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Posts tagged ‘Inspiration’

5 Things to Know About Taking Care of Yourself

5 Things to Know About Taking Care of Yourself


I was lying on a table and she was hanging from two bars on the ceiling,  skating over my back with her feet–a little like she was snowboarding or  skating, only it was warm and there was a silky lotion and I could feel that her  feet were not calloused like mine when I said, “It’s amazing what you can learn  here in just three days that you keep with you for a lifetime.” She replied that  it’s also amazing how many people come back again and again and don’t seem to  learn anything. She’s been working at Canyon Ranch for 23 years. I’ve been  coming every few years for two decades. This time, I brought my 16-year-old for  her first spa visit and my 31-year-old for her second. It’s like an intensive  health and healing camp, and this time I was signed up for the ashiatsu massage,  which is when someone massages you with their bare feet. It was good–much more  pressure than someone can get with their hands–but only able to focus on the  biggest muscle groups.

You see, I come to Canyon Ranch both to learn what’s new and to explore the  edges of health and healing. I also come to take care of myself, which over the  years I’ve gotten better and better at, thanks to Canyon Ranch. In fact, I told  my daughters that this was the first time I’d come when I didn’t feel I needed  to be brought in on a stretcher.

So why is it so hard for us to take care of ourselves? What does it mean to  take care of ourselves? After all, it’s not like it’s taught in school. It’s up  to parents to teach children. But if we parents don’t know how, we may be  teaching the wrong things, and then it’s up to each person individually. Which  it truly is anyway. My oldest, for example, won’t listen to a thing I say about  health, but THAT’S OK because what makes her healthy and happy is different from  what makes me healthy and happy. (Although, for her sake, I wish I’d known what  gluten intolerance was 30 years ago….)

I know everybody can’t afford a few days at a spa every couple of years. So  I’m going to share with you a few of the things I’ve learned from the experience  that you can take with you and do anywhere.

• Get inside your body. The first thing you have to do is  really, truly feel yourself in your body. Many of us spend a lifetime trying to  pretend we don’t have a body. We abuse it. We overeat. We think if we keep it  covered or don’t look too closely it will just exist without us. That may work  for a while, but to truly be healthy and happy, you have to really feel your  body and get to know it. That means exercising. Getting massages that help you  feel it. Looking at it. Going to healing practitioners–medical and  alternative–that help you see inside your body. Don’t be afraid to push  yourself–in fact that’s where the good stuff is. We all took a kettle bell class  together and it was HARD and I was SORE, but the soreness got into a place  (which I won’t mention) that I’d been trying to get into for years.

This isn’t about having a perfect body; it’s about learning to love your  body. Your body is essential to every aspect of your life, so pay attention and  take good care of it. Now, some people are ONLY inside their body. Athletes, for  example, can be truly inside their body, but then it’s easy to see that may not  be enough on its own. There is more.

• Get beyond your body. Emotions, the way you think about  things, your spirit or soul–all these things extend beyond your body but are  rooted in it, and if you don’t pay attention and work on those things too, a “healthy body” will never be enough. In fact, sometimes you can’t truly get  inside your body until you clear out the blockages that are in your head or  heart. What are the emotional drivers and beliefs you hold that keep you from  truly taking care of yourself? Sometimes those things need to be addressed  first. For us women, it’s almost standard to think we have to take care of  everyone else first before we can take care of ourselves. I’m trying to teach my  daughters otherwise, but sometimes the world around them enforces that  stereotype more than I do and they need to learn to see through it. This is  where it’s really important to get different perspectives. Take a class. See a  therapist. Read books. Which leads to my next point…

• Always go deeper. I think what that woman standing on my  back was really talking about (because you never really know what’s inside  another person) is that you can stay on the surface or you can go deeper, and  the good stuff is always deeper. For example, I’m sure there are a lot of people  who go to spas and stay focused on the outside of their body–facials,  mani-pedis, and such–making their body look “perfect” to achieve some ideal of  beauty that will never last. All this is fine, but it’s not where true health  and happiness live. I took a class with an energy healer who talked about the  conditions he treats at Canyon Ranch: anger, depression, paranoia, fear, living  with a sense of doom, worry…. All these emotions greatly impact health and are  really avoidable if you learn how to deal with them. In fact, he said, another  emotion he sees all the time is passivity–which he believes is at the root of  back pain. Think about it. Passivity comes in all shapes and sizes and, as he  said, makes a person shrink over time. “Spineless,” he said. Medication might  help, but it never addresses the root issue. To address the root issue of  anything you have to go deeper. Underground! Into the dark, fertile soil where  roots grow.

• Give yourself a break. I will admit, I worried about  writing about this blog. Why? Because people can make up all sorts of things in  their heads about what I’m sharing. They may be angry with me for taking time  off or spending money they don’t have. They may have a view that spas are  hedonistic indulgences. But these are exactly the kinds of fears that hold  people back. For each of us, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other  people think. What matters is what we think and how we live in the world.

The last morning at Canyon Ranch, the three of us woke up and went kayaking  very early in the morning (a teenager woke up at 6:00 a.m. on vacation!). As we  floated on a small lake that was smooth as glass, a warm rain started to fall,  making a field of bubbles all around us, and the water lilies filled the air  with a sweet, magical fragrance, and I simply enjoyed the moment. You don’t have  moments like that without “getting up early and getting on the boat,” which is a  metaphor for just doing it, whatever it is. Because…

• You have incredible power. Use it. If you believe you are  a victim, I can guarantee you will be a victim. If you believe that you will  never have enough money to go to a spa, I can assure you, you will never have  enough money to go to a spa. What I’ve learned from years and years of  experience and learning is that we truly do create the world we live in. And if  we believe the world is one of doom and despair, it WILL be a world of doom and  despair, and everything you experience and see will confirm it. What harm would  it do for you to try to see the world as a brilliant, wonderful, loving, and  glorious place? Try it for a day. Try it for a week. You’ll be amazed at how  brilliant, wonderful, loving, and glorious the world becomes. Surround yourself  with love–good things, happy things–and it will spread. It will infiltrate your  body and your life and your heart. Doesn’t mean you won’t have bad days or sad  days or troubles, but you’ll have a greater context and power to work your way  through them, and you’ll see that you are capable, strong, and glorious.

You have incredible power. Use it.

By Maria Rodale


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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10 Steps to a Happier Life

10 Steps to a Happier Life


Our modern lives are littered with stress. By retuning your approach to it,  you can create a pure, lasting inner peace in place of modern worries. Here are  some suggestions to help guide you towards lifelong happiness.

Live every moment. Be totally invested in life right now — not in the past or future. Many people are so busy worrying about last week and  detailing tomorrow, that they forget to live today. Put more effort in “the now” and stop worrying — it just makes you older. That being said…

Don’t get old. Getting old means abandoning your creative  instincts. It means stressing more. It means being serious all the time. But,  there are many ninety-year-olds with who certainly don’t act “old.” Being young and creative is a  state of mind, regardless of age. And creativity is the fuel of happiness. So,  go lie in the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds. Roll around if you want  to. It is perfectly alright, regardless of what society has lead you to  believe.

Have experiences. Good or bad. Open yourself up. Be a vessel  for new ideas, cultures, foods. Don’t pass judgement on people, things, or  places that you haven’t yet experienced. Forge deep, human connections.  That’s what life is all about.

Banish negative thinking from your life. It serves no  purpose for anyone, and only makes life more toilsome. Stop it.

Tread lightly upon the Earth. Living lightly feels more  purposeful and brings you closer to the planet. As hikers practice “Leave  No Trace”, do so with your own life. When you are gone, how much of your  imprint will be left here on the planet? Will you have left thousands of pounds  of trash? How many non-renewable resources did you yourself consume? If you  desperately need to be remembered when you’re gone, maybe you should commission  a statue or portrait of yourself (supporting the arts at the same time!). Don’t  leave future generations with piles of your waste to clean up.   

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let  your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a  million count half a dozen…” (Thoreau). Stop stressing about everything and  frantically multitasking. Do a few things, and do them well. “Our life  is frittered away by detail…” Stop wasting your precious seconds  halfheartedly doing twelve things at once. Do one thing at a time — wholeheartedly and passionately. Simplify your life, possessions, thoughts, and  you’ll find yourself much more at peace.

Get out of your comfort zone. Try everything once, even if  you are weary. You’ll be glad you did. See “Have experiences.

Use your mind. Don’t squander it. Stop relying on technology  to do your thinking for you. Your brain is unique and brilliant in its own way.  Use it more and you’ll be amazed at your increase in creativity and overall  satisfaction.  

Treat your body with respect. Practice yoga, play tennis, go  swimming. Eat natural foods. Have some chocolate, drink a beer. To put it  simply: get exercise, eat well, indulge in moderation. Love your body and  it will continue to serve you. As soon as you start disrespecting your body, it  will start wasting away.

Reconnect with nature. There is no separation between  humankind and nature; we are simply an extension of it. Be outside. Breathe in  fresh air. Let the sun warm your soul. From a scientific standpoint, being  outdoors boasts numerous benefits. From a human standpoint, it just feels right.  Isn’t that all that matters? Go enjoy it.

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman.  Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory,  she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food  and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing,  mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what  else Jordyn has been up to at


Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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20 Easy Ways to Be Happier

20 Easy Ways to Be Happier


What we found is that sometimes,  the tiniest changes can have a huge impact on overall happiness. These twenty  ideas will help you go from grumpy to giddy.

1. Make Your Bed Every Morning I’ve heard this one  before, and not just from my mother. For most people, outer order leads to inner  calm. And making your bed is one quick, easy way to get some semblance of a tidy  room (even when your closet is anything but.)

2. Shorten Your Commute Okay, this one may not be a  cinch. But if there’s any way you can shorten your commute, it’s certainly worth  the effort. Spending two hours a day in gridlock traffic is enough to drive even  the most Zen commuter up the wall. Not only is the drive itself infuriating, a  long commute eats up time that could be spent on proven happiness boosters, like  sleeping or interacting with other people.

3. Find a Rocking Chair You know it works for babies. Now  it seems that rockers bring similar comfort to elderly sufferers of dementia.  Researchers at the University of Rochester encouraged twenty-five residents to  rock as much as they like and they became less upset and anxious and required  less pain medication. Who’s to say it couldn’t work for you?

4. Make Lists Writing it down (whatever “it” may be. is a  successful tool for managing stress. Just make sure your list doesn’t get out of  control. After all, your list is supposed to help with your stress, not add to  it. Remember that you can always adjust your priorities.

5. Paint Your Toenails … Even in the Winter In the winter  months, it’s easy to ignore your feet until they morph into a Shrek-like  monstrosity. Who’s going to see them anyway, right? Wrong. You are! So give them  a soak, a scrub, a bit of moisture, and a dash of color. You’ll feel better  instantly.

6. Wake up the Right Way Are you coffee lover? Wake up to  the smell of freshly brewed coffee by investing in a percolator with a  programmable timer. Tired of waking up to the shriek of a buzzer or the  irritating voice of the talk radio host? Get yourself an alarm clock that wakes  you up with natural light and sounds.

7. Talk About Something New People tend to get stuck on  the same old topics of conversation. Stimulate your mind and encourage others,  too, by finding one little interesting tidbit a day and starting a conversation  by saying, “Did you hear about _________? What do you think?”

8. Refuse to Give Advice The easiest way to get sucked  down the negative spiral is by participating. Do your friends a favor: when they  start unloading their problems on you, let them figure it out on their own. The  reverse is also true—don’t bore your friends with your problems. Focus on  fun!

9. Rearrange Your Furniture It may sound silly, but even  the tiniest shift of a kitchen table or couch can make all the difference. It’ll  make the room—and you!—feel new again. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a  thing. (Tip: If you need to move a large item on your own, stick a dish towel  under each leg and push; or if you’ve got carpet, use furniture sliders.)

10. Smile on the Outside Even when you’ve got nothing to  smile about. Forcing a smile can trick your body into changing your mood. You’ll  also find that other people will react better to you when you’ve got a smile on  your face. Voilà! You’ve just created a snowball effect of fuzzy feelings.

11. Gaze at a Photograph If the photograph is of a loved  one, it can stimulate blood supply to the brain, says researcher Andreas Bartels  from University of London. Imagine them giving you a hug.

12. Turn off the TV Happy people don’t watch TV. Instead,  they socialize, which brings them more long-term satisfaction. We’re not saying  to skip your favorite shows altogether. But if the choice is between watching  something just because it’s on, and grabbing a friend for a last minute dinner  date … well … you know what to do. Delicious and good for you!

13. Get Informed Stuck on a problem that just won’t go  away? Try Googling it. Reading up on how other people have handled your  situation may give you some clues on how to tackle it yourself.

14. Eat Avocados Avocados are good for your skin, your  hair, and—more importantly—your heart. But did you know they’re also good for  your mood? They’ve got monounsaturated fats and tryptophan, which boosts  feel-good chemical endorphins in the brain.

15. Sing or Hum a Tune Listening to music can make you  feel good, but singing or humming your own tune is even better! Try making up  the words to one of your favorite songs, and sing it out loud. Even if your cat  is the only one who appreciates it, you’ll feel good about it.

16. Break the Rules Here’s a little known confidence  booster: when you follow your own path, (especially when you go against the  grain. it’s incredibly intoxicating. We’re not advocating anything illegal, just  saying that you should do exactly what you want sometimes and not what you think  you should be doing.

17. Invigorate Your Senses A quick spray of lavender,  eucalyptus, rosemary, or lemon can clear your head quicker than you think. For  an extra-calming treat, take a nap on a pillow scented with lavender—either in  fabric spray form, or crumble some of the plant itself and put it in your  pillowcase.

18. Visit a Quiet Place Libraries, museums, gardens, and  other quiet places can give you a break from the frantic pace of everyday life.  Find a secret spot and make it your sanctuary, whether it’s in your backyard or  the Reference section.

19. Forgive Someone Research shows that those who are  able to forgive are less stressed, less angry, and more optimistic than those  who aren’t. So, if you’re holding onto old grudges for the sake of it, it might  just be time to let go.

20. Spend More Time with Your Happy Friends Misery loves  company. Too often, we find ourselves surrounded by soul-crushing negativity.  The good news? Happiness really is contagious. Research shows that happiness,  even when removed by three degrees, can make you happier than an extra $5000.  Focus on spending time with the optimistic people in your life and you might  just become one of them.

By Tania Khadder and Kayla Baxter 


Thank you for visiting!  I believe that Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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Simple Moments of Happiness

Simple Moments of Happiness


Happiness is still a mystery to most of us, but glimpses of it are to be  found in simple moments like these…

  • A fresh-from-the-farm meal, enjoyed in the garden with your family.
  • Popcorn at the movies.
  • Listening to an old song and leafing through the album of memories that it  stirs up in your mind…
  • Throwing “should” to the wind and letting the moment take you away!
  • Time spent with your best friend, even if it is a quick cup of coffee.
  • The sight of butterflies in a garden full of blossoms.
  • A lung full of pure, sweet, mountain air.
  • Children playing in the rain. Children playing anywhere.  Children.
  • A new shirt or dress that makes you feel fit and radiant.
  • The smell of vanilla and cinnamon filling your home.
  • Those moments before bedtime, when you curl up with a beautiful book.
  • A look of love from someone you love.

Really, happiness can be so very simple! A quick gladdening of the heart, a  fleeting but fulfilling emotion…

Please add to the list. I would love to hear about the things that make you  happy!

By Shybhra Krishan

Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential  Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003),  Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman’s book of comfort (New World Library, 2004),  and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House  India, 2011).


Thank you for visiting!  I believe that Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author


ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~

visit ~

consult ~

chews ~

enjoy ~

follow ~

learn ~

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join ~

link ~



Be a Pencil!

A good while ago, my friend Andy Pipas shared a story that really touched my life.  It was a very simple message, yet I have come to realize that some of the most profound things I have learned in my life are simple in nature.  When I can understand something, I know I will be able to apply it.I think that’s true of most of us.The story is called The Parable of the Pencil.

A pencil maker always took a pencil aside before passing him along to a student.”There are 5 important things you need to know before I send you out into the world,” he told each pencil.”Remember these tips and you will become the best pencil you can be!”

  1. You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be guided by someone else.
  2. You will experience an uncomfortable sharpening from time to time, but it will help you to become a better pencil.
  3. You have the ability, because of your eraser, to correct any mistakes you might make.
  4. The most important part of you will always be what is on the inside.
  5. You must leave your mark on every surface upon which you are used.
The pencil understood and went forward, excited to share his purpose with an eager student. 
We are all like pencils in many ways.At least one, if not all five of the simple truths found in this parable are needed in our daily life.  Choose from the list today and enjoy moving forward with excitement and purpose in whatever you do!

Isn’t that a great story?  Again I want to thank Andy for sharing it with me many years ago.  It is something I think about often.  I hope you will find a great use for this parable this week, not only as you share it with your family, friends and business associates, but also as you use it and apply it in your own personal life.

Have a great day!  God bless you!

Dr. Robert A. Rohm

Reprinted with permission from the “Tip of the Week”. To subscribe for the free “Tip of the Week” please go to and receive Dr. Rohm’s weekly Tip every Monday morning.

6 Ways to Detoxify Your Heart

6 Ways to Detoxify Your Heart



This time of year, there is info everywhere on how to detoxify your body.  Whatever toxin you want to remove, or part of your body you want to cleanse,  there’s a smoothie for that! Now, I love smoothies, and I believe that physical  detoxification is an essential health practice (especially by eliminating those  toxins to begin with — for my full views you can read Organic Manifesto and Demand Organic!). But I also believe that the most toxic  toxins start in our hearts. And for true health, healing, and happiness that’s  where we need to start. (By the way, I am not a therapist or doctor, just  someone who has personal experience in this area).

The Power of Emotional Healing

Don’t numb it, FEEL it. This is the hardest and first step.  How many different methods do we employ to avoid feeling what we really feel?  Drugs and alcohol are the easiest ways to recognize the numbing effect. But we  can also use food, TV, religion, sports, crafts, or just plain emotional  repression. Yes, emotions can be truly painful, but it’s the pain of living, of  personal growth, of healing. Let yourself feel what’s in your heart. Truly feel  it. Find a safe place and let those feelings wash over you.

Do the forensics and unpeel the layers. Often, what we first  think we are upset about isn’t the true thing that is bothering us. Our emotions  come in layers. The first layer might be anger. I AM ANGRY!!!!!! But when you  peel away the layers, what might truly be driving that is loneliness, or fear,  or hurt. This is where talking with a therapist can really help. Sometimes it  really helps to have someone help us dig out from under all those layers we’ve  covered our hearts in. As a parent, I often find that when a child is cranky or  annoyed, taking time out to sit and talk with them and help them get to the  original feeling can be transformative and enlightening for everyone.

Ask the universe for guidance. Sometimes it can be really  hard to get to the source of what is actually causing us pain or anger. When  that happens, it helps to carve out some quiet time in nature and ask for help.  The universe will often speak back through nature, through “synchronicity,” or  through bringing you teachers, if you are open to it. Sometimes those teachers  come in the form of a book, or a situation and suddenly you realize that yes,  the universe DOES listen! That’s when detoxifying your heart starts to get fun,  because it starts to feel like an adventure.

Replace fear with love. Easier said than done, right? Wrong. It’s easy.  Whenever you feel fear, question it and the situation. Ask yourself, what would  love feel like in this situation instead of fear? The world is filled with  threats and meanness and angry people–but imagine the pain they must be feeling,  the hurt in their hearts! It won’t get any better by adding to it. The key here  is trying to see the world from the other person’s perspective. I think this  gets easier as we age, since we now experience first-hand things our parents  might have felt, for example. It’s like exercise, the more you do it, the easier  it gets. And just like exercise, YOU are the ultimate beneficiary.

Let it out and let it go. This step requires action and the  courage to act, but is key to the healing process. Once you have identified what  is truly the toxin in your heart, the only way to get rid of it is to let it go.  If there is something you need to say to someone. SAY  IT. But say it with love. If there is something you need to do, a change you  need to make, MAKE IT. But make it with love. If there is something you need to  express, but don’t have the words, CREATE IT. But create it with love. Your job  here is not to hurt someone else (although sometimes that happens), but to have  them truly HEAR what you have to say. That doesn’t mean they will change. In  fact, they most certainly won’t. But YOU WILL. You will feel better, lighter,  happier, cleaner.DETOXIFIED!

Forgive yourself. Things will never be perfect. You will  never be perfect. Other people certainly will never be perfect (especially me!).  We will never eliminate every toxin — and in fact, the toxins are there for a  reason — just like all that bacteria in our bodies and world that seems bad and  dirty but in actuality we can’t live without. Every mistake, every wrong action  happened. You can’t change it. All you can do is apologize to the other  person/people and apologize to yourself and vow to learn and grow from it.  That’s living. That’s life! And it’s beautiful in all it’s imperfections, even  ours.

By Maria Rodale

Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse

Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse


Back in December, my business manager Melanie Bates and I trekked down to  Martha Beck’s new ranch in San Luis Obispo to plan the first part of the Whole  Health Medicine Institute Physician Training (which  you can read all about here). We kind of knew we were going to be guinea  pigs for the kind of work Martha is jonesing to do with doctors, but I don’t  think we fully understood the magnitude of what we were about to experience.

As we got off Highway 101 and started driving out into the boonies, the fog  was low over a lake, and Melanie said, “It feels like the Mists of Avalon, like  we’re leaving the real world and entering someplace mystical.” And it did.

The hills became more silent.  Birds stopped singing. Time  suspended.  It was clear we were opening the wardrobe to enter Narnia.

And then… voila! We were driving up to the butterfly gates (of course there  were butterfly gates!) of Martha’s horse ranch. What proceeded to unfold was so  magical I am only now able to digest it enough to begin to write about it. I’m  still pretty wordless about the whole experience, but let me share with you some  vignettes that exist like movies in my mind.

The Join Up

Horse whispering equine therapist Koelle Simpson brought me into a pen with  the most beautiful horse, not a trained horse, but a stranger horse she had  borrowed for me for the day. My instruction was simply to set an intention of  what I wanted to learn from the horse – and then to observe what showed up.

I set the intention to examine my leadership strengths and weaknesses in  preparation for co-leading the Whole Health Medicine Institute Physician  Training with Martha. Then I walked into the covered ring and started walking to  see what the horse would do. And WHEE!!! The horse walked right behind me,  sniffing at me as we walked.

I got more daring. I spun in a circle. So did the horse.

Then I did a cartwheel. And the horse backed away from me, looking at me with  this look that loosely translated into “Oooh…bitch got all upside down on me.  Hmm… not trustworthy.”

Throughout, Koelle and Martha were both coaching me to examine how subtle  things I did were instantly reflected by the mirror the unjudging horse held  up.

When I got into Wordlessness, tapped into Oneness, and got clear on my  intentions for what I wanted the horse to do, the horse followed me exactly.  When I got graspy or panicky or anxious or fuzzy in my intention, the horse  backed away and looked at me like I had two heads.

Note to self about leadership: Tap in, get clear, let  go.

The Boundaries

I spent a lot of time buddying up with the horse, getting all up in her face,  hugging her, and she cuddled back. But Koelle said, “Why don’t you try making  your energy bigger,” and she handed me a rope I could throw around. I didn’t  know what to do with it, so I curled it up and just threw it at the horse. She  jumped, startled – and backed away.  I ran right up to her, cuddled her,  and apologized for being scary.

That’s when Martha called me on it. “Hmm..” she said. “You set a boundary,  asked the horse to move back a bit, and then when she respected your boundary,  you apologized. Why?”

Gulp. I did do that. But I didn’t mean to. I was just throwing  the rope around. I didn’t mean to set a boundary. I love snuggling the horse. I  didn’t want her to go away.

But there it was again, right in my face. My desire for intimacy can be so  needy that I let myself become the Cosmic  Tit, and then I fail to set boundaries, then I give until I’m depleted, and  then I get royally pissed because I become a doormat.

“But is she mad at you for setting boundaries?” Martha asked. “Did she reject  you? Did it ruin the relationship?”

No. The horse joined right up again when I started spinning in circles.

Note to self: Boundaries good. Cosmic Tit =  depletion.

The Corral

For the next exercise, Martha’s CEO Bridgette  Boudreau, Melanie, and I were invited into a fenced-in area that had one  inner ring with a small entry opening enveloped inside an outer ring that had a  small opening too. Three horses awaited us.

The goal, we were instructed, was for Bridgette, Melanie and I to work as a  team to take all the horses on one lap around the outer ring before peeling off  one horse into the inner ring – and keeping him there. Then we were to get the  other two horses to go around the outer ring again, before peeling off the  second horse into the inner ring. Then we were to have a final lap with the one  remaining horse, and after the last lap, the third horse was to join the  others.

To make things harder, we weren’t supposed to talk. We had to use some  elaborate charades to try to communicate what we wanted to do.

Our first attempt was a total cluster f*ck. The horses galloped, out of  control, cruising right past the entry to the inner ring at 100mph.

So we regrouped. We modulated our energy. Brought it down. Waaaaay down. We  got Wordless. We tapped into Oneness. We communicated nonverbally with the  horses and asked if they’d be willing to play our little game. They said yes on  some sort of cosmic plane. And with nothing but very subtle hand motions, the  first horse trotted into the center ring, then the second, then the third.

It felt like magic. We were giddy.

Note to self: Be careful what you communicate without words. Make  sure your energy is in alignment with your intentions.

The time we spent with Martha was so mystical, this is just the tip of the  iceburg, but stay tuned. I’ll write more. Make  sure you’ve subscribed to my blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss  more posts about how to bend spoons, call in the whales, bring your dreams into  form, and invite real live magic into your life.



Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness  communities and, author of Mind Over Medicine:  Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join  her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out  on Twitter and Facebook.


Stop Waiting: Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

Stop Waiting: Nothing Will Ever Be The Same Again

In this year, month, day, hour, second – in this exact moment of  being – your life is yours to live. Stop waiting. You don’t have to have  it all figured  out. I rarely do.  And some of the best sex, best meals,  best adventures, best  creative efforts, “best of everything of Pamela  Madsen” has been done on a wing  and a prayer. You don’t have to be  perfect. Ever. Forget labels. They don’t  matter.  I used to let labels  define me. Like up until yesterday.  Change can  happen that quickly.

Sometimes, you have to stop midstream, and go in another direction.  That’s  okay too. You don’t have to clean you plate ever! Unless you want  to.

Don’t play scared. Don’t play trapped. Don’t play what if. Don’t play  small  ever.  Be painfully vulnerable. It’s okay to cry and it’s okay to want.  Show up with a full heart and roll the dice. At the very least  you know that  you are playing your life full out. Big is the new black.

So what’s holding you back? A little fear? Got it. Me to.  Reach for what you know is real. Let go of needing praise. Are you  living  your life for you or for somebody else? How hard are you working  on fitting  into the cage?

Guess what? You are worth more than that. How much of your life are  you  going to spend waiting to get permission to live? Stop it.

Now move it. Make it happen. I don’t know what it is for you. That  book,  that dance, that dream, that life. Stop dreaming. Create. Swing  the bat and  play hard. Remember you have this moment. Do it any way you  want to.

Do you hear the music yet? It’s playing just for you.

Live a life of hope and possibility. Let resistance go, you know what you really want.

Me too.

By Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women’s  Issues: Sexuality, Fertility, Body Image, Wellness and Rejuvenation. Pamela is  also author of the best selling memoir Shameless (Rodale,  Jan 2011), and founder of The American Fertility Association.  Her websites and her daily blog,, are  a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and  policymakers.



Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)
1.        Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
2.        Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
3.       Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.
4.       Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
5.       Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
6.       Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
7.       Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
8.       Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
9.       Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
10.    Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
11.     Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
12.    Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
Have a happy day!
 by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy.
Photo by Francois Halard.

8 Healthy Habits for the New Year

8 Healthy Habits for the New Year


Happy almost new year! It’s that time when a lot of us are looking ahead and  thinking of what resolutions we’re going to make for the coming year. Instead of  vague or short-term goals this year, why not resolve to start a healthy habit  that you really want to stick with?

Have you ever noticed how the gym is extra crowded that first week in  January? By mid-January the wait time for that elliptical trainer is a little  bit more reasonable, and by the end of February things have pretty much settled  back to normal. That surge in gym-going is a great example of how new year’s  resolutions often work: we set out with the best of intentions, but our  resolutions are too big or too vague to really follow through with them all year  long.

Starting a healthy habit takes time. I’ve read a lot about starting habits,  and depending on what source you’re looking at, it can take anywhere from 21 to  66 days. That means that you need to practice something regularly for anywhere  from a few weeks over two months to really make it part of your routine. And  that’s if you’re practicing every day.

If your healthy habit is doing something once a week or less, it’s going to  take longer. Going into this with reasonable expectations is key to building  healthy habits that stick!

What’s great about starting a habit is that once you establish it as part of  your routine, it stops being a chore and starts being part of your routine.  Brushing your teeth in the morning is a great example of a habit. We wake up  bleary-eyed, and for many of us the first thing we do is stumble into the  bathroom and grab that toothbrush. It’s almost a reflex, right?

New years resolutions so often are something vague – like “get in  shape,” but vagaries are hard to stick to. Check out these ideas for healthy  habits that you can form in 2013, and remember: practice makes  perfect!

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gratitude: you're great!

1)    Start a  Gratitude Jar

Practicing gratitude is such a great habit to get into, and turning that  practice into something physical can help you remember to be grateful for what  you have every day. Get yourself a mason jar or a small vase, and every day,  write down something that you’re grateful for and stick the paper in the  jar.

Your moment of gratitude can be as simple as something like, “Made an amazing  pot of coffee this morning!” to bigger things like, “Got a promotion at work  today!” Remember to date your moments of gratitude, so you can jog your memory  about them later on.

At the end of the year (or when times are feeling a little rough), you get to  sort through the jar and enjoy all of the little blessings from the past year.  It’s so easy to take those small things for granted, and having them all in one  place helps remind us of how lucky we are. (Leesa recommends a gratitude journal to write down at least 5 things you are thankful for each day! When you focus on all that is good in your life, you change and your life will change!)  


learn a skill: making sushi

2)    Learn a New  Skill

Have you always wanted to learn how to make pottery or cook Indian food?  Instead of just resolving to do those things, sign up for a class!

I know, pottery and cooking classes can be expensive. If you don’t have the  money in your budget for a class, spend some time googling and see what  resources you can find online. Then, create yourself a structured schedule and  block out time each week to practice whatever it is you’re trying to learn. For  the Indian food example, maybe you can bookmark a dozen recipes, and try making  one or two a week, starting with the ones that seem simplest.

You can also invest in a book, which can be very helpful. Sometimes having a  tangible item can help keep you motivated.

get regular exercise

3)    Getting Regular  Exercise

As cliche as it sounds, a lot of us do want to lose some weight in the new  year, and that’s OK! Focusing on weight loss tends to be ineffective, though.  Instead, try focusing on getting regular exercise.

One of the best ways I’ve found to incorporate exercise into my schedule has  been…incorporating it into my schedule! Literally. Whether you use a day planner  or a digital calendar to keep up with appointments, schedule those workout just  like you’d schedule a work meeting or a lunch date.

You can join a gym, but you can also just buy a pair of tennis shoes and head  outdoors for your workouts. Walking and jogging outside are totally free  activities that almost anyone can do. It can also help to pick up a program,  like Couch to 5K, or sign up for an event like a race. Training towards  something specific is very motivating!

cooking at home

4)    Cooking at  Home

“Eat healthier” is another common resolution that’s hard to keep. Instead of  just resolving to improve your diet, try focusing on something more concrete.  When we cook at home, we tend to eat healthier food than when we go out or order  takeout.

That doesn’t mean you have to toss your favorite Chinese delivery menu in the  recycle bin! If you eat most of your meals from restaurants now, try cooking at  home once or twice a week to start, and add in more meals as you get more  comfortable in the kitchen.

Related Reading: 5  Essential Vegan and Vegetarian Cookbooks

When you choose your recipes for home-cooking, look for ones that have  healthy doses of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. You can  grab a couple of healthy cookbooks to get you motivated or search online for  recipes. Cooking  Light and Epicurious  both have searchable recipe databases, and you can even look for specific  ingredients, if there’s something in the fridge that you need to cook before it  goes bad!

quit smoking

5)    Replace a Bad  Habit with a Good One

Are you a smoker? Is sugar your weakness? Do you love diet soda? We all have  vices, and cutting back or cutting out one of yours can mean a healthier,  happier 2013.

The trouble with a resolution like “quit smoking” is that on its own, it’s a  pretty daunting task. Instead of just resolving to give up a bad, try replacing  it with a good one. Quitting smoking is hard, but what if you’re trying to start  a running regimen at the same time? Suddenly, your smoking is holding you back  from another goal, which makes it a little easier to say no to the bad  habit.

For something like diet soda or sugar, replace those unhealthy treats with  healthy ones. Next time you want to reach for a diet coke, grab a fizzy water  and sass it up with a squeeze of lemon or a shot of juice. Put down that cookie  and grab a tangerine instead.

The other key to ditching bad habits is not beating yourself up if you slip.  So, you had a few drinks at the bar and smoked a cigarette last night. You can’t  change that. Just don’t smoke today! Or tomorrow. Go easy on yourself, and  remember that your goal is a long term one.


6)    Practice  Mindfulness

It’s easy to make snap decisions – sometimes ones we regret – in stressful  situations. When that happens, we just end up even more stressed out! This year,  resolve to try being more mindful in tough situations. Try to remember to take a  step back and look at the big picture. Whether you’re faced with a time crunch  at work or a family emergency, I bet you’ll find yourself making better choices  and stressing less.

The key is finding better, concrete ways to deal with your  stress right there in the moment. Try taking a deep breath and slowly counting  to five when you feel things getting out of control. Or even learn when it’s  time to remove yourself from a situation to give yourself a little  perspective.

Mindfulness can also be about celebrating what’s good in our lives. Pairing  up this resolution with another one, like the  gratitude jar, can help you remember what’s important in life when times get  a little stressful.

self care: take a tea or coffee break

7)    Practice Self  Care

Self care is all about taking the time to care for your own emotional needs.  We can get so caught up in the day-to-day that we neglect our own mental health.  When you practice self care, you not only improve your own happiness, but you  set yourself up to approach the rest of your day with a more positive attitude  and more energy.

Practice a little self care every day, and when you make this resolution decide what that means to you. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  It could be as simple as taking the dog for a walk while you listen to your  favorite podcast or spending 20 minutes one evening painting your nails. Just do  one small thing for yourself.

Whenever I talk about self care, I like to share this video from Twin Peaks.  It’s a little bit cheesy, but I think the point he makes is spot on. Treat  yourself every day, and you’ll be happier and healthier.

volunteering at a soup kitchen

8)    Volunteer Your  Time

One of the best ways that we can improve ourselves is by giving back to  others. Try signing up to walk dogs at the local shelter or help out once a week  at the local food bank. Giving back improves your community, and you get to go  home feeling warm and fuzzy. Everybody wins!

We are all blessed with so much, and taking time each week or even a couple  of times a month to give back can help remind us of how lucky we are.

Do you have a healthy habit planned for 2013? I’d love to hear your  healthy new year’s resolutions in the comments!

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta,  Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible  to everyone! Like this article? You can follow  Becky on Twitter or find her on  Facebook!

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