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Why Self-Care? November 29, 2016

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health, self-care.
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Self What?

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care lately. Have you?  For many people the stresses of the recent national election have been somewhat overwhelming. If you are pleased with the outcome, then maybe you should skip this post unless, of course, you’re stressed about something else.. But if you have been feeling worried, hopeless, angry, frustrated, or  overwhelmed then maybe you should read on.

Negative feelings have an impact on your quality of life

Negative feelings can sap your energy and have a big impact on the quality of your life. It can put a damper on your outlook for the future as well as your enjoyment of your day to day life. It can also affect your health–and not in a good way. So what’s the answer? I recommend something called radical self-care.

What is radical self-care?  Simply put, it is making a firm commitment to do those things for yourself that nourish and revive you. It’s a promise you make to yourself to do something for yourself each and every day. What that something  is  will be different for every person. Here are some examples (because I know you need them)

  •  10 minutes of meditation in the morning
  • playing board games with the kids
  • getting a massage
  • turning off the nightly news and spend that time with a book
  • watching a movie
  • taking vitamins every day
  • changing your diet in the way that you have been wanting to for a long time
  • avoiding toxic people
  • asking for what you want (really? OMG)

Why is it ‘radical?’

Where does the word ‘radical’ fit in? Well, the sad thing is that it’s quite radical in our society to put yourself first with the intention of nourishing or taking care of your own needs. We have a vibe in our society that if you engage in self-care you are one of those weird new-age types who lives in la-la land. We’re all about doing and doing and doing–but not for ourselves. And being radical about self-care–that is not letting anything get in the way of nourishing ourselves, well, that’s downright un-American. I offer you that maybe there’s a more useful way to look at self-care.

How much good can you do when you are depleted?

Why self-care then? Well, why not? How much good are you when you’re depleted, exhausted, sick, and stressed out? You can’t bring anything to others if your own well is dry. Plus, you deserve it…really. You don’t need a reason except that it’s good for you and you want to feel better that you do right now.

I’m going to be posting on this topic until I get it out of my system. Hope you’ll see fit to join me.

Do something to nourish yourself today–and tomorrow and the day after that. I’ll be back…

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A Sure Fire Way to Improve Difficult Work Relationships–Part 2 October 29, 2013

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Choose Peace April 23, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in A Spiritual View, Personal Observations.
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I’ve been on a rampage of self-improvement and growth activities lately. I’m loving this period of time when I’m not seeing a whole lot of people or doing a  lot of activities, just going within and seeing what’s available there. I  highly recommend it—we all need to stop and take stock every once in a while. Oops, did you notice that rhymes or almost? Glad I’m not doing an audio blog. But I digress.

One thing I have been doing is working on a new web site to re-launch my life coaching practice, Life Coaching With Spirit. Stay tuned for that…

In the midst of a lot of internet research, I came across this wonderful video and I’d like to share it with just a few words afterward. (OK, maybe more than a few, but not that many.)

Tough Stuff Out There

There’s a lot of difficult stuff going on in the world today. Sometimes I feel like throwing up my hands and going to live in a cave somewhere—a cave with running water and a place for my sewing machine. However, I know that I can’t/won’t do that. It’s my job to stay and see what I can contribute to things. I recently listened to Wayne Dyer who quoted Lao-Tzu, the Chinese prophet who wrote the Tao Te Ching. He said, “A bad man is a good man’s job and a good man is a bad man’s teacher.” (insert woman too—no PC in China at that time)

Choose Peace in Your World

Those of us who want to make a difference a positive contribution to this crazy, crazy world would do well to choose peace for ourselves first—then we can be the model that others rely on.

What does that look like? Well, maybe it looks like NOT screaming “Asshole” at the guy who almost causes you to have an accident because he stopped in the middle of the turn lane. Or finding a way to see the another side to the story when your child is hurt by another. Or choosing not to yell at your kids when they don’t do their chores. Hmmm, could be a full time job. But how can we expect peace in the world when we don’t know how to have it within ourselves? As above, so below, as within, so without…

Sermonette over—for now.

–Amara

Reboot 2 April 17, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health.
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15day

Previously on this blog-I am on Day 10 (now 12) of a 15- day juice fast. I talked about getting a juicer and purchasing the fruits and vegetables. Now, juicing…

On to the nuts and bolts

The way this works is that you drink juice 5 times a day and eat no solid food. I must admit, though I like vegetables very much, I have not been crazy about the juices. I think it’s the combinations. The theory is that you have at least 20% vegetables in any juice you make. So while you may be making an apple juice it will have to have say, some carrots in it to balance. I have found that many of the juices are just too sweet for me and have taken to adding in lemons to balance out that sweetness. I have also found that celery in a juice is entirely too bossy so I have been substituting cucumbers instead.

Do I like the stuff?

In the face of not loving the juice, I just tell myself that I am doing great things for my body and drink it down. There is a dessert juice that is included every day and it is mostly fruit. Of course that is my favorite and while sweet, it has the sweet taste of fruits that I am accustomed to.

Hungry?

I have not been hungry through this process. I think my body knows how to live well on little food since I have done the HCG diet a number of times. So my energy level has been fine and I have not been cranky (at least no crankier than usual.) Fortunately I don’t have to cook for other people regularly so that removes the temptation of looking at food.

Effects

I have noticed that my creaky knees that I have injured so many times are not as creaky now. Also, my stomach is flatter than before. They say that carbs are not the friend of a flat stomach—I used to have a trainer who said that carbs go to your stomach. What a shame. When I die and go to heaven, I hope that I can eat all the carbs I want and stay thin, thin, thin. For a wonderful movie that shows a brilliant version of what heaven is like watch Defending Your Life with Meryl Streep. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies. And I digress—but it’s fun.

The jury is still out so to speak on what the ultimate effects of my Reboot will be. I’m hoping for a huge weight loss, perfect health, and radiant skin. It’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. I’m sure that it will serve me in ways that I don’t yet realize. I have long wanted to go back to being vegetarian. And this experience is having me re-visit that intention and see it as possible. So far, so good…

Stay tuned.

–Amara

Reboot! April 15, 2013

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15day

I am in day 10 of a 15-day juice fast. Never thought I would do this but then again I never thought I would do the HCG plan either and I did.

Why Juice?

Why am I doing the juice thing? There are a couple of reasons—or maybe more than a couple. First, I was sick with a bad cold or a designer cold, as I like to call it, three times this winter. That shows me that my immune system is not where it needs to be. Second, I think spring is a very good time for a de-tox. Get rid of the comfort food residue from over the winter when it’s really really fun to eat. Comfort food for me usually means something with sugar or other high carbs. I don’t know about you but those are not the best things for my body. And third, it never hurts to lose a little weight. (Can’t believe I put that one third).

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Let me tell you where this all came from. It all started about six months ago when my tango teacher, Lori, told me about a documentary film called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by an Australian filmmaker named Joe Cross. I was prepared to be very depressed by the film thinking it was a terrible story of someone’s health gone wrong. Instead I found it very uplifting. It’s Joe’s personal story of how he had an auto-immune condition that was keeping him on numerous medications without much success. He decided to go on a juice fast to see if he could heal his body.

The film documents his journey as well as two others who became inspired by what he accomplished. You can watch the movie in its entirety on YouTube with this link:  Fat Sick and Nearly Dead  He achieved amazing success and has made it a personal mission to help others do what he did to become more healthy. He calls it the ‘Reboot.’

A Reboot Community

So, on to my experience. I joined a 15-day Reboot group which is offered by a trained health coach working with Joe. I love this because there are conference calls and a message board so I can share and learn what others are doing. I also have access to the health coach for questions as they come up.

Gotta Get a Juicer

Next I had to get a juicer. First I bought a NutriBullet which was great except that it’s not a juicer. It is basically a high-powered blender. So back it went and I ended getting the juicer that Joe recommends which is a Breville (available on Amazon—where else?)

Mucho Fruits and Veggies

On to getting the fruits and veggies. One thing about this is that it is not an inexpensive venture. To buy the fruits and vegetables I needed for the first 5 days cost around $100. I am buying mostly but not all organic. Why juice if you’re going to put pesticides back in your body? Here is a list of the dirty dozen—fruits and veggies that you should buy organic if you want to avoid eating pesticides. Also on the list is the ‘clean 15’ which show the least amount of pesticides when tested. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/.

So next, JUICES!

I can see this post is getting a little long so stay tuned tomorrow or the next day for THE REST OF THE STORY….

–Amara

What to Do With Bad News February 3, 2013

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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537962_228700923911787_1739544636_nLast week was a challenging week for me and for a whole lot of people I care about. We all got some bad news and suddenly our futures looked a whole lot different than we had thought. The seeker and coach in me watched myself move through the process and it was interesting.

The first thing that occurred to me is that this whole thing was very similar to a death. And there are five classic stages of grief according to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: denial, anger,bargaining,depression, and acceptance. And the advice is to go through each stage as consciously as you can—not trying to rush to feel better but to sit with where you happen to be. It’s been my experience if you try to short-circuit any of these stages, they simply come back to you bigger and ‘better’ than before. It’s the way we’re wired as human types. I’ve watched people trying to distract themselves to pretend that the trauma in their life is done with and that they have moved on—before they have actually done the grief work. It never works…(wow—quite an unequivocal statement for me).

So what did I do to come to terms with the bad news? Well, it’s not like I’m finished but I am making progress. First of all I sat with it and all the implications of this ending. Whew, that was tough and I’m not finished yet. Then I allowed myself to awfulize about the terrible consequences that could be mine. Then I got good and angry at a number of people and blamed a few of them. Boy, that felt good—for about a day.

Then I made a sincere declaration to myself that I was not going to stay in a place of depression and hopelessness. I mean a stamp-your-foot-to-the- universe kind of declaration. Not freaking going there, universe. It’s not fun and I like to have fun. And with that (and the help of one Advil PM at night, daily meditation, some conversations, and some prayer thrown in) I found that a sense of serenity returned. Is everything perfect? Hell, no. Am I ok? Hell, yes!

When shit happens as it inevitably does, the thing that gets me back on a more even keel is perspective. Is this a difficult issue? Yup. But when I reflect on the blessings that my life holds and will continue to hold, I realize that this is a blip on the screen.

And with a little bit of luck, this post will help one or many of you out there when the universe rains on your parade.

—Amara

3 Ways to Be Happy When You Think You’re Not May 14, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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 tango shoes by godwin lue Maybe you’ve noticed (and I hope you have) that I haven’t written a post since January—egad—really?  My family has been going through an extended difficult period and it’s caused me to be extremely preoccupied with support activities. I’ve been intending to sit down for weeks now and just write whether I had the energy and  passion for it or not. But alas, the spirit has been willing but the body weak.Or perhaps vice versa.

So today is the day for some reason known only to the gods—or God. I’ve been reflecting on how one goes about being happy in the face of being surrounded by challenges that are crazy-making rather than happy-making. And I have been working that little problem for months now, sistahs and bros.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. Hope it helps you because it seems most everyone I know is in the midst of something. I’m beginning to think that’s what was meant about the world coming to an end in 2012. Old stuff is ending and new stuff is coming in..But I digress.

So here are three strategies I’ve come up with. Not rocket science but they sure have helped me.

#1 Make a declaration

Make the declaration that you are going to be happy and peaceful even in the face of the crazy-making shit that happens. Yeah, so to do that, it’s probably helpful to stop thinking about events as “crazy-making shit.” Rather, start thinking of the events as merely events– ascribing no particular judgment to them. My massage therapist, Annie suggests that you pretend you’re watching a movie.  I like movies. And as far as the declaration goes, I envision stamping my foot at the Universe and saying, “I AM happy, and at peace, period. “

Does this magically fix everything? Of course not, but if you stay stubborn about it, it sure does make the joyful and peaceful moments more plentiful. Something’s better than nothing. Just remember that even if it seems not to be working, the fact that you have declared it paves the way for it to be so.

#2 Be wherever you are

A lot of us get really nutty because we have some kind of assessment that we should be happy all the time. And if we’re not, we judge ourselves not spiritual, grateful, resilient,or (fill in with your favorite guilt –producing adjective.) I believe it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to be down in the mouth sometimes. Even Mother Theresa felt that God had turned his back on her at times—and if it’s good enough for Mother Theresa, it’s good enough for me.

So if you’re sad—be sad. If you’re listless, be that really, really well. And if you’re happy then jump for joy and revel in it. Our emotions don’t cease to exist when we ignore them—they simply go underground never to be heard from again until our back starts hurting or we get some kind of disease. Just say no that! The way healing modalities therapies that help to release feelings that have taken up residence in your body. Do a web search—you’ll find a bunch of them.

#3 Find something that totally occupies your mind and do it

I’m the first one to admit that too much navel-gazing does not a fun-gal or guy make. Yes, it’s important to know where you are but you don’t have to make your problems a way of life, carrying them around like your favorite backpack. There are times when it’s helpful to distract yourself so that you can come back and see your life situation anew.

I remember in the old days when I used to balance my bank account using my checkbook. (before I could go on the internet and track my account daily.) I’d try and try to figure out where that missing $10.50 got to. Then I”d pick up and leave it for an hour or two. When I came back, the error jumped right out at me, begging to be corrected. It was there all the time but I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

This is a long way of saying—get a little distance from your stuff as often as you need to. And pick something that leaves little room for you to stew. I dance Argentine Tango—an activity that demands my complete attention. If I think about my problems, I suck as a dancer—or I get my foot stepped on. Don’t care for either of those alternatives so I stay present. And lo and behold, when I come back to my ‘problems,’ they look a little different.

So there you have it, boys and girls, the truth as I know it. It’s worked for me and I offer it to you with my very best wishes for peace and joy.

–Amara

Three Ways to Appreciate Yourself When No One Else Seems To January 15, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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  takanomebynomadiclass.cc

I guess we all go though times when can sing the old childhood favorite:

Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, (and so on.)

You probably know the feeling. It seems that no one gets how great you are and what you have to offer, or they don’t seem to respect you for the great skills and talents you bring. Notice I have chosen the word ‘seem’ because most of the time when we are feeling that way it’s because of an inner dialogue we are having with ourselves. The more we stew on it, the worse it gets and pretty soon our mood is in the ditch and we are in the land of victimhood—one of my personal favorites.(NOT)

What can you do when you find yourself hanging out in this desolate wasteland? Well, just for you I have come up with some tried and true remedies to get you through the night, the day, or the week. Any longer than a week and you’re in danger of adopting a new way of life…yuk!

So here goes:

#1  Make what others think of you ‘mildly interesting.’

If you base your happiness solely on what others think of you, you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. The person who needs to think highly of you is? (for $1000 and a trip to Belgravia) Yep, that’s right—you. Often we are tempted to take personally what others say and do—making it all about us and our shortcomings or lack of value. Try this interpretation—it is never about you. It’s always about them. People see the world through their set of values and experiences—what I refer to as their background of obviousness or BOO. So if they are judging you as falling short, it’s more about their own world than it is yours. So how about making the assessments of others about you, mildly interesting?

I had a coach who used to tell me that when I would whine about something. Mildly interesting means you don’t discount it since their opinions may contain a nugget for you. However it also means that while their opinions are interesting, they do not rock your world.

#2  Make a list of your accomplishments/talents

We all have a very silly tendency to dwell on what’s not right about us. When you think about that it’s kind of crazy really. We have about a million choices in how we think of ourselves –or at least two. We can either think we are great or we can think we’re lacking. Hmmm, let me see. Which one of those choices makes us feel the best? We’re great or we are the dregs of the earth…let me take a WAG (wild-ass guess) here. I think it feels better to think we’re ok, worthy, good, talented, etc.. Now if it makes you feel good to think you are totally worthless, well, ok. But you don’t need a coach—I’d shoot for a psychologist or psychiatrist or some psych…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today about our tango milonga last night. He was commenting on the fact that he was much in demand as a partner. After that remark he said, “I hope I’m not being too big for my britches. (Being raised in Texas, that’s one of my favorite sayings.) My response was, “If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.”

So take 5 or 10 minutes to sit down and write down the things that are good about you. No, not one word about what you need to improve. Bet you $10 you’ll feel better after doing it.

#3 Just Say NO

When I find myself going into the self-pity mode, or the I-am-an-unworthy- human-being place and I don’t feel like having a pity party, I just stomp my foot and say NO! You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. Especially the foot stomping part. Just make sure the little children are safely out of your way when you do it.

There’s something very empowering about deciding what mood you’re going to be in. And we all have the power to do that—if we choose.

I wouldn’t kid ya..

–Amara

What Makes You Happy? January 8, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development, spirituality.
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manoloblahnikswanemblished  Happiness—sometimes an illusive state, sometimes just present. I’ve been doing some thinking about joy and happiness. In fact I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about joy and the lack of it.

What’s the difference between joy and happiness?

Happiness and joy are often synonymous  but there’s a distinction—at least for me. My definition of happiness is a general state of being that has us predisposed to be positive, hopeful and seeing possibilities for ourselves and those we care about. Joy, on the other hand, is that juicy rush we get when we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. Like I am happy that I finally know how to dance the tango (well, sort of) and I feel an amazing joy in connecting with a partner as we do the tango together.

That said, I’m not too het up about figuring out the distinction between the two. I just know that I really want happiness and joy in my life.

What do you do if you can’t find it?

So what are you to do if it just seems to be missing for you? Good question. Wish I had THE ANSWER but alas I’m sometimes awash in the world of blah or worry or teeth-grinding.  But since I don’t like being cranky and unhappy I search for ways to alleviate the condition.

This past week I was having a conversation with some of my wonderful women friends. One of them posed the question: What makes you happy? We all  took turns giving our answers to the question.

My own answers were:

    • getting to spend time with my three grandchildren
    • dancing the tango in impossibly high heels
    • making a new quilt
    • writing in my study (which I am doing right now)
    • having a spa day
    • taking a road trip with my boyfriend 

We spent about half an hour in this conversation and by the end of it we were all mellow and grinning from ear-to-ear. Happy for no reason except that we had just spent time thinking about things that make us happy. And most of those things were not high-ticket items like trips to the Aegean or a new pair of Manolo Blahniks (though I wouldn’t say no to a pair if someone wanted to give them to me).

It is possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy

So what I learned is that it’s possible to get happy by focusing on that which makes us happy and leaving behind (if only for a short time) that which annoys, saddens, angers or weighs us down. Imagine that. One can get happier by thinking about what makes her happy.

Happiness is an inside job

A Course in Miracles makes a point about this. And I am paraphrasing here. It says that if the source of your happiness is dependent on something outside of yourself like a new pair of shoes, whether you get asked out on a date, or if you look good in your new jeans, that happiness is transitory and will leave you. True happiness comes from within yourself, from that which feeds your soul or makes you feel like your best self.

Make a list…

What makes you happy? Why not engage in that conversation with a friend or write it down in a journal or on a chalkboard (started to say blackboard but I don’t think they exist anymore) or on the back of your hand? The point is to think about the good stuff as much or more as you think about the annoying stuff.

I don’t know..what d’ya think?

–Amara

Walking Through the Fire May 1, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations, Uncategorized.
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cccommons by celine nadeauSometimes life gets hard. Sometimes it gets downright overwhelming. I guess we’ve all had times like that. I know I have. It’s something I refer to as ‘walking through the fire.’

Now I’m not talking about minor annoyances like your car not starting, cutting your finger with a knife, or losing a favorite earring. No, I ‘m talking about the REALLY BIG stuff—life changing/threatening stuff. Things like losing a loved one to death, depressions that take away your will to live, battling a serious illness.

Most of us have had these things happen in our lives not once but multiple times. And if you haven’t—well, maybe you could better spend your time reading another post today.

What doesn’t kill you…

I believe that walking through the fire provides us with opportunities—provided we come out on the other side. No, moving through such an event is no fun at all. But to quote Frederich Nietzsche, “What doesn’t kill me will make me stronger.” I often say that to clients and I’m not being flip when I say it. I mean it.

My own fire

I have had quite a few fires to walk through in my life. One of the fiercest was when my 38 year old husband got a brain tumor and died within 5 months, leaving me with a 5 year old son to raise. There were times that I thought I was not going to make it through that blaze. However, the fact that I had a young child depending on me and that I was his ‘only game in town,’ made any other choices seem unavailable. Was it fun to go through it? Decidedly not. But now that I have walked through the fire I know that it did make me strong. I believe that there are not many things I cannot handle.

The ‘wounded healer’

Some of the very best people I know have had some mind-boggling fires to walk through in their lives. And as a result, they bring a richness of experience and perspective that is very valuable to me. They bring the certainty that there is purpose and joy in life and that the life they have is definitely worth living. They often display a deep caring of others and a capacity for seeing others as vulnerable just as they were. Could they have gone the other direction and become embittered, pessimistic people? Of course—and there are plenty of those around.

But what sets them (and I hope me) apart is that they have learned from these challenging times and they have moved on.They have made a declaration that while they may be wounded by their difficulties, they will heal and rebound from them. That’s why they are the best people.

You can do this

You may be walking though a fire right now or trying to recover from one. Your ability to declare that you are and will be ok is what will get you through it. Sometimes it’s just one day, one hour, one breath at a time. So even if you have to repeat it like a mantra with each breath, your determination will be what gets your through  And for God’s sake, don’t be afraid to ask for help. (Get it?)

I am not sure why this topic came up today but I was guided to write it. Thus I am sure that I was supposed to write about it for at least one of you out there…

Hang in there—fires burn themselves out…

—Amara