Category Archives: getting healthy

Discover the Joys of Movement

This feels like a good time to share an excerpt from my
Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit book (2nd ed. 2011).
If you would appreciate inspiration and encouragement about choosing a joyful way to move, then you’ll enjoy this!

Chapter 15

Discover the Joys of Movement

Years ago I noticed how certain words with similar meanings prompted different reactions. I stopped saying “exercise” when I discovered that my next thought was “No pain, no gain.” That didn’t sound like much fun for me, so I began substituting the word “movement” for “exercise.” My clients smiled and their bodies relaxed when I would suggest they find a form of movement that would be just right for them.

While in my mid-forties, I could not always find a tennis or racquetball partner and sometimes felt bored lifting weights or riding a cycle that went nowhere. I had taken jazz dance classes for years but my work schedule often conflicted with the class schedule. During this time I discovered a holistic form of movement called Nia. Nia is a transformational fusion fitness and lifestyle practice that blends selected movements from the martial arts, the dance arts, and the healing arts. Nia uses The Body’s Way to achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being. Anyone can enjoy Nia because it encourages all participants to listen to the wisdom of their bodies. It brings out the inner dancer in everyone—especially in people who were told in their childhood (or adulthood) that they couldn’t dance or were too clumsy. All sizes, shapes, and ages can joyfully participate. If you are in a wheelchair or have a limited range of motion, you can enjoy the arm movements, music, sensations, sounds, and images created through Nia routines.

I discovered a passion for Nia that continues to inspire me to want to care for and nourish all aspects of my being. I am a certified black belt Nia instructor and have been teaching since 1999. I delight in being a dancing grandmother! And I must share this—I got a kick out of turning 60 in 2009 and love being able to get down and get back up again with ease! Nia has opened the doorway to profound joy, healing, passion, and wholeness in my life and in the lives of Nia students across the globe.

You can learn more by taking a Nia class or by reading The Nia Technique—The High-Powered Energizing Workout That Gives You a New Body and a New Life by Nia co-creators Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas. If you visit the Web site www.nianow.com you will find listings for classes all over the world.

Dance and martial arts don’t excite you? Simply walking each day can bring a sense of calm and provide cardiovascular benefits. If you move through your day via wheelchair or a Segway, taking time to get outside and connect your wheels to the earth can heighten your awareness as you take in all that surrounds you. If you like cycling or in-line skating, you can do that with attention to what’s flying by you. Whether you are walking, rolling, or jogging you can feel the wind on your face and through your hair. Delight in your senses. Smell the moment, see what you are traveling in and around, touch a flower or a rock or tree. Twenty to 30 minutes of movement each day freshens the mind and gently massages the heart in many ways. If you walk or roll everywhere you go, make time to do a part of it with a real intention of being fully in your body; an intention and recognition of “being here now” rather than on your way someplace else.

If health concerns seriously limit your ability to move, I offer a pearl of wisdom that my mother’s hospice counselor, Randi, suggested to her. Just a few days before my mother passed away, she confided in Randi that she realized she would never dance again. This wise and compassionate counselor took my mother’s hand and said, “Helen, close your eyes, and let’s dance together right now.” The mind is magnificent, and my mother smiled as she enjoyed visions of dancing one last time. Let your imagination guide you to enjoyable places now. Don’t wait.

It’s important to note that some people don’t have the problem of finding a movement form that suits them—they have found something and over-do it to the detriment of their body/mind. And in this arena of health concerns, if you or someone you love deals with disordered eating and over-exercising, Peach Friedman’s captivating book, Diary of an Exercise Addict, provides inspiration and support for healing.

And so, I advocate closing your eyes for a moment and thinking of a form of movement that creates joyful feelings and suits your wellness path. This joyful activity is the one to start with if you’re seeking a way to add more movement to your life. After selecting your first option, you might want to see if this movement involves strength, flexibility, and a cardiovascular benefit. (Nia provides all of these, by the way.) If not, the next step would be to consider adding another type of movement that includes these elements. Let this form of movement stir your passion and your pleasure.

 

Suggestions for Implementing the Ideas in This Chapter

  1. Think of a form of movement that creates joyful feelings and suits your wellness path. Nia, yoga, tennis, jogging, hiking, Pilates, golf, dancing, biking, aerobics, tai chi, softball, skiing, rock climbing, swimming, walking, skating—these are just some of the choices you have.
  2. Does this movement involve strength, flexibility, and a cardiovascular benefit? If not, the next step would be to consider adding another type of movement that includes these elements.
  3. Consider working out with a buddy. This is a great way to motivate and support both of you in creating time to discover the many joys of movement.
  4. Walking is a wonderful way to provide cardio-vascular benefits. Have fun stretching before and after you walk and you’ve added flexibility into your plan. If you have a gym membership, add weights and “play” with how it feels to strengthen your body. An alternative is to buy weights (second-hand stores always seem to have this type of equipment around) and check with a personal trainer or find a good book from the library to guide you. Less is more in this arena, as you never want to strain your muscles. It’s important to skip a day to allow your muscle fibers to rebuild properly. So if you do an upper body workout one day, focus on lower body the next.
  5. Set the intention to participate in healthy movement activities every two days. Seek pleasure in your choices, be playful, and don’t overdo.

Excerpt from chapter 15 of Wellness Wisdom, 2nd ed., 2011, by Susan Tate

LEARN MORE about FREE Nia classes with Susan at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center at the University of Virginia.

©2000 – 2017 Susan Tate

Copyright 2011 by Susan Tate

13 Tips for Transformational Wellness

13 TIPS FOR TRANSFORMATIONAL

“All transformation begins with an intense burning desire to be transformed.”
~Wayne Dyer

Do you have this intense burning desire to transform a part of you life that isn’t serving you? Are you looking for a little less stress in your life? Are you desiring to feel more love? Do you want to feel really, really well?

These 13 Tips for Transformational Wellness will take only 13 seconds to read. Then you can choose one to practice–and of course practicing them will take MORE than 13 seconds–but they are all capable of adding to your well-being. And all of them are filled with love.

We get to take one step at at time on our wellness path. Which one will you choose for your next step?

  1. Intend to be well
  2. Listen to your body
  3. Nourish the body/mind temple
  4. Live in the present moment
  5. Pray and/or meditate
  6. Seek balance and pleasure
  7. Speak your truth with kindness
  8. Reframe worrying
  9. Cultivate forgiveness
  10. Practice peace
  11. Love radically
  12. Don’t complain
  13. Magnify gratitude

If you would like suggestions for implementing each of these tips, you will enjoy learning more in my book, Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit.

Buy Into the Mouths of Babes on Amazon

Please let me know which one you picked to play with today! Please leave a comment here or come on over to my SusanTateCommunity Facebook page and share your thoughts.

©2016 Susan Tate

Affirmations for Your Wellness Path

Affirmations for Wellness

We have over 60,000 thoughts a day and most of them were also bonking around in our heads yesterday. These thoughts most often reflect our subconscious beliefs. So, the power in a positive affirming statement is that it can slowly but surely become a welcome part of those repetitive thoughts and eventually become a belief. You can affirm something peaceful or affirm something to create worry or suffering. You get to choose. And although most people find daily affirmations make their lives feel better, they do not “work” simply by saying, “I am getting healthier every day” while you are sitting on the sofa eating bonbons. There’s a saying I love, “Pray and move your feet!”

Here are the “Affirmations for Wellness” I share in my Wellness Wisdom book.  At the end of these affirmations, you’ll find resources to support you in reprogramming your subconscious beliefs, which are about 95% of your thoughts. I think of affirmations as a way of “recording over” the old beliefs. Have fun in your own personal recording studio!

 

AFFIRMATIONS FOR WELLNESS

I accept balance in all aspects of me; including my mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional self.

I am enough.

Every cell in my body vibrates with health.

I forgive myself and I forgive others for any behaviors or beliefs
that have caused pain.

I release and bless all thoughts and beliefs that no longer serve
my highest purpose.

God (or whatever you call the Divine) is at home in me.

I am filled with gratitude for the abundant blessings I constantly receive
from Spirit.

I allow myself to love greatly and be greatly loved.

I am constantly discovering my joy and it is powerful.

I am surrounded by feelings of harmony and peace.

I accept and receive all of my good now.

I lovingly accept joyful health to flow in and through my body.

I accept radiant health and wholeness.

I am a generous giver and a gracious receiver.

I commit to taking more time each day to be silent and still.

I know that now is the God moment.

I express my emotions with authenticity and clarity.

I speak with kindness, truth, and compassion.

I joyfully live a life full of integrity.

I mindfully choose my response to any circumstance
or condition.

I am grateful for my body.

I revel in wholeness.

Affirmations from my book: Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit by Susan Tate

Resources, affirmations, and support for re-writing that old script in your head!

Become What You Believe: Free 21-day meditation series from Deepak Choprak & Oprah Winfrey (started 11-2-15)

The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Louise Hay’s 101 Power Thoughts

The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton

The MindBody Code: How to Change the Beliefs that Limit Your Health, Longevity, and Success by Mario Martinez

The Tapping Solution by Mark Hyman, MD  and Nick Ortner

 

 

Eggshells, Loving-Kindness, and Observettes

Eggshells

It recently dawned on me that any time I have felt like I was walking on eggshells, I was actually the one that had put them there. Has that been true for you too?

Looking back, I now realize I had put those imaginary eggshells there because I had a fear of speaking my truth. But not anymore . . . I now have the intention to communicate in a loving, kind, and timely manner—even when it’s difficult. It is my intention to speak directly to the person (rather than text or email). And here’s the important part; I need to let go of the result.

Going back to the eggshells for a moment, sometimes those eggshells may be there to protect us from harm. Sometimes we intuitively know that it may not be safe for us to speak our truth to someone who may not be able to access his or her own highest and best self. In this case, I encourage you to seek professional support for handling this situation and creating empowering ways to stay safe, grounded, and to not feel like a victim.

At other times, those eggshells might appear when we are afraid to speak the truth (with loving-kindness and respect) to a boss, co-worker, friend, or family member who we think holds power over us. Okay, so you may not want to lose your job or your inheritance, but do you want to be treated poorly? We teach people how to treat us. If there are patterns of behavior that have created well-worn (rather than wellness-worn) paths, consider changing the destination on your GPS. In other words, if you’re walking on eggshells, you might want to walk down a different path.

I’ve also been consciously observing negative energy or situations and realizing that I can either absorb it (which feels awful) or pause and lovingly and without judgment, simply observe it all. Oh, the observing feels so much better! My good friend, Donna, would call that being an “observette.” Would you rather absorb it or observe it? Do you want pain? Or do you want peace?

Tate’s Tips for Becoming a Loving Observette

1. Observe, rather than absorb stressful feelings and situations.

2. Speak the truth with kindness, clarity, and compassion.

3. Let go of the result.

4. Teach people how to treat you.

5. Seek support when dealing with someone who is capable of

inflicting physical harm.

 

Note: I wrote this article a few years ago but was compelled to share it again now. In the past few months I have heard more people expressing sadness and discomfort about feeling it was never a good time to say what was really on their minds. I still have feelings like this, although I find it to be less and less as the years pass. These five steps above have been a good guide for me. Wishing you peace.

 

 

 

 

The book I didn’t write in 1985

As many of you know, my first book, Into the Mouths of Babes, was published in 1984. But it seems a year later I had another book in mind.

IMG_0908My daughter recently came across this piece of yellow construction paper with a list I wrote in 1985 of 14 things I could do every day to find good health and keep it. (We still can’t figure out how it ended up in her treasure box of memorabilia.) As you can see, the first line reads: The – I Want to get Healthy Book by Susan Firkaly, (my former name). I chuckled when I read the list since so many of the things I wrote then have become part of the wellness work I have been sharing for the past 45 years!

For those of you who didn’t know me in the 80s—I was a 30-something mother of two children, teaching high school full time, and generally knocking myself out attempting to take care of my family. Although we were vegetarians, I could have metaphorically been described as one of those women who could “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man!” (A jingle from an old perfume commercial showing a super competent take-charge woman who represented the feminist “superwoman” of the time.)

In my picture of myself as a modern mother of my generation, I was probably wearing a Wonder Woman cape. Well, underneath the cape was a woman with a constant flow of stress-related illnesses. I had colds, sinus infections, the flu every year, a stomach ulcer, IBS, anemia, and had tubal ligation surgery in 1983 that almost killed me when the doctor hit an artery.

On top of all of that, I had a series of whacky accidents. I totaled my car a half-mile from our house on December 24. No, it wasn’t icy; I just went off the one part of the beautiful country road–actually actually attempting to avoid an accident–and hit a cement culvert rather than just dirt. It caused my car to flip over, smashing it as it landed sideways across the two lane Virginia road. I had a serious neck injury and minor bruises. Angels were with me, truly, and I shall take this opportunity to remind everyone “seat belts save lives!” And, oh yes, you might want to know I was on my way to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed.

Then there was the time I slipped on some soda that someone spilled on aisle 12 of the supermarket and I ended up with torn ligaments in my right knee and had to have knee surgery to repair the damage. (I sometimes told people it was a skiing accident since sliding down the aisle in the grocery store wasn’t nearly as fun to say.)

In the early 90s I began working at the University of Virginia. But the Wonder Woman cape offered no protection from several years of uterine problems. I ended up having a hysterectomy—the surgery complicated by a blood clot in my lung.

That was the old me.

So you can see, I was not the vibrantly healthy and happy dancing woman you know today! Why am I sharing this now? Because I don’t want any of you to attempt to take care of everyone else but yourself—the way I did then. The only way I felt I could get taken care of was through illnesses and accidents. It was TOTALLY subconscious.

Feeling in a rather reflective mood lately, I just wanted to let you know my wellness path had quite a few twists and turns (think knee twisting and a car turning over) and your path may have had–or be having–some bumps too.

The list I made in 1985 was a pretty wise one! In fact, I just realized that although I didn’t write that book back then, much of it was poured into my fourth book, Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body, & Spirit (2007, 2009).

So, here’s the list of the 14 things I wrote on the yellow construction paper on January 26, 1985 along with my comments from today in italics.

1. Think positive ~ I still do this but would add a note of how important it is to also honor the painful feelings first and then letting them go and THEN thinking positive. I used to skip that other part—and the pain had to go somewhere–for me, it got stuck in my uterus . . .)

2. Meditate and pray ~ Today I would move this to number 1.

3. Eat well ~ But of course.

4. Take iron

5. B-complex

6. C

7. Multi-vit    ~  4 – 7 cracked me up, as I am the vitamin taking (and selling) queen! Nine years ago I wisely partnered with a top-rated global nutrition company, USANA Health Sciences, and now I share these supplements with those who are a good match for them. I am a good match—as my last 9 years have been my healthiest years ever!

8. Sit ups  ~ I haven’t done sit ups in years! But I “play” with my abdominal and core muscles all the time through my Nia practice. It’s much more fun than sit ups.

9. Aerobic dance ~ Now, Nia friends, doesn’t this just make you smile?  In 1997 I discovered the joyful, somatic, and yes, aerobic, dance/fitness practice of The Nia Technique. Nia has been a vital part of my vibrant health and in-shape-not-sore-anywhere-strong-65-year old body!

10. Drink juice instead of Coke ~ Yes, I was a Coke (Coca-Cola!) addict for 2 decades! Yikes! It was my drink of choice. I loved the caffeine, I loved the sugar, I drank more than you could every imagine me drinking. Then, one day, on my way back from Portland after attending my Nia Blue Belt Intensive Training, I just stopped. And today, I advocate water instead of juice—there’s just too much sugar in the juice. I enjoy eating the whole fruit (with the fiber still in tact and no added sugars) instead.

11. Do Kegals ~ Oh, yes, and so many other pelvic floor strengthening exercises too!

12.  Read ~ I know I put that on that list because I was only reading non-fiction, professional research-based books and articles at the time. Now I also, finally, read purely for pleasure.

13.  Write ~ Doing that, loving writing, will stop only when I’m dead.

14.  Think healthy  ~ Oh, the research on this one is another book in itself! (I recommend any books or YouTube videos by Bruce Lipton or Mario Martinez on this topic.) Our beliefs control our health way more than our genes do!

BACK TO YOU: What’s on your list? Is there anything you’d like to put on your list to add to your self-care and expanded wellness? I’d love to hear from you–you can leave a reply below.

I’d also love to support your wellness path through coaching or through answering your questions about what vitamins you might want to take.

Email me to schedule a telephone coaching session: susan@susantate.org

Possible topics:

nourishment/nutrition*
stress reduction
relationships
life transitions
sexuality
business/career planning

* I offer a 15-minute FREE phone consult
if you want guidance on selecting vitamins.

 Here are just a few of the possible side effects you can expect:

More inner peace
Overwhelming episodes of gratitude
Expanded reverence for yourself and others
An overall sense of joyful well-being

Email me to schedule: susan@susantate.org