Well-spirations

Sunday Sermon: Wellness Advice From a Patient Angler

“Feb 6th: Steady as she goes, it’s all about perseverance when the temperature drops, there is still plenty of opportunity for the patient angler.”

“Bandit,” a friendly, bait stealing snowing egret.

I stumbled upon this beautiful piece of nature writing last week in the most unlikely place. I love the outdoors, and before we had kids, my husband and I spent every weekend taking long luxurious hikes on whatever trails were near our house. Now that we have two hockey playing sons and live in suburbia–it’s harder to get out.

So, I forget the lessons that nature has to offer. Like the one shared by this writer: Timing is everything. Be steady and patient in your efforts. Persevere.

I feel the excitement and opportunity he talks about in slowing down and waiting for just the right moment to snap my line taught.

Captain Pete

The writer? My brother-in-law Captain Pete. The unlikely place? A post on his Naples Fishing Charters Facebook Page.

Even if you’re not a fisherman, his page is worth a follow. He makes people’s dreams of catching the big one come true everyday. Their smiles are as big as the fish they catch. They will make you smile too.

The real gold for me though, are his nature musings and what he sees when he’s out on the water. As I said, I don’t spend much time off of the pavement these days, so his observations remind me to slow down and look at things more softy in my own life. Maybe they would for you too.

Thanks Captain Pete. I’m casting my line out today. I have a sense that if I take your advice, I might catch me some WELLNESS!

Who else is on board?

Go in Peace.

Feel good. Be well. Meg

WELLNESS PROMPT: What’s up with your wellness these days? Is there an area of your life that might benefit from a softer approach? What if you slowed down, sat quietly and waited like a patient angler? Would you snag the wellness you’re looking for?  10-minute write . . . go!

 

MomAbout my Sunday Sermon: Sunday Sermon is a tribute to my beautiful, 86 year old mom, who was teaching me about wellness before the word was part of our daily lexicon. She used to give me long “lectures” on life–as only a mother can do–while we shared breakfast at Harry’s Luncheonette in Princeton. When she was finished talking, I’d often laugh and say, “Thanks for the sermon, mom. Does that mean I don’t have to go to church on Sunday?” When I stumble on a wellness thought and take the time to write about it for fun and personal insight, it makes me think of those good times. 

5 Wellness Lessons I Learned from Quitting Yoga

I can’t recall exactly when I decided to roll up my yoga mat and call it a day.

IMG_5203Maybe it was a few years ago when I couldn’t find a yoga class that I enjoyed within a reasonable driving distance from my house. Sure, there were plenty of studios. But each time I stepped onto my mat and attempted to keep up with the flow and pace of the new fangled fitness yoga, I stepped off an hour later thinking, “Wow. I’m getting too old for this. I just can’t keep up anymore.”

I tried to go it alone for awhile. After all, I was a yoga teacher. I should have had the discipline and knowhow to make it happen for myself. But doing downward dog with my computer screen flickering in the background and a sink full of dishes just a few steps away was a recipe for distraction.

So I quit trying.

Surprisingly, I didn’t miss it that much. I happily replaced my practice (if you could call it that) with walking, swimming, and reading about  yoga in Yoga Journal when it landed in my mailbox each month. And when my body felt stiff and sore, I just reminded myself that this was why I didn’t do yoga anymore.

But last week, I found myself standing back on a borrowed yoga mat, in a warm, softly lit studio, in the town where I grew up. I had traveled back to help my parents for an extended period of time, and one night, out of the blue, I excused myself from the dinner table and announced that I was going out to take a yoga class. Just to get out. Well, I didn’t say that part. I acted like it was something I do all the time, not knowing if I would even make it past the Starbucks just around the corner.

I did make it to class that night. And from the moment I put my feet together in Mountain Pose and extended my arms over my head like the teacher instructed, I knew I had been away too long. All the reasons I loved yoga came flooding back as I stretched and moved in tune with my breath. As we took our time moving in and out of each pose–Chair Pose, to Warrior II, then on to Triangle and Warrior I–it dawned on me how much I missed having an activity in my life that encouraged me to move slowly and mindfully.

And I realized I was stiff–really stiff. Every muscle I moved seemed to snap like dry kindling as I coaxed it beyond its comfort zone. But in spite of my rigidity, I was able to find ways to move with some degree of ease through the poses. I took my time. I breathed. I encouraged myself to stay present and not judge. By the third class (yes, I excused myself from the dinner table two more times), I surprised myself by walking my feet up the wall into a modified handstand–something I was sure I was “too old” for.

Finding my yoga practice after a long layoff was a gift. But perhaps the bigger gift was quitting it a few years earlier. Contrast is a powerful teacher–you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone, kinda thing. Reflecting back, my journey home to yoga taught me some valuable wellness lessons:

  • I learned that taking a break from things in your life–yoga, a stale workout routine, your kids, your spouse–can be a good thing. You often return with a beginner’s mind and a renewed passion and appreciation for what you love.
  • I learned that it’s easy to forget how good we can feel–and that total, feel-good wellness is our birthright. Sure we live crazy, busy, overstuffed lives. But tools like yoga, good nutrition, and regular exercise are life enhancing vehicles to feeling like our best selves. “Don’t settle!” is my new mantra.
  • I learned that the remedy for feeling stiff and sore is not less movement, it’s more. A body that slouches in front of a computer screen or chauffeurs kids around all day hunched over a steering wheel forgets how to open and extend. Be gentle at first. Listen to your body. But always remember that moving more is the single best thing you can do for your wellness.
  • I learned that the statement “I’m getting too old for this!” is a clarion call to action. It’s easy to make a slow, gradual retreat from life as we experience the changes that happen each time we celebrate a birthday. Defy your age! Walk your feet up the wall into a handstand (with a spotter if you need it!). The confidence that comes from that will add years to your life.
  • I learned that wellness is not about whipping our bodies into shape for our fifteen minutes of red carpet fame. It’s about living our best life; body, mind, and spirit. Having a practice like yoga, with a dimension that calls you to be present and accounted for each time you step onto the mat, is real training for real life.

Duke GardensI’m still searching for a yoga class to love nearby. But in the meantime, I’ve rolled out my mat on my office floor and plan to practice in spite of flickering computer screens and dishes piling up in the sink. I’m back on my mat–and it feels really good!

Feel good. Be Well. Meg

WELLNESS PROMPT: Have you given up on an activity or hobby that you used to love? Why? What did you love about it? How did you feel when you were doing it? What keeps you from going back–or what would it take for you to give it another try? 10-minute write . . . go!

 

The Five Best Tips I’ve Heard For Living Well This Year

I always feel a bit guilty after giving one of my wellness workshops. In spite of my painstaking efforts to prepare and deliver my best material, I often feel like I learn more from my students than they learn from me.

IMG_5033Just look around my office and you’ll see that I have enough wellness books to open a small library dedicated to fixing whatever ails you. But week after week, I find that the most valuable wellness advice I hear doesn’t come from the experts. It comes from the real people in my workshops who share how they stay in their WELLNESS ZONE while juggling cranky kids, horrible bosses, and stressful, overstuffed lives.

Their stuff works for one reason. It’s simple! And simple means that it’s doable and repeatable even when life gets crazy—which is most of the time. Although their results are anecdotal, they are real and tangible: pounds lost, races won, and feelings of wellness achieved against all odds. It’s obvious from listening to them that they’ve found a wellness groove that works.

That’s why I’m sharing these flashes of wellness brilliance with you today along with some insight into why they might work for you. Though I can’t remember their names, I give them full credit and thank them for sharing:

“I lost 38 pounds with one simple change. I cleared out my pantry and loaded up my fridge.”
Eating foods with a shorter shelf life will add years to your own life. Lean meats, and colorful fresh fruits and vegetables also have fewer calories, allowing you to EAT MORE and WEIGH LESS. What a concept!

“I start each day with a healthy breakfast. It makes all the difference.”
I second that! According to the National Weight Control Registry, people who eat breakfast weigh less that breakfast skippers. Eating a healthy breakfast puts you in a wellness mindset and ensures that you won’t hit the pastries when you get the late morning munchies.

“I finished my first 5K race with a supportive group of friends and lost 20 pounds in the process!”
The single best thing we can do for our wellness is to move more! Having a tangible goal and the support of our BFF’s can be a great way to overcome the inertia of the holidays. I love this tip because it’s empowering, achievable, and FUN!

“The first thing I do when I open my computer in the morning is go straight to the comics. I like to start every day with a smile.”
We all know how good it feels to laugh. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that starting the day on a positive note would only lead to more of the same? After all, laughter IS good medicine. Schedule some into your day.

“Don’t say MAYBE when you want to say NO!”
I think I might have seen this one on Facebook, but who doesn’t relate? Saying no to things that no longer serve us—activities, destructive actions and thought patterns, people who drag us down—can free up precious time and energy to spend on our wellness. Try saying NO more often in the new year and see how good it makes you feel.

If our New Year’s Resolutions have any hope of sticking beyond the first week in February, we need real life solutions that can stand up to even the most challenging days. Simple, doable, repeatable—it’s what I call a SIMPLE ACT OF WELLNESS!

Hit me with your best one in the comments below!

WELLNESS PROMPT: Do any of these tips resonate with you? What are your best wellness practices to get through this crazy busy life? 10-minute write . . . go!

Feel Good. Be Well. Meg

How to Achieve Your Goals for 2015 in Three Easy Steps

I finally have a website. Welcome!

I set out on this journey over two years ago. I know because I wrote it down like the goal setting gurus say you should when you have a big, important, life-changing goal in mind. But I didn’t reach the finish line until now. And there were times when I thought I never would. So much for taking advice from goal-setting gurus.

For many months, I felt frustrated and stuck for the same reasons we all stumble when we set out to make big, pivotal changes in our lives–like getting in better shape, losing weight, switching jobs, or charting a different course for ourselves.

The project felt huge, scary, and overwhelming.

connectWhenever I thought about creating a website, my mind became cluttered with questions and doubt. Where do I begin? How much will it cost? What happens if no one reads it? Do I really need one? Will I have to trade my late night reality TV for last minute blogging sessions that run into the wee hours of the morning?

It was paralyzing and painful for many long months. Until, suddenly it wasn’t. In a single moment, the path to from blank page to completed website became clear, easy, and attainable. No joke! A few short months later, I reached my goal and launched Wellness Feels Good!

So, What Got Me Unstuck?

It started with a light bulb moment in a workshop I attended last summer. During the daylong seminar titled “A Day of Impact,” veteran fitness pro and motivational speaker Todd Durkin asked us to get our pens ready to write down the answer to this question:

“What is the single most important thing you can do right now that would have the biggest IMPACT on your business?”

I didn’t even need to think about it. I dashed off, “CREATE A WEBSITE” in big, bold letters across the page.IMG_4089

And then he urged us in a commanding voice, “Now, go out and DO IT!

The words were his, but the voice was my own, and I heard it loud and clear. In that moment, I was certain I could make it happen. I finally had the clarity, drive, and commitment to take real action. I also knew that I had the perfect system for doing it right at my fingertips:

Connect. Choose. Celebrate!

Why couldn’t the same process I share week after week in my wellness workshops, work for my business too? My quest for a website became as easy as the Three C’s of Wellness:

CONNECT. The next morning, I asked myself how I would feel when I had my website up and was able to reach out to more wellness seekers. Passionate. Purposeful. Empowered. Accomplished. I wrote these words down with my bright colorful pens, and they became my wellness words for this task.

CHOOSE. I began each day with the question, “What can I do next to feel like these words?” Then I chose simple, doable, actions to feel that way.

  • Get out my ideas folder and review the work I’ve done. (Now where did I file that?)
  • Call my web guy and set up a meeting. (Beg him to work with me even though I fell off the radar for a year.)
  • Call a friend and tell her my plans so she can help me stay accountable. (Bribe her with Starbucks coffee.)
  • Go for a walk to get refocused. (You’ll be hearing a lot about my magical 10-minute walks.)

CELEBRATE! With each step forward, I celebrated. No victory was too small—a meeting, an idea, a section completed. Good job! “Do more of that,” I told myself. When I procrastinated on Facebook and felt lazy and scattered, I reminded myself, “Do less of that.”

Day in and day out, I repeated “Connect. Choose. Celebrate!” until all my actions added up to a finished product.

Of course, that’s the simplified version of the story. There were stumbling blocks along the way—including writer’s block, indecision about templates and design, and lack of gorgeous headshots. But when I encountered these, I simply broke the task down even further until there was something I could do to keep the energy moving.

My website is up and running now, and guess what? I feel PASSIONATE, PURPOSEFUL, EMPOWERED, and ACCOMPLISHED just like I thought I would.

I’ll bet with the new year ahead, you have a few ideas of your own about what you’d like to accomplish. Maybe it’s related to your wellness—losing weight, moving more, getting healthy. Maybe you’re looking to change the course of your life with a brand new exciting direction. Feeling overwhelmed? It doesn’t have to be that way.

You CAN get there—and it can feel good!

To help you achieve your goals in the new year, I’ll nudge the process along a bit by asking you the same life changing, light bulb illuminating question Todd Durkin asked me six months ago:

WELLNESS PROMPT: What is the single most important thing you could do right now that would have the biggest IMPACT on you living your best life? 10-minute write . . . go!

Now, go out and DO IT!

Feel Good. Be Well. Meg

P.S. I’m here to help!