What is the Morning Ritual that feeds your Heart, Body, Mind & Soul?

I came across a blog post the other day which listed the top 25 things to do every morning to ensure a successful day, and it got me thinking about the above question.

Some of the things on the list were pretty basic, Brush Your Teeth, Take a Cold Shower to revive the body and a few other things…but the one I related to the most was MEDITATE.

Over the course of my career as a therapist & coach I have always encouraged meditation and mindlessness, but truth be told, I haven’t meditated in months. In fact, not only did I stop meditating, I felt it was taking up too much time – and I barely have enough in the day, already.

About 6 years ago, I became an initiate of the Light, which means I took vows to ensure my spiritual progression on this earth with rituals and a devout meditation practice; 2 hours everyday. I also gave up alcohol & animal proteins.

Somewhere during the course of the past 3 years, I ‘forgot’ my vows & justified the denial of their importance in my life. Until recently…

I recently met someone who is bringing me back and it feels good. A necessary reminder of all the things I’ve learned presented brand new by a man 15 years my junior.


Which brings me back to the Morning Ritual that Feeds My Heart, Body, Mind & Soul:

  • MAKE MY BED.  Making my bed is the first in a long list of accomplishments I will make for the day. It gets me to feel like I can do anything!
  • MEDITATE. Among the many reasons I can list here, the most essential for me is the fact that it gives me purpose & keeps me centered. I may not know what lies ahead of me for the day, but I know that with spirit I can face it.
  • TEA. Green tea is my morning joe. I will not, and can not speak to anyone until I have my tea. Sometimes I have it plain, though sometimes I like to add fresh ginger root to help with digestion; after sleeping for 6-8 hours, it helps to break the fast & prepare your stomach for incoming food. Additionally, I like to add tumeric for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and its a very strong antioxidant.
  • JOURNAL. I write a brief sentence expressing gratitude for the day.
  • EXERCISE. I love the feel of weights in the morning, and strengthening my bones & muscles with 5 exercises hitting all major parts of the body feels AMAZING!
    • Jumping Jacks
    • Bicep Curls
    • Squats
    • Push Ups
    • Shoulder Presses

En-joy!

It’s Caitlyn, Ms. Jenner if you’re nasty!

This week Caitlyn Jenner was introduced to the world, and while the media chose to focus on her looks, all I could think was, “My God! How much pain has this woman been in for all of these years?”

Then I began to think of all the women who are living their lives in secret. Cross-dressing is a form of expression, and whether you are a transgender person, a cutter or living with an addiction (gambling, sex, alcoholism, etc.) we all have something we are struggling with in our lives. Something we are not expressing that is causing feelings of shame and guilt, forcing us to stay hidden.

It’s hard to live your life when you’re not authentic.

It’s hard to live life when you’ve been living a lie for years. In Bruce’s case, he kept Caitlyn hidden for 65 years. 65 YEARS?! Can you imagine the strength and time it takes to stifle your truth for 65 years? It’s exhausting. Not to mention how his wife must be feeling. The pain of deceit from a partner who’s lived with her for decades, hiding the truth of who they are for fear of abandonment.

YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR PART TO GET OTHERS TO SEE YOU!

It’s difficult to be different. Our society is lacking in the tolerance department and being ‘different’ in any way can be a cause of despair, depression, or even death. (see “Boys Don’t Cry”,http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0171804/). The thing we have to remember is to speak up. Say something. Start a conversation and be honest about the thing that is preventing you from being your most delicious self. By doing so, you offer others the opportunity to be their most authentic selves because when we rise we lift those around us.

Like/dislike, approve or disapprove of the transgender population, acknowledge the courage it has taken for this person to stand up and say, “Hey! This is who I am and I’m not going to hide it anymore”. If you are ready to come out to your loved ones and need help in communicating your needs, wants & deepest desires, I will help you. I provide my clients with scripts and teach them how to have the tough conversations with those they love.

Call NOW for a free 15-minute consultation!

Check out this link if you'd like more information on Transgender people, Gender Identity and Gender Expression:
http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspxbruce-jenner bruce-jenner-caitlyn-vanity-fair-square-w260

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SOMETHING MORE

Do you want more from your life – more money, more freedom, more time for yourself?

If you’re like me, the answer is YES!

As women we are constantly faced with the demands of life – work, relationships, children, family, etc.

We learn from an early age that being a woman means sacrificing yourself to the greater good of all. Whether it’s your spouse, your child(ren), your boss, hopeless siblings and countless friends – there is always someone who seems to want something from us, and we just give, give, give.

We end up giving away SO much of ourselves throughout the day that we have nothing left by the end of it.  

Exhausted and stressed beyond recognition women walk around on autopilot catering to the needs of others and forgetting their own. Well it’s time to remember.

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is, What do women need?

Besides the obvious,

  • SLEEP
  • HEALTHY FOODS
  • MONEY
  • RELATIONSHIPS 
  • SEX

(yes, sex is a need: http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/sex-and-health)

Women need purpose.

And not just purpose for purpose sake. They need to know that everything they’ve endured, lived through, fought, relished in, cried & laughed over was for a reason. That it was and still is for SOMETHING MORE

Over the past ten years, I have worked with hundreds of women who have all come to me with the same request – HELP! From different backgrounds, races, financial classes and stages in life they all sought help to find the reason for the madness. They needed it to make sense because in doing that, they were able to make sense of who they were.

Whether you’re married or single, financially independent or slaving away at a desk, you can find freedom by uncovering the top layers of everyday pursuits like money, sex & finding our soul mate and discover something deeper…

YOUR TRUE SELF.

Doing this is no easy task so, below I have pulled a few questions and statements which can help you begin to peel away the layers as they have for many of my clients.

1. What do you desire?

What are the things in life you crave most and want for yourself? Is it a house on the beach? A night out with the hot check-out guy/girl at your favorite store? Is it sailing on the Mediterranean…with the check-out guy?

It can be the most outrageous, extravagant wish you can think of.

WRITE IT DOWN.

2.  If you had to give me a list of your greatest successes in life, what would it look like?

Write down everything you’re proud of. This is your chance to boast! Now, before you think “I don’t have any GREAT success stories” I want you to know that it can be anything you feel you have succeeded through; great or small. Something seemingly insignificant to you may be a challenge for someone else – ALL OF IT MATTERS. 

For example, getting out of bed and taking a walk despite the feeling to do the opposite IS an achievement.

WRITE IT DOWN.

3. Give Thanks.  

Take a look around you. What are the things you are grateful for? Your comfy bed? Your family? The work that you do? This is about opening yourself up to a place of vulnerability within you by saying, “Thanks” for everything you have experienced.

WRITE IT DOWN.

4. Forgive YourSelf.

I won’t sit here and pretend that writing a wish list will eradicate all of your problems. There are plenty of sites promoting happiness and life cures with blanket remedies to finding your purpose and living your best life.

Truth is,

You will continue to fall prey to the usual saboteurs, Self-DoubtFear & Anxiety if you don’t forgive yourself, FIRST! 

This step is crucial because it determines where you move from this spot in your life. Much of the suffering experienced in life is due to a lack of awareness.

When you realize that suffering and joy are equal facets of life and BOTH bring value you will begin to come from a place of acceptance. And self-acceptance leads to forgiveness. 

WHEN YOU BEGIN TO ACCEPT YOURSELF, YOU REALIZE YOU DON’T NEED ANY ONE TO VALIDATE YOU.

~~~

If you are at the point in your life where you are deciding to leave a painful situation behind (job, marriage, depleting friendship), or just need help in deciphering if it’s in your best interest to stay, this book can aid you on your path…

http://www.amazon.com/Something-More-Excavating-Your-Authentic/dp/0446677086

Marlyn’s Morsel of Wisdom

Ever wake up in the morning and just can’t seem to get out of bed?

Yeah – me, too. Call it sleep deprived, discouraged or under motivated. We all have those days when leaving the house or even the bedroom seems like a task in itself.

When bombarded with Facebook & instagram feeds of people living their best lives in the most exotic places of the world, you begin to feel that your life just doesn’t measure up so –

WHY BOTHER?

CHOICE. That’s why. We all have a choice.

Because you were able to see another day today, you can choose how to live it.

It’s all up to you! 

I woke-up this morning to the sounds of hammers pounding into the foundation of a home being built across from my house. It was 6 a.m. on a Saturday and I was pissed. I tried everything to go back to sleep – pillows over the face, tissue in the ears, closed windows, soft sounds of the ocean in my headphones, but nothing worked.

Time was passing I began to feel sluggish and tired knowing I’d have to get up soon to run errands. Finally, I came to a decision.

Do I tolerate the noise and commit to feeling miserable all day or, do I take my happiness into my own hands?

I got up, put on my robe, opened the door, walked across the street and asked to speak to the guy in charge. When he approached, I politely told him…

Good morning. As much as I appreciate the fact that you are on a schedule and may need to arrive early to get started on your job, would you consider working on a different task or part of the house until a more appropriate time? It’s a Saturday and most of us are still asleep.

After a bit of going back & forth, he agreed. I don’t know what he and rest of the crew decided to work on, but I know it was quiet till 8:30. BOOM!

Had I just sat in bed, tossing and turning, I would have become resentful and angry ruining the whole rest of my day. That anger could have been vented at the girl at the checkout counter in the grocery store, or the mail guy at the post office.

When we allow ourselves to feel powerless in the face of others, we internalize negative feelings allowing them to fester in ourselves and impact our homes, our relationships and our lives. 

My Morsel of Wisdom for you today is…

When a woman is happy in her own right, she feels confident enough to ask for what she wants.

Staying Present in the Face of Adversity

T.J Arguing 

We all work on ourselves to become “better” people; self-help books, videos and seminars. For everything we do to maintain a sense of calm in lives, Yoga/Meditation/Writing/etc., from time to time we come into confrontations with others. It’s a normal part of life, whether personal or professional, to be on the unfortunate end of an angry, frustrated or disappointed person. When this occurs it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, anger or fearful. In order to defuse the argument below are some tools to keep in mind to help you handle these situations:

 ACCEPT WHO THEY ARE

  • Step back, see & hear the person.
  • What type of person are they?
  • What can you tell from their words, tone and body language?

 BE OBJECTIVE

  • Allow the other person to vent.
  • Be aware of your emotions without becoming emotional.
  • Is there anything you can learn from this interaction?

There is something to be learned every moment of our lives, the key is in finding it and for that you have to stop and LISTEN.

 ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR EMOTIONS

  • Listen without becoming defensive.
  • Encourage the person to speak.
  • Offer compassion – “I understand how you feel…”

 STICKS TO THE FACTS!

I cannot stress the importance of this tool. So often, TOO often, we get caught-up in our pride by asserting ourselves in the argument when most of the time is has NOTHING to do with us. The person could be having a crappy day and just needs a target and here we go giving it to them. DON’T DO IT! Stay focused.

  • What is the issue at hand?
  • Leave judgments and opinions of the other person out of the conversation.
  • Ask questions to make the conversation more collaborative.

 WATCH YOURSELF

  • Is your breath shallow or relaxed?
  • What is your tone? Pitch? Are you being condescending?
  • Lower your voice and speak slowly.

 STAY POSITIVE

  • Offer ways to collaborate on a solution.
  • Provide information to help him/her understand the situation.
  • Discuss options and possible ways to resolve the problem.

Resolving issues collaboratively is a great way to set boundaries and empower your position. It showcases the qualities of a strong person, someone who has the capacity to adapt successfully in the face of threats. It’s easy to get entangled in arguments, but being able to remain calm without becoming overwhelmed is the key to staying grounded in who you are.

…and most importantly, remember to BREATHE!

 

 

The Man in the Deli

On my way home late one night after a post-grad class some time ago, hungry and too tired to think about cooking I passed a deli.  I walked by thinking about how good a turkey & Swiss cheese sandwich would be, but thought better of it since it was 10pm and surely the counter would be closed. I walked in anyway; figured I’d pick up something at the salad bar – anything to sate the hunger. There was a guy behind the register and one behind the sandwich counter cleaning the machines. The fixings at the salad bar were expired to say the least, so I ruffled the shelves looking for something more appetizing. Nothing. As I walked back towards the deli counter the man cleaning it looked up and smiled at me. I smiled back walking away, stopping at the cashier. I looked at the rack of potato chips to the right and the protein bars in the front of me and decided against both.

I asked the man at the register if it was possible for me to have a sandwich made and he literally laughed at me. “Do you know what time it is…?” he said. Yeah. That’s why I asked you instead of being presumptuous and standing at the deli counter. I didn’t say it, but he’d hurt my feelings and pissed me off to tell the truth.

Anyway, just as I was about to walk out the door the man cleaning the machines called from behind his counter and said, “I can do it. What kind of sandwich do you want?” Serious?! I looked at the register guy and the register guy just looked at deli guy, and with a BIG-A** smile I said – Turkey and cheese hero, please. “Lettuce, tomato, salt, vinegar? Anything?” Everything. Thank you.

Shoot! I almost started dancing I was so HUNGRY.

I got my hero and it was heavy. I was a happy kid!

I paid, headed for the door and thanked him profoundly.  Now, that man could have easily turned me away and he would have been justified in doing so. I live in New York and anyone who’s familiar with the atmosphere in this city will tell you that generosity of this nature does not happen very often, especially after the slicing machines are cleaned and put away for the night. And anyone who knows me knows I’m not prone to tears, but I walked out that store and my eyes swelled with tears from sheer gratitude.

I cried that night. I cried because he saw me. 

The man in the deli exhibited a kindness that was INTRINSICALLY MOTIVATED.

“Intrinsic” means inherent; belonging naturally.

It’s a force operating from within ourselves. Call it your heart, your spirit or whatever. When you’re coming from a place of integrity you’re motives are your own. You’re not blindly doing what you’re supposed to do; rather, you dictate meaning behind your words and actions.

Honestly, I don’t remember how that man looked. I could walk by him on the street and not take notice of him. Thing is I don’t need to remember who he was or how he looked because I will ALWAYS remember what he DID. The spirit in him saw the spirit in me and that is enough.

It’s not so much what we do in our daily lives that count it’s how it affects those around us, including ourselves, that matters…and every minute of every day we have the opportunity to come from that place.

~~~

Best turkey & Swiss I’ve ever had from a deli.

 

“It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are,” E. E. Cummings.

Truer words have never been spoken. Scarier words have never been said.

The question is, however, who are we…really?

In the past, the only time we ever had to face this daunting question was when asked by an interviewer – “Tell me a little bit about yourself”. To which, we’d utter a few, rehearsed sentences found either online, in a text or practiced during a business class in college detailing our ‘best’ qualities.

Now, however, just to get a date we’re filling out online profiles as long as dissertations with massive itemized lists of our favorite TV shows, foods, hobbies, and things we can’t live without. Carefully selecting our most desirable traits and eliminating the less marketable ones so we look like a preferred version of ourselves.

All this effort is for naught because ultimately we end up feeling more alone than when we started because the truth is – most people are living not their lives but the lives imposed on them by society with no courage to be who they really are.

Living in integrity is to be in full acceptance of ourselves in mind, body and spirit. The word itself comes directly from Latin integritatem (nominative integritas) meaning “soundness, wholeness, blamelessness”. Acceptance is developed when we learn to truly understand ourselves – emotions, cultural heritage, dark/shadowy sides of our personalities, childhood experiences, unrealized potentials, biological make-up, and the knowledge that life is a process. Self-knowledge provides the power to live honestly with ourselves and others, and in doing so come from a place of integrity every time.

Wholeness quote