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What do you notice that you notice? Just that we can be aware of life, ourselves, our world..Do you understand the vastness in the awareness we have and the consciousness that we are gifted?  It is immense, unparalleled, amazing.  Most beings on this planet have not been given this special gift, yet most humans aren’t even vaguely aware of the immensity of it all, how special and unique we really are, or that it is even there!

It is so hard to fathom. That we don’t have to live unconsciously, that we can be aware and make choices. So then why don’t we make the best choices at all times? Maybe we do, and our best changes with every moment…But many choices are out of fear, greed, desire, most being unconscious.   I know that human beings have contemplated this for as long as we have been aware of it.  This is really what separates us out from other species lesser evolved.  Or so we think…

So what does this have to do with our wellness? Without this awareness, we can not choose, may not see the connection between what I will do next, and how that aligns with my higher purpose, or the goal that I am trying to attain.  In being aware, we can connect the dots, and have a conscious choice in the direction of our lives, thus affecting our wellbeing.  Making the best choices for ourselves right now. If you were consciously directing your life, what choices would you be making?  How would this affect your wellbeing?

I have been living in a world of loss. Our best friend, Chaco, is gone, put to sleep after years of great living and pain. I say it that way because that is what I know to be true.

Chaco, our lab, had a great life, he got all the best, and he was the center of our world. In fact, just this week I noticed how true this statement is. His presence in the house, his glances at what I am up to, always noticing if something about food was involved, or maybe a scratch behind the ear, or an opportunity to go outside- all sorely missed.

And the pain he had was present for much of his life, though we did what we could to make him as comfortable as possible-meds, acupuncture, massage, hydro. We thought it to be arthritis, along with some other issue that took up residence in his body a long time ago. We did all we could, and him being a lab, he perservered with little complaint.  He got out ran played, and made doggie snow angels.  Oh, and the places he went, and the adventures he had…What a love he was, really he just wanted to be with his people and to play and be outside. I guess we all did.

So, this week, I am learning to be with his loss. After 12 1/2 years of companionship and love, he is put to rest. We mourn his passing, and we miss him so. I didn’t understand what a difficult choice it would be, though I know it to be the best for him, relieve him of his pain and deteriorating quality of life. The last few weeks haven’t been easy taking care of him, and if he could talk he might have said something about the frustration, anguish and pain he had to bare.

When loss happens, how do us humans process it? Feel it fully or sweep it under the rug? I have spent alot of time trying to understand this death thing, the whole concept of conscious and unconscious, whether alive or dead. I have no new answers. A friend remined me that people have been visiting this concept for ages, I probably won’t figure it out in a week.  Trying to understand, grasp the depth of death, where we ‘go’, etc.   And learning to be with the loss….  We are so grateful for our best friend, and we will dearly miss him.

Just noticing…

As I break from my studies, I notice the intense focus it takes to prepare for certain events. Stress want to come up, in a usual automatic way, yet, I am practicing just noticing. Have you tried to do that? Just notice without the judgements, rules, shoulds.

I notice how I feel, that I have been thinking, and some worry amongst other things. There is no right or wrong.

This is called witnessing, and it can be a powerful tool.  By witnessing, we are present NOW, not living in the future or the past.  So, I practice as I go about my tasks…

What would you notice if you were to just witness your doings and thoughts?

How often have you found yourself thinking depressing thoughts, belittling attempts at improving yourself, judging your actions, or letting the negative self-talk convince you that you aren’t worth anything, or why bother??

You aren’t alone, though saying that doesn’t make it any better. The reason people need ‘outside’ help, like a coach, is because they often don’t see the greatness in themself, and have not been trained to focus on this.  But it possible, and those thoughts aren’t true.  Really.

Is it conditioning, perfection, expectations that get in the way? And can we learn to move beyond, and really acknowledge the big, wonderful person that we are?  Absolutely, it just takes practice, training, knowledge, and a belief in you! And sometimes someone to lean on until you stand firmly on your own…

What better than a new year’s resolution? Being your best every day. What is your best? You know what that is for you. And every day it changes.

So what is critical is not allowing judgement, assumption, negative thought or opinion sway or influence your view on what is your best. Only you can say. If you want more on this, go read The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz (http://www.miguelruiz.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6:the-four-agreements&catid=13:books&Itemid=7).

It takes practice to think different, let alone do different things to be healthier.  But, it starts with an idea, a thought.  When you are ready to explore and change the landscape of your mind and actions, I am here to help.  Visit Wellness in Balance, www.wellnessinbalance.com for more information.

At this time of the year, people want to make changes in their life, so they set up ‘New Year’s Resolution’. But many will fail. This is because the fail to establish a workable plan that they are committed to accomplishing.

Ideally, goal-setting involves establishing specific, measurable and time-targeted objectives. When established in this way, goal setting is an effective tool for making progress since participants know what they must do to achieve or help achieve an objective.

We can determine our goals by being clear on what is important to us. By understanding our values, we can set more appropriate goals for ourselves. Instead of the generic ‘I want to lose weight’, than we can set up SMART goals around this with a higher likelihood of success.

How is this different than a New Years Resolution?  By setting up SMART goals, your can better access, in a realistic and practical way, the life you want to be leading.  When you make a New Year resolution, you are hoping for a change, wishing something better or different. But without a follow through, a plan of action and maintenance, it is likely not going to be much more than a nice idea.

And aren’t your dreams worth more than that?  So, what do you need to change your New Year’s resolution into a successful solution?

Often times people don’t understand what wellness is. Most of us live on the superficial, tangible plane of physicality. Wellness isn’t just about your physical body or what you do to it, though that is part. Wellness is the state of optimal well-being, not simply the absence of illness, but an improved quality of life resulting from enhanced physical, mental, and spiritual health. All aspects of your life.

So it’s all good to be getting exercise regularly, and eating right (if you are doing this, bravo for you, you are still a minority group!), but a higher level of self-care is improving your quality of life in these other areas or dimensions.

So, I like to consider that there is 6 different dimensions to our wellbeing. Depending on how you look at it, there could be more, yet these 6 pretty much encapsulate all the different areas of our life.

-Physical Wellness: involves taking care of our bodies – eating right, exercising, routine medical exams. It also discourages against the use of tobacco, drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption.

-Social Wellness: addresses interpersonal relationships and helps us enter into successful and fulfilling relationships with our family, friends, significant others, pets and others.

-Spiritual Wellness: involves finding meaning and purpose in life. This can give us strength to cope with despair and help us feel good about being alive. Spiritual wellness may or may not include religion.

-Emotional Wellness: addresses intrapersonal relationships. It involves a better understanding of our feelings and emotions.

-Intellectual Wellness: involves maintaining cognitive stimulation to prevent mental stagnation. It is a lifelong process of mental challenges and creativity.

-Vocational Wellness: addresses career goals and paths and finding a balance between life at home and life at work.

By understanding and bringing balance into each of these areas, you bring quality and completeness into your life!  I will discuss the key elements of what it will take for this to happen in later blogs…

The Holiday Season is a stressful time. Many people spend more money than they have, eat much more than their bodies need, and are overwhelmed with all the expectations and demands that come at this time of year. Over-indulgences lead to debt, excessive weight and regretful actions, and then we pay the price for the first half of the New Year! Can you relate?

It is possible to enjoy the holidays without sacrificing your health and wellness!  This is the time for family and celebration, but you don’t have to lose a sense of yourself! While depression and stress often accompany the holidays, you can again thrive and enjoy this important time of year.   Please check out my article at Examiner.com, http://www.examiner.com/x-30076-Boulder-Wellness-Examiner~y2009m11d20-Ten-Tips-for-a-Healthy-Holiday-Season, for the top tips to have your best holiday yet! For additional healthy holiday tips, see WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/default.htm

The Silent Killer

What is it that could take away the satisfaction of life, cause us to develop bad habits, drive drunk, develop eating disorders, zone in front of the tube for hours, or even cheat on our mate? This same factor could lead to premature death, by causing you to be sick or promote illness. What is this factor? Boredom.

Boredom is a condition characterized by the perception of one’s environment as dull, tedious, and lacking in stimulation. This, of course, in contradiction to a life of passion, adventure or even just contentment! So pervasive in our lives that many of us don’t even notice it!

21% of Americans say they are bored regularly. Researchers think it is even more. And, boredom is a form of stress and can wreak havoc in our lives. Many ease their boredom with eating, drinking, infidelity or other forms of not-so-healthy self-indulgence. And it can lead to depression.

But, it is cureable! Where are you bored in your life? How does this boredom show up, and what are the results?

Has anyone noticed the change? It’s in the air, it’s in the light, it’s in the things we do. Autumn is the time when there is balance between light and dark; it’s a time of harvest and completion. You see it in the natural world and you see it in ourselves, if we become aware of our natural rhythms.

This is a time of harvest, and preparing for the shorter, darker days. This is also the time of increased illness and stress. Did you know the common cold occurs 100 million times per year in the US and accounts for 30 million lost workdays, with 30 million lost school days and 32 million visits to the doctor. With preventative measures you could greatly reduce or even eliminate your chances of picking up this common ailment.  How you can improve your odds and maintain a healthy system as we approach this winter season?

It’s really quite easy. The key to fighting every attack and assault is to have a strong immune system! You must maintain a health functioning immune system. Next I will share what I consider the top ten things you can do to enhance your immune system.

To your health!
Joelle