Mindful Moments

Mindset for the Eye-set

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Create a mindset for the eye-set. This is something I practice on the regular but especially during times of overwhelm and stress.
 

Our mindset shapes our ‘eye-set’, what we focus on and how we see the world. Typically, our mindsets are trained by culture, our upbringing and our schooling. One of the things we are taught to constantly look for is what isn’t working: what I want/don’t want, the hole, or the gap in something. However, when we keep our attention focused on what’s missing or what we don’t want or can’t do, that’s where our energy flows. And that energy can feel heavy, dark, gloomy, uninspiring and depressing. Can you relate? It’s not the most ideal situation when you’re already feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

As I enter the final month before my wedding, launching a few work projects and juggling responsibilities, I know that gliding through this crunch time means I get to take care of my wellbeing and “tighten up” my routines.

However, I noticed as I laid in bed the other night, dreamstorming my plan of action for the next month, that my mind jumped to thoughts of ‘I need to cut out sugar’, ‘Don’t eat carbs’, ‘Don’t make plans during the week’, ‘Don’t get stressed out’, etc. This thought process happened for about a millisecond before I caught myself from spiraling into a prison of restriction and turmoil. I paused, grabbed hold of the reins and quickly changed my mindset to what I actually want to feel, experience and be, especially during this crunch time.

For instance, I want to feel relaxed and spacious, I want to feel healthy and glowing, I want to be loving and grateful. The moment I switched my mindset, my eye-set (the lens in which I am looking at life through) changed. I no longer felt those shackles and gloomy energy of everything I wasn’t allowing myself to do, feel or be. Switching my mindset didn’t just change the lens in which I viewed the situation, but it created an energetic shift inside of me where my heart felt more open and I had more energy and excitement for everything that is about to come.

I welcome you to try paying attention to your mindset this month. Create a mindset for your eye-set. Train your mind to control the way in which you see the world and situations. Make life work with you, instead of against you.

Celebrate your mindset shifts with me here. Or noticing you want more support shifting your mindset, send me an email here.

Communication is Key- Why do you talk?

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Communication is a hot topic in my life at the moment. And let’s be real. It is an important aspect of everyone’s live—in both the professional and personal spheres.

As my fiancé and I prep for marriage, we are less consumed with the wedding weekend dates and more interested in talking about our vision, creating systems and structures within our own relationship. And a key part of connecting and creating something is communication.
 
During one of my recent silent meditation retreats, one of my meditation teachers Dori Langevin, shared the acronym WAIT when discussing the importance of timely speech.  The acronym stands for Why Am I Talking. I loved this! It is so simple, yet so powerful! Speaking is a gift. Our word choices really matter. Whatever we decide to share to either others or ourselves has an impact. In order to ask yourself why am I talking, it is important to find that pause or to take a minute and WAIT.
 
As most of you know, I am all about the pause. I practice the pause in my own life as well as support clients being able to strengthen their mindfulness muscles to practice the pause so that they can reflect to connect and then make more intentional choices. 
 
Practicing this acronym has supported me in connecting to my intentions for communicating. During my pause, I get to ask myself, why and what do I want to be contributing? Am I just speaking because I want my voice to be heard? Can I add value here?
 
Where in your life do you see the practice of the pause and using the WAIT acronym can support you?
 
Want more support grounding into a new fall routine? I got your back.

Movement Meditation

 recently completed my first 5-day silent meditation retreat and I am about to do another one next week! Ahh!

If you had asked me a few years ago if I would do a silent retreat, I would have said heck no. I didn’t think I could be silent or meditate for that long. Nor did I WANT to. But let me tell you, these five days of silence were one of the most healing and amazing experiences I have had in a long time. I typically preach how self-care can be practiced on a daily basis in #MindfulMoments, and I never really understood why going on a retreat would be beneficial since it isn’t “real life.” But now I have a totally new perspective. This 5-day retreat was all about creating an immersive, protected and sacred container to dive deep into my own practice and reach new levels of awareness that I can’t typically connect to in a world full of over-stimulation. This 5-day retreat became a training ground where new seeds of practice and awareness were planted so that I can water them and integrate them into my life moving forward.

The theme of this meditation retreat was called Body Wisdom. All of our meditations had a suggested focus on connecting to the current experience of the body. For someone who thought I already had a strong mind/body connection, I was taken to a deeper level. One of my favorite new meditations we practiced was all about connecting to the four elements in our body: earth air, water and fire. Check out this meditation on my Centered in the City podcast.

A lot of you have asked me what it was like being silent for five days. Was I able to use my phone or read? And the answer is no. No technology, no reading, no journaling, and no speaking to each other! Some people even chose not to engage in eye contact. The only writing that was allowed was during the teacher’s talk as a form of note taking. The teacher explained, “Reading a novel is reading someone else’s story and journaling is getting caught in your own story. The idea is for you to be present and connected to your current experience.” I loved this description because it gave me full permission to tune in verses get trapped in my internal experience.

The practice of meditation was woven into the daily schedule. We had 45-minute sessions of alternating between sitting, walking, and lying down meditation throughout the day from 6am to 9pm. We were encouraged to take this mindful awareness into our daily activities, transition moments, while we ate, sipped on tea, brushed our teeth, etc. Emphasizing that there is no “turning off,” “zoning out,” or “numbing out.”

I also loved getting a chance to practice some Qi Gong—which is meditation in motion. Click on the video below to watch a few different exercises I incorporate into my morning meditation routine to support opening my heart center, and living from the gratitude of my body and life.

These practices in addition to so many more get to be exercises in flexing my mindfulness muscles to tap into the wisdom of my body. When I listen deeply, there are layers of experience. As my teacher, Heather Sundberg, says, “There is the experience of the body from the internal, external and both at any given moment.”

Which pathway do you typically use to listen to the wisdom of your own body? Which one do you want to start listening to in your practice?


Qi Gong Practices:
 

The intention of the first two practices is to give and receive love and kindness
 

The intention of the second series of practices is to open up the the second chakra, heart and head
 

*** With both practices challenge yourself to slow down your breath and movement ***

Perfectionista

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"I am like a recovering perfectionist. For me, it is about one day at a time."
~ Brene Brown

I have been doing some deep self development work in the last 6 months, and it is so exciting to reflect on what I am learning about myself!

“Wow, wait... Wade does personal development work still? Isn’t she a coach and should know everything about herself?” 

First off, let me dispel this thought you may be wondering about because I get it a lotttt. No matter who you are, even if you’re Oprah, you never stop learning and doing your own personal development work. If we stop learning about ourselves, then we stop growing. And who wants to stop growing? I for sure know I don’t want to.

So, back to sharing my growth. Essentially, I never considered myself a perfectionist. I figured that I always do the best I can, and some days I am happier with the outcome than others. But what I have discovered over the past six months is that I am a CLOSETED PERFECTIONIST, and it has held me back from letting my creativity be expressed fully. I have had countless ideas for my book, for programs, workshops or even decorating my space that I have paused or squashed these ideas because of the fear it won't be perfect. And boy oh boy this mentality felt like a mental prison. I was constantly stuck in the wantingto-create yet failure-to-launch phase. Have you experienced that before?

After loads of introspection, I discovered a tool that works for me to help navigate the bullsh*t so that I can create the goodsh*t. Whenever I go to rework a portion of my book, brainstorm an idea for a workshop or create a pinterest board for design work, I say to myself: This is version one. This is version one.  When I repeat this motto, it quiets my monkey mind’s thoughts and worries: what if it sucks, what if I fail, what if it doesn’t look good, what if I don't like it, what if no one signs up etc. This motto cuts through the bullsh*t and supports me getting over the hurdle that prevents me from creating. I get to remember that I can always fix, rework, adjust, try again or alter my work however I may need. But I can’t grow personally or professionally or serve my clients/community if I am not creating. I not only end up suffocating myself, but I restrict the world from receiving my gifts.

So, now I turn to you and ask: where might you be showing up as a perfectionist in your life? Is it at work? While you are cooking? Writing? Dating?

What would life look like if you too came out of the perfectionist closet? What greater impact may you have in your work, relationships, community and the world? What gifts are you hiding? If you created your own perfectionist motto, what would you say to yourself?


Want more support unpacking and quieting the perfectionist mind? Schedule a one-off session with me here.

 

I, We & The All

We are stepping into one of my favorite months of the year. Not just because April is my birthday month, but because this month is where the northern hemisphere starts to come out of hibernation. The days are longer, Mother Nature is doing her beautiful thang and we humans get to wear less layers. YAY for wearing less clothes! Bring on the flip flops and sun dresses!

As life is blossoming around me, it gets me thinking about how I am  contributing to the gift of life. How am I taking care of my own life, my loved ones, the greater community around me and the world at large?

In order to reflect on this philosophical question, I create 3 different categories to make this question feel less daunting and more tangible. The 3 categories are broken into: "I" , "We", & "All."

"I" is all about you. How are you making yourself a priority? What personal and professional goals are you breathing life into? In what  ways are you nourishing yourself and the life you want to live?

"We" is about you and your community. This can be your family, your friends, your neighbors, co-workers, your local coffee shop, etc. How are you connecting and contributing to the life that is around you?

"All" is about the greater world, Mother Nature and the human race. How are you contributing to a global vision for the world? What do you want to see happen in the world?

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Thinking about your daily footprint in these three areas helps create perspective in how you want to live both locally and globally.

For me, it  helps me think about how taking care of myself not only affects me, but it affects the world around me. It is a reminder that I don’t live in a bubble and however I am treating myself ripples into the world around me. When we give life to ourselves, we can then be in greater service to the people around us. Connecting to the “We” empowers me to take personal responsibility in my family and community relationships. I get to be more present with how I connect and communicate with people and places in my everyday life.  And connecting to the “All” highlights how I can have a voice and impact in our world from a political, social, economical and environmental perspective. And we all know how much our world needs us to show up right now.

What ways do you want to connect and breathe life into the “I”, “We” and “All” this spring? I'd love to hear and celebrate with you! Share and celebrate what life you want to create with me here. 

Anti-Inflammation Week

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This week is one of my very favorite weeks: my ‘anti-inflammation’ week for my mind, body and soul. I try to reduce inflammation in my physical, mental and emotional system to prime myself for a cleaner and clearer slate for the new year.  Join along and let me know how you feel as you step into 2018!

These days are the last few pages of the 2017 chapter—a time to simmer in the holiday warmth, finish up any loose ends and start to dream-storm what 2018 gets to look like. I consider this week holy. Time feels slower, emails are quiet, more reading gets done and there is a natural cheer in the air, filled with Happy New Year wishes. The holidays can be a whirlwind—travel, different routines, rich and decadent food can throw you off your game. No matter how mindful you are. But practicing some intentional self-care can put you back on track and in the driver’s seat so you can head into 2018 feeling your best.

 

For my mind:

Being consistent with my daily meditation practice is a game changer, even if I can only fit 10 minutes in my morning routine. Not only do I feel calmer and clear-headed, but I also notice I am less emotionally reactive and manage stress more effectively. My meditation practice doesn’t just make me feel good, I know it is also doing good for my brain. A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon demonstrated that participating in a 3-day mindfulness meditation retreat generated more functional connectivity between areas of the brain and showed lower levels of inflammation in blood work than a similar demographic of people who completed a 3-day, relaxing mindfulness retreat. This research proves the importance of a meditation practice. It can have a positive impact on one’s physiology and actually reduce inflammation in the mind and body. I’m especially amazed that in just 3 days the scientists could detect a difference in the participants’ biochemistry.

Meditating not only feels pleasant, but I consider it a routine, just like brushing my teeth. Meditating reduces brain inflammation, just like brushing my teeth reduces gum inflammation, and my practice leaves my mind feeling minty fresh and clean, just like after a good tooth-brushing session. Staying consistent with my morning meditation routine re-grounds me so I can feel more mentally refreshed and open to the possibilities of the New Year.

 

For my body:

I don’t believe in diets or restricting myself (because life is too short to not enjoy!). However, I do believe in mindful eating and making more intentional food choices based on the wisdom and cravings of my body. For instance, post holiday ho-down, I typically notice I feel sugar-overloaded, dehydrated, and bloated. Sound familiar? Usually this combination is the result of eating more decadent food than I am used to and not being as physically active. That’s why in anti-inflammation week, I make sure to focus on what I am fueling myself with and how I move my body.

The magical three fueling tips, I practice this week are WSC—hot water, soup and cruciferous vegetables to restore my body’s equilibrium.

1.     Water — especially hot water! with lemon, ginger and a cinnamon stick. This 3-some aids in digestion and reducing inflammation. I drink this first thing in the morning and continue to re-fill this concoction with additional hot water throughout my day.

2.     Soup — I love how comforting, nutrient-dense and filling soup can be, especially when it is non-dairy.  I prefer to make a bunch of homemade soups so that at least one of my daily meals can be soup-based, to support my digestive track getting a bit of a break. Some of my go-tos are homemade chicken vegetable, lentil sweet potato or broccoli.

3.     Cruciferous veggies — at every meal. These vegetables are typically what you think of when you imagine fibrous vegetables: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choi, broccoli rabe, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etc. Research suggests that a phytochemical, sulforaphane, found in these veggies have endless health benefits that helps detoxify the body’s system. I make sure to have a medley of different vegetables throughout my week.

And of course I sweat!  This week I tend to be less in the yoga and Pilates mindset and crave more cardio classes such as spin, speed-walking or a run. Sweating is key to flushing out the lymphatic system and getting my blood flowing to help cleanse and neutralize my internal bio-dome as much as my emotional and mental.

 

For my soul:

Slower, colder and quieter days call for space to be introspective and creative. Typically I love to be creative in the kitchen, but post the holidays, I try to keep it simple so my creative outlet gets to come alive in the form of writing or collage-making. I spend time letting my mind wander and connect to my voice. This sometimes comes out in the form of free-writing, poetry or a personal story. This week, building my 2018 vision board called my name. I rummaged through old magazines and selected what images stand out for my 2018 mindset and inspiration.

Due to all of the holiday parties and festivities, I crave to be a bit more introverted this week. I minimize the desire to numb or mask my true emotions with social media or Netflix-binging and instead, go inwards to connect and have my soul goals listened to and honored. I cut through the inflammation of the loud external world and work on dialing it in to what truly matters.

Intentionally making space to take care of myself in this holistic fashion honors my 2017 and is the best investment I can make for my year to come. How are you honoring your 2017 while gearing up for 2018? Share with me in the comments below. 

What do you want more of in life?

 Photo credit @lovedanielleoh

Photo credit @lovedanielleoh

A question I like to simmer with, especially when there is a shift in the calendar and we transition into the flow of Fall. I get excited to journal about it, explore possibilities with my partner and ask the people I love. I get so excited about the abundance of possibilities we all have! As a coach, I know that what we want in life, we can create. But we can’t create what we don’t know we want. I often hear clients feel lost, trapped or confused because they swirl in the question of “what do I want?” And the second they allow themselves to think bigger or outside of the box, the “dream killing” thoughts start knocking at the door. “Oh I could never achieve that.” Or “I don’t have the time or resources to do both.” Or “I am not educated enough for that.” Sound familiar? Our rational mind kicks into high gear to question if we can truly live the life we want to be living. And it makes sense that our rational mind is talking to us because all it truly wants to do is protect us. But sometimes we allow those thoughts to keep us small and immobile, and then we end up not growing or going anywhere. Have you had that experience before? Me too! And this is what I do: Every time I hear those grim reaper thoughts floating in, I say to myself, “hello, thank you and goodbye” and transition my eyes and my heart to focus back on what I do want to create.

Now here is the twist... you might be like, Wade... I already create to-do lists, try to set goals or create my vision boards, and I say WOOHOOO, way to go! However that is not enough. It is one thing to get your ideas formulated and out there, but there is an even deeper importance to tie what you want into how you are being. So I welcome you to take this question a step deeper this month. Instead of keeping your gaze on just the external (what do I want more of in my life?), turn your gaze inwards and explore how am I embodying what I want in life? If you want that new job position, that relationship, that wedding, explore how you want to be in all of those scenarios. What is the feeling, the essence you want to have when you accept that job, when you walk down the aisle or when you step into intimacy. (hint: you don’t need to spend money or take another class to find it, it is already alive and inside of you).

Now if you are ready to step into beingness, I have the perfect program for you. I am super excited to announce my Mindful Moment workshop that has traveled around the country and is now expanding and going virtual! You read it right. Launching next week, I am opening registration for an opportunity to join a co-ed live virtual group program where you will not only create a consistent meditation practice, but each month you will take a deep dive into embodying the pillars of mindfulness. You will learn how to add more patience, non-judgment, kindness and trust into your life so you can sleep easier, be more productive and create equanimity so life doesn’t take charge of you, but you take charge of life. Sign up to be the first to know here! More information and celebration coming soon!

 

What are you clinging to?


“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything—anger, anxiety or possessions—we cannot be free” – Thich Nhat Hanh

A few months ago during one of my meditation trainings, we explored the concept of grasping. The idea is that as humans, we love to cling and hold onto our emotions, sensations, beliefs and perceptions. We hold on tightly and trick and train our brain into thinking  these beliefs form our true identity, when in reality we are purely meaning-making machines. Clinging shows its face in many forms. For instance, we grasp onto emotions we experience by saying “I am sad” or “I am angry” versus “I am experiencing sadness” or “I am noticing signs of anger.” We literally want to white knuckle that emotion and make it our identity. I know in the past when I have said, “I am angry,” I am way more likely to sit and grasp onto that anger and frustration way longer than if I were to say “I am noticing some anger arising in me.”  Expressing the latter sets me free from the emotion and allows me to recognize I have a choice in how I want to feel instead of letting the feeling control and consume me. I get that this verbiage doesn’t sound colloquial, but there is a real energetic mind shift that occurs when you use it.  Clinging also arises from the expectations our mind creates. We might paint a picture of how a scenario was supposed to go, yet reality happens and plans turn out nothing like we imagined. Instead of going with the flow and being present with the current situation, our mind is grasping onto our failed expectations. Sound familiar?

Exploring all the ways my mind grasps onto things is fascinating! I get to recognize how my mind wants to find some sort of control, meaning and purpose out of every situation. This helps me realize that I tend to be living in the past and not in the present. That is where my meditation practice comes into play. Having a consistent practice to pause and breathe creates space for me to notice what my mind wanders to (ie. a story in the past, a feeling, anticipation of something in the future). Instead of hushing the thought or trying to shut it down, I want to welcome it in and then practice placing it off to the side. When I can separate the thought from me, I get to examine it from a different perspective and I feel so much lighter and more free. The more I get to practice this concept of letting go, the easier I am able to manage my emotions and energy during the rest of the day. I am able to be more present and focused.

This month is the perfect time to explore the thoughts you are clinging to. Let the slow pace of August create space for you to pause, breathe and gain awareness. Check out this letting go meditation on my new Centered in the City podcast.  Examine what your mind clings to and learn how to ditch the unnecessary baggage. Recognize the consistent thoughts your mind wanders to, and create space so that you can recognize you are more than your thoughts. Learning to be aware of what your mind clings to, and to let go of your thoughts, will allow you to become more present and focused.
  
After you practice the meditation, feel free to use these journaling prompts:  
 
What type of thoughts do you notice your mind clings to?
Where in your body do you feel those sensations?
What type of patterns or observations do you notice?

Productivity and Play

Summer has officially arrived, woohoo! Which is so exciting, but it also can be frustrating for a lot of us who spend our days inside on the computer, in meetings, or in the car traveling to appointments. Our natural desire to be productive clashes with our human desire to play outside and bask in the sun.  

In order to not feel trapped by our lives and structure, I want to welcome you to think about where you have more freedom and flexibility to make your time feel productive and playful versus being in the "one-or-the-other" mindset. So much of our lives we trap ourselves in boxes, certain ways of thinking or doing. For instance, our culture likes to depict cleaning our house as being a purely productive activity. We automatically equate relaxing in the sun by the pool to "playing around". But in our modern society, we get to be creative and make life a both/and. It all starts with our mindset. So, this summer, I want to welcome you to flip the script and explore where you can make productivity and play a both/and, rather than an either/or

This doesn't have to be just in the workplace, it can also be practiced with your various house chores or personal responsibilities. For instance, I'm working on making gardening feel both playful AND productive. I am approaching gardening not from a "have to" mindset where this chore must be crossed off the list. Instead, I think of it as a way to be playful with my partner as we do something productive for our house and physical space.

One of my clients, Kathy, is practicing embodying this both/and energy in her workday so that she doesn't feel resentful to her job during the summer—a time when she wants freedom and fun in her life. During our session, Kathy and I explored her routine to find where she can shift her mindset of feeling like a prisoner to her schedule into a mindset of having flexibility with her time. I asked her to think about her transitions and how she can make her transitions not only feel productive (since they are  a means to an end) but also be a place where she can sprinkle some playful energy. Some ideas she brainstormed were: trying a different form of commuting (ie. biking to work vs. driving, taking a new route home); taking her lunch break outside so she could get sun and fresh air; or taking a walk with a co-worker for a dose of social interaction and connection. By shifting her mindset to focus on where she does have more control over her schedule, she was able to add some intentional, playful energy into her productive schedule. 

In the past, I had another client discuss resistance to doing dishes because it felt like a miserable chore. The impulse was to put the dishes off, but this just made the situation more daunting and overwhelming. So, instead of feeling guilty and overwhelmed, we reframed her mindset and found some play in the chore. She decided to put on her favorite song and dance to the music trying to finish their stack of dishes before the song was over. Not only did she have fun listening and dancing but she had fun racing against the clock trying to beat her previous time. 

These are simple examples, but there are endless ways to make our actions and decisions a both/and so that we don't feel trapped by our thinking or black/white way of being. The first step to shifting your mindset is gaining awareness. Take some action below.

To add both play and productivity in your life, follow these steps:
I invite you to pause and reflect on your life right now. Take a moment to jot down where there is a strong desire to be productive in your life and where you are also faced with some resistance (ie. working on a project, studying for an exam, organizing a closet etc.) If you are finding there are a few spots, brain-dump them all down, then circle the one that is the most prevalent. Take your circled item and brainstorm how you can make this action feel more playful (see image below). As you focus on the play aspect, notice how your body starts to feel. Typically people feel lighter, more bubbly and flexible. Pick which playful option excites you more and BAM... you have both a playful and productive activity on your hands. 

Feeling stuck with this activity? Send me a note and I will help you out.

Using the "C" Word

Want to know how to use the "C" word in a powerful and purposeful way this summer? I am talking about communication, yo. 

How often do you find yourself trapped in a communication pickle with a co-worker, family member, partner or even yourself? Typically a communication roadblock occurs because there is a conflict in expressed values, the inability for people to deeply listen or judgments that prevent us from being present and truly holding space for a two-way conversation. Communication has been a hot topic in my life recently, so I want to share some ways I'm practicing the art of communication.

In general, there are four types of communicators:

1. PASSIVE COMMUNICATORS — individuals avoid expressing their opinions or feelings, protecting their rights, and identifying and meeting their needs.
2. AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATORS — individuals express their feelings and opinions and advocate for their needs in a way that violates the rights of others.
3. PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE COMMUNICATORS — individuals appear passive on the surface but are really acting out anger in a subtle, indirect or behind-the-scenes way.
4. ASSERTIVE COMMUNICATORS — individuals clearly state their opinions and feelings, and firmly advocate for their rights and needs without violating the rights of others. These individuals value themselves, their time, and their emotional, spiritual, and physical needs and are strong advocates for themselves while being very respectful of the rights of others.

What kind of communicator do you think you are? What kind of communicator do you want to be? What is one tiny action step you can practice today that leads you to the type of communicator you wish to be?

I don't know about you, but I want to be an assertive communicator—a person who deeply knows myself, what I want, what I value and asks for what I need while caring for others. In the past, I've realized I oscillated between being too aggressive with my blunt NYC potty mouth while also expressing myself passively because I was more concerned about how others would feel, based on what I shared. These styles of communication left me feeling small or angry and didn't allow for a balance of being bold yet loving. After doing so much self-development work over the past several years, I am proud to say I am finding my balance and stepping into my assertive shoes. This doesn't mean I do it perfectly every time, but I have reached a point in my life that I respect myself deeply enough to allow my voice, my dreams, my wishes, my thoughts, my body and my soul to be expressed while also respecting the people around me. I honor that my actions and words also affect others. One of the ways I paid attention to the way I was communicating with myself and others was looking carefully at the type of language I used. I observed if my words were full of "I can't" or "I have to." I noticed if my emails or conversations were full of "sorries" or if I tip-toed around questions or comments with a phrase like "I just want to say..." instead of being bold and f*cking saying what I want with clarity and confidence. 

Communication is an essential piece of the self-care puzzle. If we don't know how to listen deeply, and communicate to ourselves, then it makes it even harder to communicate to others. That is why I am super-pumped to announce that my virtual group program Summer of Self-Care is back and better then ever! This 6-week program is dedicated to supporting women knowing who they are, what they want and how to take care of themselves from the inside out so that they can use the "C" word in a powerful and purposeful way.

If you are wondering if this program is for you ask yourself these three questions:

1. Does your mental self-talk affect your confidence and ability to go after what you want? (ie, go on that date, post that picture to Instagram or apply for that new position?)
2. Are you hungry for tools that help you be more intentional about the way you take care of yourself and set your schedule? (ie, create rituals for morning and evening routines)
3. Are you ready to feel your healthiest, most powerful and boldest self this summer? (in mind, body and soul?)

If you answered f*ck YES to all of these questions, then this program is your jam. Applications open Wednesday and there is limited space and already a waitlist! Be the first in the know by signing up here. Early bird pricing ends May 18th and the program officially begins June 12th.


Here are some words from a previous Summer of Self-Care member:
 

"I signed up for the Summer of Self Care program. I wanted to look into some coaching support to help me with some long-standing personal goals that I haven’t been able to achieve for one reason or another. Wade has helped me break down the reasons why I’ve felt blocked and provided some simple yet powerful tools that I can use to make progress towards my goals. Instead of feeling anxious and frustrated, I find myself relying on new practices - such as meditation - to feel confident and focused about what I want to do, and how to go about doing it. Wade’s program and methodology helps to define the skills I need to not just exist but truly live and thrive. It’s been such a rewarding experience and I would recommend it to anyone who’s ready to make some positive changes in their life." -MR

 

If you are feeling stuck, at a cross roads or are yearning for more growth this summer click here to discover ways you can make yourself a priority without the shame or guilt. Let your inner summer sunshine glow! 

How to use your Mind-Body Connection to achieve your Fitness Goals

A guest post by Erin Conroy PT, DPT.

AKA the "PhytChick."

How many of you have heard of the books The Secret or the The Power of Positive Thinking.  How about the concept of “Manifestation”?

 If you haven’t, let me fill you in.

Basically these all are based around the law of attraction. If you think it, it will happen…that goes for negative or positive.

So what does this have to do with fitness?

Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret…

Okay, it’s not actually a secret because there are published studies on this concept, but, hey, I’ll at least try to help make sense of that information. (Here is a summary of some of those studies).

“So you are telling me that if I think about my muscles getting sculpted, my butt lifted, my washboard abs, that one day I will wake up with that body?”

YES!

Buuuuut not by itself (sorry for the false hope).

On a positive note, strengthening your mind-body connection will get you those results a heck of a lot faster!

When you hear mind-body connection you probably think zen, yoga, meditation…maybe, oh I don’t know, sitting in a prairie basking in the sun with a flute playing in the background…no, just me? Okay, anyways….the point here is how often do we actually associate this mind-body connection with our workouts?

I’m guessing mind-body connection doesn’t trigger a picture a squats, planks, and burpees.

But it should!

I touched on this in “Get it Right, Get it Tight Part 1 and Part 2

Going through the motions of an exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you are working the areas you think you are. It takes conscious effort to work your desired muscles. If you aren’t using the mind-body connection, your path to results may be a long and inefficient one.

You might even be moving in the correct movement pattern but may not be activating the correct muscles because you have a weak MIND-MUSCLE.

So now you are telling me that I have a mind-muscle? Sounds like some mumbo-jumbo to me.

Let me explain.

To put it VERY simply, the brain is the puppet master. It is sitting up in its castle in the sky pulling the strings to create the puppet's movements.

The brain sends a signal down your spinal cord, through the nerve, and into the desired muscle. The brain is essentially directly linked to that muscle, and if that muscle receives the correct message, BAM! Watch it move! Hello, Mind-Muscle.

Without the brain facilitation, there's no muscle activation.

No brain=No gain.

We use this concept in physical therapy but call it “neuromuscular reeducation”. We often need to train our patients to facilitate muscle contraction or movement patterns that they lost because of an injury or may have never adequately developed. We are essentially reminding those muscles how to work properly.

Sounds technical and science-y right? It really is just the concept of mind-body connection applied to fitness.

Neuro=Mind

Muscular=Body

Much simpler right?

Basically if you think it (with training and focus), you can do it.

Hell yeah, Manifestation! Bring me that summer body!

Now, let’s figure out how to incorporate this MIND-MUSCLE so we can sculpt those BODY-MUSCLES!

Here are some steps you can take to strengthen your mind-body connection:

Step 1: Visualize which muscle you are trying to work.

Step 2: Warm-up that area with some isometrics (squeezes without moving your body. Basically contract the muscle you want work.)

Step 3: Perform the exercises you are about to do but with less weight or at a lower intensity. During this, focus on feeling the area you want to work

Step 4: Talk to yourself. Tell yourself over and over again what you should be doing with that muscle.

Step 5: Add the weight or continue through your exercise class focusing on “feeling it” where you should be “feeling it”.

Step 6: Repeat step 2 in between sets

Let’s use the squat as an example to a better idea of how to apply these steps.

Step 1: I want to focus on my glutes...or the behind. Picture those muscles!

Step 2: Do some glute squeezes. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, hold for a few seconds, relax. Repeat about 10 times.

Step 3: Perform squats without any weight. Focus on feeling the burn in your butt. Even picture that muscle actually contracting. 

Step 4: Say to yourself: "SQUEEZE the butt!" as you push up through your heels each time.

Step 5: Add your weight and continue to focus on feeling the burn in your butt.

Step 6: Try repeating step 2 in between sets.

Now take these tips and head to the gym or workout studio knowing that you are going to get better results because you have a strong MIND and BODY.

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Why do we make shit so hard?

How often do you find yourself putting pressure on yourself to make everything in life perfect? Do you recognize this pattern when you make dinner, organize the house, manage your schedule, take care of your body, or plan your life?

We have this idea in our head that if it is not hard, difficult, stress-producing or anxiety-ridden then we must not be doing anything right. Feel me? Not only have I personally experienced this as I grow my business and plan a family, but I see it in my clients and I hear it with my friends. Our current American culture vibe glamorizes a busy life or the facade that the busier we are, the more we multi-tasking, travel, and the more booked our calendars are, the more value and purpose our life must have. When we reach a certain level of stress and busyness, then we are truly living the modern American dream.

After years of working with clients who yearn to make themselves a priority in the noise of life, I’ve seen this common theme emerge. In general, they feel lost in the busyness of life and no longer know how to answer questions like: what are my hobbies, what do I care about, what is fun and fulfilling? The rat race has sucked them into a spiral of doing on autopilot so much so that they don’t truly feel alive in life and engaged with it.  And the pressure to keep running the hamster wheel is extremely tiring and almost deathly. Life feels like wind whipping you in the face as you peer outside the window of a moving car trying to desperately catch your breath, yet you feel slightly suffocated. Does this resonate with you? Now imagine this versus how life could feel and the freedom we can offer ourselves to breathe in deeply and swallow sweet fresh air that awakens our cells and our being. 

In the process of making yourself a priority, one of the first steps my clients discover is that they actually have a choice. They wake up from their sleep-walking habits and autopilot routines to say, “I have a choice.” They have the choice to alter their negative self-talk, to consciously eat what is going to fuel them best, to schedule their time wisely and to make life fun and delicious. The moment you realize you have a choice is the moment you get to decide if you want to choose the belief that everything has to be hard or switch your mindset and manifest that there is joy or growth or playfulness in every action and decision you make.  Believe me, I am not saying to take a happy pill and think the world is roses and rainbows all of the time. But when you realize you have a choice, you feel empowered and can jump back into the driver’s seat of life.

During my cancer battle, I had a choice to feel like a victim of life or see that I was gifted this experience for some unknown reason. When I was 21, cancer stole my youth, my hair, my study abroad experience and a chunk of my life. But I quickly learned I could stay in this victim mentality, which wasn’t bringing me very far, or I could choose to see the silver lining. I had the power. Even when I was powerless about what was happening inside of my body, I had the power to make other choices in my life.

Anytime I catch myself adding more pressure or unnecessary stress to a situation, I pause and ask myself, what do I want to choose?  Do I want to choose stress? Do I want to choose curiosity? Or fun? Reminding myself I have a choice allows me to slow down and take control of life and how I want to respond verses reacting and feeling powerless.

So what do you choose? Tell me about it!

Recipes to Comfort the Soul

In times of instability, I pay attention to what fuel I'm putting in my body because I know it effects my mood, emotions and overall energy.  For the past few weeks, I have noticed my body craves more soups and fats and is less hungry for a full, balanced meal (ie meat, veggies, carb).  I have lost my appetite for salads and instead yearn for something warm and smoothing.  I think some of these cravings are natural due to the winter weather; however, the instability of our government has me also searching for comfort and stability within myself. Instead of overeating on heavy carbs or overly-processed sugars to numb my emotions and feel even worse, I am flexing my mindfulness muscles and serving myself nutrients and comfort my body craves.  I want to help heal, hug and support myself compassionately through this trying time rather than fill myself with fuel that makes me feel worse.

Here are a few recipes I have whipped up in the kitchen that I want to share with you—with the hope they inspire you to be mindfully taking care of yourself form the inside out.  Try them out and let me know how they make you feel!

Do you have any other, comforting healthy recipes you want to share?  Feel free to pass them along in the comments below!

 

Lentil Sweet Potato Soup

 

So delicious, nutritious and satisfying! I could have this soup every week and never get sick of its taste and texture.

Ingredients:

  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes chopped into 1/4 inch chunks
  • 2 large carrots chopped into 1/4 inch chunks 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups dried lentils (any variety will do); make sure to rinse first
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced into small pieces
  • 1-2 inches of raw ginger, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-2 tbsp. curry powder
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. Olive oil

Directions:

Prepare all of your ingredients by washing and cutting all vegetables, garlic, and ginger.

1.     In a big pot, place on medium heat and add olive oil, then chopped onions. Cook the onions until soft and translucent (~3min)

2.     Add the garlic, wait a couple of minutes

3.     Next, add carrots for a few minutes

4.     Then add sweet potatoes

5.     Season with salt and pepper

6.     Add the vegetable stock and turn the stovetop to medium/high until the soup boils

7.     Throw in the raw ginger and, if you like garlic, you can add extra, whole garlic cloves

8.     Once the soup boils, add washed lentils and curry powder and place a lid on the pot to let the soup simmer on medium for 20-30min

9.     The soup will be ready when the lentils completely cook. They should feel soft to touch.

Keep leftovers stored in a glass container in the fridge for future lunches and dinners for the week.  

 

Magical Toast

 

Remember eating cinnamon sugar toast when you where a kid?  It was one of my favorite weekend treats growing up.  Since I can’t stomach adding raw sugar onto any of my foods, I love to create a slightly healthier twist on one of my favorite childhood snacks.

Ingredients:

Directions:

1.     Toast bread in a toaster until desired crunchiness

2.     Slab 1 tbsp. (or more) of butter evenly on the toast

3.     Let the butter melt and then enjoy every sweet and savory bite!

The sweet bread with the rich, fresh and salty taste of the butter is the best combination and super comforting for breakfast.  The fat helps keep me full longer and the sweet taste tickles my taste buds.

 

Leek & Carrot soup

This broth helps open my lungs, my nasal passageways and feels like I am fueling my body with liquid love.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large leeks chopped from the white tips to the bottom of the darker green
  • 2 large carrots cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 32 oz. vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

1.     Wash and chop all vegetables

2.     In a pot, heat olive oil on medium then add leeks and cook until they are translucent.

3.     Add the garlic and cook until soft

4.     Add carrots into the mixture

5.   Add salt & pepper and let these flavors cook for 5 minutes

6.     Add the vegetables stock followed by turmeric and more salt & pepper if needed

7.     Cover the pot and let the soup reach a boil. Once the soup boils, keep it on a simmer until carrots are tender (~15min). The longer the soup simmers the more flavorful it will become, but it is ready to enjoy at any moment!

 

Steel Cut Banana Bread Oatmeal

I am not usually a huge fan of oatmeal, but this oatmeal makes me feel like I am giving myself a hug from the inside out.

Ingredients:

  • Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal
  • Fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, soak in warm water until they soften)
  • 1 tsp. hemp seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • 1-2 tsp. maple syrup
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Chopped banana

Directions:

1.     Cook oatmeal following directions on the package.

2.    When oatmeal is almost ready, add banana into the mixture until is softens and starts to melt

3.     When the oatmeal is at a desired consistency, transfer to a bowl and top with blueberries, hemp seeds, walnuts, cinnamon and maple syrup

 

Vegan Cauliflower Soup

Check out the full recipe here.

New Year's Day Practice

Words are powerful. But what's even more powerful is when you connect words to action. As you enter into 2017, I want to welcome you to think about one word -- or a few words, a phrase -- that you want to use as your 2017 power intention. 

Grounding myself with a word or short phrase is one of the most powerful tools I practice year after year. Instead of feeling overwhelmed with all the individual "things" I could do in 2017, it helps to create a personal statement of intention that supports me when making decisions and creating priorities. My word in 2015 was connect. Connect meant I was going to spend time connecting to myself, to my community, my clients, to Seattle and to my relationships. I used my empowering word to take action. Whenever I felt stuck, I re-rooted myself into my power intention to help guide the way. Selecting an empowering word or phrase is a great way to clarify and prioritize what your desires and wants are -- supporting you living and loving your life.

My phrase for 2016 was to spread my wings and fly. This was an empowering statement my mom said to me before she passed, and these empowering sentiments guided me this past year to follow my heart and my dreams. Looking back on 2016, I see how much my wings have spread and I have even more clarity on where I want to fly.

In 2017, I welcome the word abundance as my new year's power intention. I am excited to wear the lens of bounty and inclusivity. I am excited to grow and learn as I dive deeper into the wealth of knowledge available to me in my higher education programs this year, focusing specifically on meditation and facilitation. I am excited to turn my attention and focus to where there is shared love, light, and opportunity versus living with the notion 'there's-not-enough'.

What is your one word or phrase you want to embrace in 2017? Please share (in-person, in the comments below email, social media, snaps, grams, phone!). If you did this activity last year, take a moment to reflect and connect. See what dots aligned and what you might want to do differently this next year. 

3 Easy Tasks to Help Prep your Space and your Energy Before a Trip

The summer and fall months are for playing, traveling and being outdoors before winter sets in. We are constantly jetting in and out of our home for weddings, vacations, trips with friends or work travel. The packing, re-packing, laundry and the desire to have a stocked fridge haunt the “pre-trip to-do list.” In order to help you make the post-trip transition a lot easier, add these three simple tasks to your pre-trip regime.  When you can transition back from a trip with ease, you reduce the pain of a vacation hangover and can enter into your workweek feeling more grounded and energized.

1.     Clean your sheets before you leave

There is nothing better then coming home from traveling or camping and jumping into your clean, comfortable bed. Make an effort to wash your sheets before you leave so you can transition back into your routine with more ease and comfort. Instead of laundry becoming another “to-do” on your list, multi-task while you pack. If you end up having to stay up a bit longer because you are waiting for the sheets to dry, don’t fret. The wait will be oh so worth it when you return from your trip to a great night’s sleep.

2.     Clear out the fridge

I am a huge fan and believer in knowing what is stocked in your fridge at all times, but especially when you are leaving town for more than two nights. Make sure to clean out your fridge and discard anything that might go rancid while you are gone. There is nothing worse than coming home to a smelly fridge that has no edible food. Also, a pro tip is to make sure there is some food that will stay fresh in the fridge while you are gone so that you can come home and have something to munch on in case of a hanger attack. For instance, unopened turkey meat, canned tuna fish, a box of lettuce will usually last a week, eggs, carrots or even cabbage. You can also freeze most forms of leftovers lingering in your fridge so you don’t have to feel guilty for wasting food. The important thing is to ditch anything questionable so you don’t have a rude odor welcoming you home.

3.     Clear the Clutter

Before leaving for a trip, try to tidy up and remove scraps of paper, mail, notes, books etc that you find laying around on tabletops or shelves. It doesn’t have to be a deep clean, but 10 minutes of organization can go a long way. Removing the clutter will create a more fluid, creative and welcoming vibe when you return home. When your space is clear, all you will need to focus on is unpacking your bag and doing laundry versus thinking: “oh boy, I have to clean all of this up in addition to laundry and feeling unorganized for my work-week ahead.” If you just don’t have the time to actually deal with each item, throw them all into a single box or pile that you can deal with when you get home.

Home should be a place you want to return to. Mindfully planning ahead helps you make yourself a priority so you can breathe easier. Give your space some love and attention before you leave with these simple tips so that you are welcomed back into your home with open arms.

Take Hold of Your Identity

Take Hold of Your Identity

About a month or two ago, I declared it was time to re-harness my New Yorkerness . After celebrating my three-year anniversary in Seattle, I am sad to say, but I have gone a little soft.  This last year and a half, I noticed that I am less direct, more indecisive, less confidant, more schlumpy, which means, in essence, that I have lost some of my figurative NYC balls! 

Semi Annual Check In

Semi Annual Check In

We are officially halfway through the year people. Holy shit, time has flown on by. Do you feel that way too? I mean I can’t believe it is July already!

Taking a pause to look back at the New Year, do you remember what empowering word/phrase you chose for 2016? If not, I encourage you to look back at your journal and re-familiarize yourself.  Or if you didn’t create one, make one now! Read this blog post to learn how. 

How to Create the Sensation of Living Abroad While Living in Your City

 Alfajores

Alfajores

Life is an adventure!

 

In my opinion, living, working or studying abroad is one of the most important rights of passages you can take in life. Busting out of your comfort bubble to explore the world is invaluable.  Ask anyone who has done it. Living abroad for a prolonged period of time extends your mental map and pushes your boundaries while you experience the rhythm of a different culture, meet new people, try exotic foods, listen to enticing music and see fresh sights.  Living abroad awakens your soul because everyday is an adventure that keeps you engaged in the moment and learning something new.

 

Studying abroad during college and living abroad after school helped me transform into the person I am today. I decided to live in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a taste of South American life with some European flair. My comfort level was pushed when my host mother only spoke Castillan so my mind constantly ached as I tried to dream and be in Spanish. My internal clock oriented itself to the 6pm coffee dates and the 10pm dinners. I observed the different gym culture where the ideas of fitness and body images took a more superficial approach. I loved wondering the halls of super markets tasting the different versions of sweet treats, preparing vegetables in new ways and learning to drink mate. The rhythm of life and the values imbedded in the culture taught me how to be creative with what you have, value the moment, the conversation and the company you are with.

 

Coming back to life in America creates what I like to call, vertigo- dysphoria. Life feels unfamiliar, uneasy yet very predictable. I have worked with a number of clients who feel a sense of sadness when they come back to their life in the States after traveling. They feel they lost something special even though they came back with so many intangible souvenirs.  They fear the lessons they learned and the experiences they encountered wont mean anything as they re-enter the American grind. Personally, there is not a day that goes by where I don’t miss living in Buenos Aires. Whether it is missing my favorite cafes, friends or certain foods, my heart yearns for the Latin warmth and laid back rhythm. Despite loving my life in Seattle, I still yearn to be abroad.  Since I currently can’t move back to Buenos Aires, I learned how to create an abroad sensation while staying present and living my life Seattle.  

 

1.     Practice the language

Whether you have an in person language buddy or not, technology makes it super convenient to practice. You can skype with friends, watch foreign films or use so many language aps that support a practice on your own time.  My boyfriend and I try to switch our conversation into Spanish at least a couple of times a week.  We know that there are certain phrases in Castellan that describes something perfectly that can’t necessarily be translated into English. Practicing the language keeps the energy of the culture alive in us.

 

2.     Create a ritual

One of my most favorite aspects of Argentine culture, was experiencing the medienda or community mate time. Medienda means snack time. For me, medienda was a meaningful part of my day to pause, have coffee, share a delicious treat and enjoy another person’s company. This pause is a beautiful time for rich connection. Just because we are busy bees, does not mean we should push face-to-face connection to last priority. Make a coffee date with a friend or yourself and create quality time for connection.  If you enjoy something tasty with your coffee, allow yourself to savor it and not feel guilty (you don’t even have to finish it all).   

 

3.      Have an adventure

Escape burnout and boredom by creating an adventure in your day. It can be as small as eating something different for lunch, walking a different route to work or switching up your schedule completely.  Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new.  Push yourself out of the ordinary and create an adventure that keeps you guessing and staying awake.

 

4.     Cook up a recipe

Being a foodie, I crave the flavors and feel of the food in Buenos Aires. Just because I am back in America, doesn’t mean I can’t eat empanadas, steam calabaza(squash) or eat a torta for dinner (quiche).  Food is one of the best ways to tap into and celebrate your memories with the smells and tastes.  An added bonus if you play your favorite foreign music to set the mood and inspiration while in the kitchen.

 

5.      Don’t plan yourself

As busy go getting Americans, we are trained to plan and schedule ourselves in order to be productive and efficient with our time.  However, when we plan too much, we miss the journey.  Our mind is already onto the next appointment before we fully enjoy the current moment. Make your Sunday a day to not plan anything! I know it might feel scary and “unproductive,” but  try sleeping in, waking up when your body is ready, and living your day in the moment by letting your intuition lead.  Image how you lived when you were abroad. You would laxidazy explore the streets without a care or “have to” in the world. Take that time for yourself and reconnect to how good it feels to go with the flow.

 

Do you have tips you would like to share? I would love to hear them! Please feel free to comment below or send me an email. 

Routinely Checking In

Long weekends or extended vacations from your everyday routine are the perfect time to mindfully examine your habits. The time and space away from your apartment, house, job, gym, and grocery store gets you out of your flow and into a more organic and present way of being.

Gallivanting on my month of travels, I had no set plans, only ideas of what I wanted to see and do. At first, the thought of having nothing booked was scary. There was nothing tangible for my mind to wrap its hands around. However, setting myself “free” from plans kept me present in the moment and in-tune to what I actually wanted to do. I noticed that when I got back home, I felt confused. I wasn’t sure how to interact with my bedroom or kitchen. I was out of my normal routine for so long that those automatic muscles and habits weren’t firing. After a day or two of settling back in, I felt resistance within me. It was the internal conflict of my automatic habits wanting to jump back into action vs my resistance to be ever so present and in tune to what choices I actually wanted to make. This awareness hit me as I reached for my cupboard to have an afternoon snack that I actually wasn’t hungry for just because it was something I “normally” did. I paused to reflect on other choices I made since being home and recognized how my robotic footsteps retraced my after dinner-routine of grabbing my computer to finish up some work on my couch… why?... not quite sure!  

I watched myself slip back into my routines, and it shocked me to recognize how robotic I was!  Believe me, I know it’s normal to have rituals and routines. It’s actually something I help my coaching clients create  Whether it is figuring out how to fit grocery shopping into their week, scheduling their fitness classes in advance or performing an energizing mourning ritual. A lot of time these routines serve as a nurturing support. They are efficient; they keep us on track and create flow throughout our day. But as we know, there is a balance to everything we do in life. Sometimes we sink too deep into our flow and become robotic. We go too deep into our routines and lose sight of what choices are actually serving us vs what has just become a habit. And maybe the habit of going food shopping every Monday worked for you last month, but maybe this month it’s not jiving with your new flow.

This is why I am grateful to have a mindfulness practice. It helps me slow down time and pause before I act to ask myself: Is this what I want? Is this what works best for my intention at hand?

So the next time you go away for the weekend or plan your winter vacay , take time to notice what habits serve you and what habits you are ready to let go of or replace. Creating space away from your day to day is a perfect way to reflect on what choices are right for you.

If you are wanting more support, make sure you are signed up for Wade a Minute’s March newsletter. I will be sharing an exclusive tool to help you understand how your energy is affected by your routines and habits. Understanding this will help you make more supportive choices so you can grow your mindfulness practice and have energy to do what you love!