Living on The Brightest Side

Love yourself enough brightest side

I’ve been feeling a bit sick from the vertigo of transition. The forked snake tongue on the road ahead feels daunting as the deep dark forest just after dusk. The feelings of obligation overwhelm my waking hours and the guilt that I feel pushes down on my shoulders and keeps my pace like a snail.

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Change and transition is when the real magic of life happens. The varied opportunities that lie ahead excite me to my soul bone and I’m throwing myself down the path and feeling open to wherever it may lead. The solace I have gifted myself has made my own authentic voice more confident to speak up and be heard. I am grateful and hopeful for what is to come.

It’s all about how you look at it. Attitude is everything.

After a lifetime of negativity and toxic truths, I decided to take a leap of faith and start living on The Brightest Side. It took strength, confidence and self-love to let go of the personal dogma engrained so deep in my habitually chaotic brain. So, I sat with the questions instead of demanding the answers. I focused on solutions instead of problems. I reevaluated all the varied doctrine I had held tight for so long. The process of trying to empty myself of programmed mental and emotional responses and open up to new, authentic thought came from a place of pure self love. Pure self love comes from a realization that you really want to be happy and tend mindfully to yourself. The key to my happiness has been consistently letting go of expectations and outcomes and letting it all unravel one glorious moment at a time.

Letting things be what they are and not what I am expecting or hoping for has been a labor of love and worth every effort.

So, after 4+ years of writing this blog I am transitioning my effort and energy to living permanently on The Brightest Side where I will continue to write about my journey, but also write about how others can make their own promise to live life with positivity and kindness both to themselves and others.

I hope you will join me and together we can enjoy being at peace with our lives paths. 

Sending love to my dear Desiree who took the above photo of me during a weekend on the beach

Lifestyle Medicine

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Prevention is truly the best medicine. Taking our health seriously and making steps toward wellness before there is a real reason to worry is the smartest way to go. To indulge and ignore is risky, to be proactive and educated can save your health and maybe your life. Your lifestyle can be your best medicine.

Lifestyle medicine means making choices that lessen your risk of illness and disease. The basics of using lifestyle intervention may include nutrition, stress reduction, toxin awareness, and physical activity. The process of incorporating positive choices in all of these areas give you the best chance at preventing many of the chronic diseases that are common in our culture today.

Evaluating and adjusting risky behavior is your first line of defense. To make good decisions you must have the right information, but you also need to be sure about where your facts are coming from. Don’t just reach for what you have been told are healthy foods, research the sources of that food being labeled healthy. Amp up your general wellness competence by making decisions based in scientific research, not big business sponsored mass marketing messages.  We need to address the gap between what we know and what we think we know.

A perfect example of this is the need for education and lifestyle management related to Osteoporosis. Did you know…

Osteoporosis_Facts (1)

So the question “What do I do now?” tends to be posed after a person is diagnosed with Osteoporosis, when we could be living a lifestyle which manages our risk and lessens our chances of developing this dangerous condition way before we are at risk of becoming one of it’s casualties.

When assessing your options to create and support a healthy lifestyle, here are three lifestyle choices to consider that may significantly impact your chances of developing Osteoporosis later in life:

1.   Calcium Intake

Are you getting enough calcium in your daily diet? Some healthy sources of calcium are dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, orange juice. It’s not just about drinking milk and consuming dairy although healthy servings of milk can also reduce your risk.  (mayoclinic.org)

2.   Exercise

Beginning to exercise when you are young and continuing your active lifestyle as you age can be the best way to build strong bones. Combining strength training and weight bearing physical activity is the best way to avoid Osteoporosis. (mayoclinic.org)

3.   Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Excessive drinking has been linked to increased risk of bone loss and smoking doubles your chance of bone loss. (webmd.com)

For a long time I thought drinking carbonated beverages caused bone loss, but in doing research for this post I have found evidence that does not support that assumption. Since I’m not completely convinced I removed it from my list and will have to look into it further. So, in addition to making positive change, begin to second guess what you have always assumed about diseases such as this. And please, check my sources and find credible ones of your own because not every medical myth you hear has complete truth to it. Begin to evaluate your life choices, but don’t be hasty until you think them through. For example, many people think that coffee causes osteoporosis. But does it? “Because coffee and caffeine consumption slightly decreases the absorption of calcium by about 4 – 6 mg per cup, coffee has been blamed for causing osteoporosis. In a hypothetical world, this reduction in calcium would lead to bone loss and osteoporosis. Fortunately, in the real world, adding one tablespoon of milk to each cup of coffee consumed would offset any calcium loss caused by the caffeine, preventing an effect on bone quality. By ensuring adequate calcium intake and drinking coffee in moderation, studies show that there will be no increased risk of fractures or osteoporosis.” (www.isagenixhealth.net)

Be smart enough to know which life choices are truly smart and which ones are cultural lore.

So, what else do you think you know for sure? Are you trusting credible sources when gathering your knowledge on wellness? Are you sure?

thanks to where_ever_I_am on morgue file.com for the lovely photo above 

thanks to The American Recall Center for the Osteoporosis graphic above 

GMOs and EMOs

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I am a voice in the crowd.  As I learn more about the world around me and issues that effect my family and loved ones, I see more of the big picture and I am connecting certain issues to try and gain a better, more thorough understanding of our general wellbeing.  Most recently I have been thinking a lot about what I am feeding my family and whether their nutritional needs are being met.  Keeping my family healthy is very high on my “To Do List”.  It was almost 3 years ago that I started to take a longer, harder look at my nutrition, my body and what I was putting in the mouths of my children.  I started with myself.  Just like being on an airplane when the flight attendant tells you to put on your oxygen mask first before assisting the children with their masks, I had to make sure I was healthy and had a healthy understanding of all of this before I started doing the same with my children. I needed to be healthy and strong to make them healthy and strong.

What I found was that everything I didn’t know about food was keeping me unhealthy.  I had been unable to lose the lingering weight after I had my children and despite my best efforts using the information that I had, nothing was working and I was getting more unhealthy instead of closer to my goal of getting myself and my family more healthy.  I was so busy with my life and the details that needed attention that getting truly educated about this never made my “To Do List”. It wasn’t until I began learning about nutritional cleansing, the true nutritional value of our food and the dangers of many of the foods on the market that I took for granted as being healthy that I started down the path of educating myself to a healthier state.

One of the scariest topics I have come across is the debate over GMOs in our food and the political battle over labeling them in our products here in the US.  I’ve come to learn that the powers-that-be are profiting from people growing and consuming food that has been genetically modified to the point that it resembles something closer to poison than food.  People are working hard at their jobs to earn money to be able to visit the grocery store and mindlessly fill their cart with food that is either poisonous or contains little to no nutritional value.  It’s fair to say that a significant amount of people have no idea that the food we have been eating for well over the last decade has been significantly altered by science.

Who are we to decide the direction of evolution in this way?  For a race of people that like to make their own choices and act on their own volition, this issue seems like a giant step backwards.  So, as a member of the collective, the biggest piece of this puzzle for me is that I am not being given the choice of whether or not to consume this altered food.  My power, in this regard, has been stripped from me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m also pretty upset about the whole process of how this all came to fruition from bullying farmers to get on board to thinking about the long term effects on our precious soil, environment and the integrity of our water supply….. It all has me riled up and has called me to action in many, many ways.

But, as I look at the giant companies involved in this happening and evaluate their obsession with money and securing that money for the future, I see a dangerous trend toward greed, born naturally from our emotional range as people.  This greed has become genetically altered to fit the world we live in.  This form of emotional evolution is just as frightening and unsettling to me as the issue of GMOs.  People are becoming emotionally modified as a result of the world we live in and the experiences we have to navigate through.  Our emotions and visceral responses to our environment have been altered through technology and evolution just the same as that first pea’s genetic makeup was altered by the hands of an Austrian Monk.  The masses of children desensitized to things like violence because of technology, television, movies and video games is to me as much of a threat as the GMOs that are infiltrating their bodies.  Is this modern world nurturing our children’s gentle and kind natures or are they being emotionally modified by the world around them?

Although I am scared for the future health situation because of the missing regulation, sensitivity and outrage in the world of GMOs, I am equally terrified by the omission of sensitivity to violence and the overwhelming inability for people to feel happily engaged in their life.  There is an epidemic of EMOs (Emotionally Modified Organisms) and we are the Organisms.  This seemingly pandemic disengagement terrifies and saddens me.  Put the two initiatives together and you get a world wide epidemic threatening health, wellbeing and wellness in general.

What will you do to balance all of the fears presented by this life we lead, start creating more time for fun, and at the same time act responsibly for the benefit of the next generation? It’s a lot to do, we all have a lot on our plate these days.

Well, I know what I’m going to do.  I’m going to learn all that I can while keeping a healthy perspective about the amount of power I have over how I live.  I will continue to take a look at my own emotions and understand what the world and my immediate environment has done to modify me.  Armed with that information and understanding I can become a better version of myself.

You are strong!  You have power!  You can make change!  You have as much power over your actions and emotions as you do over the food you put in your body and the bodies of those you love.  “Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside is what you will manifest on the outside” -Unknown

I believe these concerns are all connected and deserve the same amount of respect and attention.  Do your part to make the world a better place for our children, but don’t forget that all of those changes start with you….. every part of you.

 

picture courtesy of morgue file.com

Self-Care in a Toxic World

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Self-care is often mistaken for self-ish or self-centered, but I didn’t say self-indulgence now did I?  To me, self-care does not mean getting a weekly manicure or massage, but is more about finding the balance between the things that serve you and the things that cause you stress in your life.  Making sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet, getting enough exercise, keeping creative outlets in your life, and finding ways to relax, such as meditation and yoga, are some of the essential parts to building a life of wellness and self-care.  These parts of life are essential to your well-being and not over indulgent.  And, when we begin to care for ourselves and see health and wellness as fundamental, I believe we also begin to deepen our ability to care for others.  Being able to care deeply and in a meaningful way for others makes life better and when life is better, everything is better.

No matter how much better we feel, our world is still filled with toxins.  Toxins are in the air we breathe, the water we use and the food we eat.  Toxins are also scattered among our days in the form of negativity, gossip, and the thoughts in our own heads.  Deciding to put more focus on self-care involves being able to shed the toxins that keep us from being happy and healthy.  It’s hard to bring in the good when there is too much room being taken up by the bad.  Taking a hard look at what toxins exist inside your body and your life will help you begin to shed those toxins and avoid bringing them back into your life.

I recently hosted our first Wellness Wednesday which is a new community event created to bring like-minded people together to have conversations about wellness.  These gatherings will each focus on a different topic related to wellness and inspire people to incorporate more wellness into their daily lives.  I will personally speak about different topics that inspire and move me into action and encourage others to share their stories and journeys to wellness as well.

Our first Wellness Wednesday was an inspiring beginning to what will be an ongoing, moving gathering for those interested in enhancing their journey down a path toward wellness.  Making time for yourself is essential along this journey and gathering knowledge and meeting like-minded people along the way will help push you forward and gain momentum.  We’ve already seen several positive things come from that first meeting and I look forward with enthusiasm to continuing the journey!

Our next Wellness Wednesday will focus on HABITS: The Good, The Bad, and The Really Great!  Is it possible to be happy and make lasting changes during The Mindful Revolution we are surrounded by these days?  Yes!!  If we keep the conversation going and learn from each other, it is!

photo courtesy of fitwalk on morguefile.com

Falling In Love With Yourself

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Life comes without guarantees, except that smiling will brighten your face, laughter will enhance your eyes, and falling in love will change your life – Melissa Gaug

Think about the times in your life during which you’ve made significant change. One that stands out for me, and probably many others, is falling in love. When you fall in love you make numerous changes in all parts of your life that will directly effect your immediate world, and even the world of your loved ones and closest friends. When you find “the one” it changes how you live, and sometimes where you live. You begin a process of negotiating so many big and little changes that your life becomes no longer recognizable and you are happy to see this change happening because you are in love. You do all of this in an effort to create a life filled with wonderful hopes and dreams, whatever that looks like for you. You build and you plan and it takes shape one step at a time.  Love gives you energy.  Love sustains you when you would otherwise feel low.  Love can bring you motivation when you may otherwise feel blocked.  Love can be magic, and love can change your life.

So, now, as you look at your life, fall in love……..with yourself. Be open to making those changes, both big and small for the love of yourself in an effort to make yourself happy and sustain your own wellness and motivation.  Get reacquainted with all of the things about yourself that make you feel proud, the details you enjoy sharing when they happen to come up in casual conversation.  Reignite an old passion or hobby that had been pushed to the back of the closet, or enjoy an activity that had been placed on hold for a while.  Make an effort for yourself and be mindful of the happiness it brings to you.  Do what you need to do, change whatever you need to change in an effort to bring more wellness into your life. Do it for yourself and those closest to you will feel those changes just as if you have come upon a milestone such as a new love, a wedding or a birth. Celebrate yourself and others will celebrate you!

I feel a shift happening.  Although happiness in itself is a noble goal to aim for, I believe the time has come to go beyond happiness and set our sights on bigger things.  I want to feel happy, but more than that, I have learned that I want to feel peace, and love.  There is a calm contentment in achieving a feeling of hushed zen.  A serene harmony with no hurried rush has become more attractive than a happiness high as I move along this journey.  I want to love this life, and when you fall in love with yourself, you fall in love with life!

As I get to know myself, and as I fall deeper in love with myself, my most treasured part of this journey has been the ability to enjoy times of peace when I can sit back and enjoy my new world I have built for myself as if I am spending a day at the beach enjoying the waves and sand of the ocean.  I’ve taken the time to get to know what I need, I’ve accepted who I am, what I want and I am happy with who I am becoming.  I have been able to fall in love with myself.  I respect my decisions and I enjoy the people with whom I choose to spend my time.  I see myself from the inside and also do my best to see myself from an outsider’s perspective to make sure who I am presenting to the world matches up with who I want my daughters to see moving around in the world.  I am mindful, I try to be kind, and I care how my behavior affects others.  These are the qualities that I hope for in others, so these are the attributes that I hold myself accountable for in order to continue this love affair that am enjoying so much.

I’ve made changes and I’ve made them for love……the love of my family, and the love of myself.

thanks to Desiree Beauchemin for being a lovely photo subject

10 Easy Changes That Lead to a Happier, Healthier Life!

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Now, who wouldn’t want that?  I speak from experience on this.  I have spent the last two years trying to better myself body, mind and spirit.  I realized after getting deep into this journey that I still have a long road to travel, but I have actually accomplished a few things so far.  I have picked up a lot of momentum along the way and when I stop for a breather and look back to see my progress, I’m satisfied.  I’m satisfied and motivated for more change!  So, here are 10 changes I have made that I think are quite easy to integrate into almost any lifestyle.  And here I am a happier, healthier person for having made these very changes!

  1. Drink more water!  Drink half your body weight in ounces of water everyday.  Yes, you read that right.  Try it for a week and see how much better you feel.  Better yet, try it for 30 days because that that is how long it takes to incorporate new behavior into your life.  Drinking plenty of water helps keep you hydrated inside and out.  So, if you’re looking for a way to shed that water weight and/or those fine lines and wrinkles, no magic lotions, potions or diets necessary, it’s as easy as drinking enough water everyday.
  2. Eat your breakfast!  Every morning I have to get myself and 2 children ready for school before 9am so it would be very easy to dream up an excuse for not eating breakfast.  Well, I stopped doing that and I started having a nutritionally dense protein shake every morning.  It takes me 52 seconds to prepare and even less than that to drink it and I feel much more satisfied than I used to feel leaving the house on an empty stomach.  In fact, I feel VERY satisfied!  It’s a delicious and it’s chocolate!
  3. Take your vitamins!  Even with our best efforts to eat a healthy diet, most of us do not get the necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from our food.  And don’t get me started on processed foods and GMOs!  It’s very important to include the right vitamins and supplements into your diet everyday.  And, now that I’m starting my day with a protein shake full of the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, I can effectively absorb these vitamins I’m taking.
  4. Eat more organic food and use less toxic products!  I’ve seen plenty of studies showing that organic food has more nutrients and less toxins.  It’s as simple as that.  It’s all about what you value, and I value the health of my family.  I choose to spend a few extra dollars on buying certain foods organic and figure out ways to save a few dollars on other household needs.  Everyone has different priorities and that is for each family to decide.  What I put in my family’s bodies and what I use to clean our house, clothing and toys are very important to me.  I don’t mind spending a little more money on that.  It’s worth it.
  5. Stop drinking soda!  Soda is sugar water that has no nutritional value and leads to obesity and diabetes among other things.  Even drinking DIET soda doesn’t keep you safe from the many dangerous effects.  Some of the many scary side effects include an increase in fat around your liver, heart and kidney issues, muscle loss, cavities, memory loss, nerve disorders, behavioral problems, infertility, osteoporosis, accelerated aging, and worse.  And, if that’s not enough just Google all the things you can clean and dissolve with Coke.  That’s just more than enough about that.
  6. Swap your coffee for tea!  This one will ruffle some feathers, so if you insist on sticking with your coffee ritual consider switching to an organic, instant coffee and enjoying one cup with less toxins rather than a pot full of coffee that may contain toxic chemicals.  But for a moment, consider that coffee is a stimulant and effects the hormone serotonin in our brains which controls sleep, mood and appetite.  When you put a chemical into your body that regulates these things, you impede the body’s natural ability to do so.  It will also effect your hunger signals and contribute to that late afternoon slump.  So, take all of this into consideration when you decide how important coffee is to your daily routine and remember that Starbucks also sells tea.
  7. Discover adaptogens!  Stress on your body and your mind has become a regular part of life in today’s world.  The fight or flight instinct that we all have has become overused and worn thin.  We all experience stress and we all search for a way to successfully manage it.  Adaptagenic herbs help your body balance stress related demands such as impatience, anxiety and irritability.  Calm your nerves and reduce the impact of stress with drinks that have these properties.  The ones that have worked for me are Ionix Supreme and t+Chai both made by Isagenix.
  8. Keep snacking!  Keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable and stop yourself from eating too much at your main meals by consuming small amounts throughout the day.  Remember to keep your calorie intake at a reasonable level.  Eating more often doesn’t mean that you should eat MORE.  Grazing throughout the day should be in a mindful way and with regulation.  Done properly, a balanced day of eating can lead to a healthier diet and leaner body.
  9. Forget perfection!  If you strive to be perfect you are doomed to fail.  Give yourself a break.  I do my best to eat healthy, organic meals and live a healthy lifestyle, but nobody is perfect.  I live by the 80% good and 20% not-so-perfect rule.  If I’m tempted by something I don’t have to beat myself up for saying yes.  Everything in moderation.
  10. Think happy thoughts!  When you join The Optimist’s Club you will enjoy less depression, better coping skills, increased life span, greater resistance to the common cold, and lower levels of distress.  Gain a better understanding of positive self-talk and change your world!  Self-talk is the stream of chatter that runs through your head.  Make your thoughts more positive and enjoy a more positive outlook on life.  Reduce stress with more positivity to yield amazing health benefits.  It’s that easy and you have complete control over your thoughts.  Give it a try!  To successfully incorporate all of these things into your life all you need is the desire and motivation to be well!  I have been able to achieve this and I know you can to!  Get in touch with me to learn more about getting well and staying well!!      drakejamie@mac.com 

Healing Crisis

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When you realize that you’ve been sleeping, and until now you haven’t quite had the awareness that you have now, there comes a moment that your eyes may open quickly, maybe a bit wider than usual, and you are finally more awake than you’ve been in a long time. You hear sounds more acutely, see things in deeper focus, and smell scents that you may have missed just moments before. The world has opened up. You’ve become more aware. How did you miss this before? What was I doing without this perception?

It may seem euphoric at first. Thoughts come flooding in about the things that you’ve overlooked and all the things you can achieve with this new sense of wonder and curiosity.  So much to say and do!  And it may last for a while… But just as suddenly as the realization hit you, the same type of understanding may lead you to another apprehension. Maybe it’s all too much. Change is difficult and your body and spirit may process this as it would a traumatic event. Transition can be difficult and growing pains can hurt. Bringing in something new means getting rid of the old. A spiritual and emotional cleanse can happen in different ways for different people. I liken this to a good cry. But for change to happen, a shift must occur. A spiritual cleansing can be good for the soul, but it can hit hard.

When you cleanse the physical body of toxins, some people experience a healing crisis.  Their symptoms worsen before they improve. This can be scary and uncomfortable, but it can lead to a release of years worth of impurities that had been stored within the body and finally released. After you recover from this, you begin to truly feel the benefits.  Sticking with your commitment to bringing your body into balance can bring a new sense of accomplishment and wellness that often motivates people to continue to bring in more positive changes. The reward is a refreshing feeling of a cleansed, healthy body and is worth the effort and stamina it takes to achieve. Experiencing new life regimens can lead to feelings that you are breaking down or losing control, but if you view this time in your life as an opportunity for continued positive change than you will more likely see it as a break through.

Flushing toxins from your body can have distressing temporary side effects, but can bring about many positive long term changes. The same goes for the release of toxic emotional and spiritual beliefs that can bring on an awakening for people who often times didn’t realize they were lost or sleeping. Dealing with a crisis brings out the best in some people and the worst in others. It’s not until we are faced with a challenge that we often have the opportunity to get reacquainted with our true selves.

Photo courtesy of hotblack from morguefile.com

myhappypromise

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