Unplugged Week


Unplug

Time for another week of unplugging. And yes, I know it seems as though all I’ve done is unplug. But I promise great things are in store this Spring, including:

  • A little remodel for Spring!
  • Webinars and podcasts. Yep, that’s right – I am fulfilling a goal and bringing you MORE content. But not just any content, we are going to talk about so many GREAT things we can do to live our BEST life and bring more joy to our parenting and our lives
  • Parenting advice and tips
  • Exciting new blogs, books, and other things to read and follow
  • Book news
  • Consultation and event news
  • Coaching news

See, lots of cool things going on! Make sure you don’t miss any of it – sign up for my newsletter and follow this blog

I’ll be back on 3/10 with all sorts of new things! See you then

Got Inspiration?


Hi all -

It has been a crazy week. Short work weeks always are! I wanted to stop by to give a quick shout out to my new favorite YouTube channels, Mindvalley  and Awesomenessfest. If you are in need of inspiration, motivation, or just some awesomeness, check out there many videos – especially those from awesomenessfest. To show you what I mean, check out this great one from Lisa Nichols:

See – amazing! Subscribe to their channel to get even more great vids.

Throw Back Tuesday: Passion – The Core of the Gifted


Hi everyone! I am just getting back from a long weekend and well, I am behind. No big shock though, right?!? To deal with blogging I decided to do a throw-back-Tuesday post from last year. The topic – PASSION and Intensities. I hope you enjoy it:

~~~

You’ve heard me say before that gifted individuals are, at their core, intense. This intensity extends into every aspect of their being – the way their brain functions, the way their sensory system interacts with the world, and the way they feel about the world. It is, in my opinion, a core aspect of the gifted individual.

The world often looks at the cognitive aspects of their intensity favorably, complimenting them on their academic prowess, or giving accolades for the unique problem-solving skills or creative approaches gifted individuals often demonstrate.

This is not typically true with the emotional aspects of being. These are looked at with a less favorable eye. When they are young, gifted individuals are often thought to be overly dramatic, engaging in tantrumming behavior over seemingly little events.

As they age, a gifted person may find it hard to find relationships because of their intensities – they give so much to every friendship, every love interest, that  it often scares the other individual.

As a gifted adult, I can tell you that learning to deal with the intense aspects of giftedness has been a unique challenge. I feel things at such a deep level, am easily wounded, and can often appear somewhat unbalanced because of my intensities.

Nothing is farther from the truth, however.

My intensities make me strong.

Let me say that again – my intensities, or my passion, for whatever it is I am doing makes me strong. It gives me the focus I need to push past the things that are difficult in order to reach my goals. And it enables me to connect to others in a way that has helped my art, my job….everything.

I say this to encourage you to view the intense aspects of your giftedness, or the giftedness within your children for what it truly is – PASSION.

It is passion that enables humans to create and invent. Passion that raises art to the sublime. Passion that gives us a reason to continue.

Passion.

Confessions of a Teenage Beauty Queen


dreamstime_6634032I was hanging out on FB yesterday and stumbled across a great article from a father to his young daughter. In it, he redefines our cultural ideas of beauty. If you haven’t read it – CLICK HERE and read it. That post was so touching to me. Sure, it had a great message – one sorely needed at a time when so many girls are at risk, partially due to what our culture teaches them.

But that isn’t the only reason. This topic is highly personal to me.

I grew up without a father figure until I was in my early teens. By then, I had already developed body dsymorphia – I saw myself as an obese girl even though I was a normal weight for my size. There are a ton of reasons why the body image problems developed (and that’s for another post), but suffice it to say it was a huge issue for me. For years I facilitated between periods of anorexia and bouts of bulimia. I was a mess.

And no one knew.

I kept all of that hidden away from the rest of the world. My weight stayed somewhat constant. I was in beauty pageants, even won a few. I modeled and even went to NYC. My weird quirks were normal with models and beauty queens. We were all suffering body image problems. I never told anyone about my secret rituals around food. Never admitted how ill I was.

In college, my first time away, my gifted introverted self hit crisis mode. I saw a counselor for the first time. It was terrifying. And like any bright, scared, soon-to-be-adult, I ended counseling as soon as I felt “ok”.

For the next several years, I hit the depth of my body image issues until finally I couldn’t ignore the pain any longer, and I again sought help. I had a great therapist. I stopped  and purging. Stopped the anorexia.

At least for a while.

But, although I stopped behaving like an anorexic, I hadn’t fully healed the core of my body issues. And so I became an emotional eater, and a new issue with food (or maybe the same issue reborn) blossomed.

It has taken more years than I care to admit to become more comfortable with my body. I have only just started to allow pictures of me, only now refused to inhibit my speaking career related to my body issues. I am finally in a place of healing, acceptance. I’ve done the work on the core issues, replaced emotional eating with healthy eating and no longer engage in the rituals.

In short, I am finally happy with “who” I am now. I’ve learned that diminishing myself serves no one, least of all me. I’m not willing to hate myself in order to be liked by others, something I thought I had to do in my youth. I’m better. Stronger.

It has been a long and difficult road. I wish someone had noticed the turmoil I was in, wish a trusted adult had said the words the father in the above article said to his daughter. But I am grateful that I DID figure things out. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, more resilient than I ever gave myself credit for being.

I am proud to say I have two amazingly strong daughters. They are healthy, fit, and not focused on cultural norms for beauty. They are self-confident and feel quite comfortable forging their own path. I would like to think I had something to do with it – who knows. Most of the time I am fairly certain they just came onto the planet with an amazing amount of resiliency and emotional intelligence. There are my example, my ideal.

Strong. Resilient. Intelligent.

I stand here now humbled and grateful – for the strength I’ve found, the life I have, and ability to give to our children the strength I once needed.

Whew – okay. There you go. Confessions of this victim of our cultural definition of beauty…

What confessions do you have to share?

Finding Joy: 5 Tips to Releasing Your Inner Joy


Hey all! So nice to be back after the great long break. This month I thought I’d tackle the topic of joy and love. To start, I wanted to talk a little about being happy.

Have you seen the December Weight Watchers commercial featuring the cutest little girl ever! This kid absolutely understands joy:

There are a lot of take away messages from this commercial – and none of them about losing weight. Let’s take a moment a look at the tips we can gain from this little 30 second clips:

  1. Dance: There really is nothing better than laughing, dancing and playing. If you need a little inspiration to that fact, watch this video again
  2. Dream Big: Listen to this girl as she plays – she has big dreams. Passions. And there is nothing better than finding your passion to make you smile!
  3. Don’t Worry About What Other’s Think: Do you think this little girl cares how she appears to others? I’d be willing to bet that she doesn’t. She just wants to play and be happy – something most kids want. Something many of us have forgotten
  4. Happiness is Infectious: Try to stay miserable with others are happy. It’s really hard. It’s so much easier to smile and be happy – and help others find their joy too.
  5. Make Time to Play and Have Fun: Every Day: If there is anything that I’ve learned in life, it is the importance of playing and having fun. Find a few moments every day to laugh. Not only will you make others happy, you will be happier. And that joy will lead to more energy, more joy, more fun. Try it!

We can’t guarantee that life will be easy and fun all of the time – but we can learn to have joy in our lives everyday. If you’re struggling with that, just watch this video and take a moment to play!

Supporting Your Child’s Passions


parent and child talking

How many of you take the time to nurture your passions? Do you spend time on them? Use your passions to help direct your life goals? Anything?

How about the passions your children have? Do you help them nurture their passions? Do you actively encourage your children to explore the things they are most passionate about?

If you are like most people, you are inconsistent about both your passions and those of your children. In fact, you may not even be sure of what these “passions” are. Am I right?

Here’s a little way you can get on track with supporting your children’s passions, as well as your own.

First, help your children identify the things they most care about. Have them make lists, idea posters, digital scrapbooks – anything that will help them clarify the things they care most about. And if you haven’t done that for yourself, I would advise making this a fun project you both can do.

Once there is once clarity about the things you care most about, encourage your children to find one thing they can do weekly (or monthly) to embrace that passion. If they are into fashion, talk about making fashion boards or a starting up a fashion blog. If cooking is their thing, give them some freedoms in the kitchen to cook (safely) and explore. 

I think we often downplay our children’s passions as fleeting hobbies. While this will be true at times, it won’t always be true. The more we can nurture and support the interests our children have, the more we give them permission to be whomever they authentically are. 

Our children are the future – let’s help them embrace it with passion and creativity, shall we?!?

The Art of Breathing


I find it both interesting and completely appropriate that the health difficulties I’ve had this year all relate to breathing. We all know breathing is essential to life. But it plays an even bigger role than we may realize. When we are scared or frustrated, our breathing style changes. Some of us may even hold our breath all together. When we are in awe or in love, our breathing changes yet again. For most of us, paying attention to our breath is a window to our emotions.

For me, I discovered with this rash of colds that I breathe too shallow most of the time. Since my colds all attached the upper respiratory areas, I decided to do a couple of things – one, look at what that region of the body could represent for me spiritually, and two, pay close attention to breathing from my diaphragm.

Let’s take the first one of these – the possible “meaning” of my breathing problems beyond the physical realities of my cold. Now, don’t take me wrong – I know my colds are rooted in my physical being, and I’ve taken measures to heal myself (Nothing like GREAT meds!). But I also believe strongly in mind-body-soul connections. And it was that aspect of this I wanted to explore.

Breathing has often been associated with fear – fear of life, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc. For me, this didn’t ring 100% true, at least not initially. But as I reflected on 2013 and what, if anything, had held me back, I had to admit that there were fears and blockages. Once I acknowledged these blockages, I got to work clearing them; letting them go and focusing on “being”. It has been a good journey thus far, and something I know I must continue to work on.

The second part of what I decided to look at is HOW I am actually breathing: am I taking little puffs of air most of the time, barely utilizing my lung capacity, or am I taking deep relaxed breaths from my diaphragm. As I looked at it, the short breaths (also consistent with “fear” responses) made up the majority of my breathing of late. Sure, the cold was part of the reason, but if i am being honest, I must admit it isn’t the only thing going on. Once I came clean on this fact, the coughing fits and moments of breathlessness I’ve been dealing with changed. No longer did I get more frustrated every time I had them, but I used them as warning signs that I was breathing too shallow. For the past week or so I’ve been making it a point to breathe deeper, slower; to focus on my relaxation. It is helping, along with my meds, and between them both, my breathing issues are improving very quickly.

Our breath – it is important in every way imaginable. Guess it’s time to really pay attention to it!

How is your breathing?

The Value of Taking Breaks


Well, my regular posting schedule was a bit of an overstatement I think. The truth: January has left me sick for the majority of the month. The good news, after a few relapses, I “think” I am back among the living!

For today’s renewal post, I want to talk about the art of taking breaks – from everything: Routine, work, digital life…

You get the picture.

As most of you know, I decided to focus on Living Gently for 2014. Getting my body healthy as a way to kick off the year was an unplanned blessing as it has forced me to focus on being balanced and living a life that embraces what it means to me to be in balance and live gently.

I live a full and rich life. This also means it is an often busy and unbalanced on. I spend too much time online, to much time “working” in some capacity, and don’t often remind myself to take needed breaks to just…be.

Enter 2014. A huge part of living my passions and being balanced is about creating moments in which the blogging, the online grind, all of it comes to a stop and I just unplug. So, every month or so, I am unplugging from both blogs and the majority of my online presence. This time is my renewal time – my opportunity to life gently and remind myself how to just…BE.

Next week will be the first unplugging week of the year. Maybe some of you will join me, if not for the week, for part of it – long enough to find your balance again.

I’ll return in February with posts about love and relationships (seemed a fitting Feb topic!). In the meantime, I will be here the remainder of this week, talking about restarting passions and teaching your kids about finding their unique voices.

See you later this week!

Finding Inspiration in Julia Mancuso


I am always looking for inspiration – both from within and without. This past weekend, I found the perfect dose of my daily inspiration in a brief spotlight of Julia Mancuso, Olympic downhill skier.

Julia is from Maui, an island near and dear to my heart. About ten years ago or so, when recovering from a particularly tough bought of burnout (nothing like being super intense), I went to Maui for the first time. I lovingly say I found my smile on the road to Hana. Maui – the environment, the lifestyle, the spirit that embodies the Hawaiian culture – speaks to me in a way that is profound. It isn’t surprising then, that Julia, raised in this setting, works to live a balanced life.  Rather than muscling through adversity, as many other athletes preach and many of us attempt, Julia letting go and relaxing into the moment.

Wow! I know this…and yet, man did I need to hear it.

I am a person that regularly pushes through adversity, often ignoring my body’s pleas to slow down. Stop. I wind myself into a mess this way. Repeatedly.

The result, I get loads done. But, at what cost? Right now, the “cost” has been a never-ending bout of bronchitis that is going on it’s seventh week.

NOT FUN!

So, I think it is time for me to take a page from Julia’s playbook. Stop pushing through the fatigue. Stop ignoring the pleas from my body and start listening to “me”. Today, I took the first step and I let go of the “plans” for writing and marketing this week and just listening to my body, resting when needed, etc. I’ll be sure to let you know how it works out.

In the meantime, check out this fabulous article about Julia and her balanced approach to life