For My Friends Who Have Wondered …
Begin where you are—physically, mentally and emotionally.
I wrote the following in 2005, just before I entered one of the most challenging decades of my life:
“Right now I am overshadowed in every way by the looming demise of my marriage. There is a sadness that permeates my life, and a fear of what the future holds and how I will manage to take care of myself and my children. That gripping fear has kept me in this marriage for years, and as the situation becomes worse and divorce more imminent, the fear has become stronger. I feel frozen, stuck and just plain scared. I have been preparing my escape for years, knowing that not just my well being and safety, but that of my children is depending on me..
In preparation I have invested in myself with the goal of being the best possible version of myself that I can—emotionally, physically, spiritually. The money and time I have invested in books, seminars and tapes likely equal the tuition for a University degree. I have lived and seen more of life and life experiences than the average person of 50 years, and I’m smart, damn smart! Couple all of those life experiences with the additional focused attention I’ve given to health, personal development, finances and marketing—you’d think I’d be able to find a way to market it, sell it and make a living by helping others.
Fear, lack of confidence—are those the only things holding me back? I am in search of the key that will unlock the door to my creativity and purpose in life. I am searching for any unknown obstacles holding me back. I feel I am very close—but at the same time a wall away from discovering and practicing my true life purpose and expressing my full potential. I seek the answers constantly—in books, inside myself and in the Higher Power.
“Kay, if God is calling you to teach, you don’t need to be ‘perfect’ to start doing it. God will give you what you need.” ~Somebody Smart
I seek freedom and happiness in my own life, and the fulfillment of making the world a better place by helping others find their true, authentic and best selves. I’ve learned that Everything Is an Inside Job—whether we are seeking weight loss, happiness, security, better relationships, more money—it’s all connected, and it’s all connected to what is inside of us.
It is important to take 100% responsibility for our circumstances. No matter what our current circumstances are, we each created them for ourselves. We attract the people, the circumstances, and even the material things in our lives. We create the body we have today by the choices we have made in the food we eat, whether and how we exercise, what habits or addictions we succumb to, and even how healthy we keep our environment and our relationships. Certainly, we are all works in progress and we are recreating ourselves, our circumstances and our bodies every day. I am not the same as I was 15 minutes ago when I sat down to write this. I will never be that person again, just as a river is constantly flowing and changing, so am I, and so are you.
I found an opening through meditation and Yoga, which became the beginning and the heart of my journey. Through Yoga, I found that quiet place within myself that I had not connected with in many years. Through that quiet space I reconnected with my creativity and my spirituality and an opening, a transformation, and a growth and healing began. Through that has come a desire to help others find that same place. My focus is on Health and Wellness. We cannot be healthy, have vibrant energy, maximum wellness, happiness and balance without finding that place within ourselves—it is truly an inside job. What is going on in our inner life is reflected in our outer life through our circumstances, relationships and our bodies.
A year ago, although I know just what to do and how to eat to maintain a healthy weight, I was grossly overweight and really struggling with it. Finally, one day after a lot of soul searching and healing I looked in the mirror and said to myself, “I am ready to come out!” Soon after that I lost 25#. I still have 25-30 pounds more to lose. I have been “stuck” at my current weight for several months.. Dr. Simon from the Chopra Center told me the reason for this is that I am “stuck” in a relationship that is not good for me. He expressed his doubt that I could loose 20 more pounds while I am in this marriage. He suggested that it would be “too empowering” to lose more weight. He invited me, and I am trying, to prove him wrong. I have set my intentions and focused my attention over the last weeks on letting go of things in my life that no longer serve me. I have purged my closets, my office, and my storage areas. I am preparing and doing the “inner work” to let go of these extra pounds and let go of anything else n my life that is not serving my highest and best self. I feel I am on the verge of an astounding transformation.”
… and I was.
Okay … so that is the end of my 2005 writing. I did lose 20 more pounds in the following year, & I finally ended my marriage in 2007. And I did start teaching, but I played small … very small. I taught yoga, did wellness, nutrition and some life coaching. I had students who asked and encouraged me to offer more, but I resisted. Life threw some bigger challenges my way. However, I accept 100% of the responsibility for the choices I made and the situation and circumstances I created. I firmly believe that there are times when we refuse to step into our life’s mission and purpose, things can get nasty. The decade after my marriage ended presented many challenges. I was financially destabilized and lost everything in the aftermath of the divorce. My relationships with my children suffered and have caused more heartache and heartbreak than I knew I could possibly endure. At one point I felt like God was determined to take everything precious away from me until I was ready to fully step into my purpose—yet I still resisted and insisted on playing small. At one point I had friends who were praying for me and a one of them even had a service dedicated to my support me through prayer. Someone I’ve known and respected all my life as being highly spiritually evolved told me,
“Kay, if when God wants someone, he can be very heavy handed.” ~Somebody Smart
In spite of all those challenges, I have had some of the most amazing and greatest experiences of my entire life in this past decade, and I firmly believe the best is yet to come. I’m ready to share what I’ve learned and what has helped me to persevere. (Not saying I’ve done everything perfectly, in fact I’ve made some horrible mistakes and choices, but we all do, and what is important is that we learn from them and then move on.) As Maya Angelo said, “When you know better then you will do better.” Looking through old notes and bucket lists I’ve been fascinated to see that so many of my goals and things I wanted to do I was able to fulfill even in one of the most challenging decades of my life. My life’s journey has been so rich in wonderful experiences! I’ve spent time in a Trappist Monastery. I lived in Peru for four months and met indigenous healers and shaman, experienced rituals and initiations from them while visiting sacred and mystic sites in both Peru and Bolivia. I have studied and delved into Ancient Wisdom teachings, traditions and experiences. I lived in a Spiritual community for a year which hosted events and retreats for famous authors and healers. I lived in Colorado enjoying almost daily hikes under the bluest skies and some of the most gorgeous scenery and mountains on the planet. I have been to some of the most amazing events and workshops in personal development, spiritual development, publishing, finance and marketing (I’ve been called an information sponge—I love learning new things). Through these experiences I have met some people that I believe are among the finest on this planet. Some of them are famous, and others are not—but that makes them no less significant. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences and life lessons it may be of service to others—that you might find some encouragement, some inspiration, and if you need it, some motivation and support to create an adventurous life that you love, no matter where you are right now or what your challenges may be.
What to Do When Shift Happens
Ugh! I was fully prepared to begin a 90 day Nutrition Challenge this past Monday, when I got a phone call that derailed my preparations and intentions. I got a call letting me know that my elderly mother is facing a health challenge and I have been called to go there right away to help care for her for an undetermined amount of time. Since that phone call last week I have been packing up my Denver Apartment so I can drive from Colorado to Coastal Virginia within the week. I’m really feeling what it is like to be a part of the sandwich generation right now. Earlier this year, I moved back to Denver to be near two of my children during a crisis. Now, as my mother’s only surviving relative, I’m heading to Virginia to support my mother through her health challenge. I am grateful that I have the flexibility to pick up and move right now, as I’ve been able to show up to support my loved ones this year. However, that doesn’t mean that these cross-country moves only months apart are not stressful and disruptive to my life and work flow. This is EXACTLY what I’ll be sharing with you during this post, “How to maintain, or get back on your program.”
I had planned and prepared to run this Nutrition Challenge from beautiful Colorado, sharing beautiful mountain pictures of Colorado as I hiked as part of my fitness regime. I had stocked my little temporary kitchenette with the supplies I would need to weigh and measure my foods, journal, share my recipes and daily meal plans. The intention was to demonstrate how easy it is to learn to eat in a way that you can get your body to work for you, achieve your goals and be the best, healthiest version of you. I had planned to share my personal goals and progress with you (and I will still do that). Hmmm … what to do?
The Only Thing You Can Count On is Change
There is only one thing you can count on—change. There WILL be changes and life challenges, and it is easy to get off track at these times. That has already happened to me. This was a motivator for me to lead a 90-day challenge. I have the opportunity to share what I know about weight loss, the program I used 10 years ago to get in the best shape (and health) of my life, and to stay in great shape, and to demonstrate how this program works and can easily fit into your lifestyle. Sometimes even wonderful changes can cause stress or throw you off track. Things like a vacation, holiday, a new marriage, a change in your location or job, or a new baby or member in your household. Then there can be more stressful changes such as injury, illness, losing someone through death or divorce for example. My challenge is that for the second time in a year, I am moving across the country to help with a family crisis—part of the dilemma of some of us who are in the sandwich generation. So I’m packing, moving, settling in, and taking the role of caregiver, all with less than two weeks. My food shopping, eating and fitness routines will all need to change with this move; not to mention I need to practice some self-care to take care of my own health and well-being while packing up, driving from Denver to Coastal Virginia, and then settling into a new, temporary situation to care for and assess the needs of my elderly mother.
When Life Shows Up
Life events may throw you off, and surely will from time to time. I’m going to show you in this program what to do at these times. It doesn’t matter if you fall off your program. It will happen to everyone from time to time. It is more important that you get back ON your program of healthy eating and lifestyle habits, and that you have the tools so you know how to do it. The faster you can get back on the better. However, if you fall off your nutrition program for a while like I have, then it is very empowering to know that you have the tools and the knowledge to turn your body and your health around, and achieve the healthiest version of you whenever you are ready to jump back on. I have spent the past 3 weeks planning, preparing and am ready to implement the program, but I’m going to take my own advice … and postpone the beginning of the full on program where I plan to share my own program, tips, recipes and exercise. Instead, my posts will be about how to practice self-care and make the healthiest choices that I can during a time of some pretty intense stress and changes. I wonder, how many of you have spent an extended period of time caring for an elderly relative? I have done it before, and just as my physician friend warned me, it isn’t an easy job.
During times of Stress
During times of stress or challenge, your goal should be to maintain your current weight, health and fitness. It is not the time to push forward to the next level. If you are able to maintain during these times, consider it a “win”. It is a time for doing the best you can, and to make the best choices you can in your current situation. It is not the time begin a new program, which could actually add to your stress. Additionally, when under stress, your body actually produces a hormone (cortisol) that makes it more difficult to lose fat. I didn’t want to let anyone down because I’d promised to start a 90-Day Challenge this past Monday, but after reflecting on it, I realized in order to follow my own advice and to give participants the best experience, I need to do something different. I realized this it is NOT the time for me to be an example of how to do the program at 100% or move myself to the next level (following my own advice). What I CAN do is share with you my personal challenges, how I will make the best choices I can under some challenging situations. I’m looking forward to getting settled so I CAN focus and make my health my priority.
Here’s What I Can Do
I’ve committed to myself that I am going to do the very best I can to take care of myself and my body during this stressful time. I am totally ready to be on a consistent health/fitness program and make it my priority. I thought this was the perfect time, and I am tired of living in my “goddess clothes” which are very flowing and forgiving along with my yoga pants. I want to fit back into my size 4 jeans. However, while packing up an apartment and preparing for a cross country move, two very long days of travel, then unpacking and settling, along with knowing that I need to jump right in to help my mother, and giving myself a few days to settle and assess my situation before I can be the example of the lifestyle habits necessary to lose weight. There will be so many situations and circumstances that are not really in my control. Breathe in and breathe out —it will be okay.
Here Are My Challenges
Here are my challenges and what I’m going to do about them.
I’m Packing up my Denver Apartment and getting ready to haul myself, my car and all that I had in Colorado across the country!
Half of my cooking tools and utensils are being shipped to Virginia, and the rest of them are already packed. So, right now, cooking and being in control of exactly what and when I eat is a challenge. Also, I’m doing my best to conserve, and to use what groceries I have here. Last night, I did have a wonderful delicious and healthy meal. I love fish, and this meal was prepared with cod and dover sole that I had in the freezer and needed to use. white fish I had in the freezer and needed to use, Cod & Dover Sole (my protein), Spinach (a little bit of carbohydrates) and slivered almonds (fat). You can click here to get the recipe: Recipe for Dover Sole and Spinach I added about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rice to my plate, and I had a delicious and nutritious meal with the right ratios of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Lucile’s Creole Seasoning that I used in this recipe comes from a Lucile’s Restaurant which has several locations in the Denver Area. I was delighted to find that I can purchase their seasonings online from their website at Luciles.com.
Responses to Stress
I’m Paying Attention to my Body’s Responses to Stress … and they are Very Real. This past week has given me a reminder that I am not invincible and I need to take care of myself!
Yesterday I took a “down day”. During some periods in my life, when I’ve been under stress my blood pressure will escalate and this has been one of those times. I have occasionally experienced “panic attacks”, although I hadn’t had one since I was a teenager until recent years. My blood pressure has been high over the past week, and I was taking measures to de-compress, destress, and get it back to normal … under 120/80. I’ve been monitoring my blood pressure several times each day. I’ve spent some time focusing on relaxing with meditation and yoga, I added magnesium supplements to may daily regimen. My efforts and attention to this have paid off – this morning my blood pressure was down to 117/78. NOTE: If you know or suspect your blood pressure is high, go to your doctor and discuss it with him. My choice of “handling this on my own” wasn’t ideal, and could have been dangerous. However, I know my body and believed I could take some positive steps to get my blood pressure back to normal. I was lucky—it is working. Still, I will keep monitoring how I’m doing with the goal of my blood pressure once again being under 120/80 regardless of the situation. The lesson here is that you CAN take measures to improve your health. Chronic Stress is the #1 factor in many major health issues. Knowing how to manage stress is so important. None of us are immune to stress, how we handle that stress is another matter.
Healthy Eating On the Road
Well … I could say, “what the heck—it’s only 2 days”, and eat whatever is available while I’m traveling. However, I’ve decided I am not going to do that. I’m packing and taking some healthy meals with me, right off of my nutrition plan. Not only will this save me money not eating in restaurants, but I know my energy level will be much better eating the right size healthy meals as much as possible. I already realize that I will miss at least two days of exercise, and I won’t be drinking the ideal amount of water. I need to pack a 25 hours of driving time into about 36 hours, so I won’t be stopping much.
I’m planning on packing some meals in a jar to go in my cooler. Here’s What I’ll be packing:
- Yogurt (or Cottage Cheese) fruit Parfait
- Italian Meat & Marinara Stew – See below for how I made this with what I had on hand.
- Tropical Mango Chicken Salad from Trader Joe’s
- Turkey/Cheese Roll-ups
These recipes are all about being “simple, fast & easy” not to mention delicious and made of the best quality, real foods (as opposed to processed foods) that I have available. I’ve already packed two containers, each with a cup of 2% Daisy Cottage Cheese (protein), 2/3 cup frozen mixed berries (carbohydrate), and about 9 whole raw almonds (fat).
Before I leave I’m making another recipe from things I found in the freezer. I’ll call it an Italian Stew, with 1 pound of extra lean ground beef, a frozen package of Harvest Hodge Podge for vegetables, and a jar of organic marinara sauce, all from Trader Joe’s. I’ll spice that up with some garlic and maybe add a little Lucile’s Creole Seasoning. I’ll check the recipe and if I need a few more carbs I may add 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked brown rice to the recipe. This will make 4 servings. I’ll put them in containers, freeze two to be eaten after I arrive at my destination and I’ll take two unfrozen for the road. The frozen containers will help keep the unfrozen food cold during my trip, too!
Last, I recently discovered the Tropical Mango Salad at Trader Joe’s and I have a bag in my fridge. It is a complete salad in a bag and it is delicious! I’m going to add about 7 ounces of cooked, chopped chicken breast to that salad mixture and carry it in a container on the road.
So for now … my cooler is packed, and I’ll be hitting the road in a couple of hours.
Sometimes when something really bad happens, it turns out the be a catalyst for something really good!
BAD NEWS: The Project I hod worked on for a year had to be scrapped! I lost my #1 Client, and majority of my income. In late April I attended Ken McArthur’s IMPACT event in Denver. I ended up “winning” the #1 spot for something called the Hot Seat. This is where you get to go in front of a panel of some very impressive and successful authors, entrepreneurs and online marketers to pitch your project and get their advice. I decided to pitch the book project I’ve been working on for my #1 Client. Guess what happened? I pitched my client’s project and after 15 minutes one of the panelists got up and literally “pitched” the book across the room saying, “This book has been launched!” It seemed like something “Bad” happened … my entire project was scrapped and it was recommended I let go of my #1 client. The panel convinced me of what I had suspected all along. There was no way for me to make this project a success without more funding and participation from my client.
GOOD NEWS: The remaining 15 minutes the panel urged me to come to terms with the situation, the best way to fire my client and start implementing the strategies I had suggested for him and put my time and energy into my OWN projects and create my own content and products. One of my good friends in the back of the room literally was doing a happy dance and cheering the panel on. GOOD NEWS! I am now focusing on myself, my projects and what I am to bring to the world!
BAD NEWS: My car was totaled. A few weeks later, at the end of a very long day, while moving into a new place I’d found to roost while here in Colorado, something unfortunate happened. Someone backed out of a parking spot … it was a blind spot because he was behind a big car and we couldn’t see each other, and he was in a hurry so he hit my car pretty hard. I wasn’t expecting that at the end of my moving day I would have someone take out the right side of my car, but he did damage from the front wheel all the way to the back bumper. My car drove just fine, but when I had it taken into the body shop and the disassembled it they found that it had done significant damage to my suspension … and my car was declared a total loss. BAD NEWS, right? Oh dear, I was so happy to have my little Nissan paid off, and suddenly I found myself out shopping for a new car, and something more appropriate than my Nissan Altima for driving through mountains and snow!
GOOD NEWS: I got a nice check for my Altima, sufficient for a down payment on a new Subaru Outback AND enough to live on for another couple of months while I work on my website! YAY!
Trusting in the Wisdom of Uncertainty
BAD NEWS: The circumstances around my move was another interesting story. I’d been house-sitting for almost 3 months in a beautiful and comfortable home, and had even had the opportunity to do some fairly extensive home improvement and landscaping for the owner. I had hoped that it might turn into a roommate situation where I could rent a room and have a place to land in the Denver area part time. I have an aging mother, and I’m her only living child and need to go spend time with her in Virginia. I have committed to being there to check in with her every three months. I have two children in Colorado and want to be here part of the time for them, too. I have set an intention to be have a home on both sides of the country. It became clear that was not meant to happen in the home where I’d spent almost three months house-sitting … trusting my instincts I informed the owner that I would be leaving within the week (even though I did not have a plan or a place to land). Housing in Denver is expensive and I wasn’t ready to make a lease commitment. It seemed to me that I would be heading back to the East Coast to find my first landing space there, near my mother. Colorado is beautiful, and I didn’t want to have to leave. Virginia is also beautiful, but I didn’t feel ready for a longer commitment there yet. I kept wondering and asking, “Where am I supposed to be?” I was prepared to pack up and leave within 3 days, even though that didn’t feel right either. I kept reminding myself to trust the wisdom of the Universe. Maybe I did need to be East, and if not I trusted something would show up. I took Memorial Day to do a 10 mile hike with the idea that I may be packing to leave Colorado in the next 3 days heavily on my mind. I kept reminding myself to “trust the wisdom of the Universe”.
GOOD NEWS: Help Arrives, just in the nick of time. When I returned from my hike that evening I attended my favorite drum circle. A woman showed up looking for me. She had heard that I might be looking for a place to rent. She had a basement apartment with new floors, new paint, bedroom/bath and a large area for living and working (even with a big desk for my work!) … and the next day I moved in. It took faith to “trust” in the wisdom of the opportunities that would present themselves. I trusted my instincts and followed them when doors seemed to be closing. Fear and resistance would have shut me down, so I trusted and reconciled myself that I may be leaving in a few days. It was no accident that this woman showed up “just in time” and wanted to rent her apartment to me for EXACTLY the amount that I had in mind. Miracles happen every single day if we are open to them. A good friend applauded me and said, “Wow, Kay—you totally manifested this!” I laughed and said, “And just in the nick of time, too!”
I set my intentions on having a home on both sides of the country. Now, in fact, I do have a place to live in both Colorado and Virginia. It hasn’t happened exactly the way I envisioned it, or at least not yet. However, I have to recognize what I had asked for, the Universe orchestrated and manifested it. I could have resisted the process and gone kicking and screaming, thinking that “bad” things were happening and everything was just awful. Instead, I stood back and said, WOW, this is exactly what I asked for, and it is happening in a very different way than I had imagined, and even sooner that I thought it could. I know there will be a time that I need to go back to Virginia and spend an extended time there, and I am prepared to do that. Part of me looks forward to that time and I am staying open and flexible as to when that might be. I am waiting and open and trust that I will be shown the right time.
Trust in the Wisdom of the Universe and the Wisdom of Uncertainty. It is so easy to get upset when things don’t go the way we think they should. It is easy to become fearful and resistant in those times. Many folks live their lives this way, and it causes so much stress and unhappiness, and even disease. Unhappy people tend to also be physically unhealthy. I’ve heard it said that it is not wise to argue with the Universe. When things don’t seem to be going the way we think they should and doors are closing, it is time to look for opportunities. Often times, what we need and where we need to be is something or someplace that we didn’t even know existed. It is important that we be open at these times, and have awareness that many times our challenges are actually opportunities in disguise. I don’t think it is any accident when people and circumstances show up for us, just in the nick of time. If we set our sights on some goal or accomplishment that we want to achieve, it may not happen exactly as we expect. There may be road-blocks, challenges, and unexpected events along the way. Keep going as the mystery unfolds. Life is a journey and we have the choice to navigate life’s challenges kicking and screaming or we can choose to enjoy the ride. This doesn’t mean there won’t be heartaches, heartbreaks, real challenges, uncertain times, nor that “bad things” don’t happen to good people. Life can be messy at times, for sure. What it does mean is we have choices in how we navigate through the changes and challenges in our lives, and we can learn tools and strategies to navigate these times.
I am grateful for my life and for the people and experiences that even the most challenging times have allowed me to experience. Some might say I have led an adventurous and exciting life. Others may see the heart-ache and anguish from some very difficult times and circumstances I have navigated and have asked me how I have managed to stay sane, much less happy and positive. Trust me, it has not all been easy, and I have processed grief, anger, disappointment, depression, deep sadness, despair and some days I got though by reminding myself, “if I can just keep putting one foot down in front of the other, I will make it through this.” Our experiences and challenges make us who we are. I believe in a phrase I found in a book when I was a child “the obstacles in life will make us bettor or bitter, and we have a choice.” When I read that quote I decided right then, I would choose to have my challenges make me better, and I didn’t want to be bitter. Thank you for that little green and white book sitting on the nightstand at my grandmother’s house. It made a difference.