Seasonal Health

8 Signs you are ready to LET GO.

Have you ever known that it was time to let go? How did you know?

Or have you looked back and realized that somehow, you have let something go?

We all know the things you can let go of...

A past love.
A relationship that just wasn’t working well anymore.
An unfulfilling job.
A beloved deceased person or pet.
A home that was right for so long, but is no longer right.
A city that gave you everything you needed when you moved there and now almost seems to be pushing you out.
An idea that you or things “needed” to be a certain way.

Sometimes letting go just happens without us looking. More often it is a choice, a process. Letting go is moving forward into what we want as doors shut behind us.

Ah, the fear of the shut door. Yup, we all know that one. It’s like being a little kid again, getting tucked in at night. The fear is like is the wanting for the day to continue on for fear we might miss something if we say goodnight. We beg our parents to stay be next to us, for the light to stay on. Somehow the light, our parents staying, the day lingering it will protect us, so we request ‘can’t we just leave the door open a little bit?’

You can. As an adult you can leave the door open a little bit, not fully letting go of the day or the thing you wanted to let go of. But (and it's a big But) leaving the door open to what is no longer right for us takes up space in our minds, in our hearts. It is an attempt to hold on to what was rather than what is.

Ok, if you are curious about the signs you are ready to let go – read on.

In honor of upcoming Fall, the ultimate season to make moves and let some shit go here are 8 signs you are ready to let go.

 

1.  Because, Fall. Fall is the prime season for letting go.

Yup, nature rules and this season will almost force you to let go of something no matter how big or small. I know, I know. It’s literally your favorite season but you hate how the light has to get dark. Ironic right? You love the season’s holidays and some feeling that pops up this time of year. But at the same time you already MISS summer like crazy.

Well, as the days shorten our focus starts to shift from outward (activities, adventures, vacations, BBQs) to inwards (our routines, how we care for ourselves, the ways to nourish ourselves, perhaps even old grief or emotional stuff). Nostalgia…. Yeah, that’s that old emotional stuff reminding you that it’s still there. That’s ok by the way, but if you’re ready, fall is there for you. It’s the perfect season to L-E-T G-O.

“In the fall, the trees show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go…”

 

2. You have been feeling stuck, unmotivated

Maybe - Your job has been the same for years. You love the routine and the support and the people, but the drama, and the repetition it’s just not motivating anymore.

Maybe - You’ve been in the same home for awhile, you love it, every corner is precisely yours. But at the same time you wish you had a new space to create for.

Maybe – You just can’t get yourself to take care of yourself. You used to exercise, cook foryourself, do healthy things… but it Just. Ain’t. Happening.

 

3. You feel like you are carrying an invisible backpack of rocks

Ugh. Is this depression?

Nah, it doesn’t feel quite that severe, but shit is hard.

Days feel long and treacherous and like you just wish you be on the couch to binge watch Netflix and social media. Forget creative projects or doing new things.

You wish you could put the backpack down, but it just feels heavy, all the time.

 

4. Some physical symptoms are popping up in your body

Got the emotional blahs?

What about low energy, lethargy, and achiness?

Some of it is Lung stuff, low immunity, sadness, lingering colds, asthma, skin symptoms.

Or maybe some of it is Large Intestine, weird bowel movements, bloating, skin symptoms.

Yup, our bodies are wiser than our minds. If things feel out of balance, it’s time to let go.

 

5. Whether it’s an ex, a death, a job, a home, a city – you know it’s time for the next thing.

You miss what is gone. Or even preemptively miss what you want to leave. But the heart-achiness is no way to fill your heart or time. You just know, something has got to go, and part of that means you have to let it. You wish you were like that cartoon ice queen princess Elsa – let it go…

 

6.  IT(the thing you want to let go) you can finally appreciate all the things you loved about it

This is a good sign. This usually means that you are past some of the immediate phases of bitterness, or pure grief.  Your fondness will likely not end entirely, but it means that you’re not squishing down lots of anger or grief to resurfacing later. The love is real, and can be a part of the letting go process.

 

7. The space that loss has left open doesn’t feel quite as frightening

The place that has felt like emptiness now feels like a blank canvas, full of potential and ready to be painted. You are ready, you’re so ready to shut that door. You can’t wait for the next thing. It’s like being a kid, getting tucked in and finally being old enough to not be afraid of the dark. Or being so ready for the nighttime and your dreams.

 

8. The next good / big thing feels right on the other side of that door.

After all something really good comes after something really bad. You can’t see what’s next but you feel it coming.

So letting go can be hard. Let’s work together to make it easier. Offering Seasonal Intuitive sessions, Acupuncture + Health Coaching Sessions (the links take you to schedule).

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If you identified with any of these signs you’re ready to let go. Somehow someway.

10 ways to Cultivate more Joy in the Chaos of Summer

Summer is the season with the most light in the day. There is also a feeling of lightness everywhere. It is easier to be lighthearted and without the usual burden of day to day life. 

In an ideal summer we feel heart expanding love and overflowing joy. This is the season where it is easiest to tap into our hearts. Think of how you felt during summers as a kid; free, wild, warm. As adults Summer is the busiest season for weddings - the most public proclamation of love. From childhood into adulthood, Summer is how we connect our hearts with the world and the ones we love.

This season is a time to be social, attend parties, host parties. Basically, it is time to do all-the-things. While this faster pace is a natural match to the Summer season, we can easily become overloaded. When we get overloaded there is a long list of symptoms that can pop up. Most commonly things like, anxiety, insomnia, restless sleep. Or even feeling scattered and overwhelmed. 

With the long lists of fun things and opportunity for heart expanding joy, how do we do all-the-things without falling into the stress of chaos?

I'd like to give you an invitation to cultivate joy instead of chaos this summer. Here's how.

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1. SAY YES

Say yes to the things that are heartwarming and heart expanding. Also known as a Hell Yes or the things you fully know you want to do. 

2. Keep your boundaries

Saying Yes is amazing and can open you up to a world of opportunity. Don't forget to say NO when you're not up for it, the situation doesn't serve you. 

3. Give yourself down time.

The point of vacations are to reset and relax. Whether you are near or far from home, try not to overload your schedule with to-dos and social activities. And if you over-do it, schedule some recovery time. 

4. Lighten up & Indulge!

Seriously, indulging can be a vice or a strength. It's important to loosen up a bit. Are you on a strict diet or always going to bed on time? Well, time to shake it up and indulge in that thing you really really want! Or if you are in in the midst of chaos and crave normal sleep schedule... INDULGE yourself and go to bed.

5. Sleep less

No need to be sleepless, but it's the perfect time of year to sleep less. Take naps if you need. With the longer hours of light, our bodies biochemically are available to less physical rest (if you are super burnt out this doesn't work this way, but for most people this works wonders)

6. Time IN

Spend time IN CONNECTION with the people you love. Phone calls instead of texts. Walks and talks. Linger over dinner with your family and friends. 

7. Put down the screens

Tv, movies, social screen time used to be an indulgence. Now they are the common way that most of us spend our days. Summer is tactile, time to be outside, be looking into people's eyes and noticing the beautiful world around you. 

8. Move, move, move your body.

It's a great time to train for a big event or push yourself physically

9. Absorb natural Vitamin D

Aka - go out in the sun, during peak hours, for 20 min with as little covering as possible. This is especially good for people who have symptoms during the Winter.Good self-care in the Summer is a wonderful antidote to the winter blues. 

chang duong heart summer healing

10. Take good care of your heart

Many of us have had a broken heart at some point in our lives. Due to a relationship, death of a loved one, precious animal or all the injustices we see in our world all the time. The Summer gives us an opportunity to tap into our hearts and repair some of the broken-heartedness we have experienced in our lifetime. 

 

We hope that this list helps you cultivate a bit more joy in your Summer season. Remember it's an opportunity, to play, laugh, expand, grow and always... heal. 

Excite! Well in the West's Summer event has been postponed to 2019 or beyond. Stay tuned for some other great events by following on instagram

Spring Has Sprung!

For most of us, our concept of seasonal timing is way off. Unless you are a gardener, work with plants, farmer or otherwise spending your days outside, it probably feels quite early for Spring.

February 1st, 2018 marked the midway point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. While both the Solstice and Equinox are thought to be the beginnings of their respective seasons, they are the height of their respective seasons. Really we look to the Lunar New Year as the Spring festival which was February 16th this year. 

The energy of the Spring is a huge shift from winter and no matter where you live the light is changing and so is nature. It is one of the most important seasons in terms of tuning in to pay attention to the needs and requests of your body, mind and spirit. 

In Chinese Medicine the Spring connects with the Wood element which connects to the Liver & Gall Bladder. The wood element is a lot about rigidity vs. flexibility, expansion and inspiration. Since the Liver is our biggest filter it helps to process all the good and bad we take in. Physically it helps us process toxins, supplements, alcohol, and all of the emotions. 

BODY - Your body craves flexibility in the spring. It can be hard if you are out of balance to get into stretching, but start a yoga practice today. Hip openers, can be wonderful to open up the Liver channel which runs from your big toe up into your groin and your rib cage. Working on stretching the outward side body is additionally helpful as the Gall Bladder has much to do with symptoms of tight IT bands, temple headaches, shortening of the torso and much neck & shoulder tension. Adding in some lemon water to your morning routine, herbs for the Liver and sour can help ease stress and add flexibility into your tendons. The Liver also does very will with spring bitter greens such as dandelion. 

MIND - When you are health the spring feels joyous and like a great time to get creative, you will dive in and start a garden or an art project. It's a great time to sign up for a course or start training for an athletic event. However, if you are depleted or overwhelmed the Spring can be a very difficult time for your. Mental stress is the most common way that people are out of balance. In Chinese medicine this mental stress is most often seen as Liver Qi Stagnation. Usually this leads to feelings of irritability and anger, and a short frustrated fuse. Using this time to expand your mindset can be deeply rewarding if you start a mindfulness practice and meditate, even 5 minutes a day.

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SPIRIT - As mentioned above your mind will be delighted if you act on any inspiration that you have. A healthy Liver is not only full of ideas, but also uses energy to express them and communicate them outwardly to the world. 

They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds. - Mexican proverb

If you took downtime and looked inward during the winter, the spring is a great time to make a leap forward on anything that came to mind. Often things that have been simmering in your subconscious come to light during the spring and can become even more fully expressed during the summer. It is a time that you might have vivid dreams, pay attention to them as that is often where you are processing the goings of each day as well as gaining insight to who you are and what work you are ready to do in the world. 

For a more in-depth look at your specific body and what you might need this season - join Emerge, a Spring Women's Circle. It's all virtual and it's beginning March 28th!

Late Summer Wellness

It’s August ya’ll and we are in the secret FIFTH season! Did you know there are actually five seasons. What else could there be besides the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter?

In Chinese medicine we have a very short and VERY important fifth season. For you it just blends in between summer and fall, but LATE Summer is actually it’s own thing.

Late summer has organ pairings – it’s own emotional symptoms – physical symptoms AND ways to take care of yourself through the shifting weirdness.

If you are starting to feel…

… a bit more worried, or just beginning to have your eye on the fall… yup, late summer shifts from freeform joy of experience into a bit more method and rhythm

…hmmm, maybe some digestion issues – definitely late summer. It’s season of the Stomach and Spleen, your digestive rulers.

…a bit more needy, wanting more touch, cuddles, and closeness… yup, that’s late summer too.

…cravings for sweet. Yum ice cream! Yes chocolate! Yay cookies! Sugar, sugar, sugar!

To have a healthy season...

…slow your roll from the fast pace, expansive, fun fun fun, go go go rhthym of pure summer. I mean it, literally, slow your roll. Schedule a little less, start to hibernate a tiny bit more and just slow down.

…start eating more warm & cooked food. Seriously. Summer it’s ok to go ham on the sushi and watermelon but late summer wants some digestive love. Eat more cooked foods.

…get a massage. Ahhh, you know the neediness, the touch? That’s your Spleen, it connects to your muscles and if you are deficient a massage can be the perfect way to give your Spleen the late summer self care it needs.

…ah, ok sugar. Sugar, sugar, sugar. Time to work on digestion, microbiome and a balanced nutritional intake.

 

To grasp this season a little bit deeper, reflect and get a delicious Late Summer recipe - consider checking out this Late Summer ebook

Grief in the Season of Joy, Part I.

Summer in Chinese medicine is connected to the heart, which is connected to joy. The heart does not lie and whatever we have been feeling comes right up to the surface as we go into the summer solstice late night June 20th. The longest day of light illuminates what is within us.

For me, what is within me is grief of losing my father. I have wanted to put my grief into words so that maybe it could help someone else, maybe it could prepare them for their own sorrow. Or maybe it would just give them permission for it to be really hard, really big. But I haven’t been able to put it out there. My fear is that people are scared, they can’t handle it, they don’t want to see my pain. That might be true, but also, stories of others grief have made me feel so less alone, so less insane that finally, heart thumping, hands shaking I am sharing.

Yesterday, Father’s Day June 18th, 2017 has been 9 months since he died, to the date. It was just as hard of a day as I expected it to be.

I took my 99 year old grandmother to church, something he did 9 months ago the day that he died. I came home and I took a big, long nap. It is hard to be awake, and a feeling, hurting human. It is so hard to remember that I have no more father on Father’s Day.

Emerging into Spring

Last spring I had a huge emergence out of the vulnerability closet. I got engaged. Then I wrote about the complexities of engagement for me and the post got shared far and wide. It was scary to be exposed in that way.

The end of the summer I had a hard time maintaining the moment of Spring and as I began to get myself back into the grooves with back to school vibes of fall, my dad died.

Fall and winter were dark for me. (They are for everyone even without a recent loss.) The natural patterns of these seasons are looking inward and into places we have not looked at all year.

During Fall, the season was swallowed in the grief and logistics of a loved ones death. The Winter was welcomed as a time to hibernate, rest, take deep self-care and recover. To top it off I was dealing with the intense grief of losing my father paired with the ever present adrenal fatigue. 

But life goes on, and the darkness descends back into itself and life emerges again into Spring.

emerge definition: /əˈmərj/ verb 

  1. to become manifest : become known
  2. become apparent or prominent.
  3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

For me, the third definition resonates so deeply: 3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

Now that Spring is here, I am ready to grow and move forward. I have to admit, it is fucking scary to recover and survive the death of my father. I can tell that this Spring I am experiencing immense growth. Simultaneously I am honoring that the whole world is new and raw without the presence of my dad's protection.

I look forward to this season of growth. I am curious to explore the recovery period of this season. And always, always looking forward to what emerges this year. 

Big Magic Chai

I love this recipe. The ritual of taking 30 minutes to make this magical creation and the physical relief I feel every time I drink it is amazing. 

Elizabeth Gilbert has been a big teacher to me through her book Big Magic and her open sharing on social media.

I, personally, think we need many more teachers like her, sharing the vulnerable, the messy and behind-the-fame parts of their lives. It helps us to understand that these powerful people are human too. 

For a little magic, warmth and health in your life this winter, I bring you Big Magic Chai.

 

Big Magic Chai Recipe

Bring 3 cups of water to boil.

Add:

chai winter elizabeth gilbert big magic
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks
  • 1 to 2 inches of ginger, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of whole black pepper
  • About 8 - 10 pods of cardamom, crushed.


Bring it all to a boil, let it simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

Add 2 black tea bags. (If you like, you can throw a vanilla pod in there at this time, as well. If you want to go really nuts, throw a star anise in there, too. But be careful. Star anise is the beets of spices — it takes over EVERYTHING.) 

Simmer again for about 5 minutes.

 
big magic chai winter wellness holistic health coach

In the bottom of the biggest mug you've got, put a tablespoon of honey, a teaspoon of turmeric powder, and a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Take a bit of the chai liquid, put in the mug, and whisk it until the honey, turmeric powder, and coconut oil are all blended.

(Alternatively, you can blend it all in a blender, but it works with a whisk nicely.)

Now fill your giant mug 3/4 of the way with hot strained chai liquid.

Heat up (or froth up) some milk or milk-like substance of your choice. (I go old school, like they do in India, and I always use cow's milk — but feel free to use whatever milk-like product you like.) Top off the mug with the hot milk, and stir.

Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Drink that mother down, preferably while reading a good novel.

WILL CURE ALL*

Heart, 
LG

Green soup Recipe...(ish)

Real food all year

Veggie soups are forgiving and flexible and it's important to pay attention to what flavors you enjoy to get the right balance for you. This recipe is based off of a recipe from Real Food All Year. 

The miso in this soup gives a great umami flavor and you'll feel great after eating this. Very clean, simple and easy to do.

I love the farmer's market, so this soup is for spring bounty, but again it can be totally flexible.

INGREDIENTS:

PHASE 1:

  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 2 lbs thin skinned potatoes
  • spices

PHASE 2:

  • Heavy fat of choice: butter or  coconut oil or ghee
  • Allium of choice: Leeks (or green onions or onion or garlic)

PHASE 3:

  • 1 pint broth (veggie or meat)
  • 3/4 lb of nourish green or mix (spinach, kale, chard, dandelion green - only use partial)
  • white miso paste

 

Farmers market potato carrot spinach

KITCHEN TOOLS:

This is easiest to do with a hand blender & it's nice to have a fine mesh strainer if you want a super smooth soup.

Nutrition note - 

we are leaving potato skins and carrot skins on because they are the most fibrous. Fiber is super important not only for regular digestion, but to truly help our organs cleanse out toxins. If you want to read more click on this article.

 

INSTRUCTIONS - 

PHASE 1 - ROAST

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. 

Wash potatoes, take out eyes, and cut into quarters.

Cut tops off carrots, scrub with veggie brush to remove any dirt.

Toss carrots and potatoes with spices of choice (I used brown & yellow mustard seeds and some coconut oil)

Place on baking sheet and roast for approximately 40 minutes or until they can be pierced easily with a fork. When cooked, remove from oven.

 

PHASE 2 - SAUTE

Chop allium of choice. You want about 1/2 cup - 1 cup

In a large stock pot, heat 3 Tbsp of the fat of choice over medium heat (if the allium starts to brown, turn the heat down)

Add allium and let soften with heat and fat.

Once allium is softened (about 10 minutes), add roasted veggies & stir

 

PHASE 3 - BLEND

Add pint of broth and spinach, let simmer for about 10-15 minutes

Once spinach is soft, add 3Tbsp miso and use hand blender to mix until texture is smooth and even

Taste soup and add more miso or spices if needed

 

 
green soup recipe

OPTIONAL PHASE 4 - STRAIN or THIN

STRAIN - Because we are emphasizing the nutritional value of fiber, little bits of potato skins and leftover spices are no bother to eat as they soften when cooked. BUT you can use a fine mesh strainer to strain out the excess if you don't like the chunky bits.

THIN - this is a thick soup with the nature of the potatoes, so it can be nice to add chicken broth or other broth to thin it out and add a little bit of extra.