We, the nurses of the revolution

 

Upon stepping on the threshold of a big door that read MD somewhere in there… I froze! I do not enjoy visiting a doctor and western medicine is neither friend nor foe to me, but I prefer my life to be a bit more holistic and more about “what’s inside my soul that yearns for attention” rather than just reaching for the medicine cabinet.

That being said, I’m used to doctors and when I do visit them, I usually spot them taking out their prescription pads even before they know their patient’s ailment. So, today, I was proved wrong! I am happy to report that after a 55 minute appointment (that usually lasts about 10 mins max), I came out feeling relaxed, hopeful and extremely happy with my choice.

The doctor and I talked about my medical exams and at the very end, we ended up discussing the reaping benefits of a plant based diet; even though he is not on that train, AND he recognized the limitations that doctors have on their behalf and strongly suggested I look for a natural healing process in all areas of my life. We talked about exercising, Deepak Chopra, why we should stay away from processed foods and what kept me at the edge of my seat: “It’s ok. Other people are not going to be agree with your habits or lifestyle, but you can just let them be and keep on going with a healthier life. They will catch on eventually… or not!”

I was not being spoon fed or feeling obligated to believe what all 3 other previous doctors on this particular field had been telling me. He was listening; REALLY listening. He heard my concerns, did his whole routine and gave me really good pointers on where to get my protein shakes from.

It was a great day to find happy in an unexpected place and it’s a wonderful feeling to be at the other side of chair and be healed.

health coaches are the nurses of the wellness revolution.

 

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Channel into discovery

 

On my way back home from the holiday trip this year, I treated myself to a little inspiration packed in the shape of a magazine (two of them to be exact). I always seem to be drawned to OK! And People Magazine, but this time of the year… I needed a little more umph to spice up my in-flight routine.

O The Oprah Magazine and the special Runner’s World Issue caught my attention. Specially due to the fact that both of these reading materials became motivational staples for people longing to make changes this time of the year. Oprah, as per usual, has a long list of resolutions that I myself could honestly stick to. But what caught my eye on the second choice was the cover of RW: Michelle Hercules Walker. A real life runner, motivational story and down to earth soul searcher. And my, my… if that wasn’t interesting enough, the tips to stay in emotional shape during the holidays was far too noteworthy! Closing argument: there are no longer any more blackout days for a better me.

I love the fact that we are now going back to happy. Happy is now the new black. It’s in, it’s in style and it’s affordable. It’s actually at the corner of motivation and good habits. And, because healthy is sexy, it’s a turning point. We are more inclined to ditch the couch and walk/run/dance/yoga/insert-your-exercise-routine back to health.

Nursing my soul back from the crazyness of this year’s black friday, I felt a tad obligated to head back to the year 1990. I bought myself a box of Crayola crayons and a colouring book for adults to find inspiration for 4 year old me and looked for more traces of encouragement on emotional stances. As I have come to experience, neither retail therapy or food comas do actually anything for my soul (or my waistline). So instead; I dabble with my keyboard, color inside the lines and draw a world of possibilities in my mind. I scan the body for excitement and play around with the longings of my inner child.

Because after all… “The body knows things a long time before the mind catches up to them”- Sue Monk Kidd

Making my boat float

When traveling in packs, I often find myself in a position to “compromise” with my dietary needs and emotional habits. Being a vegan, if you can believe it, is not only a diet but it is most definitely (since I became one) a need. It keeps me grounded, centered, focus with the spiritual guide in me and for some reason, it allows me to be more mellow than I would usually be.

However, when big groups arise and I am singled out by the preferences in my daily menu, I have to play nice and eat whatever is around because of course, nobody wants a snob.

And so, I find myself one Black Friday afternoon indulging in an all cheese pizza that later on caused me (and for the most obvious reasons) heartburn, stomach aches and emotional nausea. After reading a book centered on emotional eating, I sometimes analyze whether or not it might be the fact that I have labeled these foods, the ones that comes from animals, as “not good for me”. In any case, the end result was stress and over analyzing of how soon I was going to be rid of these substances from my body.

Which led me to research many other points on this matter. I have been looking closely into another coaching program and they discuss thoroughly the process that goes into the whole psychology of eating (hence its name). The way you feel about food before you eat it is how it will affect you: let’s say you’re thinking about how that chocolate chip cookie will make your face break out or how those potato crisps will give you more cottage cheese legs… that’s exactly what might just happen. And I think this just taps into the whole law of attraction idea and the rest of the process our subconscious goes into.

In any case, at the end of the day I find myself reflecting on what went wonderful in the day and what could have gone better. And my closing argument for the day brings me back to this: I will do whatever I have to do in order to make MY boat float. I need to be able to keep myself happy to be able to supply happy to the other areas of my life. So, keep your boat afloat…

“Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

 

Treasures and trinkets

be inspired

I revisited memory lane this morning with a cup of coffee in my right hand and my heart in the other. Inside this cartwood box, I found letters sent to me by close friends, aunts, cousins, and my father. I found pictures and treasures and trinkets filled with wonderful energy and great sense of purpose.

What striked me the most was that I found a letter I made to myself…8 years ago!!! it was dated to be opened to my future self with plans on how to make my life wonderful and how I envisioned my future self to be. Most of these things, I regret to say, did not happen. What did happen however was surprisingly different and a breath of fresh air. My expectations as a 22 year old in this world was completely different than what it is today.

The daredevil I used to be was just a coward camouflaged in this amazing coverup and the conversations I used to hold as mature are now completely off-grid. I can now appreciate the words of wisdom behind every closed envelop and the strong bonds that lie within family.

In one of those letters, my grandmother strongly encouraged me to write… She wrote to me: “write, write my granddaughter… it’s a wonderful thing to be able to do!” We talked about workshops and about writing books and this crazy world where this random possibility was just a mere thought.

Now, I am determined to stay with the inspiration that comes to me and follow my fingers in the keyboard. It usually depends on the many moments that lead up to this encounter… however, life just seems more grand when you have something to share with the rest of the world. Call it inspiration!

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Our new found selves!

We, the co-creators

The amazing thing about having a mind of our own is that we get to experience life on our own terms. We can live the same experience as somebody else, but the way we relate to it tells a whole other different story in the back of our minds.

It is said that we are “conscious co-creators committed to a better world”, however, many of the decisions we sometimes make are not conscious at all. And after watching “Inside Out” (utterly adorable), it became clear to me that I might not just be the only one inclined to push down feelings in order to put up a façade of something that just isn’t there. As a CREATOR of my own reality, I am absolutely entitled to make my own decisions for me and not for anybody else.

And, even though happy is something I would rather wear as an everyday accessory, it takes an occasional backseat as I allow myself to wallow in whatever not-happy emotion I am feeling at the moment.

I went to a new age store in Guatemala (truth be told, LOVE IT!) and I found myself in the incense isle. It was amazing to see that the ones that were best sellers were 1. Money or financial abundance (you guessed it) 2. Stress relief and 3. Happiness. And the other thing that I noticed was the face of the other few people that where there; they seemed so… in tune with their life and present. Not because they light up sticks and mellow it out on the floor but because they seem to be very aware of what is really going on within themselves. And this, allows them to be better out in real life. WholeHealthDesigns1

In a world where feel good substances are OTC (over the counter) and where your emotions are encouraged to hide in the caves, I have to admire the honest efforts of those who honestly and willingly try to make a change in this atmosphere. This better world we are co-creators of cannot be changed without the most important part of it all: CONSCIOUSNESS. One of the biggest reasons that meditation is so sought after is because it keeps you in present, in the now and it allows to be aware of your surroundings, of yourself and what’s really inside of this wonderful creature called YOU.

Meditations, yoga, tai chi and other forms of “new age” practices seem to be on the top of google searches everyday. Enya, massages, candles, incense and all of that stuff are now part of my perfect friday package (I think it should be on everybody’s friday package). And, the other OTC substances will in fact take the backseat while I quietly acknowledge what I am, what I want to be and who I want to become everyday.

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In pursuit of my happiness

It has been three weeks now since my father’s passing and five since my wedding. Happiness comes in various shapes and sizes since I’ve come to terms with life’s latest display of coincidences.

While I’ve been polishing the china, I secretly mourn the fact that I will not be able to share a birthday meal with either of my parents in them. And while I excitedly picked out the fabric for my furniture, I can’t help but wonder the many wonderful moments that this living room will live to see without a lot of the important people in my life. My husband has been generous and kind, allowing me space to wallow, cry and reminds me that it is okay to smile when a happy thought comes into my mind. Things have not been easy the past couple of weeks and with a surgery (his own) coming up next week, I can only say that when all is said and done; I have no doubt in my mind that I will be stronger. However, it all depends on how I decide to live the cards I have been dealt with.

We, the gatekeepers of our happiness, seemed to have released ourselves of this wonderful responsibility. I call it responsibility because it is in our hands, we own our feelings. However, this society seems to be misguiding us into believing that is NOT OKAY for us to feel, to say, think or promote our core emotions. And through this blocking process, a sequence of self destructive behaviors gets initiated with addictions to substances like food, alcohol, drugs or emotional dependencies on relationships (looking for constant approval, sexual favors and the liking…), we harm ourselves more than anything outside of us ever could.

In her book “Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom”, Christiane Northrup MD, states that “All emotions even those that are suppressed and unexpressed have physical effects. unexpressed emotions tends to stay in the body like small ticking time bombs… they are illnesses in incubation”. Being emotionally stuffed and binging on the next few attention demanding moments will only delay the inevitable. life is supposed to be lived and happily I might add.

A few weeks before my father passed away, he was admiring a humming bird and the lightness with which he carried his tiny body so quickly. Joyously or enviously, he admired the peace he seemed to fly off with. He then (my father) proceeded to ask: “why does it seem so difficult to be happy?” and my sister and I replied that it is not… It’s just a conscious decision that one has to make in order to be happy.

We then proceeded to discuss the many circumstances that could keep us from being happy. But! At last, we went through the blessings list and all of that “mischief or misfortune” did not seem that relevant.

Picture by the wonderful Marcela Polo from Tales of the Universe

Picture by the wonderful Marcela Polo from Tales of the Universe

Having gone to a therapyst for most of my adult life (if not all of it) and having worked closely with a fantastic women’s health and wellness expert and friend, Jessica McCleskey; the last 18 months of my life, the emotional build up seem to have found its place outside of me. I felt whatever had to be felt, screamed whatever had to be howled and cried my eyes to the point of exhaustion; sometimes by myself and sometimes next to somebody else. I mourn, I grief, and release the loss of my father 5 weeks after my wedding and rightfully so, thanked the universe for that last dance we got to experience the day of the hummingbird.

Experiences should be lived full throttle, no regrets and no do overs. So live the sadness along with the pursuit of your happiness because one does not exclude the other.

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You’ve got a chef in me

One of the biggest inconsistencies of my generation; I find, is the limited commitment to one’s belief system. Sure, I’ve protested (via Facebook, mind you) about the starving and dying animals that have suffered in the name of entertainment and the stupid circus, I’ve signed virtual petitions to save the rainforests from Brasil and I’ve even changed my diet in the name of the beautiful furry creatures I constantly admire in Pinterest and Instagram. However, the loop hole of standing up for my rights is called CYBERSPACE.

We are the generation of food porn, the generation of clogging Instagram with our daily rituals, the ones who constantly post on social media our differences with politicians and huge companies that have endangered one of the biggest gifts of this planet: FRESH PRODUCE! (Furry creatures are on top of this list, but for sake of my post… produce is the one being mentioned). All of this while at the same time, avoiding doing the one sane thing: holding myself accountable for my habits and my actions alone.

I read an article on TIME Magazine that left me gasping in awe. The mere fact that this particular magazine was headlining this particular subject was even more amazing… the title was “HOW TO EAT NOW”. The article was written by best selling food write MARK BITTMAN who shares the many benefits of home cooked meals, family-quality time over a meal and what to have to build a perfect pantry. BTW, loved it!

We have all been surrounded with mass bombarding about calories, exercise, the very intense dilemma of SUGAR vs FAT, crossfit, dieting and they’d expect us to match our behavior with our beliefs. If we believe that eating 10 servings of fruits and vegetables really is the way to go… do we do it ourselves? If we watched Jamie Oliver’s documentary of McDonald’s and the disturbing origin of the Big Mac’s and not-so happy meals,why on earth do we keep popping in the drive thru windows with 2 year olds?!

FROM DATE NIGHT with a friend: Probably one of the best vegan lasagnas I've had EVER...

FROM DATE NIGHT with a friend: Probably one of the best vegan lasagnas I’ve had EVER…

I, myself have watched many documentaries, read the books on the subject, taken the classes on it and invested lots of my time studying and analyzing what goes on in a human’s moronic head (MY sometimes moronic head, I don’t want to insult anybody here): if eating x is bad for me, why do I keep going after this? If I’ve seen firsthand the consequences of too much cookies, too much ice cream, too much pizza… why do I keep buying them in the grocery store? And to my dismay, I concluded that convenience sometimes over rules sanity. That’s the only explanation I could come up with. 🙂 Sorry boys and girls, it’s true! I am lazy sometimes. But! I do have to say, that we all have to start somewhere: AHA MOMENT.

Now, I’ve decided that in order to get the ball rolling on this new mantra of mine (to thine own self be true- W. Shakespeare… wish I could be so clever) and I’ve started with small meals. I’m taking a stand for fresh produce everywhere, and I’ve studied which food makes my body work better, which veggies make my skin glow and which fruits remind me of a summer day in paradise. Today, I am making food a part of a daily life, meals are a daily ritual for my husband-to-be and I, new recipes are a must at least once a week, juicing is always available in the fridge and the SAD diet is slowly but surely becoming a sad faded memory (SAD= STANDARD AMERICAN DIET, if you have no idea what this is, I suggest you look it up 🙂 because it is sad indeed )

If I am allowed to share one of the biggest celebrations of this past few years is: find the chef in you and with this, make happy memories. The convenient part comes in with the joy. It’s sometimes much more convenient to be happy and healthy than it is to be the prime owner of a stack full of prescription paper from the gastroenterologist’s office, a stacked med cabinet or a long bill of health problems. And, if you need any more inspiration, watching RATATOUILLE on  Netflix works for me every time (With this closing argument, I might have lost a few of my readers). Put on some music and start shaking!

Call me Grandma Moses

At a memorial service, a couple of weeks ago, I bumped into an old friend from school. We talked about the trivial stuff of life and then we started talking about our new found selves. He has become his own man, a very generous one I found out that day, and while I was sharing about my now very common happenings in life, he was a bit stunned and needed a bit more proof to follow the conversation.

I told him about riding in the mountains of Guatemala with a Mountain Bike; uphill, downhill (although sometimes not intentionally) and a long line of bruises and falls that came along with it. I told him about running 5ks, 10ks, 15ks and half marathons and fulfilling my lifelong dream of running a marathon. He kept laughing and just saying “that cannot be so”. I shared how I am now a vegan, how I love to cook and how I don’t find my excited or cheap thrills in a liquor bottle. At the end of the conversation, he stared at me dumbfounded and said: “I need to see pictures of this”.

Proudly, I searched in my iphone’s history and found a picture of a black bruise that covered my entire leg (as a result of falling downhill, of course), a picture of me riding up hill looking all bad ass with my “let’s get it on” face, THE picture I bought from the Disney marathon I did last January and a whole collection of dishes I prepared myself that were posted on my Instagram account. At the end of this quick portfolio presentation, he sat back and said: “well, I’m certainly amazed… when I hung out with you, you hated to cook, could not play a sport to save your life and certainly did not enjoy staying home on a good friday night to write on a blog or Coach clients back to health”.

Back to my last year of high school.... and the crazyness behind it all.

Back to my last year of high school…. and the crazyness behind it all.

This blast from the past kept going on for a few good hours and, when a stranger (he knew her, but I didn’t) joined the conversation, he started describing this stranger that he had hung out with all his high school years. How this teenager used to drive him crazy with emotional drama (as we now have come to know it) and the usual stupidity that follows those first few drunken nights of an adolescent. I have to say, I’m glad it was just all a conversation and not the reality of my life today.

Back to today and the reference to the title; Anna Mary Robertson Moses was a woman like any other, she raised her family in a barn and when she reached her late seventies, she became an artist. She revealed her truer self through her works of art and is now famous for her “coming out” as an artist at such an advanced age in life. Her art has been sold for more than one million dollars in the United States and the “light hearted optimism” that emanated from her work of art certainly showed a side of her that her fans have come to admire. Even though her success became public late in life, I’m sure she was deemed as successful until then… I have to say, from what I’ve read, she was admirable and successful as any entrepeneur+self taught painter+mother of 5+wife+chef+worthy of an autobiography of today (which there are not many of today).

The new, happy me!

The new, happy me!

I never thought it would take me so long to find my passion: becoming a health coach being one of them. And, I honestly thought I’d be set with my entire plethora of goals by the time I was 25 and yet, here I am starting a wonderful chapter of my so called life at 29. The time that I sometimes feel I “lost”, was not lost at all. It gave me the boost I needed to move forward, to pedal on, to reach for another mile and to strike another keyboard in my laptop. All those things that make us human, the mistakes and personal anecdotes that have become part of our story does not dictate what we are today but rather how we became to be who we are. We can choose to remember what we lived through, but we are certainly allowed to live outside of that frame of story of what we once did or say. Let’s move forward with bigger goals; self loving attitude and broader definition of what happy is… IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.

With all the love and gratitude I can muster, xo

Good fences

Working on just myself is never enough to keep me centered, and happy with the rest of the world. Sure, it has to start from there but, when we are relating to people on a daily basis, we might need to understand that not everybody is on a path of emotional growth. And, not everybody is interested in whatever steps we are taking to grow spiritually or improve ourselves. That’s just what I’ve seen over the last few years. Everybody is on a different journey, and eventually we all get to a point where we are ready to learn.

More on the subject of dealing with others, I have to address one of the most important issues of our times: BOUNDARIES. We’ve heard the word go around, we’ve heard psychologists and Dr. Phil go on about them and how we are supposed to use them on our every day lives. However, the biggest A-HA! moment I had when I learned this whole lingo (working on onself) I found it to be super interesting that boundaries are set up for my own benefit.

How so? GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS. That’s how so!

My inner peace is not connected to what my fellow neighbors might say or think about me. But rest assured that when I am in my happy place and I get all this emotional garbage from my flaky friend or when I get sucked into a world of drama, that’s when I lose all my centeredness.

I don’t know about you, but as a woman I can sometimes be a tad too sensitive (pause for surprise) and the fences that I can build can come out as a crooked as a can be. And that, well, just doesn’t have the best results we want it to have and then we become flabbergasted when we see them on the ground again.

Defend Your Boundaries

Now, here’s what we need to realize first:

1. GOOD FENCES MAKE GOOD NEIGHBORS: I can’t stress this enough.

2. Fences are built to keep ME sane: Boundaries are part of growing up and they are there to protect ourselves, our mental stability and our friendships aligned.

3. Choose your words wisely: Boundaries are not isolators. NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. We need to connect and relate to others in a kinder and empathic way, so using the format: “when you do …. What I think about that is….. And I feel …. ” Always helps.

4. Be kind to yourself. “Saying no honors yourself first, which in turn honors others”. – LW

Setting up boundaries is an act of self love and it opens us up to love our neighbor in a kinder way. So, build a healthier you everyday with love, gratitude and boundaries. Feed off on love!