Thursday, April 28, 2011

What a beeeeautiful day!

It is such a gorgeous day here in Adelaide - sun's shining, barely a cloud in the sky and it's 27 degrees. Perfect Autumn weather!

I woke up this morning just feeling really good. Excited, hopeful, healthy, loving life in general.

Makes for a much better start than the last week where I'd wake up a bit flat or had a bit of anxiety bubbling under the surface about what the day would bring! (Or as I alluded to in my last blog/vlog...I was too focused on the "have to's" and whether I would do "enough" for the day!!)

This great feeling has continued on throughout today and I'm feeling quite chipper!

Just had a delicious lunch and am about to go soak up some rays, but I thought I'd pass on this prayer that I got given to me recently by my fabulous Naturopath/Spiritual Guide Di Goulding.

As always, feel free to substitute God for the Universe, Divine, Goddess or just delete it entirely depending on your own beliefs!

Saint Theresa's Prayer

May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow yout soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

And because St Theresa is the little rose - I thought this pic I took at the train station matched perfectly!!

Hope you're having a stellar day...and if you are, feel free to share it with me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ahhh...that's better!!

Well, here I am on the last day of my week away from work...and finally am feeling on holiday!!!

I've been in a bit of a fog this last week - with a few old habits taking over.

But today I'm feeling light and free and have a smile on my face.

But rather than write about it, I thought I'd talk about here it is, my first video blog...hope you enjoy it!!

I'm a bit of a novice at this, and when I first tried to upload it to YouTube, the sound was right, but the movement was at chipmunk speed!!!

Yes it looked funny, but I thought it was best to have it all in sync!!!

I've learnt something new today!!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I am sensitive...and that's ok.

As I was writing the last post about the power of the exhale, I had a bit of a kerplunk moment.

Perhaps my lack of honouring the exhale is a good way to describe what’s been showing up physically for me of late.

Backing up a step, I got hives last week for the first time...and then the second...and I've still got a few lurking. Big flat red blotchy things, on different areas of my stomach, back and now even arms and legs.

And seriously, how much do I want to be itchy of late!

When I got the first bout of hives, I wasn't sure what on earth they were! So off I went to the Doctor and she quickly diagnosed me. Phew, I don't have meningococcal!

Then when I went on to list off my other skin conditions...itchy scalp...yeast rash on my back...she said to me...wait for it...

I think you might just have sensitive skin.

Wow, why didn't I think of that!

I know that doesn't sound earth shattering, but I'd actually never considered that. Hadn't put all of it together I guess.

So how that ties back into the exhale post from yesterday....

Of late, I’ve been so caught up in what I don’t have or still need, how I’m not good enough, not doing enough, should be further along, bigger, better, different...I’ve been forgetting to honour my exhale.

As in what I’ve released, how far I’ve come – honouring and appreciating everything I have done. That who I am, right here, right now is perfect, and I'm exactly where I need to be.

In short, that’s lead to me being uncomfortable in my own skin.

And gratitude, what gratitude?! Yes I’ve been doing it in fits and starts, but it's usually based on something external to me, not about myself.
Kind of funny really – as I mentioned, one of my skin ailments that I’ve had for yonks is a yeast rash on my back. I can't see it, so I've kind of let it just stay there!

I look it up in Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life and it says:

Denying your own needs. Not supporting the self.

And when does this flare up? When I'm trying to do everything for everyone else, and putting myself last. I'm trying to run with the crowd and do what everyone else does, even if that doesn't work for me.

More to the point - why is it not going away? I’m persisting with not supporting myself!!

It gets funnier when I read about what shoulders and back mean...not to mention hives...but if I write all of that, this will turn into another epic post!
So now back to the sensitivity (they don’t call me the Queen of Tangents for nothing!)...

After the sensitive skin statement, I took a step back and went actually, I'm sensitive in general!

Now that I've removed so many physical and mental layers thanks to Ayurveda and releasing a whole bunch of other beliefs and habits, I really am quite sensitive.

My lungs definitely are - being around smokers is a no-go for me now, and any kind of chemical or cleaner quickly gets me rasping. As does dog and cat fur I've found - dogs are what kicked off the hives!

I remember a homeopath saying that your lungs and skin conditions are often linked - as in that's the external way it shows. And in saying that to my fabulous friend Kylie, she also informed me that apparently liver and skin can be linked too...makes sense, seeing as liver is the seat of emotion, and quite often has anger issues linked to it too! In this case...angry inside...angry outside...tada!

My digestive system is a lot more sensitive now...or it could be that I just pay more attention to it. But at any rate, if I eat something that's not best for my body, I know about it quickly!

And I'm sensitive emotionally. I find more and more now that I can pick up on other people's vibes, and if I'm not careful, I take them on as my own! And you know what, I don't like watching icky things on TV, in fact I avoid it like the plague.

I'm also sensitive to stress (yes I can tend to create it for myself!). But I find now, that I can reach overload quicker if I don't get enough sleep, put myself under pressure at work, don't exercise at all etc etc. 

Doesn't mean I still don't give it a go, just to keep up with everyone else. But gone are the days of burning the candle at both ends without repercussions!!

Actually speaking of which - the Doctor said to me, it sounds like you just need to be somewhere you can do yoga each day and have no stress.

Ha! I laughed and said 'well I do practice yoga each day and it is one of my dreams to have my own yoga and wellbeing centre where I can relax and be stress free every day'!!!!!!!

Back to the sensitivity again, there's no doubt that my body is sensitive to my thoughts. I'm a huge believer in the mind-body connection, and I'm getting more and more great examples of it in my life where I can practice and learn...great case studies I guess!

Bottom line - I think I really need to work at appreciating how sensitive I am.

After all – how good is it that my body reacts to crap quickly and tells me it's out of kilter…be it what I’m eating, thinking, wearing, breathing in…not having a high tolerance for what can pollute my body is actually a good thing!

Or better yet, not having layers on layers on layers that hide how sensitive my body actually is, is a really good thing.

So instead of going ‘Good lord, what now? What am I doing/thinking wrong now?’, I’m going to remind myself to think ‘thanks body, you’re out of balance for a reason, and I’m going to try and remove that factor from my life’.

That feels better than the criticising and getting annoyed at my body, essentially telling myself to suck it up!

This sentiment is echoed in Inna Segal's new version of The Secret Language of your Body (which has also made me laugh with how spot on the mental descriptions of my current ailments are!)

"Your body is a feedback system...You need to look at the problem your body is experiencing as a metaphorical representation of the challenges you are dealing with in your life."

Right you are Inna.

Because apparently ignoring it and hoping it will go away doesn't actually work....ahhh that old chestnut.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before - I actually love the discovering of what's the why do I resist doing that?!

I think I need to stick this up in my house doesn’t go away if I ignore it! And I love getting to the cause! 

Because in fact, as my body is now, once it’s risen to the surface and is at a conscious level…as in one where I can notice it…it’s not going away until I fix the cause.

It's quite patient you know. Happy to hang out until I finally get around to dealing with it.

Like I had to do with the chest infection that month or so ago, I now can't ignore the skin conditions any longer. I'm sure this is going to be a doozie too, and be about much more than I'm currently thinking...

So let's dance sensitive new age girl!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The power of the exhale...

I had a really interesting chat with my fabulous yoga teacher Denise from Wellbeing@Work before class yesterday...she always has a pearl of wisdom to offer, and last night was no different.

Make the exhale active.

This was the succinct message that came out of a meditation course that she attended on the weekend with a Swami...yep a real Swami!

So what does that mean?

Well as Denise said, we put so much emphasis on the inhale - particularly in yoga. 

And usually, the exhale is all about relaxing and letting go so you can sink further into the posture. We just let that happen.

If you use the same analogy for life, usually we put the emphasis on the bringing in...getting more and more and more.

And we don't tend to put as much focus on the exhale, which is letting go and it of possessions, commitments, beliefs, memories, addictions, habits etc.

I think it's also about appreciating what you've exhaled into your life. What have you finished and achieved, what stuff have you actually gotten? What have you put out there, and then seen the result of it come into your life?

And the exhale is also about what can you give back to life. Whether it's on a personal level - who can you help? What can you impart on the world around you? Or on an environmental level...having your own compost and vege patch, recycling, less waste. Or on a community level, be it as simple as getting involved in your sporting club or donating to a charity.

So what if you turned it around? What if you put more focus on the exhale?

Right now, take a deep breath in, then really focus on the exhale, emptying out your lungs completely.

And just let the inhale happen.

You don't have to make that happen - your lungs will do it automatically, you don't even have to try.

See how much power you feel when you make that exhale active? I certainly did. 

It was like I was making way for the next breath, clearing out my body completely - and then the inhale could sort of float in, bringing in the new.

So bringing that back to life now, if you take the focus off of the inhale for a while, then it's not all about what's next, what more do I need, what don't I have enough of. Not about what you can take from life.

Because really - how much stuff do we all have...and better yet, how much of it do we actually need?!

When you focus on the exhale in your life, you can focus on what you can release from your life, what you no longer need.

That could be getting rid of any possessions that you no longer need in your life.

Whether that's cleaning out the pantry, your wardrobe, the crap drawer...I've done the first two of those, and boy does it feel good! Crap drawer - you're next!

It could be simplifying your busy schedule...something else I've done in the last month. I've let go of all commitments throughout my week - so now I've got a bare week, ready to be filled with new activities...which does feel a bit odd really!

But I think I'm just going to enjoy having it to fill!

Or it could be letting go of some old beliefs or habits that no longer serve you - and just watch the difference it makes to your mental and physical self.

Geez have I had a whole bunch of that in the past few months!

Now that I've thought about this a bit more, I've realised that I've been doing a bunch of exhaling/releasing this past year, on all levels of my life...but I haven't really sat back to appreciate just how much.

Which is a great segway to my next point...

How often do you stand back, just to appreciate how great your life just as it is?

Believe me, I've got some practicing to do in this arena. As I've written about in a past blog, I love the good old Attitude to Gratitude, but it's something that I've been forgetting about lately.

And like anything, practice makes perfect. If I don't use my Gratitude muscle for a while, it gets weak and flabby!!!

I've gotten to caught up in what I don't have (and in turn how that makes me not good enough, or worthy of criticism from myself!), instead of appreciating all the fabulous things in my life.

That can be as simple as having a great night's sleep in a comfy bed, to having enough milk in the fridge for your cereal, or even just having air to inhale!

The third part of the exhale - what can you give back?

I personally love getting involved in the community. Something that I've forgotten these past few years, but am trying to bring back into my life more and more.

When I was a kid, I loved making muffins to sell at church to raise money for someone. And I loved getting involved in fundraising events - something I still love doing now. I was always more than a player at netball too, and didn't really think twice about.

I'm lucky, because my parents were/are both really active in the community through different things, so it's something that was encouraged from a young age.

And come to think of it, now that I've got spare time coming back into my schedule, I think giving back is going to rise up the list so it's part of each week.

The other thing with letting things go - then you've got room to bring in the new.

It's really not healthy to focus on more, more, more all the time. Or me, me, me.

Because if all you're trying to do is layer things, stack things, cram other things into the corner and still bring in more things...pretty soon, you're on overload.

Whether it's not having room to move in your house or head - hoarding isn't healthy!

If you're life's already full - where can the new come in?

The last great point that Denise made last night...once you've exhaled in life, what if you just step back and allow in what you need.

Like the next inhale, know that it's going to be there. Not forcing it, not going looking for it. Just trusting that what you need will be there.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of this, but it definitely struck a chord with me. And I'm amazed how long this post ended up being!

Here I was at the start thinking I was going to say a few words on "instead of focusing on what you can get, focus on what you can release."

But now I've realised that the exhale is a little bit more complex than that...turns out the breath is a lot more holistic than I first thought! I love delving into stuff like this!

So now my challenge for this week is to take my focus off of the inhale/bringing in (because I've got plenty of toys I don't use already!), and to focus on the exhale/releasing/gratitude/giving.

In fact, I think I'll take it one step further...

This week, I take the time to honour the exhale.

And to finish off, I'm going to invite you to do the same thing as Denise suggested last night...

Just take a moment to ponder this, you might be interested to find what comes up.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Our incredible disappearing act!

Geez, what happened to the other half of you?

Have you lost weight?

Have you lost more weight?

Wow you're looking great - what have you been doing?

These are some of the comments both Nathan and I have been getting over the last 6 or so months.

So what's our secret? It's just one simple word...


And the big thing is - it's not just about the weight.

Yes that's the obvious external losing 13kgs and Nathan losing 17kgs is definitely  noticeable...but this has been a much bigger transformation than that!

Going back almost 10 months now to July 9 - a day after my 28th birthday - I had my first appointment with a local Ayurvedia practitioner at Aspects of Healing.

People have asked why Ayurveda, and all I can say is that it jumped out so many times I finally had to do something about it!

So anyway, after a bunch of questions, my pulse being taken and sticking out my tongue, I was given the simple verdict...

I'm a Pitta-Kapha, with a Kapha imbalance.

And the explanations that followed from there absolutely hit the nail on the head!

When out of balance, a Kapha is essentially slow and lethargic, in every sense of the word.

It's the heaviest of the 3 constitutions, which translates into a heavy digestion in both mind and body.

From holding onto ideas and procrastinating, to being lazy and a couch potato in general when out of whack.

And boy did I have all of the symptoms in spades!

So just what is Ayurveda?

Well I can tell you what it's not.

It's not a fad diet, it's not about pigeon holing every person into the same category, it's not about shakes or meal replacements, and it's not about fanatical exercise.

Of course, if any or all of the above work for you, then good for you, but they've always meant nothing to me, and if anything, I think they all encourage eating disorders and self-esteem issues!

Anyway, off of the soapbox and back to Ayurveda.

It's an Indian approach to food and lifestyle and means the 'science of life'. It's all about living life to keep yourself in balance - body, mind and soul.

It's probably best to Google it for the precise explanation - but to put it in simple terms, when you're born, you're one or a mix of the 3 main types - Kapha, Pitta and Vata.

Then, depending on how you live your life, you'll either balance or imbalance your natural constitution.

Obviously the aim is to balance!

And as I said, it's more than just food - it's a true lifestyle.

I find that I'm really drawn to ancient and indigenous approaches, and so it's no surprise this really resonates with me, having been around for over 5,000 years.

It's amazing how much they knew without the wonders of modern science!

So back to what's changed...

I think the simplest way to sum it up is that I'm digesting life so much better! 

From a body perspective - cutting out wheat made a massive difference. And yes, this ex-pasta addict is now clean and loving it!

No wheat, dairy or red meat, and avoiding any sweet, sour or salty foods, means my body is no longer doing a whole bunch of work just to digest what I've eaten.

So I've got so much more energy right throughout the day - gone is the 3 o'clock chocolate/sugar craving!

This also makes a huge difference from a mind perspective. I'm so much more alert and often brimming with new ideas.

And I've noticed how more and more, I'm happy to move through ideas and change my beliefs so much more readily if they're not working for me.

Not to say that works perfectly all the time! There's still a few I hold onto...but I'm working on them!

And from a spirit perspective, I've also adopted new practices that really complement my life.

I'm still working on integrating meditation into my life, but pretty much each morning now I get up between 5 and 530 and do yoga to kick off my day. (And yes I know, I was the person who said that I didn't even know the hour of 5 existed!)

All in all, I feel sooooooo much better.

As does Nathan. We're both trying our best to keep living by this because it just makes sense for us.

Has it all been smooth sailing?

No of course not! Week 3-6 was an absolute killer - I went through so much of a battle with my ego who was trying to convince me that everything I had been doing was perfectly fine, and why should I change.

Fortunately I won the battle, and kept moving through that!

There have been other challenges along the way, and of late, I've decided to test a few things out, seemingly to just remind myself of why I don't eat certain things now.

Ie - chocolate!

Surely one little bit can't be that bad.

But then, like today I ate a Caramello Koala and remember why I don't eat chocolate now - it makes me feel gross, bloated and in general my body doesn't like it! (Sorry Mum, I don't mean to blaspheme, but chocolate and I are no longer friends!!!)

Actually, that's probably been the biggest thing to come out of all of this.

I've realised just how sensitive my body is, and the concrete link from it to my mind and spirit.

I haven't got the layers of crap covering it up anymore!

A great example is how I can now instantly see how sugar makes me go on edge - now I understand how much food would have contributed to my being at my peak with anxiety.

And while this has meant cutting out a lot of foods that used to bring me plenty of comfort, it's all been worth it (something I need to remind myself of at the moment!).

Phew that was an essay. And it's not even the half of it really!

Of course, no "before & after" is complete without photo evidence!

So here we go....I didn't have the 'glazed pork' photos handy of us about 5 years ago (when we were red, shiny and puffy!), but here's us looking well rounded in the Grampians in December 09 (you can't see it, but Nathan's tummy is just as rounded as mine!)...

And one from my best friend's wedding in October 10, only 3 months into our transformation...we've come even further since, but this is a favourite photo of mine!

Actually one last one - this is me at the wedding loving that fact that for the first time in my life, I had a flatter stomach than Lucy!!! Believe me, she's famous for it! And fair enough she had a pretty good excuse, but I'm still counting it - I wasn't even sucking in!

Anyway, if you've been searching for a food and lifestyle approach to apply to your life then I can highly, highly, highly recommend Ayurveda.

Particularly if you want one that helps you lose the layers on all levels of your being.

Nathan and I are fabulous examples of just how well it can work.

You can see the difference in our eyes alone - they sparkle with energy and life now, rather than the dull gleam of old.

In short - we love Ayurveda!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Go on...treat yourself...

This was the message I got from an Angels oracle card I pulled this morning (I'm sure I've mentioned how much I love them!)...

'When you take care of yourself, everybody benefits. Give yourself a relaxing treat today, such as a massage, sea salt bath, or pedicure."

And I thought - you know what, I will!

I've never had a pedicure before, so that jumped right out at me. And I'd also been thinking of getting one the last couple of days because I'd realised that for the first time in a long time, my feet were actually in a fit state to get one!

So this seemed like a bit of validation really.

I booked in and off I went...but not after feeling awfully guilty...should I be spending $30 on someone painting my toenails...and yes I rang Nathan to essentially get permission!!!

Well I'm really glad that I did go, because now my feet look and feel beeeeeeee-autiful! 

And it ended up being only $25 - bargain!

I've just realised that I got to tick all 3 of the relaxing boxes mentioned on the card, because I got to sit in a massage chair, with my feet in a foot spa while being pedicured...aaaahhhhhh.

This is definitely a lesson for me - I'm so happy to spend money on Nathan, it doesn't matter what it's for. But for me - it can't be a 'waste' of money.

And for some reason, spending money on treating myself to a pedicure had fallen into that category. Ha!

I think this falls nicely under one of my umbrella lessons at the moment (ok, so maybe that makes it a current subject!), that I need to learn how to put myself first.

If I don't - who else will?!

And that doesn't mean being selfish, as in doing anything at the expense of others.

It just simply means that I'm the only person who knows how I feel, and whether something feels good or bad to me.

Of late, I've been running with the crowd a bit, getting swept up in how others approach their life. And you know what - just it doesn't work so well!

So this week - I give myself permission to be me...
  • To put myself first
  • To do what feels right to me
  • To eat and drink what's best for my body
  • To rest when I need to
  • To go to bed at 9.30 and get up at 5 (I know, I didn't used to know 5 existed!)
  • To do yoga daily
  • To be creative at home and at work
And I release the need to please others and put pressure on myself to be more...and do more...but that's another blog entirely!

Until next time - think of one treat you can give yourself this week...even if it's as simple as not doing anything one night.

And in case you need someone else to tell you it's ok - I hereby give you permission!

Check out my pretty pink tootsies...not quite foot model material, but good enough for me!!