Tag Archives: Healing Naturally

How to Apologize and Why It’s Important

ApologizingEarlier this year I sent an apology note to someone. He appreciated it but said that he didn’t understand since the hurt he caused had been so much worse. I explained to him that my apology wasn’t really about him. It was a part of my forgiveness process. I promised myself that I would step into 2016 lighter, with a lot less baggage and with a clear heart.

When I was much younger I would write what my big sister, Adrea, and I called cleansing letters. They were long, detailed and dramatic. Each letter, filled with prose and poetry, required time and energy that would’ve been better spent working on material for publication or for the screen. This morning I give thanks for grounding, healing, emotional and spiritual maturity. Don’t get me wrong, I am an entrepreneur so some of those letters still might make the cut for the HBO special in my head, but my priority now is my own well being and truth. I am powerful. I am not a victim. I no longer beg for others to see their wrong doings.

Being accountable for what transpires in our lives is also a critical part of understanding forgiveness and apologies. *Sometimes we play a role in the experiences we attract. Be clear about the other person’s actions but be honest with yourself about how you may have participated.

I’ve been gangsta’ about my inner-work, emotional and energetic healing. This is not by choice.  It is a necessity. Stress and anxiety manifest as immediate physical symptoms in my body. After years of naturopaths and doctors, healing diets, hypnotherapists, acupuncturists, bodywork specialists, herbalists, spiritual counselors, energy healers, traditional priests and priestess, I have the data. My research has proven this to be true time and time again so I started this emotional cleansing. Guess what? As a result, I am also experiencing less illness.

Walking in the light, focusing on the light, practicing random acts of kindness, inhaling love, exhaling gratitude, dancing in forgiveness while honoring your boundaries will attract more goodness and abundance into your world than you can ever imagine. Choosing to love and be love is a daily choice. It is not easy some days especially for a drama addict in recovery but for me it means less pain in my body, fewer symptoms to worry about and good sleep.

When others feel your light it creates a safe space for apologies and authentic communication. (Note: this also creates space for love and gratitude to be shared with you as well!!) I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work. I made a few notes from my experience with receiving apologies and wanted to share a few things with the world. Here goes:

  1. Make sure you’re ready to apologize. It’s not effective if you’re not able to fully own up.
  2. Focus on yourself and your stuff. Do not use your apology as a place to point out the other person’s wrong. Let them do that and be prepared for them not to own up to anything. Sometimes sorry is not enough and things will never be the same so focus on you.
  3. Be clear about what you are apologizing for.  You may need to rehearse it in your mind. I wanted to apologize for ___________, _______________ and ____________. I could have handled it differently. I was not being responsible and I did not honor you.
  4. Share what you have learned, new insights about yourself or life and the reasons why you will never do it again.

Being humble, vulnerable and transparent are important parts of the apology. Doing it without an expected outcome is also a healthy part of it because the apology loses its power when we have too many expectations attached to it. Remember it is not about shaming yourself but about empowering yourself through love and truth so you can lighten your load and hopefully contribute to the other person’s healing as well.

December is an auspicious time or at least that is how I have always viewed it. I do “spring cleaning”, set goals for the new year and give voice to my gratitude. My new year momentum starts in November and I ride a wave until it hits. The world may be in chaos and filled with all sorts of tragedy right now, but we control our inner-world and can choose to be filled with peace. Happy Healing Fam.

I thought about posting Ginuwine’s “I Apologize” but Abiah’s “Sorry” seems like a better fit. Check out this incredible musician and his latest release:

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I Feel Good #TheLoveSeries #ValentinesDay2015

Mama 1942ish   My Grandma Bessie could cook her little hind parts off. She cooked at the hospital, at the church and for every family event and holiday.  There was so much love in my grandparents home and the kitchen became a symbol of it.  It makes sense that my spirit responds to food as love.  I attribute my highly developed  taste buds to all of that Louisiana goodness that I grew up eating.  Part of me hates that I can taste and identify every seasoning, know when there’s too much baking soda and I can tell just how much mustard was added.  I’m finally accepting it.  It is what it is.

I came out of the womb with a slow digestive system and with allergies and sensitivities.  Then I grew up in the era of fast food and junk food innovations, new preservative discoveries and ate it all alongside soul food from the deepest parts of Louisiana.  Since I was raised in California’s Bay Area I also grew up eating soul food from Mexico, China, Italy and the Philippines. International before I went international, my palette is almost always doing the most.  Now, my body is in recovery. It demands healing foods and when I slip, it talks back to me.  Shoot, sometimes it shouts! The shout manifests itself as pain and inflammation, mucus and coughing, skin eruptions and tummy discomfort.

It has taken a few decades but I finally figured out what I need to eat and drink to feel good. Well, I was told years ago, but wavered back and forth until the pain has now become too great to bear.  I would do what I needed to do for six months and then go back to the old way of living and eating.  With friends and family serving as my co-signers, I would throw caution to the wind and eat whatever I wanted to eat.  The phrase,  you can eat anything in moderation, is one of the biggest bullshit myths if there ever was one on earth.  For some of us there is no thing called moderation.  One bite is a slippery slope toward downhill hell.  We would never tell a coke head to have one line of coke, would we?

heart-arrow-2As we enter this week of love, I’m exploring what love means to me.  Love feels good.  I want to feel good. I choose to feel good. In the past food has represented love and I’m now at a point where I want to shift that perception.  I want my entire life to be a symbol of love – my life’s work, my relationships with others and myself.  If I want my personal relationship to be special then I have to treat myself accordingly so I am mirroring how I want to be treated.  It begins with me and with my self-care.

And I’m done with the conversations that loved ones want to have about it being in my head. Believe me, I love to eat but I am choosing life.  I love breathing, so I am on this path. I give thanks for those who support me and I am opening the door for those who would like to join me.  Change can be hard.  Community makes it easier and provides the support that we need to make those important changes.  I am shifting to a new definition of love. Now, let me go make my morning smoothie.


My thought for the day – #IFeelGood #IChooseToFeelGood

French fries call my name….

I am on a healing path.  It is my intention to move my body back into balance, to reverse the health conditions that are troubling me, to shrink the “growths” that are in my body temple, to maintain and manage my energy, my vibrance and to feel good more often than not.

The more I learn about nutritional medicine, the use of plants and natural substances to heal and the importance of emotional wellness, the more I realize that we should be working in partnership with our doctors instead of going to them for all of the answers.  You know your body better than anyone else. This is one of the reasons that allopathic or mainstream medicine does not resonate with me.  I see little proof of it making a difference other than in emergency/crisis situations. I was given all sorts of allergy and asthma medications from age six to 26 and I am sure those drugs caused various kinds of damage.  I mean, we’ve all seen the pharmaceutical commercials for new meds and heard the long list of side of effects at the end. I’m not against hospitals but would love to be a part of a movement to make them better.

Part of my contribution to this movement is to share what I am learning and to be as transparent as possible about my challenges.  It is not an easy path, but there are no magic pills and no quick fixes. Healing Naturally is more of a video diary that I’m making public.

This short video clip speaks to how there are some days where fried food seems to call my name.  It’s as if we were old loves unable to part from one another.  It’s as if I was somehow wired to want these things cooked in high heat and lots of oil.  The logical part of me knows it’s programming, socialization and habit.  The emotional part of me knows it’s about memories of a huge cast iron skillet on grandma’s stove frying up everything from chicken that looked and tasted better than any restaurant to hot water cornbread soon to be dipped in honey.  I know how good I feel when I’m eating lots of fresh living foods, when I’m eating fruits and vegetables, drinking my fresh juices and smoothies, but this stuff is like a monkey on my back.  It’s hard to understand why because there are physical consequences when I slip.  I’m staying inspired because I confronted sugar addiction, wheat and bread, dairy and candy and none of that bothers me anymore so I know I can do it. I just need your prayers, your affirmations and maybe a 12 step fried fish and french fry support group.

Healing Naturally: Self-Exposure and Nakedness

bright sunThe morning is here.  The sun is peeking through the curtains as if to say let’s do this, you’ve slept enough already. The blueness of the sky has returned, the clouds seem happy to not be filled with rain and the air looks deceivingly warm. It is not warm. I am in the Blue Ridge Mountains where snow fell in October just the other night. It is 31°F.  It is October and I am not mentally prepared for winter.

Winter preparation means preparing my mind for massive amounts of self-love and discipline. It means massaging my heart just as good as I massage my kale and enrolling a serious circle of accountability to support me in my healing protocol. The journey is a blend of adventure and routine.  Letting go of old habits and forming new ones, especially new ways of thinking, is not for the weak.  Although I at times feel weak, I know for sure that I am strong enough to accomplish my personal and professional goals. Oh, and then there’s the work to prepare for the book release, but that’s another post for another day. Today is Sunday, a day I shall use for going within.

I am revisiting my video blog, Healing Naturally, as a way to keep myself accountable and to practice sharing consistently.  I started out strong then stopped posting even though I was still recording posts.  Exploring and exposing my fears, anxieties and areas of weakness just didn’t feel cool.  Authentic sharing requires lots of courage, a willingness to be naked and let it all go.  Well, I made myself the promise of a huge break through by the end of 2014.  I intend to live and love boldly. The break through is not going to happen with me standing on the sidelines, hiding under the covers or sitting quietly in the corner pretending to meditate. Nope, my purpose was revealed to me at 10 years old and I’m about that life of honoring it. Look for posts once or twice a week on my youtube channel.  Please comment on youtube, LIKE, subscribe and share your story too!

4 Quick Tips & Lessons From My Healing Journey

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Let’s start with a few take-aways from the healing process so far:

1)Take care of your mind first. Don’t beat yourself up when you have to ease up on your plan.

2)Create a community of supporters who are fully enrolled in your being well. It may only be 2 or 3 other people but identify people to help you be accountable and inspired.

3)Be prepared to let some people go while on your journey. Some folks are a hindrance to wellness because the new you makes them uncomfortable. Bless them with love and create distance.

4)Own your choice to heal naturally.  Thicken your skin. Be prepared to speak the truth to whomever needs to hear it. Set those boundaries and honor your own inner-guidance.

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As a foodie and lover of all things tasty, I never imagined myself being so in love with the food lifestyle I’ve adopted. I’ve bought a 9 Tray dehydrator, a Vita-Mix and a food processor. Then I turned into an 8 year old on her birthday when my mom sent me a NutriBullet.  I was so excited when I opened that box.

Still with all of these tools and equipment, I’m discovering that the first priority on my wellness journey is me.  It’s not my diet or food plan, not the exercise, herbs or the acupuncture, but it’s me.  When I say me I mean my mind, my attitude and my beliefs about getting/being well. One of my accountability partners is battling lupus like a fierce warrior. She’s incredibly physically fit now and committed to her work out activities, but today realized that her mind was a priority and the gym was secondary. She chose a peaceful walk in the park instead of her normal routine. Choosing peace sometimes means missing a workout. Once we’re centered we can actually get the true benefits from our healing activities whether it’s food or exercise.

Julia, an acupuncturist/ healer at Third Root Community Healing Center in Brooklyn often speaks about how important community is to making health changes and healing the body. Walking this wellness journey with women who have just as much at stake as me has made such a huge difference in my life. Having that exchange with one of my wellness partners this morning reminded me to focus on peace, to choose a few hours of quiet.  My circle has served as a protective shield from loved ones who either with good intention and sometimes judgment say/think some of the darndest  things about my choices.

DoNotJudge

People can be impatient, unknowingly insensitive and selfish.  Unless one has been on a healing journey of their own, I’m finding that it can hard for them to have compassion. The phrases “but you look so good” and “but you don’t look sick” is so far from a statement of support. A person may not look ill and they may not carry the disposition of a “sick” person but it does not mean they don’t still need the same amount of love, support and encouragement on their wellness journey.  There are so many women suffering quietly from symptoms triggered by tumors and cysts, lupus and other autoimmune related dis-eases, diabetes, sleep disorders, severe food allergies and insensitivities, fibromyalgia and the list goes on.  This is more evidence as to why random kindness is a good idea. You never really know what another person is going through.

The changes I have made in my life have not been easy. It has affected my friendships, my interaction with family and loved ones, my social life, what I eat and how I eat it, my work and my schedule.  I am reading and watching youtube videos for one to two hours a day so I can learn as much as possible about how to heal myself. I still have to navigate through a corporatized medical system that is designed for crisis care but not prevention and health care. Then I have to figure out how to afford staying alive while making time for the rest of my life. Oh, and don’t forget eating right and exercise.  It’s possible to reverse most conditions but it is not without dedication and sacrifice.  It can also be the unpopular choice. Still, I am choosing life.

Growing up on the standard American diet (i.e. SAD), being medicated (asthma/allergies) for the first 25 years of my life and having no awareness of how stress and sadness impacts the body all resulted in a toxic body and a compromised immune system that I am now patiently committed to healing.  I choose wellness. I choose me. I choose life.  I’ll continue to share insights that I’ve gained and please check out my video diary:  Healing Naturally.  It hasn’t been as easy to share as I thought it would be but I’m committed to doing posts at least once a week:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U0tczpnNKk They will post on my Youtube channel:  www.youtube.com/user/ToniB104.

Be well.

Food Will Test You: 5 Things To Do To Support Your Dietary Changes

So the waitress places every single fried food appetizer near me.  That’s how last week’s adventure began. Me, with nine other visionary social entrepreneurs at a fancy Thai restaurant getting the shakes as I reminisced on the fatty goodness that lay before me.  I don’t over eat anymore because I cannot.  There is no room for the food and it causes pain if there’s too much in there. I do, however, rationalize my greatest pleasure on earth:  food.  Even when it is blocking me from my goal:   healing my body.  I am a human raised in the United States of America, the home of the quarter pounder, the foot long sub, the double-decker deep dish pizza.

Fried Spring Roll Temptations!

Fried Spring Roll Temptations!

I was one of ten Echoing Green Fellows selected to be a part of a week-long inflection retreat. It actually felt more like an “intensive” than a retreat but it was absolutely powerful.  The experience was mentally challenging like a good work out that makes you feel exhilarated from the sweat but a little sore from the muscle stretching. This was the first time I ever clearly articulated and outlined my dietary needs.  In my memo I admitted to my awkwardness and made a series of bold requests including the suggestion that if my dietary needs were overwhelming for the planners that I would prefer to organize my food myself.  To my surprise the response could not have been more supportive.

The week had all kinds of tests with regard to food choices. The only time I did not feel confronted was while in my hotel room making green smoothies.  I made one to drink in the early morning and one to take with me for late morning. Here are five things I did to make sticking to my diet a little easier:

1)I requested a refrigerator from the hotel in advance.

2)I rinsed off parsley, dandelion leaves, organic apples, and chard ahead of time and stored the greens in a small insulated freezer bag and carried the rest of my foods in an insulated grocery bag I got from Whole Foods. I had a couple of bananas, a bag of hemp seeds, and spirulina, as well as a few snacks. It also helps to have a knife or buy one upon arrival.

3)I communicated as directly as I possibly could and outlined exactly how I wanted to be treated. I clearly stated the awkwardness that can come with being the one who is “different” and I wanted to avoid the weirdness that can occur at restaurants by handling food planning in advance. This left me feeling incredibly empowered.

4)Drinking a smoothie early morning and having another before lunch helped to not only fill me up but the nutrient rich drinks also helps to reduce cravings.

5)I had snacks in my bag so when the urge for crunch, for salty, sweet or chocolate came up I was armed and prepared.  There are the inevitable moments of someone offering to split their fair trade chocolate bar spiced with cayenne and cinnamon but filled with sugar.  There are those plates of afternoon cookies that do the devil dance when they bring them out warm. Even though I didn’t eat them all, having an arsenal of snacks in my bag calmed my anxiety around slipping.

Last week’s tests were made easier by Maggie, the event coordinator and logistics point person.  Her attention to detail was a gift, but I know this is only the beginning.  I am now operating from a space of integrity with myself and my body’s needs. I am learning to be gentle myself while still being firm about what is good for my healing and what is not. Some of what I’m doing is temporary but I now see a lot of it as a lifestyle change. I know a lot of smart people ruining their organs, their insides and diminishing the possibilities of a high quality of life as they get older. I also know what it feels like to put something in your mouth knowing it may trigger bronchitis symptoms, a rash or abdominal cramps. Change is not easy but damn if it don’t feel good to feel good! I am releasing the need for pain.     greensmoothies

I raise my glass of greens to each of you.  The toast? May this summer inspire the motivation to honor the changes you have been wanting to make. I am wishing you the best on your journey. Remember it is a process. Love yourself, be gentle with yourself and forgive, forgive, forgive…yourself while focusing on one new habit at  a time!

My Summer Video Blog— HEALING NATURALLY:  FOOD WILL TEST YOU  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A86tINF5DGM