Hey, guys! I'm speaking at an open house this Friday, January 31 with two other really smart, awesome women (details below). The open house is meant for mingling and hanging out with us but we will all be talking about different ways of taking care of the heart. Shaman and energy healer Bridget Boland, one of the awesome women I mentioned, wrote this and I thought I would share. Enjoy!
"Poet David Whyte reflects that as humans we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to avoid getting our hearts broken, yet that is exactly what our careers, our partners, and all the other myriad circumstances of our lives are designed to do: break our hearts wide open, allow us to feel and experience more deeply. The central conversation of our existence shouldn’t be how do I avoid heartache? but rather, as the Irish say, how will I make myself able for that which cracks me wide open? Courage doesn’t mean bravery so much as the ability to be wholeheartedly engaged in life despite the certainty of disappointment, disillusionment, and heartache.
With today’s technology it’s easy to be “connected” to others 24/7/365. Yet how much of the time are we deeply connected to our own selves, not just to our thoughts and ideas, but to the emotional storehouse of our hearts, the place which holds our deepest longings and yearnings?
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Valentine’s Day follows so closely after New Year’s. We set all sorts of “resolutions” – goals for self-improvement, agendas for what we want to create or manifest - at the beginning of the new year. Six weeks later, we’re offered the opportunity to test the depth of our intentions. Are those resolutions deeply held heart’s desires or just the brain’s attempts to dictate what our egos think we should want? Valentine’s Day offers more than just an opportunity to tell others we love them; it gives us a chance to break our own hearts wide open and live from that courageous place of owning our longings and desires.
A great way to get in touch with your heart energy is to lie down or sit quietly in meditation. Place one hand on the center of your chest over your heart chakra or energy portal. You might wish to imagine a vibrant green energy flowing through this part of your body, nourishing your heart. Place your other hand an inch below your navel.
Breathing deeply, feel the steady, reassuring beat of your heart – the way it pumps blood continuously without you ever once having to think about it or will it. Inhale and nourish your heart with your breath. Exhale and send your heart energy through your entire core, down to the hand on your belly, visualizing your heartbeat and your breath calming your adrenal glands and your fight-or-flight mechanism.
After 5-10 minutes of heart breathing, ask your heart how it feels. What does it need from you for optimal health and well-being? What messages does it hold for you around decisions you are contemplating? How can you cultivate courage - that ability to live wholeheartedly in the face of heart ache and heart break? Ask each question, then be still and wait for your heart to respond.
Once you’ve listened to your heart’s desires, gather up your courage, move back out into your life, and do something heartfelt. Take an action that stems from that vital and vibrant connection to your longings and desires. You may get your heart broken wide open along the way to creating your dreams, but isn’t that really the point?"
Want more tips on how to live wholeheartedly? Join Bridget Boland, Dr. Margaret Smith of Chiropractic First and Isabelle Libmann of IzzyFit Personal Training for an open house dedicated to the heart, Friday January 31, 2014 from 4-7PM. February is American Heart Month so what better time than now to learn some holistic ways to take care of it?
The event is free but please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or to 847-869-1313.
Bridget Boland is a writer, shamanic energy medicine practitioner, doula and Forrest Yoga instructor. Learn more about her and her offerings at www.bridgetboland.com and www.thedoulanovel.com.
This recipe comes from my friend Anita Brown who is an amazing culinary coach in the North Shore. That's right. She comes to your house and teaches you how to cook. BRILLIANT. There's more info about Anita below but in the meantime: ENJOY THIS RECIPE! (And when you make this, don't forget to post a pic on your social media page of choice with the tag #IzzyFitFood!
1½ Tbs. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped carrot (small pieces)
½ cup thinly sliced celery
1 Tbs. minced fresh garlic
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or more to taste)
¼ tsp. salt (or more to taste)
1 fresh thyme sprig
4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth (add 1 cup or more if you want thinner soup)
1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt added, fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
5 ounces green beans cut into ½ inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
Recipe can be doubled. Add more broth as needed.
Shopping: olive oil, medium size yellow onion, carrots, fresh garlic, freshly ground black pepper, kosher salt, fresh thyme, chicken broth (low-sodium), orzo pasta, green beans, skinless- boneless breast from rotisserie chicken, fresh Parmesan cheese, grated.
Tools: chef knife, cutting board (not glass), measuring spoons and cups, medium pot or Dutch oven, wooden spoon.
What’s Cookin’, or Not?
Busy schedules, pressures of the day and a lack of information and know-how often result in no home cooked meals and poor food choices. Too often meals wind up at a restaurant or at home with a fast-food carry out or a frozen microwave dish.
Does this sound all too familiar? Anita Brown Culinary Coach can help you out of this predicament with an array of at-home services to help you navigate your own kitchen and create delicious, good for you meals with an enhanced cooking competency.
A Word About Your Coach:
Your personal guide to creating a more cooking friendly kitchen is Chef Anita Brown. She received her formal culinary training at Kendall College, and has previously worked as a caterer, Culinary Expert for Bloomingdale’s, Cooking School Director for Treasure Island Foods and Chef and Business Developer for the Now We’re Cookin’ Culinary Service Center.
Anita Brown, Chef
Anita Brown Culinary Coach
When Karrie came to me in Evanston in October 2012, she fessed up that she wasn't particularly psyched about getting into a workout routine but that she knew she needed to do something if she was going to have a long, healthy life. She'd tried dieting before and, like so many, had gained back the weight plus more. Instead of getting Karrie to change a bunch of things at once (which, let's face it, rarely works), we started small. One-habit-at-a-time small. Her first new habit: Adding one serving of vegetables to her day. That one habit snowballed into many and for over a year, Karrie has averaged a weight loss of half a pound every week. She is a perfect example that consistency is key if you're going to make a life-long change. So without further ado: Meet Karrie!
How old are you and please tell me about yourself.
I am thirty, and I have spent approximately most of my life overweight (with about three years as morbidly obese). My main interests are reading and watching movies & tv (passive activities that do not require any movement). I also have several nieces and nephews whom I adore; they inspire me most days, even though they live in other states.
What were your initial goals when you started training?
My very first goal was merely to start moving and to get to the gym. It was as simple as starting to become mobile. My secondary goals were for health and weight loss in general: I wished to move out of the morbidly obese BMI category as a start.
How do you think your sessions have helped you?
My sessions help me beyond what I imagined when I started. Since starting, I am more active, more mindful about the nutrients I put into my body, and I am much stronger physically and mentally. I did not really consider gaining strength as an important aspect to training when I first started and it was not part of my goal set. Now, I am really happy that I discovered that I like knowing that I am growing stronger and that I can do more with each session in the gym (along with small feats at home or on my commute). Learning that I am capable of making progress bolstered my self-esteem and motivates me to set goals and continue working towards them.
What have you enjoyed most about your training?
With Izzy, working out is fun, so I always look forward to it. I like that she helps me try new moves, identifies which moves I really enjoy, and incorporates them into my workouts. This is how we discovered my love for deadlifts. Crushing my birthday deadlifting goal will be one of my most memorable moments in life (not just in the gym). Izzy encouraged my goal, motivated me to work up to lifting 100 pounds, and rewarded me in her awesome way with optimism and encouragement along the way. She conveyed that this goal was possible and that I will reach it (and I did)!
Do you have any fitness goals for this new year?
My goals involve continuing to lose weight and seeing if I can challenge myself to lose more total pounds than I have in the past year. Also, I am considering aiming for another deadlifting personal record… so maybe 150 lbs sometime in 2014?! That would be cool!
How would you describe your philosophy about exercise and nutrition?
I aim for balance in order to maintain my sanity/willpower, weight loss, and schedule. This means balancing healthy eating with room for some not-so-healthy options on occasion (e.g., chocolate). This also means balancing nutrition with work in the gym. Since I have spent my life overweight, I know that a couple of months of unhealthy food restriction will not produce meaningful, sustainable results. Not only did that kind of food plan lack nutrients and make me gain weight after giving up, it also did not provide me with enough energy to hit the gym. So, today I try to make sure I reach my daily water goal and if I think I want chocolate, I eat a little chocolate. Then I follow it up with a session with Izzy to make sure I’m getting stronger and staying active.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you are wondering, I beat my morbid obesity in early 2013, and I have not crept into that category since! Yay!