One could say that all of our purpose in life is to be transformed and made whole one thought, action, and feeling at a time…in service to the world and in connection with God.


 

Living Your Purpose


Hello Beautiful,
You are a miracle. No one has ever been just like you and you have an essential contribution to make to the world in your lifetime. Each one of us comes with our own advantages and challenges, our own generational baggage and blessings, and our own inborn sense of what we are drawn to. 

 

The first thing we own is our body and our being. It will always be our primary responsibility to learn, to care for, and to develop and nurture our potential. Self responsibility is key to our maturing and to our autonomy. We cannot delegate our personal development (or blame our stagnancy) on anyone else. We must all learn how to care for our body, our mind, our emotions, and our Spirit. Each aspect of yourself is a key factor in coming to wholeness and living our purpose. I believe we all share several key responsibilities. They are:

 

  • to learn what our body needs (at differing stages of life) to heal and thrive
  • identify our interests and giftings and develop a life that uses them in integrous expression and service 
  • to develop a relationship with the Creator that is personal, loving, and vital
  • to understand, heal, transform, and upgrade our emotional patterning
  • to train our mind to be a servant of our being (rather than a tyrant)

 

As we are in the lifelong evolution of learning these lessons, we will encounter many chapters of life, relationships, and transformative experiences. Everyone and everything we encounter is a mirror that is showing us where we need to grow in self awareness, take initiative, set and maintain boundaries, remaining diligent but flexible, and take responsibility for our contributions to creating dynamics (without absolving others of their roles/responsibilities in the situations).

 

It’s a tall order! But, I love that it’s never boring. I feel like the old adage “if you’re bored, you’re  not paying attention” is very true. In any “boring” moment we have a dozen things we could be absorbed in, from “how is my posture?” To “what is my inner conversation trying to convince me of at the moment, and should I be buying into that story?”etc. Every moment we are given is a chance to learn and to grow towards the Light.

 

Life is endlessly full of lessons and they keep repeating until we learn them! If you find yourself saying, “why is this happening again?!” Then I can tell you (from personal experience… felt with a sigh and compassion), “the lesson will repeat until the student masters it”. One of our key purposes is to get to the point where we can face the same relational dynamic or life situation and respond with skill and clarity to exit it or transform it.

 

Eventually we will be “immune” to the problem because we have built an effect response protocol in our Being. Hypothetically, we would be neutral to encountering it again because we know exactly how to get out of it’s hold. But, it will rarely revisit us, and just to remind us how far we have come and how free we have become. 

 

One could say that all of our purpose in life is to be transformed and made whole one thought, action, and feeling at a time…in service to the world and in connection with our Creator. When we don’t know what to do next, we can ask the question, “what is the next step I can take towards presence, clarity, and strategic action?” We just keep repeating this every moment for a lifetime. The result is a wise, highly skilled, responsible, capable, and fascinating human!

 

Cheering you on,
Rachel

 

I challenge you to be the captain of your own ship rather than to be carried by the current you find yourself in. The quality of your physical health & your spiritual depth, as well as the thriving of your career & key relationships is highly dependent on whether or not you choose to live strategically.


 

The Cult of Busyness


Hello Beautiful,
So much pain & healing, so much joy & sorrow, and so much hope & despair are co-existing in the world right now. They inevitably co-exist in our minds, emotions, and beings as we navigate the world day by day. The best thing I can offer you to help manage the intensity of it all is that you must, must, must make periodic rest and reflection the priority. It will never seem convenient.

 

You will have to purge some commitments and reset some expectations. But all of this will be paid back in multiples with health, clarity of vision, and renewed perspective. Can you imagine how different your life would feel if every month you acknowledged your place in the Divine Rhythm, syncing your patterns with the Created order? Can you imagine the relief of not feeling a constant demand for peak productivity and anticipating monthly times to rest and replenish? What would it feel like to co-ordinate your productivity and your rest with the greater rhythms of Creation? We have, in our modern world, built a world “above” and separate from the rest of creation.

 

It was based on the idea of mastering the forces of nature, extracting what we find useful, being unshackled from the limitations of subsistence existence. These ideas have a promise of comfort, control, and empowerment but they are false promises. Aspects of our progress like indoor plumbing and heating and life saving medical care surely have improved our lives. But, we have also entered a time where we have a relentless expectation of work, of constant productivity, and of 24/7 social engagement/work communication. This cycle of activity that has been enabled by technology has normalized an expectation for unsustainable living and working patterns.

 

Is there any doubt that the record numbers of mental, physical, and relational burnout prevalent in our society is fueled by this go, go, go, exhausted, overstimulated, and reflection deficient human culture we have unwittingly cultivated? Can you imagine how different you and your loved ones would feel if there was a monthly flow between action, activity, and socialization that was balanced with monthly fasting, a sleep marathon, periods of ceremonial/sacred silence, journaling and reflection? It may sound impossible, a grand and impractical idea, at the moment.

 

I challenge you to be the captain of your own ship rather than to be carried by the current you find yourself in. The quality of your physical health and your spiritual depth, as well as the thriving of your career and key relationships is highly dependent on whether or not you choose to live strategically. If you are in perpetual motion you cannot very well check your compass heading. If you are using your tools constantly you cannot sharpen them or evaluate if you need new ones. If you feel everything is urgent, for years on end, and it is impractical to slow your pace for a few days each month, you have already surrendered the leadership of your life to circumstance and social convention.

 

If you have internalized others possible judgements of your taking 3 days off to rest and realign each month (ideally around the new moon) over the greater good it would do in transforming your decision making and health, then what or who is really driving your actions? To those of the Christian faith, this monthly 3 day reset can be seen as a 10% tithe of your time. What if you made this 3 days each month dedicated to replenishment? You could start small, like eating by sunset and not using electricity when the sun goes down. This would provide an environment to reflective conversation with loved ones or reflection. With no phones, entertainment, or light to work by, you would have a short list of activities to choose from and likely a very early night heading to bed. You could sit outside under the stars and just look up and contemplate. You could lie on the floor and stretch by candlelight.

 

You could marinate in quiet and remember being a human being rather than a human doing. Likely, you will get a fantastic nights rest and wake up feeling the better for it. It’s important to do this ourselves first. If we can influence our spouse or children to do this as well, it becomes even more transformative. The ability to be still, quiet, and content has nearly gone extinct. And with the loss of those three qualities our volition has been stolen. Teaching children, through gradual exposure and extending practice, how to be still, quiet, and content is one of the greatest contributions to their long term character you can provide. Those qualities provide the tools all of us need to be less reactive and more intentional.

 

They are the key to freedom of thought and action rather than being carried by the stream of life’s momentum and culture’s pace. It takes the onus of choice back from external stimulus and returns it to the individual’s Sovereign awareness. At the end of your life, if you begin right now, this one habit of a monthly pause could be the single best habit you celebrate as having increased your quality of life. Whether you just reclaim those 3 evening to silence, or you add a monthly fast, silent solo day, or strategic reviews in your life and business, there are many ways to embody the monthly reset offered to us. I hope you will take the opportunity to add one or more of these rituals into your month. Your life will never be the same.

 

Cheering you on,
Rachel

 

Just as women’s bodies transform a sperm and egg into a new life, we can take the raw materials of our day and turn them into a series of precious connection and synergistic elements that fuel a life of beauty, wisdom, and impact.”


 

Musings on Living with Grace & Ease


Hello Beautiful,

As we approach Mother’s Day and enjoy the arrival of Spring, I want to honor all the amazing Mothers and all the women who bring beauty and Life to everything they touch. The Season of Spring is the expression in nature of this feminine force-bringing new life, beauty, delight, hope, and nurturing to the world. The feminine archetype is one of grace and ease.

While the masculine will push through barriers and be unstoppable to accomplish a goal, the feminine flows. If there is a delay, she revises the time frame. If there is resistance, she flows like water around the obstacle. If things get hard, she looks for ways to innovate a different approach that will have less friction. There is an approach that is resourceful, creative, and flexible.

When I purpose to live with grace and ease it feels magical. My days unfold from a foundation of faith. I believe that everything is working out in the end and delays are for my benefit. Something that doesn’t go as planned is seen as a redirect towards a divinely orchestrated alternative. I look for where the flow is in each moment and how I can bring harmony in each situation.

It necessitates a positive and faith filled outlook that is seeing everything through the lense of “this is perfect…how can I partner with this to create both peace and a constructive outcome”. I find it is one of the most congruent approaches for my soul. While there are times I need to lock on target and not deviate from the plan with resolve in my heart and blinders on my eyes, the path of grace and ease is most often my preferred way. Learning to dance with life is a skill cultivated over time and having days where we are clumsy in our approach is par for the course.

But, the goal remains to increase the quality and quantity of days spent living in this beautiful rhythm. Interestingly, it does require clear vision and boundaries to execute well. If you are functioning as a ping pong ball, navigating around others agendas and unexpected circumstances, it will be difficult to get anything done or have the necessary experience of autonomy to move your dreams and goals forward. Likewise, if you are not pruning your relationships and environment to support a life filled with love, peace, respect, and purpose, you may find yourself stagnant and accommodating.

So, ironically, it is the “masculine” qualities of leading with a clear vision and holding firm boundaries to protect your worth that facilitate you living in your feminine, alchemical flow. Just as women’s bodies transform a sperm and egg into a new life, we can take the raw materials of our day and turn them into a series of precious connection and synergistic elements that fuel a life of beauty, wisdom, and impact. We do this by living in the Presence of the Almighty.

It is our discernment, our connection to Spirit that gives us eyes to see what is really happening. Is this conversation really about something else (feeling loved, heard, or changing the agenda)? How does my plan for the day need to adjust to the friction that seems to be on every task today? Which tasks can I punt to a future day? Which need to be approached differently-in a new location, with music, as a game, etc.? We can remain committed to the outcome yet be highly flexible in the approach. A woman who is queen of her realm, whether that be her own body, the living and working spaces she presides over, or the influence of her expertise, is person who can lead by inspiring connection to both her methods and her vision.

She knows that the journey is as important as the destination and she is artful at creating a “vibe” for those along for the ride with her. Creating a “vibe” is an art. It necessitates a fluency in creating an enveloping environment that moves everyone in it towards harmony and shared purpose. Having an organized, beautiful, and comfortable environment facilitates creativity, collaboration, and deep connection. Learning to imprint each environment she is in, a master of design, she creates a world of sensually pleasing and purpose supporting elements with her wherever she is.

To all of you who appreciate a little reminder about who you really are, I hope this inspires you to continue on your beautiful journey. To all of you who feel thirsty for the new beginnings that Spring symbolizes, I stand with you in faith. To all of you that want to deepen your connection to your feminine potential, I am honored to walk with you on this journey.

Cheering you on,

Rachel

 

“A key to healthy eating is having nourishing recipes that are easy and satisfying—these 3 are perfect to keep in rotation”


 

Three delicious recipes you can make in less than 10 minutes


Hello Beautiful,

Today I want to share 3 new recipes for Spring! They are nourishing, beautiful, delicious, and quick to make. I hope you enjoy them as much as I and my family have.

Sweet and Spicy Avocado Toast
This is beautiful and satisfying. It’s great for breakfast with berries or eggs and works for lunch with a soup or side salad. Our household is addicted! It is a good source of healthy fats and trace minerals and is a colorful feast for the eyes as well as a complex and balanced mixed of flavors.

  • Toast your favorite bread (my current favorite is by Out of the Bread Box/Teff bread)

Top the toast in this order:

  • a generous swish of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • fresh avocado sliced or mashed
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a sprinkle of cayenne
  • a drizzle of local honey
  • chopped sprouts

Almond Butter Balls
These can substitute for snack bars (or a cookie dough craving). Delicious and filling, they are great for growing kids and post workout hunger. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy Omega fats.

  • Blend 1 cups of organic rolled oats in a blender until ground into a course flour.

In a medium size bowl completely combine:

  • 1/2 cup smooth organic almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 T. vanilla protein powder
  • 3 T. Hemp seeds

Add the oat flour to the wet mixture and stir.

  • Option: add 1/3 cup chocolate chips or raisins

Use a spoon to pick up 1 generous Tablespoon of the mixture and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Place on a plate or tray. If these last more than an hour (highly unlikely), you can store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

Alkalizing Lemonade
This incredibly refreshing drink is a great way to start your day. It’s also fantastic after a nice sweat or to feel thoroughly refreshed. As a good source of minerals and vitamin C it can help balance your system’s pH towards an optimal alkaline state.

Mix in a blender and then transfer to a carafe for the the fridge:

  • 8 cups of purified water
  • juice of 2 organic lemons
  • 1 packet of Orange Salt flavored electrolytes from LMNT (or your favorite electrolyte blend)
  • 2 T. WelleCo Super Elixir green powder (or your favorite green supplement)

I hope you try these recipes and enjoy them as much as my family does. Wising you a healthy and energized start in the new season.

Cheering you on,
Rachel

“Who we become is much more than how we look. But how we look is highly influenced by who we have become. Our habits shape us-in every way.”


 

My thoughts on Beauty, Injectables, and Aging Well


Hello Beautiful,

What is beauty and how, exactly, do we age well?

As we live longer and have more options to alter our faces and bodies with surgeries and injections, many women feel a mix of excitement and apprehension about the menu of procedures available to help them look their best.

But, how we look and how we feel can be quite disparate. If we are injecting and implanting things into our bodies to look “better” but it’s actually increasing our toxic load and aging us biologically, what have we really gained?

Let’s unpack this together.

As a former model for Elite Models in NYC I’ve learned that beauty is both subjective (cultural preferences and personal opinion) and objective (facial symmetry and visual indications of health seen in the hair, skin, and body’s proportion are held in high esteem throughout history). With a bevy of modern procedures, an artificial type of beauty is fast becoming an impossible goal.

Choices we make to improve our health will be seen in improved hair, skin, and body proportion. These changes can be seen in a matter of days and they build momentum over time. Our bodies are constantly building new cells so we can literally re-create ourselves day by day with our upgraded habits. The longer we have good habits, the deeper our results go. In this way, time is your friend as it relates to good habits and aging!

Cultural and personal preferences are what they are. I think they are better observed with neutrality and replaced with celebrating the markers of health that aren’t just for the viewers delight but for the well-being of the person being observed.

Sadly, women are under pressure to look “perfect” and are injecting things into their faces that were used intermittently in warfare as nerve agents since World War II. Small doses of poison/toxins (repeatedly injected into our heads) aren’t our brightest idea as a species.

Many women are competitive. They have created a social hierarchy around beauty for millennia. But now, the competition has new options…with enough money and access to providers, women can make massive changes to their appearances….or they can “slow the hands of time” with little injections here and there.

This is not a moral question. The results can look nice and natural or “overdone”. It’s all subjective. We get to choose how to care for our own bodies. But informed choice is key.

The problem is that the manufactures and providers of these injections/implants/surgeries aren’t providing adequate information for women to make informed decisions. And women are all too eager to fall for a quick fix to make them feel better about their appearance. This is especially true when the majority of the women in their circles see these procedures as “maintenance” for aging.

I prefer working with improving the root issues to optimize beauty and accepting the natural aging process will have some change to my appearance. I also see that as I work on my Spiritual growth, new levels of sparkle and radiance and a release of emotional patterns that never served me, will continue to alter my appearance…for the better! After 6 healthy pregnancies I understand the work needed for beautiful form and function. I have a flat tummy with definition not because of vanity but because of strength, vitality, and the function I want in my life.

There are many little known but highly effective ancient practices to smooth and tone the face, to firm and lift the breast, to improve the body’s skin tone, and sculpt the physique. With daily habits you can not only improve your appearance in these ways, but actually improve your well-being (by improving blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and reducing inflammation) at the same time.

Examples of DIY ways of taking years off your appearance abound:

  • Posture that is more open and relaxed can be developed in tandem with creating a more nurturing balance in your schedule. The weight of the world isn’t attractive on anyone’s shoulders! Responsibility balanced with enjoyment is an *attractive* look on us all.
  • Excess weight is shed as we let go of eating to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Developing new tools for communication, time management, and living with purpose have physical manifestations of beauty and balance.
  • A smoother forehead results from forgiving grievances. According to Chinese Medicine, forgiveness balances the colon helping us assimilate what was beneficial and releasing what isn’t of use to us. If you examine a Chinese medicine facial map, you will see that the area of the forehead and the colon are related. Forgiving and releasing looks good on us all!
  • Releasing anger and worry and gaining greater body awareness helps you release your “11’s’ lines between the brows (corresponding with Liver function in Traditional Chinese Medicine) without injections. A daily Gua Sha massage here helps smooth out the lines as well.

I celebrate the lifestyle that optimizes your God given beauty. We all have aspects of our appearance that we like and things we are less fond of. Learning to expand our ideas around beauty is much healthier for us in the long run than having our faces and bodies altered in ways that aren’t good for our health. You cannot underestimate the beauty of a woman who is taking care of her issues body, soul, and spirit. It’s an endless upgrade if you commit to a growth mindset!

The beauty upgrades available with lifestyle changes are gradual -not instant. They require consistency and discipline. Using a Gua Sha to massage your face daily will increase collagen production, reduce the signs of aging by smoothing lines and reducing puffiness. But it might be done for weeks before you see a difference and has to be maintained as a habit over time to retain the improvements.

Doing face yoga can remove the “11’s” between the brows but it’s the habit of furrowing the brow (and an unconscious default state of worry or anger) that has to be retrained for the muscles not to mirror the mind’s state. Isn’t it just easier to go in every 6 months and get a little injectable?

It’s easier but it has a cost. A financial one and possibly one to your long term well being. In 2009 the FDA told providers that the body diffuses the injectables past the site of injection. How might a neurotoxin, in repeated and ever increasing amounts needed to retain the look, effect the brain and body? There is reason for caution here.

In addition to unknown chemical effects of repeated injections, there are physical consequences that have been identified. The immobilization of these muscles for long stretches of time, causes the muscle to atrophy/shrink. When you decide to stop your visits, there will be a time period needed to re-activate the blood flow and re-build the volume in the area. This can be done with facial yoga and massage. It will be a gradual rehabilitation. It’s worth the transition and the effort.

I suggest that beauty is a state of harmony we live in and we earn moment by moment, year by year. Our emotional, dietary, lifestyle, and spiritual habits all contribute to how we age. Who we become is much more than how we look. But how we look is highly influenced by who we have become. Our habits shape us. In every way.

I am passionate about helping women age well from the inside out. We are multi level beings. Our beauty is more than skin deep. Our wisdom, wit, capabilities, style, and health are ageless aspects of our vivacious beauty and they are accessible to us all. They are investments that keep growing over time, if we keep making deposits.

You are beautiful by nature. You can become more and more beautiful as you age if you invest in this inner wealth. Create beautiful habits and you will grow in beauty.

Cheering you on,
Rachel

“When we are deeply present, we have better relationships. We listen better. We speak with more skill. Actions are done with more skill. Mistakes are avoided. The quality of work is higher. At the end of the day, there are fewer regrets and more things to be proud of.”


 

Three habits I’m loving for the New Year


Hello Beautiful,

Happy New Year! I hope that you are feeling clarity and motivation to up level your life. Goals are only useful if they are tied to new habits. When we tie actions to our wishes/goals, we create the desired change. After reading a slew of books on change/habit creation there is no doubt that understanding our hidden decision drivers and skillfully stacking our habits is key to making permanent change.

Here are three changes I am making and the practical strategies I am using to make them stick:

1. Making fresh green juice in the morning.

Fresh celery juice (and sometimes cucumber, ginger, and lemon are added) replenishes and optimizes my system to an alkaline ph. It leaves me feeling bright and ultra nourished. By providing an abundance of minerals and enzymes, it helps my body remove cellular wastes and optimizes digestion and assimilation. It is pro-aging well (a better term than anti-aging!)—keeping grey hair at bay, reversing/preventing inflammation, and getting a fantastic start on the day’s nutrient density.

Practical step: Setting up my juicer at night and washing, chopping, prepping all my veggies in a large spinner (stored in the fridge) the night before. Then in the morning, it’s easy to just run the veggies through the juicer! At the moment, I do my Spiritual practices, my workout, and then my green juice as my morning trifecta for wellness. It feels great to start my day this way.

2. Eating 2 meals per day: brunch and a late lunch.

The average American eats 16 hrs each day! This wrecks blood sugar regulation, increases systemic inflammation, depresses immunity, and contributes to weight imbalances. As we enter midlife, the need for calories shifts and it is to our advantage to adjust our intake (increasing longevity by decades + improving our health and beauty along the way). Eating in a shorter window of time ( 4-8 hr feeding window) is better for our health on every level.

While Intermittent Fasting/Time Restricted Eating is quite popular, I find 2 aspects of its popular application problematic: drinking coffee all morning (depleting for the kidneys/adrenals which has cumulative +  long term negative effect) and shifting the eating window to the middle and end of the day (when the metabolism slows).

The evidence suggests that eating between 10-3 is the most congruent time for assimilating value from our food. The benefits are many: healing the digestive tract, attaining/maintaining a flat tummy (the result of balance blood sugar and optimized digestion/elimination), effortlessly attaining your healthiest weight, increased immunity, balanced hormones, balanced blood sugar, freedom from compulsive eating, clearer skin, stimulating the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone and collagen during the fasting window, increased autophogy (cellular recycling), better sleep, and preventing Alzheimers (the brain can clean plaque out at night if the digestive system isn’t diverting the blood flow needed).

It makes more sense to eat when you need/use the calories…in the active hours! Our digestive juices are most abundant and therefore effective in the midday. It’s important to know that our metabolism slows by up to 30% in the evening.

Taking all of this into consideration, I prefer to start the day with green juice around 9am, then eat a moderate brunch around 10/10:30am. Chia seed pudding and berries is a current favorite. I also have a low glycemic protein smoothie or some avocado toast. On Sunday it’s gluten free homemade waffles-my favorite! I love breakfast foods and missed them when I started my eating window midday. I don’t count calories. Instead, I eat a balance of protein, fat, fiber, and greens in a meal–chewing well and eating until satisfied (not stuffed).

My second meal happens around 2:30pm. Currently, I am loving roasted garnet yams, sautéed chard, a little black rice, fresh sprouts, and lots of EVOO and pink salt to top it off. I aim for 3-5 colors and a mix of protein, fat, and a variety of greens at this meal. Afterwards, I enjoy a cup of earl grey tea mixed with almond milk and froth it in the blender with Laird Hamilton’s Superfood Creamer—a wonderful creamy sweet dessert tea! I love feeling nourished by this meal and it has plenty of time to digest before bed.

I eat a (light) dinner 2 or 3 times a week when it’s a favorite menu or date night. I prepare dinner for my family around 5:30/6 and sit with them. I might have tea or a small portion of salad or soup. Being together for family meals is important to me and our family culture prioritizes nightly time to converse about the day and interesting ideas.

Practical planning: Monday and Thursday I make chia seed pudding so it’s ready for the mornings. Twice a week I pre-bake yams, grill salmon, and prepare black rice for the midday meal. An extra bonus: re-heated yams are healthier since they provide resistant starch/fuel for the “good” gut bugs. Having a lunch menu rotation of 3 variations I enjoy creates a balance between variety and simplicity. I decide ahead of time which dinners I will eat in the week, so its not a daily question. I am flexible with this…if my body needs more or less I respond accordingly.

3. Single Tasking

“To do two things at once is to do neither” -Publilius Syrus

Doing one thing at a time allows the highest quality experience and results. It may feel like we are being more productive to switch and juggle. And I will admit that it can feel exhilarating: “I feel so fast, capable, and efficient!”. But the quality of experience is reduced—time speeds up, our attention is divided, rapid switching in the brain produces mental fatigue and lower quality results. When we are deeply present, we have better relationships. We listen better. We speak with more skill. Actions are done with more skill. Mistakes are avoided. The quality of work is higher. At the end of the day, there are fewer regrets and more things to be proud of. People need to be honest that much work has to be redone simply because it was done with half of their focus. “Do it well and do it once” is a better habit to develop.

Practical planning: Making a list of the days tasks and editing it down by 20%. You can always add a task or two if things go faster, but having the time allotted (with a little grace period added in for the inevitable demands or delights that present themselves for attention) is key.

I invite you to try one or more of these in your life and experience the tremendous benefits.

Cheering You On,
Rachel

“Your self respect, your integrity, your regrets at the end of your life as you reflect on all you did and didn’t do, are all at stake.”


 

Creating a Morning routine that is transformative


Hello Beautiful,

I want to share about something that has made a huge difference in my life: my morning routine. I have had many, many iterations of this routine. Each stage of life has different needs and different abilities, but the key is to start the day intentionally rather than reluctantly!

When we start our day investing in things that help us thrive and grow it makes the whole day more intentional and less reactive. It’s also a great feeling to start the day with some wins that you control, knowing that the rest of the day may or may not look anything like what is on the calendar. Life can throw plenty of curve balls but when we reenforce our balance first thing, we give ourselves a better shot at going through the day with grace and of regaining our footing with more ease. Here are some of my favorite keys to creating a great morning routine.

For me the morning starts late afternoon the day BEFORE! If I am preparing an early dinner and having myself and my husband on the same page about after dinner plans, it makes a big difference. When are we eating? What needs to happen to finish our day? When are the kids in bed and it’s couple time? Having a clear plan for all of this helps the day finish intentionally and sets me up for a good wind down and restorative sleep.

For me, to wake up early, means I need to go to sleep between 9-9:30pm. A late dinner and lots of screen time after would put me out of the running for waking up clear and motivated. So, I serve dinner before 6 most days. Having good family time and an hour or two to reconnect as a couple is key. All this takes planning and follow through but is so worth it in creating a nurturing rhythm in our life. Our culture is often chaotic and reactive. If we want to live a beautiful life, we must be very proactive in creating it. It won’t just happen!

I find that 9hrs of sleep is magic in the darker months and let myself sleep until I feel refreshed most days. I am up between 6 and 6:30am. I normally have 90 minutes before I need to jump into responsibilities. I use this time for investing in my health—spiritually and physically. I might meditate and do fascia massage in the sauna, shower, and do a light yoga session. I might pray, read, and do a 45 min workout.

I might have a plan and then feel led to focus on just one thing really deeply during the time. Usually, I aim to do at least 3 things during the time: for my Spirit (pray, meditate, reading), a workout of some kind, and something for my circulation/lymphatic system (dry brush, infrared sauna, rebounding, fascia massage). I have a menu of a dozen wellness practices I value and am delighted to do as many as I can….. without feeling like I am shifting gears from being nurturing to being task oriented. Listening to my (the) Spirit is key in finding what is most useful for each days preparation.

It’s important not to get sucked into all or nothing thinking here. If 90 minutes sounds impossible, don’t give up altogether. There were long stretches where finding 10 min before a baby was up to do 5 min for my spirit and 5 min of stretching was a big deal. Our life circumstances can vary a lot and circumstances do change. But, it’s essential that we don’t give up on being proactive about our life.

When we are woken up by demands and deadlines, we start the day off reacting to necessities. When we, instead, wake up early and invest in our “stance” for the day, we give ourselves a big advantage, greater leverage to grow and choose and BE different all day. Do something. Start small and add more time as you can. Experiment and assess how different things feel differently to you. Your morning routine is not for your resumé. It’s for your LIFE. Just take a minute to ask what serves you best in this season of living?

Doing all this takes the ability to set boundaries. If you have made yourself so available for your family’s hobbies, preferences, and activities, that reading this make you wonder what planet I live on….then I challenge you to make how resourced you are for YOUR life a priority. Remember the message on airline flights… “put your oxygen mask on first, then help others.”

If you cannot say no to others to say yes to being the woman you want to become, then you will never get there. Your self respect, your integrity, your regrets at the end of your life as you reflect on all you did and didn’t do, are all at stake. Being of service to your loved ones is essential. Abandoning yourself and your dreams and potential is not.

There is a way to serve/be responsible and to flourish/center your life in strategic investments that allow you to grow in wisdom and ability. Following cultural norms will not allow both. You have to tune into a deeper calling and find where to draw those lines for this season of your life.

As we approach a new year, I pray you will have clarity, wisdom, and resolve to invest in consciously crafting your days in a way that allows for flow, for depth, and for intentional investment in your long term thriving.

Cheering You On,
Rachel

“We can make moderation and satisfaction our norm rather than letting too much and too little tyrannizing our existence.”


 

Too Much, Not Enough, Just Right


Hello Beautiful,

I was recently in a conversation where an interesting point was made regarding the similarities between struggling with weight issues and struggling with finances. The similarities between strict budgets and strict diets….both of which trigger a feeling of scarcity…that prompt the individual to “rebel” against the program and over indulge/over spend because they feel they aren’t going to get what they think they want/need moving forward. The unintended consequence is that the very attempt to solve the problem, exacerbates the problem!

Part of these challenges with extra weight and living beyond our means is a desire to know we will be taken care of and have enough. These feelings of overindulgence and then of compensatory restriction can become a powerful repeating pattern. But they don’t have to be! Instead, we can commit to thoughtfully meeting our needs in a way that is appropriate, rather than an act of indulgence to stock up for the coming paucity of provisions (be they in food or purchasing power).

It seems many of us, subconsciously, don’t trust ourselves. We may have good reason to feel this way. Years of overeating and overspending give justification for feeling like we can’t be trusted to make good decisions about how much we should consume. Part of the solution is in educating ourselves in nutritional/financial planning and the other part is in understanding the emotional/spiritual/psychological roots of our under-performing relationship with meeting our needs.

When we upgrade our decision making grid to include self awareness and long term planning into our consumption, we are able to better create satisfaction. To be deeply satisfied is a rare thing. Our culture rewards the eternal search for the upgrade—from appliance to gadget to car. The target is always moving. And we all know deep down that the satisfaction on offer is fleeting at best.

When we alternate between too much and not enough, we aren’t listening well. For example, our body will tend to hold onto weight because it intuitively feels the needs it’s communicating are going to be overridden and ignored. On the other hand, if we are deeply connected to our body and our inner decision drivers, we can discern the true nature of what we are feeling, needing, and being drawn towards…and get clarity on the “why.” With practice, we can powerfully align our choices with our deepest values.

What’s in that word…”need?” Our decisions are best made when freed of the influences of ignorance, addiction, marketing, and social dynamics. Freedom is the ability to make choices that create well-being in our future, not just pacify our cravings in the moment. The ancient Spartans use to say “We will teach you the handiest of habits.” We can make moderation and satisfaction our norm rather than allowing too much and too little to tyrannize our existence. So let’s talk about getting you some of those handy habits!

In my course Creating a Healthy Relationship With Food, we examine our patterns around eating and how to reset them. And in my course Luxurious Simplicity, we take a look at how we can create healthy relationships with  our belongings by streamlining and creating a great decision making grid for our purchases. Here’s an early holiday gift to you: 25% off on these two courses.

Wishing you a holiday season where you don’t eat or buy too little nor too much. I wish you a season where you don’t have to go on a diet in January to drop the weight you gained from overriding your nutritional balance and satiation cues. I wish you a season where you enjoy every bite and feel good about every purchase, knowing that they were appropriate and don’t require a restrictive counter action.

The deepest indulgence is to hit the bullseye of moderation and reap guilt free contentment!

Cheering You On,
Rachel

“I invite you to consciously choose how you want to age. Specifically, how do you want to feel, look, and live in the decades to come?”


 

Aging Well From the Inside Out


Hello Beautiful,

What does it mean when I say “Aging Well From the Inside Out”? This month I would like to elaborate on this concept and its implications. Everyone gets to choose how they want to age. Most people make their choices in harmony with the expectations they internalize over the years watching people in their family and social group age. If the group they identify with spends a lot of time and money on fitness, cosmetic procedures, and customized hormone replacement, then that’s what they’ll do. If a softer, fuller figure, decreased emphasis on outer appearance, and greater emphasis on community involvement & gentle living is the norm, they go with that. I invite you to consciously choose how you want to age. Specifically, how do you want to feel, look, and live in the decades to come?

There are many approaches you can choose to aging well in your own way. In my work, I offer resources to those who wish to age in the following ways:

  1. They want to maintain (and even improve) their health and fitness with each passing year. Knowing adaptations may be required, but living with the intention of maintaining full function of the body over the course of their lifetime.
  2. They want to maintain their femininity, sensuality, and style as they age. They believe that they have more to offer with each birthday they have celebrated and want to embody the richness of beauty that can be developed over time.
  3. They want to release the baggage of bitterness, disappointment, and skepticism that can callous a heart after decades of life. Instead, they embrace the beauty of alchemizing hurts and disappointments into discernment, compassion, and wisdom. They maintain a bright Spirit and sparkle. They embrace the journey they have traveled and find insights that can benefit others. They have a sense of hope for the future that gives them a lightness in their Being.
  4. They are informed about ( and opt to use) non invasive approaches to enhance their appearance. Rather than freeze the movement of the face or injecting fillers, they practice facial yoga, acupressure, lymphatic drainage, and other techniques to sculpt a face that moves naturally to reflect their emotions but is smooth and firm -not holding past negative emotions as deep lines or having areas deflated by muscle atrophy. They learn to create a lovely face through a combination of emotional and physical awareness and skillful exterior care of the skin, fascia, and muscles of the face.
  5. They use strategic workout methods, wellness tools like infrared saunas, rebounding on a mini trampoline, and lymphatic drainage to reduce and eliminate cellulite, nutrition protocols to enhance skin and hair beauty, and an overall approach to wellness as the root of beauty.
  6. They curate a vitality producing diet that enhances their well-being and gives them the energy to live an active and full life. They listen to their bodies and make modifications to their regime in educated ways, so that they can be deeply nourished as time alters what they need to thrive. They have basic principles that serve them and are able to adapt.
  7. They remain life long learners-curious, open, and engaged. Life is an adventure. Our moments here are to be savored. Creating beauty is a service that enhances our lives and the lives of others. Joy is a choice. Happiness is a habit. Health is a set of skillful habits. Miracles are inevitable for those who cultivate the eyes to see them.

If you feel inspired by, and curious about, the above ideas -you are in the right place! Through my online courses and personal coaching sessions, you can learn how to incorporate all 7 of these principles into your life…allowing you to age beautifully from the internal to the external. I encourage you to find role models who have aged well in each of these ways. It make take several people who’s combined efforts embody them all, but you can then use their example as your own target for how to Age Well From the Inside Out. If we cultivate character and evolve our understanding and habits over the years, we can  embody qualities that inspire and serve others while being the best we can be.

Cheering You On,
Rachel

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop.”


 

Tips for Helping Your Kids Eat Better


Hello Beautiful,

Happy Fall! With the return of school, extra curricular activities, and the holidays in sight, many moms are looking to build healthy habits into their children’s days. A common question I receive is “how do I get my children to eat healthier food?”. Mealtimes are best as a time of connection and nourishment and when they become a battleground, no one wins. Here are some of the tips that have worked best for me and my clients.

Get Sugar Smart

Most children are consuming 75 grams of sugar per day…that’s triple the recommended amount. This results in blood sugar swings, hyper activity, difficulty regulating emotions, and lots of unnecessary drama for the Mama. Start reading labels and being aware of serving sizes. Your goal is 25 grams (or less) of added sugar per day. If you make this one change, it will blow your mind how much more manageable your kids will become. The Sugar Spiral is real!

Set a Good Example

In parenting (and in life) this is ground zero. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work. Kids are always watching us and taking cues from us. Even if they aren’t currently mimicking our choices, you can bet its logging into their subconscious and will influence their future choices. Set an example of eating meals. If you are personally not consuming anything but water between meals, and you are serving your family 3 meals (and perhaps an afternoon snack) each day, it will go a long way towards improving their diets.

Meals-vs-Snacking

I recently learned the average American is eating 18 hrs of the day! That’s eating something early in the morning, grazing all day, and eating again right before bedtime. This is detrimental to your sleep and digestion as the brain needs to clean at night but the glymphatic system that cleans the brain can only operate if the blood flow isn’t diverted to the stomach. Make an effort to finish eating 4hrs before bed 3x a week. You may need to remodel your family culture and set actual meal times (7:30, noon, 3pm snack, 6 dinner for example). Grazing all day hurts our metabolism and damages our blood sugar levels keeping them higher with each new snack, rather than allowing them to naturally lower and stay lower between meals. Remember, most “snack” food. Filling their tummies with healthy food at meals will make snacks less appealing.

Crowd out the Junk with “Veggies First”

Rather than attempting to blacklist certain foods, it’s helpful to crowd them off the plate with healthy foods. You can begin by aiming to get a fruit or a vegetable at each meal. Aim for at least 2 servings of vegetables (lunch and dinner). And choose lower glycemic fruits like berries, green apples, kiwi, and if they are up for it, grapefruit! Once that is an established habit, you can work towards half of each meal (by volume) being a low glycemic fruit or (preferably green) vegetable. The next priority is to get them full with healthy carbs like sweet potato, yams, or gluten free whole grains like rice and quinoa. You may also want to add some carefully sourced (wild caught seafood or pasture raised) meat onto their plates. Have them eat the vegetables first. You can even serve a first course that’s the vegetable and let them know that the other items aren’t served until the veggies are eaten. It takes around 9 times for a new food to be well received (and eventually enjoyed), so be open to requiring just one bite of a vegetable they don’t care for but would benefit from. The next time 2 bites, and so on. I have used this to expand the vegetable repertoire of many people. Our preferences are acquired over time, and can be shared for our benefit, over time.

Upgrade their Treats

“Upgrade, don’t eliminate” is one of my mantras. Find a cleaner version of the foods they love. If they love chips, try Seite brand (which is grain free and uses avocado oil). If they love cheese puffs, try an organic brand-there are many. If they love ice cream, try an organic, lower sugar, vegan alternatives (we like Nada Moo brand with the lower sugar flavors of Vanilla Bean and Chocolate being preferred). Pick a time of day or day of the week that these are on offer. Back to my previous point about snacking…we are aiming to improve habits as well.

Closing Thoughts

Helping kids notice how they feel after eating different kinds of foods is a very important life skill to give them. After the junk food pizza party….do they feel nauseous? After the chicken and broccoli and sweet potatoes do they feel comfortable and satisfied? Even “healthy” foods don’t feel great in everyone’s body. We are all different and different foods agree and disagree in our systems. And that changes over time. We want to teach kids body literacy—the ability to read and understand their own bodies is key. We are meant to be the experts on us. We need to listen and pay attention in order to build a good relationship-with our bodies.

Lastly, you are the leader. You are the parent. You are the role model. Don’t let your kids initial resistance weaken your resolve. You are considering their short and long term best interest. Kids are rarely able to see past the moment (until they are trained how to). Don’t expect them to be cheering you on in your efforts towards better family eating habits. At the same time, by making firm decisions and sharing how much you want to support their healthy growth and development to lay a foundation for a life lived in wellness; it all can be done in love. Use a gentle resolve as your baseline and don’t engage in power struggles. Instead, be consistent in your new habits and let them adjust in their own time. A loving but firm boundary that is held, is essential.

Your kids may surprise you. Our oldest two have moved out and of their own accord avoid gluten/dairy, look for organic options, and eat veggies daily. Meanwhile, at home, our two teenager are accustomed to eating a large plate of veggies with each dinner. Even our youngest kids are choosing healthy foods and avoiding junk food. When they have a conventional treat (rather than an upgraded one) they tell me they feel sick and don’t want to eat that again. People, this can be done! We are all works in progress and can shift our habits and preference with constant actions in the right direction. Progress over perfection, always.

Remember that we are building habits. We are helping them set a trajectory for a life of well being and body literacy. It’s worth the effort. Anything worth doing is worth doing incrementally, so you don’t burn out. Persist one step at a time. My suggestion is to pick one of these points and implement it this month. In a month or two, after that is established, pick another and stay with it, and so on. If you keep you eye on where you are going, without allowing overwhelm to paralyze action, you will eventually get there.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you don’t stop”.

Cheering you on,
Rachel