Archive | self-health

It Matters


“It matters whether you see yourself as someone who is capable of effecting change or whether you see yourself as someone whose voice does not count. It matters whether you treat yourself with reverence or with carelessness. Every bit of work you do on yourself matters. Every time you choose love, it matters.” ~Geneen Roth

Self love… loving, adoring all the while seeing oneself… it all matters.

I am in awe when I witness, first hand, my friends loving themselves, treating themselves with reverence and respect, basking in their own adoration. A woman in love with herself is a truly powerful thing to behold. As I work to create my health coaching practice, I am stepping into the idea more and more that my work is about bringing to the surface that vibrant light of self love that burns within each woman I meet. It still surprises me to see the level of self-loathing and personal disrespect that women can heap upon themselves. As I step into my vision and version of self-love, I can get so frustrated when someone takes on the “victim” or “poor me” frame of mind. It feels like such a waste of energy because we are so powerful,

we can create our world when we open our hearts to our own genuine, imperfect self.

Lately, I have noticed that just the simple act of asking myself if I am hungry before I eat is absolutely everything. Sometimes, honestly, I eat anyway regardless of the answer but even taking the beat to ask acknowledges my preference, my body, my self in a new, loving way.

I may eat anyway, I may overeat, I may even binge but it is at the very least my choice.

I’m not harming anyone else but myself but I am also not healing anyone else but myself. I take all of the credit and all of the blame for my life. It is dawning on me that I am becoming one of those women I admire so, a woman, truly, madly and deeply in love with herself.

As of Today I am Nothing

I am nothing.

There, I said it, I have declared it, I am happy to shout it from the rooftops…

As of today, I AM NOTHING.

My last post began me thinking about how I have chosen to “define” myself. The internal conflict I felt then was about who I thought I was in the world versus how I was being reflected back to myself in my interactions with someone else. This morning, another random occurence had me questioning myself yet again. Kind of disturbed, I wrote and wrote and wrote about it in my journal. It started with how it was challenging to think of myself as one type of person only to find that when the rubber met the road, I made an unexpected and different choice.

The more I wrote the more I began to discover that it wasn’t my actions and my choices that were the issue.

Looking back at them, I honestly could not have seen myself react in any other way.  I could only support my choices made in the moment. So I asked, why were these feelings of dis-ease hanging on? Once again, I seemed to have brushed up against how I define myself.

I am this.

I am a person who likes that.

I am a person who does this but not that. We all walk through the world defining ourselves but does it really serve us or hold us back? Does it define us or confine us? I suspect that those definitions hold and confine me so I decided that as of today I am nothing beyond being Valerie.

I reserve the right to make choices in the moment that are right for me.

For example, I haven’t eaten meat in years but I won’t call myself vegetarian because one day I may decide chow down on a turkey burger.

Or I often tend to be quiet and hold back in groups of new people but I will no longer call myself an introvert because one day I may bust out in a song in front of a room filled with strangers.

I reserve the right to change and morph and grow at my own beautiful pace and for me, it feels like in declaring that I am nothing, I am free…

free to be everything.

Just Who Does She Think She Is…


This post is inspired by my lovely and courageous friend Kate (who took the photo above the day we met) and by way of introduction…

i am: standing on the brink of possibility

i think: i can do it all only to find out that i can’t (and often don’t really want to)

i know: i have gifts to give to the world

i want: to love and be loved deeply

i have: an enormous, opening heart

i dislike: when i curse at stupid drivers

i miss: my best friend

i fear: dreaming big

i feel: fear and excitement, often in equal measure

i hear: silence deeply

i smell: crisp, cool morning air

i crave: snuggling into waiting arms

i usually: have my nose in a book

i search: for deep, meaningful connection

i wonder: if i am giving enough, opening enough, sharing enough of myself with others

i regret: allowing myself to be treated less than i deserve

i love: my black keen boots

i care: more than i would like to admit

i am always: on time

i worry: that i am too much

i remember: lazy summer days feeding the ducks with my dad

i have: enough

i dance: to express my hidden side

i sing: to learn to be completely present

i don’t always: stay

i argue: when i feel i am unheard

i write: to clear my mind and begin again

i lose: myself more often than i would like to admit

i wish: i knew what happens next

i listen: before i speak

i don’t understand: people who don’t see each other

i can usually be found: in the cozy cottage

i am scared: to be open and vulnerable

i need: quiet time to fill my well

i forget: how deeply loved i truly am

i am happy: that most of my days are truly amazing

Now I invite you to share just who do you think you are.

Outside In

Day Seven is winding down and I made it a whole week living on green smoothies and pureed soups. I am here trying to think of a way to communicate what this mixed bag of a week filled with emotions, struggle and peaceful calm has been like. While there is so much that I feel in the moment I can find very few words just yet.

People ask why I do cleanses at the change of the seasons. Sometimes I say, I like the discipline of them (that must come from growing up in a strict military family no doubt), or I say, I like the personal challenge of them (with a healthy dose of testing my personal boundaries mixed in), or with my health counselor hat on, I say that it is good to clear out the junk and toxins from your body and that a cleanse is like hitting restart and beginning again.

If you asked me today, right now, in this moment I would confess that as challenging as this week was, I love how spending time focusing on and caring for the outside, when I was able to get quiet and still and aware, brought me inside, brought me back home to me. There was something about stripping away everything that I use as a crutch, the yummy snack foods, the mindless eating in front of the tv, the “oh it is noon it must be time for lunch” everyday habits that has brought me the most clarity I have felt in a long while.

This juice cleanse idea may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it might not be everyone’s entry into their being but I do encourage you to slow down, become quiet, still and aware and see who you find there.

I bet who you find is simply amazing!

The Voice

The Voice…

Do you know the voice?

The one that often berates you “for your own good.” The one that sees only your problem area when you look at yourself in the mirror, the one that shames you for indulging in something you really really wanted. Yes, my version of that very voice, made herself known loud and clear the other day.

I used to be overweight. I was a rolly polly kid. I was a pudgy teenager. I became an overweight adult until the day that the nurse weighing me in for my physical remarked “You don’t look like you weigh that much!” From that day forward, I purposely worked to lose 40 pounds and for the most part it has remained off for five years. In a way, the losing was the easy part. The thing that the diet books and Weight Watchers doesn’t tell you is how do you change on the inside to maintain the way you look on the outside.

So I set about to develop a relationship with this new version of myself. I read, I studied, I listened, and I eventually created a health counseling practice that reflects what I most needed to find. I did battle with the Voice and thought that I had won her over. That is until the other day…

My favorite restaurant Cafe Gratitude began offering a free Juice Club at the beginning of 2010. The idea is that for the first week of every month you do a juice cleanse only consuming liquids like juices, smoothies, puree soups, herbal teas, and nut milks. Now, I am not a cleansing virgin. I have done the 21 day Quantum Wellness cleanse several times (the one that got Oprah to be vegan for 21 days) but the last time around it felt a bit old hat, it was a bit easy. No gluten, no animal products, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar, no problem. When I read about the idea of a juice cleanse I was interested. So I did my research, found recipes for smoothies and soups that offered protein and tons of nutrients, I shopped for fresh fruits and veggies over the weekend and I began on April 1. I felt completely prepared for seven days or so I thought.

On day one, the voice appeared. She stomped her feet. She pushed. She shoved. She yelled at the top of her lungs.  She made it clear that she would not be ignored. She wanted food. It did not matter that she wasn’t really hungry. It did not matter that she had plenty of choice. She just wanted what she wanted and she just would not shut up. What was I to do? I couldn’t quit after, I kid you not, only 2 hours.

So what I decided to do was just sit with her as she threw what could only be described as a temper tantrum. I let her rage, I let her scream and yell and throw herself on the floor and I just sat with her, I held her, I made sure her physical needs were being met but more importantly, I listened for what was beneath the angry emotions. Surprisingly, what I discovered beneath the tantrum was fear.

“I am afraid of being hungry! I will starve!”

The moment you feel hungry then I will feed you delicious, hearty smoothies and warm yummy soups that will fill you up. Remember you like soup!

” This is too hard! I am afraid that I will fail so why even try???”

This is just temporary, just seven days but if it is more than you can handle than we will stop. In my eyes you will not be a failure. The success is in the trying, the rest is only feedback.

“I am afraid that I won’t be nourished!”

We did the research, we planned carefully, we stocked the refrigerator full of healthy food. We can always get more, there will always be plenty.

Little by little she settled. I can’t say that it has been easy but today is day four and the voice has calmed. She shouts every once in awhile, just to make sure that I am listening but when she discovers that I am still here, she is good. I am only half way done but have discovered an unexpected bonus of doing this cleanse. The thing I couldn’t have anticipated is that I can trust myself completely. That learning alone is worth the giving up solid food for a week.

(Though to be completely honest, I am totally looking forward to a scarfing down a huge burrito next week. Oh or maybe just some peanut butter and jelly on toasted Mariposa Bakery bread. No, no a bowl of oatmeal with toasted walnuts and fruit.)