Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Preparing for the Nor'easter

Being my first year living by the coast, I had no idea what to expect for this upcoming storm.  It seems in these past few years that predictions are far from accurate, but I thought it may be a good idea to do a little planning for the "just in case".

As I viewed reports and listened to a few folks, there was a definite concern for the coastal regions due to the high tides.  I wondered if that meant just the cape or up here on the northshore.  All new territory for me.

I took Tammie for her usual walk, stopped off at the grocery to pick up a few items and decided to get a jug of water in case I needed it.  I saw people buying emergency candles and of course, the store was bustling.

My main preparation of course, was in the food department.  God forbid, I do not have enough food!  I cooked up extra hard-boiled eggs, made up burger patties and cooked enough sweet potato cubes for multiple meals.  Always thinking of my proteins, starches and of course the veggies can be raw.  I made up extra iced coffee - my guilty pleasure and vice!

The storm was wild yesterday, winds blowing so hard that it hurt to open my eyes.  I donned my red face mask (the girls gave it to me a few years ago when I would jog at 6am), double layers of pants, a vest, mittens and my jacket.  Tammie had her new storm coat on and we ventured out for all  of just a few minutes.  I loved it but needed to wait for the wind to die down a bit.

Later on, I decided to dig out the car.  Well, that was a project - the whole front of the car was buried due to drifting, so getting inside was not doable.  Our condo manager came by with the plow and made the process so much easier.  I met new neighbors - something I have always loved in these storms.  People come out and come together - something to be said about being humbled by the elements - the forces above and beyond us.  It felt great and I felt strong,

Since we did not lose power, I had food already prepared and was able to just focus on my creative work and skyping with clients - we were all safe and warm in our homes.

This morning's creation was a hard-boiled egg, turkey bacon, mashed with mayo, mustard, pepitas, roasted red tomatoes, chunky parmesan and wrapped in a coconut wrap with lettuce.  Additions were chopped carrots, fennel and oven roasted sweet potatoes.  Of course, I add the yummy organic ketchup!

Today is brighter, so fresh and clean and I will take Tammie for her snow walk - a favorite for us both!

With Eagerness

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Pollution Everywhere

As the snow came down yesterday, it looked so pretty - white fluffy stuff clinging to the trees and coating the ground as if a carpet. And then came the snow melt! I have found that this new melt sure does do the job, but Tammie's paws don't like it and I usually feel more allergic - owing it to this new-found chemical miracle that clears the snow as soon as it hits. Of course this brought me on a field trip in my mind about "other chemicals" that live with us daily, assuming no harm - or is there? I generally no longer clip coupons as I used to because I have become such a chemical-free snob or shall we say an enlightened consumer! But on this day, I decided to look through and it dawned on me that every page was filled with products that I used to think were safe, got the job done, and have stood the test of time.
While I am not singling out the product companies - the names have been blackened - I am definitely interested in raising awareness that not one item in this collage photo is in the "green" per EWG (Environmental Working Group), an organization dedicated to rating consumer products for safety. This is distressing because daily each of us use products that may be declining our health and that of our families. Just look at newborn cord blood and you will see how polluted we are as a human population. Tests Find More Than 200 Chemicals in Newborn Umbilical ... › … › What’s eating us? 232 Toxic Chemicals found in 10 Babies - Environmental Toxins Found In Newborns' Cord Blood:... How do we begin to change these challenging areas that affect each of us whether we are aware or not? Begin by checking EWG and look at just one section to start with. Focus on small steps so as not to become overwhelmed. Over time, your household will become a cleaner environment and this will assist in you and your family being healthier, having a stronger immune system and also contributing in a positive way to the environment. Now is the time! Begin to shift. Julie

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tilling The Soil

As I ponder the terrain - internal gut flora and the soil of our earth, I begin to think about the cellular communication between the internal and the external ecosystems. Both seem to be in great disarray. In the work that I do professionally, I am frequently drawn to reviewing gut health from the time of birth through the age of the person with whom I am speaking. After all, total health of mind and body is dependent upon the quality of intake, digestion, absorption and elimination. I find it interesting that the population is experiencing so many more challenges with gut health than ever before. At the same time, we are now seeing the research showing how genetically modified foods and artificially treated soil is impacting overall health and well-being. Just look at the rise in allergies - both food and environmental - the increase in cognitive issues - ADD, autism, anxiety etc - and a myriad of auto-immune disorders. Tying this concept together brings in my avid interest in quantum physics - the science of looking at how cells communicate with another under the direction of the subconscious and how these cells can be retrained under the influence of the conscious mind. How does one take steps to healing the internal and the external terrain ? Begin by quieting the mind, adding deep breathing and go into a state of relaxation. Next, place your hands on the region of the digestive area that is causing a challenge. Use the warm energy connection, also called reiki, and visualize an already healed digestive system. Bring your attention to the farms where your food is grown. See organic compost, hardy organic plants flourishing and feeding the world. Allow the cells of your body to bring healing to you and the world. What a peaceful and positive place to ponder! In health, Julie

Friday, January 16, 2015


It has been an interesting week and while all weeks are interesting in what appears in my life, the "pops" or "ahha moments" have been on the rise! I have often described my journey as coming full circle from when I was in college as a young adult. I distinctly recall as a dietetics student knowing that I did not want to be the "dietitian with the hair net and white jacket in the basement of the hospital". I often use that as a start to my introduction of who I am and how I got to where I am today. As early as my 20's, I visualized having a bed and breakfast in Marblehead - a place where I would teach my healthy living classes, cook my healthy food for guests and seminar participants and be in a beautiful ocean town with such history and fun activities to pursue. While my path took a few twists and turns, this desire has remained to this day and in fact, I meet with the oldest B&B owner in town today - to discuss how to go about making this dream a reality in the next few years! What does this have to do with my title,"Knowing"? Everything. To digress a bit, this past few weeks have been filled with viewing documentaries with my college daughter, Ashley. She is passionate about organic food, the non-GMO movement, spirituality and healing with energy - just like her Mom! We started to watch videos that I had been introduced to while in Germany two years ago, exploring the mind-body approach from a quantum physics perspective - going into a state of meditation, visualizing oneself as already healed, whole and doing one's life purpose. It is in the Knowing and not just the Thinking, that one experiences this shift in reality or what we call manifestation. All of a sudden, the lightbulb went off! I realized that I have been "sort of" doing it, but not completely. I was stuck on the completely healed part for a variety of reasons - old tapes that keep playing in my head that drown out the possibility. I had accomplished the move to Marblehead and that happened relatively smoothly. As we watched The Divine Matrix by Gregg Braden, he emphasized the necessity of going beyond just the visualization and thinking part, but to connect the two with a feeling state of joy and love, KNOWING that it has already been accomplished. He warned that many confuse Knowing with "thinking" that they know. This review in addition to working with a spiritually guided coach who begins with teaching one that meditation as a daily practice is key to any course of direction, has allowed me to be in a place of deeper contentment, increased courage and willingness to take this time on a daily basis to go inside and quiet myself, connecting to my higher purpose. As you explore the infinite possibilities in life, remember to commit to these disciplines: Start to meditate daily, even 5-10 minutes upon arising and upon going to sleep, then gradually increase the time Quiet your mind and begin to explore your true purpose here - a clue is to consider your passions and what truly brings you joy Be patient with yourself - it may be a blank slate to begin with, but KNOW that you do KNOW on a deep level who you are and what your purpose is in this life In Peace and Gratitude, Julie

Friday, January 9, 2015

French Attacks, Respect and Intention

By now, most of you have heard about the terrorist attacks in France, beginning with 12 being shot at the satirical newspaper company. It is so frightening and devastating to be in a time of such hate and unrest. But does this differ from other times in history? As I listened to NPR this morning with my college daughter, Ashley, we began one of our usual and engaging conversations while driving for over an hour. Our family has been committed to transformational work and Ashley started younger than her sister, Lindsay and myself. Given the circumstances of being a single mom, I chose to not remain a victim and set out to allow my girls opportunities for enlightenment. As a result, we have engaging conversations about psychology, philosophy, spirituality, ethics etc. When I hear of these horrendous events, I begin to think about both sides and look deep for the intention of action on both sides - What motivates people's behavior without taking a position. I began to talk about how different cultures interpret actions as either acceptable or disrespectful. Each culture has its norms and yet most of us do not know what those norms are. How did they come to be? What creates separation? While killing people for poking fun is unacceptable, does poking fun instigate anger and resentment? What is the intention or true motivation for one's behavior and is it harmful to another? These questions brought me back to an exercise while I was involved with the Landmark Forum - a transformational weekend intensive. A group of 200 people all stood and faced one another, being asked to look into the person's eyes that we were facing for 60 seconds. We then moved to the next person and repeated this for about 45 minutes. What an experience! Not only were barriers removed, but each person became a reflection of oneself - a human to human. I felt softened, humbled, grateful and connected to each person that I faced. I then began to think of the documentaries that I have watched this week with Ashley - the last week before she returns to college. We watched Bruce Lipton's quantum physics videos and the summary is that all life is connected. The premise is that when we reject one being or harm a living entity, we reject and injure the whole of life. This makes so much sense to me as we address science, medicine, psychology. The more separate we view other living beings, the more fear, competition and conflict we face. As you ponder these "big" questions and events, take the time to meditate, seeing yourself as connected to all that is - nature, animals, other people. See your body as a mini world in which all systems depend upon one another. You may begin to find a sense of peace, wholeness and satisfaction. In peace, Julie

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What A Week On The Matt Can Do

It is just one week since I was on my yoga matt, crying with the pain and stiffness that I was left with post-chemotherapy. Last Saturday was so challenging, as my thighs, hips and arms just felt like steel drums with no elasticity to start my practice with. By the end of the 1 1/2 hours, I was more limber, but there was this excrutiating part starting off. Since Last Saturday, I have been at yoga three times during the week - more than usual - but today, I felt strong, more flexible and able to flow through the vinyasas with more grace and ease than I have had in months. I smiled, have had continued energy today and feel really good, mentally, physically and spiritually. It reminded me of the analogy that I use so often with my clients - the ebb and flow, the crest and fall of the wave - and how this can relate to the more challenging times that we all experience. While I am so aware of the side effects that chemo has had on my body, I also realize that I do not need to remain a victim of its powerful downside - no, I can continue to move forward, not exactly "pushing" but always setting my sight on health and well-being, seeing myself as healed and whole. Yoga has offered me patience, commitment, trust in being alive in this moment and if I stop and reflect on this, it is so powerful to know that this moment is indeed, all we have. Do not let pain stop you - instead, dig inside to harness your power and inner strength and for each moment, be grateful. Namaste, Julie

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year with Reflections

It's a beautiful, crisp and sunny New Year's Day and I am pleasantly sitting with Tammie, reflecting on this past 12 months, while feeling excitement for the year ahead! While my life has been a roller coaster ride for many years - experiences full of challenge and opportunity for transformation, this year, in particular, has been a whirlwind for me and my family. It was shortly before New Year's last year, while preparing for 4th quarter taxes and the yearly taxes, that I realized that I could no longer afford to live in our humble condo in Wellesley - a beautiful, but very expensive town! Once I broke the news to Lindsay, Ashley and Scott, we began the process of exploring where to live next! Of course, I had my sight set on Marblehead and the dominos fell into place just perfectly. A colleague from Wellesley had moved there years back and told me that when I wanted to move there, that she would help me with office space, networking and a great real estate agent. I began all pursuits and by March 1, we moved into our condo, just moments away from the ocean! Being self-employed created a mini-fiasco for the mortgage this time, as the laws had become so much stricter with the country-wide recession and there was a two week period when I was unsure about whether or not we had one secured, after being told, "you are fine and are a good risk!" Phew, I kept my mind and intention on seeing the transaction with a positive outcome and indeed, it came to fruition. From March through June, I settled in and began establishing some amazing practices - reflective time, writing, yoga, daily walks by the ocean with Tammie. I felt invigorated, refreshed and renewed and so at home! When I say at home, there is a sense that I was meant to be here all along, but of course, now is when I can make the most of it! While I was establishing these wonderful practices, there was still a part of the "old me", tugging at the ego part, yapping in the back of my ear that I needed to do more, to work harder, to entertain family, friends and new acquaintances, in the same manner as my past "energizer bunny" was used to. I was feeling fatigue, not wanting to listen to that inner voice, thinking that I can still beat this illness on my own, when on July 5, the day following a large family gathering for the holiday at my home, I awoke with a whopper of a migraine. The following day, I went to yoga, but it did not budge and on the following morning, felt a tug in my left hamstring. I reviewed my activities to see if I had pulled something, but could not relate the growing pain to a muscle pull. Five days later, as I awoke and attempted to get out of bed, I could not stand on my leg and felt that I would pass out. Luckily Ashley was here and I knew that I needed to go to the hospital. Well, the rest has been carefully outlined in many previous blogs - the physical/hospital experiences, as well as the multiple emotional and spiritual connections or as I refer to them, the gifts of our journey! Fast-forward to today. As I continue along the journey, I look at the upcoming uncharted territory with patience, excitement and such gratitude for being alive, for being well and for being able to share my experiences with you all. Happy New Year, Namaste and Love, Julie