The creative NUDGE

from: drdayolanier.com

from: drdayolanier.com

About a year ago, I decided in my very left brain way that the inkling I had to learn more about essential oils was ridiculous. Another hippie habit. Another thing to spend money. on Sigh. That’s silly. I decided to take these thoughts and shove them in the back corner of my brain: Please pretend that you do not want that Katie, okay? I ignored it. I did, I would say, a pretty mediocre job ignoring it.

This helped dissuade me: I got a little A LOT turned off from the whole multi-leving marketing thing with Young Living and doTerra. It just isn’t my jam. And so I learned that I didn’t want to sell oils…I just felt like there was this super feminine part of me that needed to be handling these really beautiful, majestic and enchanting oils. That’s it. Pure feminine potential pulled me in.

[Masculine energy DOES, and is DOING and achieving and accomplishing. Feminine energy is in sitting back and allowing and receiving and honoring yourself and your body. I have a whole lot of masculine energy in my life, and I was craving balance.]

Back to the ignoring. I really did just wish the oils would go away. Except family members started asking me about them? Weird? And then I had to book an event at work with a major essential oil company. Double weird. This continued on, little nudges that I tried to pretend were not LITTLE NUDGES.

And then I listened to “How to Build a Business and a Life You Love with Marie Forleo” on the School of Greatness podcast. Marie gave an insanely powerful example for me. She talked about how she had worked her way to the top by following her gut when it came to taking roundabouts and pursuing her passions. She could’ve worked her way to the top of the coaching world far sooner than she did – except she wanted in an insanely big way to teach dancing. And man, did she succeed in the dance world. Here is the point, big, crazy, awesome success is so far from linear that it’s HILARIOUS. It has so many ups and downs and “successes” and “failures” mixed in that it’s laughable. (P.S. Marie talks about cleaning toilets in this interview too – so that she never felt DESPERATE for a client.)

So I’m asking you this, what do you want to do? What call do you keep hearing that you’re trying to switch on to mute and move on? Do it. Do it without it needing to be something that’s HUGE and massively successful. Maybe, just maybe it’ll be the thing that unlocks a part of you that’s ready to bring something magical into the world.

1.) I am now getting addicted to the Emerging Women podcast. You can blame my insanely long commutes on my podcast obsession.

2.) I refuse to eat a salad with store bought dressing lately. I don’t know when I became a salad snob, but it’s a real pattern at this point. 1TBSP apple cider vinegar, 1 TBSP champagne vinegar, 1 TBSP dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp salt, little bit of shallot (let marinate…) and then olive oil to taste, about 3/4 TBSP

3.) A reminder: never make a decision based off of fear.

Be Inspired

Being inspired to move fearlessly forward and create can be a tricky thing. I have found that I am a great deal more inspired when I leave blank space in my day and don’t try to pack my schedule too tight. I love to do, do, do, and multi task whenever possible but it leaves me feeling drained and depleted. We are human beings. I often get caught up in being a human “doer.”

I don’t like typing this, and I certainly don’t like admitting it. Multi tasking is, in a way, the enemy of mindfulness and creativity. I find that in my day job I am constantly trying to “speed things up” and get more than one thing done at a time. The result is often that I start two things at once and feel pulled in too many directions instead of just focusing on the task at hand. I also hate admitting this, BUT I doubt either one actually gets finished any faster.

On the other hand, in non-work environments, I also have a tendency to occasionally get OVER inspired. This looks awesome! That looks amazing. I’m doing this, and that, and this. Oh, and also I’m now exhausted. Ha ha. Right now this sounds like… I AM absolutely planning this teen yoga workshop and retreat. I am going to Kundalini Yoga Boston more. Maybe I should get my yin yoga teaching certification? When will my essential oils training end? What day will my next meditation class be? HA. All of those things jumbled together and done without purpose and clarity can start to feel like a burden instead of fun SUPER FAST. So instead of feeling like a creative powerhouse I feel like I’ve got nothing left to give (which is NOT the truth!).

Feeling creative and inspired to put something together and package an idea or a teach a concept in a NEW way is one of the states that makes me most HAPPY. I love creating something from nothing (like writing this blog post). I also love a chance to put my own little stamp on it and give it a touch of my personality. But you have to listen, to this subtle, delicate voice inside you that knows where your current balance point is. It is different every day what joyful, positive inspiration feels like. Some days enough is too much and the other way around.

Three things

1.) I have been listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast “Magic Lessons.” It’s based on her book “Big Magic” and the concept of creative living without fear. It’s kind of crazy how much fear stops us from pursuing that which we are BEST at and hungry for.

2.) Spoil yourself a little. You deserve it. (Just sayin).

3.) OK- I actually AM teaching a teen yoga and spa night workshop soon at Solstice Power Yoga. I actually just finished my brainstorm, brain dump for the outline and sent it off to my friend.

 

 

Gratitude 101

As I’ve been researching gratitude over the past few months, there is one quote in particular that jumps out to me and rearranges why GRATITUDE is so important.

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credit: tipjunkie.com

This quote is taken from a small book Melody Beattie wrote titled, “Gratitude: Affirming the Good Things in Life.” I’ve heard her name for years and am familiar with her book “Journey to the Heart,” but this pocket-size one really touched me. She writes about tangible examples in her own life, in particular purchasing a home that felt dingy and nowhere near what she truly desired.

She talks about the mental shift she executed one day, after growing tired of lamenting about how this house just wasn’t ENOUGH. And of course, once she made peace with the state of the house and work that she wanted to put into it, everything shifted around her. She was resourceful and open-minded about how to turn what she had into enough and soon it grew to be much more.

We are all confronted with scenarios daily where we feel like backed into a corner without “enough.” We crave a bigger this, a better that and so on and so fourth. We stand knee deep in blessings pointing to all the things we wish we had.

What my research has taught me about gratitude though is that it’s a practice we must commit to. The more we train our brains to look for things to be grateful for, the more our brain seeks out those experiences. We begin to notice and register all that WORKS in our life already. From there, your capacity to call in more is a whole lot stronger.

Three things:

1.) I learned of Sally Hogstead’s work through my School of Greatness podcasts, and this article with 12 Instant Inspirations is a good one. 100% yourself > 100% perfect.

2.) I’m really into Teeki yoga pants lately. They’re light, stretchy and made from recycle water bottles. How cool! If you sign up for their mailing list, they send out periodic discounts and promo codes too.

3.) I am excited to be attending the Fall Fest at the ashram in Millis. Really enjoying learning more about kundalini yoga!

Primary Food + Gratitude

For a very long time I desperately craved a solution to my chronic digestion issues. I went to doctor after doctor, and for the most part strongly resisted the stress management techniques they would recommend. I had no interest in trying yoga or meditation (which seems hysterical since I now teach both), and I simply believed the doctors were overlooking the issue at hand: I WAS SICK.

I grew frustrated (and alternatively terrified) that doctors seemed to be implying that my symptoms were all in my head, and that stress was the primary issue I was dealing with.

As you can tell from my last post about pain, the connection between our mental state and our symptoms is something that I have been continually exploring. Today I absolutely believe there is a connection.

I don’t look back at those days and think geez it really was all in my head. I think about how I only wanted to acknowledge or look at one very small part of the problem.

Today, through healing many of my own health issues and supporting clients through their own I have seen first hand the power of what my health coaching school IIN refers to as Primary Food. Think of your health as a wheel, flowing in a circular motion, and needing to have balance amongst the categories below to move forward.

I can tell you now that part of why my health fell apart was that I hadn’t created positive habits around education, home cooking, creativity and joy.

Circle-of-Life-IIN

Here’s another way of thinking about it from the IIN blog that really resonated with me.

Please think back to a time when you were passionately in love. Everything was exciting. Colors were vibrant. Intimacy was magical. Your lover’s touch and feelings of exhilaration sustained you. You were floating on air, gazing into each other’s eyes. You forgot about food and were high on life. Remember when, as a child, you were playing outside, having fun? Suddenly, your mother announced dinner was ready, but you were not hungry at all. The passion of play took all your attention. Sometimes we are fed not by food but by the energy in our lives. These moments and feelings demonstrate that everything is food.

Today I look back on those doctor appointments and I understand very clearly why they were quick to point out to my worrier disposition and connect its relationship to my gut issues. If you have struggled with gut issues and want more info on this concept, check out The Second Brain. It’s a little heavy on science speak, but it will help cement the concept for you.

Lastly, I am teaching my first workshop on gratitude in September which is amazing because I love teaching new topics for the first time. I collect all my favorite pieces on info from IIN on the topic, all my favorite books, blogs, meditations, mudras (etc!) and then craft a workshop that connects the dots between these tools in ways I haven’t seen done before. It’s so FUN! Gratitude isn’t pictured on the wheel above, but it is a PIVOTAL tool to stay EMPOWERED and keep your mind + body in a healing head space.

Three Things:

1.) Eating with the seasons: Are zucchinis and tomatoes making appearances on your plate right now? I was gifted my first birthday present today from a fellow health coach and dear friend: CLEAN FOOD: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to Source.

2.) I am gearing up for a quick weekend trip in to Baltimore to FloYo and adventure with my friend Jessie, the founder and GIRL BOSS.

3.) I am going to this day-long Self Care Retreat in October taught by friend who gave me gift in #1 hehe. If you want good stuff to show up in your life, take AMAZING care of yo self!

 

Emotions & Pain

photo credit drhealth.md

photo credit drhealth.md

I kind of admit to wanting to roll my eyes at this blog title. Really? I can think of a million thousand people who are in sincere, genuine pain and would swear upside down and sideways that their life is actually quite wonderful (except for the pain of course).

So I will leave you with this by way of introduction. I have been tackling my physical ailments (IBS, leaky gut etc) as they relate to emotional well-being because my body would not heal otherwise. I have, and will on some level always battle, a very strong skeptical voice about my aches and pains being connected to my feelings. That’s calling being human. We want to separate the mind, body and soul.  Modern medicine teaches us to do so in fact.

The trouble is when I tackled my ailments from this holistic “airy, fairy” way I started getting healthier and healthier. So after years of feeling unwell what was I going to do when approached with this relative easy way to feel vibrant? Say SOUNDS DUMB and keep on feeling miserable? I had to choose to see that there are layers to our pain. I cannot emphasize this enough – each body is different and each circumstance unique. This is not a one-size fits all scenario. But for me this concept proved valuable and healing.

Last year though I hit this very tough intersection. The “tools” I had relied on to help me feel healthy and balanced no longer seems to be working. My body “hurt” and my primary coping tools had been physical activity, like yoga. I had bottled up a LOT of emotions. I had stopped taking vacations because my paid time off was all used up from being “sick.” My tank was on EMPTY and instead of acknowledging that I kept on keeping on. I re-injured an achilles injury I had healed. It came back with a vengeance. I put myself in situations with people who were tough on me and didn’t make me a priority, and therefore created even more pissed off feelings I didn’t want to deal with.

It created this momentum of adding insult to injury. I stood face to face with THE VICTIM in me. I didn’t want to go that road, but it seemed like I was getting so much material in my life to support that story. And so that becomes the choice, how can you change your story and believe you are not your pain? How can you see through your pain and see that it’s not a part of you as it so intensely seems to be? And perhaps your pain simply wants you to feel something, to change something so that you can propel yourself forward?

I will leave you with a quote from Liz Gilbert’s Facebook page which inspires me on the daily: “I want to repeat that one line, because it has never stopped ringing in my head: SUFFERING WITHOUT CATHARSIS IS NOTHING BUT WASTED PAIN. Don’t ever let your pain be wasted. Make something of it. Use it for transformation. Harness its power and evolve.”

One last piece of advice from the inimitable Danielle LaPorte:

interrupt

If you would like to explore this idea further, here are three things I recommend:

1.) E.F.T. Tapping for Pain: Nick Ortner has a book devoted specifically to this

2.) Gabrielle Bernstein recommend Healing Back Pain at my Kripalu program last weekend and this book has been HUGE for me so far and I’m only halfway through.

3.) A Classic: Your Body Speaks Your Mind.

 

Peach Picking!

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Yesterday I had a friend come to visit from out of town who had spent the day doing big city things like Faneuil Hall and the new Boston Public Market. When I picked her up and drove her out of the city, I immediately knew where I wanted to take her: PEACH PICKING. I’d only ever visited Belkin Lookout Farm in the fall for apple picking, but there are definitely some bonuses to visiting over the summer.

It feels less touristy and BUSY BUSY and far more peaceful. I’ll certainly go to pick apples in the fall – but it was really wonderful to be there and have it feel so QUIET. It was more intimate and I definitely felt closer to nature and more grounding.

During my training at IIN, one of the concepts that the program really hammered home was the simplicity of committing to eat in season. Whenever I get the chance to go to a farm and pick fresh food grown just a few short miles from where I live I understand on an even bigger level the power of eating in season. The flavor (the nutrients) and the overall quality cannot be beat.

Lastly, there are a lot of reviews online about the fact that Belkin charges both an admission fee AND charges to pay for your apples/u-pick items. Let me be clear: It is not cheap. And this is my challenge, what if we stopped worrying so much about our food being “cheap” and worried more about its quality, freshness and the way the farmers were treated who grew and nurtured it? It is a far, far cry from 99 cent mac and cheese, but I believe we owe farms some major support because the odds can be so stacked against them.

Recipes peach picks: End of Summer Peach Apple Cobbler / Peaches and Cream Smoothie / Paleo Grain-Free Peach Crisp / Vegan & Paleo Easy Peach Crisp

Some details:

You can see what Belkin Farm is up to on their Twitter or Facebook page. If you’re into hard cider, Belkin has a new bar on site that’s definitely worth trying out.

Three things:

1.) I’m heading out to Kripalu later this morning to see Gabby. This brings back many memories from four years ago when I first went to see her, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to focus on my goals and connect with like-minded people.

2.) I committed to reading some fun fiction books this summer and really enjoying these two: Leaving Time and Delicious! 

3.) I made this raw, vegan chocolate cake for a birthday at work this week, and highly recommend it! (Superfoods!)

Letting go of the P-A-S-T

Driving home from work last week, I heard the voice of doubt loud and clear. Over the past week or so I’ve been questioning some of the most vulnerable and difficult decisions I’ve made in terms of time management, my goals, my career, relationships and so on.

There’s this squeaky wheel. This inkling. That I missed something. That there were words I was supposed to say but didn’t have the courage to. A leap I could’ve taken but covered my eyes and instead stayed put. A moment when I could’ve been more honest about what I wanted, but I chose what others thought fit instead.

Here’s what I finally realized after catching myself mentally beating lil ole me up again. The perfectionist in me wants to go and FIX SOMETHING back there in the past that I feel like I didn’t quite get right. This is actually kind of hysterical! And why I am still punishing myself? It’s OVER.

What better way to model the Maya Angelou “when you know better, you do better” philosophy then to move FORWARD. New people. New places. New experiences. New challenges. I’m a virgo and I’ve always been extremely analytical which means it’s really easy for me to lost in this mental game of ping pong and not actually get off my behind and DO SOMETHING.

Thanks to my OBSESSION with Lewis Howes’ podcasts (I think I can definitely say I am card carrying member of the school of greatness), I have been hammering this commitment to stay vulnerable, hungry and committed into my head. All that garbage from the past is straight up JUNK, and I’m over trying to be perfect. Never going to get there, done with trying. I can’t create anything and put anything out into the world if I’m living in the past. It’s impossible.

The truth is we will always have things that we look back on and wish we could do differently. For me the biggest lesson I’ve taken away is to pay attention and be clear on not making the same mistake twice. Plus, the future holds so many CRAZY AMAZING possibilities. Why not focus on that?

Three things:

1.) At Wanderlust, Elena Brower taught a class on the four directions and she used this phrase: “LET IT BE JUST FOR YOU.”  She said this cue in order to have everyone bring their focus back on their own bodies and not engage with what their neighbor was or wasn’t doing. I’ve thought of that phrase so often in the weeks after that class, and I’ve realized it applies to so many instances. LET IT BE JUST FOR YOU. When you’re tempted to compare yourself to other people on social media. Let it be just for you and say no instead of always saying YES. Let it be just for you and close your eyes in yoga class. Let it be just for and BE GOOFY, silly outrageous, and little too much of something. The worlds needs your real YOU.

2.) I’m still sticking to my candida program, but if I weren’t I’d be eating THESE: Paleo Caramel Brownies from Elana’s Pantry (which makes this free of gluten, refined sugar, and dairy!).

3.) ALL THE BATH SALTS. Get on board the bath wagon, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

Spotlight on Chia

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Chia was a COMPLETELY foreign ingredient to me a few years ago. Because of my Leaky Gut issues in the past I’m always a little tentative with nuts and seeds. But as I’ve experimented with chia I’m happy to report I really haven’t experienced any negative symptoms – quite the opposite.

First things first, I took to chia initially because it kept me full. Chia is a complete protein – it contains all eight essential amino acids. Basically that means your body doesn’t have to wait, or search for, building blocks to pair with the amino acids that aren’t present in chia to put it to work.

Thousands of years ago the Aztecs were using chia seeds for everything from fueling elite warriors to sacred rituals. The list of health benefits is so stunning it’s almost mind boggling. Chia helps regulate blood sugar levels and it’s loaded with antioxidants, full of fiber, a natural appetite suppressant and chock full of vitamins and minerals.

So it’s certainly superfood status, but how do you incorporate it into your diet?

My initial understanding of eating chia translated to —–> chia pudding. I watched my roommate make it the night before work for breakfast, and it seemed like a really easy way to have a quick, healthy on-the-go morning meal. I was in. The chia seeds will expand a great deal overnight and “gel” turning the liquid into a pudding. Just make sure you stick with a recipe and get the portions right for that part!

This is my all-time favorite chia pudding recipe from Karma Chow. There’s a reason she calls it “addicted to chocolate chia pudding.” I’m fiddling with some inflammation I have that has stuck around so lately I’ve been making a chia pudding that’s sugar and fruit free but sweetened with stevia. It’s a variation of this Repair and Recover Chia Pudding from Oh She Glows.

Chia Fresca is also an fantastic alternative to sports drinks, like Gatorade. I’ve been wanting to try this one out: Cucumber Mint Chia Fresca from YumUniverse.

1.) I am so hooked on the School of Greatness podcasts. I seriously can’t recommend them enough. My long commutes are so much less of a bother!

2.) What are you looking forward to? Taylor Swift concert is less than two weeks away. Can’t handle it!

3.) Very excited to be planning lots of workshops and offerings for this summer and fall. Stay tuned.

 

Sweet recipes free of refined sugar

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I wish it wasn’t so, but the cat is out of the bag: refined sugar is poisonous stuff. It messes with our absorption of minerals, the toxic load of the body, bolsters fat cells and basically cause a high-level of confusion in the body. In short, our bodies know how to break down REAL food. Refined sugar unfortunately does not fall into that category.

I can tell you that I personally crave sugar LIKE A CRAZY PERSON as soon as I get stressed. I’ve worked really diligently (a little bit at a time) to remove refined sugar from my diet. I go for the 80/20 rule here too. I do eat sugar sometimes and try to make sure it’s mixed with quality ingredients and made fresh. Life is too short to follow stringent rules ALL THE TIME.

Without further ado, here are some of my all-time favorite recipes that lean on no refined sugar and instead call for ingredients like dates, maple syrup, honey, cacao or dark chocolate for a sweetner. I’m still not skilled at cooking with stevia, but that is also a substitute for good ole granulated white sugar.

Note: these recipes are all also free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn…but most contain nuts.

My all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe is from Healthy Crush.

My go-to superfood, antioxidant energy ball recipe: Bliss Balls from Ad Purkh who I met through yoga teacher training a few years ago. These are delicious!

The best birthday carrot cake I’ve ever had (that happened to be sugar free) from Elana’s Pantry! Want a sugar-free frosting recipe? This is the best in town from Oh She Glows.

A delicious Paleo Morning Glory muffin recipe to have on-hand! Morning Glory Muffins from Tina over at Carrots ‘n Cake.

Samoa cupcakes, these take a fair amount of time to prep, but they are fun for special occasions like birthdays.

For a simple on-the-go sweet treat after dinner, I will often reach for coconut butter stuffed dates (pictured above). Yes, coconut butter separates, and it can be kind of a pain to mix it BUT it is straight up delicious and worth the extra effort. Dates can be a little tricky to find in a grocery store the first time you buy them, they are in the produce section most often, and sometimes also near the raisins.

Chocolate chia pudding is another one my favorite treats. One concern that I’ve seen happening with myself and a few friends who have gluten sensitivities is the introduction of EVERYTHING ALMOND. Almond milk. Almond butter. Almond flour. Almonds as snacks! Almond everywhere…I notice that most commonly chia puddings call for almond milk so just be conscious of switching up your milk. I liked this recipe because it calls for real full fat coconut milk from the can. This recipe also calls for coconut oil which has a tremendous amount of health benefits as well.

Sweet in a different kind of way than dessert: Mango Black Bean Salsa from my lovely employer Whole Foods Market.

And then there is always the super simple dark chocolate. Just make sure you don’t let that one run wild like I did…it creeps up on you, you know? Make sure you buy 70% and over to maximize health benefits.

Three things:

1.) I’m getting ready to do a workshop on Superfoods on July 25th at the The Organic Angel in Norfolk from 12-1pm.

2.) What took me so long to get on board with acai? It’s the beauty superfood, just sayin.

3.)  I appreciate YOU for reading. Means the world. thank you thank you.

Uniquely YOU via Wanderlust

I’m going to scramble up a lot of the different lessons I took away from my weekend at Wanderlust Vermont into several posts. Here’s what is sitting with me the most right now…

I’ll start with the ending. Leaving Wanderlust was such a magical mixture of feelings. I let stuff go. I called stuff in. I RESTED. I DID IT ALL. It was the first time in a long time that I wrote a big check and took a chunk of days off and really let myself feel like I was being extraordinarily good to myself. It was very uncomfortable and totally awesome.

But I wanted to share in my first look back this quote which I heard at one of the Speakeasy lectures I attended called, “Make Your Passion Your Paycheck”

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photo from pinterest

 

Jamie Zimmerman led the lecture and she shared a lot of really interesting insight about what it feels like to follow your passion, particularly in the face of fear. Fear is not something that a few unlucky people have to muddle through. Fear is in us all, and overcoming it to pursue your passion seems to me to be one of the most UNREAL and amazing ways to experience being alive.

Jamie also talked about how we can start to distinguish the way an “excited, oh-my-gosh” fear feels and a “NO WAY. THAT’S NEVER HAPPENING” fear feels. Our bodies are smart and they give us all these little cues and markers about what’s right for us and what direction we want to move in.

Three things:

1.) Flip flops are not that nice to your feet. Check these out.

2.) I’m currently eating: Repair and Recover Chia Pudding from Oh She Glows.

3.) My favorite podcast over the past couple weeks has been NEVER EVER GIVE UP from Lewis Howes. A couple highlights from that..

After being cut from his high school basketball team, Michael Jordan went home, locked himself in his room and cried.

Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times. He eventually attended school at another location, only to drop out to become a director before finishing. Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.

NEVER GIVE UP.