so I'm calling bullsh*t... (part 1)


So today, I'm doing it, I am calling bullsh*t.

Yes, I said (typed) that out loud.

So throughout my life, my adult life mostly, I've been told that any kind of meaningful, purpose or calling related, passion-driven, ministry-type, helping or helper work... that dedicating your life to that kind of thing is an automatic ticket to burnout, stress and overwhelm.

And that's why I'm calling bullsh*t.

It wasn't my proudest moment but in the aftermath of an emotional meltdown in my early twenties, I sat in the sun with my Bible turned to Matthew 11:28-30. Here's what it says:

"Are you tired, worn out, burnt out on religion, come to me, get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a rest. Walk with me and work with me. Watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or hit or ill fitting on you keep company with me, and you'll learn to live lightly and freely." (The Message)

And so the message I received when I read that that day was this:

When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)

So, if I was in that space (and I was), then I couldn't help but make the following deductions:

1. Either I am not following Jesus at all (in my case I was chasing a religious check-list) 

2. That I was stuck in a rut of working/hustling for love, and not from it (also true for me)

3. That I wasn't paying attention to HOW I was living out my calling and pursuing closeness to God. I had the "what" down, I was doing the things but I wasn't doing them in a way that would preserve me. 

Earlier in Matthew 11, Jesus also said that God would reveal his great wisdom to anyone humble enough to seek it - that the spirit of God would instruct us how to live lightly and freely. 

And it was basically since that moment, right after I thought that I had blew up my entire life that I started to put it back together again - this time I would be dedicated to the pursuit and application of that wisdom I was promised in Matthew 11. 

I nearly died hustling for my worth, I lost so much searching for love and validation in all of the wrong places. 

If what the Bible says is true, and it is: we all have access to a life that is characterized by REST, blessed quiet and renewal for our souls... a life that is free and light... (check out Matthew 11 in the Amplified Bible. 

I created a video about this experience and towards the end I share about a special and very practical tool that I have created  from the wisdom I have gathered specifically for the purpose of cultivating what I call peaceful productivity. 

In the meantime, if you'd like to participate in something I created called "the Peaceful Productivity Challenge" - You can do that by joining the Facebook Community: Support & Solutions for Overwhelmed Heart-Centered Mompreneurs & Leaders


Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

There was a time when I probably would have been extremely proud at my propensity to hustle. 

I am by nature pretty driven and hardworking and when the goal is worthy, I can be extremely disciplined and focused. Basically, I am full-on Type A, and hustle was me in my element. 


My hustle does have a darkside though. Discipline and focus becomes ruthless elimination of any distraction - even if that distraction happens to be another human who I love and who loves me back. Hard work turns into self-harm as I feel my body groan under the weight of its workload. Early mornings, late nights, all work, no play or rest -  all in the name of strong work ethic and whatever it is I start to believe is worth the cost of my health and my peace.


I think the worst part about all of this is that it actually works (at least for a while) - goals are accomplished, a system flooded with adrenaline feels amazing and even better is the value that an achievement, no matter how arbitrary, can bestow upon a small self-esteem pretending to be confident and secure in who she is, and not what she does. 

It works… until it doesn’t. It works until bodies start to give in after years of abuse. It works until marriages and friendships are eroded until there’s nothing left, and it works until your appetite for achievement or value becomes so insatiable that nothing satisfies for long or how it used to. 

Here is the real problem with hustle though. The issue undergirding all of that self-destruction is that the energy driving most of our hustle is scarcity and shame. 

Hustle is not about hard work or productivity. 

Hustle is a posture and an energy. 

It’s an expression of scarcity and an experience of danger or threat to who we are. 


It’s fight or flight in action. 


If you know anything about fight or flight you know that it is a physiological and emotional state that is only supposed to be short term and for extreme, dangerous situations. 


Rest doesn't happen there. 

Peace doesn’t happen there. 
Reproduction and fruitfulness doesn’t happen there. 

Real growth gets stunted there. 

Healthy energy can’t be sustained there. 

Creativity & imagination is non-existent there. 

I am learning that when I find myself in hustle-mode, that I am also in fight or flight mode, I am avoiding pain or threat of some kind. The only way through or beyond that is to turn towards it, to remember and to know that I am worthy, that I can live shining my light and pouring love out onto my world. 

Hustle is fear of loss or losing, it is shame and fear responding on your behalf, its self-protection - and it’s also isolation when you need connection more. 


If we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that a lot of us structure our lives around avoiding pain. 


What if we chose to structure it around pursuing love? 


What if the energy we need to succeed in life isnt hustle, what if it is courage infused with love and it's rooted in deep peace and a confidence that we are safe, that we are valuable and that life is good? 


What if there is always more than enough time? 


What if it were fun and easy? 


The commitment I am making to myself, and the one I am inviting you to make for yourself is to consistently examine my foundation and the energy propelling me. Am I prepared to work hard? YES! Do I want to live my life having left nothing on the table? HECK YES! Do I believe it's worth sacrificing my health, love and peace for? Never again. 

I can choose to do all of that from a place of already, right-now, in-the-present deep satisfaction and peace. 

What about you? Are you ready to let go of the fear and the shame and shine in your love? 

If you are reading this and are concerned that your hustle might be starting to take its toll on your health and wellbeing, you might be interested in a free quiz I put together for you. Click here to access the “what is your survival mode score?” quiz!





Book Review: Rhythms of Renewal

Book Review: Rhythms of Renewal

I first listened to Rebekah Lyons’ Rhythms of Renewal right at the start of the pandemic and back then, it felt like a much needed intervention (because… pandemic).

What I love about this book is how simple and easy it is to read (or listen to), but simultaneously how deep and thought provoking it is.


During a discussion on how much we enjoyed it, one of my friends (Aoife Stone), made a good point when she mentioned that she thought the title was a bit misleading. Someone not struggling with stress and anxiety may walk past it assuming it's not for them… however - anyone wanting more peace and balance in life (nearly all the humans) should absolutely pick it up!

I read it again about 3 months after listening to it for the first time, and while I had already made many significant changes to my life after the first sitting I had with this book, even within such a short period of time I was able to identify really constructive wisdom and make even more positive changes as a result of fresh eyes and coming at it from a slightly different perspective.


I am really glad I got myself a hard copy - this book is probably going to be something I use to take stock of where I am at and where I want to be at least annually - and yes, it really is THAT simple and easy to read that anyone should be able to squeeze it into their lives at least once a year and have it add tremendous value each and every time.  


So in summary:

**
Rhythms of Renewal ** is an incredible read for the season we find ourselves in, and beyond.


It is incredibly easy to read: the chapters are short (so you could pick it up and finish one or two in one sitting), simple and to the point. At the same time it is incredibly DEEP and thought-provoking.


My book club sisters and I also appreciated how holistic it is - it covers every area of who we are and helps us to think about ourselves and what we are experiencing from a number of different angles.


According to Lyons, the 4 rhythms each of us need to cultivate to experience continual renewal are:

  • Rest

  • Restoration

  • Connection

  • Creation


When I went through it 3 months ago, the rhythm I needed to lean into most was Creation, as of last week… it is Rest… how about you? Which Rhythm do you think you need to cultivate more intentionally? Have YOU read Rhythms of Renewal? What did you think?



You can pick up Rhythms of Renewal Here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0310356148/ref=as_li_tl...



And if you think you could do with a tribe of fearless women making big moves to banish burnout and bitterness and flourish in all things, why don’t you head on over to our Free Facebook Community? We can't wait to have you! 


Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.

Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.
Angie is a mother of two, living in New York. 

She decided to participate in The Stress & Self-Care Reset because... well... pandemic. And in her words... "the whole thing was just extra... working from home, homeschooling the children, the stress and anxiety of the times... it was more load than I have the capacity to bear and I knew I needed some help to get me across the finish line.

Here is what she says about her experience of the Stress & Self Care Reset:I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.

I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.  

Two places in particular where I saw changes were in using the Superfood supplement and identifying and using a daily mantra/affirmation. I have a deep and abiding love of Coke, and while I have mostly eliminated it from my diet in times of great stress and overworking, I find excuses to let it back into my life and while it's not the couple a day habit i used to have, even a few during a single week is not something I really want. It just has a noticeable impact on my physical and mental health. Anyhow, that's where I was when we started and without even making a conscious effort, I found that a few days into using the Ningxia Red that I no longer had that mid afternoon craving for a coke. In fact my afternoon fatigue seemed to be gone in general.

The idea of using a mantra or daily affirmations isn't new to me. I do them with my kids regularly, but it's not something I've actually focused on for myself. When we first started the reset, our family was reading through Romans in the mornings together. And there were some parts of Romans 8 that just jumped out at me. So I began with the daily affirmation of I am free. (Romans 8:2) I am fearless. (Romans 8:15) and I am never alone. (Romans 8:38-39)  Coming up with the daily affirmation forced me to really think about what it is I needed to hear and tell myself each day to remind me of who I am and who I want to be. Not knowing when we started what the second week would bring into my life, I relied on those affirmations often throughout the day on our trip to my hometown to say good-bye to my grandmother and spend some time with family. I won't go into detail, but leaving that town was my greatest goal from the age I first realized it was an option. My parents have always been a stress trigger for me starting with a diagnosis of a stress-induced autoimmune disease when I was a teen. I've spent a long time learning to deal with the impact of stress to my body and mind and how to manage and prevent it and how to stay healthy while having a relationship with my family of origin. I didn't realize how much I was relying on those affirmations until I sat down to reflect.

I have also been using the other protocol tools regularly. I very much enjoy integrating them while I spend a few minutes meditating in the morning or when I was traveling I used it on the short 10 min drive from our cottage to visit my grandmother. I haven't usually used something like that during my morning meditation time, but I plan to continue the entire RESET protocol through the summer.

All in all, I'm very grateful to have participated in the reset...it did just that for me, helped me reset to healthier ways that I feel empowered to build on. I plan to keep up all the things through the summer and hopefully catch up on the journaling too.  Thanks so much for offering it!
Angie Took the time to chat with me about her experience... I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did :)


I am not sure there is a single human who has made it  through 2020 so far and who won't benefit from the protocol in the Stress & Self-Care Reset. Let alone the amazing women and mothers who have had to suddenly become teachers, while working and managing their own fears and anxieties.

If you would like more information about the Stress & Self-Care Reset: Visit the webpage here.  

Three natural ways you can relieve stress and restore balance to an anxious body, mind and life.

Three natural ways you can relieve stress and restore balance to an anxious body, mind and life.

Stress may seem like an unavoidable fact of life, but did you know that simply by understanding how it works, how it affects your body and your emotional wellbeing, you can become more intentional about how you care for yourself when you’re stressed out.  You can work WITH your body, rather than against it. You can remain nourished, and even flourish in the midst of stressful seasons and circumstances. 


Stress starts as an event or experience outside of ourselves, our brains then consciously or  subconsciously interpret and attach meaning to those events and if it experiences them as stressful, issues a state of alarm. This leads to a chain reaction in our bodies designed to help us survive and overcome the challenges we are facing before restoring balance once again. 


You can support your body at every stage in this process in natural and even surprising ways. Read on for a free recipe for my simple, natural calming roller bottle - an absolute must-have for anyone who needs some peace and calm during life’s stressful times. 


  1. Dealing With The Circumstances Themselves: Saying NO to Stressful Situations You Can Avoid. 

One of the simplest (but not easy) stress management strategies you can adopt is to live curious, self-aware and on the lookout for situations or demands on your life that you don’t actually have to deal with. 


This includes learning more about and creating boundaries with other people, organizations, and perhaps even yourself. To filter out commitments that are unnecessary, overcrowding your life, or are inconsistent with your goals and values. 


This also includes learning to “put down” mental loads that aren’t yours to carry. Learning to tell the difference between concerns that are within your control, and thus your responsibility and those that are not is a valuable and life saving life skill that very few of us ever learn, or master - yet it is one of the most stress-relieving, life-changing and empowering life-skills there is!


 

  1. Emotional Regulation: Helping Your Brain Choose & Stay Calm

If how your brain interprets a situation is the source of all those pesky physical stress symptoms and all of that emotional unrest, then helping it to choose and stay calm is the next best thing you can do if you are dealing with a stressful situation you just cannot escape. This is called supporting your brain’s emotional regulation systems. 


One of the most powerful ways to do this is with different scents. Your sense of smell is the only of your five senses that bypasses all of your brain’s processing functions and quickly, and directly affects the parts of your brain that generates different emotions (ie: stress or calm) which go on to cause other ripple reactions in your body and mind. 


Some scents are especially soothing. Lavender, for example, has been shown in numerous studies to calm participants and reduce their stress levels. Other calming scents include ylang-ylang, bergamot, orange blossom, roman chamomile and frankincense. 


Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy, and is very easy to do at home. Several studies have shown how aromatherapy decreases anxiety and improves sleep. 


Warning: Please be mindful of the quality of essential oils or candles you use in your home. Fake fragrances are harmful and so detrimental to your health that they may actually place more stress on your body. Only use quality tested and pure essential oils. 


  1. Supporting a body during a stress response: Nourishing can lead to flourishing. 


Once your brain triggers your body's stress response, the organs responsible for regulating it (your adrenal glands) release cortisol, a hormone that diverts resources from some processes and towards others. This is why digestive issues, reduced sex-drive and sleeplessness are common reactions to stress. Usually, a stress response ends in a time of rest and restoration, but our busy and overextended lives often cause stress cycles to overlap, nearly eliminating opportunities for our bodies and mind to heal. 


By intentionally nourishing your adrenal glands, the systems affected by stress and becoming intentional with rhythms of rest and renewal you can support your body as it does its thing. 


Foods that are rich in vitamin C and nutmeg for example are very nourishing to your adrenal glands. Herbs like ashwagandha help regulate your adrenal glands and can over time, reduce the severity of your body's stress responses because of its adaptogenic properties. 


Nourishing your digestive system with digestive enzymes and probiotics are ways you can support it when stress causes digestive upsets. 


Avoiding caffeine, sugar and other stimulants will improve and regulate your blood sugar levels and make you feel less anxious and jittery.


Oxidative stress has recently been implicated in depression, anxiety disorders and high anxiety levels, and so antioxidant rich superfoods (like ningxia or goji berries) may improve nervous system function, protect heart function, digestive health, stabilize blood sugar levels and protect overall health during times of stress. 


  1. Peace & Calming Roller Bottle Recipe 


Combine: 

10 drops of lavender essential oil

10 drops of frankincense essential oil 

10 drops of bergamot essential oil 

10 drops of orange blossom essential oil.


In a 10ml glass roller bottle. Top up with fractionated Coconut Oil or V6 Carrier Oil.


Roll over wrists, heart when you’re feeling stressed out or are struggling to stay calm. You can even roll some onto the palms of your hands, cup them over your nose and mouth and breath deeply as you count to 10 slowly.


Remember how I said not all smells are created equal? Often times, you cannot trust that your favorite retailer has done their homework and is selling you products that are truly pure, and unadulterated. If they are willing to  compromise the health of their workers or the planet to make their product, why would they care about yours?  Knowing who to trust is everything - and lucky for you, I have done my homework. I have a source that I trust, has it all under one roof, has helped find me products that are safe and truly nourishing, and have enabled me to flourish in spite of having years of chronic stress to play catch up on. Want to know more? Let’s get in touch!   


 
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