I’m SUPER STOKED to share about someone who has almost always been a part of my life, but through the magic of Facebook we connected as adults and realized that we have an even deeper bond than just our family ties. My interview today is with my beautiful, brilliant and amazing cousin, Nicole Lewis-Keeber. YAY!
She and I grew up on opposite coasts and only saw each other very sporadically as kids, on the few occasions our family was able to travel from Southern California back to my father’s roots in North Carolina. Here’s a snapshot of Nicole and the wonderful work she does. Enjoy!
Nicole is a Money Mindset Master with a background in therapy and life coaching. Using a conversational, engaging, humor-infused approach to complex challenges, Nicole’s talks and coaching programs guide business owners, coaches, and healers to reveal and release their underlying blocks and barriers to financial abundance, so that they can master their mind, heal their heart, empower their future and make some damn money!
Nicole lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband Jason and three fat, happy cats. It is well known that Nicole loves 80’s music, a good martini and heartfelt snark filled conversations with friends.
The Blessings Butterfly interviews Nicole Lewis-Keeber, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)
TBB: For lack of a better term, what is your “role” now that you’ve started Nicole Lewis-Keeber Coaching? NL-K: Speaker/Money Mindset Expert/Life Coach/Therapist.
Tell me when and how you got started in your current business.NL-K: I rolled out the red carpet to my coaching business in March of 2015.
TBB: What inspired you to begin this Business? NL-K:I worked with my own Life Coach and the approaches she used changed everything for me. I wanted to do what she did and change lives in the way she had changed mine.
TBB: What were you doing before this? NL-K: After 18 years as a therapist I was feeling a bit burned out, well actually crispy! So I decided that I still wanted to help people but in a different way. I wanted to work with people on their goals and dreams and not their problems and diagnosis.
TBB: In what ways is your Business making a difference, or how do you hope that it will? NL-K: My business and coaching practice has made a difference in a way I had not anticipated. As a money mindset coach I have been helping women who have experienced trauma in their past, reveal and release it’s grip so they can earn more money and be more successful in their business.
TBB: What do you love the most about what you do? NL-K: Seeing someone make changes in their life to support their ability to earn more money and feel more confident. I LOVE the “I made more money this month then I have before in my business” emails!
TBB: If Current You could go back in time and share a message with You From 5 Years Ago (or 10, or High School- your choice) what advice would you give to yourself? NL-K: I would tell her to take going to the gym serious and to put down the chips. 🙂 I would also tell her that her life is about to change in ways she never imagined and to hold on to her horses! To believe in herself and the possibilities.
TBB: What is your favorite daily ritual, and why is it important to you? NL-K: I use EFT or Tapping as a tool in my tool kit and I use it daily to help me clear negative energy and blocks to allow for abundance and higher vibration. EFT is the practice of tapping on meridian points on the body to shift energy. It can be used to manage stress, deal with trauma and to release stuck energy that is connection to negative emotions.
TBB:This is very interesting! Can you tell me more about this? For people who are not familiar with EFT or Tapping, do you have any resources I can direct them to? NL-K: Sure! Here’s a link to aTapping Resource that you may find helpful.
TBB: Is there anything else you’d like to share, or advice that you can offer to anyone feeling “stuck”? NL-K: If you are stuck, triggered, in pain, or feeling “less than” it is because a part of you is sending you a message. Stop, breathe, and ask your inner voice or pain, what it needs to you to know. There is a gift and a message in each struggle, fear and doubt we have. I promise.
TBB: Thank you so much! If you’d like to get in touch with Nicole, you can reach out to her via Facebook (she does lots of Facebook Live videos too!), Twitter, or through the contact form on her website.
***NEW! Nicole has just launched her signature Transformational Wealth Training program and let me tell you it is JAM-PACKED with wisdom and hands-on skills training! From Nicole: “I have successfully worked with my clients to reveal and release the surprising hidden programing that has been keeping them from making more money, and stepping into their brilliance. I am excited to offer you an opportunity to reveal and release your own money blocks, by using the same techniques that have used to help my one-on-one clients. These techniques are powerful and up until now I have only used them with private clients.” If you would like more info, I invite you to check out Nicole’s program right here.
My first time writing one of these “Friday Faves” was to feature my friend Mikey, a dear friend, talented musician, and gifted photographer. He was the Luke Skywalker to my Princess Leia, a beautiful and gentle soul with a heart of fire and gold. He was supportive of my work and always had kind, encouraging words for me- really, for everyone he came in contact with. Every gorgeous photo of me on here I owe to him. When my father died, I gave his cool old cameras and gear to Mike and he was so stoked. Our last photo shoot, just 2 weeks ago, was one of the most amazing and transcendent experiences of my life. I am choosing to honor him again today as I work through my grief.
This past Tuesday evening, I got the unfathomable news that one of my best friends had died.
I am no stranger to death and loss, yet this one is kicking my ass in ways I have never experienced before. I am still in some weird state of shock over it all, stuck in a nightmare loop that keeps replaying over and over and over.
I just got word Mikey passed away?!?
I’ll know more in a bit…
My friend Mikey was the kind of guy who made you feel warm, and welcomed, and interesting because he was genuinely interested in you. He was someone who took great interest in whatever great new thing you were into. He loved to support and encourage people, and would get SO STOKED whenever he and I would share about a new project, whatever it might be. I loved how our text messages would be a beautiful mixture of silly and serious, profanity and deep wisdom. Black thumbs up emojis and heart-eyed smileys. OMG’s and LOL’s. Ridiculous hashtags. And always, always joy & kindness.
As positive, inspirational and encouraging as he was to others, he sometimes felt the loneliness that only an artist and creative can truly understand. That dull ache of creative genius, a desire to share with the world, and self-doubt would sometimes swirl together and in those quiet, darker moments, I always felt incredibly honored when he would reach out to me. My gift to him was always to speak love, truth, and words of encouragement into his gentle soul, to tell him of all the strength and courage and kick-ass greatness that I saw in him. To push him forward. To remind him that he was absolutely worthy and deserving of good things and joy in his life.
I just got word Mikey passed away?!?
Hiking? Fuck I can’t breathe
I know nothing right now…
It feels like a punch in the throat, a donkey kick in the gut. I’m dizzy. It feels like little cartoon birds and stars are circling around my head, mocking, swirling, as I try to put these impossible sentences together.
I just got word Mikey passed away?!?
I text him immediately, heart pounding, hoping this is just a terrible mistake: Hey Friendy are you ok? No response. I call his phone, it rings, and I hear his kind, warm voice: “Hi you’ve reached Michael Powell, I can’t get to the phone right now, please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.” FUCK, FUCK, FUCK… is this real? This is not real. It must be a mistake. Is my friend really gone? This cannot be true. And yet I knew that as awful and impossible to believe as it was… nope I still can’t believe it.
I waited for another eternity, searched Google for news. Silence, and that nightmare loop in my head.
I just got word Mikey passed away?!?
I texted a message to my boyfriend, my fingers trembling, my eyes stinging: “Baby- I think something awful happened to my friend Mikey.”
Seeing the transformation that my friend was making in his life over the past year was simply breathtaking. It was like watching someone truly awaken, breathe in deeply and more fully than ever before. I saw Mikey not just drink it, but chug-a-lug LIFE each and every day, beard dripping with freshly-squeezed and fully savored experiences and triumphs personally and professionally. His love for nature and hiking went to a whole new level, and seemed to be the missing piece that completed him. He was in the best shape of his life, so healthy, so happy. The last time that we hung out, just two weeks ago, we were talking about how excited he was to go back and attempt to summit Mt. Whitney. “Of course you will!” I said, “Yeah, I feel good about it,” he said.
Shortly thereafter, the worst was confirmed. My friend Mikey had made his triumphant summit of Mt. Whitney, he fucking made it, and somehow on the descent, hours after that epic climb to the top- he lost sight of the trail in the darkness, lost his footing, and fell to his death. I type this and it still doesn’t feel real. It don’t want it to be real; but it is.
I just got word Mikey passed away?!?
Hiking Mt. Whitney… lost his footing…
I texted my boyfriend again, tears streaming down my cheeks as the enormity of this truth slapped my face: “It’s true”
Over the last few days, I’ve been comforted in some way by the solidarity of mutual grief. The massive community of friends who knew Mike have been pouring out incredible tributes to him over social media. I can’t help but think he would be so humbled and embarrassed by the attention, yet incredibly grateful for all of the kind words. They are so beautiful, so poignant. Some are funny, some are deep- just like he was. I read them and am touched. I cry, I smile, I ache for their loss because I know it too. For his sweet mother, I am completely heartbroken. It is a terrible kind of sadness, and she is so graceful and loving in her time of unthinkable pain.
I am impressed by how many different circles of friends Mike had, which is a testimony to his many talents and interests including music, photography, hanging with friends, healthy eating, nature and hiking. From people who had simply followed his Instagram feed of gorgeous photography and hiking videos, to people who had met him recently, to people who have had the privilege of being his friend for years, some for decades, some for life- each and every one has felt this loss deeply. Each and every one of us, even if it had been years since they had seen him, felt a special fondness for Mike because that is how he made people feel: so special. The truth is abundantly clear that the most special one between us, the one constant among a wide variety of friends, is our friend Mike, Mikey, Mikey Punk Rawk, Hiking Mike, Michael. Rest in Peace, Friendy- every mountain summit is yours now. #BHN (Be Here Now)
Sometimes you come across a person who exudes such compassion, kindness, peacefulness and genuine love for others that it makes you pause and wonder: How did they get to this place?
Such is the case with my friend Rachel. She and I connected online through an exercise challenge; she lives in Wales, I am in the US. The energy and support within this online group was AMAZING. Truly supportive and really beautiful! The challenge ended, but several (hundred) of us, mostly women, wanted to remain connected so Rachel soon formed a spin-off group that kept the conversations and support going.
I quickly learned that this remarkable woman was spiritually gifted, intuitive, and an expert at meditation. YES! That vibe is my jam!
I wanted to learn more, and asked her if she’d be willing to share her story. I had no idea that the pain and trauma of her past was so similar to that of myself and of so many other women. I am incredibly humbled that she chose to share her very personal journey me, and allow me to share it with you. If together we can help one more woman find her voice, find her courage, and find comfort- it’s a win.
The Blessings Butterfly interviews: Rachel John
TBB: What’s the name of Your Business/Company/Product/Project?
RJ: The business is Soul BEing, an umbrella for all tools you need to become whole and reactivate your true being. Mindful Coaching, Meditation, Mindfulness, Chakra Balancing / Energy Healing, Akashic Records Readings, Spiritual Development
TBB: What is your role there?
RJ: I am all roles, creator, strategist, manager, accountant
TBB: What were you doing before this?
RJ: I was a General Manager in a large chain international restaurant running a £1,000,000+ store, Coaching, Training, Marketing, Selling, Mentoring, the list goes on. Before that I had always worked in Sales of the Service industry most notably my time with Virgin Atlantic Airlines as crew.
TBB: In what ways is your Business making a difference, or how do you hope that it will?
RJ: I know, that right now, my Coaching and blend of skills is helping women reclaim their power, voice and independence. It is allowing them to make conscious decisions which positively affect their lives without fear. As Brene Browne would say, “They’re daring greatly” , moving forward in life with courage and love and a new found zest that was absent previously.
I also have a collaboration coming up, which begins November 14th, that I’m very excited about. I’m working with a charitable organisation called Recovery Mummy that helps women suffering from post partum depression and psychosis cope with life after having their babies.
I’ll be running an ongoing Mindfulness Course for parents and children which I know will ease the stress and anxiety the families may be experiencing.
TBB: What do you love the most about what you do?
RJ: I love seeing a clients face light up and their joyous reaction when they realize a truth about themselves or they create their own solutions. It’s such a pleasure for me to help people re-discover their own inner power and wisdom and when they suddenly wake up and appreciate their own power and recognize that it was always there to begin with, it’s a wonderful thing to behold.
TBB: So what inspired you to start this unique practice? How did you get to this place?
RJ: When I was younger, I was raped.At the time I told one person who happened to bump into me while I was sobbing in the local train station. I didn’t tell my mother as it was her birthday a few days after and I didn’t want to upset her. I kept it in, squashed it and boxed it up, threw away the key. I became an expert avoider. I was crying inside.
A few years later I lost my home, my flat mate had a nervous breakdown, the fledgling company I worked for screwed me over financially, I took them to a tribunal court, I won the case, they didn’t turn up and disappeared, I lost my job and my money. I was destitute.
I started again. I always tried to remain positive so when I found a job in my hometown of Cardiff, I returned to live with my Mum. I thought this is my time to reset, save some money and get back to where I was and eventually go back to my adopted town, Brighton.
However, the Universe had other plans for me. I had a beautiful daughter and went from full time to part time, I found a great house and while still getting myself together financially so I could only rent I was overjoyed with our little haven. I planned on going to University to retrain as a Psychologist, then my new company offered me my own restaurant. I was unsure, my gut was saying no, go to uni but I took the position lured by the money carrot and the promise of security and extra responsibility. Two weeks before I was due to start in my own restaurant I snapped my Achilles’ tendon but I carried on regardless, a second blatant refusal to pay attention to my intuition. It was a stressful place and a difficult transition but I Managed to turn the ailing store around.
After only a short couple of years my gut was yelling at me to study again, retrain, go find your niche so I took a long overdue sabbatical to plan my route. While I was off work a male manager took over my store, I had no reason to think that was a problem. One day my area manager contacted me and asked, ‘even though I was off work would I like to go to the annual managers party’, which was a festival style few days in the grounds of the owner of the company’s house. Again I ignored my gut to say no, and agreed after I was persuaded ‘what a great time I’d be missing and all your friends will be there, we’ll miss you’.
On the first night of the festival I was sexually assaulted by the manager who was supposedly looking after my store. Everybody had been given a one man tent, sleeping bag, blanket, water, and a sign to post outside your tent. I was so exhausted that night I said goodbye to my close friends and left the festival field early to go back to my tent and sleep. I hitched a ride on a tractor with two other women and a guy, walked across our field, took my wellies off, crawled into my tent, zipped up and fell asleep fully clothed.
I woke up I don’t know how much later to find a hand down the back of my jeans, inside my pants, this man, this ‘colleague’ in my space. I screamed at him to get out, I was in shock, totally freaked out. The next morning I told one person again, not sure what I was staying. She said he was disgusting, and that was that.
I later found out from another colleague that he had lied about the store handover I’d given him, he had failed my store audit, and completely denigrated my character behind my back. Nobody wanted to tell me as they were worried about how I’d react and how it would affect the party. So I was violated in every way.
Again I kept quiet. I moved to a different store, returned to part time hours and to Assistant Manager and started studying Hypnotherapy. I loved the course and boxed up all my past hurt.
Unfortunately for me, my General Manager went on maternity leave and the coward that assaulted me was put in her place. At first I coped but bit by bit, he undermined my position by slowly delegating my work until I had nothing of relevance left. He used my part time status as an excuse then tried to have me removed by the area manager by telling him I was unhappy.
After standing in the tiny managers’ office watching these two grown men argue about who had initiated the move, I’d had enough. I moved restaurant once again to only end up working with his partner. By this time it was too late for me to regain composure. I suffered a panic attack and things went from bad to worse. I became depressed, the following grievance procedure I processed against him in work dragged on and on. The next two years were like a blur as I suffered depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia and cried incessantly.
It’s from here that I carried on studying Coaching, Meditation, Mindfulness, Mindset, my Spiritual development and pulled myself back from the dark edges of life. I re-found my inner strength and wisdom! This is why I started my business and this is why I wanted to help women that have suffered without support, not realizing that everything they need is already there inside of them.
TBB: WOW, Rachel! You have indeed been through the fire. I am so sorry for the years of pain, struggle andsilence that you suffered. It is easy to see how much of a transformation you have made in your life by finding your voice (and what a powerful example for your daughter too!)
RJ: Studying Hypnotherapy, practicing and gaining my teaching qualification in Mindfulness and Meditation, counseling, coaching, my Spirituality and my resolve have got me where I am today, two years on. Strong and independent. That’s why I want you to be powerful too.
TBB: Can you tell me about any of your current projects?
RJ: I’m currently working on combining all of my ‘woo woo’ skills with my Mindful Coaching to create a phenomenally powerful and more holistic way to coach. I’ve always tended to look at the whole picture and introduced a little alternative into my coaching but now I’m being guided to totally immerse myself in this work and my clients are loving it.
I’m reading the Akashic Records, (which is a way to connect with your whole timeline or soul line as I like to call it), plus reading a clients Chakras and using these channels as tools to blend together for the fullest picture of the issues the client needs to work through.
They’re having real breakthrough transformations, smashing through old, outdated habits and patterns of thinking and living.
I am currently running a discounted offer for my Akashic Readings to just my group, but would like to extend this to your readers.
It’s an initial taster session at $43, the session incorporates Chakra healing/balancing with the Akashics for a 360 reading into the most important areas of your life. Value for October only, follow on packages are available.
TBB: Is there anything else you’d like to share, or advice that you can offer to anyone feeling “stuck”?
RJ: If you’re feeling stuck look for support. Don’t suffer in silence, reach out for help, for in vulnerability there is strength. When you take action the universe conspires to assist you wherever it can. You are never alone. Someone somewhere will be in exactly the same position as you. Ask yourself how would you help your friend if they were in the same position as you, then go do it for yourself. Failing that call me 😉
TBB: Fantastic! Thank You! How can people get in touch with you to get help with meditation, counseling, energy healing, etc.?
TBB: Thank you. You are a strong, beautiful human and I’m honored to share this. Blessings upon blessings, dear one.
RJ: thank you xx
BIO ~ Rachel is a qualified Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher, an Holistic Transformation Coach and a skilled Akashic Records Guide who uses Chakra Balancing, Energy Healing and Mediumship to help her clients rediscover their authentic selves.
She is passionate about helping people bring happiness and balance back into their lives, regain their lost independence, rekindle their creative spark and reignite their zest for life.
Rachel believes that with her compelling combination of practical guidance and spiritual support she guides her clients through an holistic journey of self discovery that ultimately balances the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves culminating in mindful harmony.
By making the decision to choose LOVE over fear and being brave enough to take inspired action her clients are taking their first steps to a more fulfilled life of understanding.
She is a Life Coach, a Soul Intention Seeker, a Spiritual Catalyst and Pioneer for Empowerment.
~ BECOME WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE ~ MAKE THE JOURNEY JOYFUL
On September 1, I started my 30 Day Challenge which included a 10 minute daily walk, daily gratitude journaling, and eliminating certain foods from my daily diet (no sugar, dairy, grains, or alcohol). Aside from the total of 5 days of planned travel in which I released my food restrictions (4 in NOLA, 1 in Vegas), I was able to stick to my Challenge in all three areas! I’m feeling pretty accomplished and I have to say, pretty darn proud of myself.
On this final day of my Challenge, here are my observations:
This wasn’t about counting calories or weight loss, but about feeling better in my body. The weight dropped, honestly, was minimal. Maybe 5 lbs? BUT the fact is that I truly do feel better. Not having pain and inflammation in my joints and bloating in my gut is worth saying “no thanks” to the foods that were hurting me. Being able to love myself enough to listen to my body, take good care of her, and do what feels best for me really sums up my personal mission of helping women to love the body they are living in. You can find support and guidance in my program, The Cocoon, if (like me) you are living in a bigger body and want to take some easy steps forward in your health & wellness.
Making time to move my body and get a little sweaty each day is a legit battle. Oh my gosh, the mind games I played with myself to try and talk myself out of it! Every. Damn. Day. But I would lovingly make myself do it, and each time I felt great. My body felt better physically, I released any pent up emotions, and cleared my mind for exciting new ideas. I know the struggle is real, friends, but the rewards are there for the taking. It’s just 10 minutes. If you are able, get out and walk! If walking is not something your body allows you to do, spend your 10 minute doing something physical such as modified chair exercises.
Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Corn too. WTF? These two foods, I believe, have been my body’s primary enemies and main sources of inflammation. I read ingredients labels now for everything before putting it in my shopping cart at the grocery store. Corn syrup, sugar, corn oil, sucrose, cane sugar, cane syrup – if any form of these were on the ingredients label, I didn’t eat it.
I know that I will be A LOT more careful and conscious of what I eat. For sure, I will be reading ingredient labels moving forward. And yes, sometimes I will indulge a little and have some sweet treats when I’m celebrating with friends and loved ones- but it will not be part of my everyday meals.
Whole foods > Junk foods. Well, duh. Of course they are, but I mean they just realllllllly are so much better. They look better. They taste better. They provide better & longer-lasting energy. They are not difficult to prepare. They inspire culinary creativity. They do not leave me feeling gross, tired, bloated, blah. They keep my head clear and mind focused. They are easy to pronounce. They are a better value for the money. Even on nights when I was tired after a long day and didn’t have the stamina to create a fabulous dinner, we could still enjoy no sugar added, uncured smoky bacon & eggs. WINNING. I’ll be sharing a collection of my favorite recipes from this Challenge, so if you’d like to receive them in your inbox just complete the form below! (Including this SO TASTY Pot-Roasted Chicken)
I really like a good glass of wine. During my Challenge, sometimes I craved a sweet dessert, but that craving would pass quickly. Some mornings I craved a latte, but again, it would pass quickly. If I really hardcore wanted something sweet and indulgent, I had some Medjool dates or a Frozen Smoothie Pop. As I was getting closer to the end of my 30 days, though, I found I was really looking forward to enjoying a glass of fine wine with dinner. Maybe I will feel differently after that first glass tomorrow, but I don’t think so. CHEERS!
Hello Loves! After a wonderful long weekend in New Orleans eating ALL the delicious things (and more than a few adult beverages) my body is BEGGING me for a detox & reset. As you might know, I am about halfway through my 30 Day Challenge and it is going great! However, I had planned my trip before planning my Challenge, so I knew that I would release myself from the restrictions over my 4 days in NOLA.
My mouth LOVED it. My gut, eh, not so much. And my brain could use a fog lift as well. And my joints, ouch, my aching joints.
I hope that if you are looking for a diet detox that is actually whole, healthy food and not some crappy powder, you will enjoy these. Add them in to your routine instead of fast food and enjoy some better-for-you meals that taste great!
Adulting can be so hard sometimes, AMIRITE? Don’t worry Lovelies, you can do this! Whether you are trying to get yourself out of bed and back to work after a long holiday weekend or perhaps an even longer vacation break, there are a few simple things that you can do right now to make your reintegration to Responsible Adult Life a breeze.
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Easing Back in After a Holiday:
Re-Hydrate! Top of the list for getting your body back on point. Spending fun times with friends and family almost always revolves around food & drinks. You probably ate a lot more than you normally do and probably ate and/or drank things that you don’t normally indulge in. Good! Life’s short, it’s OK to splurge and have fun! Now it’s time to give your body some extra-love by flushing out all of the extra junk from your system. Drink LOTS of fresh clean water and give yourself a time-out from soda & alcohol for at least a week.
Rest! Whatever your age, your body needs sleep to recharge and regenerate fresh new cells. It needs even more after you’ve been partying it up, and more still if you’ve been hopping in and out of different time zones. For your first 2-3 days back after a holiday, give your body the opportunity to readjust by going to bed early, taking 10-15 minute naps during the day, and saying a polite but firm “No thank you” to social engagements.
Move Your Body (Gently)! Your body will greatly benefit from getting back into a regular exercise routine sooner rather than later. It’s important here to ease into it instead of going hard your first 2-3 days back to avoid injury and setting yourself back for weeks or more. Keep your exercises incredibly simple and short for your first 3 days back with 30 minutes or less of walking, yoga, and weightlifting each day.
Eat Clean! Don’t make the mistake of trying to starve yourself or otherwise deprive yourself of good food just because you may have gained a few pounds during your holiday. That kind of punishment is not even remotely healthy for your body, mind, or spirit. Honey, you earned those pounds (or more likely, ounces) and the good memories with loved ones are totally worth it! Treat yourself to fresh fruits, veggies, and clean protein, but take a break from fast foods and sugar-packed desserts & baked goods for at least a week.
Share Your Stories! You had a great time, right? Share your fun stories, recommendations and favorite moments with your family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, or boss if appropriate and let them experience life through your eyes. Savor the great memories you created, and record them in a journal, photo album, or video montage to look back on.
If you would like a free 10 minute gentle workout video from my private membership class The Cocoon, leave me your email here:
Lazy days of summer are coming to an end (okay I am honestly NOT great at being lazy) and you feel the energy around you shifting. What is one positive, healthy thing you can challenge yourself with over the next 30 days?
If you need a teensy bit of inspiration & encouragement, you can join me on my September 30 Day Challenge! Here’s what I’m challenging myself to do for my health & well-being:
10 minute walk
Adjusting my diet
Daily gratitude journal
Here’s the details:
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. ~Lao Tzu
10 Minute Walk: My goal is to begin every day with gentle walk around my neighborhood. I am going to commit to walking for at least 10 minutes each day for 30 days. During my walks, I can improve my mood, set a clear intention for the day ahead, pray for my neighbors, or simply be open to creative inspiration. I do exercise my body already with cardio and strength training 2-3 days a week, and yoga and stretching daily; adding in this 10 minute daily cardio is easy and gentle. Just 10 minutes! Moving my body feels good once I get started, so it’s time to stop making the first step such a hard one to take.
Adjusting my diet: I enjoy food and I love cooking, so it is not a huge part of the challenge to eat most of my meals at home. Overall, I have a pretty health-conscious diet that i follow. It’s not overly regimented, and I am thankful that I have very few diet restrictions to navigate. However, I am noticing more discomfort in my body, and I know it’s time to clean up my act. I am going to eliminate some of the foods that are responsible for bloating, inflammation, and weight gain. Some of the foods that I am taking a break from this month* include sugar, dairy, alcohol, and grains. I will also be adding more fresh, organic fruits and vegetables and clean protein. [*FULL DISCLOSURE: I will totally “cheat” and eat all the beignets and have a few drinks too while I’m in New Orleans over the weekend] I LOVE my body, and I’m going to listen to her!
Daily Gratitude Journal: I am definitely grateful for all that I have and all that I get to experience each day. I love my life and I want to continue to appreciate every day that I am here! One thing that I know about myself, though, is that when I am going through a challenging time it can be easy to overlook the many blessings around me. Being intentional and focusing on the positive brings me back to a place of feeling grounded, secure, and at peace. I cannot control everything around me, but I can always control how I choose to respond. Each day for 30 days, I will note at least 1 thing that I am grateful for specific to that day.
Would you like to join me on this 30 day journey? Enter your contact information in the form below and we can keep in touch! You’ve Got This.
For the past couple of years, I have been wanting- no, longing to- create a series of fitness videos for people living in bigger bodies, with a crazy twist: I don’t want you to lose a bunch of weight (unless that is something YOU want for yourself). Instead, I wanted to simply love, support, and encourage people just like me to love the body that they are already living in, and provide them with some easy action-steps to help guide them to a healthier lifestyle.
I had this radical notion that I could begin to deeply, truly LOVE myself exactly as I am instead of constantly feeling shitty about the way I look & thinking that “If I just lose this extra weight, I’ll be happier”. NOPE! Life is too short, and I decided that I don’t want to waste any more time trying to get my body to look like it did when I was wearing size single-digit before treating myself like the beautiful, strong, wonderful and valuable woman that I already am. Talk about a game-changer! It’s what led me to create my very own body-positive holistic health & wellness program for bigger bodies, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation.
The truth is, and trust me when I tell you that the bazillion dollar health & fitness industry doesn’t want me to tell you this: You can achieve good health and still live in a plus-size body. I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t take good care of yourself; no, I’m saying that you don’t have to fit into standards set by the beauty industry in order to be healthy, beautiful, and utterly amazing. YES! You can adopt a healthier lifestyle AND you can start loving the body you have right now. What a crazy concept, hey? Here are my five top tips to get you started:
Develop a more positive mindset. Instead of constantly tearing yourself down, criticizing, and comparing, retrain your brain to shift the focus on to what is good about you, and on what you are doing right. Find the positive spin. Speak to yourself with love and kindness daily, and especially in times of great stress and challenge. Talk to and about yourself as you would your best friend. Believe in yourself!
Move your body every day. Be intentional about creating more movement for your body every day. Do at least 10 minutes of physical activity each and every day. 1, 2 or 3 times a week, add in some fun physical activity for 20, 30, or 60 minutes. Build up slowly, and try different things to see what you enjoy the most.
Food is not optional, so make it great. Whether you choose to eat as a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore, the food we eat should nourish our bodies and delight our taste buds. Always opt for organic, non-GMO certified foods whenever possible. Choose the freshest fruits & veggies you can find. Cut way back on sugar, but not on healthy fats. Cook your own meals whenever possible and develop some mad skills!
Hydrate! There are so many benefits to your body from drinking plenty of water each day. Improved organ function, fresher breath, eliminating toxins, reducing headaches, clearer, more supple skin, and more. Start with drinking a glass in the morning before you get out of bed and aim to drink 8 more throughout the day. If you don’t already love the taste of fresh pure water, infuse itwith fruit or herbs. Drink up, Buttercup!
Throw out that damn scale. Seriously, just ditch it. Don’t be owned by a number whether it is on a scale, a pair of jeans, a bank account or a birthday cake. You are WAY more valuable than any of those. In fact, you are priceless. (See Tip #1!)
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When I had finally reached my true rock bottom, I had reached a place of complete and total surrender. At the young age of 29, I just wanted everything to end. I was done with life and the mess I had made of it seemed impossible to redeem.
There, in my most broken moment, God/Spirit/My Higher Power answered my most desperate prayer to “take my life and recycle my soul.”
When my childhood friend Robert called my parents’ house late that night, he had no idea what I was about to do. He had no idea that I had just swallowed a handful of pills and was on my way out the door to die quietly, out of sight. He didn’t know that somehow, miraculously, the God that he had come to have faith in was going to use him to save me that night. But that’s exactly what happened.
Catalina Island + Jesus Freaks
A few days later, instead of being dead, I would be off on a boat to Catalina Island for a camping trip with a group of college-aged men and women who also happened to be a bunch of total Jesus Freaks (I say that in love!), and their leader, my friend Robert. Robert, the squirrelly boy who grew up across the street from me. Robert, who had found a higher calling and become a youth pastor at a local church. Robert, who unknowingly saved my damn life with one phone call.
It wasn’t my first experience with church, or camp, or church-camp. I had attended Sunday School and mid-week Bible studies, retreats, and the like throughout my childhood and high school, so the concept wasn’t new to me. I had already heard all the Bible stories and I had gone forward about a million times during peer-pressure soaked alter calls. Hell, I had even been baptized and “born again” a few times. This time, however, something (everything?) was different.
There wasn’t any kind of emotional formula or scare tactics involved, no pressure to “come forward and accept JESUS” or anything like that. Nobody carrying giant yellow signs telling me that I was going to Hell. Actually, the people I met on that trip were just… nice. And they were so genuine. You know that saying, “Sweating like a whore in church?” These people weren’t about trying to judge me, and they weren’t trying to get in my pants. It was just nice, and normal, and casual, and dare I say- it was fun. It was peaceful. And the most significant difference is that there was just a presence this time that I had never quite understood before, and I began for the first time in my life to experience a sense of deep, deep love in my soul that this presence was somehow tapping into and calling to life.
I know, I know. It sounds crazy-pants.
No, I was not high.
Yes, it kinda freaked me out… but I decided eh,what the hell, I’m just going to go ahead and see what this is all about. And I am so grateful that I did!
It was on that camping trip that I began to discover that what I understood as God- however you may understand this divine presence– is beautifully real, and exists within every living thing. And holy crap, for the first time ever, I could actually feel this divine presence living in me. Me!
Seeking the Divine & Skipping Church
I would spend the next 15+ years seeking after the Divine and going through some intense and powerful emotional healing. I began dealing with the many scars and fears I harbored inside myself, slowly and very deliberately allowing Divine Love to bring all of my funky junk to the surface, without fear or judgment or shame. I learned how to soften, and I learned how to forgive. I learned what it meant to be blessed, and express gratitude. To see beauty all around me. To see goodness in people, and in myself, again. I learned about strength and trust and hope and joy. And although I would still make plenty of mistakes along the way, I didn’t have to run away anymore. I didn’t have to hide anymore. I could just do the work, and find a new purpose for my life.
I don’t “go to church” anymore, and that’s perfectly fine for me. I consider the whole world as a sacred place, and I consider my ministry or my purpose to extend far beyond any man-made walls or theological boundaries. I like to think of those years of healing as my own personal cocoon where I was being infused with Divine Love in every part of my being, and I was slowly transforming into someone completely new, and dramatically different, and impossibly free. Maybe, if this divine presence could exist in someone like me, I could have the chance for a do-over. Maybe I wasn’t beyond repair after all. Maybe, I could begin to pick up the pieces of my broken shit-show life and start to make something useful, something helpful, something beautiful out of it. I’ll take a Maybe any day, because Maybe = Hope, and Hope = Everything.
At the beginning of 2016, I settled on the word TRANSFORMATION as my word of the year. Let me tell you, it has been an amazing focal point for me! This one little word is having such an impact on me and has been a catalyst in spurring me on my dream path. I know that transforming my own limiting beliefs and fears into positive, powerful, and uplifting mantras is the key to creating the life I want to live- and empowering & inspiring others to do the same.
Earlier this year, I began tearing down my old negative ideas surrounding my body. I created fun little workout videos for my own health & fitness program, The Cocoon – Empowered Transformation.It was scary as hell for me! BUT it was also the most exciting and empowering thing I’ve ever done for myself (so far!). By putting myself out there, and inviting others to view, to join, and to participate, I’ve come to realize how much better it is to focus on what is positive about my body. To love my body for all of the great things it can do instead of hating it for what it can’t do. It’s amazing!
Well, starting next week I’m going to take another step out into fear-facing by engaging in LIVE interactions on my home page via Facebook Live. I’ve committed to appearing 2x daily for 5 days, offering mini-meditations and blessings to any and all who show up. I’m scheduled for 9:30am and 6pm, Monday-Friday, July 18-22! (Pacific Time Zone) I hope to see you online!
If you haven’t yet signed up to get my 5-in-5 MiniSessions, just sign up below and I’ll make sure to deliver these special 5 minute stretch & bless videos to your inbox next week.