Living in the Richness of the Moment–Part 1: Come to Your Senses

rich-moment.jpgMy readers don’t realize it, but I had a self-centered motive when I wrote Seven Sacred Attitudes®. I really wrote it to remind myself that living in the richness of the moment is a life-long practice, not a one-time event. Now, those of you in this blog community, who are all busy entrepreneurs, passionate about life and want to drink in every luscious moment, have asked me to write more about this practice. So here goes.

This is the first post in a seven-part series. The series is designed to help you start living in the richness of the moment. Right now. With this breath. The focus is on learning how to spend more time on the heart-centered present, even in the midst of your busy entrepreneurial life. And the first step is to:

Come to Your Senses
Your body is talking. Are you listening? Not to your mind and all you think about your body and what you should do for it, but to your body itself? Your body has much to say. Every moment. Right now, as you read this, can you come to your senses and access your inner wisdom? What is your body saying at this moment?

Accessing the inner wisdom of your body takes practice. “Practice?” you say. “Another ‘To Do’? I don’t have time for everything on my plate as it is right now.” Well, the practice of listening to the inner wisdom of your body doesn’t require that you do anything else—no new activity to schedule in your day— but it does require that you shift your attention.

Try this: Choose one activity that you’ll be doing anyway in the next 24 hours—preferably an activity you do outdoors. Decide to place your full attention on your body during this activity. Even if you use outdoor activities or exercise time for creative thinking and problem-solving, do something different today.

Place your attention on your body’s experience of the activity. Start small. Start with 10 minutes where you will pay attention. Not to your mind where the stories live—“Oh, I wish I could get this power-walk or run over with.”—but pay attention and stay present to your body. Take your mind off of the mental “To-Do-list” chatter and come to your senses!

Your body lives in this moment. It breathes now. Notice it in action. Discover what it has to tell you about this activity on this day for these 10 minutes.

Print this list out and use it to guide you:

•Notice your breath.
•Notice the air against your neck.
•If you’re swimming, notice the water against your muscles. Notice the sensation of the water against your face.
•Focus on the muscles in your legs as you walk, jog, bike-ride or swim or even if you use a walker or wheelchair.
•Switch focus and pay attention to your arm muscles.
•If you’re at the computer, notice your shoulders, neck and brow.
•Whether indoors or out, notice the sensation of your clothing against your skin.
•Notice the rhythm of your breath.
•Pay attention to the sensation of your breath as it enters and leaves your nose.
•Pay attention to the sound of your breath as you jog, sit, or exhale into the water of the pool.
•Keep your focus on your body and your senses.
•Notice what your body is telling you.
•What do you learn from coming to your senses?

And try this: If you usually walk, swim or run for a certain distance or a certain time period, put away the timer, pedometer or lap-counting routine for today. Use your body as the barometer for a change. Without a watch or measuring distance, let your body tell you when it is done or tired.

If you usually sit at the computer until you have gone through all the email, written every response and use ‘being done with the task’ to dictate when you are finished, go ahead and set a timer for 10 minutes today. Stop when the alarm goes off and check in again with your breath, shoulders, head and neck. Is your body done? Is your body saying something? Is there something you have been pretending not to know?

We have been given the power to direct our attention wherever we want. Today, place it on your body.
See how it goes.
Just for today.

Let me know what you notice.

And let me know what you think, if you disagree with my thinking, or if there is anything about living in the richness of the moment you would like me to cover in this series.

Free Wellness Coaching for Those Losing Homes to Southern California Fires

helping-hands.jpgThis is an addendum to my earlier post today. Taking action on the idea that it’s good business to help others when they need it, my WellnessCoach.com team and I have come up with a plan to help those who have lost their homes in the Southern California fires.

The Way We Will Help
We’ve rallied together a cadre of 30 Life and Wellness Coaches from around the country who have agreed to provide 3 free coaching sessions to those whose homes have been destroyed by the fires blazing in Southern California.

In these co-active coaching sessions, clients can begin to sort out the complex and overwhelming process of establishing new residences and rebuilding lives. They will address what it is that’s important now, honor what has been lost, evaluate their readiness to take action, and begin to plan next steps.

Call to Action

If you know of any friends or family members who have lost a home to the California fires, please let them know of our offer. Have them call our offices anytime in the next three months and we will connect them with a member of our coaching cadre to begin their series of 3 free Life Coaching sessions. Our office number is: 925-933-7445.

Thanks for getting the message out.

California Fires – Time to Reach Out

helping-hands.jpgIn Know More Media today, Hal Halliday reminds us that good business is helping others when they need it. His post tells how U-Haul affiliates are offering 30 days of free storage to Southern California families who need to move their belongings away from the raging fires. The post also lists the 26 U-Haul facilities for these families to contact.

I’m thankful for the idea, as my own sense of helplessness had me stuck. My brother and his family, as well as many of our friends, are all impacted by the fires, and I have just not been able to think of a thing to do to help. Reading Hal’s post, and hearing of U-Haul’s generosity reminds me to think bigger.

Today I’ll be taking action that has meaning to me — either offering a few free wellness coaching sessions to those who have lost their homes, donating books, or writing a check to the Red Cross.

What ideas do you have? Let us know.

Hallowed Treats for Goblins You Love: Promote Wellness & Help End Childhood Obesity

halloween.jpgWhat do “Halloween”, “Wellness”, and being an “Entrepreneur” all have in common? Simple. You. (That is if you live in the U.S., Italy, the U.K., Ireland, France and anywhere else that celebrates Halloween. If you don’t, perhaps you know someone who does and can pass along this post.)

Let me start by saying that I’m indulging a bit today. I’m climbing up onto my soapbox and ranting a bit about a subject that gets me fired up: Childhood Obesity. At the outset and launch of this blog, I promised to limit my rants to only once in a blue moon, and Halloween’s role in Childhood Obesity is a subject that counts as a blue moon as far as I’m concerned.

So, here’s the rant. Yes, Halloween brings out the kid in us. No matter our age, it can be fun to get dressed up in costumes and go to parties or take our costumed kids and parade around the neighborhood. And yes, treats can be part of the fun. However, treats don’t have to be sticky, gooey white-sugar-based candy, and treats don’t have to be food. So when it comes to Halloween (or anytime) “treats” for the children in our world, the usual commercial fare is just not the way to go.

You know the statistics. You see evidence all around you. Childhood obesity has reached such epidemic proportions that world health officials have decided they need to take a more aggressive approach if they are to head off a global explosion of fat-related diseases.

But I refuse to wear a colored ribbon signifying an end to the socially caused problem of Childhood Obesity. Why? I just don’t like the whole idea of colored ribbons. I don’t like saying that I am against things. I’d rather jump on the bandwagon to support the things I do believe in — like health, wellness and the freedom to engage in entrepreneurial ventures. It just seems to me that teaching and modeling health and wellness to our children is the only thing that makes sense, and in doing so…we will end childhood obesity.

That said, I’ll contradict myself for a minute and talk briefly about what I’m against. Childhood obesity is no laughing matter. In fact it’s worth crying about or at least ranting about and risking your blog readers’ disapproval. On the other hand, healthy and fit kids will contribute to a healthier future and give all of us something to smile about.

Are you thinking, as I admit I was at one point, that since your own kids, nieces, nephews or friend’s kids don’t suffer from childhood obesity that you’re off the hook? Please think again.

We are all very much on the hook. And handing out sugary treats on Halloween because it’s easier than finding creative alternatives is no excuse in my book for contributing to the epidemic.

So what can you do?

Whether from your office checkbook or from your front door on Halloween, give “Hallowed Treats” that support wellness in our children.

Here are 31 ideas (in 4 venues) for doing so:

Venue #1: Your Front Door

Instead of refined white sugar or refined flour treats this Halloween, (when sealed treats are important) give out:

– colored pencils
– gel pens in bright colors
– crayons
– whistles (be mindful that they’re not choking hazards to little goblins)
– erasers in animal shapes
– coins
– stickers
– decorated hair clips or ponytail holders
– toothbrushes
– sealed fruit cups (applesauce, etc.)
organic juice boxes (100% juice)
– string cheese
– herbal tea bags (individually wrapped)
– protein or granola bar (without sugar)
– boxes of raisins
– individual whole grain Fig cookie packs
– individual 2oz almond packs
– All Natural dark chocolate squares by Endangered Species (at Trader Joe’s)

Venue #2: Your Own Healthy Halloween Party

Host a Halloween party at your home (when sealed treats aren’t required) and serve:

– spiced apple cider
– spiced apple cake made with applesauce and spelt flour
– popcorn sprinkled with parmesan cheese or brewer’s yeast
– fresh apple slices or do the “bob for apples” bit
– fresh veggies and spiced hummus dip
– pumpkin seeds (sprinkle with Tamari and let the kids help bake)
– whole grain cookies such as Fig Newman’s
– whole grain crackers with organic almond or peanut butter
– healthy mini-pizza’s: broil whole grain English muffins with tomato sauce, raw cheese, olives, and other veggies
– pumpkin soup
non-food treats such as those on the above list

***Notice I included NO sugar-free Splenda-containing items on these lists. With good reason, but that’s a rant for another blue moon. I promise. But if you don’t want to wait til then, check out what Dr. Mercola has to say about the hazards of Splenda by clicking on the link above.

Venue #3: Your Entrepreneurial Office and/or Nearby Walking and Jogging Trail

Get Running and Take Out Your Checkbook. “Treat” the planet’s children and:

– make a donation to the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC)
– sponsor your own Halloween Fun Run, the weekend prior to or following Halloween. Gather neighborhood parents and kids, ask others to chip in for each few blocks you and the kids run/walk, and raise money for KidsPeace charity to help support healthy children.

logo.jpgVenue #4: A Salad Creations® Restaurant near you

“Treat” your kids to a “Create Your Own” healthy salad and show them what fun it is to choose from the 28+ fresh ingredients.

Let me indulge a bit more and do a little shameless self-promotion. Not sure if you know or not but my husband and I are the Area Developers in the SF Bay Area for the Salad Creations® franchise. We’re downright proud of the fact that Salad Creations® is committed to helping kids eat healthier and to helping put an end to childhood obesity.

So click here to locate a Salad Creations® near you and take your goblins for a crunchy Halloween treat! (And if there isn’t a Salad Creations store near you just yet, call a friend or family member with kids who does live near one, and pass along the idea for this healthier Halloween “treat”.)

———

So there you have it. Healthy tips “masked” this Halloween as my once-in-a-blue-moon rant (of course I may post it again the day before Halloween as a reminder:) Thanks for tuning in.

• Got “treat” tips? Love to hear them. Post your ideas about promoting wellness this Halloween!

• Feel strongly about Childhood Obesity? Send your comments!

Blog Action Day – It’s Never Too Late

action_468×60.jpgBlogger Chris Garrett created a post today, alerting his readers to the environmental focus of Blog Action Day. Being a new blogger, it was news to me and I poured through Chris’s post. Then I also hurried over to the Blog Action Day blog to see what all the buzz was about.

What I found made my heart sing — a reminder of just how much one voice can accomplish. “One issue. One day.” is the theme. One chance for each of us to take a look at how we are going to bring wellness to this environment and this planet of ours. A day devoted to doing what we can in a big way — by spreading the word AND taking action.

When I read Chris’s post, it was already 4pm pacific time and I heard myself mumble, “Uh-oh, I’m too late.” Then I stopped in my tracks and realized that if we all say that, it really will be too late. So I took action and am sending this out as fast as my fingers can type. The chance to send out these reminders from the folks at Blog Action Day just seems like an important step toward environmental wellness that I can take right now:

And if you don’t read this until October 16th or 17th or 18th — or later — go ahead and make it Blog Action Day anyway. Educate yourself. Find out what you can do. Whether it’s support sustainable agriculture and frequent the businesses that do the same, or drive less and walk more, do something. But don’t just do it today. Use today as a renewal of your commitment and keep up the action. My plan is to dedicate one blog issue a month toward environmental wellness.

What will you do?

Way to go, Chris. Thanks for the “heads up.”

Decisions, Decisions…

girl-with-2-heirloom-tomatoes.jpgAs entrepreneurs, we face all kinds of decisions all day long. And we take many things into account when we decide. When it comes to our business decisions, especially when we’re considering a new venture or whether to adopt a new policy or not, we look at many variables, including: financial implications, the time something might take, or the ethics involved.

And when it comes to deciding about our wellness programs, and whether or not to adopt a new program or regime, we might consider the expense, time, and convenience factors involved.

But no matter which type of decision we face, when it comes right down to it, and we’ve weighed whatever factors are important, we ultimately turn to our Inner Wisdom in the final moment. Learning to tune up our Inner Wisdom might just be one of the best investments we can make – in our businesses and in our own wellness.

I wrote a feature article about making decisions this week in my monthly ezine. It’s called, Time to Get off the Fence: 7 Tips to Simplify Decision-Making.” In it, I list some juicy ideas for tuning up your Inner Wisdom, including some good books on the subject. Browse on over and read the full article by clicking on the title above or clicking here.

After reading, let me know your perspective: What is it to decide well?

Grieving Well

man-grieving.jpgIf you’ve visited my blog before, you probably notice that I’ve removed my photo from the right sidebar today. I did so because the photo I usually post there, shows me with a wide grin. But I’m not grinning at the moment, and it seemed inauthentic to show you my smiling face, when the copyright-free photo of this man in contemplation mirrors my current state more accurately than the usual photo.

As I write this post, my good friend Jane is walking through the difficult terrain of grief. Her mom died this past weekend. When I found out, I wanted to do something to make the pain go away – and then I realized that I couldn’t. At best what I could do was to tell her she will be in my thoughts and my heart and that I could take in the mail while she attends her mom’s funeral if she needs me to do that. But I couldn’t take the pain away. And I couldn’t begin to walk the path of grieving for her, much as I might have wanted to. But what I can do is write this post in memory of her mom, my dad, and all of the parents, family and friends whose deaths we have all had to grieve. I do so here because this blog is about wellness and I believe that grieving is as much a part of wellness as it is of life.

So, yes, in this wellness community we come together because we are entrepreneurs. But we are human beings first. And in our humanity, we grieve. And in our grief, we are connected to all those who have grieved before us and to all those who will grieve after us. Whether we grieve the loss of a parent or child, the loss of a colleague or friend, or the loss of a pet, we all grieve. Whether we separate from those we love because of death, a move, or a divorce, we all grieve. We grieve when we lose a business deal, a home swallowed by fire or flood, a job, a friend’s child in war, or twin towers that stood against our skyline.

I do not have answers today. I have nothing brilliant to post. I simply have my heart as I find myself filled with questions and wondering, What is it to grieve well? I suppose we each need to define this for ourselves.

We each need to define this and to find our own way of grieving, even if we can rattle off the “Five Stages of Grief” that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote about in her 1969 book “On Death and Dying“. We need to traverse the territory of grief our way, because our Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance are unique to us and our way is the only way we will make meaning of our grief.

If you are grieving at this time, my wish for you is that you:

– take gentle care of yourself

– rest, eat well, and rest some more

– surround yourself with comfort that nourishes you, body and soul

– breathe deeply

– bundle up and go for a walk through a park

– give yourself the gift of the full range of your emotions

– surround yourself with those whose support is soothing right now

– give yourself all the time you need

– breathe deeply again

– be willing to reach out or to retreat

– listen to your soul tell you what it needs

– laugh if it feels right, or scream if it feels better

– eat fresh veggies, warm soup (chicken or otherwise), soft foods, crunchy foods, fruits and fruit compotes, and foods that support your immune system rather than challenge it

– drink lots of water and soothing herbal teas

– read yourself a good bedtime story

– throw lemons on the sidewalk

– take baths if the spirit moves you

– hug a child, a pet, a tree, a friend

– let yourself be hugged by those you love

– hug your own self

Be well.
Erica

P.S. And if you are up for reading at this time, and you would like a copy of Seven Sacred Attitudes, send me an email and I will be glad to autograph a copy for you.

Wellness Coach Tips for Energy & Stresss Management

woman-outstrtchd-arms.jpgEntrepreneurs know a thing or two about stress. In fact, most of us accept the fact that managing stress and our energy is a regular part of living. We manage a gazillion facets of our own businesses, juggle schedules, and do our best to keep our stress levels down and our energy levels up. Without realizing it, you have probably put together your own tool kit to help manage your energy levels throughout the day. Browse through this list and see if there are a few more tools for you to add to your kit:

– Learn to calm your mind and body through meditation.
– Eat your meals in a relaxed environment.
– Take frequent breaks for stretching and walking throughout the day.
Eliminate refined carbohydrates from your diet.
– Eliminate or restrict your intake of caffeine and alcohol.
– Eat smaller meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
– Support your adrenal glands with vitamin C, Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, zinc and magnesium – do so with the addition of broccoli, whole grains, salmon, sweet potatoes and legumes to your diet, or see a nutritionist for the supplement levels that will serve you best.
– Consider adding a high quality ginseng supplement to your regime, either Chinese or Siberian, to support your adrenal function and help your body’s resistance to stress. One valid approach is to take ginseng in a cycle of 2-3 weeks on and 2 weeks off, to give the adrenal glands a rest from the ginseng. Educational literature tells us to be alert for signs of possible ginseng toxicity, including nervousness, restlessness, and insomnia. Each person responds to ginseng in a unique way so starting with a low dose is the rule of thumb listed in most supplement manuals. As always, consult a health practitioner for the appropriate levels for you.
– Decrease stress and increase energy by learning to breathe with the diaphragm. Take breaks throughout the day and do so purposefully. Sit comfortably, both feet flat on the ground, eyes gently closed. Inhaling though the nose and exhaling through the mouth, place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. Pay attention to the breath and focus on the hand on your belly. Inhale for a count of 4 or 5, filling the belly and expanding it so your hand rises about an inch. Pause for a count of 1 or 2. Exhale to a count of 4 or 5. Keep focused on the breath and repeat the process. Do so until you have reached a level of both relaxation and refreshment. Aim for 5-20 minutes a few times a day.
– Go for a brisk walk – with or without your ipod or mp3 player.
– Organize your office and life with the zen-like wisdom and help of David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done.

For more tips, you can also check out the article, “Your Guide to Never Feeling Tired Again” posted today on the WebMD site. Author Nancy Rones gives you 22 more ideas for enhancing your energy.

Post a comment and let us know what you do throughout your entrepreneurial day to stay energized and stress-free.

Entrepreneurial Time Out

time-out.jpgToday, I came across a little video on the internet that packs a big punch. It’s called the 5.75 Questions you’ve Been Avoiding and it’s by Michael Bungay Stainer. What I loved was the time-out it gave me to stop and consider some thought-provoking questions that were big and delicious. (There’s a jaunty jazz track in the background too.) Take a break yourself right now, put your feet up and check it out. Write the questions down and spend some time thinking about them this week. To Michael’s list, add the following:

1. What is already in place that supports me in my entrepreneurial wellness?

2. When it comes to my overall wellness, what am I pretending not to know?

3. What (and who) makes my heart sing that I have forgotten about lately?

4. When it comes to my wellness, when would NOW be a good time to make some changes?

And send a post to let us know some other questions you are inspired to add…

Balance: The Entrepreneur’s Key to Wellness

istock_000003796974xsmall.jpgBalance. The illusion is that it is a static state. Nothing could be further from reality. Try this: stand on one foot, lifting the other from the floor a few inches. Stand like this for 1 full minute. Simply notice what is happening in the ankle of the foot you are standing on. No doubt, you can feel small, almost undetectable movements going on in your ankle. Your body is course-correcting — shifting subtly so you remain upright. This is how your body naturally achieves balance. It’s those tiny shifts that do the job. So my question for you to consider today is this: where do you need to make small shifts in your business and life to bring about even higher levels of wellness?

Once upon a time, my own business and life were so greatly out of balance that small shifts did not do the trick. A car accident and health challenge were the wake-up calls to do some major course-correction. But there were clues way before that. I just wasn’t listening. Now, I look for clues every day. You can, too. But first, define wellness for yourself. No doubt some clues to balance will be right there.

Does wellness for you include time outdoors everyday? Does it include a healthy financial bottom-line in the business? Does it include a weekly lunch meeting out of the home office? Does wellness for you include 6, 7, 8 or 9 hours sleep each night? And how do you judge whether you are in balance?

In the stand-on-one-foot example , balance was determined by this criteria: were you able to stand on one foot for 1 minute? How will you determine if your entrepreneurial life is in balance? How will you define wellness? I encourage you to do more than think about this.

Take some time out, eyes closed, and begin to imagine the experience of balance. Get a strong sense of how balances feels in your body by actually shifting yourself into your perception of a balanced state — perhaps a state where you are relaxed, yet quite alert. Notice your breath. Notice your posture. Notice your heartbeat and yet at the same time, notice the air temperature. Just notice. Take a few deep breaths and spend some time writing about balance. But write about the feeling, rather than what you would be doing if your business and life were in balance.

I emphasize the feeling of balance because it can be home base for you. A place where you return regularly. At any point in time, you may be course correcting back to this place of balance. In this way, you will come to appreciate subtle shifts — to your nutrition, to your activity level, to your busy-ness factor — as the powerful tools they are. Subtle shifts on a continued basis keep us in balance.

I described my own return to balance in a recent interview with Monica Flores, owner of SistersInBiz.com In the interview, I mentioned that role models, mentors, and a coach all play vital roles in helping me live a balanced entrepreneurial life. Find the role models, mentors and coaches that will help you do the same. They can help give you perspective, advice, input, and feedback to help you make those subtle shifts that will keep you returning to your “home base” of balance.

What helps you live a balanced entrepreneurial life? Let us know.