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May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii!

plumeria leiHappy May Day everyone! May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii, a holiday commemorating the tradition of lei making and a day when everyone wears Aloha attire and leis to school or work.  When I was growing up, I remember picking buckets of plumerias from our yard and stringing dozens of leis for family and friends for May Day and other occasions. This week, the symbolism for the beautiful circular necklace of flowers brings us right into Aloha Friday, our day of connection.  Stringing or making a flower lei is a mindful meditation. One sits alone or with others listening to Hawaiian music, the lilting slack key guitar in the background, the intense aroma of beautiful flowers in a rainbow of colors all around you. You are totally engrossed in this mindful activity. I have incorporated an imagery exercise for this beautiful tradition.   One by one, each flower is strung to make a circle of wholeness, incorporating all the attributes you have or would like to have to create optimal wellness.  One flower may be symbolic for the warmth of the sun, one the earth, one food that nourishes your body, one for family or specific loved ones, one for gratitude, one for healing and whatever connects and manifests your lei of  wholeness.  This weekend there will be May Day festivities in towns and cities across the globe where we celebrate Spring, at long last! Dancing, flowers and parades will express the joy we all feel after a long cold winter.  This Lei Day weekend as we join with our Aloha Friday kickoff,  string a lei of flowers from your yard even if it is dandelions.  Let each flower speak to you as you celebrate your own joy, make your circle of wholeness of body, mind and spirit and wear it around your neck or as your crown. Let it be the symbol of the health of your entire being and the connection to your Aloha spirit.  Have a fabulous celebratory weekend!

Aloha and Mahalo to April!

 

Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

 

It is the last Friday of the unusual wintry month of April and as we bid it Aloha, we welcome May as the official month of flowers, garden and home renewal projects and outdoor enjoyment. Of course we cannot forget the renovation or renewal of our minds, bodies and spirits! It is time to weed out what has crowded our defeating thoughts, plant new ways to move our bodies and let nature lift our spirits.

 

 

Spring feels light but sometimes our bodies feel heavier than usual. Our winter weight sometimes buffers us against the cold and now we can look forward to meals filled with fresh whole greens and vegies from our gardens and farmers’ markets. Just adding in more of these nourishing foods can make a huge difference in how we look and how we feel. Even our morning smoothies look lighter and fresher. Switching out almond milk for coconut water and adding in citrus like oranges, limes and lemons with mint and other greens along with our flax and chia seeds can feel lighter in our tummies. This morning in lieu of a smoothie, I had a salad with power greens, sautéed multi-colored cherry tomatoes, chives and 2 fried eggs over it. Yummy! Experiment with your breakfast choices to see what kinds of fresh ingredients you can add to your meal.

 

 

The days are longer and after months of chronic pain limiting my walking ability, I have started to walk more and add an after dinner walk in the light filled evenings. So divine to be outside more after a long winter! How might you add in a fun way to move this spring? Gardening involves muscles we haven’t used in a while and many years I have found myself in the chiropractor’s office in the spring after bending, squatting, pulling old plants, digging and planting. This year I am trying to limit the time gardening and taking the time to get on the floor and stretch for at least a half hour to prevent my muscles from aching. So far, so good!

The month of May I will be devoting myself to helping others create and write their own Rx’s for Health and Wellness. A friend of mine and I share a love for On Being podcasts with Krista Tippett and today’s podcast share was an interview with Angel Kyodo Williams, a Zen priest and the second black woman to be recognized as a teacher in the Japanese Zen lineage. https://onbeing.org/programs/the-world-is-our-field-of-practice-apr2018/ The topic was “The World is Our Field of Practice”. The conversation AHA for me was what is dying in our culture right now is our willingness to be in denial. Wow. Our present awareness and consciousness raising is evidence that this is true. The mental, emotional, social, economical, political and spiritual crises happening right now makes it clear we cannot afford to stay in denial any longer. It has affected our minds, our bodies and our spirits and now, it is time to cOMe hOMe. It is time to find our true leanings and empower ourselves to learn what we already know within. Loving ourselves is more important than ever. It may sound hokie, but like it or not, we are in a New Age and we are moving forward at an ever quickening rate in our evolution. Empowering ourselves to BE the best version of ourselves ripples out in exponential numbers. Let’s be the change we wish to see! I add in on this Aloha Friday, Be the Aloha You Wish to See in the World. After all, “ The Love We Take is Equal to the Love We Make”. Have a great weekend and see you on May Day!

 

Spring Wellness!

 

Happy Spring on this Mindful Monday everyone!

 

We are quickly closing out the wintery month of April here in the Northeast and today feels like Spring has finally sprung! For this Hawaiian girl, even spending a month in Hawaii in March wasn’t enough to quell the desire for warmth, sun and flowers!

May Day is approaching and in Hawaii we celebrate it with wearing Aloha wear and leis, flowers in our hair and celebrating the beauty of island life. Here in town, we have May festivals to shepherd in Spring, being outside, getting our hands in dirt and adorning ourselves with flowers in our hair. This May, I will be talking about the renewal of wellness , turning May into the Way to Well-Being! We are shedding our winter weight, physically, emotionally and psychologically to become lighter. WE let go of the heaviness that has weighed on our bodies and our minds and we can focus on lightening up our food choices, getting more movement in now that we can go outside more, and letting go of all the things that have slowed us down from feeling our best. I for one have been slowed down from chronic and long term pain in my shoulder and my hip. Things are getting better and I have walked through the discomfort, stretched more, started weight training with baby weights and YES! I feel better already. Then I glance down as I sit and notice, what is THAT extra bulge? SO …adding a bit more Pilates to my workout! So you see, even a Health Coach has goals for improving wellness. I also hired a Coach myself to help move me forward in my own goals.

For the month of May, I will be addressing the Way to Wellness, looking at all the ways we can nourish ourselves to feel our best. We will talk about food choices, activity choices, movement, social support and stress management . It will be from my formal program of Writing Your Own Rx for Health and Wellness. Ah, such a great Way to begin a new season, to lighten up, have fun, get outside and get energized! So stay tuned and I will see you next week, with my ever present flower in my hair! Aloha, have a great week!

 

Only Love can Mend a Broken Heart.

 

 

 

Happy ALoha Friday everyone!

 

 

 

This is the last Friday of Heart Health and Awareness month and I wanted to share some heartfelt words with you to fuel your Heart gratitude for the rest of the year.

I have been musing about heart “dis” ease and the metaphor our broken hearts can hold for us.  Literally, broken hearts are subject to oxygen deprivation because the vessels are blocked, starving the heart of life giving nutrients.  Heart disease and it’s risk factors and causes shift over time. What causes our hearts to wear down, grow big, beat out of sync, clog up?  Is it Cholesterol? Saturated fat? Type A hostile behavior? Diabetes? Obesity? Drug Abuse?  Underneath all the clinical and functional reasons, there is heartbreak. Every cardiac patient I have known who has had a cardiac event or has symptoms of an impending one has experienced heartbreak is some way.  Life is heart breaking, is it not?  Really, no one is immune because if you are alive, that fact alone is your biggest risk factor. If love or grief has been a source of heartbreak, you are everyone.   If the heart is the symbol for love, the center of our well-being and if every act is an act of love or a cry for love, it explains why heart disease is still the biggest cause of death among men and women.

The language of love, life’s metaphors for empathy, sympathy, grief, joy, gratitude, happiness, sadness uses the heart as the symbolic representation of our life’s experiences. ” Oh, that just breaks my heart, That makes my heartache, my heart aches for you, that makes my heart swell, bless your heart, he has a big heart”, etc.  Our life’s passages and transitions all call to the heart or await it’s response.  Yes, every act may be an act of love or a cry for love, it is also a heartache, a heart swell and a heartbreak.  If we experience any of these and we all do, how do we cope? Excess of food, alcohol or drugs, grief, depression, self-pity, loss of identity (if we loved and they are gone, who am I?), and what about the celebration of births, marriages, new beginnings, etc.?  If our lives are meant to experience heartaches, why aren’t we able to use this magnificent symbol and all it’s physical, metaphysical, spiritual and emotional manifestations to build resilience?  If we could, we would know to love bigger, love more and love ourselves enough to collectively love each other, filling the cracks or breaks in our hearts with more love.

How do we nurture the life and love giving symbol that is the largest commonality of universal connection?  Start with awareness and mindful gratitude of the human experience.  My past experience in Cardiac Rehabilitation helped patients recover from their events and change their lifestyle but none of it focused on prevention per se.  I was exposed to the damaged hearts, the bypassed hearts, the stented hearts, the hearts that were “attacked”, hearts beating out of sync beating instead to it’s chosen rhythm that to me now symbolizes the solution instead of the problem.  How else can it cry out for love?  Even our hearts, the center of our soul, are ultimately guided in one way or another, (“follow your heart”).  In ignoring our heart’s desires, heartaches and heartbreaks, we choose to self-medicate consciously or unconsciously with poor choices in how we nurture or numb ourselves to the pain.  What if the heart is just crying for love?  What if the cracks are so huge, we fill it with the plaque of grief, sadness, despair, anger or hate? And what if we filled it instead with love, sharing, connection, gratitude, kindness, hope and desire?

Life gives us multiple opportunities as we pass through the stages and transitions.  From birth to death, we are one day older, one day wiser, another day when we can choose whether to love or cry out for love.  If we could express this and turn it into human growth and evolvement potential, our hearts would respond in kind.  The only thing that would matter would be, did I act out of love today? Did I give love? Did I feel loved?  Did I love myself enough to feel total calm at the end of the day? If I am grieving, did I reach out for love?  So many chances to fill our heart cracks with love, because if you reach out or you are sought out, hearts fill up.

The reason hearts remain my passion and my focus is because they are the reason we are alive.  The potential to heal our hearts and heal our lives affects everyone we connect to.    For this Aloha Friday, what act of love will you express for yourself or to others? Bathe your own heart with gratitude for the millions of heartbeats and opportunities it has given you. Life doesn’t happen TO you, it happens FOR you. Bless your hearts, each and every one of you. Make it a Heartfelt and Love filled weekend. Mahalo and ALoha.

 

 

 

How’s the Heart Health of Your Business?

 

 

Good Mindful Monday everyone! As we continue the theme of hearts and love for the month of February which celebrates Heart Health Awareness, I would like to share some thoughts I have concerning the health of your heart, your worklife and your ability to affect others in the work you do, in our out of the workplace.

 

How does your Heart Awareness affect your work, your relationships and your life of well-being? The four quadrants of the heart represent your mind, body, emotions and spirit. The Heart Centered Wheel of Life helps one to see what parts of their life need attention, nourishment, care and mindful respect. If you are a business owner or an entrepreneur, do you think of the heart health of your business or practice? Just like the physical aspects of the heart, how you practice can be a metaphor for living a heartfull life.

 

The heart is our center, our hOMe, our seat of the soul. In the healthy heart, the vessels that feed and nourish it are clear of debris, flow like streams, are flexible and carry important energy and oxygen to all the cells in our body. In an unhealthy heart, the opposite is true. Vessels are stiff; flow may be blocked partially or totally, unable to carry the required nourishment to keep the heart muscle alive. The heart pumps and beats to it’s own drummer. At times it is erratic, irregular and sometimes it beats so loudly and fiercely, it feels like it is trying to pound it’s way out!

When you think about the heart of your business or practice, what is it’s focus? Is it the center from which the practice emanates from? Does it stand at Intention for the good of the whole? How does your practice get nourishment? Does it get the right food, in the form of people or colleagues? Do they in turn, feed nourishment into the business with excitement, great ideas and share each other’s plates? Or do they bring their own paper sack and eat alone at their desk? This might be a true vision or a metaphor. Either way, It begins with nourishment.

Does your practice have flowing vessels, unencumbered by blockages that may prevent it from feeling like it is cared for? Does it feel loved, connected to the whole of the business? What might be stopping it or slowing it down from truly flourishing? Does it have a shared heartbeat for outcomes that feel the move forward? Is it getting the attention it needs to feel it’s importance or is it just part of many items that are needed to run a successful business? Is it the seat of the soul of your business? Does it guide your service to the greater good? The spirit of a business is often noted when looking at what drives the heart from the center.

Do you or/and your employees feel cared for as you care for them? Do their contributions drive the flow or slow it down? If it does get slowed down, how do you nourish it so it feeds more oxygen into bold action that benefits the whole? Are you mindful of any actions that could affect the homeostasis of the business? If so, are there healthy habits that can help it regain balance? The heartbeat of a business is no different than our own. It beats individually and together, entraining the other beats to come together and work in harmony just like our own hearts do for the other parts of our body. One depends on the other for ultimate health and well-being.

What ways do you practice well-being in your practice? What needs extra care and nourishment? Finances? Sleep? Rest? Stress Management? Whole Foods? Cooperation?

So you see, there are many ways our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual heart are akin to the life we lead. The care we give to our hearts can be no different than the care we give to our families, our friends, our colleagues, and our careers and/or workplaces. We can set the intention to be mindful of how our behavior, choices, love and healing ways we offer to ourselves can ripple out to the world around us. We are the role models for others in how we care for ourselves and others. Be the loving heart and the Aloha you wish to see in the world. Have a beautiful heartfelt week.

 

 

 

 

 

Focus on your Heart!

Cold Hands, Warm Heart!

Heart photo

It is a bitter cold day here in the Northeast and I really feel the bone-chilling aspects of living in a house built in 1852. I am holed up in a room upstairs where I can jack the heat up to 70 and toast myself while I do some writing. Because Aloha Friday it is, the very last one of the year and my fingers need an activity to heat up.

So here it is a few days before New Years. Friends, family, the media, in memoriam tributes all look back on the past year and remember. The memories are more apt to consist of the negative aspects of what has occurred. The holidays are sometimes a distraction for thinking of grievous moments or they can make some of these events overwhelmingly sad. Having lost my Dad last summer, this holiday was a tough one. Getting out some of his favorite decorations from boxes labeled with his handwriting, I would find myself blubbering in the basement, unable to stop. Other times I would drive by his condo and memories of both my parents at Christmas time would completely envelope me and I would well up again. I can look back months ago when the pain in my shoulder started and continues to this day. I will remember this year as the one I said good-bye to my beloved PT Cruiser who became too unsafe to drive. A car with a soul, she was cherished for 17 ½ years. Some of my son and daughter’s friends wrote to tell me they remembered when I purchased her and how much I loved her. I can look back at the craziness that has ensued in our country , the hate, the anger and the frustration. But then the vision of a pink pussy hat pops into my brain and I smile. I then start to remember all the beautiful times 2017 brought to my life. My husband retired and after 40 years of living the life of a busy cardiologist , we began to finally have the time to spend with family and friends. We were able to spend Christmas away from home for more than a couple of days for the first time in decades and it was even more special since it was my Dad’s last Christmas (2016).

I wanted to do a nostalgia tour in March, starting in my Dad’s birthplace, Redlands, California. We enjoyed more friends and family connections as we drove up the coasts of Oregon and Washington, ending in Spokane. I was able to share our whereabouts with my Dad by phone and that became one of the more special moments of the trip.

We made it to Eureka Springs , Arkansas with our dear friends who completely endeared us to this very special and enchanting town in the Ozarks.

We gathered dozens of family members once again in Old Orchard Beach where we reunite every summer, steaming lobsters, drinking wine and creating lots of laughter, taking grandkids to the rides, playing at the beach and sipping coffee on the veranda in the early morning.

In November, a Health Coaching conference brought us to Dallas and after three days of soul sister bonding with my coaching tribe, my husband and I spent more time with friends and then headed out to the Southwest, ending in California for Thanksgiving with our son and his family. What a year of ups and downs! My heart lights up when I read about all the wonderful times and I choose to let myself feel grateful, especially being able to be with my granddaughters so often. Our western forays always include visiting these two little ones, making it the most important highlight of our trips.

Now I look to 2018 as one of tremendous growth for myself, my husband and my coaching business. I will hold all your hearts in mine as we stretch ourselves to feel, move, express, grow and empower us to becOMe the best versions of ourselves. After over 35 years in Cardiac Care and Rehabilitation, my focus is on Heart Health and Creating Your Own RX for Well-Being. I want people to stop giving over their power to others and be fully engaged in EMPOWERING themselves to embody the highest experience in Mind, Body and Spirit Wellness. Together we can help each other heal and like pebbles in the pond, we can ripple out to others, creating a stronger, healthier community and world. My mantra for 2018 is EMPOWERMENT! What will you choose to be your mantra? From my heart to yours, stay warm and Happy New Year! Make it a great weekend and see you in 2018! Aloha!

Happy Hulaween!

Hula girl jackolanternHappy Halloween everyone!  Tonite goblins, ghosts, witches and super-heroes will knock on doors for goodies, all having fun being someone or something else. Costume wearing got me thinking about how we can all be actors as we dress up in crazy outfits once in awhile.  It gives us a chance to play, pretend and be another entity, escaping from our real selves.  Reminds me of the multiple personality syndrome where one person exhibits several different personalities, at times each having different physical abilities or disease processes.  How can your body be diabetic in one personality but not in another? Can wearing a costume be a source of healing for us?  If research on facial expressions and correlating bloodwork can reveal what we do on the outside can affect us inside, what kind of person could we be that would heal our insides? To be someone who personifies freedom, fun, laughter and well-being might be a hidden Halloween gift we can all give to ourselves.  Who in your fantasies, storytellings, book characters or real heroes would you think optimize the best you could be?  Dress up as one of them, tonite and more often if you need to and FEEL what it is like to be a healthy whole being! Sounds like a fun way to prescribe treatment to me.  It would be a Halloween connection to our inner doctor. How about it? Have a fun and safe evening and enjoy the little ones but think of what costume you could render up to feel the best you can be! Exercise your inner Aloha spirit, today and everyday.  Have a great evening! With a Halloween Hug,  Hulaween Girl

Love cOMing hOMe?

 

Instagram and Blog photo of fairy home

 

 

It is Mindful Monday everyone and yesterday I watched a Super Soul Sunday where Oprah was interviewing Jeff Weiner, former owner of Linked In, now CEO. Listening to this brilliant executive whose primary focus in business is mindfulness and compassion, he knows that in order for a company to become not only a wonderful and productive place to work, it is a place where you inspire others to be better by example. The one sentence that really characterized Weiner was, “ I love going to work every day and I love coming home every night”. My now retired husband lived a similar way so I related this to him and he said, “ I liked going to work every day, but I LOVED coming home every night. Wow. Of course I know his family always came first. Even when he was on call every other night, he was home for dinner, bathed the babies, and together we put them to bed. This is what life should be; practicing compassion while serving others in a job we like/love and coming hOMe to a place of gratitude and appreciation, even if you live alone.

A practice of compassion and mindful living starts with self-love and self-compassion.   When we learn to honor and take care of ourselves, from our physical bodies to our minds and spirits, we can then serve others in the most compassionate way. We can help others becOMe who they have always been, by nurturing their intuitiveness and coaching them to find their own truth, enabling their continued growth and evolution. Most of us fear change to such a degree that it paralyzes us to move toward the exact thing that will make us grow. A coach gives us baby steps, building courage and confidence in a compassionate way that helps us find our way to what we truly desire. Together they can mindfully navigate the ways that have blocked you or prevented you from practicing the self-compassion one needs to live the life they desire and deserve.   Imagine waking up each day with the anticipation of being in the life you designed and every evening being filled with gratitude for what you have and what lies ahead.

On this Mindful Monday, whether you are working or retired, can you set the intention to do something you love every day? Take care to serve yourself, then others, so tonight at the end of the day, you can say, “ I love cOMing hOMe.” Aloha.

Celebrating the Chance to Begin Anew.

 

 

healing words image

Shana Tova everyone!

Tonite is Erev Rosh Hashanah and it is a time for family, candles, challah, apples and honey. The rituals that mark this holiday are filled with the bittersweetness and the circle of life.  As we mark the end of the lunar Hebrew year 5777, we are reminded of how our behavior, attitudes, intentions and connections have served others and ourselves these past twelve months. This holiday gives us a chance to look back, take note of what was healing in our lives and what was not.  Tradition is we repent for our sins as well as those of others and we ask for forgiveness of any wrongdoing so that we may begin anew, slate wiped clean and ready to start over.  I choose to use the Hawaiian philosophy of Ho’oponopono  which says, ” I am sorry, Please forgive me, I love you, Thank you” to heal myself as well as others.  It is a prayer some native  Hawaiians use each night when we ask ourselves, ” Am I Pono?”, meaning, did I do what was right today? Did I say or write a healing word,  use a healing gesture or facial expression, connect to someone’s soul or my own? This way, each day is a chance for renewal, to begin again and to serve in a healing way. This holiday begins with the celebration of a new year, a sweet and good new year to come and stretches out for 10 days, culminating with the solemnity of Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, contemplation and prayer.  While the fast cleanses our bodies and our minds, it leads the way inward, nurturing our souls.  We ceremoniously remember our loved ones who have passed and this year I will stand for Mourner’s Kaddish once again, this time for my beloved Daddy, who left this realm in July.  We will stand hungry for peace, for compassion, for justice, for equality, for a better world and a better year.  And then, as the darkness begins to usher in the end of day, the lightness of our bodies, weights lifted off our minds and souls, starts to shine within, void of cloudy thoughts, emotions, feelings and our cleansed souls light the way to a new year.  I will be mindful of gratitude for the love of my family and friends and the blessings that are bestowed on all of us each day. May all of you be inscribed in the Book of Life and enjoy a beautiful, soul-full, sweet and healthy New Year. Shana Tova.

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