2016

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Balance

Learn to bring balance into your life: eat well, move your body with pleasure and routine, and quiet your mind. Ahhh.

Do Words Matter?

“What you Think, you become What you Feel, you attract What you Imagine, you create”. —Buddha

I came upon this quote several years ago and, using a fancy font, I printed it onto card stock, complete with a swirly backdrop, framed it, and gave it to my then teenage son, as a reminder of the power of words. He used strong words in a matter-of-fact manner—such as hate, bad, and stupid—that had a big impact in regards to the type of energy connected to those words. I had already chosen by that point in my life to let go of those less-than-positive words, and when I heard them from him, they sounded “jangly” to my ears—and to my heart.  The less often I used this genre of words, the more noticeable they became when used by others. This quote of truth, from Buddha, can be referenced to both spoken words and to the words that live in our head. The words we choose to use are habitual, which means that we can use them consciously and/or choose to not use them.  It takes intention and practice to allow uplifting words to dominate your vocabulary. Our choices in regards to what we Think, Feel, and Imagine, are reflected in what we manifest in our daily life. Furthermore, the words we use to capture our thoughts, our feelings, and what we imagine, set the tone for the manner with which we affect the world. Words that express optimism, receptivity, joy, gratitude, love, acceptance, and forgiveness create a very different reaction than words of righteousness, indignation, fear, regret, and blame. The reaction to which I am referring is our own internal reaction as well as that of those people who are within our sphere. There is even the sentiment that the energy emanating from the words we speak and think can affect the balance of all living beings. When your words express confidence, success will follow. Words of tolerance lead to harmony. Words of gratitude bring joy. And you can figure out the stark contrast of the responses to their antonyms: doubt, prejudice, and entitlement… Recently, at a meeting of Business & Professional Women of Nevada County, at which I was presiding as the President of the organization, I made a declaration about words.  Our meetings include an activity called “Good Dollar / Bad Dollar” – a fun way to share a slice of our personal lives, as well as to add a few dollars to our kitty money. It may have seemed trivial when, at that meeting, I purposefully modified the title to “Good Dollar / Interesting Dollar”. This is just one small example of how a word changes the way I perceive a situation. An “interesting” occurrence offers the opportunity for learning and growth, regardless of the outcome, and connotes a sense of observation.  A “bad” occurrence implies absoluteness of negativity, with an attached sense of judgment. Words are central to the Coaching for Optimal Health practice that I share with the world. For instance, when a client exclaims, “I have got to start exercising”, I will invite that client to shift those words to “I get to start exercising” – a subtle shift of words, with a huge impact on the way the brain responds to that exclamation. When we “have to” undertake an idea or activity, it is perceived as a burden, yet when we “get to” contemplate that very same idea or activity, it is perceived as an opportunity with endless possibilities.  The perception of a burden triggers the fight or flight response, which will minimize the likelihood of that desired outcome coming to fruition, whereas when we approach an idea or activity with optimism, all things are possible. Words do matter.

Yellowstone Guided Imagery

From me to you, a gift of quieting relaxation, shared from my recent experiences in Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone guided imagery

In your busy life, I invite you to consider relaxation as medicine. Taking a few moments each day to quiet the mind and the body will beneficially alter brain chemistry as well as physical metabolism. In addition, the spiritual self is nourished...you will come away refreshed, pleasantly balanced, and ready for whatever else comes your way that day! May you find as much delightful quieting in the practice as I did in the creation.

What’s Bringing You Joy today?

Just me, my dog, and the sliver of the moon--oh, and about a thousand birds--on our morning walk. Out early, in anticipation of a long and full day, savoring the symphony of avian song, the changing light in the sky, the gentle and still-cool morning breeze of spring...ah, no matter what else comes up, my day has begun with joy and gratitude. What's bringing you joy today?

Compassion…Good for Your Health, Good for the Planet

The word compassion has a Latin origin meaning "to suffer with". Several dictionaries offer variations of the definition of compassion as "the act of feeling pity for the suffering of others". I was surprised to read that the word suffering is attached so commonly to compassion---from my perspective, compassion is reaching out to others in a caring, kind, and generous manner. Compassion is a way of being that brings balance to the world and joy to those giving and receiving the sentiment.

Compassion opens the way for acceptance, tolerance, and forgiveness; I suppose from that perspective, there is an element of "feeling pity for one's suffering", even if that "suffering" is experienced personally. Nonetheless, cultivating compassion as a readily available emotion is a practiced skill -- the more often compassion is evoked, the more familiar that emotion becomes and the more readily it is accessible to you as a response. When we are able to share a compassionate response with ourselves and others, we spread joy and bring balance. Personal health benefits are noted as well: decreased inflammatory markers, quieter brain activity, lowered pressure in the blood vessels, and an enhanced immune system. That makes sense, doesn't it?  Responding with kindness, caring, and generosity is healing and soothing emotionally and physically.

These two websites offer more information about the practice and benefits of compassion:

Compassion Rx

Self Compassion

Gratitude Is the Attitude!

Expressing gratitude has benefits to you, personally, as well as to all of us, globally. When we live from the heart, grateful for the small blessings that each day brings, the whole world becomes a better place.

Gratitude is a practice. And, like other habits, the more often it is invited in, the more familiar it becomes, so that the gift of gratitude can be evoked more readily. Begin by reminding yourself, every day, to look around your personal world and name three reasons for your own gratitude at that very moment. After a few weeks of this daily practice, that attitude of gratitude will permeate the way you look at all the events in your life.

You will come to see that even challenging times have lessons for which you can feel grateful. That while you impatiently wait on line at the grocery store, the child in the cart before yours turns to you with a blissful smile that melts your heart -- a reason to be grateful. That when you run from your office to your car in the rain and just happen to glance up at the sky, a rainbow has just popped -- a reason for gratitude. That when you can't find a book you've been wanting to read and search high and low in your house, you come upon some old photos of your child as a baby and spend an emotional hour savoring those precious moments -- a real opportunity for gratitude...

Gratitude brings joy, acceptance, forgiveness, and tolerance. Can't the world use a bit of that right about now?

Celebrate Your Heart–February is Heart Month!

We know this: eating well, exercise, and relaxation are integral aspects of optimal heart health. What does that look like for you? How do you bring balance into your daily life to include a satisfying effectiveness in your personal and/or professional environment--as well as the essentials: shopping for and cooking healthful meals, moving your body on a regular basis, and cultivating a routine quieting/self-soothing practice?

Each of us will take care of our physical and emotional hearts in our own way, using our unique perspectives, priorities, and resources to cultivate the balance that will support our heart health. This individuality fits in to the framework of the essentials. Eating well, shopping locally, and avoiding processed foods are topics that are adequately covered in other areas of my website as well as many other external sources; I am inviting you, in this article, to contemplate the opportunities around fitness, quieting, and positivity.

Routine fitness is important. It need not be Olympic effort, it's the duration of each session and the frequency with which you exercise that is relevant. Choose an activity that is pleasurable, comfortable, and convenient, and one that can be done for (ultimately) 30-minutes non-stop, and 4 - 6 times per week. Individualized exercise programs are determined by current level of fitness and general health considerations.

Your physical heart health is benefitted by eating well and exercising regularly, yet there is a greater value to nurturing your emotional heart health. Studies validate that feelings of joy, contentment, and gratitude are associated with a commitment to being well, which leads to healthful daily life choices. The same studies demonstrate that feelings of anger, sadness, loneliness, and resentment are closely linked with unhealthy daily life choices and ultimately, with disease.

That's powerful medicine—within your thoughts and emotions lays the ability to change your physiology. Experiencing daily joy and gratitude is a practice...and the more often it is invited and its presence acknowledged, the more familiar of a perspective that will become. Within this experience, the physical body responds by decreasing catecholamines (stress hormones), lowering systemic inflammation, softening blood vessel to lower blood pressure, slowing down the heartbeat, and changing brain activity from busy/hectic to quiet/relaxed. That shift in our physiology, related to the positivity of joy and gratitude, creates the pleasant-to-navigate path to optimal health and well-being.

Celebrate your heart: move through the day with mindfulness, sit quietly, express gratitude, share blessings, and honor your physical self with nourishing foods and activities. Because your heart matters!

Let’s journey together…

HeartMatters welcomes you to the New Year. A year of small-steps to your optimal health and well-being. Let's take the journey together.

“Robin brings dedication, focus, passion, and intellect to whatever endeavor she is pursuing. She does not just talk about good health, she practices it thoroughly every day of her life. When she talks to clients about healthy lifestyle choices, they are able to see the effects of healthy choices by observing the woman in front of them!”
Arthur S., Client

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