Create A Mind, Body & Soul Connection This Year

Each January brings excitement for being able to amp up the energy, clean the slate and start fresh. Change is good. Change is fun.  But most of the ads that bombard us each January revolve around losing weight, focusing on size and counting calories. But we are so much more than just the numbers on a scale! This year, aim to make a mind, body and soul connection that counts all parts of you in.

Here are some easy ways to create some fun, balance and growth this year…

Move your body because you love it – not because you hate it – In the new year’s onslaught of diet ads, before and after photos and pushes for gym memberships, choose to move because you love your body and want to lovingly better it – not because you think it is marred and broken. Stop counting calories and start counting moments – laugh your head off starting a new Zumba class, smirk as you shave a few seconds off your r-e-a-l-l-y long mile time, delight in being a sweaty beast after a gym session. Sign up for a dance class! Or simply have fun playing with your kids outside more. Take more breaks in your day for 15 minute walks. Change your mindset from wanting to fix something that is broken to wanting to improve something that is already ridiculously amazing.

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Dare to be you – It’s about thinking back to when you were a kid, remembering what lit you up, what made you giggle and reclaiming it. Ballet class, soccer or art? It’s about those classes you used to take that somehow faded away with kids and mortgages and bill payments. If your career is not where you want it to be, what tangible steps can you take to create change? Find YOU again and bring her out to play!

Shake up the dynamics – We all tend to get too comfortable in some regards and start doing things on autopilot. Creating new energy sometimes requires taking a step away from a situation to gain a new perspective – or glancing back in time to reawaken forgotten amazing energy. What romantic gestures did you express or which ones won your heart when you and your partner first started dating? Just becauses for no reason? Going to an obscure restaurant? Fun outings? Make a commitment to each other to shake it up! Is it time to create new traditions with your family or friends or revive old ones? You have the power to amp up the energy.

Appreciate the little things – Little things are never just little things! Make a commitment to mindfulness. This could entail something as simple as sitting on a park bench and appreciating a flower garden, taking the time to create a daily 5 second mantra of thanks, quietly appreciating the energy that went into the food on your plate at a meal. Most importantly, pat yourself on the back for every accomplishment you make this year – every “little thing” adds up to big changes.

Laugh more – If you can’t remember the last time you had a serious belly laugh – like holding your stomach on the floor belly laugh, you need to shake it up! Consciously bring more laughter into your world. Hit up a comedy show or movie, take an improv class, send your loved one funny text messages with a goofy photo attached. Rev up the goofy this year. It’s good for your mind, body and soul!

Create time, energy and space for you this year. Because when you feel alive, you have more to give to those around you and you will find even more goodness comes your way.

PSST! I write weekly on this seriously juicy book loving site.  This article originally appeared there. You can catch this article and my other articles and other really great ones by fabulous writers over here.

It’s Never Too Late To Decide Who You Want To Be

I can still remember the 2 careers my high school aptitude test with its multitude of questions revealed as being best suited to my skills and personality – movie director and minister. I still chuckle at how diverse they are in many ways. Having no interest then in film or a religious pursuit, these careers were met with laughs and eye rolls by my guidance counsellor, friends and family. “There is NO way you are going to be either one of those,” friends would joke.  The general consensus was that somehow the test was flawed.  I now realize had those ideas been explored and had we been able to look past those exact titles, they exemplified my skills to a T.

I went to university because I knew I needed to further my education – but I had no idea what I wanted to do. I got a degree in English Literature not because I necessarily wanted one, I knew it interested me and I was good at it. Quite frankly, I had no clue as to what I wanted to do with my life. And after getting my degree, I literally had no idea how to transfer my three years of newfound knowledge into a career.

Sometimes when you don’t know the direction you are supposed to take, the universe, fate, a higher power – whatever you want to call it – steps in and puts you on the path you are meant to travel. While walking through a shopping mall one day in my early 20s, I was stopped by a model scout …and my almost 25 year career as a model began. And where did it take me? Onto a plethora of TV shows, learning the ins and outs of live television, sound, lighting, angles and how to be outgoing to make the segment shine. I later went on to be an on-air TV host and create fashion shows with a million and one moving parts behind the scenes that I needed to have an eye on at all times. Not exactly a movie director but so many similar skills in a multitude of ways.

My career instilled in me the need to share positivity around body image and self-esteem and I speak regularly to groups of girls and teens about media literacy. And after having a major life shift due to developing  autoimmunity, I have been connecting  to even more groups – in lectures, online, in interviews and on TV about creating a spiritual connection with oneself, about finding love and happiness in our lives. I recently realized, minus the religious connotation, how many similarities there are in my career skill set and that of a minister.

Many people want to create a career change but just don’t know what they love. They don’t know what will light them up day in and day out. If this sounds like you, think back to when you were younger, before being  convinced certain ideas were impossibilities, before ideas were put into boxes and shoved away. Think back to what truly interested you before the world – friends and family, finances, cultural norms told you to think otherwise. Or take an online aptitude test and be open to what YOU, through your answers, are revealing are your strengths. And don’t get hung up on formal career titles like I did – be open and explore!

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It is never too late to be who you really want to be and who you are meant to be, to do what you were put on this earth to do. You are never too old to reinvent yourself and express your true talents. There are always signs on the road pointing us in the right direction – we must however be open to seeing and accepting them. At 45, I believe I am only now truly melding my passion and my skill set. I am finally reaching into my backpack and using all the tools that have been there all along.  You are right on track no matter what age or stage you are at. Like an incredible meal, sometimes we just need some sweet time to marinate…

PSST! I write weekly on this seriously juicy book loving site.  This article originally appeared there. You can catch this article and my other articles and other really great ones by fabulous writers over here.

Wellness Tips For The Home Business Owner

Let’s be honest. The benefits of working at home can be quite glorious. Typing away on your computer in your sweatpants or pyjamas is something you may very well brag about. Setting your own hours and taking a break from work whenever you want is a very liberating experience. Having a satisfying career making money working at home creating your own rules and being able to spend more time with your family is definitely a lifestyle most people would long for.

I do everything from my home office. Brainstorming. Content creation. Social media. Networking. Conference calls. The list could go on and on. I plan my day, I plan my career – and I absolutely love it. The thought of commuting and being on a strict 9-5 schedule causes me to break out in a cold sweat. Most of my best creativity is done at night long after regular office hours. But I am also coming out of a period of having been very sick for several years and trying to play catch up with every aspect of my life. As much as I want to hustle, I need to protect and honour my energy that I have worked so hard to restore.  So, I have created home business guidelines to keep myself happy and healthy while building my business that can inspire you to do the same.  Because, if you keep burning the candle at both ends…you will eventually have no candle!

Honour Your Meal Time

How many of us have been guilty of shoving food in our mouths while trying to read and type? Sometimes for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Guilty as charged. Just as you would step away from your desk for a meal if you worked in an office space, step away from your home work space for your meals.  If lunch only takes 15 minutes, use the rest of the time away from your desk.

Take Breaks

After years of limited mobility, movement is far too important and cherished so I do an activity every day. Set a couple 15 minute break times each day (or evening depending on your work schedule) to get outside for a walk, bike ride or other activity to get some oxygen in your lungs, sun on your face and to get the creative juices flowing. If you are like me and get so enthralled with what you are doing that you lose track of time, set a pleasant sounding tone on your phone alarm to prompt you to get outside. With the limited sun in the winter where I live, I make sure to set those times when the sun is at its brightest. Or if getting outside is not an option, do some indoor stretches or lunges across your kitchen! Stop, drop and plank in your living room. Just move.

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Schedule Out of Office Meetings & Work Sessions

Bringing in new energy and ideas helps our businesses thrive. If you literally find yourself working in your pyjamas far too often, make a point of setting up a coffee or lunch get together with a friend or colleague to brainstorm. Or reach out to someone in your online business social media circle to connect in person. Regularly set up work time outside your home in a local coffee shop or shared work space for a change of environment.

Turn Off Technology & Set Office Hours

Are you married to your phone? If you can’t think of the last time you went technology-free for a weekend you need to schedule a meeting with yourself. Are you answering emails that aren’t a high priority at midnight? Obviously depending on your job, prompt responses to customers may be necessary. Ask yourself this question: What am I doing out of habit and what needs to be done by necessity?

Set A Bedtime

We are adults so this may sound ridiculous but how many of us find our sleep schedules all over the place because we just want to do ONE MORE THING?  I found myself writing into all hours of the night (disclaimer – I don’t have kids to wake me up) and slowly found my creativity fading in the day. No matter what is going on, I shut my computer off at midnight at the very latest and give my eyes time to relax while reading a chapter of a good book before going to bed. I am more alert and creative throughout my work day. Our home offices need regular closing hours.

Remember to be good to you so your business can be good to others!

PSST! I write weekly on this seriously juicy book loving site.  This article originally appeared there. You can catch this article and my other articles and other really great ones by fabulous writers over here.

Laughter Really Is the Best Medicine

The last few years have been seriously filled with a million and one utterly beautiful life lessons. I appreciate them with every fiber of my being. And then some. And then more. I have learned so much about myself, the world and my place in it. While going through and earning my PHD – Personal Health Discoveries – I got down to what really matters on every level. I really could not have asked for better schooling to appreciate this world in every minute detail. But here is the thing…like any serious studying with an incredible reward at the end of the tunnel, there has been little to no fun in the process. Zilch. No laughter. No belly laughs. Lots of pulling hair out wondering when it would all finally be over. (Ok…and with Hashimoto’s, it just kinda fell out on its own…) Let’s be frank here, with as much beauty as I have found and discovered in the pain and frustration of autoimmunity, there were vast swatches of sheer and utter suckage. No laughter. Lots of suckage. And I have become determined to bring the funny back. I NEED to bring the funny back.

I  made a pact to have copious amounts of belly laughs this year. Like rolling on the floor, tears pouring down my face, grasping my stomach, practically peeing my pants, stop-I-can’t-breathe kind of belly laughs.  There has been so much tension – physically, mentally….on a soul level. I needed a comic release. Having taken tons of improv classes over the years and even stand-up, I yearned for the weekly hilarity of the classes I used to take, the crazy, brilliant, quick minded individuals I used to improv with at Second City. In the pain, I forgot how to be funny. In the pain, it was hard to laugh. In the pain, it was tons of work trying to move away from the pain. With a broken and foggy brain from Gluten Ataxia and Hashimoto’s, thoughts were not firing the way they were supposed to if they were firing at all. If my legs and arms didn’t know where to go, neither did any glimmers of humour. My funny bone was seriously broken.

This year I have decided to bring on the goofy.  Bring back stupidity. Bring on the fun. Laugh until I cry. Text my friends ridiculous inside jokes. Have funny banter with strangers. Earlier this year, I took a drop-in improv class. After a few simple hilarious warm-up games, my brain was fried. The room was spinning. My body was protesting and was in a lot of pain. It was like a physiotherapy session with tons of hand to eye coordination needed with clapping and memory games. But glimmers of funny came out from hiding. “We’re still here! We’re still here!” I freakin’ loved it. My body and brain may have protested over the next couple of days but my soul determined we were completely on track.

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This was taken on International Ataxia Awareness Day, September 25, 2016, as I tried to leap in the air. It still makes me laugh. Not only was I thrilled to be jumping which has eluded me for years, to be goofy at the same time proves my mind, body, soul and funny bone are all hanging out in the same room again!

I decided on my birthday in May that I needed to bring in the upcoming year with humour. I believe in setting our intentions for the upcoming year on our birthdays. I took another drop-in improv class.  (And umm….I skipped my nieces’ school recital. Yes, I did. I r-e-a-l-l-y needed to get my humour order in….) Best. Idea. Ever. (Sorry nieces. Love you!) The room was still spinning and if you were to see me try to clap you would crack up.  I figured I could make my drunk-like ataxia actions into a fairly hilarious character. Work with watcha got…

I’ve done some more drop-ins and am taking a public speaking course at Second City. And it IS my physiotherapy. It IS rewiring my brain bringing back the funny. It is helping me tell painful aspects of my story with light and humour. It is recharging my spirit. And I have been laughing my ass off as my fellow classmates share their stories, their jokes, their humour, as we share our collective vulnerability whether we present something serious or light hearted. It is a joy trying out new ways of expressing myself outside the confines of my “PHD.”

I can now flash to several times over the last few months in which I have had deep belly laughs. How many times I have had tears pouring down my cheeks dying over something with a friend. Laughter really is the best medicine and a medicine that we need regularly. I aim to embarrass my nieces with my goofiness in public while teaching them that we must honour all aspects of our personalities.  There is a time for seriousness….but having been stuck in seriousness for several years, I really need to honour fun. Laughter. Goofiness. Our souls need it. My soul needs it.

 

 

 

The Body Love Series: How to Help the Positivity Resonate Mind, Body & Soul

How to get from here to there. Sometimes it seems easy. Sometimes it doesn’t.  I often speak of something “resonating” with me. If it resonates, I support it, I buy it, I tell others about it, I BELIEVE in it.  It’s an easy sell because it feels right to me.

When it comes to developing body love, sometimes it is not as easy as it seems to get from here to there. Sometimes doubt creeps in, lack of belief in something being true creeps in. Believing in the beauty of your body or a body part doesn’t ring true.  The body love is not resonating so it’s hard to make changes. And I don’t mean physical changes – I mean changing those doubts in your cranium that keep you from celebrating your body exactly like it is like rocking a bikini, wearing shorts or confidently showing off your gorgeous arms without feeling the need to wear long sleeves. It’s all about creating a mind-body-soul connection that feels unified and true to bring about real change and happiness.

I recently discussed easy out-of-the-box ways to meditate and bring about body love every day with an incredible crowd at Curvy Expo. I’ve had several conversations with women about it since so I know the topic has struck a chord.  I gave the audience easy 1-2 sentence mantras to build up body love.  These are positive affirmations that can be said to quiet your mind throughout your day and send yourself some loving vibes. But here is the thing – we are all on different journeys with different starting points, different experiences that brought us to today. So what might be really basic for one woman to believe in her heart could be very difficult for another.  What really resonates as true for one, could feel totally awkward and wrong for another.

On my healing journey, I would often send certain body parts some TLC especially when they weren’t working properly. I’m human – some days it was really hard to believe my legs were strong when they could barely move to allow me to walk, were cramped and aching. I could say “my legs are strong” several times in my head while the rest of my body would be bellowing,’Not this month they aren’t!” I found ways to get over this disconnect….and you can too.

What if your body image issue is with your arms?  Or what if you arms aren’t moving or working how they used to and you are frustrated? What if they have changed in appearance in some way through an accident, dis-ease, aging, scarring, acne or something that bothers you? How do you tell your arms you love them and how do you truly grow to love them when you are at the stage where all you want to do is cover them up?  In order to have a belief resonate throughout your being, you need to feel it mind, body and soul.

Here is a simple way to grow that belief in the core of your being. I am using arms in the example – feel free to replace with whichever body part of yours needs some TLC. Check out these stages to see what types of mantras resonates with you.

Total Arm Love

You find it easy to compliment your arms, deeply feel that words like “strong” and “beautiful” are true and they resonate with you. If you were to think of the praise as compliments from someone, you would accept them with a big grin on your face – it would make your day and you would walk around all sassy after.  These types of statements not only make you feel comfortable, they make you happy and energetically peaceful.

My arms are strong and beautiful.

My arms are curvy and beautiful.

My muscular arms are amazing. I appreciate what they do for me.

My arms are sexy and strong.

My stunning arms give me gifts every day.

If these have resonated with you, fantastic!  Use them throughout the day or create new ones you love. If the above mantras aren’t resonating with you, if you can’t “take the compliments” you’ll feel it – in your gut, in your heart, in the doubt in your head. And that’s ok.  We just need to tweak the body love TLC a little bit for you!

Working Up To Total Arm Love

It’s sometimes easier to see what gifts your body & its parts provide outside of you.  Thinking of your everyday life, how much joy, love and resourcefulness do they bring to you daily? What functions – even bare bones basic – do they provide for you every day?  How do they help you do your job and thus make a living?  Interact with your family and friends?  Pursue hobbies you  love?  Start celebrating everyday “little” actions to see how many amazing gifts you receive on a daily basis.

My arms are strong. They allow me to hold my beautiful baby.

My arms are amazing. They let me hug my beautiful children.

My arms are powerful. They allow me to work at a job I love.

My arms hold love. They let me hug my partner.

My arms create healing. They allow me to make healthy meals for my family.

My arms bring me gifts of movement every day. I am blessed.

My arms allow me to do my job and provide for my family.

My arms hold knowledge. They help me cook/paint/sew/knit/play the piano.

My arms create fun and laughter. They allow me to push my child on a swing.

I promise you, if you can tweak your way of thinking, you can tweak your way of believing allowing yourself to appreciate the powerful, beautiful gifts your body brings you daily.  If you start thinking of all the gifts you receive daily, all the tasks you are able to do, your perception will change. And this doesn’t have to take long. This could literally change your life in less than30 seconds a day!

Please let me know if you create a body love mantra for yourself. Would love to hear about it!

 

The Body Love Series: Monday Mantra

I spent the weekend writing and recording meditations that I am looking forward to releasing and sharing with you all this year. The more I wrote, and the more I listened to my recordings, the more I felt the need to KISS – keep it so simple. I tried to speak slower using less words, in a calmly energetic, soothing voice, trying to keep in mind what makes me relax. After several recordings of a particular track, once I listened to it and really felt myself sink into the meditation, I knew I was onto something.  So I guess you could say I was doing a meditation within a mediation?  (Ask me about this theory after about 1000 attempts at recording!)

I started to write down some simple mantras that I have shared before.  These really helped me reconnect my mind-body-soul connection when none of them felt like they were hanging out in the same room due to massive levels of pain and having limited abilities from Hashimoto’s and Gluten Ataxia. When I was frustrated and my mushy mind was all over the place, when I was exhausted and my body wasn’t working, I told myself to keep it simple. And I would repeat the same phrases – or mantras – over and over willing my mind, body and soul to come together and hang out again. And the more I would repeat them, the more the energy of these positive words would resonate with me throughout my entire system. I felt better after. I literally could feel the positivity oozing into my cells. My cells were believing these words. My fractured brain was believing these words. My heart was believing these words.

Send yourself some body love with simple mantras – or if you can’t wrap your head around that word, tell yourself you are going to create one or two simple sentences that will be your positivity-go-tos that will help create a positive shift in your life. Close your eyes and listen to this simple mantra for a great example. Repeat it in your mind a few times in the shower in the morning. Close your eyes on the subway on your way to work and say it in your head. When you look at yourself in the mirror, say it out loud. Feel it resonate throughout you. Feel your body accept it.  And just KISS – keep it so simple. Meditation doesn’t have to be complicated.  We survive on hugs – think of this as giving your body and soul regular hugs.

Looking forward to creating many mantras, meditations & guided manifestations to share with you all.  I know they have helped me and I know they can help you. Body love starts with us loving ourselves and magnifying that love to bring others in.  Just KISS and be kind to yourself.

So I Did A TEDx Talk…

I love TED and TEDx talks. Ever since I first discovered them I was hooked and in the back on my mind I thought,”I want to do one of those one day.” I’ve been able to see people I admire speak about their lives and experiences or been introduced to individuals I had never heard of before but after their talks had me madly Googling them to find out more.The first one I viewed will always resonate with me and I have watched it countless times – Aimee Mullins: It’s not fair having 12 pairs of legs.  Aimee is so incredible on so many levels and I love speaking of her, sharing her images and her point of view with children when we talk about body image and self-esteem. Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking is so brilliantly delivered that it upped the game for every presentation I saw after. I was completely smitten by Ron Finely’s A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA talk. Have watched it numerous times and it is powerful yet amusing. You have to catch Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. And one that deeply touched my soul and had me tearing up was Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame.  Incredible. I tried to hug her through the computer.

I put it out to the universe that I wanted to do a TEDx talk by the end of 2015…and then I got an email in February…asking me to do a TEDx talk. I almost fell off my chair.  (I need to keep manifesting!) I was invited by Craig Zimmer, an incredible teacher,  who has been sharing his passion for TED talks with his students, school – and the entire school board –  through the TEDxStMaryCSS event and the TEDEdClub. I love that he is encouraging the next generation to speak up with confidence! I figured I had until June 5, the date of the event, to get my body and brain working better together while healing from gluten ataxia.  Lots of time I thought.  After many revisions, I decided to entitle my talk An Exploration of Identity and take the audience through the journey I had been on that had opened my eyes to so many lessons. I thought I was doing well as the date was approaching…even if my walking was still not up to par, my brain seemed to be working better. I just needed my brain and my mouth to work on that stage for less than 2o minutes and all would be fine.

However, the more I spoke aloud and practiced, the more scrambled my brain got. My brain is still building up its motor skills and connections and speaking was taking me down. Leading up to the talk, I was slurring my words, stuttering, flipping words in sentences and was unable to remember anything that was not in chronological order.  My head hurt in a way it had never hurt before – not a headache….like someone who was injuring herself by repeating an action.  I was sobbing in my friend Shelli’s arms in my kitchen 2 days before my talk. Not only did I not think I would physically be able to do it, I questioned if I would ever be able to give a talk or work on TV ever again.  I explained to my friend that it felt like a runner trying to complete a marathon on a broken leg in a cast – could it be possible? Yes. Would it lead to long term injury? Probably. Would it be a very good idea? No. It must be noted that Shelli is a complete and utter rock star and has literally hugged my soul daily throughout this journey.

With fellow TEDx speakers Ashley Rose & Simone Denny.

With fellow TEDx speakers Ashley Rose & Simone Denny.

I asked if I could speak at the event first and meticulously planned what I ate that morning and when, when I meditated and drove there in silence. Eating with precise timing helped stave off severe blood sugar issues which would also lead to severe brain fog, stuttering and slurring. Knowing I could speak first meant I knew my food would help keep my brain operating and I would not have to worry about how the day’s timing unfolded. I wouldn’t have to worry about how much I spoke with others or how much I walked because both would take up a lot of energy needed for the talk. I did anything and everything to calm down my brain. And I made the executive decision to eliminate all slides. It may sound simple to talk while clicking the remote in order to pull up a few pictures but for me that seemed the equivalent of running backwards while patting my head and rubbing my belly while trying to tell a joke. I asked if I could put up a few bullet points on the prompter instead. I could. I exhaled. Salvation.

I am really proud of my TEDx talk – for standing up there and simply speaking. I climbed a mountain to get there and presenting it was a sweet-as-all-hell gift. It didn’t matter to me if I was standing or sitting – I just wanted to speak. I literally spent all summer after that looking into getting a scooter wheelchair because I just kept getting utterly exhausted – and I realized that being able to speak meant more to me than walking everywhere.  Every day became a day of bartering with my motor skills. Ok, you want to use this motor skill?  You’ve got to give up these ones for the rest of the day. You want to use several motor skills today?  You will need to nap for the rest of the week… I wanted my energy….to speak…to be me…to express myself to the world, share my thoughts and ideas – and I did not care anymore if I was standing or sitting. Where once I was completely gutted by the thought of sitting in a scooter, I started to get really excited. I could feel the wind whipping through my hair on the path by the beach and pictured myself buzzing around airports going places. I looked up rentals at The Louvre and figured I would have an advantage and actually see way more incredible art on a scooter! THAT got me really excited. And I was introduced to the magic of an electric bike which further opened up my world of possibilities. If it could conserve my energy to be able to speak and communicate and socialize more, and enjoy more moments,  it would be worth it to sit more often.  I realized even more so how much I truly loved and valued my brain and the thoughts in it and the expression my lips could convey to the world.

What a hell of a way to truly know body love and to appreciate every single day on this planet!  I continuously tweak my “health homework” and made some more health changes at the end of the summer that have helped turn my energy levels around.  Every day has been a gift in more mobility, increased energy, better brain function and creativity. I know healing will be an ongoing process for quite some time but I am overjoyed with the changes and revel in walking a little longer as each month passes. I am so beyond honoured to have been able to present this talk and now know that my desire to get out there and do more talks is possible. Bring. It. On. Thanks so much for taking the time to watch my TEDx talk. Every view means more to me than I could ever convey. And please…

Stop being so hard on yourself.

Love yourself more.

Hug your soul more.

Tell your body it is amazing regularly.

Stare at your body parts in wonder.

Stop stepping on a scale every day.

Don’t worry about what size you are.

Thank your body for its magnificence.

Know that you are ridiculously amazing throughout all time and space.

You are utterly perfect – never forget it.

Liis xo

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Some Great Meditation Techniques

Meditation has saved me a million times over.  There is no way I would have got through my healing journey without it.  When my brain and body seemed to be operating in another universe, meditation would bring everything back into focus. I would literally sneak meditation in whenever and wherever I could in an attempt to calm my system down – in change rooms, in the car, in bathrooms! With my gluten ataxia, I could literally stumble down the street to the beach, exhausted from the energy it took to make my limbs move, meditate for an hour, and walk home perfectly fine. It was that powerful.

It has become a morning ritual for me – as important as brushing my teeth. I don’t leave home without doing it. Some days it may only be a quiet five minutes, other days it may be much longer.  And visualization is a big part of my world too. I am a firm believer that if we want to build anything, it starts in our minds first.  Also a major part of my healing journey.

I recently had a great chat with Dwight Hurst, the owner and director of Innovate Mental Health Solutions in Utah and the creator and host of The Broken Brain Podcast – an interview series about psychology, mental health, treatment, and all things brain related.  Talking about how meditation helped fix my broken cranium seemed like a great fit!

We explore lots of tips and techniques to try – we are all built differently so perhaps an idea will resonate with you and you might give it a try. As we both agreed, there is no right way to meditate!  The right way is the way that works for you.

Take a listen by clicking below. Thanks Dwight for the great chat and for all you do for brain and mental health!

Happy meditating everyone.

Namaste.

How I Danced Around the World on My Birthday

I have a birthday tradition I do every year on my special day: I throw down a mega long meditation-convo-thank-you-bonanza to the universe.  I say my “gratefuls” as I like to call them.  I put in my shopping order to the universe along the lines of,”Hey….do you think you could hook this up for me?” I have a good long chat with my peeps on the other side with no words used.  But his year I felt the urge to shake things up.

This year I decided to do one thing.

This year I decided to dance around the world.

Just dance.

There have been a few times over the last few years that I have had energy to dance, and when I did, I danced like a  mad woman.  Sometimes all I was capable of was a slight sway.  Sometimes all I could do was imagine it in my mind (and I danced like a mad woman).  So….I thought for my birthday, I wanted to dance around the world. I wanted to pick an action that exuded delirious happiness, being caught up in a moment, moving in sound without a care in the world.  Movement. What better order to the universe than envisioning myself fully energetically, nomadically dancing around the world?  What better announcement to say this is the healthy, happy future I see for myself than to simply dance?

I cranked up the tunes on my iPod,  and I…

danced under the fool moon on beaches around the world

danced at a street festival somewhere in Europe

danced around a bonfire at a cottage surrounded by friends

danced on a hot summer day at a BBQ in my fave maxi dress

danced at my fave Cali bar at sunset

danced on the streets of Amsterdam laughing my head off

danced in an outdoor club in Greece

danced in the car on a road trip with a friend

danced everywhere and anywhere

The list could go on for days – it’s amazing how many places around the world you can dance in an hour’s meditation! Oh, and I actually danced in the seated meditation pose. Yes, I did. And I could not care who was watching. If they came close enough, I would have asked them to join me.

I meditate quietly every day. But sometimes a girl just needs to dance. If you want a really simple way to put an order into the universe to say,”Hey, can you help me feel more like THIS?” Just. Dance.

44 Is Here: It’s My Magical Birthday!

It’s my birthday tomorrow. The big 44. Power 4 to the 4. Bring it on 44. The number I dreamed about as a child. My fave number. As in 4+4=8=Infinity. My power year.  It’s also International No Diet Day.  I think it is positively delicious that this empowering day falls on my birthday every year and My Magical Birthday this May!  Lucky me!

I don’t know how it started…all I know is that on every sports team when I had a choice to pick a number, I would try to get 44. If it wasn’t available, I would try for 4, 8 or 16 – any version of 4-4 I could get my hands on. When something like a 17 or a 5 was available I wasn’t too thrilled. I’d grin and bear it all season while hoping and praying the next sport on my list would have a different set of number choices. Other girls would zero in on the colour of a shirt, I went for the number on it.

My entire life I have felt that my 44th year on this planet would be magical. I’d have everything in place – the perfect guy, the perfect career, house, you name it. My Magical Birthday would go down in Bora Bora or somewhere similar. A mystical astrologer even confirmed several years ago that my lifelong gut feeling that every aspect of my life would come into place in my 44th year. I left his place grinning.

I did not factor into my 44ness however,  several years of feeling like crap leading up to it. Or the amount of resources and frustration that would go into feeling better. Or the fact that walking, talking and simply being would become so difficult for so long. This was all not in The 44 Plan!

But I sit here today, one day before the Magical 44 Year begins, I am so energized, so grateful, so filled with love that my heart could burst. I never knew it was possible to sit in such sheer and utter gratitude. To be so happy. I am not in Bora Bora, not dating or married and my bathroom is being ripped apart in the room beside me and dust is everywhere. My house is a revamp disaster zone. And I am grinning. What gifts I have been given leading up to this day, this year, this new part of my life.  What magic exists in knowing, truly knowing, what is really important in life, what makes your heart soar, what makes your eyes sparkle and your soul wanna get up and dance.  What makes you sing at the top of your lungs in your car as amused drivers laugh beside you. That kind of happy.

Liis-on-Life-Magical-Birthday

I have had my old energy – the I-can-light-the-world-on-fire energy – this past month. My walking and everyday energy has been quite amazing for 30 days. Yesterday I had a quite a full day working with Inside the Dream, one of my fave organizations making change in the world and my system got taken to the limit from the activity.  And my walking and talking had moments of well, slightly wandering away. But I bounced back. And today I bounced back even more. There used to be no bounce back. I sit in gratitude for the bounce back. For when bounce back stretches into forever.

The past couple years leading up to My Magical Birthday, I went from envisioning where in the world I would be lavishly celebrating and with whom to simply wanting one thing:  Universe, please allow my brain to work. Please allow me to be creative again, be able to think and contribute to this planet. If my body won’t work, if I won’t be able to walk properly, if my arms will remain weak, please just allow my brain to work. Let it be connected to my heart and soul and be able tell stories, to be able to talk with people. To have meaningful experiences.  To make a difference even in some small way.

And today, my brain works. There is no better gift in the entire universe than having your brain work. To be able to think. Create. Brainstorm. Plot. Plan. Dream. Envision endless possibilities. Express who you really are.  Express who you want to be. Talk to the universe. THAT is truly magical. I don’t need to be in Bora Bora tomorrow to open up that gift!

Just so you know….I plan to rock The 44th (day,year, forever) like the ceiling can’t hold me , dance like everybody is watching because I don’t give a damn, and rock the hell out of getaways near and far.  I plan to sing loudly and most likely out of tune, smile and talk to strangers and go on adventures. And I will relish the act of thinking, creating and enjoying all the nuances of life I used to take for granted.  And I will walk and exercise because I can, not because I should or feel like I have to but because it is a thrill to have the privilege to do so.

Bring on the magic. Bring on the fun. Here’s to looking forward to birthdays the older we get and being excited to celebrate another year, to admire the laugh lines on our faces that means we have lived, loved and laughed. To appreciate the amazing gifts, abilities and qualities our bodies provide. Here is to having our cake and eating it too and celebrating International No Diet Day knowing our bodies are amazing works of art, masterpieces gradually lovingly receiving more beautiful touches of paint.  To living IN healthy and happy lifestyles not being ON diets we can fall off.

This is THE year.

The Magical Year.

The everything and anything is possible year.

Game on 44. Game on.