8 Pumpkin Purposes This Holiday

8 Pumpkin Purposes This Holiday

pumpkinsPumpkin is a highly nutritious vegetable you can use for so much more than pie!

Here are seven unique purposes for your pumpkin this holiday season using your Vitamix Blender! Vitamix is hands down the best blender, preferred by chefs, easiest to clean and is the best investment in my opinion. (You can read more about why I love Vitamix here)

1.  Your BASE - Pumpkin Puree for All Things Pumpkin

Pumpkin puree is so simple to make in the Vitamix! You can then plug it into numerous recipes. Process roasted pumpkin flesh for 20 to 30 seconds using the 4 or 5 setting on your Vitamix - easy peasy! Pick either the sweet pumpkins or pie pumpkins for optimal results.

2. Pumpkin Pancakes, Muffins and More!

Your pumpkin puree blends right into most batters as a healthy sub for oils or butter normally called for in recipes.  Give your baked goods an extra 5 minutes of baking time than typically called for.  Just add in the pumpkin puree when you would normally add the oil or butter. Then stir the batter as the recipe directs.

3. Carrot Cake Transformed into Pumpkin Bread

Take your typical carrot cake recipe and sub the carrots with 16 ounces of that pumpkin puree you made and set aside (no more than 1 cup of puree). Follow the recipe otherwise and voila! You have moist, delicious pumpkin bread! Wrap it up and put a bow on it - you've got a great gift idea for neighbors!

4. Soup Stock

Save the seeds and fiber in the fridge to make a wonderful soup stock. You'll need to make your stock within 1 day of refrigerating.  Follow a standard recipe for making vegetable stock and use it for all kinds of warm soup recipes!

5. Creamy Pumpkin Soup

One of the GREAT things about the Vitamix is you can use it to make soup! Here is a recipe for delicious pumpkin soup using your Vitamix!

6. Pumpkin Butter is Better

Mix a pound of pumpkin puree with 1 cup brown sugar, plus a teaspoon of cinnamon and some crushed cloves to taste. Cook on your stove top over medium-low heat  until it cooks down - roughly 35 to 40 minutes. Pumpkin butter can be used to season a poultry dish, flavor your morning porridge or spread on whole grain toast. Set it out on the table at meal time for any variety of ways to compliment a meal.

7. Pumpkin Cheer

You can create a warm pumpkin cider! Spike it with a bit of dark rum if you wish or drink mix a dollop of your pumpkin butter into some Lady Grey tea for a non-alcoholic treat.

8. Pumpkin Walnut Spread

This is such a yummy addition to  your holiday meal! Check out this recipe HERE!

 

Improve Your Posture Improve Your Mood and Your Body!

Improve Your Posture Improve Your Mood and Your Body!

As a practitioner and teacher of yoga for many years, I know first hand how important alignment in the body is to our holistic health. But there is much more to the story and my colleague Lisa Wolfe has brought light to some very interesting information that is bringing more positive change to my body and life.

According to Lisa Wolfe, of The Posture Program, when our body's posture is hunched over, head down for long periods of times or even just as a matter of habit, our brain likely gets the message that we are in danger or something is very wrong. The brain coordinates with the endocrine system to secrete hormones that tell the body to prepare for emergency or a long, cold, hungry winter. In contrast, when the muscles in the body are trained to work together to maintain optimum posture most of the time, the brain likely gets the message that all is well and all the hormones in our body tend to line up into balance. The result of open, upright, healthy posture may very well contribute to a more peaceful and joyful mood, less stress response, a more efficient metabolism and many other benefits.

Lisa has an amazing gift of explaining WHY it's so important to have healthy posture and exactly HOW to go about cultivating it and she provides this in her video program I highly recommend.

Lisa is a real woman over 40 just like you and me. She has quite a story.  She is a functional movement specialist, and shares that she formerly was an overweight, out-of-shape, not-so-cheerful woman.

In 2006, after years of physical therapy and ineffective dieting, Lisa used functional movement to reshape her body and release 70 pounds of fat.

That's worth a pause....

Lisa says that her hormones regulated in response to improved body positioning and fascial health. Lisa used this method with her clients for five years, and responded to repeated pleas to put her Posture Workshop on video. You can check it out HERE.

But what is functional movement and how can it help the body and mind become healthier?

The Mayo Clinic defines functional movement as specific exercises that train your muscles to work together  - like a team - that fit into your daily tasks. These exercises simulate common movements. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.

Additionally, Lisa emphasizes the importance of fascia health and how to ensure you have it.

What is fascia?

Fascia is a a sheet of connective tissue that wraps around all your organs, providing support and basically holding all your parts together. It looks like a  web, connecting muscle and organs. When fascia is healthy it's very flexible but when the body doesn't move enough or there is trauma of injury, the fascia can become stiff and tense which - like shrink wrap - will prevent the muscles from being able to move optimally.

Lisa talks a lot in her The Posture Program about the importance of cultivating and maintaining healthy fascia. It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? You don't want tight, stiff fascia shrink-wrapping around your muscles and organs!

In order to have that healthy posture mentioned above, the fascia must be healthy. So... what to do about it?

This is where Lisa Wolfe comes in. She's one of the best teachers I've ever encountered. She has a true talent for explaining exactly what you need to do and what you need to do with fantastic videos demonstrating easily practiced exercises on a regular basis. This course is beneficial for all ages but especially for women over the age of 40.

Do yourself a favor and check out The Posture Program. It has changed the way I move my body every day and I'm already seeing amazing results.

 

I am so impressed with Lisa's program I asked her if I could partner with her as an affiliate to help spread the word! If you should decide to purchase The Posture Program through the links provided in this article I will receive a share in the proceeds!

Parenting Young Adult Children

Parenting Young Adult Children

young manEach week on Monday nights, all three of my children, sometimes their friends,  my husband and I gather for dinner at our home.

My sons (now nearly 19 and 22) actually live together n their own little house near the college they both attend. I am fortunate that they live only 10 miles away and can still make it for dinner each week.  Our daughter has just a few years left here at home with us before she flies from the nest.

My role as mother to these three kids has changed significantly this past year as two of them are now adults and the third is maturing with lightning speed.

I have noticed that many of my clients who have young adult children are struggling with knowing how to parent at this stage in life. I've come to an important realization.

Here are some typical questions parents of young adults have:

  • Should I check on him? I haven't heard from him in days?
  • She's homesick at college. Should I go bring her home or encourage her to hang in there?
  • There's a letter in the mail from his college bursar's office saying he has a balance due. Do I take care of it for him or let him handle it?
  • She's telling me she wants to get a tattoo. She's 19. Do I share my objection or respect that it's her body and her choice?young woman

It's tricky business figuring out when to step in and when to hang back. After  18+ years of protecting, guiding, enforcing rules it can be difficult to discern.

Go easy on yourself. This is a learning curve and a time of change for you and for your young adult child. Your role has changed and it's going to be an adjustment phase.

Keep your eye on the prize. The end goal of parenting your young adult children is to preserve the relationship so they will come to you when and if they really need you.

There are some particular behaviors parents often fall into which can throw you off the coure of your end goal.

Sticky Behaviors to Avoid:

  • lecturing
  • talking more than listening
  • meddling in their business - invading their privacy
  •  being overly protective
  • rushing to rescue without need
  • showering them with money and gifts

Let's get more specific... Here are some how-to's in avoiding particular behaviors when parenting young adult children.

  1. Extend invitations. Your young adult child will be more positively responsive if you invite them with no pressure, no guilt trips, no strings. The days of dictating where they go, what they do have passed.
  2. No more tracking. It is no longer your job to police your young adult child's every move. It's time to release the need to know where she is and what she's doing at all times. She has a right and a need to have her own private life now.
  3. Groove a connection. Invite your young adult child to agree on a day and time once each week you can either see each other or speak on the phone.
  4. Two ears one mouth. Work to become an active listener with focus on really listening rather than talking at your child. Ask him about his activities, his classes, his friends, his views on life. Ask in a way that indicates you are truly interested. Be cautious though to avoid sounding like an inquisition. Refrain from telling them too much about yourself and your views It's normal for young adults to be focused on themselves as they are growing into adulthood. Your role is to love and support.
  5. Let go of the lecture. Ask permission to share your experience and ideas. If you see her aimed at a path that you know is not in her best interest, ask if she is willing to hear some words of wisdom from her old mom/dad. Offer her an alternative view point. Try to avoid sounding like a know-it-all. She will shut down if you do.
  6. Fools rush in.  When the day comes that you get an emotional call from your young adult kid, prepare to listen with compassion and refrain from rushing in to solve and rescue. If it's not a life or death matter, your role is to simply support him with using his executive functioning skills. You are a guide for him not the judge. Help him see his options and encourage him by saying, "You've got a good head on your shoulders. I know you'll get through this. What are some options for how you might deal with this situation?"
  7. Material things and money are not the solution.  Let's face it: we all love to see our kids happy and in the short term, having extra spending money or gifts  yields a happy feeling for you and your kid. Unfortunately, this will likely cause more problems down the road if this is your go-to solution. She needs to learn to budget her money. She needs to learn to value things and resources by having to work for them. Gifts will mean more if they are given less frequently after they've had the experience of toiling a bit.
  8. Adult Status. "You are an adult now." This sentence encourages, empowers and helps your kid to feel seen and respected as the young adult they are. This phrase should be used often. It's disarming when they seem defensive and effective for helping him to feel you are not trying to run his life. He will be more likely to listen to what you have to say knowing you acknowledge he's not a little kid anymore.

This is one of those pivotal points in mid-life. You brought this child into the world. You raised her protected her and now she's out on her own.

But she still needs you. Even if she doesn't yet realize and appreciate this.

She's on your insurance plan, your cell phone plan, and even though she thinks she knows it all, there will be times she will need your love and guidance.

In order to preserve your relationship so that your young adult child will come to you when he really needs you, avoid those sticky behaviors and just make yourself available for when she wants to connect.

 

 

Healing Self and Healing the World with Ho’oponopono

mountain lake 2In 1997 and 1998 I had the honor of studying with Haleakala (Dr. Hew Len), a Kahuna and psychologist from the Big Island, Hawaii. I was very fortunate to be connected with a relatively small and quiet group of healers and spiritual seekers in Atlanta who often gathered to meditate together. Haleakala traveled to Atlanta to meet with us and to teach us the ancient Hawaiian practice of Ho'oponopono and his program he called Self I-dentity.

The practice is based upon the theory that all of humanity is connected because we all come from Divine. In essence, we are perfect and Divine. The theory of Ho'oponoponono (which translates to English to mean "moving from darkness to light") is that each and any one of us can and should take 100% responsibility for all the ills, pain, suffering, cruelty, anger in this world because we are all connected and by doing so with a reverent ritual on a regular basis we can clear the negativity, transmute that which is dark into light and correct all error.

The practice of Ho'oponopono is a practice in humility and willingness to lay down the egoic part of us that wants to feel separate from and better than others.

Dr. Hew Len worked in a mental hospital on a ward of dangerous mentally ill patients. He did no therapy with them. He simply practiced Ho'oponopono and as a result the entire ward was healed, transformed and rehabilitated.

He taught us that greed and arrogance are at the root of all human suffering and he gave us that difficult pill to swallow: Each of us must take 100% responsibility even if the error appears to be someone else's behavior or problem.

He challenged us to step up to the plate.  Who among us is willing to do this work? It's tough. It requires complete surrender of egoic need to be noticed, to be praised, to be special. It requires an ability to be very humble. To love unconditionally.

This sounds an awful lot like the example and teachings of Jesus, Mother Theresa, and the Buddha. I think we are onto a Universal Truth here...

I have noticed in a few Facebook groups and a few online programs that address personal growth that Ho'oponopono is being referenced but I'm not sure how much of this practice people really understand so I thought it might be helpful for me to share a bit more about what I learned from Haleakala.

An excerpt of what Haleakala shared during an interview:

"The central point in Ho'oponopono," says Dr. Hew Len, "is that all of the problems, stresses, and diseases that one experiences begin as replays of old negative emotional memories. Being residents of the cosmos, we all share in a common pool of old negative memories. Using the cleansing process of Ho'oponopono, one is able to petition the Light within to transmute old woes and replace them with divine peace. The key to the beginning of the cleansing process is self introspection. The question to be asked is: 'What is going on inside of me that is manifesting the problems?'

If I'm angry that anger will manifest as cancer or something. If I want that cancer to go, all I have to do is shift my thought. And the way I do it is through a process of saying: 'I'm sorry. Forgive me for whatever is going on inside me that causes me to perceive that which is not working for anyone.' Once I say 'I'm sorry, please forgive me,' then the Light will actually shift that thought-form. Only the Light can do that. It will take anger and purify it and neutralize it. Then it will release it and there is nothing left there. The anger will disappear. And then it does something extra. Once there is release and an emptiness, the Light will then put in what is right for you.

Ho'oponopono is a path of repentance and forgiveness. Before I can be forgiven I have to be repentful. You don't find too many people around here being repentful, because the opposite of repentance is blame. The opposite of being repentful and forgiving is not being 100% responsible. And without that I cannot make this cancer disappear. This is a manifestation of my thought. But if I shift my thought and allow it to be transmuted into Light, this thing will go. And when this thing goes, some new creation will come in. Through just being responsible the Light immediately gives you what you need and you'll be inspired."

When we notice feelings of anger, fear, resentment within ourselves toward another person or situation, we can practice Ho'oponopono.

When we notice tragedies, atrocities, war and wide-spread suffering we can practice Ho'oponopono.

Here is a brief summary of the practice of Ho'oponopono that I have learned from Haleakala personally I would like to share with you.

A daily Ho'oponopono meditation exercise

As a foundation, on a daily basis practice this meditative breath exercise morning and night:

  1. Sit up in a comfortable position in a quiet place free of distraction.
  2. Create a mudra (hand position) of the infinity sign by bringing the thumb an index finger together on each hand linking the loops created. (left thumb and left index finger touching and the bring right index and thumb inside that loop and have tips meet there). Rest this position in your lap.
  3. Close your eyes.
  4. Breathe in the count of 7.
  5. Hold breath in for 7.
  6. Breathe out to the count of 7.
  7. Hold out for a count of 7.
  8. Repeat this cycle 7 times.
  9. Rest in the void created and meditate here for a while.

The great value of this breath meditation is that it leads you out of intellect where arrogance and greed grows and takes you into the void of no thinking where the Light of Divine is ignited. It is soothing, healing and sets the stage for the practice of Ho'oponopono.

Here is how to practice Ho'oponopono:

  1. Acknowledge feelings, thoughts, actions that are of anger, fear, illness, suffering in yourself and others.
  2. With great reverence, silently repeat the four phrases breathing in between the phrases with reverent pause: I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.
  3. Repeat these phrases really feeling deep reverence for the power of these phrases.
  4. Repeat the phrases aloud as well for the vibration of the sounds of these words carries great healing.
  5. Repeat until you begin to feel a sense of lightness and clarity, even if subtle.

A more complex prayer practice is as follows:

I am so sorry for anything I, my relatives or my ancestors have done to cause you, your relatives and your ancestors harm. Please forgive me. Please forgive all of us. I see you as a perfect aspect of Divine and I love you. I thank you for what you are teaching me.

Other Ho'oponopono visualization rituals for preparing and clearing at day's beginning and day's end:

Every morning imagine you can connect with the little child inside of you. Everyone has one. Ask your little child, "What would you like for me to pack in your backpack for your day?" Imagine what your little inner child needs. Envision providing that little inner child with everything he/she needs for the day. It's a beautiful ritual of self nurturing and honoring.

Every night before you go to bed take all of the troubles and worries you have or others have that you are aware of and imagine pouring them into an Indigo colored bowl that hangs over the mouth of a great, hot volcano. As the heat of the volcano rises it heats all those worries and troubles until they turn the color of ice blue and eventually white vapor - they are transmuted.

The power of Ho'oponopono is to step out of and away from BLAME and step up to the plate. We step away from the notion of separateness and engage the belief that we are all one family whether we like it or not and all parts of the Whole.

 

Building Business as a Healer: Going Beyond Fear

Building Business as a Healer: Going Beyond Fear

Whether you are a psychotherapist, a massage therapist, a life coach, a Reiki Master, an accupuncturist, intuitive, medical professional or any form of helper - you are a healer. You are here in this life of yours to facilitate the process of healing for yourself and others. You know this down in your bones. Now... how to build business with clarity and authenticity around our healing abilities?

Healing work is something all human beings will do at some level at some point in their lives. People NEED professionals to assist and facilitate this process of healing whether it be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

So why do we have such hang ups when it comes to building business as a healer?

Because we are often afraid. Afraid of tainting the sacred nature of our work by tangling the sacred with sales and marketing. Afraid people will misunderstand what our intention is. Afraid of being rejected. Afraid of failing.

Though building business as a healer can feel like a jungle, you can move beyond these fears and experience a rich and fruitful life, attracting and serving plenty of your ideal clients while balancing your own self-care.

I was so thrilled to learn about a very special retreat taking place in October specifically for healers. My colleagues Keri Nola and Lloyd Burnett are seasoned and experienced healers who have long been able to strike a beautiful balance between honoring the need for self care and healing the healer with building successful, authentic business.

What I love most about what Keri and Lloyd are doing is they are helping healers go beyond fear by holding a sacred space to explore those fears and step into the fullness of who you ARE as a healer. Sometimes what we MOST need in order to build business as a healer is to be held in a space of deep understanding and non-judgment in order to clear and transcend that which holds us back from shining brightly.

Going beyond fear requires softening in around the fears we have. Bulldozing over our fears is not the answer. That's why we often get stuck as healers trying to build business providing healing service. We are not acknowledging the essence of the fear-based thoughts, feelings and energy we carry. When we are able to gently honor our fear, we create space for it to dissipate.

Building business as healer requires a higher level of self care and personal spiritual work on an ongoing basis. It helps to have a jump start and this retreat in October might be just what you need...

By bringing together healers from all over the world, Keri and Lloyd are creating a sacred community where we can learn together how to raise the vibration of the work we do in the world by going deeper into our inner wisdom and moving away from reliance on business strategies taught in various training programs.

When we as healers do our own personal work of going deeper and integrating all that we are, tuning into the higher calling for what we are here to do, we naturally and easily are able to develop a business that reflects that same level of authenticity.

I am excited to share with you about the Healer's Retreat in beautiful San Diego, California that will take place October 23-25. During the retreat Keri and LLoyd will help you to go deeper in order to "get lighter," so you can return to home and work with a renewed perspective lining up your business with your soul's purpose so you can attract and serve the clients you most wish to serve.

As a long-time retreat participant and retreat leader myself, I know first hand the POWER of dedicating time and space to retreat, renew, reevaluate, refresh as a healer myself.  I can attest to how one weekend can completely shift and change the course of your life when you allow that dedicated time and space as sacred.

If you'd like to learn more and join Keri and Lloyd for the Healer's Retreat, go check out this page and take a look. Check in with your deepest intuition to see if this feels like the right time and opportunity for you as a healer.

I have been so enthusiastic about this retreat I asked Keri and Lloyd if I could help spread the love and share the opportunity with as many other healers as I can. I signed on as a partner to help them spread the word and share the love and each time someone registers to attend the retreat using my unique partner link, I will receive a portion of your payment for which I am deeply grateful.

 

 

Our Aging Parents: Another Hallmark of Midlife

Our Aging Parents: Another Hallmark of Midlife

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Sometimes significant events cause us to stop and do it all differently. As I stand here in mid-life in the wake of observing the reality that my parents are aging, I choose to steep in the wisdom life has handed me rather than the vain, tail-chasing pursuit of any level of perfection.

There is something about seeing our aging parents and recognizing this is yet another hallmark of midlife.

I received a text from my sister last Thursday afternoon:

"Mom has fallen in the kitchen and hurt her left leg/hip. Ambulance is transporting her now. Will keep you posted."

We found out later that evening she had broken her left femur and had to have emergency surgery that night.

I traveled to the hospital and a few days later to their home in Alabama to do what I could to help. My mom is not one to complain for the sake of complaining and she is quite tenacious. She had muscle spasms through the night and needed help getting to the bathroom. I got up with her several times and was happy to be there to help her.

We got her into a recliner in the den during the day and her feet were cold so I sat on the floor to put her socks on. She smiled and said, "Well now isn't this an interesting turn. How many times in your life did I put your socks on for you?"

I get choked up even as I write that. It is a turn. All the years when I was a little girl she helped me get my socks and shoes on. It is yet another pivot-point I stand on here at age 48.

I look in one direction and see my baby boys now ages 21 and 18 and my precious little girl now taller than I and so mature at age 15. I look in the other direction and see my mother who will never be able to power-walk with me again and my father who is hobbling around more than ever, seeming more like an old man than the jubilant daddy I recall.

So, what do we do now? Here are some advising conclusions I have come to...

  • Accept that indeed we are all living and we are all dying. Both living and dying are a process. Which will you choose to focus on? the living or the dying? I choose to focus on the living and make the very most of every day.
  • Release the striving for perfection and reap the wisdom Life hands us at every turn. Spend your energy steeping in what you know, what you have learned rather than trying to reach some pinnacle of ultimate accomplishment
  • Schedule time to call, write and go visit your parents while they are still here on Earth regularly.
  • When you do spend time with your parents, let the time be focused on them unless they want to hear about you and your kids, etc. Reminisce with them. Remember out loud the good times. Ask them to tell you about their favorite memories. Ask them what you can do for them while you are there. Actively love them no matter how strained your relationship may have been in the past.
  • Don't give up your own life to care for your parents. Share the duty with siblings, neighbors, friends, home health care. I have worked with clients who go from their whole life being about raising kids to caring for aging parents. There has to be a balance. Do your part for certain, but make sure you have a life of your own that you are living.
  • If you don't have a will, living will and/or trust set up, now is the time. Wake up call. There IS an expiration date on each and every body and we are all going to be graduating from the physical body so get your legal stuff in order. While you're at it, be sure to talk to your parents about all this stuff. It may be difficult but it's important to get such business clear so you can all rest easy.
  • Catch up on your I LOVE YOU's. Contact other family members and friends and tell them how much they mean to you.
  • Stop fretting about those extra pounds you're carrying or those laugh lines or crepey skin. Life is now. Yes we are in mid-life. Sure there are a lot of natural skin care products, teas and practices to slow the aging process and feel more alive body, mind and spirit... but it's healthy to accept that you are aging and it's time to focus on the joy of every day instead of dreading what is to come.

It's difficult to see your parents aging. But it's a phase of our lives we can accept and work with gracefully. For me, seeing my parents through this difficult experience caused me to pause and let go of some things while embracing life as it is right now. I choose to focus on the LIVING rather than the DYING.

 

 

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