Archive for the ‘Teaching & Learning’ Category

Starting Fires and Getting To Answers

Enough already with the battle cries and the dragon slaying and the minotaur gutting. Time to have a little fun and play  around with what’s really important. Today, that happens to be the warm cozy campfire, which is the result of Danielle LaPorte’s hot new package of technological genius she calls The Fire Starter Sessions.

I’ve been following Danielle’s blog, White Hot Truth for over a year now. Not long after I found her, I decided I wanted some of what she had, so I signed on for one of her private Fire Starter sessions. It was good for me because it helped me to realize some things about where I was headed on the road to independent business woman. Important things. Critical things.

Naturally when she announced that she was putting out an ebook “experience” called The Fire Starter Sessions, I was totally on board. One on one was good, but I am at another place on my journey at this point, so I jumped at the chance to get a “redo” of sorts.

She poses some Burning Questions that get down to the nitty gritty about how a person sees themself, their business, and their “how-to-get-it-done-ness”. I revisted those questions yesterday. Interestingly, my answers have shifted a bit in the last 15 months since my private Fire Starter Session.

When someone at a party asks you what do you do, what do you say? And how do you feel?

This is a work in progress. I’m refining this. As of this morning, my three liner would be, “I own a business called Superior Performance Wellness Center where I help people heal with touch, education, and movement. I am passionate about  alternative health and wellness, locally grown foods, and using the body’s wisdom to improve mental and physical performance. My wellness center currently offers massage therapy and some locally grown foods, however, I am looking to expand my services to include infrared sauna sessions and yoga classes as well.”

Maybe I’ll figure out a way to slip in some of my cool titles like Licensed Massage Therapist, Licensed Brain Gym Instructor, Certified Physical Educator, Technology aficionado, microphone goddess, etc. Feel free to post suggestions for improvements in the comments.

How do you make your money? What are your revenue streams? What makes you the most money?

As of today, I am still employed as a technology facilitator for a school district. It is definitely paying the bills at this point. As of June 16th, something else will be paying the bills. My other revenue streams include massage therapy, conducting Brain Gym workshops, and a new one–providing adaptive physical education services to special needs children.

Brain Gym workshops provide the biggest one-time infusion of revenue, but the massage is more consistent over time, and I anticipate the adaptive physical education services will be the most lucrative.

What do people thank you for most often? What do they come to you for, or say about you most frequently (“positive” or “negative”)?

I had a couple of friends help me out with this one in the original Fire Starter session. Overall, the result is still the same. People thank me for  helping them feel better, whether it is through encouraging or being a cheerleader for them, helping them step by step through a problem, working out a sore, stiff muscle, or teaching them tools that empower their own success.

When do you feel powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, excited, inspired?

This one is pretty easy. Anytime I am able to empower someone by teaching them how awesome their body really is, it rocks my world. I love being in front of a room full of people who are looking for a way to improve their lives or the lives of those around them. I love sharing what I know, and watching the amazement as others experience the impact of what I have taught them.

I also feel quite useful and excited when someone leaves my massage table deeply relaxed, or in significantly less pain.

What do you think your form of genius is? What are you amazing at (work or life related?)

I am amazing at showing people a way to succeed and then cheering them on in that success. My true genius is as a spontaneous educator. I love to have an encounter with someone who is on the verge of a meltdown, teach them some of my cool mojo, and see their eyes light up as they realize the potential power of what they have just experienced. Planned events are okay, but spontaneous rocks!

Who do you think is really cool, or elegant, or powerful?

I made out a list yesterday, then I went back to see my original list from last year. I liked parts of both lists. Here’s my new condensed list: James Garner in The Notebook and Danielle LaPorte–she oozes cool and powerful….and I’m not just saying that because she wrote this thing.

What books have inspired you?

My recent reads are on my mind as kicking me into gear: Conversations with God (all three), Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Leaving Church, The Yoga of Jesus, Animal Spirit Guides.

What would you like to stop doing?

I would like to stop should-ing. Either do it because I want to or let it go. I am releasing my (non) housecleaning guilt. Stop working in a concrete cell doing things for condescending people who should have learned how to help themselves by now. Stop making someone else money. Stop obsessing over feedback from others.

So…what would you like to do with your life and career? (Money is no object. Dream.)

My dream is to own/run a wellness center/retreat complete with body therapies, yoga, nutritious yummy foods, and a kick-ass environment that screams peace. Phase I in progress.

As you read through these questions and my answers, what comes to mind? How would you answer these for yourself? If you know me, do you see any room for improvement in how I answered them?

My Guys in Action

As you may have figured out from other posts, the male species is a bit sparse around our place. So in addition to the claim I’ve staked in Hunky Farmer Boy, there’s a wee bit of a claim staked in another middle-aged male. I should probably introduce him to you. Actually, you met him a couple of weeks ago, but no photos accompanied the introduction, so that one doesn’t really count.

I referred to him as the red-headed uncle. I actually think there’s more gray and white than there is red. He’s the one I blame for sucking us into the money pit of all hobbies known as showing horses. He would be my brother.

Oh, and he wears starched Wranglers.

That seems to be of some significant importance out here on the big ol’ Internet.

HFB is just glad his Wranglers get washed occasionally.

Red-Headed Uncle gets starch. I don’t do his jeans, in case you were wondering.

As fate would have it, this Texas A&M animal science lovin’ former county extension agent aggie has in recent years acquired a position with a local rural electric utility. HFB has been working for an electric utility for what is creeping up on 30 years.

Coincidence? I think not.

It must be my addicting electrifying personality that draws them into the business. Oh wait….HFB was in the business before I showed up on the radar, so never mind that last epiphany.

Neither one of them are licensed to teach in the state of Texas, which is too bad, because by all accounts, these two yahoos are pretty good at it.

Every year, several organizations work together to put on the Progressive Farmer Farm Safety Day. They bring in all kinds of experts and demonstrations and presentations and cool t-shirts and fire trucks and…and…and….

My kids have always loved it.

And every year one of these good lookin’ men gets suckered into taking their fire-shooting, weinnie-zapping (as in Oscar Meyer in case you were wondering), wah-wah-sounding electrical toys to wow and terrify helpless little elementary children. Of course I am sure it is just pure torture for a couple of little boys grown men to have to put on a zappo-powwie show for a captive audience of munchkin flavored ooo’s and aaahhh’s.

Pure torture. No fun at all. <wink-nudge>

This year the little boogers are in a heap o’ trouble. Both of my boys men got suckered into standing up in front of a class of munchkins. Both ends of the school building are subject to electrificution. (Is that a word? It is now!)

And as expected, HFB gets rave reviews. Red-Headed-Uncle had to sit through one of HFB’s performances. Apparently HFB is so dang good, he’s inspiring the competition. I can see it now…new reality TV series called “Family Power Line Wars”.

Hmm…maybe we’ll work on that title a bit more.

And since my boys men need to have their images splattered on my now world famous blog, I had to get a shot or two.

Red Headed Uncle is showing off what happens when lightning zaps one of the utility company poles….and what might happen to a munchkin that decides to play out in the middle of a storm. Check out his little power line village on the right side of the picture. Isn’t it cute?

Women, notice the shiny cowboy boots.  All together now…..”Ooooooo…..Aaaaaahhhhh!”

Wait a minute! Is that a bare spot I see on that back of that boy’s head? Nah. Couldn’t be. Must just be a weird reflection of some kind.

Hunky Farmer Boy has a long standing reputation as a pyromaniac electrical entertainer. Nothing like a few thousand volts to captivate munchkin attention. Hey maybe that’s what all our teachers need to help maintain classroom focus on learning!

Geez, he’s hot! (I’m pathetic. I know. Deal with it.)

Isn’t his little village just so cute, too? Isn’t HFB just so cute? Mmmmm….think I’ll stare at these pictures for awhile. Lucious ‘Lectric Lips.

Hmm…shirt’s a little big on him. Maybe I should feed him a bit more often.

Weinnie roast anyone?

Brains and Golf and Cops–Incredible Opportunities

In making the decision to move away from the (in)security of employment and a set paycheck, I asked myself exactly what I think I can do to earn a living and continue to pay for the things I desire (or desired and acquired without payment in advance. That would be known as debt, and it is another of my elephants, but I digress.).

I came to the conclusion that I have many talents and many services to offer. The key will be aligning my talents, passions, and services with the appropriate clientèle.  Lots of people have an interest in what I do, yet not all of them see my services as worthy of plopping down their hard-earned cash in order to experience the benefits.

The way I see it, I have a couple of options: 1) Convince them that what I offer is worth their investment of money, or 2) Attract clients who already know the value of what I do. I’m guessing their will be a little bit of both, but I think my time will be better spent if more energy goes toward the second option.

I currently have a wonderfully supportive massage clientèle, which has grown in large part because of a few amazing people who are telling others about me. Word of mouth and testimony are such sweet and delicious advertising. Thanks to some talented local pioneers in the field of massage, lots of people in this area are already convinced of the value of that service. I owe a lot to the ladies who blazed that trail for me.

Some of my other services, however, are a bit more obscure and unfamiliar. Therefore I will be the one to blaze the trail in those areas.

So, this morning, I am doing a bit of trailblazing.

June 28th-30th, I will be teaching a three-day workshop call BrainGym® 101. It is the introductory class in a series, which lead to licensure as a Brain Gym® instructor/practitioner. It is also the foundation course that provides participants with a solid base of knowledge about this easy program of movements that can do so much to improve learning and physical performance tasks, enhance communication and writing skills, improve mental clarity, reduce test anxiety, increase environmental awareness.

BrainGym® is valuable to a wide range of occupations and life circumstances. Education, is of course a given, and many of my previous clients have been teachers. However, it is also a valuable tool for athletes, peace officers and emergency personnel, hobbiests such as golfers seeking to improve their game, parents, care-givers, and anyone else who deals with challenging situations.

BrainGym® works by using a series of 26 movements that vary from lengthening activities to mid-line crossing to energy activating actions. These 26 movements work to calm the body’s stress response, which in turn allows the use of higher brain function.

Rational thought hangs out in the neo-cortex of the brain. That’s the big part that covers everything and takes up the most space between your ears. Stress, which can be triggered by anything from new learning to a family crisis to starting a diet, tends to put us into the control of the mid-brain and more of a survival way of thinking. When that happens, we are inclined react without thinking and new learning or performance becomes almost impossible.

So how does that relate to my golf game? Ever have a bad day on the course? The weather is beautiful, but from the first putt you know you are destined to set the record for highest golf score ever? With each subsequent putt, you stress more and more…..and things get worse and worse. With BrainGym® in your bag of tools, you can stop, perform a few of the activities (which by the way require NO equipment) and watch your game switch on like a light. It is total coolness.

Or let’s say you have aging parents and you are concerned about their long term mental clarity (or maybe your own). BrainGym® uses the ages old (appropriate for this illustration, doncha think?) concept of movement to keep brain function more active. If you’d like to understand the physiology behind how this works, kick back and trudge through a book by Carla Hannaford call Smart Moves: Why Learning Isn’t All In Your Head. It’s a bit heavy for me tastes until about Chapter 5. Then it’s just fascinating.

Law enforcement and emergency services are other fields that stand to experience tremendous benefits from my cool mojo called BrainGym®. Qualifying on the range, stress management, mental clarity….all are huge reasons to check into this thing called BrainGym®.

If I still haven’t gotten your attention, ask a question in the comments section and I’ll gladly provide more information. It’s really cool stuff, and very much worth the money. For that matter, if you do choose to invest in the three day workshop, fully participate (it is, after all, a participation workshop), and come away feeling your time has been wasted, I will give you your money back and you can keep the course materials. The only thing you are risking is spending three days in the company of some really cool people snacking on chocolate, cheese, and fresh fruit.

Here’s everything you need to know to get registered.

Have a wonderfully nourishing day.

PS: If you are into any kind of performing arts, Brain Gym is a must have for your tool kit. It can really rock your performance world!

The Strong Life Test: Teacher-Motivator

Yesterday Danielle LaPorte’s new digital book experience, The Firestarter Sessions became available for pre-release purchasing. Since I’m more or less a “spend every penny you’ve got” sorta gal, and since I had just made a small, yet adequate deposit into the massage business bank account, AND since I could justify/rationalize it as a business expense, I decided I NEEDED this book. Actually what I needed was a hefty dose of Danielle, and since she was handing over Chapter 3 with the advanced purchase, I played into her little plot to toy with my impatience.

I worked my way through her fun, engaging, and challenging material….right up to the collection of personality tests. I enjoy these things. I’ve seen a couple of them before, so they didn’t all grab my attention at once. This one, however, did. It’s called the Strong Life test. The questions were pretty straight forward, and it was free, so my criteria were met.

I took the test.

Then I hit the submit button.

Then it told me my fate.

My lead role is………………………………………………

TEACHER??????? Just shoot me now. I’m running away from that, remember?

Maybe my supporting role would be better.

Another drum role, please…………………………………

MOTIVATOR.

Okay, not so bad. I could handle playing the Stephen Covey part.

But still…..am I not about to escape that whole teacher/motivator job?

Yes and no.

Yes, I am escaping the confinement and rigidity of teaching in a formal school setting with all of it’s rules and regulations and state mandates and schedules and testing and politics. And actually, it isn’t the teaching I am escaping. It’s the desk. It’s the lack of teaching. It’s the lack of others really wanting to or having the opportunity to learn what I have to teach. It’s the lack of willingness to give time for learning what I have to teach. It’s the draining, life-sucking energy of the system.

The circumstances are what I am escaping.

No, I will never be able to escape the teacher/motivator in me. My sweet massage clients will attest to that. I rarely give a massage that doesn’t include SOME form of teaching and motivating. The kid that came to ask for my financial help with his dream will attest to that. (Sorry, Dude. If you are at least 2  years younger than me, you now do and always will qualify as a kid. That’s just how I roll.) He didn’t escape until I taught him some of my cool mojo. That sort of info is just too awesome to keep to myself.

What this means is I get to look for new ways to teach and motivate. It means I get to find things I truly love and share them whenever and wherever opportunity presents itself.

A couple of years ago, I went through a course called 48 Days to the Work You Love. There were, of course, lots of values evaluations. One activity included writing my own epitaph. Some have suggested it’s more like a eulogy in length, but it still accurately states how I want to be remembered.

Angie helped people feel great about themselves and develop their talents and abilities. She gave others courage and confidence when they had none to give themselves. She gave them health and hope and the knowledge to change their own lives, and in doing so, she created a legacy of health, wealth, and love for her family.

Hmm….I see a pattern here.

So what do you think? How am I gonna live this dream, this life purpose, without the confines of the public education system?

Personal trainer?

Private tutor?

Blogger/author?

Anything else?

The Prayer is the Feeling, Not the Words

When I was a kid, say about ages 6 through….oh….37, I had a relationship with prayer that was….uhm…..less than spiritual. Actually, me and a girlfriend would usually sit together during church and (forgive me Father for I knew not what I do-ed) <embarrassment ensues> time them….with a watch….with a second hand, which wasn’t necessary because they were never seconds. They were eons. Brother X held the record during my timing career for the longest prayers ever. He was followed closely in second by Brother Y.

We had sermons shorter than those prayers….at least after Brother Z retired (who by the way was quite capable of challenging Brother X on the time thing, but since he was preaching, he only occasionally shared his prayer prowess with us….usually right before a fellowship dinner when my tummy was ready to reach up and rip out his vocal chords. :-). (God bless you for coming to us, Trey.)

Needless to say, I never really got the whole prayer thing. To them, I am certain it was a deeply moving spiritual link up to the Big Hard Drive in the sky. To me it was a contest to see who could cover every last sick, poor, aching, tragic person, situation, or sin the world has ever known, while thanking the Almighty for every good, right, law-abiding, finance-boosting event that had ever or would ever occur. Nope, I never got it. All I could see were the precious minutes of the last day of my two day weekly vacation slipping ever-so-slowing out of my grasp…er…watch.

To make matters worse, I had this screwed up belief that I was some how not Christian enough because, a. I timed prayers, and b. I couldn’t (or more like wouldn’t) spend a good three hours a day on my knees in a closet running down the list in hushed whisper tones, and c. if Iclosed my eyes and sat in a closet, I might miss what little social action was going on around me a gillion miles out in the boonies.

All I have to say to about that is I don’t think it was very nice of God to torture me like that for most of 40 years waiting on my slow, but trouble-making self to figure out how that prayer thing really works. Seriously? He could have enlightened me a LITTLE sooner and saved me all that horrible stress and guilt and grief that I spent three hours every day acknowledging on my knees in my closet. (Just kidding on that last part. See paragraph above, item c.)

Anyway, to make a long story longer and more tortuous (I learned it from those praying dudes), I think I am finally on the road to recovery. I have been reading about yogis lately, and I keep stumbling on quotes that say things like, “The prayer isn’t about what I say or chant or dance or whatever. Those are just the actions I take to get to the feeling that is the prayer.” Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, that was an exact quote from a really spiritual yogi dude exactly like he said it, complete with the “whatever” part. (Ok, maybe it isn’t a DIRECT quote, but one of ’em did say something sorta kinda like that.)

And of course, I still hadn’t figured out how to get to the FEELING part of prayer. But at least I sort of knew what I was looking for.

Then I read this woman’s Harlequin Romance Meets Green Acres: High Heels to Tractor Wheels story. Then I read most everything else on her blog…(except the cooking stuff….I’m just not ready to embrace the cooking thing right now. We’re dealing with spirit matters currently, and that’s all I can handle). But yeah……can you say STALKER??? I’d be really scared of people like me if I were her.

Anyways….I pretty much stalked the chaps off of her website (you gotta read it to figure out what that one is referencing), had some…ahem….special time with my farm boy (he loves it when I read/watch romance stuff), and then realized how calm and happy and giddy I was feeling having been reminded of my own love story and the back-to-the-land direction my life is taking.

And then it hit me…….that un-drug induced high I was on…..that stress-free-peaceful-easy-feelin’, the-sun-loves-me-and-the-moon-does-too, I-can-have-be-do-conquer-anything-in-or-out-of-this-world, (I could probably add “runners-high” here, but that does not and may not ever apply to me) feeling is what the yogi was talking about. Because in that state of being, thinking, feeling, every ounce of negativity, every speck of what-the-hell-have-I-done panic, every thought of not enough was gone. Only a peaceful gratitude remained.

Then it hit me….THAT is prayer.

People spend their whole lives searching for it. Some get addicted to drugs to experience it. I just stalked The Pioneer Woman for two days straight to get mine.

Okay Ree, you can add that to your list of expertise you didn’t know you had.



PS: For the record, Brothers X, Y, and Z were some awesome men who loved their Jesus with all their hearts. No disrespect is intended whatsoever in referencing them in this post. They taught me much in my lifetime, for which I am truly grateful.

Who Decides Right and Wrong?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to analyze core beliefs as part of a pathway to wellness. Spiritual beliefs can have either positive or negative effects on our health. Therefore, this blog occasionally addresses spiritual beliefs.

A couple of days ago, I posted a comment on Facebook that triggered the question who decides what is right and what is wrong, specifically in terms of the Bible. I had suggested that the words of a public figure, who has positioned himself to be an influential spokesperson for conservative Americans, directed at a creative genius who has VERY different views were inappropriate behavior for someone who claims a connection with Divinity. The FB comment said there are lots of folks out there who are just Biblically wrong.

Wow…such a thought provoking statement. I was grateful for the opportunity to think through this part of my own faith.

One of my biggest issues is in deciding what “Bibilically wrong” really is. I’m probably only speaking about myself, but my views of what that is came from people (preachers, teachers, youth ministers, etc.) whose objective was to train me up to think exactly like them. Other kids were learning something else, while I was being taught that they were wrong. Same God, same Bible, same head hauncho (Jesus), but we were right and they were wrong and they were “lost”. That position has softened a bit, but it is still applied when it is convenient and benefits the position.

What if the far out ideas of people like Avatar and Titanic director James Cameron aren’t wrong, but are in fact more right than anything we’ve ever allowed ourselves to believe possible? What if we are limiting possibilities because of the way we choose to interpret the Bible?  Jesus was one of those with some pretty far out ideas that didn’t jive with the paradigm of the time. For that matter, he was as “Torah-ly wrong” as anyone could get: Healing on the Sabbath, picking grains of wheat from the field on the Sabbath, and claiming to be the son of God. Look what it got him, compliments of the keepers of right and wrong. The same scenario has been repeated throughout history anytime someone’s words, deeds, and actions didn’t fit the religious views of the time.

It seems we often forget that as humanity, we are all one—one body, one spirit, one Divinity, and actions taken to attack one is an attack on ourselves. I no longer believe that the “One Body” reference applied only to those who have followed a prescribed series of steps culminating in their being added to the Body. They may be a wetter, cleaner, better-smelling body part, but their being “added” is irrelevant since they always were a part of the whole which was God created and Spirit indwelled.

So when a person who calls himself Christian attacks, even jokingly, another person who dares question or criticize the traditions, beliefs, and manuscripts we have chosen to accept as divinely inspired (which ironically differ from the divinely inspired documents of similar religions–who is right?), it is essentially cannibalism and I believe may ultimately result in us destroying ourselves and our world. We won’t have to worry about a judgment day. We’ll just continue attacking anyone who chooses to see things differently, and eventually, like cancer, we will consume ourselves right out of existence.

Frankly, we will probably get to repeat this process until we figure it out and get it right. As for Blibical right an wrong, there are only two commands: Love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself. In my opinion, everything else is subjective or simply historical.

Peace and love to you.

Bookstores, Health Food Stores, & Greenhouses

Everyone has at least one. I happen to have three of which I am aware. It’s my power place. Okay, in my case, PLACES.

It’s that place you can go where the world seems perfect, no harm can come, and time is irrelevant. It is a place that has a Zen-like serenity that nourishes your soul. It’s a place you may enjoy sharing with others. Me? Nah. If I’m going there, I’d rather go alone and just get lost….forever.

It’s that place where, if money were no object in your life, you would either work there for free, or just buy the whole organization. Yesterday, I had the privilege of experiencing all three of my power places.

I would have to say that my all-time favorite power place is a greenhouse in springtime. It’s the closest thing to a tropical rain forest I will likely experience in these parts. I love the foliage, the colors, the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the protected environment that allows in the warming rays of the sun without the annoyance of our infamous winds.

I stopped by Lowe’s to check on a cabinet for the Wellness Center. As if drawn like a moth to a flame, the garden center beckoned me. Apparently they have snubbed their corporate noses at Mother Nature, because it was like an ocean of life, color, and fragrance. Beauty was everywhere. I just strolled along looking at it all, as if time had suddenly decided to extend my lunch break. There are other greenhouses that I like better, yet this one certainly filled the gap since I was already there for other things.

Reality finally kicked in, and I returned to my afternoon obligation, followed by my next power place. I had some time between the end of my workshop and the beginning of my yoga class (a power place in its own right), so I stopped in at the health food store. Yes, it’s another place in which I could stay for hours, spend a fortune, and stay some more. I think it’s the intention of such a place and what it represents that draws me in and keeps ahold of me. Energy is an amazing thing, and there’s just something special about the energy of a health food store.

Yoga class came and went. It was a nice experience: difficult, yet not; relaxing, yet requiring concentration. Since my brain has yet to figure out the concept of “shut up”, even in yoga class, I made plans to visit power place #3 to acquire a book on yoga basics. I am still feeling a bit lost and confused about the concepts, even though I work my way through the moves fairly well. Yep, a book on yoga was definitely needed. Oh darn! <sarcasm> That meant a trip to the bookstore and another dose of calm, peaceful energy. It was simply fabulous, and three great books plus a beautiful magazine found their way into my possession.

Just before heading home, I decided there were a couple more items I wanted to pick up from the grocery store. Hmmm….wally world or that other health food store down the street. Duh! No brainer! For the second time in one day, I cruised the aisles of a health food store. I actually like this place even better. The energy is just a little more flowing. It’s light and spacious, no crowds and very few “people of Walmart“, plus the selection is incredible for our area. Just an all-around nice place to be.

Yesterday really made me think about my life purpose and my potential new career. The recognition of which environments support me and allow me the space to experience peace and joy is a very cool thing. I thought about places I would love to work in each of these fields.

These three remain: bookstores, health food stores, and greenhouses. But the greatest of these is greenhouses. Now how do I roll them into one incredible career? Can we put a bookstore, yoga center, and a health food store here and pay me to hang out? I think I would be very happy with that arrangement.

Black and White and Absolutely ALL OVER

Most of my life things have been pretty much black or white, right or wrong, either/or. To some extent, this is still the case with me. I’m a pretty black and white sort of person. Right is right and wrong is wrong. My version of right, or at least the one I had learned somewhere along the way, was the right version. Your version was wrong if it didn’t align with my version. This worked pretty well most of the time, and probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. That doesn’t mean I always CHOSE what I knew to be right. Sometimes I chose to do what I believed to be wrong because I desired it more than I desired to do what I knew to be right. It was simply a matter of weighing the benefits against the consequences to see which one would win. Fear of consequences usually won, but not always. The times when desire overcame fear did occasionally come along, and when they did, I was usually blessed, even when some negative consequences were inflicted.

A few years ago, the lines between black or white and right or wrong began to blur as my typically left-brained analytical self began to open up and see things as part of a bigger picture. Connections and inter-relatedness began to trump details, rules, and absolutes. Many ideals that had always been accepted as just “how it is” began to lack the element of common sense. Thoughts would occur to me such as, “…if this is true, then how can this other not be true?” I had begun to see possibilities when previously only absolutes had existed. Black and white was all over.

It certainly hasn’t been an easy journey. Most people like absolutes as long as they serve their purpose. Anyone who questions those absolutes is a bit of a troublemaker. Stirring the pot is not a highly regarded gift in most social circles, especially religious ones. Since religion was where my blacks and whites had been strongest, that’s the cauldron that has been the primary target of my stirring and the source of much of my personal stress. As such, it affects my wellness and earns its place as a post on this blog.

I am certainly not the first to be gifted with the opportunity to see the world through a wider, clearer lens. Gallileo had his problems dealing with the status quo of the religious world. He landed in some serious hot water over his whole “earth isn’t the center of the universe” theory. He was almost killed for that one. The knowledgeable women of Salem, Massachusetts, discovered that their herbal and healing expertise was grounds for being subjected to the infamous witch trials, complete with false witnesses. If they died they weren’t a witch, but if they lived they were a witch and would be put to death. That one resonates with the …ahem… quite logical methods of our own FDA and a few other government agencies <stated tongue in cheek of course>.

And of course, the most famous casualty of all was Jesus Christ. What an amazing human with an amazing connection to deity. So much good stuff is contained in his story: Way more than most people who claim to be his followers will allow themselves to recognize. He, too, was eliminated by those who sought to maintain their existing traditions and protect “their people” from this supposed blasphemous man. His crime was one of showing followers what he knew to be the truth about the Divine. He taught people to live a life of love rather than one of rules, rituals, and fear. Fortunately for us, he had the power to take up his life again once he had allowed himself to be killed.

How many times do we lock ourselves into a world of absolutes – black or white, right or wrong – because of the teachings and traditions we have been taught in fear? If instead, we would look at the bigger picture and see the abundance of mysterious and amazing evidence in world around us, much of our stress would fall away. Life would be filled with so much more love and so much less fear. My challenge to you is to release your fear and embrace that which offers love. In each situation, ask, “Is my reaction to this coming from a belief rooted in love or a belief rooted in fear?” Let’s loosen the grip on black and white and see things through the eyes of possibility. As we do, we invite more wellness into our lives in the form of love.

The Spirituality of Wellness

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged. The reason certainly isn’t because I don’t have anything to say. The reason seems to be more a case of not knowing exactly how to make my thoughts align with the overall purpose of my website and my business, which is wellness.

I have had many interesting experiences in the last few years. My life really began to shift in 2003 when a modest career move that I didn’t really request or pursue (and yet I can see now how I did) put me in places and around people who offered me tools that opened up my narrow view of the world. Those shifts and experiences have left me with many thoughts, feelings, opinions, and words that need to be spoken and written about, yet I have thus far been unable to see how they could be appropriate on a blog that is attached to a wellness site.

As of this morning, my vision has cleared and my voice may now speak and speak relevantly and powerfully on my wellness blog. How was I able to make the connection? By having the right materials in front of me at the right time. By having a clear intention of what I want to do. By maintaining focus on what I need to do. And by listening to the voice of my innermost being, the voice that speaks most clearly to me when I’m toasting my tush in a water-wasting, environmentally unconscious, long, hot, and prickly shower.

So what was this revelation that has suddenly made everything about which I need to write appropriate for a wellness blog? It is the realization that the road to wellness, whether striving to regain it or clinging to what remains of it, is indeed a spiritual journey. It is a knowing that my business is about healing: not my power to heal others, but my teaching others to heal themselves, if they so choose, while healing myself along the way. It is the recognition that my desire to understand Christianity’s greatest healer and teacher is what has led me through the many twists and turns, pain felt and pain inflicted, confusion and clarity, unconsciousness and awareness.

Wellness is spiritual. It is both a requirement for and a consequence of attaining enlightenment. It is not about a particular religion, group, or set of rules, but rather the interconnectedness of all. Wellness is about linking into the universal source of life, just as Jesus Christ did. It is about moving beyond (transcending) the walls and rules designed and built by human hands and minds and plugging into the ever present, all knowing, and all powerful life source we know as God.

It is recognizing that we are one body and together, this body can reclaim wellness.

Vision 2010: Intentions for a New Year

I recently saw a post that suggested the use of intentions for the new year rather than resolutions or goals for the new year. I like that. I tend to believe intentions are a very powerful force. They are not some lofty pie in the sky wish list, but rather something truly…well…intended.

Danielle LaPorte’s blog is one of my favorite motivational resources, so I was intrigued when her intentions list was actually a Stop Doing list. Most of us think about things we should or need to start doing, but how many of us think about the balancing effect of stopping something? And as she pointed out, it isn’t about stopping things like “neglecting yourself” or some other goofy feel good crap. This is serious stuff. Everything needs balance, and if you are adding something to your to do list, you must also remove something from it or feel the wrathful stress of overload.

This got me thinking about my vision for 2010. Just saying the year has such a cool sound to it. I can remember when 2010 was the target date for a 15 year long range technology plan for schools. And now…..it’s here. 2010.

The year that is wrapping up was a pretty good one. I finished massage therapy school, which gives me new options and some movement towards achieving a long held desire to work in the wellness industry. We sent a kid off to face the world on her own. We tackled a renovation project that is my wellness center. I charged up a truckload of money going to some energy medicine workshops in Austin and Phoenix….and I stayed another year in the safety and security of a “guaranteed” paycheck with benefits, even though my passion has long since vacated the premises. That about sums up 2009.

So what exactly is my vision of 2010? Danielle suggested a three-question test that originated with Darwin Smith, CEO of Kimberly-Clark.
1)What are you deeply passionate about?
2)What are you genetically encoded for—what activities do you just feel “made to do”?
3)What makes economic sense—what can you make a living at?

It has taken me 41 years of life to feel as though maybe I have some idea about #1 and #2. I guess a person needs that many life experiences to know what they don’t want so as to figure out what they do want from life. Ironically, I am circling back into the vicinity of my college aspirations. I have done many things since college that were part of my dreams and aspirations. I wanted to be married and have a family. I wanted to have a nice house and nice things. I wanted the mini-van and the suburban to haul my growing family. I wanted sane working hours and a husband whose hours matched mine. I have done and continue to have all of those things with abundant love….well…most days.

I have also done some things that are not quite as fulfilling in order to have that which I really did want. I intended all of these things at a higher level than I intended my post college career aspirations, so I settled on a career that I thought best accommodated what I wanted most. For the most part it has worked well enough. Yet there has been this nagging, a yearning, to navigate back in the direction of my original passions. For the first time, I can see the possibilities of making it happen.

So here goes: In 2010, I will

  1. Build my wellness center business to a level that replaces my current income
  2. Complete the renovations on the wellness center
  3. Carve out space for writing projects
  4. Teach a couple of Brain Gym classes.
  5. Study and become highly proficient at the things in which I have already received training
  6. Spend time daily in some form of exercise, as in take care of ME
  7. Find ways to feed me and my family healthy and delicious foods
  8. Pursue a yoga instructor certification
  9. Pursue a personal trainer certification
  10. Travel some place really cool with my sweet husband
  11. Knock the debt load back by a huge chunk
  12. Knock the “butt/thigh” load back by a huge chunk (see #6 & 7)

In 2010, I will

  1. Stop working 8 hours a day in a windowless concrete cell surrounded by a massive electromagnetic field
  2. Stop sitting on my derriere 8 hours a day.
  3. Stop feeling resentment about events in my past that have proven to be blessings
  4. Stop feeling guilty just because others feel guilty (see #3)
  5. Stop trying to teach people who do not wish to learn
  6. Stop attending over-priced workshops that don’t lead to an accredited certification of some type (unless I really really want the info).
  7. Stop doing my own accounting. I suck at it and I hate it.
  8. Stop trying to market my talents all by myself. See #7. I do and teach what I know. Getting other people to buy in to my gigs are a pain in the tush.
  9. Stop eating crap that tastes good for a second, then leaves me feeling like the stuff that comes out at the end.
  10. Stop piling all of the construction projects on my sweet hubby. I intend to have sufficient profits to hire out the window replacement and maybe even the exterior paint job.
  11. Stop spending all my egg profits on Sonic Happy Hour.

The items on this second list only serve to make me a cranky chunky witchy kind of person. They leave me feeling less than my best and therefore, they must go. I’m thinking 2010 is going to be an amazingly powerful year for this goddess.

How about you? Do you have any STOP signs in your 2010 Vision?

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