If you know me, you know I love few things more than chocolate, coffee and nature. And if you really know me you know that Ted Talks follow pretty closely in line. (Also podcasts… but that’s a post for a different day.) What I love is that they’re these little nuggets of information, inspiration, and wisdom. What I gain from a ten minute video never ceases to amaze me.

Where I’m going with this is the video that inspired this post, and my intentions this week: 10 Ways to Have A Better Conversation, Celste Headlee

It’s all about how we converse with each other, and more specifically, how we listen.

Now, as a trained coach, I feel confident in my ability to listen intently while another person is speaking, listen from a place of neutrality, and approach conversation with curiosity. But after sitting with what I took away from this talk, I realized that the practice of listening can serve my life in other ways as well.

Listening to the Universe (read: God, Source Energy, Spirit… etc.): The Universe is always speaking. It comes to us in subtle signs, quiet nudges, blatant messages, and “happy” accidents, but it’s up to us to listen to what it has to say in order to move in the direction it leads us. When our minds are full of to-do lists, memories on repeat, or conversations in rehearsal, we aren’t listening. Letting our ‘monkey mind’ run the show is just like being distracted in a conversation, it impedes our ability to take in information, remain neutral, respond rather than react, and process. Practice listening to the Universe by being mindful, present and aware.

Listening to your Intuition: Our inner wisdom is an incredible source of power and knowing that leads us on the most direct path towards our dreams and destiny. Hearing and trusting its quiet voice takes practice. You may recognize your intuition as a gut instinct, a hunch, your heart vs. your head, or the voice that answers from within when asked a potent question. What holds us back from hearing our intuition is letting our minds take control and speak over it by over analyzing, over thinking, or questioning its messages. Let me ask you, has your gut instinct ever been wrong? Has your intuition ever lead you astray?  Practice listening to your intuition by trusting it. When that instinct, voice, or hunch speaks, honor it. Do what it says.

Listening to your Body: Our bodies tell us what they need; sometimes we listen, sometimes we don’t. Usually when we don’t, it speaks louder, and if we still don’t listen, biology takes action. Your body knows and communicates when it needs rest, movement, or fuel, but continually disregarding these signals builds a disconnection between mind and body. Ignoring your hunger and fullness cues can lead to an inability to sense them. Ignoring fatigue, mental and/or physical, can lead to a host of health issues, and ignoring pain can worsen condition or injury. Practice listening to your body by sensing hunger, fullness, fatigue, pain, and honor those signals rather than pushing through.

Adopt a practice of listening. Commit to being the best listener you can be in not only your conversations with others, but in your communication with the Universe and yourself.

Move through the world listening; listen to understand, listen to learn, listen to grow.

“Go out, talk to people, listen to people, and most importantly, prepare to be amazed.” Celeste Headlee

Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.”
In the spirit of the holiday that reminds us to count our blessings and express gratitude, I encourage you to celebrate your gifts and blessings by sharing them with the world. And because Thanksgiving falls on the 23rd day of the month, I give you…

23 Ways to Give Back

Celebrate the people in your life.
1. Tell someone why you’re grateful for them.
2. Send a hand written card or letter in the mail.
3. Invite a friend to go on a walk with you.
4. Listen.
5. Host a weekly or monthly family dinner or Friendsgiving.
6. Reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.
7. Tell someone what you admire about them.
8. Do some extra house chores for a family member or roommate.
9. Offer to drive someone to an appointment.

Celebrate good health.
10. Donate blood.
11. Participate in a charity walk or run.
12. Carry someone’s groceries for them, or help someone to their car.

Celebrate abundance.
13. Make dinner for a neighbor.
14. Donate to a food bank.
15. Give a meal to a homeless person.
16. Buy someone’s groceries for them.

Celebrate your talents.
17. Teach someone how to cook your favorite recipe, make a craft, or play a sport.
18. If you play an instrument, perform it for someone.
19. If you make art, create and give.
20. Help someone clean their house, organize their closet, or create a budget.

Celebrate the world we live in.
21. Pick up litter when you see it.
22. Catch and release an insect or pest, rather than killing it.

Celebrate being YOU.
23. Give some time to yourself.

Wishing you and yours a warm and blessed Thanksgiving.
Thank you for your support, your inspiration, your feedback, and for meeting me here every week.

Take care,
Cheers!

Sarah

I’d love to hear how you give back!! Comment below! ❤

“Diet Culture [is] a system of beliefs that equates thinness to health and moral virtue, promotes weight loss as a means to attain higher status, and demonizes certain ways of eating while elevating others.” (Harrison)

That quote resonates with my life pretty strongly right now.

Diet culture is something that I bought into for a long time. Words like that remind me of where I used to be, and what I stand for now. Because I refuse to belong to that culture, I have challenged those beliefs in myself, and I am committed to helping others do the same.

This weekend I had the opportunity to take a course with the host of the Food Psych Podcast, Christy Harrison on how wellness professionals can hone their anti-diet message. Things like practicing neutrality, being mindful of images shared on social media, being aware of potentially triggering language, and being sensitive to the prevalence of disordered eating behaviors was just some of the material covered. It reminds me that while the body positive message I am committed to sharing with world is important, what is even more important is my ability to encourage and inspire others to be part of the change as well. What I’ve learned through coursework and reading to strengthen my own message is information that is applicable to all – not just those in health and wellness fields. We all need to stand up to challenge societal standards to create change.

There is space for you too in the body positive movement, and you don’t have to be an activist to join. If there is one thing you can align with to be part of the change societal standards, and adopt a more accepting mentality, I believe it’s,

See Wholeness, Be Wholeness.

In order to embrace the wholeness of ourselves and others, we must become conscious that the physical body is only one part of a whole human being. Over emphasizing someone’s body, in either a positive or negative way, adds to the too-prevalent sentiment that how we look adds to or subtracts from our worth.

Honor physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, in yourself and others.

Be genuinely curious and non-judgmental about others, remember that there is a person inside that body with values, life experiences, and perspectives. Rather than complimenting someone on their body or how they look, try complimenting their genuine smile, free spirit, compassion, sense of humor, peaceful energy, etc. Make choices that honor your wholeness. Stop dieting. Practice self-compassion non-judgement. Take the initiative to change the conversation when it starts to drift towards body-bashing. And lastly, become aware and present of your own beliefs, and pay attention to your own thoughts about body image.

See wholeness in yourself, so you can see wholeness in others. See wholeness in others so you can see it in yourself.

Sarah

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I made the surprisingly effortless decision to remove social media from my personal life last week. It all came down to whether the time and energy I was spending on Facebook and Instagram was adding to or subtracting from my life at present. All signs pointed in one direction…

I don’t need to be ‘liked’ anymore.

You know how I feel about journaling – It’s my go-to in any time of change, confliction, and self-reflection. I dug into my feelings for letting go, my hesitations, and my reasons for holding on.

Here is the reality of the role social media has been playing in my life:

Social Media takes more from my life than it gives. Checking my phone, reading my feed, and scrolling through pictures has become habit. I do it mindlessly, compulsively, and without thought or intention. It is a distraction from my work, my present moment, my focus. My time and energy have become valuable to me, and how I choose to spend those things reflects that value.

It encourages comparison. It’s hard not to compare your life to the highlight reels featured on social media. And it’s hard to remember that what you see from others is only the best, only what they’re proud of, their accomplishments, and the snap shots of why their life is awesome. When all you see is the ‘filtered’ aspects of everyone’s life, how can you not start to feel down about the very unfiltered reality of your own? And even though I know all this to be true, I still, deep down, on some level, compare.

It takes presence and satisfaction away from the moment. Too often have I found that when I am doing something that I love, half of my attention is taken by photographing and thinking about how I will post this activity on social media. When I’m enjoying a quiet cup of coffee in nature, I feel like I need to share it. When I go out to eat, go on a date with my husband, explore somewhere new, or do something cool, I act on the belief that it isn’t cool unless everyone knows how cool it is. It didn’t happen unless it’s on Facebook. More and more, doing what I enjoy is not just about doing it, it’s about how I’ll look because I do it, what the ‘hive mind’ thinks about me, creating a certain image, and sharing my own highlight reel – instead of moving through life by what I think is awesome and being fully present for it.

It gives too much power to validation and approval. My success, my beauty, my accomplishments, and/or my life is not measured by how many ‘likes’ I get. I do not need to be validated for everything that I do. I am perfectly capable of measuring my own success, happiness, and self-esteem all by myself – and social media makes me forget that. It hurts self-esteem, it undermines my personal power, and it clouds my intentions.

It does not foster genuine relationships. If there was one reason to stay active on my personal pages, it was so that I can stay in touch with people, so can keep tabs on all the people that I love – especially those that live far away. But even though I see what all of you are doing, and posting, and how awesome your lives are, I don’t really reach out. We don’t really talk. I take our relationship for granted because I it seems like I interact with you every day. So maybe, since we’re not going to see each other on social media every day, we could get together over the phone, or even email, and have a real conversation. I’d love to hear about how awesome your life is, and I’d love to tell you about my own.

I am committing to a slower paced life. For me, living life more slowly is dependent upon limiting my interaction with technology. I am ready for patience, for presence, for taking in the fullness of every moment, and for practicing life without instant gratification. I’m choosing not to take part in the hustle and bustle anymore and I’m not staying busy to just to stay busy. I am committing to moving slowly, mindfully, and with presence and intention.

It is a response to my need for change. Honestly, something had to give. It had become clear to me that right now, I need to let go of a few things. Social Media was high on the list of what I just don’t have space in my life for right now.

You’ll still see my profile up, I need it to keep active with my business page. If you’re family, you may continue to see photos of my travels, or hear from me via Facebook.

If you want to keep it touch, please, email me! Follow my blog! Subscribe to my emails! Follow my business page!

I’m here, and I’d love to hear from you!

Sarah

Want more inspiration and insight on Social Media? HERE is the video that gave me the final push.

Last week on the blog, I wrote about transitions and I offered the inquiry, “Where am I going?”  When I meditated on this question myself, the answer came clearly and quietly from within: “I’m going home.” And the answer to that question has resonated in many aspects of my life. Recently, I’ve found peace, a feeling of home in my body, and sense coming home to myself. I finally feel that I can trust my body to take care of me, trust that it will always heal, that it is strong, resilient, and will keep me safe. I discovered within myself, a place of peace, vibration, unconditional love, comfort, wisdom, and trust. That place is constant, it is home, it is my temple.

But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all peace, love, and butterflies to get there… Life’s a journey after all, and every step of growth and getting through is a process.

When I look back at my relationship with my body, and how, over many years it has changed, I bring forward the image of a house. For a long time, I hated this house. It wasn’t ever good enough, and I couldn’t stop focusing on everything that needed repair, remodeling, re-designing. I was constantly comparing my house to others’ – no matter what I did to try to change it, it still wasn’t enough. So I’d renovate more; I’d rip a room completely apart, only to discover that something else needed fixing, so I’d rip that apart too. I’d keep ripping and demolishing room by room, until there was nothing left for me to come home to. I was so focused on changing everything I deemed not good enough, that I never saved a space for myself to live in. And so, I stepped outside. I disconnected myself from the house. Pitched a tent in the back yard and lived there instead – unable to face the mess I’d made, unwilling to heal, and too stubborn to change my beliefs.

It wasn’t until I was willing to face the mess, step back through the doors, and become aware of everything happening in that house, that I could slowly heal, repair, accept, and eventually, start coming home again. I had to learn that my body is a safe, welcoming, peaceful place for my soul to be in – and what it looks like, in comparison to someone else’s home, makes no difference in its ability to be just that.

Healing doesn’t happen over-night just like repairing demolition work doesn’t.  Sometimes you just want to throw your hands in the air, and give up. Sometimes you look around and wonder if you’ve accomplished anything at all. Some repairs take more time than others – you have to wait for parts, or tools, or something else to get fixed first. Sometimes you have to accept that a few things may always be a little rough around the edges.

Here are the five most helpful things I did to start healing, repairing, and start coming home again:

1. Develop a great deal of self-awareness, by paying attention to my thoughts, my feelings, and my actions. Be non-judgementally curious about myself and my life, dig deep with the aid of my journal, and thought-provoking prompts, and be willing to ask myself the tough questions, and go beyond surface-level answers.

2. Meditation. It’s one of those things that I always said I was going to do more of, but seriously, when I did, it got all the energy flowing. I could still stand to make more time for meditation and quiet, but even the small amount that I do consistently has made a profound difference.

3. Stop body bashing, and stop focusing on imperfections. I refused to let myself sink to a level of self-disdain because it was easier than climbing towards acceptance or even neutrality. I also refused to feel shame for myself, and made the commitment to always strive for acceptance and self-love.

4. Treat myself gently, stop pushing, straining, and trying so hard to change, and find the place that is natural for me to be in. Learn to hear messages from my body and honor them.

5. Make peace with my past and find acceptance not only for who I am now, but for the girl I used to be – she that I used to judge and dis-associate with. I was so afraid of slipping back into my past, that I’d tell myself constantly, “I’m not that girl anymore.” But I couldn’t find my authenticity until I made peace with her, accept everything she was, the good, the bad, and the overweight. I had to accept who I was to get in touch with the true essence of who I am – the little girl, the light in my eyes, my creativity, and everything else that makes me, me.

Never rip yourself apart so much that you can’t come home. Make changes, strive for greatness, but be gentle, be willing to move slowly, and with intention and presence.

Remember always that your body is your home, it is your temple.

Sarah

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