No Matter What – Day 2

Cute 4 months old baby making a funny surprised face
Okay, it’s Day 2 and the game goes like this.  The world’s best coach Gillian gets to ask me a question and I get to answer because my commitment for the next 30 days is to write no matter what and hers is to coach no matter what.
You are invited to play along as well.  Find out how below.
G:  What has been the most surprising/unexpected thing about your life to date?
P: Short answer – everything!
Specifically:

  1. Life got infinitely more interesting once I turned 40 and has gotten increasingly better every year since then.
  2. After living in many exciting and beautiful places, I now live in a small farming community approximately 65 miles from where I was born.
  3. I also own my house and have a “real” job.  Oddly enough, I now I find this exciting and beautiful.
  4. I had clung to a dream so long that when it finally came true it took me awhile to realize I’d outgrown it.
  5. I got engaged when most people were having grandchildren.
  6. I changed my entire life by changing what went in my mouth (in terms of eating healthy, whole foods) and what came out (how I used my words).
  7. Relaxing into the moment makes my life so much easier than stressing into it does.
  8. The universe really does have my back. It will meet me half way. Sometimes I only have to go the extra 1/4 mile.
  9. It often takes 50 years to become an overnight success. Practice, practice, practice.
  10. Having the approval of thousands of people I may never know is not nearly as important as loving those in front of me.
  11. Pets make the world a better place.  So does Amazon Prime.
  12. Cleaning up my act has consequences.
  13. I had no idea how scary it would be to write “raw“.  This kind of “ask me anything” writing is terrifying because it demands a deeper truth.
  14. Invisibility is not a superpower.  Vulnerability is.  Gratitude is.
  15. My body – everyone’s body – is a wonderland. Mine is my oldest friend and ultimate ally. I cannot afford to ignore, abuse, or otherwise shame it.  Becoming a Certified Eating Psychology Coach was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  It healed the wounds unconsciously inflicted over a lifetime.

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If you’d like Gillian to play the No Matter What Game, contact Gillian at http://gillianpearce.com  or https://www.facebook.com/GillianPearceCoach/ to set up your daily prompts.
I’d love to hear your responses to Gillian’s question of the day or my answers.  Please leave your comments below.

No Matter What

Happy child playing with toy wings against summer sky background. Retro toned
This morning my friend Gillian and I were having the kind of conversation one would expect two people adept at coaching others would have. We have no problem quickly and easily identifying how to help other people get where they want to go.
We do have a problem applying the same practices on ourselves.
For example, we talked about how we wanted our lives to look and feel.  We also asked each other what we would do or what businesses we would create even if we never achieved “success” as defined by the superstars leading most of the seminars we attend.
My answer was I’d write without any concern over building a list, selling a product, or attempting to influence anyone to like, follow, promote or partner with me.
She said she’d coach her friends, her family, or anyone who showed up in her life in clear need of her coaching but not willing to admit or commit to it.
Gillian is a master of creating games as an imitation of life and encouraging clients to play them as a way to learn about themselves and their particular dilemma.
She suggested we play a game called “No Matter What.”  It goes something like this.  Monday through Friday she’ll send me a writing prompt and I will post a response no matter what.
Having done 21-Day Detoxes and 30 Day Challenges, I’m a big fan of the benefits that come with committing to focused periods of time with very specific outcomes in mind.  But even that did not stop me from throwing all kinds of “reasonable” resistance into the conversation.
Because I know how much better it is to do difficult things with group support, my first response was, “We should get a group together to do this!” Believing more time and more information would be necessary, my next line of resistance went something like this, “Maybe we should wait until the first of the month?”  “Maybe I should research it a little more?” 
On and on it went.  As I exercised every excuse in the book as to why I couldn’t begin now, Gillian’s reply was simply, “Or I could just send you a prompt tomorrow and we could get started.”
So tomorrow we start the No Matter What game.  Because writing keeps me sane, makes me happy, and sometimes sparks joy in others, my commitment is write.  I will respond to her prompts and post them no matter what.
Gillian’s is coaching.  Yours may be painting, running, singing, writing a haiku or two, welding art objects, playing the cello, acting, creating videos or mixed tapes or who knows what.
I only know that the world needs our collective creativity.
Because creativity takes a lot of courage, most of us convince ourselves we are simply not creative.  We spend a great deal of time consuming someone else’s creativity – going to movies, watching tv, going to concerts, attending plays – and seldom cultivate our own.
So here’s my challenge.  Join the game.  Pick your baby, your thing.  Name and claim your creative superpower and then, like me, dust it off and practice it for the next month. There are no rules about how you do it, only that you do.
What’s in it for you?  Well, that’s the risk, isn’t it?  At the very least you will have given your attention to something you profess to love for 30 days. Now let’s find out if it’s true love or merely infatuation.
Yes, it will demand your time.  It absolutely vie for your attention.  And you will want to forget the whole thing some time within the first 24-48 hours.
But stick with it, Grasshopper.  I promise you’ll learn something that just thinking about doing this won’t teach you.

To get started, let me know what you’re “No Matter What” commitment is in the comments below.

While You Were Sleeping

Newborn Baby Boy in a Teddy Bear Costume

Should you wake up at 4am because life has taken an unexpected turn and you’re not exactly sure what to do about it, it’s tempting to believe you are alone in the universe. You might convince yourself you are a solitary insomniac incapable of  enduring a dark night of the soul.

The other morning, in an attempt to remind myself that nothing could be farther from the truth, I started thinking about all the other people who were awake at the exact same time.
I started with the people I knew. I thought about my friend Linda. I knew she would not only be up at this hour but busy cleaning our building before reporting in to her other job by 6am. Her contributions meant students, faculty, and staff would not see, smell, or think about what they discarded the day before.
I thought about a student who just got a job as a manager at a convenience store. Her shift started at 3am.  This allowed her to work, study, and care for her small son to the best of her ability. She, too, would be awake and busy making sure her store was stocked and her customers had coffee for their commutes to their cubicles.
The headlights in the driveway reminded me that many writers had met their deadlines so the paper boy and his dad could deliver the news to our doorstep before daylight.
Within moments I was astounded by all that was brewing beneath the surface. Seldom had I noticed or appreciated the scope of it all.
So many of us stumble out of bed, oblivious to the infinite opportunities of a new beginning.  It could be we’re living an old story line that has cast us as the victim of doom and gloom.  If so, it’s time to rewrite that story and elevate our role to that of the everyday hero.
Until something out of the ordinary happens that forces us to question what we’re doing and why, how we’re doing it and when, and what might happen if we mixed it up a bit, we tend to go on autopilot. Given the stress many of us are under, I know it’s easier to go unconscious to get through the day.
But promise me this.
Promise me you’ll wake up.
Because while you were sleeping, an incredible banquet was being prepared in your honor.  As Derek Walcott suggests in his poem Love After Love, I urge you to wake up and “feast on your life.”
Here are my recommendations:

  • At least once a day, open yourself to the exquisite beauty of an ordinary moment.
  • At least once a day, tell someone thank you for something they do that delights you.
  • At least once a day, find something that nourishes you and savor it for a full thirty seconds.
  • At least once a day, be of service to someone. Open a door. Flash a smile. Say what you need to say.
  • At least once a day, feel something deeply, even if it’s uncomfortable.
  • At least once a day, ask a question that needs no answer and then notice what calls to you or captures your curiosity.
  • At least once a day, when you wonder about it all, marvel at the wonder of it all.

I’d love for you to share your favorite way of waking up in the comments below.

The Secret to Sustainable Success

front door standing welcome

I spent the better of Sunday pondering the secret to sustainable success as I sliced and diced and cordoned off portions of dietary staples for the upcoming week.
In terms of sticking to my new eating plan, the unequivocal answer is preparation. From shopping to chopping it’s all about the prep. This explains the impressive collection of colorful ceramic knives I scored for my birthday along with some bamboo cutting boards and mixing spoons.
Had you asked me a year ago if I would be spending weekends frequenting farmer’s markets, foraging around local food co-ops, attempting to plant an herb garden, figuring out how to compost, consorting with nutritionists, or getting needled by acupuncturists, I would have assumed you had me confused with my Santa Fe friends.
The truth is I didn’t embrace this lifestyle until recently when I discovered that eating well is the fundamental secret to success.
Please don’t confuse eating well with eating extravagant meals, preparing elaborate dishes, or coupling exotic spices with complicated and hard to find ingredients.
Eating well in my book means eating whole foods you can easily pronounce, readily find, and effortlessly digest.
We’ve gotten carried away with convenience, making it the number one reason we eat what we eat, when we eat it, even why we eat it.
I get it. We are busy people. Convenience soothes a stressed out soul.
But it wreaks havoc on our health. It was certainly messing with mine and I knew better. Yet I felt incapable of competing with its allure. Until I decided I must.
It’s been a year long journey into learning how to nourish myself. I’ve experienced as many setbacks as successes. But I am profoundly changed by the lessons learned and transformed by my training as an Eating Psychology Coach.
How I previously defined success has been seriously called into question. I didn’t spend forty years wandering around the desert only to get to my personal Promised Land and decide I liked it better where I came from because it was more convenient.
Oh no. There is no going back. Not even for mango margaritas.
I haven’t reached my Promised Land before because it’s incredibly hard to get here. It’s even harder to stay. Consequently, I’m determined to set up shop.
The secret to sustainable success is we are responsible for sustaining it. We have to pay attention and work with intention every day, course correct, scratch some of our best ideas, begin again, ask for help, be generous, have fun, and remember to give thanks for living in the land of milk and honey – even if it comes with a few mosquitoes.
I couldn’t have arrived here before because, admittedly, I wasn’t ready. If I got too distracted, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, all bets were off. I had no healthy snacks and I had no Plan B – or options for the rest of the alphabet, for that matter.  In other words, I was not prepared.
I couldn’t recognize success for what it was because I couldn’t recognize myself for who I was becoming. Suffice it to say, it’s been a work in progress.
And now that work is cut out for me. It may appear to some as the same work I’ve been doing all along.  However, coming from a new vantage point makes all the difference.
After 8 months of intense training, I’m thrilled to be able to call myself an Eating Psychology Coach and passionately practice the work that’s been a guiding force throughout my life.  
In the next couple of months I’ll unveil my new website along with opportunities for you to join me in challenges and adventures that invite you to sustain your idea of success. 
Sound fun?  Hope so!  Leave your questions or suggestions in the comments below.

EPCC-Coach-Badge-500x500

How To Get Your Groove Back

Beautiful woman enjoying life

Long before Fifty Shades of Grey there was Stella.  And Stella had issues.
Despite her highly successful career, Stella had lost her mojo and was determined to get it back.
She was of a certain age and just not feeling as groovy as she once did.  So what did Stella do?
She did what any woman cast in a starring role opposite Taye Diggs would do.  She went to Jamaica and had a wild, passionate affair with this hunk of burning love.  She definitely brought her sexy back.
But that was Stella, played by the beautiful Angela Bassett, and her story was fictional.
Even if you could afford to whisk yourself away to a romantic locale and discover a smoking hot lover (surprisingly this may be the same person who snores beside you at home), often this kind of reboot(y) is a temporary fix.
What I’m looking for is the real deal.  If I’m feeling funky, frazzled, and fatigued, the farthest thing from my mind is suiting up in sexy lingerie and stilettos. (If you’ve seen my shoe collection, you know I’m taking creative license here.)
What I really want is for the brain fog to dissipate, the chaos to transform into clarity, and the fatigue to turn into sustainable energy.  While a powerful love connection can do that, so can understanding and practicing the basics of mind-body nutrition,  the phases of nourishment, and the soul lessons you came here to learn.
Yes, you read that right.  I went from sex to science to spirituality in six sentences.  Because you and I are whole beings and the only way to get our groove back is to stop pretending we aren’t and to get in touch with all of who we are, not just the easy parts.
One of the key concepts I’ve learned in my outstanding Eating Psychology Coaching program is we must step into our roles as kings and queens at midlife.  Staying stuck in our roles and princes or princesses does not serve anyone. It may be fun and it may be encouraged by our society at large, but evolving into our higher selves is really where it’s at.
What do I mean by becoming kings and queens?  I mean rightfully taking charge of and owning our challenges as well as our areas of expertise.  It means contributing to our communities, serving those we are uniquely equipped to care for, and understanding the  value of our experience, connections, and failures as well as successes.
It means we are no longer plagued with such silliness as, “Does this tiara make my butt look big?” or “Does this Jaguar impress you?”  It means we now have time to make sure others have safe drinking water or proper child care or the ability to read and write.
The best way to get my groove back is to get in touch with what I am passionate about and actively pursue it.  It may start out as a physical desire that turns into a mental pursuit that becomes a spiritual quest. Or it may just be all that at the same time.
This week I’m inviting anyone in or near my location to join me for an 8-week discovery into this topic.  I’m teaching a weekly class called “How to Get Your Groove Back” on Tuesday nights from 6-7:30pm at my workplace, Clinton Community College Maquoketa Center.  I would love to have you join me.  If you are interested, call me at 563-652-5000 and I’ll fill you in on the details.
If you don’t live near me, never fear!  This is Step One in the grand plan of creating an online course so you may take the class wherever you happen to be.
I am in the process of redesigning my website and offering several exciting options for you to participate in from free classes to 30-day challenges to group coaching. The plan is to have this ready by June 1, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you have suggestions or ideas about what you would like to see more of, let me know.  There is still time to develop these for you.
So, groovy guys and gals, share if you dare and leave your comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!

Detox Take Away #6 – Trust the Process

discovering new places

When I used to teach fitness classes, I remember thinking how much more motivating it might be for students if they could immediately lose a pound or two after completing a workout. Sure they felt better after having mobilized their bodies and activated their endorphins, but wouldn’t they be more willing to stick with it if they experienced instant weight loss?
We all know the real work of shape shifting takes time and consistent effort.  When goals are attained too easily or quickly, we can miss the message or sabotage the results. For many of us, weight is an incredible teacher. It certainly gets our attention and packs a wallop of emotion when we gain it or lose it.
Detoxing not only our bodies but also our brains is bound to take some time. We carry a lot of toxic beliefs about what we should weigh, how we should look, and how much of our value depends on an arbitrary number on the scale. Despite all my training, I’ve held on to some rather insidious beliefs about my weight that simply don’t serve me or anyone else.
Changing these beliefs and patterns of behavior is not easy.  There are a lot of variables to consider when attempting to make or break a habit. Factors like how often we automatically or unconsciously engage in the current habit, what benefits we get from continuing with the current habit, and what kind of habit we are attempting to change all impact the speed at which we can progress.
At the outset, 21 days seemed like a long time for a detox diet. However, I kept telling myself that 21 days in the course of a lifetime was not too much to ask. I reminded myself that I would gladly do this if it could save the life of a loved one. Hitting the reset button for myself might just save my own life.
I will not lie.  Some days were difficult. Every day I counted down the days until I would be done. Social situations were like land mines because they required special preparations and explanations and more effort than would be required if I just stayed home and kept the whole process on the down low.
The up side is that I felt better, cleaner, and lighter than I had in years. My brain fog lifted, my energy surged, and those few stubborn pounds melted away. But it didn’t and couldn’t happen overnight.
About half-way through the detox process I realized the only way out was through. I had to keep going. No matter how much I thought I knew, there was more to learn.  And that meant trusting the process.
Trusting the process meant relaxing into life. Trusting the process meant letting go of how I thought it should go. Trusting the process meant no matter what happened, I would be able to handle it. Trusting the process meant allowing the universe to have my back.
When I could do this, eating this or not eating that did not seem insurmountable.  Such a simple idea in theory.  But one that takes a lifetime of practice.  Or at the very least,  21 days.
Have you done a detox diet?  What lessons did you learn?
I’d love for you to share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below.