7 Simple Steps to a Healthier Life!

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
― Hippocrates
 

When you are in relationship you can either lift each other up, or pull each other down. Making a commitment to your own health is not only self-care, but is caring for your relationship. Now that you are in the middle of January, this can be a boost to stay on track with your goals.  This is a re-post of a blog from January 2012

This is conversation with Cheyenne Mendel, Licensed Acupuncturist, Executive and long time friend. 

cheyenne and candes whole foods

Candess: We are into the New Year and many people are making changes in their diet to increase their health. What are some of the most important changes you suggest can do for their health in the coming year?

Cheyenne: 

1. Drink good quality Water!

Chances are if you say, “I don’t like water,” you don’t have a good clean source. The very best investment you can make for your health “HANDS DOWN” is hydration. Your body cannot release toxins without it.

All organs need water. The lungs use one quart of water at sea level just to breathe. Your body need much more at higher elevations. When it is freezing you can see your breath. Some people don’t ever even drink that much. Some people say “I drink coffee…lots of water in that.” Have you ever tried washing your clothes or wiping your counters with coffee? You can also get water by eating water filled foods like raw fruits and vegetables.

2. Avoid the offenders! 

Avoid the foods that become “goo and glue” in your body. These are sugar, high fat, and refined carbs.

Anything in a box or with plastic on it has been processed in some way. I am currently in California and finally made it to the ever-famous Trader Joes. The problem with this store even though it is pretty cool, is that most of the vegetables are processed in some way. The vegetables are wrapped in petroleum based plastic materials.

Make sure you are not hungry when you shop because you will end up eating whatever you buy.  Whether you make a healthy or crappy lunch for work, when lunchtime rolls around you are hungry and you will eat whatever is there. When you eat healthy it is like giving your cells a high paying job vs. minimum wage or a slave labor job.

If eating healthy is too overwhelming then simply avoid the bad stuff. If that is too much, then start small. If you eat sugar all day long then start by avoiding sugar in the morning. Don’t destroy your whole day with an assault on your pancreas first thing in the morning. Avoid the offenders! Nature abhors a vacuum and the healthy food will creep in.

3. Consciously interact with Dr. Nature 20 min a day!

Dr. Nature has many curing aspects such as fresh air, sunshine, rest, movement/exercise or a combination of these. Try a walk and a quick catnap or a cat rest if you can’t do naps. Today people are so exhausted and over stimulated from technology that rest is a higher priority for a body. You know how to do this. Notice how your thinking and feeling changes as your begin to walk in nature.

4. Contribute to others!

Being an acupuncturist for two decades with 10,000 patient contacts, I can say the unhappiest people I encountered in my practice and in life were people that focused entirely on themselves. It is difficult, almost impossible to be happy when you are not healthy, but of being happy is contributing to another person in some way.

Take 10 -15 minutes a day to contribute to someone else. The opportunity or challenge I am offer is to do something that brings you joy.  Write and mail a card of appreciation, make someone’s bed, clean the employee break room for 10 minutes, pick up trash around your neighborhood, or bag your own groceries to help a busy clerk.  Sharing a kind word or listening deeply to someone can make you happy by giving.

There are stories about random acts of kindness like the story of people paying the lay away bills for people at K Mart. People who use lay-away are typically very poor or they would simply purchase the items in the first place. You can send a loving thought and prayer for a homeless person rather than sending out a thought like “get a job.”  (One I have been working on.)

5. Forgive others!

Forgiveness is for YOU and your freedom. If you are offended or “go to your bed in wrath” or are thinking about what so and so said or did to you, then you are sowing strong seeds of ill health. Try forgiving on a small scale and you will understand the truth of how forgiving contributes to your health. Ten minutes of prayer or mediation can really help in this area. 

6. Spend 15 min a day on your Essence Self!

Just like how you are instructed in an airplane, if there is a need, an oxygen mask will appear and you must put the oxygen mask on yourself first; it is important to care for yourself first. We all have family or friend situations that we respond to either in a positive or negative way.

It is important to take time to spend with your Essence Self and to put energy into your own “coffer” and not wait for someone else to fill you up.

In an emergency situation, I recently moved to California to manage one of my husband’s businesses. It is a small complex of studios which I am selling. The first 20 minutes in the unit I unplugged and removed the television. I have lived without a TV in my home for 20 years. My 18-year-old daughter has grown up without TV.

Instead of watching TV, I walk on the beach, read, write old fashioned cards, people watch, sit and zone out and have more time to make special “qi” (life force) filled meals for myself. I have more energy to pick out really healthy food and the list goes on and on. Spend 15 minutes a day with your Essence Self and see what you need to create and what you need to let go of this year.

Candess:  My thanks to Cheyenne for sharing this with us. She is most healthy and pure person I know and I love her continued support of mine and other’s physical, mental and spiritual health. She has contributed to tens of thousands of people in her lifetime!

7. Step 7 is for the reader. As you read this, there is something you know that you need to do that will be helpful to raise your level of health for the New Year!

 


Passionate Loving Relationship Opportunity

January 14, 2014

 “Happiness [is] Only Real When Shared”           

                                  ― Jon KrakauerInto the Wild

Are you a couple that would like to increase the success of your relationship?

With my word for the year being Relationships, it is apropos for me to share this incredible program by my friend and colleague, Valerie Lipstein.

Having counseled couples for many years, I see this is exactly what I was looking for to support my clients.

You will intuitively know if this is right for you!

The statistics on first marriages ending in the US is very telling…..50% end in divorce. Yet it’s worse for second and third marriages (67% and 72% respectively!)

It’s obvious that people are challenged in relationships and often feel alone and unsupported (This applies to those who are unmarried as well).

What about the other 50% of the couples who stay in first time marriages? Some people who stay in unhappy, unfulfilling relationships do it for the children or for security or a number of others reasons.

Valerie Lipstein, the CEO of Inspired Living Now, a coaching and consulting business is committed to supporting couples thrive personally and professionally.

She knows firsthand how horrible this feels and how it impacts everything in your life when your relationship is rocky. She and her husband of 33 years have experienced difficult times and almost “gave up” until they made a commitment to live and love courageously.

They have created the Courageous Loving Program to support couples and incorporates what they did in their own marriage and many other practical strategies with proven results. Valerie’s husband, Michael, is a psychotherapist specializing in working with couples. Their approach combines proven methods from counseling and coaching modalities.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

https://ue145.infusionsoft.com/go/COUPLES/Candess


Collapsed, Rigid and Healthy Boundaries

“No” is a complete sentence.”              ― Anne Lamott

Entering into the New Year, we find ourselves getting out more, getting fit, eating better, spending time with old friends, and meeting new friends.  Often though with amazing technology we also connect through our phones and computers, using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and dating sites.

In my mental health counseling office, recently a client shared with me she saw her boyfriend change his relationship status on Facebook from single to being in relationship with another woman.  A different client shared she couldn’t create a separate email from her husband because he checked her phone everyday to see who she texted and emailed.

A woman I know met a man on line and fell in love. They talked on the phone and Skyped for months and then he had a crisis and needed some financial support. She sent him money and didn’t hear from him again.

These situations lead me to reflect on the impact technology has on boundaries. It appears there is an intimacy created online that is not grounded in reality. Take this opportunity to assess your own boundaries.

Do you have rigid, collapsed or healthy boundaries?

Are you more likely to allow others to cross your boundaries or do you cross others boundaries?

Do you find you get too close to people physically and you see them back away?

Do you find yourself alone in a corner in a group and not reaching out to others?

Note that the way you set your boundaries changes over time. You also may behave differently depending on the situation and how you feel at the time. This is a general guideline you can use.

Collapsed Boundaries can be identified by: 

  • Sharing too much personal information too soon.
  • Saying yes when you want to say no for fear of rejection.
  • Doing anything to avoid conflict.
  • Having a high tolerance for abuse.

Rigid Boundaries can be identified by: 

  • Saying no to a request if it will involve close interaction.
  • Staying so busy you don’t take time for intimate relationships.
  • Being unable to identify you own feelings, wants or needs.
  • Making little self-disclosure and holding people at a distance.

Healthy Boundaries can be identified by:

  • Having the ability to say yes and to say no.
  • Being able to hear no from others and seek other resources to get your needs met.
  • You reveal information about yourself gradually and self-disclose appropriately.
  • You have relationships with shared responsibility for the relationship without blaming.

Check out the full Boundary Self-Assessment.


Being the Pole

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” 
― Donald MillerA Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life 

Relationships are fluid and changing all the time. Communication is often a challenge and keeping up with the shifting can be disconcerting. In this video I teach you to “Be the Pole.”  It is a great way to stay stable when you have a partner that is either reactive or changing their minds continually.  Enjoy!

 


Getting it through your Thick Skull!

 

I think it was when I ran into Kerouac and Burroughs – when I was 17 – that I realized I was talking through an empty skull… I wasn’t thinking my own thoughts or saying my own thoughts.                             Allen Ginsberg

“I can’t get it through your thick skull,” a character on a TV show says. What does it mean? Being a writer, I often listen for sayings and I wonder where they came from.

Have you ever talked with someone and you shared with her as clearly as you can, and when she responded, what she said had nothing to do with what you said?

Communication can be difficult when your head is full of your own thoughts. You are stuck in your own perspective and you can’t seem to find room for how anyone else sees the world.

What happens for all of us is we tend to defend ourselves by taking a stand on something. We see it our way, and close down our minds to other possibilities. In part, this can be a survival tool; to not become so sensitive to all that is happening around, and to just focus on our task.

In relationship though, this can be frustrating and derisive. Have you ever heard two people sharing with each other and you could see both sides, but they could not see the others point at all?

I remember an old 1970’s TV episode of All in the Family, with Archie and Edith Bunker. In this episode, they were discussing politics. Archie was irate when he found out Edith had voted for the opposing candidate from Archie’s. All he could see was his vote didn’t count. She had cancelled it out. They went round and round and he could not understand her vote had nothing to do with his. He would never understand this of course.

Archie

We all have this tendency to “have a thick skull” at times. Being a reader, I love seeing the world from other people’s perspective, especially other cultures. How I am in close relationship, well, that may be a different story.

The goal of course is to try to see situations from the other person’s perspective. This can be done in the privacy of your own mind. You don’t have to give up your position. Once you do practice seeing the other point of view though, it becomes easier. You don’t have to agree with the opposing view, but being open to hearing it and understanding why one would see it that way helps strengthen relationship.

Since I mentioned liking to read books that take on a different perspective, I’ll share three of my favorites.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

poisonwood

Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Stones Hegi

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Cutting for Stone

Enjoy!


Listen before it’s too Late!

 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

 

It is an enlightening view, sitting in my chair in my office as a mental health counselor. I am honored to sit with clients as they share about their lives and their relationships and I see themes unfold.

We have ended the year and are into the New Year.  As I look ahead at new beginnings, it reminds me of one of the most common themes. When working with couples, I notice that, for most, by the time they enter my office, it’s too late.

couples

Too often one of them attempted continually to communicate with the other, without being heard. Sadly, I watch their last attempt to keep the marriage together. The partner, let’s say the man, who has not really heard, but has listened as if she was nagging or on a rampage over something, finally understands. It is too late now for him to realize that what she was saying was important. So important, that the marriage is now over. I see him groveling and trying to make sense of it all. In the safety of another person (me) she says, “I’m sorry, but it is just too late.”

Many of us have ended relationships before the New Year. I remember myself, many years ago, sitting outside Nordstroms, having coffee with my lover on December 29th. I said, “I am sorry, but it’s over.” This was difficult to say and it was painful. I had felt though, that what I said over and over, didn’t matter and I was “pushing the river,” in order to create a change for us. It didn’t work. Once I was honest and ended the relationship; although painful, it was also exhilarating.

When I am with clients and they are suffering over a relationship, I often ask, “when did you first know this was not the right situation for you?” More than I would like to hear, they say, “in the beginning.” If not, they knew years before they decided to make a change.

Whether it be a love relationship, a work relationship or a family situation, “when you begin to lose your voice, your self-esteem, your sense of personal power; it is time to make some kind of a shift.”


Manifesting and Resistance

“You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won’t mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for forever…. connections are made with the heart, not the tongue.”
― C. JoyBell C. 

Soon after I chose my word for 2014 – Relationships – came the resistance. I am beginning to think that resistance may be the shadow side to most of what I want to manifest.

When I teach manifesting, I have my students or clients think about and write down specifically what they want to manifest. As soon as they do this, I encourage them to then write down all the thoughts of why they can’t have this. Now, this may appear counter-productive, but the reality is, these thoughts are going to either surface consciously or subconsciously and it is better to challenge them outright.

So I’ll use my word – relationships. I have made a decision to focus on relationships this year. The thoughts that surface are these:

  1. I’ll have to slow down and make time for other people.
  2. I will get hurt.
  3. People will want more of me than I can give.
  4. I’ll have to be present to everyone who comes into my life and I’ll get exhausted.

Now, that I have identified the immediate concerns I have, I can challenge them.

  1. I’ll have to slow down and make time for other people.  – In this case, yes, I will do this. I have wanted to do this for a while and I can schedule my life with more play and less work and if I don’t resist this (stress and exhaustion) then I will really enjoy playing and being more present to friends and family.
  2. I will get hurt. – Just because I am spending more time in my relationships and possibly allowing an intimate relationship, I don’t have to get hurt. I can move slowly, set necessary boundaries until I am confident and feel safe. I have a lot of skills and can use them in relationship. (You will notice that my resistance here appears to come from a need to feel safe.)
  3. People will want more of me than I can give. – In this situation, the fear is not related to my friends and family, but more to other people. It will be necessary for me to be discerning of where I put my time and energy. It is not like a dam breaking. I can spend time with my friends and family without opening the floodgates to everyone. (overwhelm)
  4. I will have to be present to everyone who comes into my life and I will become exhausted. – In this case, becoming present is actually a way of being less exhausted. There will be people around me that I don’t have to be continually present with. I can be present with myself and focus my attention where I would like. I am in control. (exhaustion)

I hope this example demonstrates the fears that come right behind your decision to manifest.  Now, you can be conscious of the fears and challenge them. The theme of this 30-day blog, is not just relationship to others, but relationship to yourself. You are in control of your life, your choices and your future!