We live in a world that has many different toxic chemicals to which we are all exposed on a daily basis. While some of the toxins we are exposed to are beyond our control (for example, air pollution), there are things that we can do to help minimize the amount of toxins to which we we are exposed.
One helpful way to begin to minimize toxins is to look at how they are coming into your body through the food that you are eating. Conventional produce is sprayed with herbicides and pesticides and those chemicals then are left on the produce you buy even after you wash them.
While buying all organic produce is ideal, sometimes we can be limited by budget so one thing that I recommend doing is checking out the “Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen” list published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Click here for the Dirty Dozen list. Click here for the Clean 15 list.
These lists can be helpful to know the top most important produce items to buy organically and ones that are less critical to buy organically (often because there is some sort of a peel on the produce or the crops tend to be sprayed less). You can print out this list and have in your purse or wallet to refer to when you are making buying decisions.
In addition, another way that we are often exposed to toxins is through processed foods.
Products like frozen entrees, breakfast cereals, and potato chips often have many chemicals added to them to make the food taste better and make you want to keep on eating them. For example, when you see “natural flavors” on the label, this often means that chemicals are used to make that item highly addictive to your taste buds and you can end up eating the whole package in one sitting! I don’t know about you but I’ve had that happen in the past and it is interesting to understand why that is!
Many processed foods also have things like food coloring added to them to make them visually more appealing. Many of these dyes are actually banned in Europe yet they are used in products in the US! Research has revealed that many of these food dyes have negative effects on our health. For example Red Dye #3 has been linked to cancer when tested on animals. And Red #40, Blue #1, and Yellow #5 are all made from petroleum and have often been found to be contaminated with carcinogens.
The more you learn about what ingredients to avoid (a great place to learn more is The Food Babe website), the healthier you will be because the more we are exposed to toxins, the harder our bodies have to work to try to eliminate those toxins.
Toxins can strongly impact how our various genes are being expressed (for example, turning on a cancer gene that wasn’t active before). By making the best choices for your health, you can be more empowered to stay healthier.
I’ll be diving deeper into this topic and other factors that impact your health on my free webinar on Wednesday July 28 so make sure you get signed up for that now!
Over the past 8 years, I have been continually fascinated by the Chinese 5 Elements system and how it provides so ways to support our bodies with the seasons of nature. There are other systems like Ayurveda that also have beautiful ways of doing this but 5 Elements theory has always drawn me.
I thought some of this information might be beneficial for you to as a way to look at how to support your body in this spring season.
So let’s dive in…
The organs associated with the Wood Element and Spring are the Liver and the Gallbladder. That means that spring is a nice time to support your body with cleansing (I always recommend gentle cleanse work and getting support from a professional on this. I’m no expert on this topic but can connect you to others as a resource. You can also add some of the foods listed at the end of this post to your diet).
The associated emotion of the Wood Element and the Liver and Gallbladder is anger so this is a powerful time to also reflect on anger in your life and to help clear old stored up anger from your body and mind. Anger in a balanced state is about movement so when we don’t let it move, that’s when we get more explosive anger that can be unpleasant or scary.
The movement energy of Wood is about expansion and growth which perfectly reflects springtime and coming back to life after winter. How can you support those energies in your life?
The taste that supports the Wood Element is sour and some foods that are beneficial to eat to support the Wood Element in the spring include:
Leafy Greens, Lemons, Vinegars, Saue
Take a few minutes to think of ways you can easily add a little Wood Element support to your life in the next few weeks. I’d love if you share in the comments what approach you are taking to nurture this element in this season.
After experiencing a year full of so much change, challenge, and uncertainty, many are looking to manifest positivity as we enter a new year. And one of the best ways to do this is by creating a peaceful home environment.
So to help you bring more positivity, peace, and zen to your home, we reached out to experts across the country – from Portland, OR to Salem, MA – for their best advice. From being more mindful of the energy in our homes to incorporating crystals and calming scents, here are 15 simple ways you can create a more peaceful home this year.
1. Begin the day by focusing on your heart until it feels relaxed and open. Then visualize light emanating from your heart with the intention of connecting every being, every inanimate object, the rooms, corners, floors, ceiling, and yard with this energy. You can play around with color in your home, such as blue light to calm anger, pink light to attract positivity, or green light for health and prosperity. – Sacred Transformations
2. Use crystals to harmonize your home. Place Black Tourmaline by your front door to protect and repel all negative energy. For your bedrooms you can use Red Jasper and Green Calcite to help your energy relax and feel grounded. At your work table place Citrine, Pyrite, or Green Aventurine to bring vibrations of prosperity, growth, abundance, and success in your career. Lastly, add Shungite near your laptop to protect and shield you from EMF. – Sugar, Be Crystal Clear
3. Minimize energetic clutter in your home by limiting items to only things that you love and bring you joy. Take a look around your home. If there are things that trigger negative feelings as you look around, extend gratitude to that item, and then release it – no matter how much it cost, who gave it to you, or the sense of obligation you attach. You’ll feel a significant increase in your sense of personal peace when you release the things that are no longer serving you or bringing your joy. – Brenda Winkle
4. It’s all about the energy and intent you set for your space. Simply setting the intention for a more peaceful home, the energy will shift naturally. It doesn’t have to require buying or rearranging furniture if you don’t want it to be. I love lighting candles, a fire, or some incense and setting the intention for the space to become more peaceful, the highest frequency possible and zen, and even more loving if you’d like. You’ll be amazed at how powerful this simple practice can be. – Crystal Heinemann
5. Diffusers can help create a more peaceful home. Set up a diffuser in your bedroom and in other areas where you spend most of your time. Great scents for relaxation include lavender, bergamot, vetiver, and chamomile. The sense of smell is one of the key ways to quickly calm your nervous system. – Heart Fire Healing
6. Self-care is key to creating a more peaceful home. Start by creating a space in your home that is just for you. A space where you can meditate, breathe, practice yoga, qi gong, state affirmations, or whatever you feel will bring you peace. Make it easy for yourself to take a minimum of 10-20 minutes out of your day to focus on self-care. Be sure to pick a place that can be dark when you need grounding and relaxation or bright when you need to feel uplifted. – Chi For Healing
7. Leave technology at the door. Encourage yourself and those who live with you to detach from their cell phones and social media in certain rooms of the house. Technology has become another layer of stressful distraction, and we need to take periods of digital detachment to properly observe ourselves and our experiences. Perhaps you can make the kitchen a phone-free space to ensure organic and distraction less connect. – Erin Doppelt
8. Find a quiet spot to surrender. Create a space with a comfy chair you can sink into to clear your mind and let go of your worries. This spot can include a pillow and blanket, a favorite crystal to hold, and be sure the space is free of clutter. Then settle into that comfy chair, hold your crystal while closing your eyes, reconnect your breath with your body to notice any tension, and then release stress with each exhale. – Jessica Roth, Jess Kay Crystals
9. Open up your living space and let the positive energy flow. A tight, crowded living space not only encroaches upon you physically, but also mentally and spiritually. So cast out the clutter, embrace wide-open spaces, keep flat surfaces clean and clear, and place objects that delight in your line of sight. These shifts help promote peace of mind, engage your focus in the moment, and create beauty and harmony. – Krishanti
10. Clear the energy in your home and fill it with love. Energy clearing is one of the most powerful ways to make your home feel more comfortable, bright, and beautiful. The simplest method is to use your voice to speak your intention and request. For example, saying phrases such as, “Please help make this home a sacred space for rest and nourishment, where I naturally let go and relax. – Isa Dona, Spiritual Healer & Transformation Coach
11. Learn Reiki. Reiki is an easy method of energy healing that you can use to calm your mind, heal injuries, and make yourself feel better whenever you want. Anyone can learn Reiki in just 2 days and then you can send yourself pure positive energy just by placing your hands on your body. You can also help heal your family and friends, your pets, and even your plants. – Healer Source
12. Be the sage and smudge. This is an ancient technique of clearing and lightening up not only one’s energy, but the energy of your environment. Simply light sage and wave the flame out gently, allowing the smoke from the burning of the sage plant to softly billow into the room. Stand at the center of the room and waft the smoke around yourself and the room with your hand; clearing your energy and the energy in the room. – Gwendolyn C. Natusch, M.Ed., MSW, The Center for Personal Evolution
13. To feel more supported in your space, try grounding it. Grounding is a common exercise for bringing your energy back into your body but you can do it for an energetically scattered home as well. Sprinkle some salt on your floors to connect to the element of Earth, and soak up any negative energy at the same time. Then just sweep or vacuum it up. For hard surfaces, you can follow up with a magical mopping by adding a few drops of an essential oil that brings you back to your body when you smell it. – HausWitch
14. Scent is a powerful way to calm and soothe. During these challenging times where many people are working and learning remotely, your home can retain odors you’d prefer not to have linger. Lighting a soy candle in your favorite scent or diffusing lavender essential oil or a refreshing citrus blend can make your home more relaxing and peaceful. – Jenn Aubert
15. Increase your home’s positive vibes by adding green plants or fresh flowers. Then pull open the blinds and let the light of the moon and the rays of the sun clear negativity and energize your home. Healing stones can also make any room vibrant and feel more zen. – Gabrielsen Healing Center
Originally published by Redfin
We are quickly approaching the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice, which happens on December 21 this year.
I’ve always found that particular day a powerful time both symbolically and energetically. As we experience the shortest day of the year and the most darkness, it can be a time to go inward, to reflect, and to get ready for a new cycle and new beginnings. It has also been a time where it is said that the veils between dimensions is thin and a powerful time to connect with Earth energies.
In a year as intense as 2020 has been, taking some time for reflecting and releasing seems particularly important.
This particular Winter Solstice seems extra potent because it coincides with the Great Conjunction, an event that happens once every 20 years, when both Jupiter and Saturn align in the same degree of the same zodiac sign.
While I am certainly not an astrological expert, reading about this particular event highlights this as a powerful moment for change and new beginnings. Some astrologers point to this time as a shift to a new era where we are more focused on community-based living and shifting away from big business and big government. It is also heralding a potential shift to focus on equality and our deep interconnectedness.
Since this is a particularly potent moment in time (which happens a week after a solar eclipse), I thought I would share a simple idea of a ritual to help you use this time for your own healing and growth.
Make sure you have a bit of time to be undistracted and focus on this simple ritual. You can do it alone or with family or friends.
Begin by taking a few deep breaths and allowing yourself to become more fully present in the moment. As you become present, use any grounding practice you like. I like to visualize a cord coming down from the bottom of my spine and into the earth. I prefer to see it as wide as my hips but you can use what feels good to you. Allow yourself to take a few minutes connecting the the Earth’s energy.
Spend some time listing the different things that you are ready to release as this cycle comes to an end and a new one begins. I like to do this on a piece of paper that I can burn so you might not want to write in a journal for this. What things are holding you back? What things are you ready to let go of?
On a separate page, you can journal or reflect on what new things you are calling into your life during this new cycle and new beginning. Try to be as specific as you can.
After you’ve written your lists, you can read the list of what you are releasing out loud, saying goodbye to each item on the list and then burning the list at the end.
There are definitely other ways to work with this powerful day but I find this is a simple ritual that is easy to do.
If you are wanting to dive deeper into using the power of this time for your own healing and transformation, I invite you to check out my virtual retreat on December 19 or my group healing session on Winter Solstice.
Yesterday morning I made a big mistake in how I started my day…
While I typically begin my day with my exercise routine and meditation to get physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for the day that’s ahead, yesterday I got on my computer to send a login to my website designer that she needed.
When I logged on to my computer, I happened to see something related to politics and the elections that triggered me…
While I believe that I would have still been triggered by this particular article had I seen it a few hours later, because I wasn’t really grounded in my body and I hadn’t meditated and centered myself, reading what I read sent me down a spiral.
I felt waves of emotion wash over me, some fears that had been hanging out in the back of my mind came to the front to take hold, and I felt tension fill my body and a headache start.
The result was that I was completely thrown off kilter for the whole day.
I truly believe had a done my morning practices, I might have bounced back a bit more easily but since I hadn’t the emotions I was suddenly swimming in seemed to take over the day.
I share this story because I truly believe that it is ESSENTIAL these days that we practice good self-care, that we develop our own key practices that we use daily AND that we also have some boundaries for ourselves around all the information we can be bombarded with– from social media to the news to family and friends sharing things they are reading and hearing.
As the 2020 election approaches here in the US, I believe there will be more and more pieces of news and information that can be triggering to us and that we need to work to stay grounded and centered, to set and maintain good boundaries, and to practice good self-care.
If self-care is a challenge for you, stay tuned as next week I’m hoping to release a little digital self-care toolbox that you can purchase for a very affordable price (just $19!).
Here’s to taking good care of ourselves!
Many of us have gotten used to not feeling all of our feelings. Depending on our upbringing and other factors, certain emotions might be more acceptable for us to feel and express than others are.
For example, I have always felt it was easy to express feelings like sadness and worry than it is to show anger (as is probably common for many women). You might feel more comfortable with anger but sadness might be hard for you (this can be conditioned into men with patterns of saying “men don’t cry”).
Yet each and every emotion that we have is made up of different neuropeptides (chemicals that act as neurotransmitters) and so when we don’t allow ourselves to feel and express ALL feelings and emotions, those chemicals that make up that emotion don’t fully work their way through our bodies.
What that means is that whatever we don’t feel gets biochemically stored in our bodies for “later.” Yet for many of us, we never really get around to that “later.”
Our bodies are designed to have a storage system where certain organs and body parts are more appropriate storage areas for each emotion. For example, grief is the domain of the lungs and large intestine, while anger belongs to the liver and gall bladder.
When we make it a habit of never really feeling those emotions or going back to the ones that we saved for “later,” however, our filing system gets awfully full and so then our bodies start sticking those emotions in other places they weren’t even designed to hold.
In addition, even if the emotion is put in the right file drawer (so to speak), if it sits there and then gets added to, it creates problems for our bodies in the long run.
If you’ve ever had a pain in an area that seemed to “come out of nowhere” and you can’t think of a way you hurt yourself or other reason, sometimes it can be that emotion trying to make its presence known…
For example, if you’ve got a bunch of grief stored in your lungs, you might notice an increase in respiratory symptoms without being sick or even just a tightness or heaviness in your chest and lungs. This was an experience of someone in one of my group sessions last night.
Once you actually process and release that emotion, that sensation goes away.
If this sounds “woo woo,” I encourage you to learn about the work of Dr. Candace Pert who studied these neuropeptides that she referred to as “Molecules of Emotion.” Dr. Pert wrote, “Your body is your subconscious mind.”
In a powerful scientific description of her research, Dr. Pert also wrote:
“A feeling sparked in our mind or body will translate as a peptide being released somewhere. [Organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands], they all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just (or even primarily) in the brain. You can access emotional memory anywhere in the peptide/receptor network, in any number of ways. I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body. The real true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated, made whole, and healed.”
So the next time you feel a pain come up in an area “out of nowhere,” perhaps take time to tune into that area and see if perhaps some emotion is stored there and is trying to work its way out.
And also remember that when you feel emotions arise, take time to feel them and don’t just constantly put them on a shelf for a later that never comes.
By doing so, you will be supporting your physical, mental, and emotional health in powerful ways.
I have to be honest… I used to spend more time listening to my body every day. It feels vulnerable to admit that since I’m so passionate about the message of listening to our bodies but that’s the truth.
I had a routine of starting each day with meditation and with gentle, mindful movement inspired by therapeutic yoga.
Somewhere along the way, probably about 6 years ago, I got busy focusing on my relationship and my morning routine got put in a box on a shelf that I would get back to “later.”
Yet 6 years later, I still struggle to find the depth of that morning practice that I once had. Yes, I do still meditation but I’m less consistent with it. Now I focus on starting my day with cardio exercise, which is also very important to my body and health, but that slow, meditative movement practice is still long gone from my mornings…
Looking back, that morning practice was an important part of how I tuned into my body-mind, how I listened to what my body needed, how I prepared my body– my vehicle for life– for the day ahead.
This practice also supported my mind and helped me feel in touch with my emotions, my thoughts, and what I really needed for that day.
Lately I’ve been working with a somatic therapist and one of the themes I’ve been exploring is coming back to a deeper listening to my body and what it needs…
It has gotten easy to get caught up in the to-do lists, “shoulds,” and productivity and to forget to slow down and ask my body-mind what does it need today.
After last week’s therapy session, the answer was putting on a salsa station and dancing my butt off in our living room! I can’t remember the last time I did that and yet it brings me such joy to move and dance to the music! I’ve been doing a lot more of that in the last week.
Today the answer was walking in my new favorite park, breathing fresh air, and connecting to nature. And then sitting on my favorite bench there and meditating out in nature, as well as writing this blog post in my journal.
I’m reminded of the saying we are human beings, not human doings and yet it is easy to get caught up in the doing…
I’m committing to more being, more listening, more slowing down and really asking my body, “What do you need today?”
The past 6 months have been challenging in some very unique ways. While the first few months of being at home, I felt a burning passion to use my tools and skills to serve others, by June my energy was flagging and my body was signaling to me that I really wasn’t as ok or as unaffected by the situation as I was telling myself.
I’ve spent some time slowing down, getting out in nature and recommitting to listening to what I really need on a deep level.
I hope reading this post inspires you to reflect on how you have or haven’t been listening to your own body.
Have you been caught up in the mental chatter, the stress, the fear Or are you taking time to really listen to what your body needs and to honor that in your daily life?
If we don’t listen, as my own health crisis in my mid-20s taught me, our bodies resort to screaming at us. And I certainly don’t want to go back to that…
Let’s face it… The past couple of months haven’t been easy.
Our lives have changed dramatically on a daily basis and many of us are feeling stressed and anxious about what the future holds.
It can be easy to fall into old habits and patterns like stress eating comfort foods, numbing out to too much Netflix on the couch, or having a glass of wine during the day to take the edge off.
While these coping mechanisms might make us feel a little better in the moment, chances are that now that we are a few months into this experience, you might also be a little (or a lot) concerned about the impact this is having on your health.
While there is some joking about the “Quarantine 15” and it might have felt ok in the beginning, you could be concerned that it might snowball into even more weight gained.
Or a few weeks of binging your favorite shows might have felt good but now you can’t remember the last time your really exercised…
If you know a little bit about the brain and behavior, you might realize that the patterns are becoming more deeply ingrained for you and they are becoming more automatic. In particular, habits that trigger a release of dopamine because they are enjoyable are ones that get very ingrained in the brain.
But we aren’t our habits and we can start to use the power of our mind to override those habits.
To start to break old habits, we can use our Prefrontal Cortex, our highest thinking part of our brain, to get out of acting automatically and instead have conscious thought about our choices.
A few ways to change your habits include:
- Figuring out your triggers– where do you get that dopamine surge from and how can you find it in a positive way (i.e. exercise instead of ice cream)
- Using affirmations to help establish new habits. This can be statements like “I choose how I respond to my anxiety and I _______ (different habit you are choosing)” or “I am choosing to face my feelings and know that I can handle them.”
- Boost your serotonin levels which help your Prefrontal Cortex to function properly and override bad habits. Sunlight, exercise, and remembering happy memories are ways to up serotonin.
- Using your thinking brain. Self-awareness is key so write down your goals, put them up in your environment and consciously think of how your life will change for the better with new habits. Use affirmations and visualizations and celebrate small accomplishments!
Be patient with yourself, stay consistent and keep going! You can make the changes you want!
And if you are really wanting to release these habits and create new healthy ones, check out a powerful workshop I’m co-leading with my friend and colleague Mary Lou Rodriguez on May 30th! We are going to dive deep into creating new habits and the workshop includes a group hypnosis session that will dramatically increase your likelihood of success!
If you are at all sensitive to the energies and emotions of other people, this particular moment in time might be feeling challenging.
When there is a collective energy of fear and panic, it is hard not to feel it. I know I certainly am.
I’ve been discovering just how critical self-care is for me right now.
When my nervous system started to activate easily just by hearing a tiny bit of the news or looking at my Facebook feed, I realized it was time to start upping my self-care practices.
A couple things I’m doing include:
⭐️Playing some Hz frequency music through YouTube while I’m working on the computer
⭐️Frequently grounding my energy
⭐️Using my energy healing tools to calm my nervous system.
The podcast episode I’m releasing tomorrow goes more into depth on this so check it out if you want more ideas.
I’d love to know what you have been doing to help take care of yourself at this moment in time.
Let’s share ideas and inspiration to support the collective energy of calm in our bodies, minds, and spirits!