Friday, May 4, 2018

The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Knows is Possible

For many years now I have named each year, giving it intent and focus.  
This year it took me awhile to realize what it was about for me.  
This year is about living in the beautiful world my heart knows is possible.  
You might recognize the title of the brilliant book by Charles Eisenstein.  
I read it last year and then started a book club to share the ideas in it this year because they are so important. 

As always for me, the process begins with the removal of the barriers to the idea I am trying to reach.  This process can be frustrating and painful and I always get there and it is always worth it. 
There is much in this beautiful world that does not feel beautiful to me.  
Part of my makeup is an intense sensitivity to injustice, a proclivity to protect, a deep grief for the innocent, the wounded, the suffering.  
If I am not careful I can find myself overwhelmed and swallowed up by all the policies I am against even as I work on being for the world as I want it to be.

Living in the beautiful world my heart knows is possible is not only the focus I wish to cultivate, it is also a call to action, to being aware of my thoughts and how they move me toward or away from that beautiful world.  
It means being impeccable with my word.  
Words are powerful and it is a powerful habit to use them to keep the old story alive, the story of blame, of separation, of fear and injustice, and doom.  
It takes courage and discomfort and really hard work to tell a better story, one of kindness, connection, love, values, oneness, and miracles. 
It is a call to notice, to be present to the true heart and beauty of the now as well as to be willing to imagine, create and be at the forefront of the beautiful world our hearts know is possible. 

Some of us where ridiculed or shamed, or told we were naïve to have thoughts of a changed or better world, one in which connection, all people, children, animals, the earth are what’s valued and so we became silent or infuriated or one of the majority, tellers of the story of separation. 
But our hearts know. 
We yearn for inclusion, connection, beauty, realness. 
Some of us weep for the tragedies of life, of our lives, of the lives of those we love. 
Others of us mourn for the years that have gone by and the differences we hoped to make and the great joys and loves we missed out on.

And yet, here we are.  
As long as we draw breath, we can live in a beautiful world, the one we imagined, hoped for, get glimpses of when we are in right mind; the one we see when we take the time to look. 
That beautiful world exists now. 
It is a mindset, an intention, a willingness to focus on what our hearts and souls yearn for…connection, oneness, generosity, kindness, beauty, diversity, love. 
It is a refusal to settle for the old story of us and them, of hierarchy, of devaluing, of not enough, of less than, of scarcity, of hate and blame.

When an intention is set and a focus put into place the mind will constantly be seeking what matches and what doesn’t, giving us ample opportunities for practice, to choose to think, speak, act, live in and create that beautiful world our hearts knows is possible or settle for the status quo.  What world do you want to cultivate?

If you are near Mundelein join me for:

A Different kind of Vision board Playshop

The Nourish your body Series

Friday, April 20, 2018

To Beet or not to Beet

Today I am blogging about beets.  
I decided when I was a kid that I did not like beets.  
I think I tried a squishy canned beet at a salad bar and that was that.  
Beets where banished! I still don’t like them that way. Luckily I don’t think my parents liked them either because I don’t recall them ever being served at home. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I even tried that beet until I was in my teens. 
Why does it matter?
It matters because I thrive when eating plants…fruits and vegetables. 
Therefore, not liking most vegetables does not work for me.  
Choosing a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle without eating vegetables leads to malnourishment. Been there. Done that! Choosing any lifestyle without vegetables leads to malnourishment!  I have found that the reason I basically did not like most vegetables was that I had no idea how to prepare them! I now like pretty much all vegetables thanks to learning how to prepare them.
Beets, in particular, are surprisingly delicious when highlighted with fresh lemon.
I have some beet most days because I add a little to my green drink. 
I don’t actually taste it in my green drink.  I add it for the benefits.  
Beets are great for the detoxification of organs, especially the liver, digestive system, and kidneys.  I feel detoxification to be tremendously important, as eliminating toxins is paramount to health.  A body that cannot eliminate toxins becomes unhealthy. 
Beets are also good for your heart, lowering artery-damaging inflammation and helping blood flow throughout your body. Beet greens are a good source of lutein which helps protect the health of your eyes and nerve tissues. I add the greens to my green drink as well. Beets also are a great source of fiber. There’s more, but that’s enough for me!
This time of year I like roasted beets finished with lemon to bring out the sweetness.  In the Summer I make a shredded beet salad with or without carrots and or apple and finished with fresh lemon.  Shredded beets sautéed and finished with lemon are excellent too.  I prefer red beets.  I find the white beets to be more earthy in their flavor.  I hope you will try some beets and enjoy them as well as the benefits to your health.

If you are in the neighborhood I am offering a beet demo and tasting on Saturday, April 28th. Click the link below for details.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Freedom on the Micro Level or Macro Lessons from a Bird

I recently took in a big, beautiful cockatoo in need of a new home.  A cockatoo is the big, white parrot the TV character Baretta had on his shoulder.  They are beautiful, beyond loud, and formidable.  That beak can really hurt!

This has not been easy and I have been reduced to tears more than once. Luckily I keep learning and receiving new tools and insights.  The latest insight is that I had let the bird have dominion over me.  I didn’t realize that having him on my shoulder or stroking the soft, warm skin under his wings could translate that I was giving him dominance.  I did however feel how bad it was to be dominated when he bit my neck or screamed his displeasure. Not a pretty feeling! Also he was getting more and more stressed in his pursuit of dominance.

The interesting thing though was not so much that I allowed him to dominate, but that I had given up my freedom to have dominion over myself.  I found myself running to appease him when he screamed because well it’s really, really loud and disturbing.  I found myself spending way more time than I wanted to in the office where he lives to the detriment of meal prep and family time.  I had given over my freedom and happiness to a feathered tyrant.  He didn’t ask me to.  I had given it over and the more I gave, the more he demanded.  Naturally this has not been conducive to a loving, mutually beneficial relationship.  It has built stress and resentment in both of us!

You would think the solution would be for me to dominate him and traditional thinking would say exactly that.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  I don’t need to dominate him.  I just need to take care of my freedom to be my authentic self.  When I do that; when I am fully, powerfully, vibrantly myself, I do not give the bird dominion over me or my freedom.  I go to the office when it feels good for me to do so, taking in the birds need for company, but also my need to balance how much I am in there. I find creative solutions like taking him with me to other rooms but not allowing him my shoulder.  I offer him other perches instead and I keep offering them rather than giving my shoulder over to him which feels unsafe and impinges on my freedom.  I persevere and am firm in what I am willing to offer.

I’m sharing this bird story because it feels like such an important lesson in the current times.  Whether in relationship, work or politics responding by trying to dominate the other only makes a bad situation intolerable.  Conversely taking care of each of our individual rights and freedoms, our authenticity and power, while finding solutions that honor the common good is a doable way for us all to thrive.

We are never truly able to dominate others.  It is not our right to do so.  It is abhorrent to our souls.  Taking care of our right to be free and powerful and authentic is what each and every one of us can do, at home, at work, in community, in communion, in communication, and in action.  It is a sacred contract for us all to learn how our freedom and power enhances the freedom and power of others, how to be true stewards of our good and the common good as one.

I don’t need to dominate the bird I take care of in order to take care of myself. I just need to stand up and make adjustments that don’t allow him to dominate me and honors both our needs. In the negotiation process we have both found peace and balance, safety, esteem and love.

Friday, October 28, 2016


Chronic inflammation causes pain, discomfort and disease.  I didn’t really understand how much it was affecting my existence until I was able to release it from my body and my whole world changed. 
I was riding my bike and it didn’t actually hurt.  Yes, there was burning in my thighs but my hands and seat and everything else actually didn’t hurt. I didn’t remember what it was like to ride without pain. I call it the Princess and the Pea syndrome.  Everything hurts, even the seam in my underwear if I am lying on my side!  Not a great way to live. 

The medical community has a lot of labels for inflammation…fibromyalgia, arthritis, asthma, auto-immune disease, celiac disease, IBD, Diverticulitis, even depression.
Inflammation is not actually a malfunction of the body that needs to be cured.  Inflammation is a healthy body’s response to harmful stimuli.  It is the body’s way to initiate healing and repair.  Therefore just masking the pain is not a good long term solution.

Inflammation is a healthy body’s response to harmful stimuli.  Ok.  What is the harmful stimuli? 
For me that wasn’t an easy answer.  In hindsight, it is a very simple answer: foods that don’t work for me. But it was not an easy answer.  I considered myself a pretty healthy eater.  I ate organic when I could.  I didn’t eat much dairy or sugar  I ate gluten free.  I ate oatmeal and edamame and eggs from free roaming chickens.  I bought meat from a local farmer who raises his animals well and let’s them eat grass and live with dignity. I dressed my salads with oil and vinegar dressings. I ate fruit and nuts.  I was your typical Whole foods girl.  And yet it became apparent as I was willing to experiment, that all those “healthy” choices were not working for my body! 

Dairy doesn’t work for me.  Even a minute bit can result in breast and under arm tenderness as well as major cramps and raging hormones. 

Soy has the same result for me. It affects my hormones and not in a good way…even the fresh green organic edamame. 

Eggs make my joints hurt, especially the hip where I have been diagnosed with arthritis. I don’t feel the arthritis if I don’t have inflammation!  I don’t have inflammation if I don’t eat foods that are harmful to me.

Wheat makes everything hurt. Corn also makes everything hurt and gluten free goods become addictive in the same way sugar does because that’s basically what they are.  And bonus, sugar makes me not feel good in a foggy, stressed out way in addition to everything hurting.

Chocolate , I am so sad to say, doesn’t work for me unless it is raw with no additives. And then I don't crave it and's just not as much fun.

Oats don’t work for me in the same way other gluten free concoctions don’t work for me.

Oils don’t work for me...especially canola and not even the almighty coconut oil.  Avocado and pure olive oil used sparingly does work. I was pretty disappointed when I realized the Newman’s Olive Oil dressing I used was only partially Olive oil and that all the prepared foods at Whole Foods are steeped in canola oil! 

Nuts don’t work for me.  None of them.  I actually get cysts in response to eating them. So much for most of the vegan recipes!

Finally there is meat.  Nope.  I gave up meat in protest to the abominable way animals in the industry are treated. I was surprised when that turned out to be a big key to feeling better.  Every so often I ate a small piece of grass fed meat…until I noticed I couldn’t sleep because my body had a dull ache.

Interestingly enough I found that the more harmful stimuli I eliminated the more I found. I have figured out that eggplant is also not my friend.  Too bad I will not be eating it since I grew some beautiful specimens in my garden.  I have 4 still on the plants right now.  If they work for you and you are local, let me know and they are yours!

Let me clarify that I am not saying you should not eat these foods.  I am saying you need to figure out what is harmful stimuli for you if you are experiencing chronic inflammation. 

In general I think it is safe to say that the majority of “foods” that need ingredient lists are not great for us.  Mainly because we don’t really know what they are and they probably contain harmful stimuli.

So what do I eat?  Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, rice and quinoa. Not a lot you say?  Au contraire!  I eat really well.  I start my day with juiced celery, which miraculously eliminated all remaining inflammation within a week.  I follow that with a fabulous concoction of fresh fruits and vegetables whipped up in my high speed blender; usually wild blue berries, beet, cucumber, pineapple, Kiwi, cilantro, parsley and Kale. Yum.  Then I will have papaya, or celery and hummus, or a fully loaded salad or my great Mexican vegetable soup garnished with lime and avocado.  I graze on beautiful fresh food anytime I want it and when I want something hearty I cook up a brown rice and quinoa mixture and top it with beans and salsa, lime, cilantro and fresh avocado.  That’s my fave.

Eliminating the harmful stimuli has been a huge part of reducing the inflammation in my body. 
I also use minimal, natural and homemade products on myself and to clean my house. 
The nourishment that I take in is just as important to strengthening and healing my body as eliminating harmful stimuli.  Juicing a bunch of celery every morning has been a game changer.  Even some inflammation I had in my ankle for years related to plantar fasciitis [aka inflammation] disappeared!   Getting as many fruits and vegetables as I can ingest in me to heal my body is how I nourish my cells and give my body what it needs to heal. 
Eliminate harmful stimuli and replace it with nourishment to heal.  This holds true for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Happy Healing. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


One day I woke up and my entire world was askew...literally at an angle. Do you know how difficult it is to walk upright in a diagonal world?

I couldn't walk because I couldn't balance. 
That made it really difficult to make it to the toilet and I remember crawling on the ground while holding on to my gorge for dear life.  Having managed to take care of the pressing need to use the bathroom I went into a very real panic about the fact that I needed to care for my toddler and how I was going to keep him from falling down the stairs if I couldn't keep myself from falling down them.  I laid on the floor in a heap for hours while my son entertained himself, not at all put out by mommy laying on the floor.  He was perfectly content to have me there and accessible.  All was fine in his world.  Mine was terribly out of balance.

And that pretty much summed it up.  I was out of balance.  I had made it through a rough pregnancy and my healthy baby boy seemed to be allergic to everything.  The safest food I had for him was my milk, but what I ate made a huge difference.  I ate an egg salad sandwich one day and he developed hives.  I ate something else and his nose ran or he got dark circles under his eyes or he got eczema or a terrible diaper rash. I gave him the Gerber first baby cereal and he projectile vomited it across the room!  I was so worried and afraid for him that I barely noticed how run down I was.  I hadn't slept well since he was born...not uncommon I know.  I ate whatever was fastest because my baby screamed when I put him down.  My husband started calling me Hoover because of the way I would suck down food while standing at the kitchen counter.  When it became obvious that what I ate mattered to my son's well being I alternatively starved and desperately tried to figure out what foods worked.  I don't think I even thought about what might work for me.  I remember at one time living on rice and turkey.  Then there was the foray into veganism by trying to replace everything with soy substitutes.  In other words, a vegetarian, but not eating a whole lot of actual vegetables. Not great for you by the way!

I went to the doctor and was told I probably had BPPV or tinnitus, tiny calcium particles or a build up of fluid in my inner ear and that there was really nothing to do but hope it righted with time. My focus radically shifted to include me at that moment in time.  I realized in a dramatic way that if I couldn't function, I was unable to take care of my son. 

I had already eliminated dairy from my diet because it didn't work for my son.  It also didn't work for me, but that was beside the point.  When I tried to go back to it after my breast feeding days were over my body was clearly not having it unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the bathroom!  I tried eliminating wheat from my diet in a desperate attempt to regain my balance and that was when the debilitating vertigo disappeared.

From that day forward I never forgot to check in with myself. I was still somewhat of a crazed Mom trying to make the world ok for my son, but I also took stock of my needs.  I realized that I actually had to take care of myself or I was useless to him or anyone else.  It is not possible to serve anyone when out of balance.  All of nature balances herself.  The mandala of life is not lopsided.  It is balanced and whole and will always do what it has to do to right itself even if it has to turn your whole world on it's ear.

I'd love to tell you it was all easy after that.  It wasn't.  At that time there were no gluten free alternatives marketed.  I had to figure it out myself and struggle with my own feelings of deprivation and self pity.  After all cheese and bread where my preferred staples! Never mind that I was gluten and dairy intolerant, that's what I wanted! But given the choice of vertigo or bread, I chose to give up the bread...and pasta...and..., well you know.

I didn't give it up forever.  I tried to go back a little here and there over the years, but eventually I did give it up completely.  Not just to keep the recurring vertigo at bay, but also because as I entered
peri-menopause I noticed that if I ate wheat I would really suffer. In other words it affected my hormones as well.  Personally I don't believe that wheat is a particularly bad thing.  I think it has become something it wasn't, due to processing and chemical pesticides and additives. 

What is more important is that I take care to be balanced.  For me that means honoring what my body needs to be in balance.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need to eat right for it's biology.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need rest and nourishment to heal.  There is no creature on earth that doesn't need balance.  What do you need to do to take care of your balance?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mandala Healing

The Mandala, simply put, is a circle but it means so much more. 
It is wholeness and unity, beauty and harmony and the way in to contemplate who you are and at the same time the way to see yourself in and as the entire Universe. 
The mandala that is you, the body, mind and spirit, the holistic energy that is in and of the Universe functions best when connected rather than separated; connected to self, to your biology, to your food, to your passions, to your truth; connected to others; connected to nature and to Source, Spirit, Synchronicity, Divine, God,
 the Universe...whatever that is which offers you peace, awe, love and belonging.
It is my belief that most all of our problems, physical, mental and spiritual are the result of our feeling separate from our bodies, from others, from our communities, from our world and from our Divine. 
We are imprisoned by our separateness and we suffer for it. 
It is my intention in this blog to share with you many facets of a healing journey and how they reconnect with the whole. 
The only journey I can truly share is my own, though I have been honored to play a part in my client's healing journeys. Everything I share is obviously my own experience, my own perspective.  I intend it to be helpful, to connect, to bring us together, to heal.  It is not the only way. It is not the right way. It is the way that works for me.  I hope it will be helpful to you.  I offer it with love.