The Bear Hiding In Holiday's

Photo credit Nicholas Yee 500px.com

Photo credit Nicholas Yee 500px.com

This time of year brings so much to the table: family, friends, laughter, good food, and memories. It also brings the hustle and bustle associated with wrapping up things at work, family, and trying to fit everything in. Strangely, most people feel more stress this time of year than at any other time. 

Stress is this crazy bear that sleeps in the corner just waiting. It creeps up on us until we are saturated with it and it's hard to then figure out how to manage it. Most people don't actively try to. We often ignore stress and believe that the only way to deal with it is continually trudge forward hoping the end is in sight. 

If you feel yourself doing this, I challenge you to simply slow down. Carve out space in your day, every day during the holiday's, to simply be more in the moment. Our thoughts and our bodies are always rushing about thinking about anything and everything except what is happening in that very moment.

Believe it or not, the simple act of slowing down and just being in the moment is stress-reducing. It give us time to breath and appreciate what is happening in our lives now. And, during the holiday's it helps us to refocus on the things that mean the most: family, friends, lovers, laughter, stories, memory making, and most importantly - Joy!

Oh, I’ve had my moment, and ifI had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead if living so many years ahead of the day.
— Nadine Staur, eighty-five years old, Louisville, Kentucky

At Ignite, we work a lot with how to manage stress in your life. It's different for each unique individual. If you have questions about how you can modulate stress better in your life, feel free to contact me for a free consultation.

 

What You Should Be Eating for Optimal Health and Longevity

Often I get questions on nutrition. Questions like:

  • What should I be eating daily?
  • What foods should I limit or avoid?
  • What should I eat if I am diabetic or have high cholesterol?
  • How much fruits and vegetables should I eat daily?
  • Should I avoid all meat if I have high cholesterol?
  • How much fiber should I get?
  • I am told there's multiple types of carbohydrates that can affect my diabetes but which ones are ok to eat?

There are many more questions. These are just a few of the more common one. The goal with IGNITE when people come to me with this question is to now only educate you on all the different things you should put in your body but, also why. It's important for sustainable lifestyle changes to understand the "why" behind what you're doing.

We only have so much time together in our sessions. Part of my goal is to give you resources and tools that you can utilize on your own time to help you navigate making healthier choices and leading a more fulfilled life. 

One resource for nutrition specifically is Dr. Greggor's app called Daily Dozen. It is an incredible resource for all things nutrition right at your finger tips. It It helps you keep track of daily goals and gives you suggestions on how much of each food you should eat per day. Which is the most common questions people have. He also gives you suggestions on some of his favorites so you have some simple guidance going tot he store.

Dr. Greggor himself is a physician and NYTimes best selling author, who is internationally recognized as a leader in nutrition and public health issues. His website is worth checking out and has tons of downloadable material to learn more about nutrition.

So, if you find yourself asking the question: what should I eat today and how much of it should I eat? Download his free app and never ask that question again.

What Is Wellness?

Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.
— The Wellness Institute

Wellness has many different dimensions. It's not just eating and exercising. It's not just the absence of disease. It is creating over all optimal functioning in your life on many levels: physically, emotionally, socially, occupationally, relationally, and sexually. All these areas of your life feed into your overall well being. If one is out of balance, you will be too.

The National Wellness Institute (NWI) refers to these different areas as the six dimensions of wellness. Seeking wellness is a ever-changing and evolving process. That constantly needs conscious retuning. Some times more than others. 

It's important to recognize how each dimension is interconnected. The root of most stress comes from a disruption in the overall balance. So, the goal is to achieve or maintain balance across the dimensions to the best of our ability. 

Some examples of understanding wellness found through NWI are:

  • Understanding how a person contributes to their environment and community, and how to build better living spaces and social networks
  • Seeing enrichment of life through work, and its interconnectedness to living and playing
  • Utilizing the benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength and vitality as well as personal responsibility, self-care and when to seek medical attention
  • Developing self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense of direction
  • Creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others

I would also add the following:

  • Building strong community.
  • Establishing effective communication in work, family, and friends.
  • Developing solid intimate relationships that bring us joy.
  • Making the space in your life to do the things in life that we love most and find fulfillment.

Future posts will cover many topics on these issues. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation to see how wellness tools and techniques can be applied in your life. 

 
 

A New Look for Ignite

Those of you that have been following Ignite from the beginning will notice some changes around the website. Ignite has moved to focus solely on wellness coaching and consultation based on demand. 

Future posts while still be inspirational and motivational but will now also include informative topics on: nutritional information, physical activity, disease processes, modulating stress, relational and sexual wellbeing, and other topics related to wellness. Pick and choose what interests you, as not every topic will hit spot on for everyone.

Thank you for all your support! Please continue to spread the word about what I am doing with Ignite.

A recent update has been to offer services not only to future individual clients but private physicians and providers who would like my consultation services. 

Now go embrace the day!

 

BrainFood

BrainFood

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
— Nelson Mandela, revolutionary & politician

Today make passion meet purpose. That's where the magic happens.

A Morning Routine to Rock-out To

A Morning Routine to Rock-out To

Morning routines are important. They jump start your soul and set the tone for the day. They can shape your mood, your energy level, and your intention for the next 16-18 hours. 

Take the still space right when you wake up, after your pour your coffee. Before you check your email, read the news, exercise, look at any social media platform, or whatever activity you doing in the mornings that instantly engages your attention. take this time to fill the stillness with the 5 questions below. 

What do I want to offer the world?

What do I want to be?

What do I want more of in my life?

What can I change today that I will be grateful for tomorrow?

If what matters is _______ then my choices today are _______ .

 

This answers to these questions are power statements about yourself. About what you want create in this world. Daily engagement with these questions will define your intention of how, what, why, and in what way you want to bring purpose to your life and to others. 

Make it happen. Live an extraordinary life. Live fully, live fierce.

5 Days to Find Your Passion

5 Days to Find Your Passion

I would rather die of passion than of boredom.
— Vincent Van Gogh, artist

Discovering your passion in life is not always  a thunderclap moment. Often we have to put effort into detangling our life to find what lies underneath and inspires us. Here are 5 exercises over 5 days to jump start that process and ignite your potential.

Day 1:) Make some space in your day, at least 30 minutes, where you find some place quiet to sit. Maybe it's a bench in a park, at the top of a hiking trail, or on your porch. Turn off your phone and put it out of sight. Tell anyone that might interrupt to give you this time. Then just sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Eyes are open or closed. Let the thoughts of the day, issues at work, or in life come and go. Be as long as you need in this place until your mind is more still than when you started. You'll feel it in your body. Your muscles will release a bit. This is the space the spark can be found. Now imagine if you time, finances or obligations were not a factor. Make a list of the things you would do, the people you'd spend time with, and the activities you'd engage in. Look at the list, most of these things or people bring you joy and sense of fulfillment. Set the list aside.

Example of a simple mindmap for this exercise. 

Example of a simple mindmap for this exercise. 

Day 2:) This time sit at a table some where with several pieces of paper, a pen or pencil, and the list you made yesterday. Create and drop into the same quiet space. Including putting the phone or any device away. Look at the list and pick one thing that you would do that you get an immense amount of joy from. Write it in the center of the page and circle it. This is the beginning of your mindmap. From here is up to you. Here's an example at the right. Just flow where ever it takes you. No extension of the map is silly or not doable. Think big. Don't analyze just go with it. Never done a mindmap? Here's a useful link to some examples and tutorials. 

Day 3:) Create the same quiet space. Where ever you want this time, just without distraction. Bring your mindmap and another piece of paper to write on. Make several lists. One is a list of people you admire. Maybe some of these people are doing what's on your mind map and doing it well, star these people. The second list is called research. It's all the items you have to learn more about in order to be an expert at whatever is on your mindmap. The third lists all the keywords associated with your mindmap. Write anything down, as quickly as you can.

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.
— Neil Gaiman, author

Day 4.) Same gig, create a calm space (noticing a pattern here?) Is the thing in your mindmap something that you are already doing? Is it an idea of something to build, something that has potential? More than likely you made a mindmap of something you'd like to do that you are not doing right now. This is a spark of a passion. If given the energy, could grown into something extraordinary. Now use the time to brainstorm however you do that best. For some its more mindmapping others get out a whiteboard and some go for a run. Today visualize how you would create space in your life to do whatever is on your mindmap. At some point, jot these things down (if you're out on a run or walk etc.)

Day 5:)  Crate the now familiar calm space. Consider making this a daily habit. A time just for yourself to relax, to engage the mind. Today is all about action. Take all notes you've made spread them out and figure out an action plan. What are the things holding you back? What are potential hurdles? Create a time line. Set realistic short term goals and one long term goal. The long term goal is incredibly important. If we know what we want to create in our life, all of our decisions must in some way support that long term goal playing out. That's how we manifest our dreams. Keep your eye on the prize. Focus and never lose track. The time is takes to get there doesn't matter. It's about the journey and redefining the shape of how to get to the endpoint. It is a constant evolution. Be patient. Write the long term goal down somewhere vocal in your life.

Now go make it happen. 

Man is only great when he acts from his passions.
— Benjamin Disraeli, 19th century British Prime Minister

How Listening and Being a Giver Increases Our Human Potential

How Listening and Being a Giver Increases Our Human Potential

I am reading a brilliant book Give and Take by Adam Grant. It's extraordinary, thought provoking and a necessary read for all individuals to increase our capacity for others. While it's message targets success as dependent on how we interact with others, it has far greater implications to how we can improve our connection with others eventually improving our collective success and human potential. 

But, this isn't a review for the book, I'll do that when I am done with it. 

There is a movement right not now to identify and inspire ways to increase connection between individuals in a world where we have so much disconnect. Grant's Give And Take does it. A new documentary RiseUp main message is connection. Conscious connection to others can not only help us daily in our roles as: leaders, coworkers, life-partners, parents, and friends. But, it can drive the impetus for great change globally. 

Connection is also theme throughout many TED talks. One in particular focuses on a simple solution to increase our connection - through active listening.

Julian Treasure studies sound and the impact of sound. His TED talk 5 Ways to Listen Better is the best 7 minutes you'll spend all day. Just click play below and you'll see.

We live in a world that has so much noise whether it's auditory or visual. We have constant stimulation. How can we truly listen to others with so much distraction? Think of all the thousands of conversations you have all day whether it's at work, on the street, at home, or even our internal dialogue. Are you really truly present and listening to during these conversations?

Treasure makes a wonderful argument that we are losing the art of listening and conversation. It's causing us to become impatient and less empathic, intensifying the fragmentation of our humanity. Just for a moment, imagine the implications of a world where no one truly listens to one another. 

Are you picturing a self-focused world full of discord, misunderstanding, and unhappiness?

In order to live fully we must listen consciously. It is truly listening that will create connection, spark creativity, ignite collaboration, and create change. To listen is to be a giver. And, to understand what it means to be a giver, go read Adam Grant's Give And Take. It will challenge you to live better, live fierce, live fully.

 

 

 

 

No Tomorrows, Only Today - Now

No Tomorrows, Only Today - Now

How many times do we say to ourselves, tomorrow I'll do it? Or one day soon I'll do it. Whatever "it" is. What do you put off tomorrow you could do today?

Maybe it's taking an epic trip. Maybe it's some project you've always wanted to do. Maybe it's exercising more. Maybe it's a difficult conversation we have to have with a colleague or family member.

There's many reasons why we put things off for tomorrow and tomorrow's tomorrow. Often it's simply - time. 

Traffic - the clutter of the day-to-day: the blocked out calendar, the to-do lists... are all biproducts of a successful life. All capable of grinding our dreams to a halt.
— Fitz Cahall, the Dirtbag Diaries

We get distracted by the day to day. All the things we have to seemingly get done. There is a constant rush to try and fit it all in but when the day is over we realize we never got to the only thing we really wanted to do in the first place. 

But, what if we prioritized the items we most need to instead of putting them off? 

The Dirtbag Diaries podcast just had a great episode on this. Click below to listen. Or download it to your podcast player and listen to it as you go about your day.

All of us have a dream. Why are we waiting to make it happen?

Sometimes you can’t wait for the green light you’ve just got to go.
— Fitz Cahall, The Dirtbag Diaries

In Stillness We Find the Spark

In Stillness We Find the Spark

Living a life full of fulfillment doesn't always mean - fill every moment full. Living in Boulder, CO I find it common amongst the Boulderites to go hard all the time. Full throttle from the moment you wake up to the moment you close your eyes and repeat the next day. And, this full speed ahead affect doesn't just apply to Boulder. 

We are a turned-on culture. An on-demand people.

We not only fill life with activities and work, we stuff it with static. Static is the constant stream of stimulation from media. Whether the input is from our phones, TV, computers, podcasts, or music. Or all at one time.

But, are we getting happiness and fulfillment out of this intense constant input?

Life-balance is hard to achieve. Especially when we love to work hard and play hard. People who make it happen also are people who often have a challenge being in the moment or being still, not just physically but cognitively as well.

Every day there are small moments when we have a choice: will we take in more stuff, or just clear our minds out for a bit?
— Pico Iyer, journalist and writer

Sitting still or taking a moment gives us space. Space to discover what moves us the most. Space for reflection. Space for appreciation. Space for gratitude. 

The empty space in many places of music is the pause or rest that gives the piece its beauty, its shape.
— Pico Iyer

Often in these moments of space we find new direction or the spark of creativity. Space is good for the mind, body, and soul in this age of constant movement and distraction.

So, this week. Schedule some time to unplug and give yourself space.

Here's a great TED talk on the art of stillness by Pico Iyer.

 

 

Brain Food

Brain Food

The Invitation


It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

- Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Amy Cuddy's Extraordinary Presence

Amy Cuddy's Extraordinary Presence

Amy Cuddy is someone who has committed herself to live an extraordinary life doing something she's passionate about. Her story is nothing but inspiring. She's a Harvard professor, social psychologist investigating how people judge and influence themselves and others, her TED talk is the second most viewed of all time (over 35 million views), and she just published her first best-seller book Presence . If that wasn't enough, she's been named a "game changer" by Time magazine, "50 Women Who Are Changing the World" by Business Insider, and "top 100 Most Followed Scientists on Twitter." She dreams big and epitomizes living fully, living fierce.

But, what makes her story even more remarkable is how she defied everyone who was telling her no. As a college student she was in a car accident, ejected from the car, resulting in a skull fracture. Doctors said to forget about college. Her courage, strength, and grit to overcome others who told her no, and make her life a big Yes is nothing short of extraordinary. 

Cuddy's research and message is all about how body influences the mind. It affects how others see us but, also how we see ourselves. It's powerful. She make a case that it's almost more powerful than words. Instead of writing about it just watch her Ted talk. It best illustrates how incredible this women is. Her book is remarkable and will be reviewed in a future post, go read it!