Space to reflect

I had another blog post planned for today but when I sat down to finish it, it didn't feel right. 

I was planning to write to you about sugar cravings and some tips I've been sharing with my 1:1 coaching clients the past week (which I'll likely send next week because it is really, really good info!).

But something stopped me when I went to hit publish. I make most of my business decisions from my gut and so I knew I had to heed that hesitation and listen more closely for what wanted to be shared today.

So I took a minute and tuned in. I stopped what I was doing, took a few deep breaths and I asked myself "What would feel more in alignment here?" and the answer became clear.

Nothing new.

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With everything going on this week - the Jewish New Year, remembering 9/11, the hurricane (which hits particularly close for me as my grandparents live most of the year in Duck, North Carolina and I am actually supposed to be going down there next weekend) and the back-to-school/life/work really setting in, it didn't feel like this was a week to share or start something new.

It felt like this should be a week for reflection. For honoring where we're at right in this moment, for feeling gratitude for all the good in our lives (especially the things we take for granted on a daily basis) and for acknowledging our intentions for the year to come.

Holding space for reflection is so important, yet something that we often skip over in our fast paced lives.

We jump from one thing to the next and don't always allow ourselves to "digest" our life experiences (yes, experiences and emotions need to be digested too!).

Personally, I think a lot of the gut issues I've been experiencing lately are a result of this go-go-go mentality. Even if you love your job and fill your life with all things you enjoy, you still need space to just breathe and be.

Photo by Seana Pasic

So today (or this weekend) I encourage you to give yourself just that. Take a break and go for a walk without your phone. Sit on a park bench or your sofa without a book, cell phone or TV for distraction. Leave an hour of your day unscheduled (or if you tend to schedule EVERYTHING, block off an hour in your calendar to do nothing).

The most important part? Let go of your expectations of this time. Literally, expect nothing of yourself. Don't expect to feel amazing or rested or restored afterwards. Don't plan for revelations, insights or big emotional ahas (although those may naturally happen).

In that time, first just breathe. Let your thoughts wander. Allow your gaze to linger. Just be.

And then if there is something that you know you need to reflect on or simply be with, allow yourself to go there. Have your thoughts, feel through your feelings and let your body and your mind digest it all.

This is not a "to do" but if you do try this out or if something I shared above resonated with you, I'd love to hear from you :) Leave a comment below and let me know.

The best advice I received recently

Recently my gut has not been happy.

By recent I mean things haven't been quite right the past year, but the last few months I've been in a LOT more pain and discomfort. I tried to "fix" things myself - eliminating different foods, taking supplements, trying this and that healing diet, meditating more, doing more yoga - but nothing seemed to help. At all.

Which left me feeling frustrated, annoyed that I couldn't figure this out myself and honestly pretty angry at my body. Here I was eating so much healthier and being so much more careful with what I consumed than so many people, yet I was still in so much pain.

So I finally asked for help.

I went to see a GI and he's been sorta helpful. He ran some tests and suggested I give the low FODMAP diet a serious try, which I've been doing with some success.

But the best (and most surprising) advice I received around my current gut stuff came from Robyn.

We work together closely so she's seen me going through all of this.

 

 

After a particularly bad week I lamented TO HER:
"I'm tired of having to care about every little thing I eat. I'm tired of being more sensitive than everyone else. I just want to be normal."
Robyn's response?

"You ARE normal Emily.

There's just this one piece of you that needs a little extra care and attention right now."

 

She went on to suggest that I think of this piece of me (my gut!) like a baby and that I (the rest of me) needed to care for, protect and love this piece of me like a mother fiercely cares for, protects and loves her child.

This simple advice totally shifted my perspective.

First, I realized I was blowing things out of proportion.

Yes, my gut has been unhappy but my energy, my sleep, my skin, my mood and so much more have been good (for the most part). I'm not totally broken, there's just one piece of me that needs some extra support right now.

Second, it gave me a new way to look at my gut and how I needed to take care of it.

How does a mother treat a crying newborn baby? Well most often she tries to soothe the baby and would do anything in her power to find out what her baby needs to stop crying - out of fierce love, not just to quiet the cries (although I haven't been a parent and can guess that sometimes you do just want to quiet the cries...but that's not the point here).

 

 

Instead of being angry at my digestive system and avoiding certain foods as punishment, I'm looking at my gut like a little baby that I need to care for, love and protect like a mother would CARE FOR A SICK OR HURT child.

 

This shift has been profound for me.

Part of being an adult is learning to "grow up" - most of us are taught that we should get a job, pay our bills and be a law-abiding citizen, but there's more. Emotionally we must learn to take care of ourselves from a deep sense of self love. How (I assume) a mother or father feels for a new born baby. Unwavering, unapologetic, protective.

No matter how many loving parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends you have in your life, YOU must be your own best caretaker.

You must learn how to nurture, soothe and protect yourself, both physically and emotionally.

At 30 years old, even after a wonderful childhood and years of personal development, this is something I'm just learning. While there are still days where I feel frustrated with my gut for being bloated after one bite of gluten or having a stomachache so painful all I can do is curl up in a ball on my bed, I'm grateful for the piece of me for ultimately being my biggest teacher.

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Is there an area of your life or health that could use some unconditional love? A piece of you that maybe, like me and my gut, has been a point of prolonged pain, discomfort or chronic illness?

How can show that piece of you more care and love? Instead of judging, shaming and trying to fix yourself, how can you be your own best parent and nurture yourself?

<3 <3 <3

The power of quiet

This past weekend I had the opportunity to teach yoga at an intimate retreat in upstate New York. I've been craving more time in nature, and more time out of the city, so this coming my way felt perfect and like a gift from the universe.

Talk about a dreamy yoga setting!

Talk about a dreamy yoga setting!

I didn't really know this going in but the retreat was to be mostly silent. No laptops, no cell phones, no talking and even no communication via body language (no eye contact!).

I don't mind quiet - it's actually something I crave living in the hustle and bustle of NYC - but this level of quiet was a whole new experience for me.

 

 

It's amazing what a little bit of quiet can do.

 

Pretty soon after shutting down my laptop and turning my phone on airplane mode I had some very clear downloads (what I call the messages I get from self or spirit or intuition).

Some were more straightforward (THIS is how much you can charge for that, that food is not serving you right now, ideas for blog posts and videos, etc) and some were more out there (including one 5 page message from a past partner's spirit... believe me I was pretty surprised myself).

 

 

None of these messages would have come through so clearly or so quickly without the quiet.

 

Finding and staying quiet isn't always easy - there were definitely moments during the weekend where I wanted to talk to a friend, check Instagram or work on my laptop. There were moments when nature didn't feel peaceful (buzzing flies and creepy crawly spiders are definitely a test of mindfulness), where my mind felt anything but calm.

But this experience (as with ALL of my social media detoxes) reinforced the power of just being with self. Sitting in the discomfort and the feelings that come with quiet also allows us to open up to endless creativity, connectivity and real peace, as well as space to heal and process.

Nature is the best

Nature is the best

And while the quiet time to meditate and reflect was powerful, the biggest "aha" moment of the weekend for me was how much effort we all put into what we're saying and how we're presenting ourselves to other people, especially people that we may not feel totally comfortable being ourselves around.

And, if we're being honest, most of us don't feel comfortable being totally ourselves around most everyone, except maybe one close friend or a partner.

We spend so much energy (whether it's conscious or unconscious) trying to act in a certain way. Trying to present a picture to the rest of the world of what we think is acceptable or appropriate or right, instead of just being who we are. Instead of connecting with self and feeling our feelings and asking ourselves the important questions and going with what feels true in the moment, we're worried about how we're seen by others. Or maybe not worried, but we think we have to act a certain way based on who we "are."

I'm about to get real existential up in here but it's a good question, and something I thought about a lot this weekend...

 

 

Who are you?

 

Yes, I'm Emily. I'm a health coach and yoga teacher and entrepreneur. I like the beach and dairy free ice cream and the color blue. I live in Brooklyn and I ride a bike. I'm a little scared of heights, but somehow love roller coasters and my middle name is Margaret.

But is this really who I am?

No, of course not, you know that and I know that. I'm so much more than a job and a city and some dietary preferences.

 

And whether we know it or not, we often use these labels as a form of communication.

But we like labels. We like to put things in boxes.

By me saying I live in Brooklyn and ride a bike I'm presenting an aspect of myself I want you to see, and you're seeing a piece of me colored by your own experiences and belief systems.

Even if we think we know someone, we cannot experience reality through their eyes and filters, and as a result we cannot 100% guarantee what someone else will think of us or how they'll react to something we do. And if we're making decisions based on how we think someone else will perceive us or a situation, there's more often than not going to be a disconnect between how we think we should feel and how we actually feel.

You can however be in your own head (scary place sometimes - I know). You can be in your own body. You can see and experience life from your own individual perspective. Which is why it's so important to be THERE. To be YOU. To honor whatever is going on with your emotions, to listen to your intuition and act from a place of self interest.

YES to more quiet and time with self and with nature.

YES to more quiet and time with self and with nature.

My takeaway from this weekend is yes to find more quiet and more meditative time in nature.

But more than that I want to live more from that place of ME. Not Emily the health coach, the yoga teacher, the daughter, the sister, the friend... but Emily the human.

No labels, no shoulds, no what what so-and-so do. Just being and making decisions from that deep center of self.

A different kind of detox

During last week's Rockstar Coaching Collective call (a high level, weekly coaching program I run with Robyn) I committed to doing a 10 day social media detox.

I knew I wanted to take some time offline during my upcoming trip to Mexico but for some reason on the call I decided that my 5 day trip wasn't long enough.

So I committed to doing a 10 day detox and encouraged the ladies in the group to join me, and now I'm inviting you to join me as well.

 

 

Hold on a minute: WHAT is a social media detox and WHY on earth would I need to do one?

 

Let's start with the WHY. Why would I (or you) need to do a social media detox?

Depending on how old you are, your friends and your work, social media can play a greatly different role in your life. For me, social media (and by that I mean mainly Instagram and Facebook, although Twitter, Snapchat and any other social connection platforms count) is a huge part of my business and my life.

Social media is AMAZING because it's connected me with so many incredible humans (many of which are dear friends now!), led clients and students to me and ultimately been a great platform for me to express myself creatively.

It's not unusual for me to spend 2-4 hours each day on some sort of online social platform.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing - like I mentioned above, social media is an incredible tool for connection, inspiration and information. However, scrolling through Instagram or Facebook can also be a way that we distract ourselves from what really needs to be done (work, a difficult conversation, getting to the gym, feeling our feelings, etc!).

On top of that, social media is mostly a "highlights reel" meaning it's all the GOOD stuff, and can easily lead us into a compare and despair cycle wondering why we don't have the things we see on other people's feeds.

 

 

 

There's a saying "Comparison is the thief of all joy."

 

Lately I've found myself spending more time scrolling and comparing myself to people with more followers, more money, more whatever than me. I am grateful for what I have, but sometimes (especially when presented with endless beautiful photos of what I think other people have) I forget that.

Which is why I'm taking a break from social media for 10 days.

 

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What does a social media detox entail?

This simply means that I won't be on Instagram or Facebook for 10 days. I won't be posting, or logging in and scrolling.

If I'm bored, I'll read a book or listen to a podcast.
If I want to find out what a friend is up to, I'll call, text or FaceTime her.
If I'm feeling lonely or sad or happy or inspired, I'll journal about it.

I did a 7 day social media detox in the fall and it was incredible - it opened up much more time in my day AND I felt way more present and content.

I know 10 days will be a challenge, so I'm glad I'll have some ladies from the Rockstar Coaching Collective joining me for added accountability and support.

Social media may not be an issue for you - it isn't for everyone, but if you resonated with what I shared in this post, I invite you to consider this kind of detox.

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If you've found yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook at night, if your Instagram feed isn't making you feel as inspired as it once was, if you simply want a break from all the noise of everyone else's lives to focus on your own, this is your chance to reset.

 

 

Whether you do a detox or not, I encourage you to observe your habits around social media and how it makes you feeL. If it's inspiring and energizing you, great! That's the point :) If not, consider spending less time on it, and more time connecting with people in real life.

What This "Weight Loss" Book Is Really About

The past few weeks I've been talking quite a bit about this book: Thin From Within. While most of the response has been support and positive, I know that the title has been a turn off for some. Today I want to address this head on - why I'm talking about a weight loss book, why I think the message in this book is crucial for us all to hear, and what I learned from being a part of the book writing process.

 

 

"A desire to lose weight is a sign that we want something to be different in our bodies, but even moreso in our lives." 
- Robyn Youkilis

 

Talking about weight (and weight loss) can be a tricky topic in today’s society where so many women (and men) have struggled with body dysmorphia, eating disorders and exercise addiction. As a result, there’s also a lot of shame around a desire to lose weight, especially in the wellness world. Radical self love is the tune so many are marching to… which is GREAT, but sometimes I find it leaves no room for wanting something to change, especially in the weight department.

 

 

"Your body is your business, and if you want to look and/or feel different and that desire comes from you–not from the media, your mom, or your boyfriend–it's alright to take action to make your dream body your real body." 
- Robyn Youkilis

 

The past year or so I gained some weight, probably unnoticeable to some, but incredibly uncomfortable, and actually almost unbearable at times, to me. The physical weight was one thing, but what actually was weighing on me more was the emotional weight.

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Loneliness (trying to date in NYC #struggleisreal), overwhelm with some difficult family stuff, and (probably HEAVIEST of all) shame around my physical body not being what I pictured I should look like as someone who does health and wellness for a living.

Earlier in the year I decided to "coach" myself back to a comfortable weight. I cleaned up my diet (which writing this I'm like WHAT EM you eat clean all the time), and even followed a hardcore workout plan for a bit, but working with Robyn on this book made me realize the extra weight I was carrying was a result of much more than just the food I was putting on my plate. And in order to lose that weight, I was going to have to take a good hard look at those areas of my life that were weighing me down.

So that’s been my work the past few months - making sure that I’m taking care of my physical AND emotional bodies. While I don’t think I’ve lost any pounds just yet, every time I look at and deal with one of those “things” that’s been weighing on me, my spirit gets a little bit lighter. And at the end of the day, that’s all that matters anyways.

If you’re ready to shed both physical and emotional weight, I encourage you to check out this book. It’s filled with both practical and spiritual advice, and I know it will change the way you think about and talk to your body forever. It did for me.

 

 

Order your copy here today