Thursday, April 7, 2016

Stop Should-ing Yourself

My mind lives in a constant state of "shoulds". You should be like this, you should have that, you shouldn't want that, you should because...shoulda, woulda, coulda. Fuck shoulds! I say!

If you are like me your are swayed by societal expectations, standards, judgments, whathaveyou of what we "should" all want, need, be, aspire to, define success by, the list goes on and on and on! Ack! How are we expected to get out of bed in the morning with all these shoulds?

Shoulds are a judgment. They are a comparison that somehow where you are right now is not enough. That. Is. Not. OK! You should not should yourself or others. Especially ourselves! Again if you are anything like me you are hardest on yourself more than anyone ever could be ever; and when someone says something, or constructively criticizes you, you snap, because you have spent so much time putting yourself down and should-ing yourself long before the loving person said something simple like, "You know, you should..." cue tears.

I just had a radical thought... I SHOULD not be anywhere then where I am right this very moment! Mind blown?! Radical thought, right?! 

Being caught in shoulds means it is impossible for you(me) to be present. You are always comparing to the past or expecting something in the future. A shit load of shoulds. Be now. Live now. Accept you as you are RIGHT NOW, without any shoulds, comparisons, judgments, or expectations. You are exactly how you should be right now and love that self entirely!

We do not change out of disgust or hatred towards self. We change out of loving-kindness for ourselves. We change out of loving our self enough to want something different, something positive, perhaps, dare I say better (but there are hidden shoulds and comparison in better) so, change comes when we love yourselves enough to be open to growth.

Practicing loving-kindness towards ourselves is SO much hard than loving-kindness towards others. It is also so much easier to forgive others' faults, missteps, shoulds, yet somehow we can't extend the same empathy towards self.

To that I say stop should-ing yourself!! (Another glorious anthem I learned at this past weekends' NVC seminar). 

So my current should directed at myself is I should be healthier, thinner, more fit. Hell I'm a Health Coach right, I gotta look the part. Well yes, I need all those things from a place of good health, but I am no means unhealthy. I am just carrying more weight than I like to. So I've been beating myself up, "You should..", " You should...", and then I said, excuse me, but if I were talking to ANYONE else, a client, a friend, a loved one, I would never should them! I would never tell them to be anywhere else than where they are right now, and yet I can't extend the same courtesy to myself, WTF?!? Right! How cruel can we be to ourselves?! 

The past 2 years have been very emotional and straining, and to pow, expect Cameron Diaz' body in a mere 3 months of starting to heal and take care of myself, after 2 years of building frustrations, sadness, stress on top of stress, etc., that's a big f-ing should, madness I tell you. Madness! So I just honored myself and my beautiful body for it's strength and courage to embark on a journey that is scary–self-employment in a burgeoning, some may call a woo-woo field, but I believe in it and I believe that this is my true passion and calling. So what, if I am a work in progress while I am helping my clients who are also a work in progress? It does not mean that I don't have the education, knowledge and ability to support my clients. I can and will be a Health Coach even if my health is something I work on daily.

I think health is like yoga, both should be thought of as forms of practice. You never achieve perfect health. You never achieve perfect yoga nirvana bendiness. Both are practices of surrender, loving-kindness towards your body and breath, and what they both do for you now, at this moment in your life and on your mat. Health and yoga are not end goals, they are daily reminders to practice loving-kindness, maitri (my new favorite word), towards self, to nourish your body with clean, good whole foods, and yoga is practice with your current amazing body, building strength, groundedness, and an ability to move and breathe in gratitude and acceptance of you, as you are NOW.

Stop should-ing yourself and I will too. 

We are beautiful right as we are this very moment–writing blog posts in pj's, glasses, no makeup or bra, loving myself because this is the one body I get. I am taking care of myself, addressing past pent up emotions, eating well, moving daily and growing and nourishing from the inside out, because for the first time in my life I feel like the path in front of me, although foreign, is bright and encouraging and extremely exciting to be on.

I should not be anywhere but where I am right now.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Soaked Almonds and Loving-Kindness

There is so much to write about because there is so much going on – good stuff, building my business and growing self and my spirituality – all awesomeness!!

First an oops - learn from my mistake lesson....

I have read over and over the value and ability to get more nutrients from nuts and seeds by soaking them. Soaking helps remove the naturally occurring toxins on most nuts (hey they are meant to be planted to grow a new plant, these toxins protect the nuts and seeds) and also helps the nutrients, minerals and vitamins be more available for you to digest. Read more about the philosophy and way to soak your nuts from Wellness Mama, she explains it well.

So I purchased some beautiful, organic raw almonds and covered them with water and a bit of salt for a little over 24 hours. I rinsed them until the water ran clear and then I spread them out to dry. I skipped the suggested step of drying them in the oven, it seemed counterintuitive to me to "dry" the nuts in the oven after you just uncovered all the goodness. I thought maybe it would bake away the goodness, that, and I don't follow directions well :-P, I'm a do-it-yourselfer, and sometimes I pay the price.

So I let my almonds sit out to dry for the better part of most of a day, maybe 10-12 hours, then I threw them in a glass jar.

They were delicious, creamy, juicy (who knew a nut could be juicy?) and I also noticed I could eat fewer as a snack and feel more fulfilled and for a longer period of time. I'm sold, soaking nuts is the way to go!

So I attended a seminar this weekend, more on that in a bit, but I grabbed my jar full of soaked almonds, threw it in my bag to take with me. On one of our breaks during the seminar I realized my nuts we starting to mold - eew! So I picked out the few and went about eating my nuts. Well today, they are filled with mold, double eew! So yeah, I guess the drying process in the oven is necessary, and I suspect the super low temp (150˚ I think) won't likely do much nutrient zapping and will likely save you from having to compost your entire batch of gorgeously, soaked organic almonds.

Nice pic of almonds you might think.....but no, see the yuckiness?! Wahh! :(
Learn from me kids! Don't waste your money and FOLLOW DIRECTIONS ;-P.

So this seminar....

I took a seminar on Open Communication, also known as Nonviolent Communication with Peggy Smith, at the Green Gem in Bangor this weekend. What a beautiful, eye opening, expansive experience. It was so amazing to learn how imperfectly we communicate and how we so easily say words and judgements, often not even intending to, but being hurtful to or triggering the recipient. Hence all the conflict in the world! :o While I did learn about active listening or empathic listening in my Health Coach course at IIN, I had the ability to practice it this weekend and so much more. 

I would highly, highly recommend as a universe we learn more about nonviolent communication. It should be taught in schools early on. If we all were more in touch with our feelings and new that there are universal needs we all have, we could avoid SO much conflict. It was liberating to learn that there are core universal needs that all humans have, and no this does not mean are "needy", but that we all have basic needs that are associated with every. single. feeling. we have. When we have a feeling it is because it is associated with a need being or not being meet.

NVC is a beautiful practice and a glorious tool because communication is imperfect, but if we learn to approach each other from a place of empathy, openness and curiosity the world would be such a better place.

Lastly this ties into a book I have been reading each morning upon waking, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chödrön. It is an illuminating and insightful book. While I can not due it justice in a mere few sentences, what is really resonating with me right now is Pema talks about maitri the sanskrit word for loving-kindness. Loving-kindness for ourselves, which so few of us actually practice and believe is even a possibility, extrapolating into loving-kindness for each other.

I think both the book and my recent attendance to the seminar illuminates my need, but also the universal need for loving-kindness towards self, everyone and everything in this world. 

But let's each start with loving kindness to our selves.

What makes maitri such a different approach is that we are not trying to solve a problem. We are not striving to make pain go away or to become a better person. In fact, we are giving up control altogether and letting concepts and ideals fall apart.

The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves. Yet it's never too late or too early to practice loving-kindness.