Food Is For Enjoying

Hello again everyone.  I have been silent here in the blogging world for a little while because I decided to prioritize my canning over blogging.  While I was canning and not blogging, I was also doing some thinking about the direction of my life coaching endeavors.  My business, Vision In Action, has only been open for 5 months so we are still in a growing and learning period.  I began this business because I have an incredibly strong skill set for helping others improve their lives.  I have always had a natural talent for this, but I improved upon it in college and truly honed my skills working in the social service world.  As I set out with life coaching, I thought that I would just hang my shingle out to offer my services to anyone who had any goal of any sort.  That’s a little general, don’t ya think?  I shortly received some advice from a much more experienced life coach that I should target my audience (a marketing friend of mine put it: “By trying to please everyone, you please no one.”)  It was at this point that I thought to myself, “I have worked with families with at-risk youth for 7 years, that is my niche.”  Turns out, I don’t want to do that either.  I am still very passionate about helping young people, but youth work is very intense work and I am beginning to feel that my journey in that field has concluded.  I did some amazing work, but I have skills to lend to other areas of service…and in order to offer the top-level of service, I need to be truly energized by what I am doing.

Then, one day recently, it hit me: FOOD!  I love food.  I spend the majority of my time dealing with food: growing it, tending it, preserving it, and cooking meals from scratch.  When I have conversations with friends and family, it so often turns to food and the ways that it can help us be healthier.  I am over-the-top passionate about food.  Food is what brings family and friends together to celebrate and discuss and share.  And often there is no greater kindness than giving food to someone who has none.  Food can bring people together, and tear people apart.  It can nourish your body and soul or it can irreparably damage your most vital organs.  Food is powerful.

I have also been on an incredible journey with food.  I am now at a place in my life where food is something that I use to show others that I care for them and a way I keep myself healthy.  I do have some food demons that I have struggled with and will likely struggle with my whole life.  I have suffered from anorexia and bulimia, and I have had many times where I could find nothing positive about my physical body.  This issue is so complex and my journey has been a wild one.  I do not have plans to share my entire journey with everyone, but do feel that sharing this small amount with you all can help to illustrate where my passion for food comes from.

Some might say that sharing my indecisiveness over my niche shows lack of vision or stability, but I believe it shows that I understand how goals may look black and white at the beginning, but end up neon green.  My goal has always been to use my unique skill set to help people do great things with their lives, it has just taken a bit to figure out in what way.  I want to help people stop seeing food as the enemy and to see themselves as beautiful people.  I am not setting out to help people stick to a specific diet.  I am not a weight loss guru, and will never pretend to be.  I want to inspire people to love food and be inspired by food, not to count every calorie and forget about the nutritional value that all foods have.  This is about long-term, lifestyle change, not about losing 10 pounds for your high school reunion.

I have been around a lot of food-related issues over my life and have seen people use food to improve their lives and to cope with negativity.  I know the healing power of food and have watched loved ones with cancer and multiple sclerosis use food for all of its positive benefits.  I hope that my passion about food, educational and professional background, as well as my personal journey can help you find your way to loving food and yourself.

I am interested to hear some feedback as I start re-branding my business.  I have no way of knowing if anyone is interested in this sort of service, but I have to follow my passion!  Stay-tuned for more food-related changes 🙂

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Learning to Adapt

As some of you may know, I had planned to do a full series on the Stages of Change model.  I started it, and as it turns out, it wasn’t really that interesting.  I know this because there were only two readers for three posts.  For all I know, it could have been the same reader.  Therefore, I have decided to move on.  One of the major tenets of my coaching philosophy is that our goals may change and that we have to learn to adapt.  Ok, so maybe that really counts as two tenets, but they do fit together quite nicely.  In the spirit of practicing what I preach, I offer you a completely unrelated post.

A reoccurring theme in my life is that of learning.  And thank goodness for that because in my personal philosophy I believe that we cease to live when we stop learning.  The thing that is so incredible about this theme is the sheer amount of that which I am learning.  When I stop to think about everything I have learned over the past several years, I can’t believe there is really any room left in my brain for it all.  I am learning how to be a wife, a mother, and a business woman.  I am also learning how to garden on a rather large-scale.  My knowledge of food preservation is also growing a great deal.  I am also spending some time getting to know myself even more because the roles I play in my life have changed drastically over the past four years.  It is simply amazing how much there is to learn and how much I wish to learn.

The interesting bit about learning is that it is not always experienced in the same way.  For instance, today, as I reflect on my learning journey, I feel excited and energized by my experience.  However, on the days my son is learning how to exert his independence by exploring all the drawers in my home, I feel frustrated by my experience of learning to teach him restraint.  It is a pretty broad spectrum of emotion that is experienced on the learning journey, but entirely necessary.  It is how we respond to these emotions that really shapes the learning experience.  I have found that it all really comes back to being patient.  I have chosen to do a number of things with my life that require a great deal of patience: motherhood, entrepreneurship, and homesteading.  I don’t think I have ever had to exercise this amount of patience at any other point in my life.

Some days when I am learning, I have minor meltdowns.  Admit it, you do too.  Those moments where words start flying out of your mouth that you seem to have little to no control over.  They are almost beings in their own right.    Hopefully, you have learned how to allow those meltdowns to only occur in the privacy of your own home, if not, I encourage you to find someone who can help you with that.  Also, if you have children, you may also need to learn how to stifle them until they are in bed, or at a friend’s house.  As we know, meltdowns are OK and forgivable, but not a really useful or productive means to dealing with life.  These moments of meltdown are when we need to lean on our partners and learn as a team rather than an individual.  For those of the sporting persuasion, I see learning more as a game of football than the 100 meter hurdles.

The experience of learning is as important as the specific skill you are developing.    That is a piece many of us forget.  It is so easy to forget because you are trying so damn hard to figure out how to teach your toddler not to throw food all over the flippin’ dining room…  That’s when you stop, and have a laugh with your partner about how silly it is to get frustrated over something so normal.  Most everything comes with time and it is important to enjoy the process of learning and growing.  In my life I am learning many new skills, but I am also learning lessons that just help me to become a better person, and isn’t that really what it’s all about?

Take a moment to think about a skill that you have acquired or improved recently.  What were the highs and lows?  Did you learn something about yourself in addition to the skill?  Share a bit of that story with us…we might all learn something 🙂

Upcoming Series…Don’t Miss Out!

Hello everyone!  I am going to be writing a series of posts that deal with the Stages of Change (SOC) model in regard to making decisions about health and wellness.  I know, that sounds terribly boring and potentially painful.  Well, fear not my faithful followers!  I plan to write about this idea from the perspective a person needing to make a change and in the style of journal entries.  It should be much more entertaining than an academic examination of the SOC.

I want to do this series because making change is difficult, and it is important for those needing to make change to understand that it is a process that involves learning how to make the change, not just deciding what needs to be changed.  I am hoping that this series will help my readers understand where on the path they fall and what it is going to take to get them to move from one stage to the next.  Please leave comments, ask questions, and make suggestions throughout this series.  My character has a lot of work to do and will need support, motivation, and accountability to make it through!

I look forward to seeing how this exercise unfolds and hearing what everyone thinks.

Here’s to making healthful changes!

Smile So Hard Your Face Hurts

I’m feeling particularly joyful today and want to talk about successes.  There have been some small and large successes in my life lately and it has gotten me to thinking about how people celebrate successes.  Celebration of success is so very important, even when we are talking about little wins like saving a few bucks at the grocery store.  I believe that is it imperative that we find something to celebrate every day.

Now, I’m not talking an open-a-bottle-of-champagne celebration, but rather small celebrations like calling your best friend to share the news, having a sweet treat, or putting a post-it up on the fridge.  We have to feel comfortable congratulating ourselves on good things that happen in our lives if we are truly going to be successful.   Really big wins like landing a big promotion, graduating, getting married, opening a new business, and etcetera don’t happen every day.  Those things take years of planning, preparation, and hard work.  It will sometimes feel like the ultimate goal is so far off that you can’t even visualize what it will be like when you reach your destination.  By celebrating the small wins on the way to the big one, we can get a taste of what we will be feeling at the end.  It is part of our motivation and inspiration to keep plugging away so we can finally throw a big party and spend all day smiling so hard our faces hurt.

If you are having a hard time finding ways to celebrate your small wins, try celebrating another person’s win.  If your partner comes home and has had a great day at work, say , “congratulations!”  Or if your child scores well on a test at school, tack it up on the fridge.  This will start to help you see how to celebrate yourself and can start building a culture of celebration in your family.

Don’t be shy, share a win with us!  What are you celebrating today?

How to Cure The Hiccups

I made it to yoga class today.  After a hiccup on Monday, it was nice to have everything fall into place and wake up my sleeping body.  I haven’t done any yoga in over a year, but it is just like riding a bicycle: once you are standing on that yoga mat, your muscles know what to do!  The instructor added a couple new poses to the flow and they were completely new to me.  At the end, she suggested taking home the ideas of flexibility and trying new things also mentioning how the two go together.  That got the gears turning in my head and connected up with my planned topic of “set-backs.”

Whenever there is a goal to be reached, the generally accepted practice is to make a plan to reach said goal.  For every long-term goal there are short-term goals and smaller steps that are part of the short-term goals.  The idea is that by mapping out all of these steps, a plan will be born that can be followed as a road map to the overall goal.  This is absolutely the way to go, but we so often forget that a lot can happen between Point A and Point B.  There are a lot of ways to describe what might happen on the journey (I used the term “hiccup” at the beginning of this post), but I’m going to use the term “set-back.”  Typically, if your work toward your goal does not go quite to plan, it is because something has gone awry.  We don’t dwell on occurrences outside of our plan that had a positive effect, but rather on those that slow us down or send us backwards.  We can choose to view set-backs in one of three ways: (1) negative (2) positive or (3) neutral.  It is VERY easy to go the negative route and become frustrated and discouraged.  It is more difficult to view them as neutral and just let the set-back go and move on.  It can be tough to turn the set-back into something positive, but this is where a person is going to experience the most growth and reap the most reward.

I have said this before: life is about enjoying the day-to-day experience of being alive.  This can be extremely difficult when faced with tragic or sad events, but there is always something to be learned.  If we never experience set-backs, we would never grow emotionally, socially, intellectually or culturally.  Set-backs often force us to be flexible and provide opportunities for us to try something that we never have or hadn’t thought of in the first place.  Set-backs also provide an excellent opportunity for you to reach out to your support system and seek out new ideas.  I experience set-backs on a fairly regular basis as a parent of a toddler, and this calls for much flexibility in my approach and a lot of calling on others for ideas.

I would like to call upon my readers to stop thinking of set-backs as simply negative experiences that make reaching a goal difficult.  Let’s begin thinking of set-backs as reminders: reminders that flexibility and openness can lead to creative new solutions.

Have any of you experienced a “reminder” that lead to something unexpected?

 

Patience

I plan to post just once a week, but this topic is weighing on my mind today.  Most everyone has heard the phrase, “patience is a virtue,” at some point in their life.  Some more than others if they have a particular struggle with this particular virtue.  I have heard this many times, and I think it might actually be the only virtue.  Why is it that our culture puts so much value on patience?  It seems rather odd to even ask such a question in a world filled with smart phones, diet drugs, and fast food restaurants.  However, there must be some value to patience if that colloquialism is so prevalent.

Perhaps patience is so important because we have forgotten how to be patient.  It is so easy to become aggravated when something isn’t happening as quickly or in the manner that you would like.  We’ve been conditioned to expect things yesterday and customized to our exact preference.  I find patience to be a major reoccurring theme in my life.  I become impatient with my husband, my son, and myself.  It often seems that after the moment of impatience passes, that I am able to see with clarity that events would have gone much more smoothly if I had just let things unfold as they needed to, rather than trying to bend them to my will.  Now, in general, I am a pretty easy-going individual and am able to take life as it comes, but just like many of you, when I’m in a hurry, in the middle of my own project, tired, hungry, etcetera, my easy-going nature can go on a brief vacation.

Lately, I have been reflecting on how practicing extra patience can make one’s life much more enjoyable.  It can be difficult at times, but I DO NOT enjoy being frustrated, aggravated, or angry.  Those three emotions do not bring me any closer to my goals and often set me back (granted, reacting to them in a proactive manner does help).  I am working on taking a moment to pause when I begin to feel impatience creeping into my consciousness.  In that pause I can ask myself, “What’s the rush?  Does this change in plans really matter?  Is my impatience doing harm to someone else?  What can I find to be joyful about in this moment?”

If I am a true believer that life is a journey and that true joy in life is to be found in our daily living, why be impatient?  It is the times that plans fall apart, your day gets interrupted, and the instruction booklet goes missing that we are truly living and likely making memories we will never forget.  Approaching life with the attitude that there is always knowledge to be gained or a lesson to be learned can help turn impatience into something that, at the very least, doesn’t make you want to poke your eyes out.