Habit tracking simplified

I do much better when incorporating new behaviors into my life when I have a way to track them that’s visual and shows more than just a few days. I found an online PDF, Habit Tracker, that has space to track up to 17 behaviors for one month, so you can easily view trends, skipped days, etc.

One of the activities that is motivating when trying to develop a new habit is checking off each time you do something on a monthly calendar. When you’ve done it for a few days in a row, you see your streak of successfully incorporating the habit, and you don’t want to break the chain. This technique was attributed to Jerry Seinfeld, but he doesn’t claim credit. Whatever. It works!

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Source: https://www.clementinecreative.co.za/reach-goals-free-printable-habit-tracker/

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What people are saying after Zero Balancing

So far in 2016, I’ve done 96 Zero Balancing sessions ranging from 15 to 45 minutes in length. Most were about 30 minutes.

Help me make at least 100 in 2016! [I made my goal!]

The part I love most about giving my clients a Zero Balancing session comes after the fully-clothed bodywork has concluded, when the receiver slowly moves from supine on my massage table to sidelying to seated to standing, taking a pause after each movement, and finally takes a few steps around my office.

I ask, “What are you noticing?” Continue reading

Gravity Pal, a low angle inversion table, makes a difference in a minute a day

I just had the pleasure of taking Zero Balancing II training in my pursuit of skill and finesse in my bodywork practice. Jamie Carmody was an excellent teacher, her lovely San Antonio studio well located, and my fellow students a delight to learn with, practice with, and get to know.

For more about Zero Balancing, go here. I’m getting ready to send out a newsletter with some sweet special offers, including one for Zero Balancing that will be impossible to resist for wellness-seekers in the Austin area. If you’d like to subscribe and get in on this time-limited offer, please send your email address to me at mareynolds27 at gmail dot com.

If you haven’t yet encountered it, you’re probably wondering what Zero Balancing is. My description is that it lets you feel like you’d feel without habitual tension patterns or the constant pressure of gravity pulling you down. Younger? Taller? Lighter? Buzzing with healthy energy? Can you even imagine feeling like this? I invite you to come get a session, or two or three, and find out how it affects your body.

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A tale of recovery: my path from traumatized to healer

I had lunch a few weeks ago with John, someone I’ve known for about 12 years but haven’t seen much in recent years. He commented that I am a very different person now from when he met me, and that would not be apparent to people who hadn’t known me that long.

When we met in 2004 (I think), I seemed troubled to him, and I was. John said that now, I appear to be happy and “like a fountain” (which I love), and he was curious about that.

Other people have said I’ve changed more than anyone they know. Well, that’s probably because I was starting from a more troubled place than most.

So I’m reviewing my path in search of insights to share. This is for you, John, and I know that some of you are interested in recovery from trauma, and some of you are interested in personal growth, so this is for you too. Continue reading

Health is…

The best six doctors anywhere
And no one can deny it
Are sunshine, water, rest, and air,
Exercise and diet.
These six will gladly you attend
If only you are willing
Your mind they’ll ease
Your will they’ll mend
And charge you not a shilling.
~ Nursery rhyme

 

As a people, we have become obsessed with Health. There is something fundamentally, radically unhealthy about all this. We do not seem to be seeking more exuberance in living as much as staving off failure, putting off dying. We have lost all confidence in the human body.  ~ Lewis Thomas, The Medusa and the Snail, 1979

 

Health is a relationship between you and your body.  ~ Terri Guillemets

 

Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well.  ~ Marcus Valerius Martial

 

After these two, Dr. Diet and Dr. Quiet, Dr. Merriman is requisite to preserve health.  ~ James Howell

Nine days into a cleansing diet

Today is a cold rainy day here in Austin, and I’m in a great place right now as I write this — in bed, where it’s warm and cozy. I hear drops hitting the trailer roof with that satisfying sound that metal roofs provide.

I’m in the 9th day of a cleansing diet.

Usually sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas every year, I get the strong idea that I want to eat simple food — once the holidays are over.

Don’t get me wrong — I partake of feasts and many holiday goodies. I don’t eat gluten ever, if I can help it, but I indulged in gluten-free muffins, bread, and cookies, not to mention sugar, mostly combined with chocolate. And wine. And a delicious Wensleydale cheese with cranberries.

The richness is delicious, of course, but it just gets to be too much. I start making lentil soup to simplify and make plans to really clean up my eating in January…

Now the holidays are over and we’re into January, and I’m doing the strict candida diet that I first did 5 or 6 years ago. That diet includes very limited grains (only quinoa, millet, and a few others), no dairy except plain yogurt and kefir, no fruit except lemon/lime/pomegranate, no sugar in any form, no fermented/pickled/brined foods.

You can have a lot of non-starchy vegetables, meat/poultry/fish/eggs, nuts and seeds. The only sweetener you can use is stevia.

I remember the first time I did it. I followed it so strictly. I had read that with candida, if you messed up and ate any of the forbidden foods, you could lose all the progress you had made toward clearing excess candida out of your body, and you’d have to start completely over. That’s because the forbidden foods contain sugar or become sugars that feed candida.

So my idea then was that this change in eating was so painful, I wasn’t going to mess up, because I never wanted to do it again.

Now here I am, doing it again. Not because I have candida again, but because I remember that after about two and a half months of eating so cleanly like this, I realized that I felt different.

I couldn’t describe how I felt.

After checking in closely and realizing that I had many fewer aches and pains, more energy, and no issues with my digestive system, it gradually dawned on me that I felt well.

And I’ve built on that for years.

And that’s what I’m going for again. Feeling really well. It’s not that I’m sick. I actually feel pretty blessed to have good health and be able to work 20-25 hours a week doing massage. But I could feel better.

I figured that I might as well ride the impulse to clean up my diet in January and really clean it up. And it’s not that painful, just another adventure in learning about the relationship between the food I eat and my well-being.

This might be something I do every January. It’s hard to maintain perfectly, and I miss certain foods, which I usually indulge in in moderation. The diet is like a baseline to go back to, and it has influenced my food choices quite a bit.

The book I used the first time was The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates. It explains the whole inner ecosystem idea (balancing the gut flora and fauna) pretty well without being overwhelmingly scientific and walks you through doing the diet, including recipes.

I lent that book out afterwards and never got it back, but I remember it pretty well, and some of that material is available online.

In the interim, I discovered green smoothies, which I can make differently every time, using different greens and adding fresh mint and other herbs. I’ve been making those (anyone got a Vitamix they want to sell cheap? my blender is wearing out) for breakfast, lunch, dinner.

I’m also planning to make cultured red cabbage!

I’ll report back after January ends on whether I experienced a surge in well-being and how I want to move forwards.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling pretty good, except for some aches and pains from doing massage.

The Anti-DSM: A compendium of healthy states!

The DSM-IV is the psychiatric profession’s Bible of mental disorders. It’s where experiences like PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and autism are defined. Doctors diagnose, and insurance companies cover prescriptions for diagnoses, according to the DSM-IV. It’s a very powerful book affecting the lives of millions.

Rob Breszny, astrologer extraordinaire, questions why we don’t have such a list of healthy states. He asked his readers to help him compile a compendium of healthy, exalted, positive states of being.

Here are just a few of the responses:

* ACUTE FLUENCY. Happily immersed in artistic creation or scientific exploration; lost in a trance-like state of inventiveness that’s both blissful and taxing; surrendered to a state of grace in which you’re fully engaged in a productive, compelling, and delightful activity. The joy of this demanding, rewarding state is intensified by a sense that time has been suspended, and is rounder and deeper than usual. (Suggested by H. H. Holiday, who reports that extensive studies in this state have been done by Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.)

* AESTHETIC BLISS. Vividly experiencing the colors, textures, tones, scents, and rhythms of the world around you, creating a symbiotic intimacy that dissolves the psychological barriers between you and what you observe. (Suggested by Jeanne Grossetti.)

* AGGRESSIVE SENSITIVITY. Animated by a strong determination to be receptive and empathetic.

* ALIGNMENT WITH THE INFINITY OF THE MOMENT. Reveling in the liberating realization that we are all exactly where we need to be at all times, even if some of us are temporarily in the midst of trial or tribulation, and that human evolution is proceeding exactly as it should, even if we can’t see the big picture of the puzzle that would clarify how all the pieces fit together perfectly. (Suggested by Meredith Jones.)

* AUTONOMOUS NURTURING. Not waiting for someone to give you what you can give yourself. (Suggested by Shannen Davis.)

* BASKING IN ELDER WISDOM. A state of expansive ripeness achieved through listening to the stories of elders. (Suggested by Annabelle Aavard.)

* BIBLIOBLISS. Transported into states of transcendent pleasure while immersed in reading a favorite book. (Suggested by Catherine Kaikowska.)

To read and be inspired by more of these healthy and delicious possibilities, click this link! This is an excerpt from Rob’s book, Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, well worth reading if you’d relish subverting the dominant paradigm and confirming more of what’s good and possible in life.

Tao Porchon-Lynch: teaching yoga, ballroom dancing videos

I found more videos of Tao Porchon-Lynch, the world’s oldest living yoga teacher. I just can’t get enough of her! She’s my inspiration, my role model for wellness, because what she can do now is based on what she did when she was much younger: a lifetime of good habits.

She looks, sounds, and feels so healthy! She seems to be wonderfully sweet and so full of vitality! Seeing her living so well is very motivating.

In the first video, she talks about yoga, and you see her teaching a class:

In the second video, she displays amazing ballroom dancing skills. That was filmed in 2009, when she was “only” 91. Her partner looks to be about one-third her age, yet they are well matched on the dance floor.

If you didn’t know, would you ever have guessed she was even over 70?

She has her own website here: http://taoporchon-lynch.com/.

Also, if you missed them, see my earlier posts, The world’s oldest living yoga teacher and More from the world’s oldest living yoga teacher: she tangos!

Healing and personal growth: knowing when you’re ready for commitment

Carolyn Hax is a columnist for the Washington Post. She’s sort of like Dear Abby: people write to her with their problems, and she responds.

She has a gift for identifying the key issues for making decisions that lead to healthy, whole lives. I have been reading her for years and often feel awe for her advice. She doesn’t gloss over how difficult life can be, and she helps people wake up and grow up.

Because I’ve been writing here about recovering from trauma, this particular Q&A really seems worth sharing.

Dear Carolyn:

I had a lot of problems stemming from a very hard childhood. If I had entered into a relationship right away, then I would have been a “hot mess.” However, after years of therapy and some serious soul-searching (including very lonely moments of realizing how much I needed help), I am now about to get married.

I worry, because I am not completely healed from my childhood — but I am getting there. Is it okay to get married and move on while healing at the same time? My gut tells me to go with it — and take it one step at a time.

To Be or Not to Be … Insecure

I can’t know whether you’re ready for marriage, but I also don’t believe there’s a magic point where people become “well” or “fully healed” or whatever else we shoot for. Growth is lifelong if you’re doing it right.

That said, here are two things to look for before committing to anyone: the strength to live honestly, and the ability to take good care of yourself and the people you love.

The latter is straightforward, since a “hot mess” by definition can barely manage one or the other, much less both — and, too, meeting your needs and your partner’s tends to be mutually exclusive in unhealthy relationships. Very useful as a DON’T DO IT alarm.

Living honestly is more complicated: If it were easy to spot when we lie to ourselves, we wouldn’t do it so much, right? But, generally, we’re excellent at identifying in hindsight the ways we rationalized doing stupid things (admitting it . . . different story).

So we can take the memory of those rationalizations — the constant explaining and justifying — and compare that sensation to what we’re feeling now.

Since the whole point of rationalizations is to avoid an unwelcome truth, discarding them is no fun. But it still beats the slow agony of living with choices that don’t fit.

Why just honesty and good care? They’re key to preserving your sense of yourself within a relationship — allowing you to maintain good relationships and escape bad ones. That’s really all anyone needs.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, ortellme@washpost.com. Subscribe at www.facebook.com/carolynhax.

Prescriptions and modern medicine

I was just reading an article in the New York Times about the effects of exercise on depression, and this sentence caught my eye:

His investigation joins a growing movement among some physiologists and doctors to consider and study exercise as a formal medicine, with patients given a prescription and their progress monitored, as it would be if they were prescribed a pill.

Hallelujah. I am so glad to hear that the medical profession is broadening what it prescribes.

The word prescribe comes from the Latin pre (before) + scribere (to write). It basically means to direct in writing.

Somehow we’ve come to interpret the word prescription as synonymous with pharmaceutical drug. Glad to know it ain’t necessarily so.

Gee, before you know it, doctors may be prescribing not just exercise, but also massage, diet, and rest, changes that have improved health for millenia without corporate profit.

What a concept.

Oh, exercise was found to be helpful for depression.