A NEW WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE HOLIDAYS
The holidays can be a time of stress, family tension and over-eating for many of us. While we cherish time spent with relatives and friends, enjoy traditional foods and leaving town for a few days, typically, the holidays are laden with travel tension, family tension, little personal time and lots of over-eating that leaves many of us feeling bloated, frustrated and regretting our choices. It is as if we let all of our conscious choice making fly out the window in order to fully experience the holidays. We opt for complete indulgence during the holiday season knowing that January will come soon enough to get us back on track.
What if we could indulge, connect and relax while feeling empowered, conscious and proud of ourselves? What if we could spend the holidays totally fulfilled AND in a way that continued our self-growth, fostered our health and forward movement towards our larger goals?
WHAT IF YOUR HIGHEST SELF CAME TO THANKSGIVING?
THE OLD STORY
Many of us have created stories that promote being stuck in a limited place of false beliefs. We convince ourselves that the following is true. See if any of these statements are things you’ve told yourself before:
* I won’t really enjoy the party if I stick to my diet.
* To truly obtain a feeling of indulgence and relaxation, I have to let go of everything I’m working on.
* My family members won’t understand me if I show up as my Highest Self.
* I will be alone if I truly embody and express my truth.
* Traveling is stressful.
* The holidays are stressful and depleting, I have to please everyone else.
Newsflash: It is all illusion!! These are stories that you have created from a part of you that is experiencing fear – fear that you can’t have it all, a scarcity mentality, a lack of trust. Open yourself to creating a new story.
THE NEW STORY
What does it feel like to experience fun, meaning, yummy-ness or love in a way that honors your highest self; in a way that values your vision for the best you? You’ve felt it before. See if you can remember a time when:
* You showed up at the social event and opted for veggies over chips.
* You went to dinner and only had one glass of wine or none at all despite funny looks from others at your table.
* You were in a loving relationship and spoke up about what you needed even thought it might have been scary.
* You were with your family and stayed centered in your truth, even for a few moments.
* You found some moments of peace in the midst of chaos.
* You realized that you are creating your own chaos and chose to shift to a more centered, trusting mindset.
How did that feel? Were you able to experience the fun, connection, love, and indulgence without loosing yourself completely? I bet you were!
What is your NEW STORY? Try shifting to an “AND Mentality”. Fill this sentence in as many times as you need to:
I can __________________________ AND __________________________.
Ex: I can feel connected to my family and be myself. I can indulge and stick to eating healthy.
HIGHEST SELF HOLIDAY TIPS
1. Visualization & Intention
Take a few moments to visualize how your ideal holiday would feel. Really allow yourself to feel it. What would your interactions with family and friends be like? How would you navigate moments of overwhelm? How would you feel in your body? How much quiet time for yourself away from the action would you have and what would it entail? What foods would you enjoy? What would it feel like to take responsibility for feeling nourished, loved and happy? Now set intention around this. Take 10 minutes to write your intention in your journal, focusing on what you intend to experience and create.
2. Practice Self Care
The holidays can be a time when we focus on everyone but ourselves, especially when we host people in our homes, attend other people's parties and buy gifts for others. If we are depleted, running on empty, scattered or resentful however, we won't have a lot to give, or we'll give it in a way that doesn't serve anyone, including ourselves. Practice taking some time out for yourself when you feel overwhelmed - sit quietly in solitude for a few moments, take a epsom salt bath or a cat nap in the winter sun. Make sure to keep yourself grounded and rejuvinated so that you can give freely and fully from your heart.
My dear friend and colleague, Alexandria Marcus, a Holistic Food Psychology Coach and owner of Heart Food, taught me a wonderful tool based on the work of Geneen Roth that I'd like to share with you: The Self Care Contract. Thank you Alexandria!
Create a contract with yourself that you can look at each morning to remind yourself of your intention. I take 10 minutes to write my Self Care Contracts on the plane whenever I travel somewhere. It can be simple. For example:
I, Rony Gerzberg, in honor of experiencing my Highest Self in every experience, hereby promise to myself the following on this trip:
1. I will take 5 minutes every morning to meditate, even if it’s in the bathroom. I know that this creates relaxation, clarity, breathing room and purpose for me.
2. I will practice being loving with myself and others, remembering that this is a meaningful time of year with lots to be grateful for.
3. When others comment on how my diet is so healthy and different, I will remember not take it personally and I will kindly fill them in on how I eat/live so that we may have an opportunity to feel more connected. I will see it as an opportunity to honor my truth.
4. I will exercise once over the long holiday weekend.
You get the idea. Remind yourself of the payoff for each item. I.e., that it will allow you to feel alive, grateful, handling your basic needs, etc.
3. Practice The Rule of 80/20
Stick to your path 80% of the time and don’t worry about sticking to it 20% of the time. In other words, 80% of the time, eat the foods that heal your body, practice speaking authentically, or caring for yourself first. Then 20% of the time, indulge – treat yourself to the cheesecake, zone out from being present and give to others instead of yourself. The 80/20 Rule is wonderful to practice any time we are in a process of healing, self-growth or on the path of living our truth. During the holidays, which are a particularly fun and special time, modifying the rule to 70/30 is equally beneficial. Bottom Line: try to be conscious most of the time while giving yourself a break and allowing yourself indulge and relax!
4. Pause and Breath
Before choosing the extra serving that will send you into a food coma, pause and take a breath. Before compromising yourself for the sake of going along with the group dynamic, pause and take a breath. Before disappearing into the black hole of stress and overwhelm, pause and take a breath. Then choose. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does J.
5. Be Curious and Playful
Get curious around your Highest Self. Allow yourself to have fun with noticing when it’s easy for you to choose consciously and when you get triggered. Being present and conscious is not about being perfect! It is about simply honoring the parts of us that we love and are growing as often as we remember to do so, and doing so in a loving, open-minded and joyous way.
6. Dare To Be Proud Come January
What if you really could make choices that would have you experience the best holiday season possible? Allow yourself to experience the major payoff of empowered choices! Take a risk this holiday season and try it out. How good will you feel on the other side of the holidays? I can guarantee you’ll feel proud of yourself, confident, more in love with your body and more in love with your family, friends and community! I invite you to create a conscious holiday season for yourself and see how it sets you up strong, proud and ready to meet January on the right foot!
There is so much to be grateful for this holiday season. There is an abundance of healthy, seasonal food at your fingertips. There is no shortage of love all around and within. And there is plenty of opportunity to practice engaging the muscles of your Highest Self!
Here is to a healthy, happy and fun Thanksgiving with your Highest Self!
WE HAVE A PRIMAL ABILITY TO MAKE SOUND.
WHAT IF YOU FREED YOUR VOICE TO FULLY EXPRESS YOURSELF?
At this time of change and general upheaval around the globe, it is clear that people long to use their voices to express themselves and claim their power.
In my own journey of self-actualization, I practice using my voice to express my truth, my passions and to release those parts of myself that no longer serve me. One of the most exciting ways I do this is through Sound Healing. Sound Healing is the art of using sound, both through drums, bells, tuning forks or other external sound-making objects as well as using your own voice to move stuck energy in the body. It is both powerful and gentle, and is an incredible modality to heal physical, emotional and energetic imbalances. Similar to the acupuncture needles used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Sound Healing utilizes the vibration of sound to create and move energy throughout the physical and energetic bodies. It is regarded as a proven, scientific healing modality and is becoming more popular these days. It is a safe, liberating way to really seize the power of your voice.
So what is so special about exercising our voice? I didn’t quite realize this until I began to use mine. In the past, I've enjoyed singing and had taken some vocal lessons, however it wasn’t until I started using my voice as a healing instrument as well as a vehicle to voice my true needs, beliefs and feelings, that I began to grasp just what making sound can do.
Making sound is not about sounding good or hitting the right notes of a song. It is not about performing for others. Making sound is PRIMAL. It is a basic human faculty and an innate part of our species. Sound is something that comes out of us from the first breaths that we draw upon when entering this world. Think how fiercely a baby can wail - full of power and resolve. Think of what uproarious laughter, cheering or whispering sounds like. Making sound can be anything from breathing, humming, singing, grunting, screaming, speaking or any other noise we can omit. It creates vibration and resonance. It can be gentle or fierce. It can come from the depths of who we are.
Yet in our society we are embarrassed of making noise. We fear saying the wrong thing, being rude, speaking at the wrong time, sounding bad if we sing or being inappropriate if we release primal sounds from our bellies in order to heal. When I first engaged in sound healing I would practice making different sounds that would acknowledge certain parts of my body that I was healing, such as my liver, intestines, etc., and I would balance my chakras (energy centers in the body) by practicing sound scales. I remember writing an email to my neighbors to let them know what I was doing so they wouldn’t worry and think a cat was dying in my apartment or something! I was so embarrassed! When I started taking voice lessons and joined a band, I used to sing in my bathroom with the door closed so no one would hear me – I felt incredibly self-conscious using my FULL voice. Over time, I grew to understand how freeing and healing it is for me to open my voice and I now joyously LET IT OUT regardless of who might hear. Perhaps it will even inspire someone as they walk by! More so, I began to realize how important it was for me to reclaim my own personal power through voicing my needs, feelings and beliefs to others - both verbally and in writing. It is incredibly empowering to speak your truth. What do you REALLY want to say to people?
There are many useful ways to use sound and when relevant, I utilize some of these techniques with my health and life-coaching clients as well as in the group workshops that I lead. Contact me to find out more.
Here are a few exercises to help get you started using sound for your own benefit:
* DEEP LISTENING & EXPRESSION *
Take a quiet moment and tune into yourself. Turn off your phone and computer and just listen. What do you hear?
Start by listening to what you hear outside. Take mental note of all the different sounds. What do you hear in front of you? Behind you? To your right and left? What does your breath sound like?
Now shift your focus inward. Start by focusing on your breath and tune out the thoughts that cross your mind. If you have a thought, just let it pass. Very slowly, scan your body starting at your head and working your way down to your throat, chest, abdomen, hips, thighs, calves, ankles and toes.
What do you hear?
How are you feeling physically and emotionally?
What parts of you are tired? In pain? Scared? Happy?
What sounds could you make to represent how you feel?
What do you need/long to express?
Take a moment and sit with all of it. Listen to your intuition. You can journal about your experience if you like. Now make some noise! Scream into a pillow or release a glorious sound of pride. Hum a gentle note. Recite a mantra or affirmation out loud to yourself. Tell someone how you really feel. It’s safe.
* CHAKRA BALANCING SCALES *
Each of the seven chakras (energy centers) of the body has a corresponding sound. The lowest, root chakra found at your sit bones, can be represented and balanced by making a lowwww, vibrating sound. Take a moment and try making the lowest humming sound you can make. (Ummmmmmm) Now shift the focus to your seventh chakra, or crown chakra on the top of your head, by making a very high pitched, squeaky sound. What is the highest sound that you can make? (Eeeeeeee)
The chakras can all be balanced by practicing scales. Start with the lowest note, focusing on your sit bones/hips and slowly move your focus up, through your sexual organs, abdomen, heart, throat, etc. aiming for the top of your head. Simultaneously, as you move up your body, slowly make your tone higher and higher until you reach your highest note at the top of your head. Then reverse it. See where you get stuck or are not fluid. That will inform you where you might be holding onto some stuck energy in your body. You can use sound to move through that and keep practicing the scales until they are fluid. This can be incredibly grounding, rejuvenating and healing!
* GROUNDING YOUR ENERGY *
If you have a lot on your mind, especially before you go to sleep, practice making the lowest sound you can make and shift your focus down towards your feet. This will shift your vibration and help get you out of your head.
So…. What do you need to express? What does it sound like? What would happen if it were totally safe for you to use your voice fully? What would you tell people if you had the courage to speak honestly and lovingly?
Tune in. Listen. And let it out - Wildly. Lovingly. Freely. Authentically.
May you sing your song proudly and march to the beat of your own drum!