Cissy Brady-Rogers
Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers Cissy Brady-Rogers

Tag: body awareness

This coming Wednesday I’m getting a new hip! I know…you’re probably saying, “She’s way too young for hip replacement.” That’s how I feel too. But the x-rays, a limp in my stride and increasing discomfort and fatigue that keep me from living the life I want, tell a different story.

I still love to ride my bike!

I still love to ride my bike!

My hip is dis-eased! It isn’t a happy hip anymore. It complains when I get up from sitting down and when I walk more than a few hundred feet. Sometimes it even grumbles just walking from the car into the house. I have moments of freedom and ease when I think, “Maybe I really don’t need a new hip.” But then I find myself limping again.

The combination of a hip supportive yoga routine along with physical therapy have kept my hip relatively happy over the past 3 years since arthritis was first diagnosed. I worked with my hip to keep it mobile and strong. I applied the principles I teach others. I listened to my hip. I eliminated activities that exacerbated the discomfort and found softer, gentler ways of exercising. I exchanged my road bike and long distance cycling for a more recreational style of riding. Swimming became my go-to cardio. I devoted anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes a day just doing my yoga and PT exercises. But, disease can’t always be cured. Some disease can only be managed and delayed.

Like breast cancer at 30 and my shoulder reconstruction at 50, hip replacement is another teacher on my path of being alive and well. What’s different this time is I’m choosing surgery. I’m choosing to do it sooner than later. I didn’t have that choice with cancer or my dislocated shoulder.

Learning to live with disease is an essential life skill that we don’t learn except through experience. We don’t always get to choose the treatment, but we can make significant choices about many other aspects of how we respond.

What dis-ease are you dealing with today?

  • Mental dis-ease of worry or anxiety about finances, employment, relationships, or other life issues?
  • Chronic emotional struggles with depression, anxiety or other bio-chemically related dis-ease?
  • Spiritual lethargy or existential angst about meaning, purpose, vocation, love?
  • Physical dis-ease of body aches, allergies, headaches, gastro-intestinal disruptions?
  • Stress and tension accumulating in random mental and physical symptoms?

What do you do to manage and work with the dis-ease that doesn’t seem like it may ever be cured? That you may just have to find a way to live with as best as you can?

My life’s work is to help myself and others love and enjoy living in our bodies, just as we are and make life-giving choices as we adjust to the changes and dis-eases that are an expected part of life.

I didn’t want cancer. I didn’t want a dislocated shoulder. I don’t want osteoarthritis in my hip and low-back. But once they became part of my story I made choices to let them become my teachers. All of the wisdom, guidance and compassionate support I offer others grows out of my daily choice to move toward dis-ease of body, mind, heart and spirit with compassion, openness and curiosity.

Will you join us?

Will you join us?

If you’ve got some dis-ease you’re dealing with and want support for your journey, please consider joining me and my companions at Alive and Well Women for our upcoming program: Alive and Well – A Contemplative Path to Health and Well-being.

Some of you participated in previous versions of the Alive and Well program. I’d love to have you re-join me for this revised version. The journey begins with an “in-town” retreat on Friday, March 31 from 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, April 1st from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. followed by weekly gatherings on Thursdays from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. during April (6, 13, 20, 27).

Alive and Well is also offering Awaken: Self-Care from the Inside Out on Saturday, March 18th. The day includes experiential teaching and practices designed to help you connect to and work with your body to discover your unique blueprint for self-care.

Both events take place in Pasadena area. I’d love to see you at one or both.

In the meantime, your prayers for a smooth and successful surgery on Wednesday, February 22nd and a solid recovery after would be much appreciated.

 

 

 

Take a break from busy! Make space in your life to deepen your connection to God’s love while learning to recognize and release physical manifestations of stress in your body.

take a break from busy

take a break from busy

Join me at Hollywood Presbyterian Church on Saturday, April 25th from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for a time of praying, reflecting, mindful movement, art making and mindful lunch.

Only $20 with continental breakfast, lunch and childcare provided.

Download brochure with details.

Online registration.

 

A lunch date with a colleague lead to a discussion about disembodiment. She said it was a new concept and asked me to explain. Disembodiment is the state of being disembodied – living as though we don’t have a body with it’s own language and role in guiding our lives. Even when it comes to physical health we often ignore our bodies’ signals as we follow the “expert advice” of doctors, fitness and nutrition professionals who presume to know our bodies better than we do.

The next day I received an email that made my day!

“I had our conversation on my mind today. It was extraordinarily helpful.  I suffer from colitis and it has been flaring up.  Normally I just ignore it but this time I asked “what is my body trying to tell me.” I was shocked by how quickly and clearly my answer came- I am NOT okay emotionally with a situation and I thought I was.  I just wanted to thank you for raising my awareness!

Body Language

Body Language

Mindful awareness is the heart of self-care: being present with your own experience in a non-judgmental, friendly way–especially of what is happening in your body at any given moment. Before the mind register that “something is not right,” the body speaks through sensations.

Most people have more than enough information about what they are “supposed to do” for self-care. What we lack is the capacity to follow through and consistently implement those good ideas.  What we lack is the practice of tuning into our bodies and listening to the wisdom inherent in our body’s language.

Not all connections come as quickly and clearly as this one. But you can start by developing your vocabulary for the language of the body: sensations.

Feel free to copy this image onto your phone as a resource for listening to your body. Set the alarm to go off once a day for a short appointment to check-in with your body. It only takes a minute or two to tune in to what’s going in your body. But, like any new language, it takes time and practice to develop.

The most important part is paying attention with kindness and compassion to your body. Aches, pains, bloating, tenderness…all have something to tell you. Will you listen?

It’s 80 degrees here in Southern California today. My morning clients all canceled and the Occidental College pool up the street is open for laps. But there’s some nasty bugs going around. I had a coughing little boy in my home Tuesday. Seems everyone I’ve encountered this week is getting over something. I’m running at about 85% optimal energy level and last night my challenged hip was achy. Hmmmm….

To swim or not to swim? Here’s what I decided about listening to the wisdom of my body!

 

I’ve spent hundreds of hours sitting with women who’ve invested immense time, money and energy trying to find a way of eating that works for them.  I advocate intuitive eating, learning to listen to and trust your own body. In all my years I have never recommended self-help diet books to anyone. The way to optimal health doesn’t come from outside sources. It comes from listening to your life and becoming your own health expert. The “dieting mindset”‘ and behaviors must be replaced with mindful awareness.

So why now?

eat in alignment with your body

eat in alignment with your body

Unlike diets, The PlantPlus Diet Solution doesn’t tell you what to eat, but offers facts, guidelines and resources for listening to the wisdom of your own body and becoming your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

I’ve learned through twenty-five years of psychotherapy and health coaching with clients struggling with food and weight that, as Joan Borysenko demonstrates through research and examples from her own personalized nutrition experiments, “there is no one-size-fits-all diet.” The key to finding the “right” diet is through paying attention to the impact different foods have on our physical and mental health. Joan does an exquisite job providing tools and information that empower readers to become experts about what best serves our own unique biological blueprint for optimal energy efficiency.

In addition to providing extensive practical support, The PlantPlus Diet Solution explains why willpower alone fails to help people find a life-giving way to eat. Research on the impact of dietary composition and weight loss continues to reveal the importance of metabolic differences in finding the optimal combination of foods for any one person. When asked about the role adherence played in the effectiveness of any particular diet Christopher Gardner, Professor at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, stated: “We think some people have a harder time adhering to a diet because it’s the wrong one for them metabolically.”

Everybody is different!

I’ve been waiting for years for this material to become available at a popular level. Little did I know it would come from the amazing brain and big heart of my dear friend!

The PlantPlus Nutrition Webinar starts Tuesday, January 20th. For those who signup for the course and would like additional support, I’m offering coaching and weekly mindful awareness conference calls along with the Webinar.

And for those who just want to start with the book, the Kindle version is on sale for only $1.99 at Amazon.

 

 

My friend and mentor Joan Borysenko begins her on-line PlantPlus Nutrition Program on Tuesday, January 20th.  Topics covered include:

– Understanding why the Standard American Diet (SAD) is creating an epidemic of chronic disease.

– Learning to eat the foods that are best suited to your own body’s metabolism, which changes across your lifespan.

- Harnessing the power of mindfulness to make shifts in your awareness and habits.

– Understanding how diet affects psychological and mood issues like depression and anxiety, and how to improve them.

eat in alignment with your body

eat in alignment with your body

As noted in my review of the book that you will receive as part of your registration, the personalized nutrition path Joan will help you discover isn’t for those who want a quick or easy solution to weight or health issues. But that is exactly what makes her such a valuable resource for those seeking a sustainable, enjoyable and life-giving way to eat! This isn’t about losing weight, it’s about feeling your best and having the energy you need to live your best life. She’ll provide facts, guidelines and resources to help you listen to the wisdom of your own body and become your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

If you can’t make the conference call classes on Tuesdays, no worries — all sessions are recorded for reviewing at a later time. In addition to all that comes with the program itself, I’m offering additional coaching support and weekly phone conference mindful awareness sessions for those who register through me. I’d love to support you in making 2015 the year you align more fully with the wisdom of your body.

To register through me and get extra support at no extra cost, use this link to go to the home page and register. Then follow up with an email to me to arrange extra support. Here’s to a new year of loving yourself by meeting the real needs of your body and letting go of old patterns that no longer serve you!

 

 

The extra fat living on my belly these days reminds me that in my sphere of reality over consumption is a way of life. While a large percentage of people on planet earth struggle for access to enough, I have too much.

I want to give thanks for the abundance.

I want to be grateful that my refrigerator and pantry are full, that I can drive my car a few miles and purchase mass amounts of consumables or dine on gourmet food at a restaurant where the portions are so large I take some home for the dog.

But this Thanksgiving morning I’m aware that the abundance of my Thanksgiving table, along with the month of consumption ahead, has come to reflect the too muchness of life in the USA. We have so much available that unless we are highly conscious about our choices we will end up consuming too much and storing that excess in our bodies’ remarkably efficient energy storage systems.

I want to be grateful for my body’s amazing capacity to survive potential famine by storing energy as fat.

I want to be grateful that I am so aware of my body that I notice even subtle shifts in my body mass composition.

I want to be grateful that I can take a rigorous walk this morning, get a little sweat going and seek to come into alignment with my body.

I want to be grateful that I no longer regulate my energy intake and output based on external guidelines or fears of weight gain.

I want to be grateful that when I eat our Thanksgiving feast this evening I will savor the love of family and friends around the table as I take in the delicious meal set before us.

But my mind is on those who don’t have enough. On the hungry and the homeless. And, on how ironic it is that many of the homeless and needy I’ve met when volunteering in local soup kitchens are also carrying extra fat on their bellies!

Current research on nutrition and fat storage indicate that the number of calories we eat as well as the quality and types of food we consume contribute to how our bodies metabolize and store energy. Much of the food served to those showing up at soup kitchens are high glycemic carbohydrates (breads, pastas, rice, potatoes, sugar) that increase the likelihood of weight gain in many of us.

I’m not sure what I can do about that today. But expanding my view of reality to consider those who don’t have a home to gather in, a table of their own around which to dine, or loved ones to share it with, gives me perspective that helps me love and enjoy living in my body, just as I am. Because ultimately my life is not measured by my level of fitness or my body mass composition, but by the degree to which I live in loving relationship with myself, my family and friends, my colleagues and acquaintances, my neighbors, as well as the “strangers” around the world who are my brothers and sisters here on planet earth.

For me it comes back to gratitude and living in the tension of celebrating the goodness of life that has come to me as I remember that while all is well in my world, much of the rest of the world suffers.

Today I will seek to savor rather than consume

Today I will seek to listen to my body not just for me, but as a reminder that over consumption of resources doesn’t just impact me and my health, but contributes in a small way to the unequal distribution of resources that leaves many homeless and hungry on this day of Thanksgiving.

It isn’t about guilt for having more than enough. Rather it’s about loving myself and my neighbor enough to pay attention to my consumption so that I don’t carry around more than I really need either in fat stores on my body or otherwise.

This holiday season I am going to work on compassionate consumption. Compassion recognizes suffering with kindness and non-judgement and comes alongside with intention to alleviate that suffering to the degree that I can.

Eating just enough is one way to do that today. And if I choose to eat more than enough, not judging myself for breaking my intention but kindly stopping when I recognize I’ve passed the point of satiation.

As we head into the holiday consumption madness begins tomorrow, may we consider what compassionate consumption might look like in our lives. What presents, decorations and other stuff do we really need? What is enough? What is too much? And how can we take our excess and use it to alleviate suffering in ourselves and others?

How can we choose to let go of our possibility of having it all so that all may have?

My mind-body mentor Joan Borysenko’s new book, The PlantPlus Diet Solution, is a compendium of relevant and accessible food science and health psychology. Full of practical tips and recipes it’s an exceptional resource in the self-help diet book genre. The personalized nutrition guidelines she presents aren’t for those who want a quick or easy solution to weight or health issues. But that is exactly what makes it a valuable resource for those seeking a sustainable, enjoyable and life-giving way to eat! Unlike most diet books, The PlantPlus Diet Solution doesn’t tell you what to eat, but gives you facts, guidelines and resources for listening to the wisdom of your own body and becoming your own expert as to what will best serve your overall health and well-being.

eat in alignment with your body

I’ve learned through twenty-five years of work with clients struggling with food and weight that, as Dr. Joan demonstrates through research and examples from her own personalized nutrition experiments, “there is no one-size-fits-all diet.” The key to finding the “right” combination of food for your body is through paying attention to the impact different foods have on your physical and mental health. Joan does an exquisite job providing simple tools that empower readers to become experts on their own unique biological blueprint for metabolism and optimal energy efficiency.

I especially appreciated her clear explanation about the role insulin efficiency plays in metabolism of carbohydrates–and some people’s remarkable capacity to store excess calories as fat. She identifies three types of bodies: 1.) insulin efficient people who can eat all the carbohydrates they want and never experience negative weight or health consequences; 2.) insulin resistant people whose bodies react negatively to diets high in carbohydrates; 3.) and the rest who fall somewhere in-between. Knowing where you fall on the continuum can be an important part of finding a way of eating that works best for your body.

Knowledge is power. Joan provides information to help readers make informed choices about nutrition as well as tools to increase self-knowledge. Best of all, she does so with authenticity and wisdom born from several years of “diet sleuthing” as she looked for solutions to her own nutrition related health challenges. Her personal examples, humor and lighthearted way of writing makes the science digestible for those of us who haven’t taken a hard science course since high school!

For Southern California locals, Joan will be in Pasadena presenting on her new book on October 25th at the I Can Do It! conference. I’ll be there and would love to see some of you there too.

I’ve been suffering from self-care and sleep deprivation since Miss Liberty Belle came into our life three weeks ago. Her arrival on a Saturday allowed my husband Dave and I to “tag team” caring for her so we were still able to get most of our own basic needs met. But that first Monday I was on my own, I didn’t brush my teeth until 3 p.m.

Miss Liberty Belle - 8 weeks old

There’s nothing exceptional about Liberty’s needs. But she’s a puppy. Waking several times during the night to take her out for potty breaks is normal. While the demands of a puppy are minimal compared to raising a child, it gives me renewed empathy for the sleep deprivation parents of young children endure for years, not just a few months.

I’m posting this video so I remember to take my own advice to get my 7-8 hours a night. How about you? How’s your sleep this week? A lack of it may be impacting your health more than you realize.

I loved this book by Helen LaKelly Hunt when I first read it 10 years ago. I appreciated it even more the second time round after meeting the author and picking it up again a few weeks ago.

Book Review

As a psychotherapist specializing in treatment of eating and body related disturbances among women, I’m regularly reminded of the need for women of faith to reclaim the beauty and goodness of our bodies — something the feminist movement attempted to do in advocating for reproductive rights for women. But, our need for embodiment and for honoring our female bodies goes much deeper than freedom to choose how we control our bodies capacity to reproduce. Issues of body and soul must be addressed in unison. The church has historically neglected (and sometimes denigrated and demonized) the spiritual aspects of embodiment. And the feminist movement, while gaining great ground on other fronts, follow suit by neglecting the spiritual aspects of a woman’s right to control reproduction.

My work with eating disorder patients has taught me that control unmitigated by compassion and other spiritually resourced qualities typically leads to chaos and destruction. Freedom to choose how to respond to our reproductive capacities and  all other physical needs and capacities must be grounded in a solid center of knowing who we are, knowing our own values, listening deeply to our own lives, and taking full responsibility for the choices we make — qualities that reflect the life of the psyche (soul) and spirit. Sadly, I don’t see the culture, the feminist movement or the church doing enough to effectively equip women (or men) with the necessary skills for making wise choices with the reproductive rights we fought so hard to earn.

As LaKelly Hunt points out, the most recent wave of feminism left out issues of soul and spirit, especially those related to Christian faith. She does a beautiful service telling the stories of five early feminists whose faith fueled their advocacy for the rights of women and other disenfranchised members of our human family. Their stories reveal the journey every woman must take as we find our own place in the great story of freedom and justice for all.

Thoughtful questions for reflection on each chapter offer a wonderful resource for individual or group processing. I’m looking forward to gathering a few soul sisters to explore them together. If you’re interested, let me know.