Define “Hard”

We all do hard things every day. Life can be hard. Some of the things we do seem more difficult for whatever reason. A task that you find easy could seem hard to someone else and the other way around. Sometimes we don’t even notice how hard it was until it’s over. This makes “hard” tough to define.

Think about the most difficult, challenging thing you’ve ever done. Something major like raising a child or watching a loved one suffer through an illness. Maybe it was completing a marathon or speaking in front of a large group. How did you prepare for that? How did you feel after you were done? Did it feel harder before or after?

You’ve done amazing things in your life. You’ve fought battles and won. You’ve grown. You’ve amazed yourself and others. So this thing in front of you now, whatever it is…you’ve got this. Trust that you can do it. Visualize the end. Believe.

Tell me what you’ve accomplished and what you face now. I’ll be your cheerleader.

Namaste,

Melissa

A Little Something Personal

I’ve been writing about making changes, New Year’s resolutions, and willpower, hopeful that I can inspire others to stick with it when the going gets rough. Today I want to share a little about my personal journey this January.

Wellness and balance. Those are my goals for 2019. I came out of the gate strong and during the 3rd week of the month I felt especially proud of the progress I’d made. Then something completely unexpected happened. A leak near our water meter meant we went 4 days without running water at our house. You may have experienced this. It sucks.

Almost immediately I noticed an ENORMOUS desire to stress eat. I wanted sugar, sugar, and more sugar. And wine. Two no-no’s on my wellness plan. Even when I could keep those cravings at bay I found I just wanted to eat. Anything. The stress was trying to take it’s toll but I was determined.

Not having water changed how and what I could cook. All my meal plans for the week went down the drain. I had to improvise in a way I wasn’t used to at all. How do you cook, but not use very many dishes or pots, and not need water for what you cook? Stress level – 11.

The first day I was sure I’d starve. At the end of day two I gained some confidence. I’d make it longer that I thought I could and I hadn’t caved. It took every bit of willpower I could summon but I did it. I stuck to my plan. Yes, it was hard. No, I wouldn’t want to do it again. The takeaway for me is that my will is strong. I can accomplish anything even in the face of unexpected circumstances. Quitting isn’t an option.

Bring on February and the rest of 2019. I’m ready for whatever the year brings!

Namaste,

Melissa

Willpower

How strong is your willpower? We all have it in some measure, we just don’t use it all the time. We have kind of a love/hate relationship with this mysterious force. When we set and then work to achieve goals, willpower can play a large part. If we stumble or fail it’s easy to blame willpower.

When you think of willpower as a tool it’s an asset. Keep these things in mind:

  • Willpower is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes. So flex your willpower often and notice the results.
  • Willpower is a practice and it must be practiced daily. Maybe all day. A misstep early in the day doesn’t make the entire day a fail. Get back to the practice of willpower and turn the day around.
  • Willpower is strongest in the morning. If your goal is related to accomplishing one thing a day, do it early for best results. This applies to workouts, starting or finishing a project, meditating, etc.
  • Since willpower can diminish throughout the day, plan for it. You may need fuel for your body or rest for your mind to accomplish things later in the day. Know your weakness and plan around it.
  • Willpower is contagious. Find people with strong willpower and hang out with them. It’s ok to temporarily avoid the person who saps your willpower until you feel stronger.
  • Share your goals with others. When you say them out loud you create a system of accountability. Someone is bound to ask about your progress and you’ll want to give a good report. Accountability can strengthen willpower.
  • Don’t let a set back derail your plan. You’re human – you mess up, you move on. Learn from your willpower hiccup and start over.

Believe in yourself, tap into your willpower, and learn to use it to your advantage as often as possible. Be willing to try and try again. Don’t give up. You’ve got this!

Namaste,

Melissa

Change the Way You Think

From time to time this question comes up…what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I love this question. It gives us permission to dream big. It allows us to imagine all the fun we could have being our best selves while being assured success. If you’ve never thought about this one, or haven’t lately, spend some time with it. Write down some of your pie-in-the-sky ideas and notice how good it makes you feel.

Then ask yourself this second question…why do you think you would fail? What stops you from realizing your dreams? Is it negative self talk? Do you surround yourself with people who try to hold you back or discourage you? Do you think you lack something you need to be successful? Write these things down too, and question how valid they are and if you could change any or all of them.

Tip: sometimes when you change the way you think about success you open new doors.

Another tip: don’t let other people bring you down.

Namaste,

Melissa

What is Healthy?

January can be a time when we start new habits designed to make us healthier. But what is healthy? I think it can be different for everyone. I’d love to hear what you think is healthy.

It can be a number like weight, blood pressure, calories, or miles. Some consider portion size or blood sugar. Another number might be times per week engaged in an activity like sleeping or lifting weights. Healthy is sometimes a number.

Healthy can be a feeling too. Happiness, contentment, serenity. It’s measured in things you love to do that feed your soul. Healthy is your relationships and job and outlook on life. It’s how you spend your down time and how often you laugh. It’s your connection to the earth, heaven, and the stars. Healthy is gratitude.

You aren’t just a body or just a mind. You’re the whole package – body, mind, and spirit. To be the healthiest version of you, your thoughts about health should include the entire you.

Take a holistic approach to inspired living.

Namaste,

Melissa

Add In the Good Stuff

When you look for ways to make positive changes, why not add in the good stuff? It feels less like a sacrifice AND it feels great to do something that’s good for you.

Imagine you drink 6 cups of coffee a day. The first cup is delicious and soothing but by the sixth cup you feel jittery with an upset stomach. You want to cut down but it’s hard to make the change. Add in a cup of water (it can even be hot water) and see how that goes. Yes, you may still drink 6 cups of coffee but you’ve added something good. After a week you could add another cup of water OR try to replace one cup of coffee with water. Continue to slowly add good stuff to replace the bad stuff. 

Need more exercise? A short walk, maybe up a flight of stairs, could be an easy addition. Try a few sit ups first thing in the morning. Start with ten then increase when it feels right. Do a few gentle stretches at your desk. Small things make a difference.

Go to bed 5 minutes early or get up 5 minutes early. Limit your screen time and begin to lower the limit each week. Read 2 pages of a book. Compliment someone. Enjoy a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet time once a day. Smile.

Make the change easy and the change will be easier to make.

Namaste,

Melissa

Find and Maintain Wellness

Much of my professional work is about helping others find and maintain wellness in their lives. That means different things for different people. Personally, I find that taking charge of my own health and wellness is empowering. A holistic approach ensures nothing is overlooked and moves me toward balance.

Ask yourself what wellness means to you. Is it not catching a cold every winter? Is it taking fewer medications? Maybe wellness is taking the time to eat better and exercise. Or do you feel “well” when your stress level is low and joy in your life is high? Wellness can apply to your physical and mental health, your relationships, your job, and your spiritual life. The healthiest person among us might feel lonely and isolated and therefore, not well.

Once you have a definition of wellness and an idea of how or where you lack wellness in your life, there are many ways to bring yourself back into balance. For me and my clients, yoga plays a major role. The movement, breath, and meditation help us feel present in our body and minds. The practices help us clear our minds and focus. With clarity we can decide what works for us and what we need to let go of to achieve wellness.

Nutrition also plays a huge part. What and how we eat nourishes our bodies. Physical wellness is most affected by diet and movement. Often when you supplement the orders of your physician with a whole foods diet you improve the effectiveness of your treatment plan. You are what you eat is a true statement!

There are so many other ways to find and maintain wellness. Time spent in nature or with family and friends will feed the soul. Volunteering or participation in a hobby can make you feel complete. The use of essential oils, mantra, prayer, crystals, massage, reiki…all these things help us get and stay in balance. Right now salt rooms, forest bathing, and flotation tanks are all the rage – and they work too! Explore all different roads to find the options that work best for you.

To me, wellness means feeling whole. To feel whole I use a holistic approach to address body, mind, spirit, and environment. As a holistic guide I honor that each of my clients is different and seek ways that resonate with them and support them on their journey. Then we work together help them achieve the wellness they seek.

What does wellness mean to you?

Namaste,

Melissa, Holistic Guide

 

Cedarwood

Cedarwood has been around since biblical times (it gets a mention in Leviticus 14.4 and 14.6). The Egyptians used it for embalming the dead. In Tibet it was used for medicinal purposes. My favorite use was by the North American Indians. They used it in their spiritual practices. It became a symbol of protection for the earth. It’s said that at night animals would lie under cedar wood trees for the protection and rejuvenation the trees would bring them. Cool stuff!

It’s an antiseptic and antifungal oil and is considered a diuretic. Cedarwood has purifying and sedative properties. It’s perfect for conditions of the nervous and respiratory systems. Here are some other ideas for using cedarwood:

  • Improve skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Improve cellulite
  • Prevent hair loss, dandruff
  • Relieve the symptoms of UTI
  • Water retention
  • Relieve the symptoms of bronchitis, cough, congestion
  • Help with nervous Tension, anxiety, ADHD
  • Anger
  • Pineal gland and ajna (third eye) chakra opening

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I love to diffuse cedarwood and find it mixes well with rosemary (memory), bergamot (anxiety), and clary sage (hormone balance), among others. Lavender and cedarwood in the diffuser at bedtime is a relaxing combination.This oil can be diluted and applied to the location needed. Add a drop to a dollop of shampoo for hair and scalp issues. Add to moisturizer to help with skin conditions and a drop in the mascara tube to grow eyelashes. Apply to the ajna chakra during spiritual practices.

How do you use cedarwood?

Namaste.

Melissa

This post reflects my own experiences with cedarwood.  It is NOT intended to be medical advice. I am NOT a healthcare professional. I’m simply sharing some of the ways I’ve used cedarwood to enhance my personal wellness. Please see your physician for help in treating any of the ailments discussed here.

 

Balance

Have you noticed that most of what I talk about relates back to the yoga mat? I see many people who want to work on their balance. They mean they want to be able to stand on one foot without falling over. What I know is that standing on one foot will lead to balance in other areas of their lives.

Our culture can be extreme. I think it comes from a desire to have control in a world that seems out of control. Marathon runners, low/no carb diets, workaholics…these are all ways we can be out of balance. The reverse is true as well. Too much screen time, couch potatoes, procrastination are at the other end. Somewhere in the middle is sweet spot.

Yoga uses the gunas to help us find balance. Rajas is the active, driven, passionate guna which is full of ego. Tamas is slower, full of chaos, anxiety, and destruction. Sattva is the harmonious guna, the one in the middle where there is balance, purity, and peace.

We need all three gunas to keep the world moving forward. Our work is to try to stay in a sattvic state more than a rajastic or tamastic state. Use rajas and tamas when needed but strive for the balance that comes from sattva.

Easier said than done, right? This is why I encourage you to come to your mat, breathe deeply, and find a comfortable, easy tree pose. Learn to hold it through any wobbles of the body or the mind. Trust that you’re learning more about balance than standing on one foot. Balance in the body will become balance in the mind and finally in every day life. Or at least most days. After all, balance is a practice too.

Namaste,

Melissahealthcoachheader2

Dig a Deeper Well

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If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my recent video about digging a deeper well. It talked about the idea that instead of abandoning your current path you should dig in and go deeper. I felt that I couldn’t do this topic justice in 60 seconds so here’s more.

We live in a highly “disposable” world. We like instant gratification and when we’re finished with something we often toss it aside. It’s one thing to buy a bottle of water, drink it, and throw away the bottle. It’s another thing to *fill in the blank*, have difficulty with *fill in the blank*, and walk away from *fill in the blank*. Yes, *fill in the blank* could be anything – a job, a relationship, a personal change (like a diet or exercise program), a hobby.

I’ll use yoga as an example. When people first try yoga they attend class for 6 or 8 or 10 weeks. It’s going along quite well. They feel stronger or more  flexible. They breathe deeper. And then they hit a wall. The body has adjusted, the mind is clearer, people feel present. All good things, right? So why do so many people stop doing a yoga practice at this point? Because it becomes uncomfortable. This discomfort is because it’s actually changing them at a deep level and change is hard and scary. So they go off to dig another well.

The video asked you to keep digging the same well. When the practice is hard keep practicing. When you get scared take a deep breath and move forward. When you have the urge to throw it all away and learn basket-weaving instead, please remember to love yourself and push through your doubts. It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. The growth is worth the discomfort, I promise.

I’m not suggesting that you stay in a dead-end job or abusive relationship. I’m asking you to be truthful about why you don’t want to dig this well. Is it truly because there’s no water at the bottom or because you don’t believe you deserve to drink from the well.

Namaste,

Melissa