Category Archives: Hope – Wellness

The Opportunity

What if I told you it was possible to find more time? More clarity? What if I could show you how to deal with stress better, as well as your emotions? What if I could show you tricks to organize your time better?

 

How would it feel to be more Compassionate (we all can do it, now can’t we)? How would it feel to think about your impact more with the planet and people, but just automatically and just as a habit? I can show you that being TRULY NATURAL isn’t hard or expensive and is actually easier and cheaper than we’ve been programmed to believe.

 

What if all of this were possible and were within YOU?  Can you imagine being able to care for others, and be more connected to them? DEEPLY connected? Because in order to be more Compassionate, we need more time, we need to know how to get to the truth, and we need to have credible resources at our fingertips.

 

With internal calm and balance, it’s easier to deal with emotions. When we can deal with emotions properly, starting over isn’t so hard.

What if I could challenge you to find that balance within you, and learn how to decipher fad from fact?

 

I know…you’re caring for families, friends, and are already over-extended. You can’t find time to cook dinner, so how can you devote time to a new skill? How do you know this will even work for you? Will it be worth your investment of time and money?

 

You’re probably asking who I am. Maybe you’re curious about my credentials, or you just wanna know how I got to this point. First, let me start with a few things I remember clearly about my childhood:

  • I wanted to be a vet
  • I was cooking for my parents and their friends at an early age, and loved to be in the kitchen
  • I was always in trouble for asking too many questions
  • I loved to research and write reports
  • I loved to read mysteries and parables and create mandalas from kitchen utensils

 

I’m an urban girl from a metropolis area of the south (like west-coast-of-Florida-south), who’s systematically moved north to find the land of her dreams. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, a Master of Arts in Holistic Wellness, am a certified Usui Reiki Master Practitioner and Elder Greenfire Wisewoman.

The lil ray-o-sunshine, trouble-maker, fully in action! <3

Second, I’ve spent over 20 years researching natural and alternative forms of healing. I’ve spent that time also watching trends come and go, and the same trends given new life under a new name. Think “amino sweet,” which is just another name for aspartame—a fresh marketing gimmick for a highly dangerous product.

 

Because of all my research, I’ve vowed to stick with tried, true, and more logical, scientific remedies. I’ve also spent over a decade working in health insurance, auto/home insurance, have worked for pediatric gastroenterologist’s as well as chiropractors, and have fought on both sides of medical claims to get Dr’s paid or not paid. I’ve seen all sides of our sick care model, and understand how and why they work.

 

My calling wasn’t a magical lightbulb that went off one morning. I didn’t awaken under a tree, knowing my purpose. In fact, I fought long and hard to AVOID being here. I’m an only child, a right-brained introvert who loves to read, write, play board games, and cook.

 

I had such terrible stage fright that in high school, I skipped a full semester of private vocal lessons, in an attempt to avoid my senior recital. (I went to an art school magnet program in high school, where my focus was classical vocal training. A senior recital was mandatory from Day One.) I almost didn’t graduate the program.

 

In college, I nearly failed the ONE acting class I needed to get my degree. I hated being on stage, and never understood how people wanted to be teachers, public speakers, or actors. I nearly vomited before every performance and no matter how many performances there were throughout the years, I never could adjust to the sheer terror of it.

 

When I share this story with people, they’re rightfully puzzled. I’ve been teaching about wellness in its various forms for nearly a decade. I’ve taught cooking demos at libraries, local farms, and at organic café’s. I usually teach complete strangers, and never know how big of an audience I’ll have in front of me. But a few things are true about me:

  • I LOVE talking about nutrition, energy healing, herbs, essential oils, and skincare. I get such an intense rush of energy after teaching, that it takes me a couple of hours to ground my energy.
  • I LOVE connecting with people. Deeply connecting.
  • I LOVE offering complementary alternatives to standard western medicine.
  • I LOVE watching that lightbulb go off, when I explain how simple nutrition is, and how people can easily avoid the confusion from the media, friends and family.
  • I LOVE researching various ailments and cures, and finding a pattern within it all.

So how can I do this, yet have such gripping stage fright?

 

Simply put, my passion for healing is greater than my fear of the stage.

 

My mission, or calling, is to help people cut through all of the confusion they see and hear about being healthy. I do this because of my own experiences of loss and confusion.

 

I want people to be able to do what I do—get the diagnosis from western medicine, and responsibly follow a Holistic and natural, sensical and empowered existence.

 

Wait, wait…lemme explain what I mean by “responsibly follow a Holistic existence.”

 

I have seen countless schemes and scams in both western and alternative medicine fields. Wherever money is involved, there will be scams. (It reminds me of the end of “Clue,” when Tim Curry mentions “Capitalism…what can be more American than that?”)

 

I’ve seen people with cancer get a ray of hope of healing, because they’re told a foot bath can detox their system and cure them. I’ve also seen drugs prescribed for one disease, that will actually CAUSE a different disease that patient is trying to regulate. The infamous Lipitor was prescribed for someone who’s diabetic…guess what one of the side effects of Lipitor is? You guessed it…it’s diabetes.

 

There is a middle road between medicine and nature, and I’m here to help you find it.

 

Over the last 20 years, I’ve been confused.  I’ve lost my loved ones to diseases, after spending years caring for them and giving them solid, sound advice.  I’ve had my own health battles. I’ve been frustrated by the information/misinformation out there.

 

I needed alternatives my Dr’s couldn’t give me, so I spent hours researching, and creating my own cures. People soon began asking me to explain how I got those alternatives and I started teaching them.

 

Next week, I’ll explain 2 steps that can give you back anywhere from 7-24 hours in a single week.

 

How can I promise that? Because after years of research, these steps have given me hours of free time and clarity. So stay tuned, and do me 2 favours, if you would? (Pretty please?)

1) Leave a comment or question on this blog, and lemme know what you think. If that’s too much, feel free to email me, and I’ll respond to you there. When you do, I’ll email you a free little gift, as a thank you!

2) Share this on social media, and see if your friends or family have questions or comments. The more I can deliver, the faster we start a true Health Revolution.

Creative Visualization, Vision Boards, Dreaming…

Whatever you prefer to call it, it’s important to have a dream.

But I have to be honest for a moment. The whole LOA “Law of Attraction” movement irks the hell out of me. It seems that every self-proclaimed guru or life coach I’ve known, barely has what they desire in life. They typically tend to be the unhappiest people I know, once you get to know them deeply. It’s not about material wealth…I’m talking life purpose and true happiness. They’re lonely, hate their jobs, or where they live. And openly express it, though it’s never direct (I’ve learned a lot of them are careful manipulators with their wording, as well).

Let me be clear…not every person who teaches it or talks about it, is a fake. As with any trend, you have to weed through a lot of people to get to the truth.

I’m also not trying to knock down the movement of positive thoughts and reinforcement, nor at the process of looking at your thoughts. These are very important tools in your self-empowerment and growth. I admittedly however, listen with less intensity to people who mention the oh so popular “Secret.” By now, you know me—I detest trends. That book/movement started a trend of coaches who have done little in their own lives, but wish to coach you for a pretty penny, on how to run your life.

A few courses or a weekend at a seminar, and we’re all experts in a topic.

The truth is,

  • It’s not about analyzing every single thought you have (exhausting!)
  • No one has time to literally focus every single thought on their goals (are you being present with the person you’re with right now, or just thinking of your goals?)
  • There’s a lot of copy and pasting going on out there (an influx of unoriginal memes. Create and share your own content, at least SOME of the time, until you have a library built, so you share nothing but your own thoughts. Add something TO the post, as well—your own opinion about it, or a deeper context. Don’t just hit the “share” button.)
  • Don’t be too honest on social media-be PC, or you’re not being supportive (no…some things are just not ethical. If you see it, express it without fear. Our whole being PC movement has turned us into a society that accepts everything, and walks on egg shells. I’m here to tell you, some things are simply not acceptable, and I give you permission to speak out.)
  • Affirmations are a powerful tool to be used all the time (do you REALLY have time to write all those affirmations, put them in your phones, and keep chanting them all day? Are we ever actually LIVING our lives, or are we attached to phone reminders and sticky notes all over windows, mirrors and fridges!?! If you leave notes in the same location without moving them, you stop looking at them. Free the clutter of your walls and scheduled reminders and just LIVE.)
  • If bad things happen, think about your negative thought patterns (laying blame much? We all have bad things happen—it’s not always YOUR fault. Some things are simply unavoidable. However, you CAN control how you react to any given situation.)
  • There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, too (for example, don’t focus on the negative because it attracts more, but look at your thought patterns. If those two statements both hold true, looking and analyzing thought patterns gives them power and attention.)

So what IS the truth? I certainly don’t know. And I certainly don’t proclaim to be a genius about it, nor do I post about this topic very much. But I know this is a topic we need to think about more, and not just accept and regurgitate as truth because of some meme running around social media.

If you’re still with me and I haven’t hit too many nerves, let me share what’s worked for me throughout all of these years.

Since 2004, I’ve practiced Creative Visualization (a book/audiobook I’ve mentioned previously, by Shakti Gawain). This was prior to the “Secret” mega-launch…one of my pet peeves about this book is that it clearly wasn’t a secret, because many of us were already doing it. I’m actually fairly certain that every popular self-help guru of the 90’s was talking about this practice (think Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Steven Covey, Jack Canfield, etc. etc.).

I’m not saying repeated thought patterns don’t create more of the same. I know people MISERABLE with their situations, and I hear nothing but complaints and gossip from them. I know people with “black clouds,” and can clearly see there’s a connection between what they think, and how their lives are transforming. But there’s a lot more involved than just aligning yourself with positive affirmations, to create a better life.

Since I’ve been telling you about our journey to Maine, I should put you in a little time machine, and explain how we got here. And what I KNOW to be true about the Power of Intention.

You can’t just create a vision board, put it on your wall, and magickally get what you want. You have to actually WORK that goal. I had a friend who put hers on the fridge, and gave it reiki daily. THAT is giving it power, focusing on it, and checking in with your goals. That works!

No highly successful person just lists their goals, and puts it somewhere to be seen occasionally. They take steps towards those goals. They constantly review their goals and adjust as needed.

Things happen. Problems arise. Trouble comes in and out of your life. You must be able to adjust, yet stay the course. You must face fears (we all have them, by the way…success comes from moving despite those fears).

There’s a list in my phone, and it accompanies a phrase I learned a long time ago: “This or something better.”

The list is of all the traits we’d love our house to have. Our FINAL house, where we settle in for the rest of our lives. We take features from our current house that we like, put a positive spin on things we don’t like (instead of “no loud traffic,” we say “peace and quiet”), and we then add to it. With each house we move to, the list grows.

I check the list in my phone every so often, but not too frequently. We usually have at least a year-long lease or longer, if the house fits most of the qualities we want. The list gets attention, but not so much attention that I’m distracted from other goals. Quarterly reviewing is ideal in my world, and works best for a lot of goals, per self-improvement experts.

So how did it work out this time, so I can show you the outcome of this process? Here’s how the list looks exactly in my phone, with checks if we got it, as well as notes.

Next house:

Current amenities:

  • Dishwasher (damn! This was a sad one to lose, but some things aren’t THAT important!)

Washer and dryer

Rent about $1500 or less!

  • Jobs that pay same or more than current (this is a work in progress, tbd!)

√ Access to ppl and locations for our goals (part of why we chose to live near Bangor!)

√ Close to a town, but in the country (10-15 from a popular town)

√ 3 br, 1-1/2 baths (we got 2 full baths, this time!)

√ Allows pets

√ Large yard to garden in and knowledge how to keep away animals who feed on it

√ Large kitchen (well, it’s open, though not large! And the pantry is larger than previously, so it’s a wash, in my eyes.)

√ Bath tub (we now have 2!)

√ Storage for pandora stuff / pantry–bigger work area in it!

√ Room for rob to have a studio

√ Live near water

New amenities:

√ Garage we can use

√ Close enough to work to bike or walk (this is a work in progress, tbd!)

√ Privacy from neighbors and traffic (we’re on an acre, with trees on ALL sides)

  • No Mosquitos so we can enjoy a firepit (not sure about this yet, since we moved in winter)

√ Lots of trees and nature

  • Fireplace

√ Skylight, sunroof or enclosed porch (skylight in the bathroom and an open porch in the back)

√ Jacuzzi or room for one (partial success…our master tub is jacuzzi-sized, though not an actual jacuzzi)

√ Kitchen faces east (partial success…it faces east, but there’s no window!)

√ Large trees-at least one that’s climbable and one that’s swingable

√ Close to places to go for white water rafting/canoe/kayak

√ Lower utilities so we have less that *has to* go out, and we can save more/do more

So what happens now? I adjust the list (current and future), and get more specific on some of them. We got a kitchen facing east, but I forgot to mention I wanted a window on that side, so I’d have natural lighting.

To summarize, here’s what I practice, when it comes to major goals and Creative Visualization:

  1. Create a space for your goal. A piece of paper, a vision board, whatever it is that works for you, that you will USE frequently. Not just SEE frequently, but something you’ll USE.
  2. Close your eyes and fully see that goal. Own it, love it, and attach emotion to it. If you can’t feel what’s it like to have it, you can’t align your entire being to that vision.
  3. Be specific of what it takes to get there. Brendon Burchard explains that highly successful people list the 5 next steps needed to achieve your goal. This is from his recent book, “High Performance Habits,” which you can get on Amazon, or his website. I’m focusing on this technique now, and I’m sure it will work. You’re constantly giving that goal attention, and are working on the next step. It’s a checklist, which I simply adore! It also reinforces step one, where you USE the space you created for your goal.
  4. Don’t be afraid to change the goal. We can get stuck in what we think is right or ideal, but we humans don’t have all the answers, despite what our Ego wants us to believe. Remember that phrase I mentioned earlier, that I use frequently? “This or better.” If you’re afraid to change the goal…well, you may just miss the “better” you’re being shown.
  5. Honor the process! We often forget gratitude for all the struggles we have. Remember when I told you I was grateful for every box I packed, kicked, and how we unpacked them like xmas presents? It’s my way of showing gratitude for all I have. There have been times Rob and I separately didn’t have anything—we honour that we now have so much “stuff,” we kick it or run into it when packing it. All we have is such a blessing and testament to how far we’ve come.

In closing, don’t just accept a few affirmations or a vision board, and think it’ll get what you want. You have to work on your goals consistently, have a process, and not keep it a secret. Share your dreams!

PS Leave a comment about one small dream you have (or a big one, if you’re not afraid to share it here), or a question on how to achieve it with the process I’ve outlined above.  <3

Planning Is Dreaming, Dreaming is Planning

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.

 

I recently saw that a connection of mine had been to Ireland one year and Greece another. There was a part of me that longed for that same storyline, because Rob and I have a passion for travel. We went to Italy in 2009, a cruise to the Caribbean in 2010, London, Edinburgh & Ireland in 2012, and Amsterdam in 2013. We have a much larger list of places to visit in the future.

But that’s it for our overseas travel. Since 2013, we’ve set our sights and travel itch on places in the US. Not for fun, admittedly—for research. We went upstate in 2015, Philly in 2016, Seattle/Snoqualmie in June 2017, and Maine in October 2017. While these were vacations, they had a very specific purpose of scouting out territories and lifestyles/cost for moving purposes.

Obviously, Maine was the one we fell in love with, and the one that resonated with us most. “Vacationland,” it says on our plates. “The way life should be,” on a shot glass he got me for xmas. (I collect shot glasses and salt & pepper shakers when we visit most places. Ironically, we somehow forgot to get one when we visited in October, and I assume it’s because we knew we’d live here soon).

Those Vacationland and The Way Life Should Be are accurate slogans for this state, as I’ll explain shortly.

The point is, we imagined, dreamed, and hoped we could get out of the rat race of NY for years. And as you can see, we compromised our travel plans and life, to make that happen. We saved instead of travelling, so we could move here and not have to dive right into “the grind” of work and not settling in at home. We have visions and ideas of what we want to create in the Stillness here.

We’re beyond ecstatic about the possibilities that lie ahead.

But that all required a sacrifice of sorts, which hit me last night. Perhaps it was the full moon. Perhaps the silence that envelopes here. Either way, for a moment, I was sad WE weren’t doing all the recent overseas travelling. We love to experiment with the foods of foreign lands, immerse in their cultures, visit museums and art galleries, and explore the terrain of other regions. It hasn’t been easy to always sacrifice those urges for keeping your nose to the grindstone. But it’s necessary, if you want to succeed.

I quickly let go of the thoughts of the Ego when I questioned her (my Ego is named Cybil, if I haven’t mentioned that tidbit to you prior), and fell asleep. I remembered the goals, the vision we have, and set to enjoy the journey of Now. I reminded myself that we didn’t make actual sacrifices, per se…we simply traded urges. Temporary travel pleasure for permanent happiness and Soul fulfillment.

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

And plan we did.

However, no matter how much you plan, things are never exactly as you expect. It’s now January 2018, and a new year is upon us. Rob and I officially did what we set out to do (move), faster than we expected (April 2018 was our original goal date).

As I sit here writing this to you, 3 ravens (My Three Ravens as I called them, and yes, a reference to the 60’s show of a similar name!)—well, the 3 ravens are eating the food I left out for the deer. We saw deer tracks 2 weeks ago, so we put food in the area of their tracks. We’ve put food out there twice now, and they’ve yet to return. You can’t plan Mother Nature—it’s why I have such reverence for her. She teaches me patience and detachment. I love my new pet ravens, so I don’t really balk all that much. The point is, I’m learning to let go of what I “think” is the right way.

We knew life here was much more peaceful, and we knew life was more rural. We knew there were 1.3 million people in the whole state of Maine vs. 8 million on just Long Island. We knew there was a heavy veggie population/health calling here in the Bangor area, because we had done the research prior to visiting last October. We knew life would be a lot different for us Urban/Suburban folks.

We didn’t know HOW different it was here.

We left Long Island mostly because it was overpopulated. As aging introverts, we understand more and more, how little external sensory input we can handle. There was constant noise in our house from traffic, neighbors, ambulances, fire trucks, police, and people racing cars and motorcycles down the road. No matter what time I left for work in the 6am hour, there was a steady stream of traffic on the highway, in both directions. We couldn’t enjoy a peaceful walk in nature easily—we had to drive somewhere and even then, there was a mess of people. And we didn’t even live in a city!

The lights and sounds in the grocery stores, the constant borage of texts, calls and emails…it just became too much. We wanted a simpler life, where people were genuinely more connected to each other, and were supportive. We wanted a TRUE community feel, and not the trend of “networking.”

We wanted “the way life should be.”

And here’s what we’ve found, in the last 2 weeks of being here:

  • Local is the norm here. In every store, there are a plethora of local merchants. I’ve posted quite a few pics on Instagram of local beans we’ve found, local breads, drinks, fruits and veggies. It seems that every shop has local merchants of some sort, and there are community shops for homestead farming, local artists, meeting rooms for office or party functions, record/movie stores for local connecting, and so much more. Local IS a way of life here. Mainers are damn proud of their community, and it is not a hidden fact!
  • There’s a healthy living movement here. We’ve had NO trouble finding plant-powered foods, and may have found TOO many options! As we do with any place we travel to, we like to see what the food fare is like. You can gauge a lot about a community by the foods they eat. There’s a lot of organic, plant-powered and homestyle restaurants within a 10-minute drive. There are a few of the normal chains, of course—there is a McD’s, Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and Ruby Tuesday on a nearby main road. For every one of those places, there’s 4 local restaurants or small franchises (with one or two other locations within the state).
    This is what we loved about Long Island, when we moved there in 2005…not a lot of food chains. We’ve been lucky to experiment in different stores with bagels and tofu cream cheese, burrito joints that ask if you want cheese and sour cream, and almond or soy milk in every coffee shop. All these options make it VERY easy to find convenience food, without having to cook. And you know me…I like to control what I’m eating and eat very specifically…so all these blessings are rather bittersweet!
  • People are friendly. Damn friendly. When we opened bank accounts, we had a lovely chat with the manager. She explained it was considered rude here (especially to her), to not say hello to someone, as you pass them on the street. While we haven’t encountered a ton of people out all the time (it’s -2 degrees here often lately, with lower “feels like” temps), most of the people we encounter in the stores make eye contact and smile. I get into playful arguments with elderly people who hold the door open for ME. Where am I!?! As an introverted person who earned her wings in NY, making eye contact and saying hello is foreign. It is admittedly though, a literal personal goal I had years ago—to be able to be that openly friendly. Sometimes your goals take time to manifest.😊
  • The trash process here is rather interesting. In our town, you buy a sticker for a recycling bin, and you don’t sort any of it. All your boxes, plastic, glass, etc. go in one bin, and is picked up every other Thursday. You buy the recycling bin sticker and trash tags at the town office or certain local stores, where you get your license plates. The tags go on your garbage bag, and cost $2 each…they won’t pick up trash without tags on it. My guess is that this money pays the trash collectors, instead of our taxes. The tax rate here is only 5.5%, so perhaps that’s how they make up for the budget difference.

    I also speculate paying for the garbage tags detours people from wasting too much. When you pay for your bags or tags, you certainly consider what you’ll be wasting. The town next to us buys their garbage bags, so life isn’t much different there!

    It’s challenging to know if the garbage has come yet, in fact…we put it out a little late in the day, because we’re not used to the whole bag-tag process, and well…who wants to go out at -11 degrees, first thing in the morning? It’s hard to tell if they’ve picked up yet, because most people around here don’t HAVE a lot of garbage on the side of the road. Unfortunately, with the move, we do have a good amount of non-recyclable packing material. Soon, we’ll settle in to our one bag per week, with lots of recycling…until then, we pay for extra tags!

  • The DMV is called the BMV here, is in a mall, and doesn’t handle your car plates and registration. The town handles that (where you get the recycling sticker and tags mentioned above), and you bring THAT information to the BMV to get your license. Never mind that when we walked into the BMV, we were in and out in 20 minutes max, and everyone was friendly. Yes…friendly. And only 3 couples in the waiting room? Where was the mayhem? Why did the clerk offer to help us as soon as we walked in? It’s almost like an episode of Twilight Zone.
  • The holiday gift hunt was also quite…interesting. We went out on xmas eve to get stocking stuffers for each other, as a last-minute thought. Let’s say that we were very nervous about that concept, as well as returning something at Bed, Bath and Beyond (BBB), the day after the holiday. I worked management in retail quite a few years when I lived in Florida—in malls AND at BBB. I know what the holiday traffic is like in a city. We took a deep breath and mentally prepared ourselves for the mayhem.

    It never occurred.

    There were literally 20 people in the entire mall, and less than that at BBB. Where was everyone!?! With family? Are they just better prepared here? Could there really be that few people in the city of Bangor?

  • Snow plowing and snow traffic are quite pleasant here. We’re in a very rural area, about 7-10 minutes from the city life, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.. We knew our landlord plowed our driveway, but had no idea what the streets were like. We had over a foot of snow on xmas, as best as we can speculate. The plows waited until the evening to head out and clear our driveway and roads. No one was ON the roads, and who needs obsessive plowing on a holiday? Why plow, when the snow is coming down all day long? The plows have sand they drop, as well…when I lived in NC in the mid-90’s, it was salt—not so good for cars. I was glad to see it was changed to sand, when I moved to NY. I was NOT glad to see how often the plows headed up and down the streets, however. Most of the time, the truck plow was scraping bare roads, sparking and chewing up the already gashed streets. There’s still snow on our streets a bit, though we haven’t had any snow since that day. People here just deal with driving in it, and are more careful.

    There aren’t a ton of people on the roads here, and they drive more carefully in snowy conditions. We’ve yet to hear anyone really discuss the weather, nor complain about it. It snows here. A lot. We’re in the northern part of America. Life is life, and you just accept what’s here. There’s no complaining about a snow flurry or storm. I’m not saying they LOVE snow here—they do get tired of it, with close to 60” falling annually in some areas. But I’ve only heard comments on how they get tired of it, but still think it’s beautiful. There hasn’t been any actual complaining They are a bit surprised at the frigid temps so soon, but they aren’t complaining about it.

  • We don’t use the blinds or curtains here. At all. You remember the holiday picture I sent of the backyard for the holiday, and our front yard looks very similar. There aren’t any street lights on our road, and the only actual light comes from our garage, which apparently has a solar-powered outside light (which we’ll figure out how to disable at night, I would imagine). We enjoyed a beautiful full moon, Orion’s Belt, and a load of other constellations, because of the lack of light pollution here. We don’t have a lot of traffic going by, despite being on a “busy” connector road. We are set back from the street, covered in different types of evergreens, and are slightly sunken down from the road. We went from having blinds and curtains drawn 24/7 to evergreens, wild turkeys, ravens, and deer tracks.

 

This is the life we wanted, but could never have imagined. If you want to see more pics of the life we’ve found here, check out my Instagram profile here. You don’t have to be a member to see the pics, but there’s a lot there, that I can’t show you here.

As the U2 song goes, “a place that has to be believed, to be seen.” That’s what we did…a lot of believing. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

When you think your dreams are crazy or impossible, remember this blog, or at least part of my words or journey. A lot of our wishes on our next house were met unexpectedly, and by surprise. Some things, you just can’t plan. We’ve held images in our heads for years (Creative Visualization, as it’s called). It takes time, so trust the process and enjoy the journey. Please keep dreaming, planning, and never let someone else’s dream become yours.

It’s Been A Whirlwind…

First, please accept a huge moment of gratitude from me.

If you’re still with me and are reading this, you’ve put in effort I never expected. For that and so much more, I’m moved and am deeply inspired. You never know what to expect from friends, when you switch paths.

Take a moment and take a deep breath in, feeling the gratitude I’m sending to you.

I really mean that. Please do that for just a moment.

Thank you!

Now back to the journey from NY to ME.

Moves are funny little incidents in our lives. However, I’m not sure the move itself is the reason it’s one of the 5 biggest stressors we can face in our lifetimes. I believe it’s what you lose and gain in the experience, that make it so stressful. And I also remember, not all stress is BAD stress. Some of what we face during a move is good stress.

Nonetheless, when you announce you’re moving, there are people bidding for your time, pulling you in a multitude of emotional and physical directions. You usually have the normal work routine you’ve always had and if you’re self employed like Rob and I are, those work routines are significantly increased. In order to take off a month from work to settle in to our new home, we knew we’d be putting in extra hours before the move.

Second, I want to keep you up to date with what I have learned through this move.

The mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspect of it all is a lot to think about, but I’ve condensed it a bit for you. Since I don’t have much time with you lately because of increased workloads, this is an easier way to let you in my head. And if you’ve read Julia Cameron’s “Artist’s Way,” you know journaling also clears the mind a bit. So this is partly for me, as it is also a note to you. I can only hope by the end of this that perhaps it’ll move, inspire, or teach you something you didn’t know.

That’s always my goal in sharing, after all…

THE MENTAL ASPECT

I’m still waiting for responses on shipping supplies from distributors, which puts a delay in me getting an accurate update to you on shipping meals. For that I apologize, but as you learn in business, patience is a virtue you must acquire. (It doesn’t naturally occur in my genetic makeup, in case you’re wondering…) Add a Mercury Retrograde into the mix, and expect delays of all types! 😉

Living with a house of boxes for almost a month can be rather frustrating. I’m not sure how people do this, to be honest. Rob and I usually unpack within 48 hours of moving max, because it’s so unnerving to not have access to things we regularly use. (I do understand there are circumstances that can’t be avoided sometimes, and boxes must stay packed in some situations.) During this transition, we’ve had to unpack boxes to get something we never expected to need. We have to step around boxes, and our house is a disheveled mess. I’m not as OCD or Type-A as I used to be, but humans by nature, appreciate order over chaos. It’s hard to see your belongings in boxes. It’s also a little panicky, when you think about physically loading and moving all those boxes and “will we have enough space on the truck?”

It’s easy to tell from our typical house setup that we have a lot of play things to look at and touch. We have games, mannequins and dolls (dressed and nekked). We have music systems in each room so we can play whatever our individual mood requires, without disturbing the person in the next room. Some rooms have ambient music playing continuously, so the cats are always bathed in soft, calming music. We have dim lighting—in other words, the house is lit by string lights—and we have lava lamps for additional mooding. It’s kinda like walking into a museum or antique store, as we’ve been told. I’ll send pics when they’re uploaded from the packed camera…

THE PHYSICAL ASPECT

As I said, or house is pretty much packed, thanks to Rob. The simple act of packing has increased the need for baths, which are soothing to the mind, soul—but most importantly, post-car accident back injuries. I’ve sprained and jammed toes on both of my feet recently, because of kicking boxes and metal corners on antique suitcases that were not where I expected them to be.

You forget that your mind automatically knows the space in a home and knows where things are. That is, until you move it (hence the bruised and sprained toes). Misjudged that space a couple of times!

Your whole sense of direction and equilibrium can and probably will be affected.

At the writing of this blog, I have unfortunately fallen slightly under the weather. I was lucky enough to be at work yesterday, and was able to have a smoothie with ginger, turmeric, berries, bee pollen, rice protein, wheatgrass, and black pepper. It was followed up with a ginger shot and a turmeric tea (both had fresh ginger and turmeric, water, black pepper, apple cider vinegar, and honey in different ratios). I also took NyQuil and a nap today. We’re moving next weekend—I really can’t be too sick for that process, knowing the drive and stress in store for us.

Because of my research background, I know 2 things…first, I can’t give up commitments I have this weekend like friends, an oil change/car check-up, and catering. Second, I also know I need to rest as much as possible. Did I feel guilty for taking a nap and not packing? Absolutely. Did I do it anyway, because I know better? Yes. Yes.

The human body is the most amazing and underestimated gift we have the pleasure of experiencing. When you push too hard, neglect it, or poison it, it does it’s best to maintain homeostasis as long as it can. Eventually if you don’t pay attention to warning signs (two sets of sprained toes and a prior torn foot muscle from 3 weeks ago), this lil body throws in the towel. I was hoping to avoid all the ill-feeling clients and co-workers lately and maintain my peak health, but alas. Not this time!

So…I relented to a day of snowy rest (the Universe really loves me—a good rain or snow storm always puts me in a place of rest, creativity, and peace). I know that pushing through this will either get Rob sick, or prolong my own suffering. Neither of those options are fair to anyone, and will not serve our move that happens in 7 days. So I rested, despite what my Ego wanted me to do. 

THE EMOTIONAL ASPECT

Your whole sense of direction and equilibrium can be affected. Yep, I repeated myself on purpose, if you caught that. It’s an important fact that bears repeating.

You have to accept that when people are moving, they can be a little shorter in temper. (“They” is specifically referring to myself. Luckily as I said in a recent blog, meditation has saved my ass from being a REAL crank!)

All your belongings are in storage of some kind, you have a million directions you’re pulled in, and all you want to do is get past it all and fully rest in a deep breath or two. You look through things you’re packing, and have often forgotten. I’m a minimalist of sorts, so I really only have things I use or need. I also enjoy purging A LOT, so this is a great excuse to see what I’m no longer emotionally attached to. It’s also a good time to clear out things I may have a negative attachment to, despite thinking the contrary.

Moving is a great way to finally free yourself of emotional baggage and people that you just need to quit. Some things and people just no longer serve you, and if no one’s told you before that it’s OK to leave, let me be the first. Paths change, and that’s a hard lesson I’ve learned over the last 2 years.

The array of emotions you’ll face during a move can feel like a whirlwind. You feel guilty about not seeing people, but you know you have to take care of yourself first, or else suffer more stress and make the move harder on yourself and your family. It’s funny, I just gave a quick presentation about how to maintain health through the holidays and emphasized the need to put on your air mask in a plane crash. “you know the cliché—you can’t save anyone else on the plane, if you don’t survive.”

So I swallow the guilt and take a few minutes here and there of “selfish time.”

THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT

It’s funny…I love Feng Shui, whether the Chinese or Vedic philosophy. I have a book called “Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui” by Karen Kingston. It’s been my guide through every move, though it admittedly stays on the shelf in between those moves. I typically draw a diagram of our new home, map the furniture according to this wonderful book, and plan with great detail.

Not this time.

This time, we haven’t even physically seen the house we’re moving to (pics and videos only), so I threw all caution to the wind. This move is a HUGE practice for me in the art of detachment, security, and being in the present moment. I decided not to plan furniture placement, and instead decided to wing it.

I’m practicing A LOT of gratitude. I’ve been in past situations where moves were forced involuntarily because of finances, or parental issues. I’ve had moves where there wasn’t much to move.

This time, I’m looking at all we have, with a different pair of eyes. We’ll be moving during the holidays, and that put a bit of a hold on gifts for this year. Instead of lamenting about that, we understand that every box we unpack, is a holiday present to ourselves. We have more than we truly need. I’m grateful for every box I kick and have to move around.

Finally, my promise to you…

Since you expressed concern about not seeing me again, fear not. Maine isn’t that far away, for starters. 450 miles, 7-9 hour depending on traffic and what route you take, and it’s *about* the same latitude as Rochester/upstate New York. I’ve maintained close friendships since middle and high school, though those lovely friends are still in Florida, and I’ve been in New York for the last 12 years. Despite not speaking to them as frequently as any of us would like, the channels of communication are always open.

In this day and age, fear of lack of communication is really kind of silly. We have far TOO MUCH access to people in my opinion, but a simple text or voice mail to say “hi” goes a long way. Neither of these should ever be underestimated. I have friends leave voice mails just to say they’re thinking of me or are driving past the house blowing kisses, and it deeply warms my heart. And they never expect a return call, text, email, or visit (which relieves A LOT of pressure off of my harried schedule). It’s the little things that make up big things.

We have emails, social media (I’m on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn), skype, facetime, cars, trains, planes, ferry’s, texts, calls, and so many ways to stay connected. Please don’t live in fear. I’m never too far away. My goal in escaping, is to create a life where I can be MORE connected to people. I know it seems crazy, but you know how hectic life is in New York, and you know the hours I keep. Most of the time, I can’t see people here on Long Island as much as I’d want to, anyway – yes, I’m talking about you! 😉

I still plan on creating programs and serving you, as I have for the last couple of years. If you ever intend on moving, never be fearful or let anyone bring you down. There are a multitude of responses you’ll get from people, based on their own experiences. As Don Miguel Ruiz says, never take them personally.

Follow your heart, follow your passions, An It Harm None. Serve with all your soul!

 

 

My White Blood Cell Nurses

This morning’s meditation involved a journey through my immune system. Ever done that? Keep reading, and I’ll explain the process…

I’ve managed to come down with a cold of some sort, and I have a lil trick I use for expediting the healing process. I haven’t had to use it in quite some time luckily, but the stress of the move and work finally caught up to me. If you’ve been reading my story for the last couple of weeks, you understand what I’ve been up to/up against.

What you may NOT know, is that I have an adorable tiny tattoo behind my right ear of a white blood cell wearing a nurse’s cap. Rob tattooed it on me several years ago, during one of my college courses (I’ll post a pic later, when we’re not in the midst of moving!). I became fascinated with how the white blood cells work and the intricate processes they perform. They deserved to be adorned on the outside of my body.

The tattoo’s a great conversation piece. It gives me a great excuse to explain the functions of white blood cells, should someone ever ask about the tattoo. In this instance, I just use it as a reason to give you unsolicited information about your body. (No worries, it’ll be very basic biology!)

Point is, when I don’t feel well, I envision my white blood cells (aka nurses) going about, doing their healing thing. It helps me hone in specifically on where the disruption or imbalance is, and provide assistance to the body part in need.

When I sat to meditate this morning, I was suddenly reminded of this technique, so I gave it a whirl.

Within seconds, I was a tiny cell in the midst of a war. Literally—it looked like a scene in a Oliver Stone movie…think “Platoon”. I heard someone calling for back up, and troops come to his aide. I saw some white cells die, while others were attacking the foreign invaders. A group of them instinctively knew what needed to be done without saying a word. They banded together in a circle, holding hands. (Fortunately, they didn’t sing Kumbaya, or I may have lost focus!)

They were taking out the bad guys, and knew they needed greater numbers to succeed.

I heard a sergeant cry out for liquid (yeah, they have a ranking order, just like our armed forces!). He was talking to me…the little cell just observing it all. “What…am I a fireman now? I’m just here to observe it all!”

The next thing I knew, a few of them were looking up towards a beam of light. A beam of light that I suddenly realized was coming thru the crown of my head, bathing all my cells in this glorious healing gem of goodness. The REAL backup had arrived. It washed over my entire body, flushing out cells of every kind—good and bad. “There’s always casualties in every war, Mrs. Peacock!”, as Colonel Mustard said in the movie “Clue.”

Our cells have multiple ways of protecting us and notifying us of harm. Inflammation is a lovely mess of liquid where a threatened area is covered with fluid, so your blood cells can do their job in peace. Kind of like a quarantine unit, if you will. The same holds true for mucous and phlegm—this is yet more sludge and goo, created to quickly bathe harmful cells in a sticky liquid that our bodies can quickly dispel of. Coughing, sneezing…more ways the body quickly expels something it doesn’t want inside of us.

It’s fascinating, really. It’s why I’m not always so anxious for people to take anti-inflammatory’s or pain-killers, to be perfectly honest. These ailments are natural signals something is wrong, and there’s an imbalance. Don’t get me wrong, there IS a place for these treatments. But like antibiotics and flu shots, we rely too heavily on a Band-Aid, rather than an actual cure.

The body is an AMAZING vessel—it’s sad how much we take it for granted every day. I’m no exception, by the way. It wasn’t until this morning, that I saw how hard I’ve been running my poor body ragged, expecting it to just give and give. And why shouldn’t I expect this? I meditate. I sleep my 7 hours and eat well. I drink my water and herbal teas. I give myself basic lymphatic massages on a near-daily basis.

I also often work too hard. Those cells let me know just how hard I’ve been working them lately.

Unfortunately, we had to have a sit down, because we’re a week away from THE MOVE. I asked for a little cooperation, in exchange for some medication (backup), increased vitamins (more backup), and as much rest as I could possibly muster. I think they’re working with me on this…

In the meantime, I’ll continue to meditate daily, journeying through my immune system, until I’m back to optimal health. I vowed to offer assistance where I can, and continue listening to what my body is asking for.

You’d be surprised at the Wisdom that lies within your trillions of cells. If you ever wish to try a journey through your body to find the source of a pain, let me know how it worked for you! I’d love to hear what you found.

Wellness First During the Holidays

BEFORE the most hectic part of the holiday season begins, start a breathing or mindfulness practice. I found two wonderful gurus during my cheffing days at Golden Sparrow, who are experts in mindfulness and have taught me the importance of quieting the mind – just in their presence. One is Dr. Michael Hynes, who is the superintendent for the PatMed school district. The other is Cory Muscara, who will no doubt be world-renown for his research and teachings. I’ve seen how their meditation and mindfulness practices have made them more approachable and calm in hectic daily interactions, so I know the benefits and effects of mindfulness. “I just didn’t have the time they had for meditating.” (Sound familiar?)

 

However minute the first step is, just take it. Not tomorrow, today.


I recently picked up my morning meditation practice, after about a year-long Loss of it. I emphasize the word Loss, because it really started to feel like I had lost a limb and had that phantom limb syndrome. I get up about 5:30 every day, shower and have to be at work by 6:30. I couldn’t imagine going to bed earlier than 10pm the night before and altering my entire schedule, so I could get up earlier than I already do. I stumbled upon www.truewellth.org recently and when they asked for our obstacles in a mindfulness practice, I explained my dilemma. The co-founder actually responded! He encouraged me to just start back with 2 minutes per day. Just 2 minutes.

 

Not to be outdone, I decided to go for 5 minutes (I’m kinda competitive, though I have no idea who I was being “outdone” by!). I’ve been meditating since 11/7, and can’t tell you how good it feels. I’m happier, I adapt to people’s moods better, and seem to be somehow influencing them in a more positive manner. I’m coping with all that has to be done prior to our move, despite being prone to anxiety. I’ve had NO panic attacks, in spite of holiday catering, working as much as usual at my PT job, adding meals to my already hectic client load so they can freeze meals when I leave, researching how to expand the meal delivery service I have, handle two catering and speaking events and a cooking demo, and oh yeah…pack an entire house in a 5-week span of time.

 

It’s just 5 minutes a day that I spend with myself, just being as still as possible. To be brutally honest, we ALL have 5 minutes to ourselves, regardless of the excuses we make. So start that practice today, because it’s so vital to your health, in ways you can’t imagine!

 

If you have more time, meditate longer, or squeeze in 20-30 minutes of exercise, as often as possible (preferably 5-6 days a week). Exercise increases our healthy gut bacteria, aids in digestion, literally makes you smarter, helps release happy hormones, and strengthens and tones your body. Walking is perfectly fine, if you can’t get to the gym or if like me, you don’t enjoy rigorous exercise. If you enjoy yoga, martial arts, or any Eastern philosophy, jump in asap! There are countless DVD’s and even free YouTube channels you can find…just get moving!

 

Eat well. You cannot stay focused and enjoy peace of mind, if your body isn’t being fed properly. If you want to avoid the holiday drain and demands, fruits and veggies are KEY to keeping your immune system balanced and working optimally. Chew. Chew. Chew. Enjoy your food and be mindful about what you’re ingesting and why. We all step outside of our normal routines during the holidays—the sooner you create a healing practice in what you eat, the faster you’ll bounce back when the season has ended. You may even find the desire to overindulge just isn’t there anymore. I promise that happens!

 

You may not even have to worry about those extra 5 pounds you gained during the holidays, if you’re prepared properly. (As an FYI, this isn’t a “normal human weight gain,” as we’ve been led to believe. The winter weight gain isn’t supposed to be gained and lost in a 1.5 month time period, it’s just poor eating habits!)

 

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily practice asap. Take baths, enjoy essential oil blends, stop and breathe, and give yourself quick massages whenever possible. Live in the moment, and not in yesterday or tomorrow’s anxious activities. The holiday season didn’t start before Halloween as we’re also led to believe. It starts after Thanksgiving…honour the year and the Spirit of the season, by being GRATEFUL, joyous and caring every day. Falling out of the moment makes us anxious and worried, short-tempered, and miserable.
Sleep, sleep, sleep! I refuse to give up my precious sleep time, after all the research I’ve done over the years and especially recently. I need my 7 hours, as do you. Humans have not been designed for the insomniatic lives we lead, and it shows in our eating patterns, our emotional habits, and our brain capacity. Those who sleep more are more empathetic, are smarter, have better immune systems, and have less cravings. Sleeping for the right amount of time has allowed my brain to process the fears of our move in my dreams, leaving my waking mind and body free to do what it needs to do—help facilitate healing in others.

You deserve more, this holiday season!

 

As they say on the airplanes, put the air mask on yourself first, so you can help others. If you’re out of balance, you can’t possibly enjoy the holidays and spread good cheer.

P.S.A. (or Public Service Update!?!)

First, a moment of gratitude for you.

I never could have imagined the outpouring of love since I announced my departure, nor the feedback I’ve gotten from friends about how I’ve helped them on their journey. Some are private clients, some are clients of Golden Sparrow, and some are people I’ve met thru the years of teaching or vending at various fairs and events.

Second, with all that love, comes a host of questions that you have, as well as questions I have about the logistics of all this. To make this transition as easy as possible, I figured it was best to outline my thoughts, the moving process for a business, and what my plans are for us (meaning you and I, of course!). Is all the transparency necessary? In my eyes, yes…so keep on readin’!

The first test run of shipping food went out in today’s mail. It’s local (i.e. it’s going from the Islip post office to one in the Hamptons), so it’ll get there tomorrow. It’s a VERY rough version of what will happen, if this proves to be cost-effective for me to ship to you. The containers I used for the meals aren’t correct, as they just can’t sustain a long distance haul and couriers not being mindful of your meals. There’s very specific packaging you need, which is being researched. All during a holiday week, of course. 😉

The containers were a bit smaller than what I currently use and were a different shape. I was unfortunately only able to fit THREE meals in a large flat rate box. The meals did fit in the box well, even with the gel pack…but this is a large flat rate box, which costs about $18 to ship. That’s $18 for just the shipping itself, which doesn’t include the box, the insulation I need to use to keep the food at a safe temp, nor the gel packs themselves. We’re at a cost of at least $25, and that’s not including any actual food yet!

So it’s back to the drawing board, because that option doesn’t seem to be ideal. I need boxes and insulation that can hold at least 10 meals, to make it cost-effective. Unless you just want wraps, which will easily fit in that box! (That’s not a viable solution for me, by the way…I like making MEALS, in addition to wraps.)

But this was all a test of the insulation and gel pack, as well as how it arrives. Remember that initial disclaimer, though…I said this was a local delivery, so the whole kit-n-caboodle is in travel 1-2 days less than they will be when I move to Maine. Nonetheless, testing must happen at some point, and it’s better NOW than in Maine!

So with all that, here’s the basic checklist I need to accomplish before I can begin packaging and shipping food for you. (These are in no specific order, as some will happen simultaneously.)

  • Test run shipment (pending the checking off of this item!).
  • Work on two more catering events I have before I leave, slated for the week before we load the truck and leave.
  • I’m also STILL working on creating the program for you in January. It may be less refined and fancy than I originally hoped, but that’ll just give you a lower cost for the same value and content.
  • Find and price eco-friendly, biodegradable containers. I sanitize the ones I give you currently, and use them for quite some time before recycling them. That option is unfortunately not possible, once I shift to a postal-delivery service. I currently have a distribution company looking into containers that fit the bill of being biodegradable, lightweight, AND leak proof for travelling a distance.
  • Price out ice packs, shipping boxes, and insulation.
  • Find local grocery stores and health markets to find out what ingredients are available at a reasonable cost. Because of the nature of my business and the size, I typically pay retail prices…getting wholesale pricing in a different state, would offset the cost for the packaging!
  • Price out above said food ingredients.
  • Find a kitchen to cook in and price it. The laws are slightly different in Maine, but the basic process is the same as here…you need a commercial kitchen and a license for that kitchen, you need to have it inspected, and pay for all that fun stuff. This takes time, because you’re working with the government, and specifically the Board of Health. There’s also a handful of labeling laws to look into, which I don’t have to worry about currently.
  • Create a menu that’s seasonal, and based off the inventory stores in Maine carry. I’m looking into other supply chains, but there has to be a good local selection first, to maintain part of my Mission Statement of supporting local.
  • Find a post office/UPS location, and also research having it picked up by the courier of whatever kitchen I’m using. There are fees associated to the old “click-n-print” method, so finding a post office is the first priority in just getting this off the ground.
  • Restock supplies and food of inventory being used here, to lighten the shipping haul!
  • Research the legalities of a food business, which was put on hold when we found out we were moving sooner than expected. But hey, when the Universe calls, I’ve learned to answer. And I’m certainly not complaining about the new lifestyle in store for us! (We envision a snowy holiday season in new Pj’s and slippers, with a glass of Proseco or hot chocolate…looking out at acres of woodlands, evergreens, goats and moose!)
  • Unpack our personal belongings and get settled, as well as organizing the business equipment that needs to be stored until I find another kitchen.
  • Research payment methods and an ordering process, which means behind-the-scenes website updates.
  • Find new banks and establish a new business in Maine – I’m legally licensed here in NY and like a car, you need a license to where you live.
  • Work out a new meal prep/delivery schedule, to ensure food is being sent with the least amount of travel time.
  • Find a local delivery person here in NY who is similar enough to what I do, to potentially handle some, all, or a portion of my current client load. Being the only 100% plant-powered, organic/non-GMO delivery service is a great marketing feature…until you move, and feel an obligation to your friends who rely on your weekly feedings! I have a service I’ve found and will share with you shortly – I’m finalizing the details now. I have to know my lil seedlings are being cared for, once I’m not in close contact with them!
  • Recuperate! I WILL BE OFF for the last 2 weeks of December, at bare minimum. It’s the holidays, we’re relocating, and are quite exhausted already. We have 2 trips of driving in store for us, which are about 8-9 hours each way. The first trip is our car and a U-Haul, and the second trip is with our cats. That’s about 24-30 hours of driving in about a 4-day span of time, not to mention the load/unload of the vehicles, cleaning the house we currently live in, and the stress of driving 4 sedated cats for that length of time. But if you know us, you know we need our children to be under as little stress as possible. Having them with us when we load AND unload, is a bit traumatic for their little souls…so they’ll just be unloaded in an unpacked home, when they finally arrive!

And Then I Made The Offer…

For the last two years, my husband Rob and I have been looking to move off of Long Island. We’re not used to being in the same place or job for too long – it seems a decade is our max on anything. When you combine two creative people with LOTS of goals, ambitions, drive, and things they like to dabble in and Master, there’s little room for stagnation. There’s a lot of impatience, honestly.

We’ve travelled around upstate, visited PA, and toyed with the idea of North Carolina. I went to college in Mars Hill near Asheville, so I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountain region for 3 years. My parents lived and died in Asheville, and my aunt still lives there. We even recently went to Seattle, to scope out that area.

Our criteria for housing are pretty odd to most, but like you, we have some standards we require. Moving isn’t just something we will pick up and do.

Right now, we live in an over-populated town (300k+), on a busy connector road. We have the BEST situation possible, though…a great landlord who’s a friend and lets us landscape however we want (we’ve planted bushes, trees, cleaned a 10-year patch of leaves, we compost here, and love our property). We pay an extremely competitive rent, which makes a search for cheaper housing difficult, to be honest. We have a large house, which we fell in love with the moment we traipsed through the snow to see it. No one enters our home without commenting on how calm it is.

But we’re on a busy road. We have a lovely family next to us, who have 5 children (I believe) . 2 are near-teen girls, which we’ve discovered are pretty loquacious and jubilant. We’ve had tenants on the other side of us who swept the dirt lawn at 2-3am. We have a screaming kid two houses down, and a family across the street, who has 4 full-sized garbage cans out at the street 1-2 times a week (a family of 4–who has that much garbage, EVER!?!). We have people parking in front of our house constantly, though every home has ample driveways and their own parking lane on the street. We’ve had car alarms go off repeatedly from an electrical malfunction and then deny it’s their car, when politely confronted about it. We even had a neighbor decide to put her dog’s poop in our recycling bin as well as behind our bushes. Thankfully, it was in a bag, since we had to hand it back to her when we confronted her about it.

Every time we take a walk into town or around the neighborhood, it seems as if there’s an altercation of some sort. A crowd of young girls with adult chaperones bumped into us without apologizing. When we addressed it, it unnecessarily became a “thing” – you apparently can’t tell children how to have manners and respect in these days. (Are we too PC?) We’ve had a child stalk my husband at work. Literally…a 13-year old, who stared and followed him around. Had I not witnessed it when we went for a walk and we accidentally ran into the kid, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible. We had 10-year olds throw rocks at us for no reason, as we walked down to Islip beach. Our last venture 2 weeks ago, led us down to the same beach at night, only have a guy chastise us for not having reflectors on.

You know me personally, so you know I do my best to handle these situations in a peaceful and calm manner. However, you may not know I have a volatile temper, which a couple years of martial arts tamed quite a bit. You also don’t know I was bullied as a child – so most of these instances triggered that feeling again. After the peaceful talking didn’t work in these situations, my ego + Rob’s temper can equal a quick escalation that leaves me shaky and regretful we even left the house.

And you thought I was perfect! 😉

Rob and I want to advance our careers, and move into the next phase of our passions. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cooking – but I hate delivering. I may have time for podcasts and audiobooks to advance my brain power and relieve stress while driving, but the time wasted is counterproductive. Never mind the sheer 3-4 hours it takes me to drive 80 miles in heavy traffic! (The hugs from clients and their animals has made up for the time issues, thankfully!)

Dean Graziosi says to eliminate the things wasting your time, and focus on the things you love most. Well, I love writing, and I love cooking. With my schedule, I have little time for the aforementioned passion.

I’d love to build programs to help people heal the Mind, Body, and Spirit. I know so much more than just how to cook a healthy meal, which you probably know from the array of topics you’ve seen me teach at library’s, health food stores, and yoga studios.

Rob wants to dive further into creating movies and soundtracks. He wants to write and produce more music (you should see this guy’s resume that I recently helped him create!). None of those things are easy, when you live on a busy road. I remember it taking him a week of 2am recordings, just to create the voiceover for our Food Flix Cinema trailer.

We’ve been let down time and time again by business associates and “friends,” who didn’t have the integrity they spouted to have. We’ve watched as people proclaim to be one way, and live completely differently (I.e. don’t cry poor, when you eat out all the time, and don’t want to pick up extra shifts at work. Don’t claim to be a networking friend, when you do no promotion unless the other person does, and insist on the “like-for-like” mentality).

Sounds judgemental and preachy, I know. And perhaps it is.

The point is, we’ve been let down A LOT in the last couple of years, and it feels as if this island has pushed us away. The amount of trends we’ve had to endure over the last 12 years of living here is insane. I’ve worked with health food stores for a decade now, and he’s tattooed for a little longer than that. You’d think as talented as we are, we’d be millionaires in these fields. But getting people to stick to appointments, promises, and HOLISTIC, proven facts rather than the latest trend, is a difficult battle, to say the least. We’ve hit our limit.

My father raised me to detest fads (a fact I didn’t actual realize until Rob pointed it out a year ago). I’ve lived through the Mona vie trend, raw food trend, juicing trend, essential oil MLM trends, Acai bowl trend, Paleo fad, tattoo fad (as has Rob, obviously), and now the CBD oil trend. The list is endless, really.

Yet we both struggle to get people to understand nutrition, the importance of healing your body properly, and the real process of tattoos and food vs what’s being shown on reality TV.

Fate heard us.

During the summer, I happened upon a newscast on NPR, about the Live and Work in Maine website. The founder of the site explained how Maine was a great place to live, and was thriving economically. Since Rob and I had the New England area in our radar a few years ago and are looking to open our own business, the interview piqued my curiosity. I updated my resume, signed up for job alerts, and added a search to Zillow for a home. We started researching the different areas, pricing, and how the state was portrayed.

In early October, we took a visit to a log cabin we saw on Zillow. We were already in love with how the state operates politically, socioeconomically, and ecologically. We mapped out different areas, made notes on our interests, and looked at multiple factors for opening a cafe. The state proved to accurately portray its slogans…

“Vacationland.” “A great place to live and work.” “How life should be.” These are mottos of the state/license plate slogans. They weren’t kidding.

We made notes about which towns felt right and fit our criteria as we drove endlessly for 3 days. We envisioned where we could see ourselves living. There’s a different life and world out there, once you leave the island…I’m not from here, so I have less of a connection than Rob does. But even Rob’s outgrown the Long Island pride, having also lived out of the state for a few years and coming back to it. Life here just isn’t fulfilling for us anymore. We have no room for progression.

We felt a sense of calm in Maine…a sort of calm you become obsessed with feeling, especially when you think of how different it is to your current situation. We craved the freedom that came with open land, and a more rural lifestyle.

After several let downs and shattered hopes on homes, we happened across a place near Bangor (yep, yep – Steven King still lives there and yes, we visited his actual house when we were there. Could you visit a famous author’s home here on Long Island easily? Hmmm…).

I contacted the landlord about the home we saw 2 Sunday’s ago, and anxiously waited for a reply. He said the home was available, but there was a bit of a list of other rental inquiries ahead of us.

Rob and I were instantly in love with the home. Despite wanting to move in 6 months (April was our original deadline), we knew this felt right. Down to the core. I said we’d pay 6 months up front, and hit send. This was Sunday November 5, one week prior to me writing this to you.

It was the most terrifying thing I’ve done in probably 10 years. Maybe even 12 years, when I decided to sell my home in Florida and move 1500 miles up north, with only a PT job at a bagel store and Rob managing Starbucks.

After some further research and conversations with the landlord, it all fell into place. Fell into place so easily, you actually question reality. We have no jobs, we have to pack a house by Dec 15th, close our businesses/relocate them, and catch 1-2 outdoor cats we care for so that we can move them with us. We’ve fed them for years, and are now responsible for their well-being. Besides, they’re both black cats, we already caught one stray black cat here, and who doesn’t need 3 black cats!?!

We’re pushed into very uncomfortable places right now, to make these changes. I suffer from anxiety, if I’ve never told you – I’ve had a couple of panic attacks about it all. It’s the most illogical thing you can do, it seems.

But I remember the information I’ve sent you and told you through the years, about following dreams and listening to the Universe. You’ve asked how I get so much done. You ask how I’ve gotten to where I am. You ask how I maintain sanity. You ask how I have energy and manage to stay sane.

It’s time to use the tools I’ve taught through the years, take out my cahoonah’s, and jump from the safety net. If I want to really launch a program in January, now’s the time. We’ve financially set ourselves up, so we don’t have to work in the month of January. If I don’t distance myself from the mayhem of clients and cooking a bit, I’ll just never get to it. If I’m not FORCED to earn an income, I’ll delay it until the program is just perfect.

Time and time again, I read the best way to launch is to just DO IT. Don’t wait for perfection. Don’t wait for the perfect time or perfect website. Don’t wait for the ideal equipment and shooting location.

Just Do It.

I started my meditation practice last week. It’s been lacking, I’ve been craving it, and didn’t see how to fit it in. I had some short conversations with the founder of TrueWellth.org, and he urged me to just get in 2-5 minutes of meditation in the morning. I explained my struggle to him, because I’m up so early already and am so pressed for time, a meditation, yoga and planning the day as they suggest, are just impossible.

I know I have to meditate, if I expect to keep sanity over the next 6 weeks. If I want to stay organized, I had to list out our deadline, all the tasks required to meet that deadline, and when these tasks would be accomplished. I also had to delegate. (Who needs more time? Thank heavens I wrote that blog for you, so I could refer back to it!).

I have to maintain eating well, if I expect to have energy and wake up at the hours we wake up at every day. Never mind that I also need to have the strength to move a 3 bedroom house, drive 9 hours to Maine and back, and THEN move 5-6 cats to a new home.

We’re leaving “security.” But we also consistently tell friends to take the plunge and move, when it feels right.

I know I’ve been looking into shipping methods for my meal delivery service for some time now. I know we’re two highly intelligent, reliable, and talented people, who can EASILY find jobs. I also know we moved like this once before and when we both have our minds set on something, we can make the “impossible” seem to look so simple to everyone.

So stay with me even when I move…stay with the information I send you. Have patience as I continue to fill your needs. Stay in touch with me and tell me what YOU need me to do to keep you healthy and vibrant. You’re not a client, you’re a friend. You’re the reason this is even possible for us.

I appreciate you deeply. (I’m actually tearing up as I write this to you…)

Follow your dreams no matter how crazy they seem, but do it logically. None of this happened overnight, and it took us years of planning, saving, paying off business/personal debt, and logically analyzing all of our options. When the final part happened, the flood gates opened…so while it seems I’m just up and leaving (OK, I am), this is something we’ve been working towards for years. It’s why I wanted to build a program to “reach those I can’t,” which is part of my mission statement.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes

Compassionate Catering 2017

The holiday season is upon us, and I’ve got a Compassionate way to share it with your family & friends…

As the world becomes more aware of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, I am forever in debt to those who have served before me, and continue to pass along the messages of Hope, Grace & Ancient Wisdom.

Orders placed prior to 11/15/17 will receive an early bird discounts of 10% on this Compassionate Catering menu. For any questions, contact me at by emailing me at alicia@pandorasproducts.net.

P.S. you won’t even have to mention it’s plant-based, which may save you a lot of unwanted grief! (Because I do understand your position!)


 

Delivery fee included: Babylon to Sayville, Brentwood to Ronkonkoma

$3 delivery & $40 minimum: Northport, Huntington, Commack, Amityville, Smithtown, Patchogue (and surrounding areas)

$5 delivery & $50 minimum: Wantagh, Massapequa (and surrounding areas)

$8 delivery & $65 minimum: Rockville Centre, Port Jefferson/Station, Eastern Suffolk County (and surrounding areas)

Is Soy Bad?

I get asked this. A LOT.  

Males and females alike are concerned, as are people of all ages. Social media and the World Wide Web have quickly touted the dangers of soy, DESPITE the evidence stating otherwise. Study after study shows non-GMO, organic soy is actually beneficial to our health. 

Why the misinformation? Like most studies, the first step is to look at who’s backing the study, or the publication of it. Here, we find no study actually saying “soy causes cancers, or prostate disease.” So we’re left with the publication aspect, and who’s starting the rumours. The meat and dairy industry, who directly takes a hit, when you replace their products with soy? Dr’s who are well-intended, but just aren’t nutritional experts? Perhaps neither, or perhaps both.  

The point is, the research plainly shows cultures who consume high-quality, non-processed soy foods, have lower risks of cancers, and have better heart health.  

So is soy bad? 

The short answer is a resounding no. It’s been eaten in Asia for thousands of years, and until the Western world introduced high levels of meat and dairy into their diet, we didn’t see an epidemic of cancer in their culture.  

Simply put, the fact that we isolate one compound in a food that causes disease (phytoestrogens in soy), is as nonsensical as isolating a compound to cure a disease (taking lycopene pills, rather than eating the tomato as a whole). Nature is not that simple, and is the very reason those of us pushing for a healthy lifestyle, tout the benefits of a low-fat, plant-based, VARIED diet. 

But there’s more to be considered, when it comes to soy consumption. Is it 

  • Gmo-free or organic? 
  • How much are you consuming? 
  • What type are you consuming? (Best to worst in my research– fermented like tempeh, sprouted such as tofu, whole such as soynuts or edamame, soymilk/soy creamer, all the way down to those crappy isolates found in protein powders and highly processed foods, which you definitely don’t want!) 
  • Do you have a need to watch the amount of estrogen in your diet, per hormone tests? If so, what other foods and essential oils (e.g. lavender oil) are you consuming that contain phytoestrogens ? Are you consuming meat and dairy, which are actually WORSE for our endocrine system? 
  • Are you consuming veggies that may counteract the estrogenic foods? In eastern cultures, fermented foods and cruciferous veggies are a staple food in the diet. These foods often help cleanse the system of excess estrogen. Who hasn’t seen tofu and broccoli in a Chinese restaurant?  
  • Are you cooking foods in containers that have BPA? Most cans and plastics contain this harmful chemical, which is a huge non-no for our hormone system.  

Soy is a complete protein, for those who are concerned about this. (This is another grossly misunderstood viral theory, which I’ll explain in another post.) Soy is also a low-fat, healthy plant-based food that makes a great snack when it’s baked (aka soynuts). 

Phytoestrogens may actually DECREASE the risk of cancers and can actually be beneficial to the endocrine system, when estrogen levels naturally deplete. Yes, I know this is contrary to what bounces all over the internet. 

If you are concerned about the amount of estrogen in your system, or would like to incorporate more soy in your diet without fearing excess estrogen, incorporate more of these foods into your diet: 

  • Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, and Brussels Sprouts. To really boost your digestion, try these foods fermented! 
  • Citrus fruits 
  • Tea and coffee also contain flavones that help regulate hormones 
  • Herbs such as turmeric, passionflower, and fenugreek help reduce excess estrogens by blocking the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone to estrogen in men.  

As you now see, there are a multitude of factors that can, and probably have, led to the incorrect reporting of statistics about soy and phytoestrogens. I’ve incorporated it in my diet for over 20 years, and honestly can’t imagine life without it (and my blood tests are just dandy!)  

That being said, remember to focus on consuming it as one of the healthy forms listed above, as a part of a varied lifestyle, and is organic/non-gmo only.  If you’d like to read more on the subject or the specific studies on the benefits of soy, check out the resources section below. 

Resources: 

Dr Weilhttps://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/rethinking-soy/  

PLOS: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0089288  

NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28263368  

The China Study: Dr. T. Colin Campbell 

Staying Healthy with Nutrition: Dr. Elson Haas 

Kris Carr: http://kriscarr.com/blog/are-soy-foods-healthy/ 

http://kriscarr.com/blog/soy-breast-cancer/?utm_campaign=weekly-blog&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-broadcast&utm_content=nl-071817&utm_term=existing-list  

Dr Josh Axe: https://draxe.com/phytoestrogens/  

Dr Mark Rosenberg: http://www.foodtrients.com/news/could-you-be-eating-too-much-estrogen/ 

http://www.foodtrients.com/news/could-you-be-eating-too-much-estrogen/