncluttered, it actually drastically reduces your “to do” list. You don’t have to spend as much time managing your belongings, you can dedicate your time to things that are more important to you such as family time, and you still have everything you need. Accomplishing this actually reduces your “there’s not enough hours in the day” feelings. It creates a less over-stimulating environment for your children, and can actually improve their attention and focus. Not to mention, there is more family harmony when everyone feels at ease in their home sanctuary.
Sounds great and so simple, so what’s the catch?
Personally, I believe that clutter and crap have the same reproductive lifecycle as fleas, lice, and cockroaches. They’re always in abundance no matter how much we don’t want them. Every time I clear out my home, I seem to get an influx of well-meaning friends wanting to “hand down” their children’s toys, or the next holiday arrives and fills things up again. It’s especially challenging if you develop sentimental attachments to things (ahem).
So, how do we go about this? After many years working at this assignment, here are my recommendations.

Simplify Home Photo
1. Tackle one area at a time
You are more likely to be successful if you tackle small projects. It’s less overwhelming, and once completed you will be inspired and motivated to continue the work. I once did a drastic clean out of my clothes closet. After parting with 4 lawn and leaf bags (and this came from a small closet), I felt great. Getting ready every morning was quicker, putting laundry away was quicker, and I just felt at ease every time I approached my closet instead of tense. It gave me a huge push to tackle the next area of my home.

2. Do your toughest project last
If you have one area of your home that you know is really tough for you to clear out, do it last. Completing easier projects will give you a sense of accomplishment, and enjoying what you have done already will give you the momentum to clear out your toughest area. For me, clearing out the kid’s toys is the most difficult. I think I feel bad making those decisions for them, and am actually quite grateful that now my daughter is able to do it for herself. It actually took some training for her to be able to clear her space well after years of her Mom not being so great at it. She also feels amazing once it’s completed, and stops avoiding her room.

3. Don’t relocate your clutter
Moving clutter from a closet to the shed or storage is not clearing it out. If there is no way you are ever going to host that yard sale; then get it out. If there is no way you will ever get around to putting it on Craigslist; then get rid of it. If you want to make some money from your clothing and possessions, look for local consignment shops. Also, there are some really worthwhile donation centers such as women’s shelters in every community that can make you feel good about passing things on.

4. Accept that this isn’t a one-time deal
As I mentioned before, clutter reproduces quickly and silently. You can be living your happy life when all of a sudden you feel it weighing down on you again, eek! The good news is usually you get so used to enjoying your clear space, that it takes much less clutter to jump start you again.

5. Have fun with it
Re-imagine your space with simple, clean, family-friendly design projects to really feel good about all your hard work. And, don’t feel like you have to get rid of everything you love just because it’s not functional. Hold on to your favorite mementos as part of your design, and they will stand out more now that they aren’t hidden behind so much other stuff.
Enjoy your space, your family, and your life!

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The Best Gift a Mom Can Give

relaxing oilsI often prescribe self-care to Mom’s. I post Facebook statuses ad nauseam instructing women to nurture and love themselves. I have even jokingly gone so far as to make someone confirm that they would with a yes ma’am. Yet, I still get the glazed over, yeah sure okay response from most women. Then recently, my husband was looking at my Valentine’s Day posts urging women to remember to love themselves for the holiday. He said to me so simply and brilliantly “explain why”. Hand to forehead moment, of course.
So, I get it. I’m a mom and in the course of the day you have to meet a lot of people’s needs; children, spouse, boss, co-workers, teachers, and on and on. You are like a well-oiled machine; you have to be to get everything done and to fit it all in 24 hours. Not to mention, the world around you tends to be a little more expecting of moms to get it all done for their family and a little less forgiving if they miss a beat. Usually, there is very little time left over to indulge in luxuries for yourself, and if there is, you are so high-wired the best you can do is a glass of wine at the end of the day. Does this sound at all familiar?
I’m going to explain to you why it is not only essential for you to put yourself at the top of your priority list, but why it selfish not to.
1. You teach the world how to treat you
Translation, if you are constantly putting yourself last, what are you teaching those around you? If you get frustrated that your family isn’t treating you as you’d expect them to, it could be what you taught them. Part of our job as parents is teaching our children how to get along in this world. We should be teaching them to honor their mothers, as is done in many other cultures, not expecting them to appreciate martyrdom. No one does. By teaching our daughters to honor their mothers, we teach them to love and respect themselves as well, and we teach our sons to take care of themselves and one day love and respect their future partners. Children model our behavior, showing them to nurture themselves sets them up for a lifetime of good mental and physical health. It’s actually selfish not to give your children this gift.

2. A good habit does not just happen after 20 years of pushing it aside
I’ll take care of myself when the kids get older, or when the kids move out, or when the kids have kids. The start date continues to get pushed back until it’s just you. The kids have their own families taking up their time now. What now? Why do you think empty nest syndrome hits so hard? Everyone thinks it’s easy to just start taking care of themselves when they need to, that it will naturally kick in. When you have told your mind and body for 20 or more years to ignore doing something, it doesn’t just start doing it with the flip of a switch.

This is actually a scenario that has become really personal. A family member unexpectedly lost her husband a few years ago. All of her children were long gone with families of their own. They all wanted to support her in any way they could. She resisted all of their efforts not wanting to be a burden. At the time, this woman was beautiful, healthy, and vibrant. She did yoga and ate well. However, not being prepared for the scenario of suddenly being alone, and not knowing what to do, she chose to give up. This same woman, just three short years later, lays bed-ridden barely speaking, with a tube in her nose to provide sustenance despite no medical problems. I can’t even think about this without tearing up. Many will dismiss this as an extreme case that can’t happen to them, but the truth is she was no different than most of us and you have no idea how you will respond until you are in the situation. We have no guarantees in life, but by practicing to take care of ourselves even just a little each day, we prepare ourselves to take care of ourselves when we really need to. Imagine how difficult it would be for your family to see you deteriorate when it’s totally preventable. Preventing this is an amazing gift to give your family.

3. You are freakin’ worth it
Sorry I didn’t mean to get vulgar there ;-), but think about you and your life, and the person you are, and the kindness and love that you give. Don’t you deserve to feel as amazing as you make everyone else feel? Besides that, how can you keep giving love if you aren’t replenishing it from within? Depending on others to provide you with the love and nurturing you need can be a dangerous game, and lead you to co-dependent, unhealthy relationships. Start showing yourself the kindness and love you deserve.

Great I’m convinced, how do I do it? For everyone it will be a little different. If you are still working on feeling worthy, I want you to spend a couple of minutes every day in the mirror making eye contact with yourself. Tell yourself out loud: I love you, you are amazing, you deserve everything you desire from this life, or whatever else comes to mind, but you get the idea. It may feel awkward at first. Have you ever heard the saying “fake it ‘til you make it”? That’s what you are going to do here. Just do it until it feels authentic, and you can really look yourself in the eyes, say these beautiful things and mean it.
Also find moments in your every day, to capture for yourself. Sit and relax with a cup of tea, stop at a favorite store, read a chapter or article, get a massage, whatever gives you enjoyment. Even if it’s only a few minutes each day, eventually you will get so good at this that you will start pursuing hobbies and activities that fulfill you without feeling the least bit guilty about it. As we have already covered, you should not feel guilty, you should feel proud of the lesson you are teaching.
If you have trouble with this, don’t feel bad, its hard work to break a bad habit, and its hard work to start a good habit. Get an accountability partner, someone who will check in on your progress without judgment, or work with a holistic wellness coach (make sure they use a holistic approach). A well trained wellness coach or adviser is trained to support you without judgment, give you individualized progressive goals, and give you the tough love you need to hold you accountable so you are successful. No more excuses, no more saying I don’t have enough time. There is always enough time for what’s important. Make this important. Let me get a “yes ma’am”!
Good.
Gotta go, if you need me I’ll be in the mirror.

relax, body, soul

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January Wellness Chatter: 5 Strategies to Get on Track with Your Weight Loss Resolution

Kalusion’s Wellness Chatter is a free 20-30 minute tele-chat (or teleconference) on different topics related to natural and healthy living. This forum offers a recap of our previous chatter. Next time join us for the chat and get your questions answered. Check in at www.kalusion.com for more info and to register.
It’s that time of new beginnings, and for so many the goal becomes about weight loss. Not surprising after a holiday season of indulgences for so many of us. So what can we do to stay on track this year?

Strategy 1: Kick out the added sugars
Sugars are the root of many health problems. They create inflammation in the body, which wears down the immune system and leads to long term disorders such as auto-immune disorders, pre-diabetes, and diabetes.

What are sugars?
When I tell people to get rid of the extra sugar in their diet, I often hear I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I just drink three glasses of wine at night. Ahem, that’s sugar. Just because you don’t eat a pastry every day does not mean you are not eating sugars. Anything that your body immediately converts to sugar and spikes your blood sugar should be considered a sugar in your diet. This includes processed flours, alcohol, juice (eat the fruit instead), and processed foods that contain added sugar (they all do).

Is it easy?
Heck no. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, and indulging only makes you crave it more. So getting started can be tough. Want to know how I do it? Ok, shameless plug here: I use my Sugar Buster Tea. I know, I know, I’m plugging my product, but guess what, it works. I made it to balance my system out and help with the cravings when I needed it, and I continue to use it now, most recently after Christmas to get rid of the cravings after devouring holiday cookies for a few days. The tea cleanses the liver, balances the blood sugar, reduces cravings, and fights symptoms of candida. It actually worked for me, and then I offered it to my friends, and it worked for them, so I started offering it to everyone. I have also created the Sugar Buster Body Oil to complement the tea for a total inside and out health kit. The body oil fights candida symptoms, and helps break addictions. My recommendation is to use the body oil daily after bathing, and to make the tea daily at a regular time or about 30-60 minutes prior to the time you usually crave sweets. I know that once the sugar monster starts screaming at me I often don’t want to do anything about it other than eat goodies even though the answer is right there. If I drink the tea prior, it doesn’t become an issue. Find Sugar Buster Tea and Oil here.

Sugar Buster Tea

Getting rid of the sugars is one of the best ways to see the difference you are making in your weight loss goal. After even a week of dropping sugars from your diet, you will notice less bloating in your body giving you a more streamlined appearance.

Do you have to do it all at once?
Of course not. As with any goal make smaller goals to reach that goal. This will help you see your successes and not give up on yourself.

Strategy 2: Detox
Cleanse your system of all the build-up of undesirables that may have collected. This is actually an easy one. Drink lemon water. It is best to drink warm or room temperature lemon water first thing in the morning to get maximum results. However, drinking lemon water any time throughout the day will offer you benefits. I have been making a glass jar of filtered water and lemon slices every day, and just drinking from it throughout the day. This is also a great way to see how much water you are taking in every day.

Strategy 3: Move for fun
We have all heard how important physical activity is for shedding weight. However, I may verge off path a little with my advice. I’m not going to tell you to do a certain amount of minutes of specific activities a number of times per week. So many people get turned off by physical activity because they make it into a chore. I suggest you do the things you enjoy doing. Go for a walk, a bike ride, play with the kids, work in the garden, dance around the living room. Essentially, do the things you enjoy then you will continue doing them without effort. You will find that if you don’t do it one day, you will actually miss your activity.

What if I don’t have time?
I know people that turn on the music while cleaning the house, and dance around. That’s two birds with one stone. Find ways to incorporate it into your daily routine: park at the back of parking lots, and walk, stretch at your desk, go for a walk on your lunch break. Sneaking in even just a couple of minutes many times throughout the day will add up and provide you so many benefits.

Strategy 4: Clean up your products
Products? Yes. Many people will clean up their diet, and find physical activity, and still struggle to see results. We can thank hormones for that. Doing the first three steps will help that endocrine system; however, the toxins we introduce to our bodies on a daily basis through our skin may undo all that hard work. Your skin is actually a more direct route to your body’s health. Consider when you eat, the food has to go through your entire digestive system before entering the blood stream. When you apply it to your skin it goes directly to your blood stream. Most of the products on the shelves contain toxins that disrupt your endocrine system, and throw your hormones out of balance. When reading the ingredients on your personal products you should be able to recognize and pronounce everything as you would when reading food labels. If you can’t, you may want to consider replacing that product when you finish it. Time for another shameless plug: Ava Anderson Non Toxic products have come to our home, and we are so pleased with them. They don’t just make claims about their ingredients; you can actually read the ingredients and see they are what they say. Plus the stuff actually works. I can go on and on about how great our Ava products work. Feel free to ask me, and I will. Check out Ava Anderson Non-Toxic products here.

Strategy 5: New beginnings are happening all the time
If you fall off track, you don’t have to wait until January 1, or Monday or next month to start again. Every moment is a new beginning, just pick up and start again. You are a wonderful person, and should never give up on yourself.

I’d love to hear your stories of triumph and struggle. Let me know how your journey is going.

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A New Year and a New You!

Here we are encroaching on a brand new year.  New Year’s Eve celebrations are a significant part of holiday celebrating with some people more excited about the stroke of midnight on January 1st than their previous holiday’s rituals.  On New Year’s Eve you can actually feel the buzz of excited energy.  It’s all around you, even when you turn on the TV.  Look at all those people huddled up in Time Square, packed in like sardines.  To me it looks absolutely torturous, yet no one looks as if they’re suffering, they actually look elated.  Of course, they may have some liquid cheer to help a little, but the overall excitement is internal.   So why all the fuss, about a holiday, that merely celebrates starting a new calendar?

I notice the excitement comes not from the holiday itself, but what it represents, the NEW – a fresh start, the unlimited possibilities of what you can accomplish and have in your life, the breaking of bad habits, the total transformation of you as a person, and the opportunity for attaining your wildest dreams.  On the night of December 31st we wipe our slate clean, and begin fresh on January 1st.  Beginnings are extremely powerful and empowering; you can re-set the course of your life.

So what happened when you get back to December 31st, and your life hasn’t changed in the way you envisioned last New Year’s Eve? Many blow it off to unresolved resolutions, being too busy, not having the right opportunities, or just that they made unrealistic goals.  We often place the blame for our lackluster goal achievement on outside circumstances, but the reality is WE are the reason we didn’t achieve our goals.

It sounds a bit harsh, but imagine that there are no goals too big for you, that you truly can achieve the things you want in this life.  All you have to do is change your thinking.  We are all completely capable of having it all, but then those thoughts creep in – the thoughts of fear, doubt, and just not deserving to have it all.  What makes you so special that you get to have the life of your dreams?  YOU, that’s what makes you so special.  So what can you do this year to start achieving your dreams?

1. Stifle those negative, doubting internal thoughts that like to creep into our minds.

Quieting those negative thoughts can be challenging, but start by replacing every negative thought with a positive one.  It may feel forced and artificial at first, but after a while you will begin to believe the nice things you are saying about yourself.

2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Sorry, but making changes in your life do require a bit of work, and the toughest part of this work is getting out of your comfort zone.  I know we work so hard to get in that zone, but finding ways to get out of that zone even with little acts on a daily basis will open you up to experiencing new opportunities and achievements.

3. Be grateful

Practicing gratitude is so powerful in so many ways, but especially when you are achieving new goals in your life.  It’s so easy to see what you haven’t accomplished, and forget how far you have come.  Use daily gratitude to reflect on all of the amazing things you have done.

4.You are not alone

Find someone to hold you accountable.  It’s not as easy to blow things off when someone is checking on you.  Some people enjoy working with family and friends, but others prefer to work with an impartial person, in that case consider a health coach.  Health Coaches are a viable part of health and lifestyle care, with professionals such as Andrew Weil, MD praising the benefits of working with them.  They work with you individually or in groups to help you find clarity in your life and goals, nurture you towards the goals you set, and hold you accountable in achieving them.

So this year, as we approach the New Year, we have some tools in hand.  I wish you the best in achieving the life of your dreams, because you absolutely deserve it.