Positive 2014 !

Happy New YearLike most years, the past 12 months have certainly been ones of change, struggle and blessing for all, with many people saying that the world and it’s changes seem to be pushing us along at a breakneck speed….I certainly did find that to be true this year!

There were 2 big events in my life last year that pushed me to grow, change and love more! I met the beautiful woman whom my son has chosen to share his life with and fell in love with her quickly. The sparkle in her eyes, the warmth in her smile and the joy I see in my son’s face…  what more could a mum want?
The 2nd being the opening of my new clinic space in Abbotsford, which isn’t as big an event as were the changes it forced me to make from within.

I’ve found this past year that in allowing myself to go with the flow of events and opportunities that life presented me with, (which by no means is an easy task) and giving up the need to know all details in advance, that’s right….just trust …life and its many gifts have flowed more easily and effortlessly. That’s not to say that it isn’t a struggle to just let go and move with the flow, it really is, but I’m finding it easier and easier as I see results coming quickly and in much better ways than I even imagined. Sounds like something out of a self-help manual, I know…I’ve read so many of them and have finally, after many years, come to the experience of just allowing the flow of good and allowing myself to be surprised by results.

In that allowing I’ve also experienced drawing new and different people into my life. People who match more closely that new path that my life appears to be flowing along. It’s been fascinating to share with and learn from them and to have made some amazing new friends.

Things surfaced this past year that forced me to look at what was working in my life and equally, what was holding me back. What was I struggling to “make” work, what experiences were sucking away at my energy…and what I had to take the difficult steps to just let go of. I’m not sure. but I think that letting go of things/people/problems/events is harder than trusting the flow, to trust that if it is meant to be then it will stay or flow back into your life and if not…well, the white flag of surrender goes up.

This past week I’ve seen quite a few articles, pictures and conversations happening around New Years Resolutions and promises…I don’t tend to make them and after the year I’ve just had I think life brings you greater blessings when you resolve to be the wonderful person that you currently are and grow from there, when you trust that things will get better and then allow life to lead you down that path of wonder (even though it may not be the path you had chosen), when you trust, when you let go, when you open yourself to receive.

Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2014 filled with energy, peace, joy, surprises, openings and blessings!

At a soon to be announced upcoming Open House, many will have the opportunity to see what wonderful holistically healthy life choices are going to be coming available at the Abbotsford clinic!

Advertisements

Self Celebration

Celebrate You- Celebrate Life!

Do you take the time to really celebrate YOU?

So often when I hear others speak of their birthdays there are comments about it being “just another day” or “I’d rather forget it” or “birthdays are for kids”… and I have to say that I completely disagree.

YOU are a unique individual that came into this world on a certain day and since that day have had an amazing impact on the people and the world around you, regardless of how old you are. If you’re not sure of what effect you’ve had upon the lives of others ask them, ask your friends and your family what it means to them to have YOU be a part of their life. I am guessing that you will learn a lot about how others see you and in a good way.

But much more important than how others see you or celebrate your existence, is how you see yourself and how you acknowledge and celebrate the person that you are. I found the following quote on Facebook and I think that it says so much about each of YOU (I would love to give credit to the author, however it wasn’t with the quote…if you know, please share)

You may not think the world needs you,
But it does….
For you are unique
Like no one that has ever been before
Or will come after
No one can speak with your voice
Say your peace
Smile your Smile
Or shine your light
No one can take your place
For it is yours alone to fill
If you are not there to shine your light
Who knows how many strangers
Will lose their way
As they try to pass by your empty space
In the darkness

And while birthdays are a wonderful way to celebrate the day you came to this world I think celebrating YOU each and every day is more empowering.

Ways to celebrate YOU … how do you do it? or how would you like to do it? Come over to my Facebook page and join the discussion or post your ideas here!

Holistically Healthy Activity?

Definition of Holistic: Taking into account a person’s physical, mental and social condition. Relating to or concerned with the whole or the complete system. Emphasizing the whole person.
Definition of Holistic Health: the concept that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole.

Is Belly Dance Holistically Healthy? hmmm…let’s see

I know that any belly dancer reading this is answering with a nodding of their head in a definite YES! And absolutely, I am prejudiced in my view as a belly dancer and a holistic health practitioner. But what about those that haven’t experienced this ancient art form.

Probably, for those individuals, the first impression of Belly Dance is as it has commonly been portrayed in the media…a lithe, slim, young woman shimmying in serpentine-like motion across the screen or shaking and shimmying everything she’s got with dazzling effect. Often the media portrays belly dance as “sexy” and that limited view can be pretty intimidating for most women.

So let’s take a look at why and how Belly Dance fit’s the definition of holistically healthy.

Often we associate health with fitness and yes, belly dance will bring you that. You will move muscles you didn’t know you had in ways that you thought impossible…and you will move your entire body through the moves. Toning muscle, increasing stamina and flexibility along with strengthening and stretching will all be found in most belly dance classes. You will be forced to breathe and in that way bring nourishing oxygen to all parts of your body. The thing about it is, you don’t tend to notice this fitness aspect during class, it’s almost like a side benefit.

An advantage of learning from a health practitioner is the sharing of training and knowledge of the body and how it works, that is brought to the experience….if you have a bad knee there are other muscles you can use to lift your hip and shift your weight, and there are many ways to work with most injuries.

Why don’t you notice the fitness benefits? Likely because, along with the other women in your class, you are laughing and enjoying yourself too much to focus on the muscles that are toning. Really!

There is a special kind of atmosphere that runs through a belly dance class. There is a celebration of femininity in all of its shapes, sizes, ages and beauty…an exuberance in sharing the moves and dances with others that brings a joy that comes from some place deep within. Any judgement or comparison of what the media portrays as a woman’s must haves to “be sexy” or  “beautiful” or “the right size” or “too old” are dropped at the door.

Odd and strange as it sounds, this is an environment where you are accepted as the person that you are and where you have the opportunity to develop a positive and healthy relationship with that person. Something our ancestors and the ancient cultures in which this art form originated knew deep within, they didn’t need to be taught this. Hmmm…it would appear here that we are hitting upon the mental AND the social aspects of holistically healthy!

So let’s see…you’re participating in something that has the physical fitness component to holistic health AND it’s filled with joy and laughter so we’ve covered the mental component AND you are spending time out in a social setting with other adult woman which takes care of the social component…what’s left?

Probably the deep psychological and spiritual benefits, but I think we covered that too. When you are engaged in an activity or more aptly, an ancient art form, that encourages you to leave the stress at the door and be “in the moment” and that moment involves physical movement, laughter and joy along with an ever increasing sense of self acceptance there is no option but to let it affect you, and deeply.

It seems the whole person has benefited!

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, Galleria d...

Do you experience the holistic effects of activities you participate in? Share with us….

 

Teresa is a member of Raks Almeh Tribal Fusion Dance Troupe and along with her troupe sister Lori, offers Belly Dance Classes for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Levels in Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack & Fort Langley.
For more information about Raks Almeh visit www.raksalmeh.com
For more information about classes in your area visit the site:
www.langleybellydance.com
www.abbotsfordbellydance.com
www.chilliwackbellydance.com
and www.missionbellydance.com

Celebrating the Nurturing Goddesses

To nurture, guide, teach, learn from and care for …
to be there, to listen and
to love, unconditionally …
to have the courage, wisdom and love to let go and allow the shining of that individual soul to express itself.

Probably the most rewarding journey life gives us is to be given the gift of nurturing another.

Mother’s Day is a celebration honouring mothers and celebrating motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society.  Many of the celebrations can be traced back to ancient festivals that honoured the goddess as Mother Earth.

A figure often interpreted as a depiction of a...Many of the  ancient Goddesses and their stories represent the birth of humanity and the fertility of the earth, the earth being the mother from whom all life becomes.

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
~ Honore de Balzac, author

I was curious to see how the “mother figure” is honoured around the world today…here is what I discovered….

ARGENTINA celebrates the third Sunday of October, a liturgical date for the celebration of the Virgin Mary

In AUSTRALIA the tradition of gift giving to mothers on Mother’s Day was begun by Janet Heyden in 1924. During a visit to a State home she met many lonely and forgotten mothers and in a bid to cheer them she encouraged local school children and businesses to give gifts to the women.

BULGARIA’S celebration on March 8th is linked to International Women’s Day and honours the Woman as an equal human being.

FRANCE & GERMANY had different reasons…alarmed by low birthrates in the early 1900’s national celebrations began to honour the mothers of large families.

INDONESIAN Mother’s day takes place on December 22nd celebrating the spirit of Indonesian women to improve the conditions of their country, the day was introduced by the Indonesian Women’s Congress.

ISRAEL’S celebration was begun by Henrietta Szold who had no children of her own but rescued and cared for  many Jewish children from Nazi Germany. The celebration has evolved to be called Family day and celebrates the mutual love inside the family.

INDIA celebrates Durga ashtami or, the feminine consciousness of the cosmos.Durga slaying Mahisasur - golden statue. The p...

In the PHILLIPINES the mother is the “light of the household” and the one around which all the families activities revolve. This day for her is one of spending time with her family and having a day off from household chores.

In TAIWAN the celebration of mother’s day is a unified celebration and religious observance with Buddha Day and Tzu Chi Day. In Buddhist culture the recognition of mother’s day is one of the three fields necessary for cultivating wisdom…Mother’s Day for Gratitude and Thankfulness, Buddha Day for Reverence and Tzu Chi Day representing Compassion.

Having a child has been the greatest gift that life has given me, and being that child’s mom, the most amazing journey.

Making a decision to have a child – its momentous.
It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
~Elizabeth Stone


This Sunday and through out the year I wish a
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of the NURTURING GODDESSES throughout the world!

What special ways do you celebrate the day?

Quieting Your Space

Life is BUSY!

Would anybody disagree with that?

And as the world seems to speed up, our lives become increasingly chaotic and overwhelming, we’re constantly on the run as we try to fit a million things to do into shorter amounts of time…it feels like its spinning out of control

Don’t let yourself get drawn down that dark hole!

It is relatively easy to create a physical space, that as you pass by it, catch a glimpse of it, it’s simplicity and beauty cause your mind and senses to pause for a moment. It’s why I keep what is in my clinic rooms at a minimal…an uncluttered, peaceful and relaxing space = an uncluttered, peaceful and relaxed mind. I hope to see clients achieve that state of mind during the time they’re with me, many of them refer to my session rooms as their sanctuary from life for awhile…really, isn’t it one thing that we’re all trying to find?

Creating the space can be simple, actually the more simplistic the better. It doesn’t have to be large or fancy but it does need to be your space. A space that requires nothing of you, where there is nothing to “look after”, where you can stop, disengage your mind, breathe in the peace and just let go.

Find a place in your home where you can create this space for yourself, remove everything that is currently filling it up… clean it and then breathe. Bring back into this space only things that you love. Items that soften and relax all the 5 senses; scents that are reflective of positive memories, textures that soothe your skin, sounds that are gentle…

You don’t have to spend great lengths of time in this space, but you will find that you will be wanting to. The more time you spend in your sacred quiet space to rest your mind, body and spirit and breathe, the more connected you will find yourself becoming with the sacred space that is you.

I’ve created an additional space for you…my clients…

I would like to, as the weather becomes warmer, invite you to not rush back into your hectic schedule after your Fort Langley sessions with me. Instead I would like to invite you to take a glass of water find a comfortable chair on the deck and relax further, before you go back to “life as usual”. The deck is covered and comfortable and the view spectacular…however I cannot promise that the birds and squirrels won’t visit with you (from their cautious distance), that the horses in the back field won’t be running around and whickering, or that the kids next door won’t be bubbling over with laughter as they play……

Where do you find spaces that quiet your mind? Can you visit them everyday?

Tummy comforts….indulge!

Still following the belly theme for the month one can’t ignore the importance of “Comfort Foods”.

I don’t know about you but I have some that are just “have to haves”, usually when I’m feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. I think when using food for comfort it’s a great idea to question the “why” of it so that it isn’t an habitual way of dealing with emotions. That is when it’s more a covering up of something rather than a comfort.  Eating with mindfulness plays a large role in recognizing that. But you know….sometimes….I think it’s a good idea to just give yourself permission to indulge!

Many of my clients talk about not allowing themselves this or that because it’s bad for them, cutting things out of their lives, only allowing themselves so many minutes, hours, days to just deal with it and get over it….not very often do they talk about what they are allowing themselves to do, for themselves, that feels good to them. Outside of the media, who says we have to stop enjoying the things we do? who says we only have so many minutes to “just get over it”?….if you take a few deep breaths into the belly, shut off the mind and listen to your body and your heart, let them lead the way…you’ll probably discover a self of allowing rather than disallowing, a self that knows that cutting ourselves off from comfort and joy shuts us down rather than opens us up, that a gentler, more tolerant self is really what our inner being is. A self that allows us to enjoy what’s good without overindulging.

Comfort foods don’t have to be unhealthy or laden with fat and in my personal, inner beings quest to eat healthier I find recipes that incorporate healthier indulgences. I hunt for organics and whole grains where I can find them and I usually add more veggies than recipes call for and substitute anything processed with a different ingredient. They still taste great, give comfort and I don’t feel deprived of my favourites …here are a couple of recipes

I recently discovered this delicious recipe in a magazine. I used natural cheeses without dyes or additives. I added onions and garlic to the pasta as it boiled and also diced up some fresh tomatoes and tossed them in before baking. I had some asparagus on the side and I think next time I’ll add some chopped broccoli or fresh spinach to the recipe.

Bobby Deen’s MAC&CHEESE

You’ll need: 2 cups uncooked multigrain macaroni
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese and 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Skim Milk
2 Egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1 (16 oz) bag frozen peas, thawed
1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
1/4 cup soft whole-wheat bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare macaroni to package directions. Drain well, cover and keep warm.Combine cheeses and next 8 ingredients in a bowl. Stir mixture into warm macaroni, spoon into a coated casserole dish. Sprinkle crumbs on top. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

AND for the “sweet tooth”…this recipe was shared with me by Arlene
RAW FUDGE

In a food processor grind 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 cup oats, 1 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1 cup pecans.
Add: 1/2 cup carob or cocoa powder, 2/3 cup maple syrup or honey and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
Mix well and pat into a pan. Refrigerate, cut into squares.

I wouldn’t change a thing with this recipe…it’s a delicious, healthy “power me up” treat!

WATCH for a special guest blog in MAY
from Carmen Daigle
Carmen is a Holistic Nutritionist and Personal Chef and you can find out more about what she does at www.carmenscuisine.ca

What healthy foods do you  indulge in as your favourite comfort foods? What ingredients do you substitute to make a favourite food healthier?

TUMMY RUBS

What dogs absolutely love is good for humans too!

The “fire in the belly”…

it can be a spiritual understanding, a mental “knot in the gut”, or the physical burning of indigestion. What ever the experience, it is affecting your body’s core. The area beneath our ribcage and above our hips is filled with the soft organs of digestion, a bundle of physical and emotional nerves and the soft unprotected grounds of our psyche…so often overlooked and forgotten, unless it’s grumbling from lack of attention.

As a belly dance teacher who encourages students to dance from that energetic belly fire, it saddens me when I hear the way women will talk about their bellies. Exposing the belly is always optional in classes; many feel pretty vulnerable about showing off their mid-drift. I’ve heard this beautifully rounded body part described as too fat, too thin, too ugly, too lumpy, too many scars… covered up rather than embraced for the powerful, beautiful, life-filled space that it is. I’ve also watched, as confidence builds, belly scars decorated with temporary tattoos, henna, bindis and other forms of art, stomachs draped with scarves, veils, fringe and coins…and then that pivotal moment when a student will come into class, shyly undrape, to show an outfit that exposes her belly for all to see. THAT takes confidence, courage and inner strength!

Our mid-drifts hold all of the organs of digestion

those organs that play a pivotal role in our physical and emotional absorption and elimination. If we’re bound up tight physically or emotionally our belly will talk with us loudly through tummy aches, gas, indigestion, constipation and cramping. There can be no question about it, when our belly is stressed, we hear about it. But when we take a few moments and breathe deeply into the belly, exhaling fully, we can release the tension and the ache within, when we give our belly a physical rub or a positive emotional thought it helps it to unwind from its cramped space.

Abdominal or Belly Massage is very often skipped over during a massage session despite how important it is. Studies show that in using specific massage techniques abdominal massage can help to reduce gastric upsets and pain, relieve constipation, promote good digestion, ease colic, break down scar tissue from surgery, help the uterus to unwind from menstrual cramping and soothe the nerves. Perhaps it can also, through positive touch, open one up to embracing their mid-section?

Imagine rubbing your belly first, for comfort and ease, before taking medications…
Or perhaps, experiencing good digestion and regular bowel movements…
Or soothing the grip of menstrual cramps and anxiety…

There are many essential oils, that when properly diluted with oil or lotion can enhance your Abdominal Massage. Dill, Basil, Chamomile and Fennel assist the digestion process, Clary Sage and Geranium for menstrual cramps, Peppermint and Chamomile for upset stomach related to headaches, Marjoram, Tangerine and Fennel help to release emotional stress held in the belly.

Watch for April’s Health Session Special…all about the Belly!

When was the last time that you gave your tummy a positive pat?
Do you hold stress in your belly? Is it upset at the same time that you have a headache? What positive things do you do to feed the “fire in your belly”?

DID YOU KNOW that laughter is the BEST medicine for digestion? A good belly laugh jogs and massages your internal organs.