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I had gone from a size 14  to a size 2, that’s 85 lbs gone in 2.5 years. Yet I had lost so much more than just pounds: I lost decades (and possibly a generation’s worth from an epigenetic viewpoint) of unconscious weight, unprocessed traumas and toxins.  I had no intention to lose this much weight. Sure I hoped to lose some of the 40 lbs of baby weight gain (from 2 consecutive miscarriages, one stillbirth and a live birth). I had a dream weight in mind (which I surpassed by 25 pounds) but never did I hold myself to that standard.  I never tried a diet as I do not believe in them. When my herbalist asked how I lost the weight, I said “I don’t know, it just seem to melt away peacefully.”   Looking back at it, it took many life changing habits and loving myself through every transition. Although, I could write a book on all the subtle changes and positive actions, here are a few of the things I did:

  • Leave my comfort zone
  • Remove myself from judgments
  • truly play and engage with my children
  • breastfeeding
  • identify and reduce emotional, chemical, and physical toxins from my life
  • journaling
  • follow my passions
  • practice mindfulness
  • prioritize self-care
  • take responsibility for getting my own needs met
  • stop making excuses and blaming others
  • simplify my life by doing things by hand and needing less material objects
  • drink lots of water
  • get active: yoga, Zumba, walking places (instead of driving)
  • embrace vitalistic chiropratic care
  • read “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”
  • eat real, nutrient-rich food

The emotional aspects took an integral role in the weight loss and actually changing what I ate and exercising more came later. It became more about how I did things than what I actually did. It was a state of mind. It was a gradual, affirming and peaceful process. It seemed as I expanded my awareness of my negative thoughts and habits and detoxified my body/mind/soul by making conscious efforts to process the toxins in a non-judgmental and gentle way, that the weight melted away.

“Strong healthy cells are what make a body strong. How do you help create strong healthy cells? The key lies with the food you put in your mouth, the thoughts you put in your head, and the feelings you place in your heart.” -Susana Belen

When I returned to live by my home town where naturally many of the negative habits and beliefs originated, and I gained most the weight back. I look at the list above and it is easy to see why…many of the positive actions on that list have ceased. I have become obsessed not to disturb other’s peace that I have lost my own. I struggle not to judge my every move, thought, emotion and have a nagging fear that loved ones believe the worst of me. I must believe the best in me and trust that I deserve to treat myself right, no matter what. I vow to consciously revive this list with unconditional love and trust. I also ate a lot more fair-trade, organic dark chocolate 😉

As change is life’s only constant, I find embracing change a good habit to learn. I appreciate this in depth blog about the difficulties in changing habits: http://www.theemotionmachine.com/changing-habits-what-keeps-me-stuck-in-old-ways

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“The simple phrase Go with the flow is actually very significant spiritually. The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus declared that life is like a river – you cannot step into it in the same place twice. Existence is always new, yet we are tempted to be bring old reactions to it. When we find ourselves resisting anything – which basically means saying no – we are usually trying to impose an old belief or habit on a new situation.

The law of Least Effort bids us to recognize the newness of life by allowing it to unfold without interference. It tells us to be in the moment, to look for Nature’s help, and stop blaming anyone or anything outside ourselves. In the flow, spirit is already organizing the millions upon millions of details that uphold life – from the infinite processes needed to keep a single cell alive vast intricacies of evolving universe. By connecting the spirit, we ride this cosmic organizing power and take advantage of it.”

From The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success for Parents: Guiding Your Children to Success and Fulfilment by Deepak Chopra

I checked this book out from my chiropractor’s office and really enjoying. It gives concrete and simple examples of how to talk to your children about profound spiritual lessons. The Seven Spiritual Laws (from child’s point of view) are as follows:

  1. Everything is possible.
  2. If you want something, give it.
  3. When you make a choice, you change the future.
  4. Don’t say no – go with the flow.
  5. Everytime you wish or want, you plant a seed.
  6. Enjoy the journey.
  7. You are here for a reason.
These are awesome laws to live by. These principle have been unfolding in my life, especially on my parenting journey. My children are my greatest inpritrations for living a life full of love and joy. Chopra’s explorations and insights are consistent with my research and experiences in human development and wellbeing.
A parent isn’t an authority. You and you child are both souls; you are both embarked on a journey of soul making…every family is a communion of souls.
Click link for my favorite writing on childrenhttps://compassiondw.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/292/

“It takes great courage to love. Though it is often perceived as effortless, anyone who has loved would maintain that it is anything but that. By its nature, love requires the risk of rejection, overcome barriers of resistance, surmount our weekenesses and fully utilize our resources. If we are rejected, we will need courage to rise up and try again. If we are hurt, we must have the confidence that we will heal. If we are desolate, we must muster up human dignity to prevail. With the courage to meet whatever hindrances we may encounter along the way, we become more than just ‘re-actors’ to our lives; we become the actors who determine their courses.” ~Leo Buscaglia, Born For Love: Reflections on Loving

From the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning book about post Civil War times in Ohio, Beloved by Toni Morrison:

After situating herself on a huge flat-sided rock, Baby Suggs bowed her head and prayed silently. The company watched her from the trees. They knew she was ready when she put her stick down. Then she shouted, “Let the children come!” and they ran from the trees toward her.

“Let your mothers hear you laugh,” she told them, and the woods rang. The adults looked on and could not help smiling.

Then “Let the grown men come,” she shouted. They stepped out one by one from among the ringing trees.

“Let your wives and your children see you dance,” she told them, and the groundlife shuttered under their feet.

Finally she called the women to her. “Cry,” she told them. “For the living and the dead. Just cry.” And without covering their eyes the women let loose.

It started that way: laughing children, dancing men, crying women and then it got mixed up. Women stopped crying and danced; men sat down and cried; children danced, women laughed, children cried until, exhausted and riven, all and each lay about the Clearing damp and grasping for breath. In the silence that followed, Baby Suggs, holy, offered up to them her big heart.

She did not tell them to clean up their lives or go and sin no more. She did not tell them they were blessed of the earth, its inheriting meek or its glorybound pure.

She told them the only grace they could have was the grace they could imagine. That if they could not see it, they could not have it.

“Here,” she said, “in this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick them out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ‘cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavings instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I am talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I am telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. And all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver – love it, love it, and the beat and beating heart, love that, too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.” Saying no more, she stood up and danced with her twisted hip the rest of what her heart had to say while the others opened their mouths and gave her the music. Long notes held until the four-part harmony was perfect enough for their deeply loved flesh.

You can read more about the story Beloved at http://www.luminarium.org/contemporary/tonimorrison/beloved.htm

This excerpt was recently shared with me from one of my mentors and friend, Barabara Wetzel. I can’t thank her enough for her guidance, wisdom, and inspirations!!! She has been an ongoing role model of how to apply grace and humanity to “real” life in any given moment. You can check out her recent book at  http://theergonomiccouple.com/main.sc

“It is time for the good guys to fight back, not with fists but with rules of engagement that reboot our culture, so that kindness and decency and empathy are cool, and ruthless assault are not. ” Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP

http://vachss.com/av_novels/heart.html

http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/bullying-gets-graphic-new-novel

Here’s a link some thoughts on this social dis-ease: https://compassiondw.wordpress.com/2010/10/08/victim-or-bully/

I ran across the book, SummerhillA Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A.S. Neil  in 2010 as it was cited in Norm Lee’s site http://www.nopunish.net/pwp-ch2.htm. He writes “Neill taught me how extraordinary the possibilities when we really respect children, and place our trust in them and the democratic process.” I have not read the whole book, yet it speaks my language on many levels and greatly aligned with my research and experience. It feels validating that someone has had success using a loved-based and diplomatic approach. I also just read in Becoming Attached that John Bowlby (father of attachment theory) was a fan of Summerhill and progressive education.

I aspire to create safe-heaven like Summerhill on the island I now live and my sweet home Chicago. I will create a place where all children are accepted and will get their vital needs met. They will get unconditional love and respect they deserve. Where they will be safe to express and process all their thoughts and feelings. Where there is no boss because they are free to be their own boss and given tools and opportunities to regulate themselves. We will create a homestead to nourish ourselves from food to knowledge. Emotional intelligence, mindfulness and inspired, hands-on learning are the experience.

I have faith that we will make this dream come true

We will heal and transcend the suffering, negativity and the fear

The essence of free will and trust will emanate…

Here a few random quotes from the book:

“The thoughtful parent will be shocked to realize the extent of pressure and power that he is unwittingly using against the child. This book should provide new meanings for the words love, approval, and freedom… Children reared by such methods will develop within themselves the qualities of reason, love, integrity, and courage…”

“Obviously, a school that makes active children sit at desks studying mostly useless subjects is a bad school. It is a good school only for those who believe in such a school, for those uncreative citizens who want docile, uncreative children who will fit into a civilization whose standard of success is money.”

“Self regulation implies a belief in goodness of human nature; a belief that there is not, and never was, original sin.”

“Well, we set out to make a school in which we should allow children freedom to be themselves. In order to do this, we had to renounce all discipline, all direction, all suggestion, all moral training, and all religious instruction. We have been called
brave, but it did not require courage. All it required was what we had–a complete belief in the child as a good, not an evil, being. For almost forty years, this belief in the goodness of the child has never wavered; it rather has become a final faith.”

“We are human like everyone etc, and our human frailties often come into conflict with our theories. In the average home, if a child breaks a plate, father or mother makes a fuss–the plate becoming more important than the child. In Summerhill, if a maid or a child drops a pile of plates I say nothing and my wife says nothing. Accidents are accidents. But if a child borrows a book and leaves it out in the rain, my wife gets angry because books mean much to her. In such a case, I am personally indifferent, for books have little value for me. On the other hand, my wife seems vaguely surprised when I make a fuss about a ruined chisel. I value tools but tools mean little to her.”

“I think that the Freudian emphasis on aggression is due to the study of homes and schools as they are. You cannot study canine psychology by observing the retriever on a chain. Nor can you dogmatically theorize about human psychology when humanity is on a very strong chain–one fashioned by generations of life haters.”
“To be a free soul, happy in work, happy in friendship, and happy in live, or to be a miserable bundle of conflicts, hating one’s self and hating humanity – one or the other is the legacy that parents and teachers give to every child.”

You can read the whole book here: https://trisquel.info/files/summerhill-english_1.pdf

I found a review of students who attended Summerhill: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/schools/summerhill-alumni-what-we-learnt-at-the-school-for-scandal-2373066.html

“What it did was put me off conventional schooling, but it sure as hell left me with a childlike thirst for knowledge.”

Zoe Readhead, Neill’s daughter and Summerhill’s principal since 1985, says: “In society as a whole you would be considered ‘more successful’ if you studied maths and sciences than if you took art, woodwork and drama. Who can define success? The only person who knows if they are successful is the person themselves. We produce people who feel in control of their lives and have the courage to follow their interests.”

Hussein Lucas concludes: “The key feature that sums up the distinctive nature of the Summerhill experience is the virtual absence of fear: fear of failure; fear of authority; fear of social ostracism; fear of life and the consequent failure to engage with it with a feeling of optimism and a positive outlook.”

I love reading, borderline addicted to it. I can never seem to read just one book at a time. Usually I am bouncing through 4 to 6 at a time. I gravitate toward self-help, health, and spiritual books. Here are the current books I am reading:

The Zen of Recovery by Mel Ash

The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan: A Program for Greater Energy, Health, and Vitality by Michelle Schoffro Cook

Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative to Growing Old by Dr Deepak Chopra

Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love byRobert Karen

All of these books are thoroughly cleansing, nourishing, and enhancing my body, mind and soul.  I don’t need or want anymore knowledge, especially regarding human development. Sadly, I am perpetually seeking to validate and give confidence to all the knowledge I already have; my innate intelligence.

Here are some links to reviews/summaries of books:

http://www.djeffrey.id.au/Attachment_Information_Pages/Articles_files/Becoming%20Attached.pdf

http://hinduism.about.com/od/books/fr/agelessbody.htm

http://www.worldofdiets.com/4-week-detox/

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874777062

Excerpts from the Book—Passage of Change by Nancy Marie…

Our beliefs come from our experiences of what we think we see.

Gaining clarity about them

Can really set us free.

“When does all this happen?

Where does it take place?

How can I find the beliefs

That make my life a rat race?”

The whole process beings

While we are in the womb

Because that’s where Mother Nature

Prepares us to grow and bloom.

“How could I form a belief

Before I was even born?

How could I have an opinion

When I was barely a form?”

“Your mother’s beliefs and perceptions were chemically passed to you

By how she reacted

And what she thought was true.

“Your cells knew she was preparing

You to live your new life.

So it listened to her messages

Whether harmony or strife.”

“That set up a pattern.

A way of approaching each day.

So unless you change the message

Your life may go the same way.”

“If you received the message:

Life is filled with harm,

Your brain would sound

Your protection alarm.”

“Your cells would stop growth

So they could defend instead.

Until a new message

Was heard in your head.”

This excerpt was included in a newsletter from my chiropractor. Right now in my life I am working very hard at rewiring the anxious and fearful connections in my head and body. I am filling my mind and soul with all the loving and compassionate messages I need to hear to keep healing and thriving.

I want to learn to trust myself and others. I am using my conscious awareness to actively transform my life by expanding my limiting perceptions and addressing my self-sabotaging behaviors. I am acutely aware of all the physical, chemical, and emotional toxins consuming my cells and beliefs.

I am grateful that I have made amazing choices in my partner for life, higher education, profession, circle of friends and lifestyle.  I am super blessed that my parents are open and willing to join me on this spiraling, spring-like journey. I understand how their best intentions were cloaked in fear and pain.

I feel my most fundamental needs for love, understanding, encouragement, and support are permeating my cells to heal and grow. I physically have never felt so vital before. Emotionally, I have never felt this peaceful as I am right now.

Link to more excerpts from Passage of Change book:  http://www.innereyepublishing.com/passage.html

Link to learn more about my chiropractor’s philosophy: http://vitalmoms.com/

“Children are mirrors; they will always show you exactly what is going on inside of you. Each phase of their growth is an opportunity to heal your own pain, to go deeper inside yourself and become more truly human.” ~Vimala McClure

I cannot count all the times this has reflected in my life through my children. I even see the pattern with my dogs, who were my first kids. I am so grateful that I reached out for help, committed myself to healing, can feel my children’s cries and take responsibility for the energy I emit.

One glaring reflection is feeling intense insecurity and fear in social situations. My son has been blessed with a gregarious heart and a wonderful group of friends. Every time he asks to have them over, I look at my house and feel dread and panic. I am inundated with a daunting list of all the things I should do but don’t want to. I am terrified to think what people will think of me and being judged.   He ends up, rightfully, pleading with me. I start spurting out a frantic list of things to do for me to feel comfortable to call a friend. This ends up stressing him out to where he gives up and feels guilty for even asking.

The whole interchange triggers my feelings of inadequacy and craziness like I am failing as a person and parent. To further the insult, I am aware that I role-modeling to my son that we should feel ashamed and to give up. My fears are pushing away the level of connectedness I preach and desperately need.

An amusing side to this scenario was that I was so overwhelmed with the negativity that consumed me about inviting people to our house that I started to use my dog as an excuse. My dog was so in tuned with me that he sensed my fear and would behave more aggressively to protect me. His attentive behaviors than triggered more fears in me which only escalated his protectiveness because he could sense my heightened fear. Negativity begets negativity and it cycles on till it escalates enough that someone gets physically hurt (emotional pain is usually prominent and ongoing).

My dog was fulfilling my self-prophecy that I cannot handle it, that I should feel afraid, and need protection. F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. I knew I needed to face this when my son started introducing strangers to me and arranging play dates himself. I am at a pivotal point where healing my social fears and judgmental thoughts as well as choosing to give my son a new story of how to overcome fears. Thank goodness I have a thousand tools to do this and not afraid to see my reflection. I am grateful for the light my children shine on me. They inspire me to be a better person every day.

You get a glimpse of Vimala’s book, Tao of Motherhood http://books.google.co.nz/books?

id=pPOYiyg3CT8C&lpg=PR9&pg=PA41#v=twopage&q&f=false

The sage’s way,
Tao is the way of water.

There must be water for life to be,
and it can flow wherever.

And water, being true to being water
is true to Tao.

Those on the Way of Tao, like water
need to accept where they find themselves;
and that may often be where water goes to the lowest places, and that is right.

Like a lake the heart must be calm and quiet
having great depth beneath it.

the sage rules with compassion,
and his word needs to be trusted.

the sage needs to know like water
how to flow around the blocks
and how to find the way through without violence.

Like water, the sage should wait
for the moment to ripen and be right:

water, you know, never fights

it flows around without harm.

The Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu

http://www.terebess.hu/english/tao/ramsay.html#Kap08

Thanks to my partner for buying the Tao Te Ching 12 years ago. I am grateful I never gave up trying to understand it because the writings are finally making sense on many levels of my life and playing out seamlessly. This only happens when I let go of attachment to things or expectations, and truly desire only goodness for our world and our people. I am honoured to share this world with you!
 

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