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The Body Knows

Our #1 emotional intelligence rule: The body knows. 

In a culture that loves to explain everything, we forget to feel our bodies. When we think about emotional intelligence, we think about strategies to have effective conversations, we think about becoming aware of our patterns, we think about defining our needs. The truth, none of this is possible if we don’t listen to and FEEL THE BOD.

How your body feel lets you know if your needs are met. How you react to your bodies needs creates your emotional patterns. And, if your body isn’t relaxed, you can kiss that effective conversation.

Before developing great emotional strategies, you need to build a relationship with your body. What does it need? What does it crave? How can you take care of it? 

When that person asks if you want to do that thing, does your body say “heck yes!” or “heck no!” How do you know? 

Here is our favorite tool for listening to your body, it’s called Clench/Unclench. 

Clench/Unclench

Step 1) 

Ask yourself a question. I.e. Do I want to eat ice cream right now?

Step 2) 

Notice your bodies’ response. Does it clench? Or, does it unclench? Unclenching is a sign to go for that thing, it’s a sign that your body wants it. Your body relaxing around that thing is a deep, embodied yes. Clenching, on the other hand, is a sign that your body does not want that thing. It’s a pushing away, a closing, an embodied no. 

Step 3) 

Follow your bodies’ yes. Listen for the unclench and follow it for one whole day. What do you end up doing? How do you feel? How is it different from your normal day?

I bet you’re thinking, if I always follow my unclench, I’m going to be a lazy hedonist who never does anything productive. You’d be surprised. Following the unclench often leads people to do their laundry, go for a walk, and eat green stuff. It might also lead to a cookie or a nap. 

Consider this article encouragement for you to follow your unclench and see what happens. At the very least, you’ll start to get acquainted with… YOUR BOD!


Mieka Briejer is the founder of Frankly EQ; brain based emotional education which gives you the knowledge, tools, and hands-on practice you need to become an emotional genius. Got questions for Mieka? Reach out to her here.

emotional genius

3 Steps to Becoming an Emotional Genius

To learn more, check out Frankly 101: Become an Emotional Genius, a blended learning program designed to use hands-on practice and neuroscience based concepts to build emotional genii. 

Step 1: Understand your system.

To become an emotional genius you need to understand your emotional system. Emotions are one of our bodies many tools designed to keep us safe and connected to other people. Their function is to guide us toward actions that meet our needs. 

Over time your body learns to produce habitual emotional responses that have a high likelihood of getting your needs met. For example, when I cry, mom comes to get me. When I appease, people accept me. When I’m aggressive, I win. These responses are shaped by our unique biological system (aka ‘the bod’), our identity within a particular historical context, and our current context.  

Emotions are made of:

  1. Your body doing it’s best to take care of you. 
  2. Your historic conditioning.
  3. Your current context.  

Understanding our system opens the door to more agency. 

Step 2: Treat emotions as information.

Once we understand the function of emotions, it’s time to listen to them. Emotions are information. We should treat them as useful data sets that help us understand and take care of ourselves. 

So what exactly are you listening to when you listen to an emotion? Frequently I ask my clients how they feel. Then I ask them what let’s them know they feel that way. Then they look at me quizzically. 

Emotions like sad, happy, angry, and stressed are concepts. Underneath those concepts are physical sensations that we make meaning of and eventually give a name like happy. When we can tap into the sensation beneath the emotion concept, we are much less likely to get trapped in old stories and much more likely to address core needs.

There is endless information available when we listen to our emotions. At the end of the day, taking in that information enables us to make conscious decisions about how to respond to emotion and meet our needs. Listening to emotions and meeting needs is a whole book. More on how to get what you need next week. 

Step 3: Take things a little less personally

Simple, right?! It can be easy to take what’s going on for other people and make it about us. The reality, just like your emotions are the product of your body, history, and current context, theirs are too. Realizing this frees us from taking emotions personally.

The first step here is separating your feelings from the other persons. When you think, “Oh no, they didn’t call me back.” Rather than going straight to, “They hate me,” notice that you feel stressed, worried, and sad. Care for that. Once you recognize and care for your emotions, then you can begin to consider what’s going on for them. 

Remember: Everyone’s behavior makes sense in their system. 

Some good questions to ask to explore this are: 

  1. Q) What is that behavior/emotion so smart? 
  2. Q) What need does it meet? 
  3. Q) Why does it make sense? 

Questions like these help dig into the needs, history, and context beneath feelings, starting us down the road to curiosity and toward increased agency. 

That’s all for now folks. If you want to learn about any of these skills, check out Frankly 101: Become an Emotional Genius, a blended learning program designed to get you up and moving so you can learn EQ skills that stick.


Mieka Briejer is the founder of Frankly EQ; brain based emotional education which gives you the knowledge, tools, and hands-on practice you need to become an emotional genius. Got questions for Mieka? Reach out to her here.

Love Through the Mess

My toddler is having a melt down while I am changing my kicking, crying infant’s full diaper. As Grayson is jumping around to avoid my swatting, he hits my elbow then nearly plants his foot in the motherload resting on the ground by my knee. I start to lose it.

Who is this tyrant I gave birth to? What the hell is wrong with him? My normally calm voice breaks into a feverish mom voice. Like a boiling pot with a lid on, irrational things start to escape from my mouth. Some of them might be swear words. I start to threaten this small maniac. I sound kinda crazy.

And like that, a lifetime of training goes down the tubes. Mindfulness? Staying centered and grounded? Not today.

I begin to feel urgently that those with anger management issues should NEVER be parents. No one but my three year old has ever elicited this sort of rage from me. And he is a truly great kid.

Less than an hour later, the diaper is clean and Grayson is sitting happily drawing.

He’s perfectly fine. And I am still pissed. I feel harried, frazzled, tired, resentful and messy. I have not brushed my teeth or combed my hair and we need to get to preschool.

In some variation or degree, this is a weekly, if not daily experience for me. Even as I’m writing this, I can feel the pent up anger in my chest and the heaviness of the shaming voice saying “why don’t you have this figured out yet?! You’re supposed to be a teacher.”

I rack my brain for a mantra, a practice, a yoga pose that will help me stay calm through the chaos of my children, help me be a parent that’s a little more like Mr. Myagi, or like Buddha. But nothing seems all-encompassing enough for this….

…And then last night as I was closing up my computer, out of things to write (I did not come up with a mantra ) I recalled a conversation I had on Easter Sunday with my brother in law. He shared something he had heard his pastor say that morning. He said,

“The world is messy right now. Our job is simply to love through the mess.”

I was thinking it sounded like a great blog post but it did not occur to me until last night to apply it to my own little life. What if we could stop trying to fix things and just love?

What if I could stop trying to control my kids, running after Grayson with the vacuum, cringing every time he eats toothpaste? Just love him more, and perhaps more to the point, love myself more. Stop trying to “get it right”.

As I consider this idea of “loving through the mess”, my chest literally relaxes. It feels warm. My jaw softens.

Then I start to wonder….can I actually begin to love the mess itself? And then I realize, I already do.


Camron Momyer is a Reiki Therapist and Intuitive Healer based in Seattle, WA. By accessing more joy and less worry, she helps others easily step into their life purpose. You can learn more about her and book a remote reiki session on her website, www.soulsourcedenergy.com

 

#LoveThroughtheMess #love #selflove

The Authentic Self: Who are you?

Namaste: “My God honors the God inside you” Do you honor the God inside of you?

In 2015, I was traveling through India. I was in my 5th month of hot and dirty solo traveling when I wanted nothing more than to rest. I wanted a moment where I could let my guard down and just take a breath. I stumbled into a Traditional Tantra Ashram nestled behind Turtle Beach on the coast of Canacona. This was a decision that would change my life. Traditional Tantra Yoga is based on the practice of stripping away the limiting thoughts of the conscious mind and sinking into the true reality of one’s subconscious self. See it is here, in the subconscious, that we can access our link to the Divine reality. It’s really hard work but isn’t everything that is enlightening?

I stayed here for months and honestly, for a majority of the time I hated it! After 200 hours of yoga and a lot of self-study, I realized that I only hated it because it was pushing against the grain of my ego and my nature up until this point. One day I gave in. It was a particularly hot day and pushing through the 120-degree heat and 100 percent humidity was too much. I let go and did the work. I pushed into wheel pose and had a vision. The voice came from within me. It activated all of my cells. It said, “I am here to coach and teach!”

As I slowly lowered down to the hot concrete floor of the Shala practice space my conscious mind kicked in. It poked at me with questions such as “who are you to coach?”, “what if no one listens?”, and “what if you are bad at it?”. I rolled over and pushed up into Cobra, the southern Indian sun beat down on my chest, I took another deep breath and the vision came back with whispers of “You are a coach. You are a teacher. This is your calling. You will help others find their calling as well” I took another deep breath and pushed deeper into the palms of my hands laced with beads of sweat that has rolled down from my shoulders. Another deep breath and I smiled.

When we connect with our subconscious selves, in a space where there is no ego, no limiting conscious beliefs, then we are able to hear God (or The Divine). And, who are we to dismiss the word of God? Messages from The Divine are most often obtained when we meditate. In meditation, we are able to let go of the physical self, quiet the ego, and create space to listen to our God. I believe that we are all God’s, we just have to practice listening. This is when the answers to all questions will come.

Last year I wrote an article for Elephant Journal titled: “6 tools to discover whether you’re living from your head or your heart.” In this article I write about how to discover if one is living from the head (ego and conscious thought) or the heart (subconscious self). As explained above – I found my calling on top of the rooftop practice space in India – that is my calling, in this lifetime, to help people understand from where are they living and teaching. I support them as they make the change to listening to one’s Divine calling which resides in the heart.

Five years later, I realized that all of my clients were people looking to become a coach or teacher. From this, I created an online masterclass about discovering one’s authentic self and the importance of healing yourself before healing others. This masterclass encompasses my teachings of Traditional Tantra and Meditation. In this course, one will go through a series of meditations and journaling, that will help CLARIFY who you are as a healer. IDENTIFY your limiting beliefs. ACTUALIZE your practice. ATTRACT your perfect clientele. And, how to COACH WITH CONFIDENCE. If you have ever thought about becoming a coach, a teacher, or just crave to get in touch with your true subconscious self then I highly recommend this masterclass.

For Three Moon Collective readers, I would like to offer an 80% discount off this class which is valued at $650! Enter discover80 upon checkout at my website 

My God honors the God inside you. How will you honor your God and the Gods around you?


LeLa Becker is an inspirational author and a personal freedom coach for coaches. She has devoted her life to deep soul transformation and she is honored to share what has touched and transformed her with you, on this path. Learn more on her website www.MakeaChange.coach

CBD Company Myriad Wellness

Curious about CBD? Read This.

There is so much mystery surrounding Cannabidiol (CBD) and the endocannabinoid system (ECS), so the purpose of this article is to inform in laymen terms all of the factors that one should know in case you are curious about trying CBD.

Over the last 2 decades researchers have started to uncover a remarkable amount of information proving the legitimacy of endocannabinoid system and the cannabis plant’s application to it, but there is so much modern science still has yet to fully understand as well. It is humbling that in the age of technology and exponential advancement, this archaic plant and its coinciding regulatory system has still managed to outsmart us.

Having worked in the cannabis industry helping multiple CBD companies in their product development, there are a couple things that everyone should know before choosing a brand. (I want to preface this, for those who don’t know, any CBD products being sold over the counter LEGALLY are only allowed LESS THAN .3% THC. That is POINT THREE percent THC, so if you are worried about getting high it is very unlikely that this will be an issue, unless you are dosing many times over the suggested amount.)

1. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system, therefore everyone can benefit from CBD.

The reason why CBD has been successful treating so many diverse conditions is because our bodies create small amounts of endogenous cannabinoids that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the ECS that regulate our central and peripheral nervous systems. These endocannabinoids are called on when cellular function deviates from homeostasis, therefore maintaining optimal function of cognitive processes, the reproductive system, appetite, pain, mood and memory.

With that being said, due to our drastic change in diet in the last 100 years, our diets contain much less of the nutrients that are precursors to the production of the endocannabinoids that mitigate stress and inflammation, which have both been linked to a plethora of diseases. Even if you do not have health problems that need immediate attention, chances are the lifestyle you are living is not completely in alignment with your body’s operating system. Specifically, CBD can be useful to the modern day human because of the bombardment of information and over-stimulation of our brains neurons.

This is a huge reason why stress levels are higher than they’ve ever been. When a neuron is firing excessively, the neuron it is connected to produces Endocannabinoids that retroactively calm the neuron down to bring it back into homeostasis. That begs the question, then why are we still so stressed out? The answer is because our diets and lifestyles are vastly different from the diet of the prehistoric human, devoid of the nutrients from indigenous herbs and undomesticated plants that are required to keep up with our rapidly changing world. Supplementation of CBD can help with this, as well as moving toward an organic, non-processed diet consisting of seasonal seasonal foraging of indigenous plants. This might seem unrealistic but with the rise in cancer in an astonishingly short amount of time would suggest it necessary.

2. Isolate vs. Full Spectrum Oil

If you do any research on the CBD market, you will see the terms “Isolate” and “full spectrum oil” used, depending on the brand you are looking at. Lets break it down:

CBD Isolate

Many companies use the isolated CBD molecule to eliminate any THC (which is also a cannabinoid) in their products. The process by which this is done separates all the other cannabinoids (THC, THCA, THCV, delta-8 THC, CBDa, CBC, CBGa, CBN, CBDv), vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids. There are a couple reasons this could be, one being because of the potential legal ramifications if the FDA or DEA decides to penalize companies for using any THC whatsoever, even at the legal limit.

The other would be because it is most cost effective for the company making the products because it is so concentrated that it requires such a tiny amount to achieve the desired milligrams per unit. This is a great option for anyone who is extremely sensitive to THC or is worried about about a drug test. However, I would suggest reading the next section if you are hoping to use CBD to treat a health condition.

Full Spectrum CBD Oil

Many CBD companies are using a diluted full spectrum CBD oil (it is very concentrated and must be diluted to achieve less than .3% THC). This means that the whole plant is used to extract a full spectrum profile of plant properties, including cannabinoids (THC, THCA, THCV, delta-8 THC, CBDa, CBC, CBGa, CBN, CBDv), vitamins, minerals, protein, chlorophyll, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids. These compounds work together to produce a synergistic effect, commonly referred to as “the entourage effect”. Studies out of Israel have documented the superior therapeutic results from whole-plant cannabis extracts with the full spectrum of cannabinoids compared to just the isolated CBD molecule.image.png

Cannabinoids in full spectrum CBD oil

Terpenes

A huge contributor to this effect but are also the least commonly understood.  Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants and some insects. To date, there has been about 100 different terpenes discovered in various cannabis strains, but the synthesis of them depends on the climate, soil, age and stressors. The more rich with microbial biodiversity the soil, the more terpenes will be produced. Think about body odor, and how the more bacteria and dirt you have built up, the stinkier you will be. Terpenes are the body odor of the plant, the essential oils. They often have a strong odor and some have insecticidal properties, deterring herbivores and attracting predators of herbivores. 

image.png

Terpenes are what give off the distinctive aromas and flavors of plants, but they also control the effects that you feel from cannabis by controlling how much THC enters through the blood brain barrier and influencing neurotransmitters in various ways (depending on the terpene combination), causing us to relax, energize or uplift our mood. For example, Linalool is an anticonvulsant and could be used in conjunction with a full spectrum CBD oil to help control seizures. If you or someone you know is looking into CBD to treat pain or a medical condition, full spectrum oil is recommended because of the additional compounds that will work synergistically to relieve symptoms. My favorite full spectrum brand is Myriad Wellness. Check them out here.

3. Not all Hemp/CBD companies are created equal

One major point of confusion for many CBD consumers is language surrounding hemp oil content vs CBD content. For example, a company might say their products contain 250mg of Hemp oil. This can be very misleading because 250mg of Hemp oil and 250mg of CBD are not the same. Hemp oil may contain small amounts of CBD but unless there is clear statement of how many milligrams of CBD is in that product, it may not be worth the price. If you are using CBD for chronic pain or illness misleading labels such as this can also give the illusion that you are dosing more CBD than in reality, consequently requiring more of the product or an inability to attain desired relief.

Not all Hemp plants are created equal either. Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means if it’s grown in toxic soil it will uptake the toxins and remove them from the soil. Hemp can be used to clean up nuclear and radioactive waste from the ground and repurposed into a hemp “plastic”. This is great for the planet, but turning that same product into health supplement would not be wise. Much of the hemp in the market is grown in places like Kentucky and Tennessee, which are some of the most heavily mono-cropped and sprayed areas in the world, primarily with Glyphosate or “RoundUp”.

This toxic herbicide stimulates cell mutations (cancer), interferes with cellular communication (your body’s immune system) and destroy the gut microbiome (also linked to many diseases). Glyphosate is used heavily in these areas because mono-crop farms cannot naturally compete with native weeds due to the lack of biodiversity that would eat, deter or outgrow the weeds naturally. Glyphosate can travel up to 2 miles in either direction, which is all to say that you should be very selective over WHERE your CBD oil originated. Even if it was not sprayed directly, it could have come in contact, depending on the area that it was grown in. The lack of biodiversity from spraying and mono-cropping also translates to the soil, where much of the microbial interactions happen that stimulate terpene production.

When the soil biodiversity is gone, the plants that grow there will in turn be less nutritious and medicinal because they are up taking less nutrients from the soil. Think about the old saying, “you are what you eat”.  The same issues apply to the food we eat. A plant can only be as nutritious as the soil it is grown in, which is a huge reason for a lot of the health issues our society is facing now as a result of large agricultural corporation produce and their unsustainable farming practices. I recommend selecting a brand that’s hemp was grown in Oregon, where the farming laws are much more strict, the land has not been heavily mono-cropped or sprayed, and the natural eco-system lends to a more rich soil, rather than the dust bowl soil of the midwest.

Myriad Wellness’s hemp is grown and extracted by naturopathic doctors in Oregon, where they have very strict farming regulations and all of the oil is rigorously tested for purity. Myriad also donates 5% of their products to an organization called Growing Veterans, because of studies that suggest CBD has positive effects on PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Make the environmentally responsible choice to know where your hemp comes from, and support ethical farming practices. The industry is just taking off, and what we support now will be what we get in the future.


This blog post was written by Maria Swanson of Myriad Wellness. Want to give their products and CBD a try? Use promo code ThreeMoon15 for an extra 15% off at checkout. Browse their products here.

Wellness Around the World: Latvian Summer Solstice

latvian summer solstice celebrationMy name is Datza and I was born and raised in Latvia. I’m currently a teacher and owner of Datza Studios here in cozy Eastlake neighborhood. Latvia is a tiny country by the Baltic Sea, just across from Sweden, east of Poland and west of Russia. Yasss, we were part of Soviet Union but we have way a different language and culture. Proud to be pagans, proud to be Latvians!

I love love my country but somehow life brought be me to US. First, it was east coast for a few summers and a little over 15 years ago – Seattle. Change is constant and life thrives on change; it is the essence of the 2nd chakra and the story of my life. It’s also one the main teachings of Yoga (union of mind, body and soul).

Yoga for me is more than just asanas, yoga is the practice through which we are able to liberate ourselves and create the freedom we desire (in the yoga universe we call it Moksha). I’m more than grateful for my Yoga Teacher Training at Samadhi where most of the teachings were about yoga philosophy and most of the practice teaching was done after the regular hours with friends, other trainees and our mentor. Shout out to Jennifer Isaacson, Kathleen Hunt and Steve Shiva!

garden yogaIt’s been over 10 years since I was introduced to yoga and I constantly find similarities between yoga and my upbringings in Latvia. As pagans, we believe that there are higher spirits and nature Gods who guide us, who help us, and who can also destroy us, if we are ignorant to their messages. Yoga sutras states:  “Ignorance is the seed of the suffering.” We have our Earth, Wind, Sun and other gods similar to Hinduism where there is Kali, Shakti, Shiva etc. We have Latvian mythology symbols weaved into our clothing, put in our houses, and even on our bodies. We accept that mood and energy levels change, and when we get sick the first treatment would be natural remedy – herb tea, mixture etc. Ayurveda would be the word we know here and is a sister of yoga!

We have always been taught to live in the moment – the power of NOW. We believe that happiness is freedom and you become more free by getting together and singing and dancing (which is pretty much a must for every event), whether it’s a name day, birthday or other festivity. Every 4 years we have a National Song and Folk festival when Latvians from our country and abroad come together for a week and express themselves through singing and movement.

Did you know that Latvian language is one of the closest languages to Sanskrit? Did you know that we still celebrate summer solstice and it’s a national holiday? Summer solstice celebration is the biggest festivity in Latvian culture, same as the Deities celebration in Hinduism (celebrating deities like Kali, Shiva etc.)

latvian summer solstice attireIn Latvia we call it “Jani” and it is always the night from June 23 to June 24 when all Latvians participate in joyous festivities just like the ancestors did centuries ago. “Jani” celebration dates back to middle ages and is a celebration of nature and the changing of seasons mixed with all traditions.

Yes, it is a national holiday!  Everyone tries to get out in the country to their relatives and our friends and just eat, drink, dance and sing.

I can tell you for hours and go in details but to keep it short yet sweet, there are few things which are just plain mandatory and you will find during the celebration:

  1. Bonfire – definitely the hallmark of the festivities. We sit by the bonfire and wait for the sun to come up. Late in the evening when the bonfire becomes smaller, we jump over it which signifies ridding people of their burdens. Couples jump together and the magical force of the flames binds them for life. The bonfire also helps to keep the insects away.
  2. Latvian food– must have “Jani”cheese (a sour cheese made with caraway seeds) and beer. Gotta keep our bodies alive all night long!
  3. Garlands for everyone made of oak leaves or wild flowers – they were believed to have magic powers during the summer solstice. Houses are also decorated with birch oak and rowan branches to keep the evil spirits away.
  4. “Field Trip Into the Woods” – it is believed that the Summer Solstice night is the only night when one can see the mysterious and mythical fern flower. No one really has seen it yet, but it is a great excuse for couples to wander into the unknown. The fact is, 9 month later there are lots of newborns.
  5. Stay up till the Sunrise – we are up in the North and daylight on the “Jani” night is only a few hours. If you end up falling asleep by the time the sun rises, you will be sleepy all summer long and who wants that? At dawn, one should find water and wash their face in order to have a fresh glow all summer long. Walking through the morning dew is said to bring wealth.

summer solstice bonfireSummer Solstice from early childhood has been the highlight of the year because finally we could stay up all night, wander around in nature and see family and friends getting silly, yet happy.

I’m more than stoked to announce that we will be celebrating the Summer Solstice and National Yoga Day on Friday, June 21st at our Studio – Datza Studios.

Most of our studio teachers will be there to guide you through their own variation of Sun Salutations since the Sun is what we celebrate on Summer Solstice. In between, Teju (professional story teller from India who is going back on her travels after the event) will educate us on Creator (Brahma), Preserver (Vishnu) and Destroyer (Shiva) and how it is linked with the summer solstice even though down in India they don’t celebrate it (too close to the equator).

The best part – you will feel and look good since after the practice there will be a Nordstrom beauty pop-up with oxygen facials and other goodies.

For more info & to register, follow this link.


Datza Telmane is a local yoga teacher and owner of Datza Studios in Eastlake.

Wellness: Create Your Own Definition

Wellness is a buzzy word these days.

It’s an umbrella term that we can apply to almost anything, and the amount of wellness modalities, practices, and rituals that are out there is frankly overwhelming.

So how exactly do we define wellness for ourselves? Some people might think that wellness is waking up at sunrise and meditating or practicing yoga. If this is your version of wellness, that’s amazing! For me, it’s not at all realistic. But for a long time (and until just very recently!) I thought that this early-rising, lengthy ritual of morning wellness was THE epitome of wellness and what I needed to do in order to consider myself a “well” person.

The truth is, we are not allowed to beat ourselves up with things that are good for us (learned this from a former life coach). If we read self-help books, we can’t punish ourselves for not following their guidance. If we practice yoga occasionally, we can’t berate ourselves in class for not coming more often. If we buy into this cycle of negativity, our vision of self-care and attainable wellness practices will become narrower, and narrower, until we’d rather just call the whole thing off.

What I’d like to propose, is instead of viewing wellness as something that we are grasping for, to view wellness as something that we already do (!) and can layer on to. I have a few suggestions on how to do so below, but above all I want to give you permission to create a new definition of wellness for yourself. One that is free of any outside influence, unique to you, and that you actually enjoy!

food as wellness“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

This is the simple motto of US-based journalist Michael Pollan who explores this idea in his book and accompanying show, “In Defense of Food.” When it comes to nutritional wellness, keeping it simple is the way to go. I also no longer force myself to eat “healthy” foods that I don’t like. If you don’t like the currently trending “super food,” don’t eat it! It’s much easier for me to nourish my body when I eat foods I enjoy.

Add movement to your meditation.

A seated meditation practice has always been difficult for me, so I was really excited when I was recently introduced to Kundalini Yoga / Meditation. It’s weird, but the repetitive movements that you perform in sets or “kriyas,” are incredibly powerful for moving stagnant energy and uniting mind and body. I would highly recommend going to a class for the full experience, but you can also find short and impactful Kundalini meditations on Insight Timer, Youtube, or Alo Moves

wellness teaUp-level the ways you already take care of yourself.

Some days, I wake up late and seem to move straight into my day without even taking a moment to be intentional or breathe deeply. But what do I always do before leaving the house? Brush my teeth and go through my skin care routine. These are ways I already care for my body (but didn’t really count as wellness), and by adding an extra layer of intention like adding a drop of essential oil to my dry brush, or lovingly massaging lotion onto my body, or even listening to my favorite song while brushing my teeth, has allowed me to practice self-care without adding a lot of extra time or steps. What are the things you always do that you could add a little intention to? Here’s a list of 45 small self-care practices if you need some inspiration.

 

Reinvent your definition of wellness.

I will assume that because you are here, you most likely have an interest in wellness. But if any of my words don’t resonate, that is totally okay because I am not for everyone and even more importantly, everyone is not for you! As you chart your own wellness path, you get to choose who your teachers are, where you attend class, and what kind of inspiration you take from those around you. Wellness is incredibly personal, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. My mission through Three Moon Collective is to introduce and share many kinds of wellness in hopes that they resonate with our community. If you’re interested in being part of this community and exploring wellness with us, I’d encourage you to sign up for our weekly newsletter here, or explore our Collective of diverse wellness practitioners.

For a daily dose of wellness, follow us at @threemooncollective on Instagram. 


Hannah Exner is the founder of Three Moon Collective and still creating her own personal definition of wellness. Follow her at @hannahexner or send her an email at hello@threemooncollective.com. This blog post originally appeared on Head + Heart

Wellness Around The World: Curanderos in Mexico

My name is Rafael Toledo but just about everyone calls me Kiko. I was born in Texas, first generation American of Mexican parents. I spent every summer in Mexico as a child then at 15, I moved there. From there I lived in San Diego, Florida, Beijing for a bit, Seattle and recently a little island offshore called Vashon. I studied biology and chemistry in college and worked as a research scientist in neuroscience for about 6 years before completely changing careers. I initially became interested in wellness because of experiences I had with my father and the world he introduced me to at a young age. Which brings me to a topic that extends wellness past our southern border: Curanderos, aka Mexican Alternative Healers.

My father practiced traditional pediatric cardiology but quickly became frustrated with its limits and inefficiencies and began to explore alternatives. He began in Mexico and let me tag along as an 11 or 12 year-old kid. We visited and interviewed dozens of Curanderos. They were somewhat underground, though not hard to find since most people hesitated to admit visiting one, but visited nonetheless. There was plenty of wonder in these visits, especially for a curious boy. Dark smoky rooms filled with a roller-coaster ride of quiet whispers, frantic screaming, cry-sobbing, flicking out demons and curses, as well as rolling eggs along the body and cracking them open to expose black, smelly and spoiled yolks. Lots of candles and incense and chanting. I loved it, and thought it was quite the adventure.

Recently, we’ve come to appreciate many of these ancient practices – Ayahuasca, Tepezcohuite and Nopales to name a few. But it was a bit different in the late 80’s. These remedies were seen as superstitious and a just a little bit backwoodsy (before backwoodsy was a good thing). The conclusion we came to after many sessions and interviews was that in many cases, yes, the herb, oil or tea helped. But more than that, folks needed a space to unload. To talk about their taboo desires and anxieties disguised as demons. Metaphor manifested as reality. Most people wouldn’t go to a Curandero for a broken bone and the good Curanderos (there were crooked ones as in any industry) would send away people with more serious maladies.

No, most would visit for those hard-to-pinpoint ailments. The pains traditional medicine is terrible at diagnosing, let alone correcting. It’s so much easier to unload, inspect and let go of emotions and uncertainties in a dark room smelling of burnt herbs with a cup of pungent tea in your hands than it is with a cardiologist and his unblinking notepad in a sterile medical facility. As the child of an MD, I know this first hand.

What I took away from those experiences, as well as my stint in science, was to try to keep an open mind. To try to not judge what works for others as a way to heal. To not be intimidated by new words or concepts and use it as an opportunity to learn. To not let the uncertainty of something lead me to grasp at the first person with a purported cure. To question, experiment and be grateful for what works for me and put aside that which doesn’t. To challenge the things I don’t understand, but to try and be willing to listen to the response without prejudice. To take the best of time-tested remedies (the healing power of Manuka honey is real ya’ll!) and those developed by science.

After all, the best science is just an interpretation of Nature. The powerful results of meditation are as real as the life saving capabilities of a heart transplant.


Kiko Toledo works in video production and lives on Vashon Island with his wife Lindsey. Feel free to tell him about your favorite backwoodsy remedies or ask about what they use in Mexico at @rkikotoledo. Or if you’re as interested in seeing the various sides of the world as he is, say hello at @ramblinhombrefoto

Nutrition – A Health Journey

a healthy balanced mealMy name is Kerry Smith and I’d like to take you on a little health journey with me.

For many years my health was declining and I suffered from a lot of symptoms. To name a few: adrenal depletion, depression, kidney stones, gall bladder removal, carpal tunnel, osteoarthritis, food allergies, seasonal allergies, high cholesterol, benign arrhythmia, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, inflammation, and severe leaky gut (malabsorption syndrome). Whew! It wasn’t a fun time of life. I was taking over 30 pills a day, including supplements and digestive enzymes. I was reluctant to leave home because of the severe lack of energy. Some days I could barely get out of bed.

When I did go places, I would have huge anxiety that I might not get to a bathroom fast enough when I needed to. After many doctors and lab tests, I eliminated the food allergens (including gluten and dairy) and started on a 10 year journey of personal trials and research to find relief and healing. I had such severe leaky gut that labs showed I wasn’t absorbing nutrients at all. Needless to say, I was extremely discouraged, feeling hopeless and thinking that I would never heal.

whole foods are the key to healthThe good news though, is that I was introduced to some amazing whole food plant powders that I COULD absorb, and the rest is history. Because they were readily bioavailable and because I was so nutritionally depleted, I could feel the nutrients going through my blood stream within a couple of hours. I thought of it as “Veggie Crack”! I had so much energy I couldn’t sit still. It was crazy.

After 4 months my labs showed that my nutrient levels were coming up, my hormones levels were increasing, and I felt so much better! People were commenting on how much better I looked. My skin was glowing, and I had boundless energy.

I have gluten and dairy allergies, so I never eat them, but I can now eat most any other foods when before I could only tolerate bone broth and a few lightly steamed veggies. My labs have continued to improve. In fact, my cholesterol dropped almost 100 points. I haven’t had any kidney stones, my heart rate has stabilized, I have no seasonal allergies any more, and I am off all my medications, including thyroid meds. And if that isn’t enough good news, I no longer have leaky gut symptoms!

kerry's health journey takes her everywhere!I am so healthy that when I had a complete hip replacement a year ago, 2 weeks post-surgery I walked in to the doctor’s office with no walker, only using one crutch as a precaution. He told me I could ditch the crutch. He said I was in the top 5 percent of his patients for fast healing and he operates on a lot of athletes! I was a 65-year-old woman with osteoarthritis!! Three months after the replacement, the doctor sent me on my way to travel and hike around the country, no follow-ups necessary.

I have been traveling with my husband in our Airstream trailer since June of 2018. I would NEVER have been able to do that, even 2 years ago. My health has changed so dramatically that this is my lifestyle now, my new normal, and I love it!


Kerry Smith is the founder of Granny Owl and a wholesome lifestyle blogger and advocate. Follow her health journey on her Instagram and on her website, or connect with her via email at kerry@grannyowl.com.

Looking for more nutrition support? Browse our Collective of recommended and referred nutrition-focused practitioners.

Going to PT sucks…and I’m a Physical Therapist

Guys – I’m going to level with you. I hated the thought of going to physical therapy (PT). I hated the idea of having to be someplace at a certain time. I hated the thought of doing something I didn’t want to do, and I hated paying $40 a visit for it. So I didn’t. And I limped around for 1.5 years until I had a “Come to Jesus” talk with a friend and decided I was too young to be limping.

So I got on board, made an appointment, went to a PT that someone recommended to me, and laid it all on the table. She listened to me and let me vent a bit as I gave her my long history of aches and pains. I’m also fairly certain I told her I was going to be a “bad patient”, and then she pointedly asked me, “do you want to get better?” My response was, “I’m here, aren’t I?” (side note: I knew this was the wrong answer, but I couldn’t help myself!)

First rule of PT: if you don’t actually want to be there, you’re not going to get anything out of it.

It was after my first or second session, that I started thinking about the bigger picture – that being someplace physically is not the same as being “all in” and mentally present. That half-assing it wasn’t going to work and I wasn’t going to measure up. So I dug deep and decided I was going to practice what I preached. I was on time for each of my sessions, I worked hard at it, and I got better.

But that’s not really the lesson I’m working on teaching you guys. I’m here to tell you that I know what it’s like to be on the other side; to be a patient and to not want to be there.

My first session was an hour long, spent one-on-one with my PT where she asked me a lot of questions! We spent a good chunk of time going over what brought me there to begin with, how long I had been in pain, and what my goals were for PT. She typed while I talked, and then she took at look at my body; she watched me walk, squat, monitored my movements in my hip and spine, and also measured my strength. After that, she walked me through her findings.

What I loved was that Jen asked if I wanted to be the patient or a PT patient (most PTs are terrible patients!). She took me through the mechanics of what she saw and the plan she would like for me. The most important thing, was that she asked how I felt about that plan and if I had any input that needed to be added. To all you readers out there, this is the most important thing I can teach you:

Find a PT who values your opinion and recognizes that you know your body better than anyone else! The only way you will benefit from PT, is if there is a true partnership between you and your PT.

Being the patient was terrible! I sucked at the exercises – they were all hard and made me feel super klutzy. I knew they were valuable, but man did I break a sweat. Jen chatted with me through all my exercises to keep my mind distracted, but made a point to check in and see how my body was feeling. If I was in pain or uncomfortable, she also made it a point to re-direct my body if it was going haywire and moving of its own volition.

After my first session, I felt rough because my body was tired; but also felt incredibly humbled. Most of us challenge our bodies on a daily basis – 90 min yoga classes in heated rooms, 75 min spin classes, 10 mile obstacle course races, etc; but these itty bitty exercises put all of that to shame. Standing on one leg with your eyes closed on an unstable surface is LEGIT.

Because I’m a terrible patient, I didn’t do nearly as much of my homework as I should have. Once I told Jen that, she tapered my exercises down each week and would say things like “how many exercises are manageable for you this week?” Being able to choose made a big difference in my mental shift from “homework” to “exercise I choose to do”. They were still tough, but I made it a point to do them daily!

I’m not sure that I can pinpoint the exact session when it all clicked, but what I can tell you is this:

When I sat down to write this article, I realized that what I got out of those sessions was more than physical.

Yes my hip got stronger, but so did my mind. I learned that I can always push myself to do “one more rep”, that I can be completely unwavering when it comes to doing a hard exercise. I learned that the mind-body connection is one of the most important connections we have and shouldn’t be undervalued. Lastly, I learned that all of the things I tell my patients are things I truly believe in:

Your attitude can change your pain, sleep matters, and having a good relationship with your PT can be inspiring, insightful, and one of the most powerful agents in helping you achieve your goals. So find one you like!


Sejal Gajarawala is a local physical therapist with 15 years of experience. She believes in a holistic and comprehensive approach – along with manual therapy – leads to a mindful treatment. She can be reached at: sgajarawala@gmail.com