Cleansing The Body, Cleansing The Soul

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I’m a terrible cook.  I have never felt comfortable with food or food preparation.  I have no creativity when it comes to meal planning and I’ve never been good about knowing what I should or shouldn’t put into my body.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I do know that chocolate chip cookies are not actually their own food group and I do NOT have to have one (or 3) everyday.  So, I’ve been in search of a good tool to get my act together in the eating department.  (Jenny Craig was just not the way to learn how to create healthy eating habits).  I’ve also been very curious about doing a cleanse for quite some time.  My frustration with feeling as if I’ve been wearing a fat suit since I gave birth to my two daughters mixed with my strong desire to create healthier eating patterns for myself and my family led me to start searching for something to fit the bill.

After seeing a few people in my life start to have life changing results with The Isagenix Cleanse System, I decided to give it a try. The more I learned and the more people I spoke to about their experience, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for and I made a commitment to the 9-day Deep Cleansing System.  Here I am at the other side of my first cleanse 9 pounds lighter and feeling fantastic!  I’ve been sleeping better and my mind feels more clear than it has for a long time.  Overall, I feel like a better version of myself with a better handle on what foods I should be eating and when.  It made me happier and isn’t that the goal here?  Yes!

Isagenix was designed as a transformation system to combat the toxins in our environment and improve body composition, but for me it has provided so much more.  On my quest to find my happy place I have pledged to make significant changes to the way I think, feel and respond.  Experiencing the Isagenix Cleanse and the maintenance that has come after has taught me several lessons about the way I live, the habits I would like to shed and new ones I would like to form.  By cleansing toxins and replacing them with vital nutrients, minerals, vitamins and enzymes, the body will release stored fat and begin the healing process.

Now that I have jumpstarted my body’s healing process, it’s clear that I have to focus more on my spirit and wellbeing.  There are several lessons to be learned from living this cleansing lifestyle that are just as important to evolving my spirit as the system has been for cleansing my body.  During this process, I’ve learned to give up attachments to food and long established habits and lived to tell about it.  I’ve learned that some things that feel impossible are entirely within reach.  My resistance to change was stubborn, but the knowledge I’ve gained and the feelings of empowerment over what I put into my body has well outweighed every feeling of anxiety I experienced about doing a cleanse.  It was worth it, and it worked.

Tending To My Garden

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Happiness is not a far off goal.  It is not a place over the rainbow that we will never quite reach.  Happiness is all around us, like a garden waiting to be tended right under our feet.  You won’t see it until you look for it, but the moment you rub your eyes and take a closer look, you’ll see the beautiful, fertile dirt surrounds you just waiting for you to get your hands dirty.  The more work you do for your garden, the more beauty you will reap.  Some will stand in awe of your garden and want to enjoy it with you.  Some will stand beyond it and criticize your dirty hands. Either way, this is your garden and together with the magic that mother earth provides us, you have conjured up perfection.  That perfection should be consumed and enjoyed….that perfection should make you happy.

Your body is like a garden.  When you plant a seed, or make a small change, you can’t expect to reap the benefits until you have also cared for and tended to your garden.  Your garden will not rest for toxic excuses made in an effort to procrastinate pruning.  Your garden will not produce life without careful, constant love and attention.  Your body is worth that same constant, careful love and attention.  Why do we only see the world around us and so often look past our own needs and well being?  Take a moment and look down at the gift you have been given to move you through this life.  Have you done all you can to be gentle and loving to your gift?

Are YOU ready to begin?

Talking To Myself

We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world.                                 -Helen Keller

The more hard times we face, the stronger and more brave we will become?  Not necessarily.  When I experience happiness it makes me crave more happiness.  When I struggle through pain and endure hardship I lust after joy.  Either way, I long to settle into a pleasant existence.  Some people around me seem to settle into sadness like a cozy pair of slippers while others dig and dig for delight until they are exhausted.  The journey to Serenity is different for each person and the destination just as distinct.  It’s up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to be happy.  Maybe it takes more effort to be happy, but I see the endeavor as worthwhile.  The payoff is big and the lesson I pass on to my daughters is valuable.

There are several parts of my personality that I am dedicated to working on during this journey to find more happiness for myself.  Even the more difficult changes are worth tackling if I ever want to truly reap the benefits of this process and one of the most difficult things for me to overcome may be my negative self-talk.  I work hard at rolling a big boulder of positivity up a very steep hill only to hear a voice in my head shouting cynicism in an effort to slow my progress and make me drop the boulder and get crushed in it’s path back down the hill.  I’m tired of losing momentum because of the angry committee in my head that spews negativity.  It seems that maintaining my happiness may be as hard as maintaining the positive self talk.  If I let even one negative thought sneak in, it slows my momentum.  But this life presents us with adversity and it’s not always so easy to stay positive.

My hope for myself at this point is that my hunger for happiness will help drive my ability to learn how to quiet the negative self talk and let me turn the naysaying into affirmations!

It’s only nice to say SHUT UP to yourself.

Do Unto Others

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”
-Winston Churchill-

I’ve been focusing most of my energy on myself lately in an effort to find more happiness, but the truth is that all of my happiness will not come from such confined focus.  When you put yourself out there, you risk getting hurt.  It’s hard to trust others with your own happiness.  But, surround yourself with people who are happy and capable of giving goodness and there will be more happiness in the air.

Next week I’ll be running a gently used baby clothes drive at my daughter’s nursery school.  The clothes will be going to local families in need.  In the past, they have held a food drive this time of year, but the director of the program that will be receiving the items asked if I would turn it into a clothes drive as it seems food is not as much of a problem these days as new moms finding clothing for their young children.  Their wish is my command and a clothing drive is underway.  I will hopefully be carting boxes and bags full of coats, hats and clothes that will then be given to families that need them.  I’m looking forward to being the one who sees this task through and I’m grateful to all the families willing to sort through their belongings and donate to a worthy cause.

As I am going through the process of both literally and figuratively de-cluttering my house and myself, I am learning a great deal about the difference between want and need. I’ve filled bags with unneeded clothes and belongings. I’ve spent the last 4 days cleansing my body with The Isagenix System. I’m taking a long, hard look at what I have in my life so I can mentally sort out what makes me happy, and what doesn’t. You can’t expect change if you don’t make changes. I’m optimistic about my results, excited for the upcoming community service and filled with zealous when I think about what will come next in my journey. What a wonderful path I am on.

No More Toxic Excuses

The toxins in your life can range from the things we put in our body to the excuses we give to ourselves for doing, or not doing, the things we do.  Our world presents us with some toxins we can control, but more often there are many more that we cannot control.  The air we breath and the water we drink fill us with toxins everyday, yet we need them to live.  For many people, the excuses we give are just as toxic as what we put in our body.  Our brains are just as hardworking as our livers sorting through the junk and trying to figure out what is good for us and what is bad.  I only wish my brain was as scientific and unbiased as my liver in making that separation.  I can’t fool my liver into thinking something will help me when I know down deep that it actually does more harm than good.  I am capable of making excuses for my excuses in my brain if it means I can get what I want, and I’m sick of living that way.  Making excuses is not helping me to reach my full potential.  Making excuses is not making me happy.

I’m pledging to give up my excuses.  Just the way I would give up sugar and gluten in an effort to shed some pounds, I want to stop lying to myself and creating excuses for not doing the things I should be doing.  I think it will be just as easy to create opportunity to get things done as it has always been to build an obstacle course of excuses blocking me from achieving.  I’m ready to attack the toxins head on and fill myself up with more goodness and positivity.  It’s going to take a lot of work to flush these toxic excuses, but I’m ready for the task.

I do not know of a cleansing system on the market to flush out negative thought toxins, so I will have to do that work on my own.  The tools that I have learned so far on this journey such as mindfulness, guided mediation, diaphragmatic breathing and yoga will be more useful to me now that I am more familiar with how to use them properly, but each of us are in complete control of wrangling the web of excuses we create for ourselves.  No more excuses, I want to be happy.

Can you pick one excuse to flush out like a toxin today?

Walking Mindfully…

Mention code word HAPPY for a special deal!

It would be silly to think this journey would be best traveled alone, even though it is me who must be present to take each step.  This past week, I attended my first of a 5 workshop series called Walking Mindfully Toward the Promised Land.  A group of amazing woman sat together discussing ways to guide each other, and ultimately ourselves, into a happier and more fulfilled life.  Each time I attend a workshop or class or anything such as this, I move myself closer to where I want to be.  I encourage you to go out and find something similar or come join us if you can!

Walking Mindfully Toward the Promised Land

During the time between Passover and Shavuot, Judaism teaches us to take these weeks and prepare ourselves to receive the lessons of the Torah. Please join us for a unique women’s workshop series where holistic life coach Allison Harris and Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler will help to guide you out of your own personal “Egypt” and into the “promised land” of increased happiness and fulfillment in your life (and, by extension, the world). This transformational series will focus on the practice of mindful living and meditation as well as incorporate journaling for personal reflection, visualization, aromatherapy, and open discussions based on issues that women face today.
Each workshop can be attended individually; however, we strongly recommend joining us for the entire series. All women are welcome.
Individual Workshop Cost $25 Dates: Wednesday April 11, Wednesday April 25, Wednesday May 2, Wednesday May 9th, Wednesday May 23
Please RSVP to Allison at aharris@karmahealingsolutions.com
For more information about: Allison Harris, please visit www.karmahealingsolutions.com
And to summarize The Beginners Mind, I found this wonderful post from a fellow blogger.  Worth the read… What is the Beginner’s Mind?.

What classes or workshops have you taken lately that helped to guide you more clearly on your path?

Unblocking the Path

Do we each have a predetermined destiny?  How much control do we have over making changes to our own life’s path?  We are who we are, that’s true, but each of us has the power to change, or not change, our current position.

Epigenetics is a complex area of study focusing on genes and the way they predetermine our health.  (Well, that’s my very basic understanding).  There is also a cultural epigenetics of psychopathy that is focused on mental disorders that gives light to how culture can influence a person’s developmental trajectory.  I would assume that all the effort going into both medical fields is to ultimately make positive changes in people’s lives.  All of this research just may allow people to trade in a few cards from the hand they are dealt.  We CAN alter the repeating patterns of the cycles that rule our lives.  If you have the motivation, the science is there to support the changes necessary to be happy.

I watch myself approach life situations the same way over and over and get disappointed in the same negative results.  Since becoming more mindful of my actions, my life is now being shown to me in 3-D, and the negative actions of others now seem to jump off the screen.  An intense position allowing me an unclouded view of those around me.  Even the simplest interactions with people get scrutinized beyond recognition in my effort to pinpoint the specific changes I need to make to become a better version of myself.  Unfortunately for me, some of the people closest to me have limited patience for the pace in which I’m making changes. In the end, this invokes the pauperization I often feel and ignites the fire under my impending course redirection.  My experiment in Family Epigenetics.  I’m ending this cycle of unhappy.

Sometimes the negativity you claim to see in another is actually a mirror into your own psyche.  Maybe looking into the face of your own child, or parent, exacerbates the hidden insecurities we hide deep within ourselves and claim to have conquered when really they represent the biggest mountain left to climb.  Maybe the mountain you don’t have the courage to even acknowledge.

I refuse to exist with a mountain blocking my path to happiness.  My epigenetic battle has just begun.

Letting It Go

When I get up in the morning I know certain things need to get done, but I just can’t seem to get into a routine. Everything eventually gets accomplished and my daughters and I seem to leave the house with clothes on our backs and food in our bellies. My day turns into a series of hurried moments followed by hushed lulls in the action. I see most of the moments of chaos coming, yet I can’t always find a way to stay calm in the middle of all of it. I know it’s times like these that deplete me, but I also know there are things that need to get done. Avoiding these happenings is not an option. Changing how I handle myself is the only way to go.

I started to realize how many times I am in this type of situation these days….

Could this be the key? Is this what needs adjusting to make me happier? It’s possible. Definitely worth some attention. I have to concentrate on being mindful during these moments of chaos and stress and learn how to get through them without losing my cool. I have to clear these hurdles with my patience intact. I admit it, I need to learn to let things go.

Let things go….words that make me cringe. Such an easy fix. But how?

I need to disengage, loosen up and unbind, but not surrender. I need to let things float past me without judgement and continue on my way. Relinquish control and accept things for what they are. All of this is completely against not only my good judgement most of the time, but also my personality. But the truth is that holding on to all of this minutia is not serving me well. It’s not making me happy. To move forward on this journey I have to be willing to make changes. Some that I have never considered before. So, in the spirit of taking a giant leap toward my happy place, I am pledging to let things go. I’m going to loosen my grip and go with the flow. I think just making the decision to do this will serve me well and be the wind at my back.

The Zen of Running

“I only run when chased”.  That used to be my response whenever the subject of running for sport ever came up in conversation.  I have always been secretly jealous of people that can tie up their gym shoes and run out their front door and enjoy it.  I’ve never enjoyed running.  I tried track in high school and quit immediately.  But my curiosity is peaked with so many people in my life lately talking about running and the happiness and sense of accomplishment it brings.  The hulabaloo over running a 5k or a marathon always peaks my interest as well.  It’s time for me to consider why I have always discounted running as a sport for someone else.

So I gave it a try.  I mapped out a 2 mile route in my car and decided to try it out.  At first there was a lot more walking than running and my times were far from impressive.  But, even after only a few runs and some seriously sore legs, I’m starting to understand what all the talk is about.  I’m happily surprised at how rewarding it feels to set a goal and run out my front door!

I’m starting to see all the benefits of running compared to some of the other types of exercise I’ve been doing.  I come home exhausted with a huge sense of accomplishment 20-30 minutes later instead of two hours later after a one hour class.  The roads are always open, and free, so no fitting in a class or driving anywhere and paying a fortune.  I just tie my shoes and go!  I can go in any direction, stop and start as I please and challenge myself any way I want.  There is no one out there looking at me or keeping track of what I can or cannot do.  It’s completely my own.  I benefit directly when I make the effort and I don’t benefit when I decide to slack.  No fake turning the resistance button on a spinning bike.

I have not started to focus on my breathing or form too much.  Right now I’m just working on not falling down.  I know that my body knows how to reward itself for this hard work, so now I am searching for the key to unlock the endorphins and let my brain chemistry work for me.  I’m hoping to go from running on empty to discovering the zen of running.

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