Get Your Gobble On

keep calm and gobble on background

It’s here! My favorite holiday of the year.

A day set aside to feast with family and friends and give thanks for all the good gathered over the course of a year.

Since this year Bob and I decided to host this production at our place, I needed a strategy for getting my gobble on with grace and gratitude.  Keep Calm and Gobble On seems to be the best strategy so far.

Thanksgiving is the kind of food-centric holiday that could keep a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in business all year.  With every imaginable issue surrounding food and nourishment having the potential to rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time, it’s good to have a plan.

Instead of dispensing advise on counting calories or carbs or suggesting you exercise til the turkeys come home like so many well-intentioned articles do at this time of year, I’m going to politely ask you to ignore those messages (since most of them lead to guilt and shame) and pay special attention to this one (since it might lead to an epiphany).

As difficult as it may be, do not numb out, check out, or let food or drink take you out of your discomfort in the moment. Stay present.  Be mindful.  Amazing things occur when you are aware enough to notice them.

Granted, if you are surrounded by your closest kin, you may have moments where you want to drink yourself silly or stuff your emotions like the bird you may be eating.  Or you may be so tense or hyper you rush through your meal without digesting anything but the non-stop stimuli coming at you from every media outlet available.

I get it.  There is a lot going on.  Most of it out of your control, I might add.  So please, stay calm.  Relax into the wonder of it all. Or if that’s not possible, wonder how to relax into it all. Stressing out gives you indigestion at best,  gas at worse.  And then you’ve got a whole new family legacy to live down.

What would it be like to simply trust your body and allow your belly to inform your brain what it needs to feel truly nourished?  What if you could just breathe into the meal, take your time savoring the food and the conversation, and ease into any emotionally volatile territory without full armor?  What if you could acknowledge the time away from work or your daily routine, allow yourself to be interested in the people you are related to, and celebrate the sacredness of the tradition itself?

This day is different from all other Thursdays.

Not just because we are encouraged to eat more and shop more than at any other time of year.  But because this is something we do in this country that unites us and reminds us we came from a collaborative crew.

The logistics and effort involved for so many people to get where they are going and have something to eat when they arrive is mind-blowing. Travelers, grocers, producers, retailers, advertisers, chefs, assistants, truck drivers, hospitality folks, entertainers, waitstaff, housekeepers, neighbors, pet-sitters, the list goes on and on.

It takes a village to get our collective gobble on. Whether that be a small one, a virtual one, or a global one, it’s all so impressive. For that village, and my tribe in particular (if you’re reading this, that means you!), I am most grateful.

I’d love to hear how you are getting your gobble on in the comments below.

 

turkey5

 

 

How Now, Brown Cow?

For a do to Jersey cows on a green grass

Last May I fell completely and utterly (I would say udderly but these are steers) in love with four Jersey Boys.  And I don’t mean Frankie Valli and friends or the guys from Jersey Shore.  The boys I’m talking about are four legged doe-eyed beauties like the ones above.

This love affair started the day Bob and I drove to Wisconsin to pick them up.  We were on Day 11 of the 21 Day Purification program.

I remember Day 11 because it was the first day we could add meat back into our diet.  For ten days we had eaten only fruits and vegetables. Our weight loss had been  steady, and in Bob’s case remarkable, so we weren’t sure how adding meat would affect our losing streak.

When we drove into town we headed to the scales to weigh the cattle.  Although this was an entirely different scale than I was using, I had to report to my group that adding meat resulted in a 2800 pound weight gain.  (This was the beginning of my breakup with the scales.)

What I didn’t know was how much these magnificent creatures would cause me to question my decision to eat meat.  I quickly became concerned with the conditions of cattle everywhere and how they (and other animals) are treated.

Granted, I grew up on a farm so I knew in advance how this story would end.  The men in my life are hunters and insist on reminding me of the cycle of life.  But I am blown away by the cycle of love and the capacity critters have to offer us comfort in exchange for a little kindness.

My Jersey Boys were full of joy and curiosity from the moment we got them home.  They  took to the pasture like it was their playground and we were their playmates.  Because they were bottle fed, they followed us around like puppies and ate apples out of our hands.

When I started scheming about ways to keep the boys with us for decades to come, Bob started limiting my visits.  He said my plan to keep them in the basement over the winter was not going to work, not even if we kept just one.

He did consent to keeping them with us longer than any other steers.  However, today he loaded them in the trailer and took them for their final ride.

Bob pretends it doesn’t bother him, but what he doesn’t know is I know he bought two bags of apples earlier in the week just for them.  When I went to say goodbye to them, they nuzzled up next me and I burst into tears.  They had no need to know why I was distraught.  They wanted only to comfort and nudged closer.

For a long time I stood there crying like a 4-H kid who had just said good-bye to her  champion steer.  People say they are just animals, but I know they become our confidantes when we spend time caring for them.

Despite my intellectual understanding of impermanence and the way nature works, I mourn the loss of love in any form.  These bovine bodhisattvas taught me a great deal about love in a short time.

I could put my heart on lock down and become defensive and fearful.  Or I could ask, “How now, brown cowsHow do we live and love knowing loss is inevitable?”

Like my cow-ncil of elders, I suspect my Jersey boys would reply, “By never missing an opportunity to love… however and whenever it shows up.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Suprising Practice to Boost Your Creativity

still life with vegetables isolated on brown background

It’s here!  Day 21 of my 21 Day Purification.

No matter how many times I detox, it’s always different. I continue to be amazed at what comes up for examination. I get to look at people, patterns, and projects from a different perspective and notice how each contributes to or detracts from my health and well-being.

One thing that doesn’t change is the thrill of crossing the finish line.

Don’t get me wrong.  Day 22 is going to look very much like Day 21.  If I’ve learned anything in the last 21 days, it’s that my body and brain love it when I clean up my act and eat whole, nutritious meals that I consciously plan and prepare.

Knowing this and practicing it on a daily basis are two different things. Doing the 21 Day Purification puts the practice part up front and center for enough days to become a habit. This is deceptively difficult to do. But once the habit is established, it’s easier to continue with the practice than to stop and start all over again.

The thing I look forward to the most is not watching the pounds melt off (because sometimes they don’t) but witnessing how much better my brain works and how much quicker my creativity kicks in. My increased energy level is sustainable with no slumps or spikes. I can focus easier and think clearer.

Artists are often given a wide berth in the bad behavior department.  It’s like we’ve unconsciously bought into the belief that great talent is too much for mere mortals.  So we put ourselves in an altered state and drink, drug, smoke, gamble, screw, or spend ourselves silly in order to be worthy of our creative inheritance.

The truth is the only altered state we need to be in is one of mindful presence and persistence mixed with a hint of humility. Genius will gladly guide us if we ask it to and clear some space for it to work its wonders.

A few years ago I decided that in order to do my best work, I had to be my best self. I had to feel good in the skin I was in and my brain had to be firing on all cylinders. I couldn’t do that if I was subtly or not so subtly sabotaging my own success.

If I numbed myself out with excessive sugar, overloaded on carbs, or jacked myself up on caffeine, I ended up with the kind of thoughts that lead people to believe they’re good dancers after several drinks.

The kind of consistent creativity I cultivate now comes from having my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual ducks in a row.

It turns out that after years of wandering around the desert, studying with gurus, and practicing all kinds of alternative paths to crack the creative code, the surprising practice I overlooked was accessible all along. What I eat and how I nourish myself dramatically impact the quality and quantity of my creative output. Input really does equal output.

I can con myself into thinking creativity is a mysterious practice based on the whims of a capricious muse. Or I can clean myself up and invite it over for a healthy, nutritious meal, followed by a walking meeting.

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What about you?  When do you feel your best?  How do you invite creativity into your day?  Share if you dare in the comments below.

Break Up with Your Scale

Weighting scales with  measuring tape. Diet concept. 3d

It’s Day 14 of my 21-Day detox and we’re heading into the homestretch. While the daily discipline required to stay on course is intense, I’m loving the confidence that comes with cleaning out my body and mind while connecting deeply with my soul.

There are as many reasons to do a cleanse, detox, or a purification as there are people who do them. Many people, however, do them to lose weight. And if they diligently follow a particular protocol, they usually do.

Unfortunately, unless they continue with the habits put in place during the detox, the results usually aren’t sustainable. Granted, the first couple of days, no one wants to continue after Day 21. But about half way through when they start feeling better, they might consider it.  By the end of it, they may have lost all desire to go back to their pre-detox habits.

I’m all for breaking up with unhealthy habits. Because breaking up is hard to do, my first rule when detoxing is to Become a Badass. I mean this in the best possible way.

You must be kind and compassionate to yourself and others. But you must be ruthless with the terrible tales you tell yourself about your inability to stick with anything for more than a minute.

Cleansing requires considerable courage. Toxins come in many forms – from the foods we eat to the air we breathe to the people we surround ourselves with.

When I detox, I’m no longer able to tolerate toxins the way I did before. Becoming a Badass is an act of bravery. I have to let go of things I no longer need since holding on to them sabotages my health and well-being.

For example, as my first official act of Badassery, I broke up with my scale. To me it was a liar, a terrorist, a tyrant, and a thief.  I decided to no longer accept its feedback as a measure of success or failure during the detox or any time.

I refused to let the scale diminish anything I might innately know about my body, like how it feels, what it needs, how I nourish it, or how I find pleasure in it. I refused to let an ever elusive number impact my day, my mood, my perspective, or my relationship with myself or others.

I have no need to give my power over to something as fickle as a firecracker. A scale can’t measure if I feel lighter, leaner, or more confident. It can’t begin to measure how much clearer my thoughts or complexion are or how much more emotionally available and spiritually connected I am. It cannot imagine the thrill of embodying fully.

The thing is I’ve always possessed the power to expose the scale for what it is. I  trusted it more than myself when I was younger. But not anymore. I trust my body to weigh whatever it wants to when I am nourishing it well and moving it meaningfully.

As a Certified Eating Psychology Coach, I know the damage a scale and what it represents can have on self-worth and body image.  I’ve seen how it contributes to a multitude of eating disorders.

If you have a healthy relationship with your scale, you may not need to break up with it.  Maybe your issue is with something else. Whatever it might be, call it out.

This is necessary in order to follow my Second Rule of Badassery:  Take back your power from whoever or whatever shamed you or made you feel less than all of who you are.

I’ll leave you with these words for advice. “Never ask if anything makes your butt look big. Assume you look marvelous because YOU are marvelous. You’re a Badass, for goodness sake. 🙂

Who or what do you need to detox from this week?  I’d love for you to share if you dare in the comments below. 

Also, if you are interested in learning more about detoxing, I’m starting a new project called The Detox Diaries.  If you’d like to follow along, let me know and I’ll send you an email when the blog is ready.