Aloha Friday

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!

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

Why so many Hurricanes?

Happy Aloha Friday everyone!

There seems to be a plethora of hurricane activity the last few weeks, one after another spiraling their way in paths of shell-1186245_640devastating destruction. The spiral shape has always intrigued me since it is the shape of the universe, the shape of ferns, flowers, snails, sacred geometry and more.  It can signify continual change, holistic growth, surrender, release and it symbolizes the spiritual journey. So what have all these hurricanes come to tell us? I have mused on the bigger picture that might be happening in the world around us.  Are these massive churnings and storms reminding us we are ALL on this collective journey in the Evolution of the Universe?  Are these magnified spirals inviting us to go inward ourselves and see the connection we have to all things? The recent events in our country have been churning alright and the Harveys and Irmas are a massive indication there is a bigger picture to be observed.  We are in the middle of a unprecedented shift in energy and consciousness and these storms are our giant slap in the face. If one of the meanings of the spiral is to surrender and release, maybe we all must keep our intentions on the big picture and surrender to the little details that take us away or distract us from our larger path of life.  On this ALoha Friday as we think of our connections to mind, body, and spirit, what does the spiral shape mean to you? I know one thing for sure, the only constant in life is the promise of continual change.  Are you on the path to the best version of yourself? When we allow life to be our teacher and our practice to becOMe, we connect to everything alive. Every spiral in nature is a reminder to surrender our old beliefs and grow into our new ones.  Let the nature of these giant nature spirals bring us greater awareness that life never stays stagnant. “Be the change you want to see in the world”. For those of you who are close to the spirals, have faith, we are all in this together. Stay safe and strong. ALoha and love, Ceseli

Life’s Lessons for Well-Being.

Happy September 1st on this Aloha Friday! Every year when September begins, I think back to the start of school fobacktoschool1r my children. Remember the first day of Kindergarden and watching your children get on the bus? They were so excited and the mom’s are all holding back the tears. The years fly by and all of a sudden, instead of shopping for crayons, scissors and workbooks, you are in Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond buying extra long mattress pads, under the bed containers, trash cans and hooks that stick on the wall.  When we dropped my youngest off at college, I was so jealous of the excitement of starting school again, taking courses and being stimulated academically with likeminded peers. I wanted to stay on campus, live in the dorm and become a freshman all over again. Since that was not possible, I went back to school nearer to my home, finished a degree, continued on for my Master’s and lately I have just finished my grad program of Transformational Health Coaching.  Now I look at Life as our Lifelong Teacher, giving us challenges and gifts as we navigate the hallways of mid-life and beyond, experiencing loss, grief, career changes, illness, grand-parenting while taking care of aging parents, pre and post retirement, boomerang kids and boomerang parents.  This passage of life used to promise ” the Golden Years” but for many, those years are illusive.  We used to see ourselves relaxing on beaches, traveling and visiting friends and family, no worries or angst about life. Instead we are caretaking parents or traveling back and forth to the nursing home or assisted living facility. Our children are challenged with making ends meet, raising their own brood and needing our help.  We find ourselves visiting Doctors more often,  adding more medications or supplements to our cabinets, having more massages, taking more hot salt baths filled with essential oils to soothe our tired and sore muscle aches because we overdid it in the yard and we are definitely repeating our parents old adages, it’s “sh…ty to get old!” But we are the Baby Boomers and the next generations are counting on us to show them the way, be their role models and age gracefully.You might hear yourself echo the voice of Mickey Mantle, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself!” Enter my expertise as a Health and Wellness Coach. It is never too late to go”back to school” and learn how to take better care of your body, your mind and your spirit.  I may have protocols for Weight Loss, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hormonal Issues for Men and Women, Adrenal Fatigue, etc. and I can weave in any of these health challenges into Health Coaching but my passion is bringing one’s entire self into optimal Well-Being.  This is done by looking at all aspects of life that may be stopping or slowing one down from feeling her BEST and being the BEST version of herself! After losing my surviving parent, my beloved Daddy this summer, I am more aware than ever of life’s short timespan. The time is NOW.  As we learn how  to eat better, lose some of our middles, have more energy to care for elders and play with our grandbabies and become mindful in our daily meditations, we can be the pebbles that drop into the pond of possibility, spreading out and helping all those we encounter, helping them feel the delight of being in the moment, increasing awareness of life’s daily blessings and joy that we can share with our families and friends. We will then be enjoying and  living the legacy we wish to leave behind. Make it a fabulous weekend everyone, let your connections be filled with ALoha!

 

Living Well is a Practice!

Breathing in the calm

Happy Aloha Friday everyone! What a week it has been since the incredible experience of an eclipse! I am already looking at the calendar for 2024 and planning on a totality view this time! I realized that I will be a little older and also rockin’ my 70’s at that point.  Aging becomes more evident as I get older, noticing the effects on my body, my skin, my joints. This week I was told I needed a basal cell on my forehead taken off ( oh those Hawaiian days in the sun), I started PT on a rotator cuff issue but only after I had tried chiropractic, acupuncture and over 10 hours of bodywork ( I am the Integrative Nurse Coach after all )and as a result, sleep has been elusive. I remember my mother always saying, “It’s shitty to get old”. I vowed never to say that and age gracefully, maintaining my body through exercise, my mind through lifelong learning, my soul with deepening friendships and romance after 40 years together with my lovie.  I like to think that stretching towards all of these goals is a practice.  Living well is a practice. It is no different from any other learned behavior whether it be mindfulness, meditation, exercising, eating well, etc.  We don’t have to strive for perfection as we change behaviors, we just have to commit to practicing new ways of being as we move toward our goals, no matter what they are.  As my  coach mentor Vanessa Broers has said, ” You don’t get to miss your life”! After losing my beloved Daddy last month, my mortality is ever present and I am acutely aware of life’s short timeframe.  More now than ever, I want to be more mindful of the life I get to experience, the foods I get to eat, the people I get to help through coaching and the awe I get to express as my gratitude guides me to Being Well.  Aloha Fridays are about connecting to something that soothes your mind, your body, your soul. This Friday,  can you connect to your Life Practice? What  brings you awe, joy, love, compassion, well-being and fun? Make it a good one guys, life is short. Aloha!

Have you Thanked Your Heart Today?

kiss on a heart

 

Happy Aloha Friday my friends!

 

Today marks the third Friday of Heart Health Month and Friday blogs are about connection to something concerning mind, body and spirit. The four Fridays this month have been devoted to mind, body, emotion and spirit, represented by the four chambers of the heart. Today we are appreciating the connection to our hearts, our beloved center of emotional expression.

 

How often do we refer our experiences to how it makes our heart feel? He sure is a “heart-throb”. That letter was “heartfelt”. My “heart is breaking”, I am ‘broken-hearted” and “my heart aches”. I could name a hundred of these that connect us to intense emotions we can feel from day to day and in a lifetime of experiences. We know our hearts can feel resonance and can experience entrainment, synchronizing heartbeat patterns with others. The HeartMath Institute has done fascinating research with this. Entraining can happen when we feel compassion and empathy and are able to feel what the other person is feeling.

In stress management using biofeedback, we can learn to slow down our heart rates, relax our muscles, breathing and blood vessels during the relaxation response. We can put ourselves into an emotional state from the kinds of thoughts we conjure up, linking feelings of joy, heartache, grief, separation, love , fear, etc. to heart health. These can be stressful states or feelings of eustress, or good stress. Our hearts don’t always know the difference. When a person suffers an extreme loss, especially an unexpected one, there is even a condition called “ the broken heart syndrome” where one can literally fall ill, sometimes fatally in response to intense grief. Many of us have personal stories of this or have heard of this happening. One such recent one may have been the death of Debbie Reynolds so soon after hearing of her daughter (Carrie Fisher)’s death.

 

The emotions and stress stirred up by recent political events are a cause for concern. Anger can be a positive way to move forward and fuel the energy needed for change but it can also reek havoc on our hearts. It can have the same effect of intense grief and cause our hearts to ache for another outcome. It is the feeling of deep disconnection that isolates us from three of life’s deepest human needs; love, safety and belonging. How do we mind and mend our hearts?

 

Making the mindful decision to take notice, slow down, take deep breaths and feel calm can be heartsaving, let alone heart healing. Take a yoga class, listen to music, go out and Dance! Reach out and be with a friend, a family member or a tribe who share your common values. Be present, hold space for each other as we try to navigate the sometimes uncharted waters. Let your hearts beat as one, feel the connection with yourself and with others. Keep a gratitude journal, your heart will thank you as you appreciate what hard work this little fist sized organ does for you as you put it through it’s workout. Turn this into a heart-centered meditation as you feel the energy and love your heart has for you and then turn that out into the world, letting it flow out like a pebble in a pond. We need this more than ever. Feel the intense joy in connecting with these other hearts, all beating in time with each other. Be the Aloha you wish to see in the world. See you next Friday for our final February Heart series where we will talk about Spirit and it’s connection to Heart Health. Have a great weekend everyone!

Minding the Heart!

Minding the Heart

Happy Aloha Friday Everyone! This is the second in a series of Heart Centered Aloha Fridays that honor Heart Month. I have metaphorically used the four chambers of the heart to represent mind, body, emotions and spirit.  Last week we talked about the physical heart and it’s connection to what we eat and the importance of balancing nutrients, specifically carbs and sugar.  This Friday we look at our thoughts and their energetic value to our heart health.  Behavioral medicine research has shown that our mind and how we think can have a huge impact on our health.  Our brain does not recognize “NOT” so when we say ” I do NOT want heart disease (or fill in the blank), our brain hears, ” I want heart disease”.  Our thoughts and intentions become our reality so paying mindful attention to our thoughts can contribute to the love and compassion we give to ourselves. Can you turn your self-talk into loving your heart? Feeling gratitude for the enormous workload your heart handles every second relaxes the arteries, keeps the blood flowing throughout our body so that every cell is nourished and filled with oxygen and love.  The connection between mind and heart is profound, each thought holding space for this magnificent organ to perform it’s perfect symphonic beat. Each morning, appreciate your heart, send it some love, set the intention for paying attention to how you think and what you say and the affect it can have on your heart. Being the Aloha we wish to see in the world reflects the kindness our hearts feel and express.  In the next two weeks, we will explore more metaphors, meditations and connections that can keep our hearts strong, appreciated and shared with the world.  Have a wonderful Aloha Friday and weekend and send your heart some love!

Wear RED for this Aloha Friday!

 

wear red

Happy Aloha Friday!

This month, February, as a Heart Health and Wellness Coach, I am dedicating each Aloha Friday blog to Heart Health.  Today is actually wear red day to honor heart health awareness for women.  Aloha Friday blogs have been about connection and today we dive into the connection we have to our hearts, the center of our compassion, love for ourselves and others, the seat of our souls. There are physically four chambers of the heart, two atria and two ventricles. From a holistic perspective, I like to divide the chambers into four areas of the heart representing body, mind, emotions and spirit.

This Aloha Friday we look at the body chamber of the heart and the care that needs to happen for our hearts to function well for us.  All the chambers connect to each other to symbiotically create a beautiful symphony that only not keeps the heart as a whole healthy, it creates the base for the rest of our body health and life health as well.  Nourishing our hearts starts with what  foods we choose to eat.  For years, we believed saturated fats and cholesterol were no-nos and an entire low-fat marketing campaign began which is still very prevalent today. Today with more research, we learn  the biggest inflammatory process leading to heart disease as well as other illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, auto-immune disorders, etc. is SUGAR! Yes, the little white refined, processed substance along with her sister powder, white flour is more addictive than cocaine or heroin.  We can’t seem to get enough of the stuff, from our love of carbs, bread, crackers, cookies, cakes and more to all the foods we eat at restaurants, take out fast food or a box of processed food we have in our cupboards.  There are hidden sugars everywhere and all the low-fat, gluten free products out there have added sugar in them to enhance the taste and to make us want more!  Sugar has caused us to be an obese nation, diabetes is an epidemic, even in children.  Children as young as 6 are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes.

There are great ways to kick the sugar habit and I address those in my talks I give locally.  The problem with testing glucose is even with normal blood sugar levels, insulin levels may be elevated and that causes the same endothelial and vascular damage that high sugar does. Make sure you ask for insulin levels as well as blood sugar levels when you are at your check-ups. The overdose of sugar in our system makes our pancreas work overtime and when all the sugar receptors are taken, the extra just turns to fat. That extra roll around your waist is most likely due to fat storage from sugar and carb consumption.  If you would like to learn more about the connection between your diet and heart health, you may benefit from a complementary consultation from me during the month of February. Together we can find a way to keep your heart healthy, reduce your risk factors for heart disease  in a fun, non-judgmental way so you can live a long and healthy life! You will learn easy ways to balance your blood sugar, gain energy, lose that roll and feel great.  You may contact me at ceselimilstein@gmail.com for more information and stay tuned for next Aloha Friday’s blog on the mind connection to our heart health. Have a wonderful WEAR RED day and weekend. Aloha!

 

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