As some of you might know, I had a plethora of chronic illnesses going on just a few years ago. I was doing everything I knew how to feel better, but not really getting better. Sometimes I would heal something, only to find a new symptom or illness crop up. One of the main things that I discovered and treated that made the biggest difference in the way I felt: heavy metals.

I had gone to several doctors who had not worked a lot with toxicity and did not seem comfortable doing a heavy Detox with me (my adrenal glands were in really bad shape). Most doctors do not like to talk about Heavy Metals. But I knew getting rid of them was my answer…so I created my own.  It took a whole year, I was in bed a lot and it was rough in many ways… and after that my heavy metal toxicity measured very low and I felt a lot better.

But I knew there had to be an easier, faster and more graceful way to (truly) detox.

I have since spent the last 2 years reading, listening and learning everything possible about this topic of toxins, where they come from and the best way to get rid of them. I am not just talking about the toxins that we are breathing, bathing in, drinking and eating daily (because we are doing all of that), but even more importantly the toxins that we have had for a long time, like the ones we got from birth(ex: lead was very common in a mother’s breast milk) and growing up(ex: the amalgams many children get for braces are now considered very dangerous).

I started putting together a plan, and for the sake of the length of this article I will keep this short: I found someone who had put all the elements of the same protocol together, the main/active ingredient and supplements, even the same diet and exercise advice!  At first, I was a little upset.  This topic was so personal to me and I truly thought I had put all of this together for the first time. But when I realized this man’s (Dr. Daniel Pompa) influence in the industry and how thorough the whole Detox protocol was and how good the videos were, etc I was just happy to be part of facilitating the information.

And it is something I agree with and can stand behind 100%, both from a scientific and experiential place.  I have gone through it myself and have taken about 15 clients through it as well, and every single person so far has had nothing but good things to say. 

Below is a video with good friend and client, Libby Carstensen.  She gives her personal experience from doing the Detox and we begin a conversation on the difference between this and other Detoxes or Cleanses.

 

 

 

If you would like more information in the form of a video on: (use all caps and no spaces)

*low energy/brain fog: text THINKCLEAR to 44222

*chronic pain: text NOPAIN to 44222

*sleep/anxiety: text GETSLEEP to 44222

*weight loss resistance: text LOSEIT to 44222

The Detox is called True Cellular Detox, and it includes:

Initial Toxicity Testing, 90 Days of Supplement Information and Instructions, 20+ Hours of Detox Training, 90 Day Meal Plan with Grocery Lists, 3 Monthly Calls (with me), Fasting and Ketosis Information, Burst Training Suggestions, lots of supplementary articles, and more.

The cost is usually $3000 but I am selling it right now for $1500.  You can do 3 monthly installments of $520 if that works better for you.

Please let me know if there are any further questions, concerns, or how to start…I would be happy to help you out!

This is the article posted on FDN, my school’s website in August, honoring me as practitioner of the month.

Practitioner Spotlight – Elise Purcell

 

Elise Purcell, H.H.P, FDN-P

 

Like many FDNs, Elise understood what it felt like to go through the “cycle of trial and error” with her own health challenges.  Over the last 10 years,  she had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis, borderline Auto-Immune disease, Gout, Lyme Disease, a parasite that took 5 years of treatment to get rid of, leaky gut, extreme heavy metal toxicity and food sensitivities, adrenal exhaustion, two forms of long-term pneumonia…  and the list went on and on!

Elise had been practicing Nutritional Counseling for seven years prior to finding FDN.  She found that, though her clients did have significant health success, in more recent years, were starting to present deeper challenges that were not being healed by diet alone.  She yearned to help them find the root cause and avoid the guessing game like she had experienced, thus her journey to FDN began!

“I feel some of these were mis-diagnoses, but to say I have “been through the ringer” is an understatement.  This is why I am so passionate about helping others find an easier way.”

Elise believes that we can’t just address one aspect of our health and expect to truly heal.  She added that labels and diagnoses are sometimes important and helpful but often pigeon hole the person into sickness mode.  And she was pretty sure that is what had been happening to her, despite all of her efforts to stay positive, most doctors still kept telling her how “sick” she was.  Through FDN training, Elise had learned how to support key areas of her body including the adrenal glands, mucosal barrier, detoxification systems, metabolic processes, absorption and assimilation, immune and defense mechanisms and steroid hormone balance.  She admits that she is still working on her health but can finally say that she is feeling great and leagues ahead where she had been. Also added that she just keeps feeling better and better with this model of health!

“FDN’s a model of rebuilding health instead of only treating disease is truly holistic in that we look at ALL aspects of the person and help the whole person, not just the “disease.”

Elise’s biggest challenge during DRESS(Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction and Supplementation), from her perspective as a “retired” Type A personality, was not over-exercising.  She had always been a very active person and happy to move.   She had to learn to cut out certain types of exercise to nurture her body and heal. A major take home from FDN training for Elise is that empowerment is everything!  She feels that if a person knows what’s going on inside their body and why, they are more inspired to make the commitments to improve their health.

Elise shared, that FDN has proven to bring remarkable improvements for her clients health and faster than she had expected!   While it took Elise many years to get to the root of her own dysfunction, she finds that it is a joy to see just how easy and fast it can be when armed with a the right knowledge and a clear path.  Elise added that FDN sets up a container to truly help the whole person.

“Working with a client in this way is a constant reminder that we are all different and special, and that is a good thing…each one of us is an intricate mandala that should be treated with love and care. We should not and cannot rush healing, but we can make it as beautiful a process as possible, and helping someone to see it in that way is purely a pleasure.”

Elise has a thriving practice and shared her clientele is mostly 30-50 year old entrepreneurs, but does get clients of all ages.  She finds that most of them have adrenal concerns and gut imbalance or dysfunction of some degree.   Elise graciously let us in on how she structures her business services.  First she offers a free twenty minute consult, after the consult, if the person still expresses interest and is a 10/10 commitment level she will share her program details.  She added that she requests a down payment upfront and that finds that her clients are motivated to complete the process faster when they have invested themselves financially.  Also, her programs are structured as a three month minimum commitment of meeting every other week and finds that most clients continue well after that to further advance their health.  Way to go Elise!

Along with FDN, Elise is certified as a Nutritional Counselor, from IIN.  She also has certifications in Advanced Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Upledger Craniosacral, KRI Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Elise is a H.H.P. and has been practicing several Holistic modalities for the last 10 years.

Elise’s top tip for her fellow FDN-Ps, is to talk about FDN as much as possible and trust that your clients that need you will find you!

Check out Elise Purcell’s Website: www.integrationforlife.com

 

 

 

Some women have naturally thick, strong and shiny hair.  I can’t say that I am one of them.  I have fine hair and I’m in the ocean a lot(which can be challenging for the hair), so I was looking for some quick fixes for healthy hair.

I had noticed over the years that the less I wash my hair, the healthier it becomes.  That might sound weird and even gross to some of you. But it grows faster and is stronger when the natural oils have a chance to penetrate into the hair shaft.

I use a boar bristle brush that a friend (one of the really thick, strong and shiny hair people) told me about. Brushing from root to end every night truly makes a difference. In fact, I believe it is the real reason behind the myth of “brushing your hair 100 times” that we heard as girls growing up. Women have been using these brushes since the 1800’s, including glamorous old movie stars like Rita Hayworth.

The boar bristle takes the sebum, the oil produced by the scalp, and transfers it from the scalp all the way through to the end of the hair shaft. By coating each strand with a very small amount of sebum, a boar bristle brush repairs dry hair and adds lustrous shine. The bristles also stimulate the scalp, improving circulation and encouraging hair growth. You can get away with more days in between washes because the brush prevents build up of oil at the scalp, which weighs it down and makes it look more greasy.

Hair powder or “dry shampoo” helps the longer gaps between washing from being so obvious. This absorbs any excess oil at the scalp that might remain even after the boar brushing. The only problem is that most brands are filled with potentially harmful chemicals: aerosol propellants,  absorbing and conditioning agents and fragrances (which themselves are made up of toxic chemicals that can act as hormone disruptors and cancer causers when absorbed through the scalp).

So I make my own! This is one of the easiest DIY projects ever.  If you have light blonde hair, all you have to do is put about 1/4 cup of organic arrow root(or corn starch) in a jar or plastic squeeze tube.  If you have medium colored hair, use 1/4 cup of the arrow root and about 2 tablespoons of organic cocoa powder. If you have dark hair, use the cocoa powder only. Yes, your hair will smell a little like chocolate.  It’s amazing!

I personally just use a (bpa free) plastic squeeze tube and apply directly onto my scalp and brush it through until it blends in.  But if you would like to be more fancy or you have already-styled hair, you can use an old make-up brush and apply it to the scalp with that.

With these two helpful hints, your hair will be sure to grow and become healthier than ever and you will also avoid any harsh chemicals or toxins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JEP days

 

This photo was from when I owned a fashion boutique called JEP in La Jolla, about 10 years ago. It was taken for Riviera Magazine, I think because my store was on the Top Hot List (or something like that). JEP made a lot of money, was recognized in Vogue as one of the best Beach Boutiques in the world, and I was awarded one of the Top 40 Professionals under 40 during that same time frame… I was 26-30 years old. My life seemed incredible from the outside.  In many ways, it was.

 

But my point is that things aren’t always what they seem, as hopefully we are all aware of. I had worked a full time job, plus full time school during most of my college years. I pushed things in all areas of my life, including exercise and even socializing/partying. At the time of the photo, I was working 70+ hours a week for five years straight. I was “successful” but overwhelmed, exhausted and anxious. My adrenals were tanked, I had a parasite and started getting auto-immune issues. I didn’t know what any of those things were at the time and thought myself too busy to learn or care.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t push ourselves or be motivated, but that stressful time in my life, combined with an absence of tools to deal with it in balance, sent my health into a downward spiral. Even though I have been working on it since then, I am just now, ten years later starting to feel truly healthy again.

 

I got into Holistic Healing(to help others as well as myself) and started Rolfing around 9 years ago. I have been a Nutritional Counselor for about five years.  But even as I was eating healthy and “doing all the right things”, my health issues were slowly getting more serious, as were many of my clients’ challenges that were coming my way. This pushed me to complete my credential in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and brings this story to the present… where I facilitate most of the tests your doctor would give you, but interpret the results and give different recommendations. There were some things going on internally with me that it didn’t matter how well I ate, how much I exercised or meditated… deeper issues needed to be addressed. The main theme is getting to the root of the problem instead of blindly addressing symptoms.

 

I wish I had made the time to learn about this type of work back in the day when I wasn’t feeling good but didn’t know why. I made the time and spent money on so many other things, but not my health.  I would have saved so much time and suffering and money later on. We are meant to feel vibrant and we are meant to thrive. If you are not feeling this way, I encourage you to contact me and get some basic testing done to quit the guessing game and telling yourself maybe this is just what getting older feels like.

 

Healing from the inside-out often takes longer than putting a band-aid on the situation, and takes behavioral modification  and dedication, but true healing frees you up for a healthy life for the rest of your life!

 

I hope you have a thriving, happy life… and if I can help, let me know 🙂 I work from Skype and can organize the testing anywhere in the U.S. and many other countries too. Just DM me or email: elise@integrationforlife.com with questions.

 

 

Sat nam,

 

Elise

image

Social media can really give people the wrong idea. This is a testament to the whole picture. I lead the most blessed and happy life I can imagine. But I want to share the part of me that has been behind the scenes. I did not intentionally hide this because it didn’t look good… I didn’t even know how to share it with my family and closest friends…or even myself. But I think when we put forward only our best moments, photos and views it tells others that they should be doing, feeling, seeing things like that all the time too. I want to continue to be positive, because that’s me. But I think it’s so important as social media becomes such a big part of our culture …to be real. I am currently back in school to be able to facilitate all sorts of diagnostic health tests. Here is why.

Starting about ten +/- years ago, my health took a seemingly inexplicable downhill turn. Before that, I had basically never been sick and could “push through” almost any challenge whether physical, mental or emotional and come out good on the other end.  At the time, I owned a fashion boutique in La Jolla and was working over 70 hours a week for five years. So I admittedly didn’t have the tools or the time to respond to the mysterious change very gracefully. As things (sometimes gradually and sometimes abruptly) got worse, I made some huge mistakes that hopefully I can help others avoid.

Because I always thought “I’m sure everything will be fine”, it wasn’t until five years later that I finally got some tests and found out the beginning of the story that was to unravel what I now call my Health Adventure.
Well it’s been five years since then and a lot has gone down. I definitely felt afraid and admit that in scared moments wondered if something was inherently wrong with me. Well there was… just not in the way that I sometimes feared. I have genetic mutations that don’t allow me to “de-tox” like other people. I have had this my whole life but it didn’t cause too much of a problem until just the right storm of events happened(enter blastocystis hominis- a parasite I got in Oaxaca about ten years ago but didn’t know at the time), and a lot of emotional stress and overworking.  Every detail isn’t important, but that unhealed issue turned into debilitating migraine headaches for a while, then stomach and several auto-immune issues, longstanding pneumonias and very low energy. Just recently I found out that the heavy metals in my body are extremely high. This is why even the antibiotics didn’t kill the parasite…they are counteracted by heavy metals. All of this combined has put my adrenal glands in Stage III exhaustion and my stomach sIG level at .01 when a thriving range looks about 60.
Now that I understand and have finally gotten to the bottom of the real issue behind it all(the underlying detox issue is actually quite easy to handle and supplement once you are aware of it), I can see it as a blessing…because I know the whole process with all its twists and turns is molding me to be a better person to help others.
Back in the day when I just started dealing with it all, I learned to do all the right things:  clean eating, supplements, finding great health practitioners and doctors, yoga, daily meditation…habits that I will have for life…I even sold my store and created a balanced and peaceful life doing what I love: helping people. I went to Boulder and started “Rolfing”, took nutrition school (IIN based in New York) while I was working and learned how to heal myself instead of looking for others to do it for me. I got control of some auto-immune issues that all the doctors told me would just get worse. I learned the importance of food and personal love and self care.  I was happy inside but I knew something was still wrong. In fact, it seemed to get worse in certain ways.
Since those tests I have been to many many doctors (both medical and natural), acupuncture, energetic healing, taken a bagazillion (that’s so many it’s not even a number anymore)supplements, natural protocols, when those didn’t work- antibiotics, when those didn’t work- more natural options…when those didn’t work- triple strength antibiotics four times in a row….what?!!! I have felt confused, sad, overwhelmed, angry… but most of all alone.  Here I was doing all the right things and still not feeling well. I didn’t share this information with anyone because I didn’t know how to make any sense of it myself. I didn’t really tell anyone until about a year ago when things got so bad I basically didn’t  have an option.
Most people, even my closest family members and friends, were and still are confused and don’t know how to react because I don’t have one issue that comes with a specific label. People, especially the medical industry, really want to label things so you can get the pertaining drugs prescribed. This is great for symptoms. But to heal most things, including ones with labels(which I have some of those too), a lot more is involved. And that means understanding all the processes of your body, how they function….and how they HEAL and thrive. Most people don’t have the time, drive or energy to go this deep in today’s world. I was forced to, THANK GOD.
I have been working on gaining a target audience on social media: caring people who prioritize their health and the health of those that they love. I am doing this to be able to share my story, hopefully inspire someone out there in some small or big way, but also one day (hopefully sooner than later) be able to offer anyone out there that isn’t feeling well some assistance getting out of feeling “off” before it gets worse. Stress is behind most illnesses, and this doesn’t have to be “stress” at work like we conventionally see it.. it can be emotional, food sensitivities/allergies, environmental, chemical or mycotoxins…processes going on inside your body that you might not even feel until they have already caused quite a bit of harm.
If I had just gotten tested after being so sick in Oaxaca!!! But I was younger. And more stubborn. But for every twist and turn my process has taken me, no matter how painful, I say thank you. Because it has helped me learn and care about things I never would have learned or cared about before. And this is building me to be able to help even more. I was stubborn, impatient and to be blunt did not respond well to people that were sick or didn’t feel well. I wanted them to “buck up” or get over it and sometimes even thought it was in the person’s head. Well karma (or whatever you want to refer to it as) KICKED ME IN THE ASS. “That person” has become me. This has all happened for a reason. I was given the challenges that got me and my hard-headed self to the point where I can’t “buck up” and get over it. I did that for years and now I surrender to what is…with gratitude.
Many people that are helping others every day need help the most but don’t know how to get it or how to make the time. We get so good or focused on  helping others that we forget or never learn how to truly take care of ourselves. This can mean health practitioners and healers… but also mothers, fathers, bosses, managers, etc etc.
The best practitioners, in my opinion,  have normally gone through some sort of struggle themselves and have figured out(to some extent) their own puzzle and then are able to help others with a full capacity. When these people fall behind as all of us humans do, they take the time and space to recalibrate and re-set.  I fee like I have learned this with my own body as far as pushing it and injuries go and in my Rolfing practice, but I still strive and am on the path to be one of these type of Nutritional Counselors.
I am taking a few weeks off teaching yoga, work and school to take a step back… But it’s actually a giant step forward in self-care. Rest, rejuvenation and play are the main focus. I used to be so scared to let anyone know that I wasn’t doing well. I didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable. But sharing things like this hopefully makes other people know they are not alone. If you aren’t feeling well and don’t know exactly what is wrong, have been eating well and doing all the right things and had people tell you that you are “fine” and “everything looks normal”… I want you to know that I can soon help you. We can dig deeper and look at the whole picture together. Not quite yet, as I am taking the biggest move ever towards my own healing and that is making sure I am on the up side of things before I start taking on more.
In the name of authenticity, one of the biggest motivations in getting feeling my best is so that I can help any of YOU out there that don’t feel your best but might be confused why, what’s going on or what to do.  I promise I will use what I have learned in this process to better help you and/or your loved ones when the time is right and with a much greater compassion than I ever would have been able to had I not gone through all of this.
BIG LOVE. #beyourself #findanewangle #weareallblessed

I like to eat. A lot. I grew up (over)eating a lot, and I have to admit…I think I eat more than my boyfriend. So as much as I can see some great reasons to cleanse, the idea doesn’t generally appeal to me all that much. The word itself makes me think of tons of liquids and no food and then binging afterward.

About 10 years ago I did the Master Cleanse. It was tragic. Don’t get me wrong, I completed the whole 10 days without cheating(because I am also a bit hard-headed). There were a few low days, but I thoroughly enjoyed the extra time and space in my schedule that was not filled with thinking about food, preparing it and eating it. I was peaceful and seriously felt like I was floating the last few days without a care in the world, which was great for me- but probably not for the employees of my boutique at that time because I had absolutely no focus or drive. The aftermath was what did me in though….I was eating ice cream, cheeseburgers, tons of french fries in a frenzy…things I didn’t even really crave before. I felt like I had a lot of making up to do after all of that deprivation…for about a full year after! So, yes…sometimes I have been known to go to extremes as well.

That eventually ran its course and just a few years ago I tried a 3 Day all juice cleanse and quit near the end of the second day because, to be honest, my stomach was killing and the juice blends were just not that tasty. It wasn’t fun and I was ravenous and moody.

This brings me to my current self…hopefully a little more balanced and making better choices. This is also where Beaming comes in. I have been driving to Del Mar from Cardiff for about a year when I feel like treating myself with something special. This might sound cheesy, but if you have been there you will know what I am talking about. The moment you walk in the door you know this place is going to be good. There are plenty of places closer to me that I could get a juice, but it just isn’t the same. The Founder, Lisa Odenweller has a great philosophy on health and life, (which thankfully includes a little wine and pizza, which are my favorite). Although I have never met her, I feel like she and I are cut from the same cloth. I believe in adding in the good stuff to crowd out the not-so-good, instead of making a huge list of what you can’t eat. I truly believe eating should be colorful and fun. My favorite quote of hers: “Only when what you eat and drink satisfies completely can you turn health into a lifestyle.”

And if you are a foodie, you will appreciate the Culinary Team behind the magic of Beaming, which includes Susan Sbicca and Jesus Gonzales. There was a special on Instagram for the 4 Day Post-Thanksgiving Cleanse they were having and it got me intrigued, although hesitant. I went to the website and read:

 You may be surprised to hear from us that we don’t actually believe in “cleansing” as it is currently defined by the popular juice, powdered drinks or water/maple syrup/lemon fasts/cleanses. Believe it or not, your body is an amazingly brilliant machine that “cleanses” naturally.

Now they were talking directly to me. I was in. I finished the 4 Day Cleanse three days ago and I still wish I was on it. I feel amazing. The whole program is well thought-out, balanced; there is plenty of food….and the best part of it all is that everything is absolutely delicious.  There are 2 green juices, a smoothie, a raw soup, an elixir and a huge salad each day. Like I said before, I eat a lot… and I was never hungry. I had enough energy to do some great hikes, take barre class, and work. The second day was rough, as I later found out that is the big detox day. But from then on things were great. The morning I finished the cleanse I woke up and could eat or drink whatever I wanted…but I found myself going straight to the kitchen and making a warm lemon water, then walking to get a green juice(it was not Beaming, but it would suffice). I am 3 days out and still craving fresh, clean, mostly plant-based and raw food. The cleanse replaced any low energy, fogginess and cravings with clarity, energy, and lightness. If I had all the money in the world, right now I would eat at Beaming every day for every meal.  Realistically I know that my life will eventually include pizza at some point and a glass of wine or two(because it’s all about balance, remember?), but for now I am using all the recipes I received after the cleanse and doing my best “Beaming” imitation…which as you know, is the biggest form of flattery.

 

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Beaming

 

 

 

Lectins have been linked to aging, allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, blood disorders, heart problems, blood sugar problems, digestive issues, liver challenges, learning disorders, skin problems, and even reproductive issues in women. Chances are you have been challenged in some way with one of these, know someone who has, or at the very least really would like to avoid this previous list. Basically, it would behoove you to read on.

We have learned so much about food and nutrition over the years.  Hopefully everyone can agree that grouping all foods into “bad” and “good” isn’t appropriate now.  One person’s healing tonic might be another’s poison.  An example would be tomatoes.  They are so good for you, right? They are high in Vitamins A, C, K, B6, magnesium, fiber…how could it go wrong?  Well, if you have Type A or B Blood, there are certain pesky proteins in the tomato called lectins that can act like antibodies and your body will attack them like a foreign invader.

The tomato nutrients are digested by the stomach, but the lectin protein remains intact and is passed into the bloodstream, where it eventually settles somewhere and attracts cells. Once clumped with the lectin, the cells are then also targeted by the Blood A and B antigens as foreign invaders, just like the lectin. These otherwise healthy cells are now part of the attack since the body of the specific blood types can’t eliminate the tomato lectin naturally. The cell destruction, depending on where in the body this occurs, could lead to irritable bowels, liver or kidney failure, or any various disorders relating to different systems in your body(as mentioned before).

Blood Type A has only the A antigen, B has only the B antigen, AB has both, and O has neither A or B antigen. This also affects blood transfusions. Your body will only accept your type, or the universal donor type, which is Type O. Blood Type AB can receive all four types of blood. If you are given the wrong type, your body’s immune system will produce antibodies to attack those foreign antigens and could even cause death. None of this is a coincidence; each of our bodies have the automatic ability to produce antibodies from the moment we are born.

Awareness is key.  If you don’t know your blood type, find it out.  A good resource for information about specifically what foods work and don’t work for each blood type is Eat Right For Your Blood Type by Peter D’Amo, MD.  I personally would say to take his advice in a general sense.  The specific parts about proteins, carbohydrates and nightshades seem to really apply to and help most of my clients.  For example, people with Blood Type O generally thrive on protein, most veggies, and staying away from heavy carbohydrates. Type A seems to work best with veggies(no nightshades) and carbs, not meat. But my take is that even within the Blood Types, each person is different.

I wouldn’t recommend attempting to avoid each and every lectin associated negatively with your blood type, especially if you do not have a serious disorder or problem.  Doing this can cause a huge amount of stress, which could counteract any positive goals that you are trying to accomplish.  Pay attention to the foods he says you should avoid, monitor any reaction to them when you do eat them and go from there…chances are that there will  be some trigger foods that are much worse that others. JUST DO YOUR BEST.  I would definitely recommend adding in as many of the lectins that are complementary to your blood type. You might see a dramatic improvement in your health…isn’t it worth a try? As my friend Libby would say, “What’s the best that could happen?!”

Fear,
She has that Magical quality
About her, doesn’t she?
The way She furls close, then twirls
around the room-
flirting with everyone, never satiated with
just one.
Running Wild, Yearning to be followed.
When ignored, she is Defiant;
causing a tornado, whirling and hurling
herself about…
Hold her, squeeze her, Love her Tight.
Have her for the moment.
Experience her.
Now watch her slip by…

Photo Credit, Alexandra Valenti

 

 

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
― Mary Oliver

Do you accept your darkness? I mean really, really accept your darkness? That doesn’t mean that you favor your mistakes or bad habits or you are proud of them.  But can you still see your Light in a total black-out?

I have recently been challenged with seeing my own Light. I thought I was getting really good at loving myself just as I am. I “teach” this type of self-love to my Health Counseling clients, talk about it in my Structural Integration practice, and offer this advice to friends, family and even myself.  But sometimes you get kicked in the pants right when you get comfortable; that’s life. Growing up in a world of polarizations where things were “right” and “wrong”… “good” and “bad”, I was very judgmental of myself and in turn, it made me judgmental of others. Well the truth (for me) is that we are all a mix of those things. Yes, some lay on more extreme ends of the spectrum than others. But I truly believe that all of us, every single person, has a beautiful Light somewhere in there.

So when we do something, or a string of things, to darken or almost put out that Light…is it still there?

This idea of Light or joy can be so easy to feel and accept when things are all in line and filled with sunshine and flow. Sometimes it can be felt even when you are mildly struggling with something or not getting exactly what you want. But when excruciatingly hard times come about or we are feeling macrocosmically guilty and/or shameful or even misunderstood, are things really exactly as they are supposed to be?  It feels so wrong and uncomfortable. Even unbearable.

My answer still stays the same. YES. As cliche as it sounds, that is our biggest chance to grow and to drop down into an even deeper layer of ourselves. And what comes up is always what we need to learn.  Love yourself enough to look at the shadow parts of yourself straight in the eye. Get all squirmy and uncomfortable and still love yourself: in totality instead of just the shiny, happy sparkly parts. This might be scary…we want to think of ourselves as “good”.

One of the main reasons I came into the Rolf work was because it helped me overcome some physical challenges with my body and it made me want to help others with theirs.  A desire to heal digestive issues and a skin disease, as well as learn more and help others with their health problems in a natural and holistic way led me to school for Nutritional Counseling . When I have a challenge in my body or my health in general, I do my best to perceive it as an opportunity to objectively see, overcome, but also simply as a chance to relate and help my clients better in case they deal with something similar.  It is a common misunderstanding that yogis are supposed to only do yoga and never have too many beers, psychologists are never supposed to have a “crazy” side, and nutritionists should never eat anything “bad” for them, etc.

But none of us are all good or all bad, things are not good or bad, food is not inherently good or bad. We all make mistakes and don’t always act from our highest self, and it is normally what we do with things that make them appear good or bad. If we become inherently bad because of a wrong decision or action, this only causes us to feel more “bad.”  We do something we are not proud of, feel horrible about it, then feel so disconnected that we don’t care enough to turn things around so we just wallow in the guilt and our subsequent thoughts, feelings, and actions go on a downward spiral from there.

Who exactly is that serving?

No matter what is going on…see your Light.  If you can’t see it or feel it yet(or don’t even know what I am talking about), I challenge you to take the steps until you do.  Connect with that Light and it will grow, I swear. I am, as ever, a work in progress.  It is a life-long process and none of us are finished while we are still living and breathing.  When you are gentle with yourself about this, you will notice how you will start becoming more and more gentle with those around you. It just feels good..


Sometimes we learn the most from the most simple things. This is an excellent example from a little girl named Elise.  (No, this is not me as a little girl…even though I looked just like her. Her understanding of food and nutrition is way more advanced than mine at her age).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBEFCiWyW0&feature=share

 

She probably does not know any thing about Monsanto.  My pipe dream is that she will never have to. If she and all of her friends act on what they have learned, then we have a small hope. That can become contagious…especially in the new frontier of the Internet and especially Facebook.

We can’t seem to be able to depend on Government or Big Agriculture to save us.  The USDA approved GMO Alfalfa, and that has been seen by some as the beginning of the end. I agree- some things seem out of our control.

This brings to mind Gandhi’s famous line, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”  Let’s all try to simplify our lives and thus our food systems.  Let’s grow as much as we can ourselves, be as close to the source of our food as possible, and make sure that funky stuff is not sprayed on everything(this matters more on some food than others).

Here is a list of the 12 Things you should always buy organic: The Dirty Dozen

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/collard greens

And since most of us cannot afford organic all the time, here is a list of foods that you can get away with: The Clean 15  (notice that sweet potatoes are actually on this list though, which is what little Elise used in her experiment)

The point here is not to become paranoid and freak out. That would not solve anything…and the little girl seemed to be ok?! Do what you can today. Educate yourself. Be pro-active. Remember: we don’t have to be perfect; but if we all did a little bit more, that would be a big change overall.