A Present for You: Presence

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“Be present.  Stay in the moment.  Experience the now.”

How many times have you heard this message?  It is shared frequently, and as easy as it is to understand, it can be quite difficult to practice.

With this new move to Germany, I have been spending a lot of time looking both backwards and forwards, sometimes at the same time (my brain is so talented!).  But this way of being causes a whole lot of stress and anxiety.  I have to remind myself to slow down and tune into what is happening right now, since it is the only moment I have.

Ex: “Oh look how beautiful that magnolia tree is,” rather than, “Am I going to make any friends?  How will I meet people in this new city?”

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Here is what I have found to help me stay present: First, I catch myself when my mind is rattling in all different directions.  Then, pause and breathe and celebrate that I caught my mile-a-minute mind, even if only for a moment, since it is a very challenging feat.  Then: practice, practice, practice, because it is a continuous evolution.

The payoff is huge because when you are in the moment you can experience a whole lot of JOY and EASE.

I’m super excited to offer some guidance to nurture this practice, and since a brief moment of conscious breathing can have an incredible impact on your day I’ve made a mini meditation for you!

Click here for the soundbite, and let the presence you create infuse and inform your day.

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Looking forward to sharing more mindful moments together, and I hope you enjoy this first soundbite.

Love and inhales & exhales,

Leah

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Clear out the Cupboards

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We are moving to Germany for 6 months (!), and this relocation has prompted an early cupboard spring cleaning.  I rarely clean out the cupboards, and to my delightful surprise, I had so many healthy gems hiding in the backs of the shelves that I completely forgot about.  Luckily, I was able to rescue some before their expiration date.

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Here is what I rediscovered:

  •  Yerba Mate Tea: Great alternative if you want caffeine without the coffee.
  •  Amaranth, Teff, Buckwheat, Barley: Grains were a staple in ancient civilizations’ diets for a good reason.  They are easy to prepare and highly nutritious, complete with protein and fiber.
  • Quinoa Flakes:  Can be used in baked goods to add a nutty flavor and a bit of protein.
  • Hazelnut Butter: My, oh my – this stuff is so divine, I can’t believe I forgot it was in the cabinet.  Use like you would any other nut butter, or add a bit of cacao powder to make homemade Nutella.

So as spring emerges and you tackle your closets, give your cabinets a sweep, and let me know what you find.  You may find it oddly satisfying as you are motivated to get creative with your discoveries.

We are all way more likely to eat healthy if we have healthy options available and on hand.  Just make sure that they can be seen when you open your cabinet doors!  I packed the essentials: my cacao powder, cacao nibs, and Vitamix will get prime real estate in their new cabinets.

Even though our little family is trading in Brooklyn for Frankfurt for these next 6 months, business will be as usual.  I even have some fresh new programs ready for you, so take a look!  Don’t hesitate to reach out if you feel like your health and wellness could use an upgrade.  I’m here for you – that’s what I do.

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Does Sugar Have a Hold on You?

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One Valentine’s Day long ago, I ate an entire box of Hershey’s Kisses in one afternoon – and there must have been 50 of those little guys in the heart-shaped box. It was disgraceful.  As I stared at the pile of crumpled tinfoil wrappers, I vowed to never eat chocolate again.  Then, later that night, I continued to shove more Valentine’s chocolates into my mouth.  Those sugary kisses were so addictive that I became a slave to their sweetness, and once I started, I couldn’t stop.

marriage of milk & dark chocolate

Sugar, that devilish little white powder that appears in so many places, can have a very tight grip on the consumer.  It has the ability to draw us in and keep us close.

Chances are that your relationship to sugar can vary depending on what’s going on in your life.  There are plenty of reasons that lead us to use sugar as a crutch, rather than as a special treat.  So it is worth taking a closer look to identify what triggers mindless consumption.

When we crave sweets, that craving is often an indicator that something more substantial is missing from our lives. When we use sugar to fill a gap, the space never actually gets filled, and the sugar roller coaster continues.  So listen in to yourself, pay attention, and nurture what it is you are really craving.  See if there is a part of your life that needs some extra love and attention, and give it.

Identify your trigger and then be proactive.

I’ve found these things to be very effective in loosening sugar’s grip:

  • Drink water: Staying hydrated is KEY!
  • Sleep: As hard as it may be, try to get 7-9 hours per night.
  • Natural sweetness:  Crowd out the processed sugar with natural sugar to help curb the cravings right away.  Enjoy fruit or roasted sweet potatoes, add cacao powder to oatmeal or smoothies. etc.   Plus do things that you love – as often as you can.
  • Protein: When your body’s nutritional needs are being met, protein has the power to curb cravings.
  • Be prepared: Stock up on healthy and satisfying sweet treat options.  Here is what I have had on hand lately: oatmeal balls & black bean brownie bites.

I am by no means saying to stop eating anything with sugar (anyone who knows me would know how much of a hypocrite that would make me).  But I will say: Make sure it is the good stuff.  Avoid the processed junk.  No Hershey’s.  Check the ingredients.  If sugar is the first ingredient, then move on, because that white stuff is supremely addictive, and our body just ends up craving more and more to sustain the ups and downs that sugar puts us through.

Invest in good quality.  Your body will thank you.

Hugs & dark chocolate kisses,

Leah

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The Sacred Push

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I pushed two things into existence this January: a jewelry line and a baby (in chronological order), and it is with huge excitement I introduce you to both:

charm & magic: a collection of mini japa malas that serve as a visual & tactile reminder to seek out the charm & magic that exist in daily life.  A japa mala is a string of 108 beads often used in yogic and Buddhist traditions to offer a grounded focus while chanting a mantra or prayer.

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and then came…

Luca Jack Sherman, born January 15th at 5:23 pm, weighing 7lbs 4 ounces and measuring 18 inches long.

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Both births were supported by phenomenal women and my amazing husband.  Here is a little about both.

Part 1:  Creation of charm & magic

As I waited for Luca Jack to make his arrival, I started to craft necklaces.  Making jewelry has been a dream brewing in my mind and my heart for years.  As drawn as I was to this idea, I never quite knew where to start.  Not to mention the swirl of thoughts that played in my head over and over: I’m not talented enough, plenty of other people are making jewelry, I have no time, it would be too hard, what would people think? etc…  These negative thoughts always seemed to stop me before I began.

Then, thanks to my husband, I had the pleasure of meeting Rachelle Tratt, the creator of a company I love dearly, The Neshama Project.  Sitting and talking with her felt like a visit with an old friend.  I shared my dream of making mini malas with her, something I only sheepishly shared with a handful of trusted people.

She held the space as I shared my vision, and the negative thoughts living in my brain got quiet.  Suddenly, I had a brand name (charm & magic), a tagline (movement. color. love), and new mantra: Shut Up & Do It.  This blunt mantra is exactly what Rachelle said to herself to get her soulful business up and running.

Since then I have been churning out necklaces, getting completely lost in the color and design of these playful, delicate, and asymmetrical expressions of my heart and soul.  Then came January 15th.

Part 2:  Arrival and care of Luca Jack

I bow to all mothers that ever were, and will ever be – labor is hard!  I will spare you the details, except for this one moment.

I was halfway through labor, when I started crying, fully believing I couldn’t do it.  It was already so hard, and the end was nowhere in sight.  Totally unprompted, but just what I needed, my husband handed me my japa mala.

I held each bead and started digging into my inner reserves.  Mantras emerged that helped me believe I actually could do this.  Lying on the bed, I repeated “I am a powerful goddess,”  “I was created to deliver this baby,” and “I trust my body, she is infinitely wise,” until I started to believe it.  This gave me a much needed second wind.  Almost 12 hours later, with the help of three grounding midwives, many compassionate nurses, and one very strong doctor, we met our baby boy.  I have yet to experience anything so miraculous.

So now our little family is hibernating as we figure out this whole parenthood thing, with my collection of mini malas dangling in it’s storefront in the living room. 

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I have always been a person with many interests, and I’m excited to see A Well Fed Body live alongside charm & magic, and watch them both inform each other, with Luca Jack adding wonder when necessary.

So with that, I leave you to chew on this:

“Ideas in secret die.  They need light and air or they starve to death.”   – Seth Godin  

Is there something you are ready to bring into existence?  Are you waiting for the perfect time?  Are you waiting for someone to give you permission?

What if you just started, taking small steps and watching where it leads, playing along the way, knowing it is OK that you don’t know it all now, but reveling in the fact you are putting things in motion?

It’s amazing what happens when you trust and believe in yourself.

Love, mala beads, and baby hiccups,

Leah

 

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Leverage New Year’s Goals

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There are many different ages and stages of our life, and sometimes I don’t even realize that one is over until it is already behind me.  Even if I know change is approaching, I still often require some transitional time to acclimate to it.

One thing is for sure: there are 12 months in the year and as the world moves into a new year, the word “resolution” pops up.  Great.  I’m all for positive change and growth.  But what if you could really leverage what it is you want by looking at what was?

looking ahead

Inspired by a virtual winter solstice ritual led by Christine Arlyo, Shilo Sophia, and Amy Ahlers, I took time to acknowledge and notice the past.  I realized that 2013 was full and I am clear to powerfully create intentions for 2014.

Try it!  Think back to January 2013.  How did you start the year?  Who were you with? What did you do?  Travel through the months.  What sticks out?  What creeps in?

Take a moment to note your surprises, successes, and failures of 2013.  Here are a few of mine:

Surprises: 

  • Surprise – I’m pregnant!

Successes:

  • I became a certified holistic health coach and started to build my practice
  • I hosted health & wellness workshops and retreats
  • I met and took class with my yoga crushes: Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Elena Brower
  • I became a beauty ecologist for Pangea Organics

 Failures:

  • I never went to Italy or re-learned Italian
  • I didn’t have a successful launch of online program that I created
  • I didn’t teach yoga in the capacity that I wanted to
  • I often felt stuck and unclear in developing my business

Once I realized all the highs and lows and actually celebrated and mourned them accordingly, I felt that I could leave them in 2013 rather than quietly taking them with me into the new year.

Then all this reflection can form into a ball of wisdom.  What did I learn from the bumps?  If you get really quiet and ask your inner wise self (the part that knows it all already) what it would say, what would you hear?

I heard, “You are wildly successful, go ahead and step in.  People listen to you and want to hear more from you.”  Really?, I wonder.  “Really,” I hear.

Thank you for being a part of A Well Fed Body’s first year in existence.  I am so grateful and humbled by all your support and interest in this work.  I am honored to serve you and I look forward to what 2014 has in store.  May you swim in clarity, joy, and vibrancy.

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