Time to let go of things that are out of your control…

One thing that I have learned over the years is that you should only stress over the things you can control.  Which let’s be honest, are very few things in life. 

Control for many of us is a security blanket, it helps us feel safe.  When we can control our environments, what we eat, our bodies, our friends, our communities etc.  Then we can live the illusion that we are happy and secure.  The biggest growth opportunities come from when we are out of our comfort zones and have very little “control” of our physical environment.  That is when you really realize how “secure” you are in your own sense of self.

For me, this unintended personal growth opportunity came to me when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal in the mid-1990s.  I was in my early twenties and thought I was a self-confident young woman.  I believed I was going to make a huge difference in Nepal.  When in reality, I went through a major melt down and Nepal had a much bigger impact on myself personally than what I did for the Nepali people.

About a year into my service, I became obsessed with my body.  I had very limited diet of rice, lentils and vegetables, and ironically I was gaining weight.  This is very common with a high carb diet for women vs the men were losing weight and being sent canisters of peanut butter to supplement their diets.

In America, we are obsessed with our bodies, especially women.   I know that today, there is more of an emphasis on “healthy” eating, but this can be taken to extremes with the primary motivation being to maintain a certain body and weight.  In Nepal, being bigger and robust was a sign of wealth and bigger women were actually considered beautiful.  Many times people would compliment me, by saying I was so “moto” which means “fat” in Nepali.  Obviously that sentence did not bode well for my American raised brain.

I realized… that I was a confident woman when I could control my environment and weight.  Suddenly, in a place where I had very little control I was self-loathing and depressed.  Essentially crying everyday wondering why I was so obsessed with my weight in a third world country that I had come to help.

This was a HUGE wake up call.  It was ultimately the best thing that happened in my life, as I reflect back today.

What got me through this, you wonder?  It was a visit from my family.  My entire immediate family came to visit me in Nepal.  While I was trying my hardest to put on a smile, because I didn’t want to let my family know that I was vulnerable, sad and depressed.  My father completely saw through it.  As I was walking with him one day through a field of grasses, he stopped and faced me and started crying.  He started shedding the tears that I had been shedding since I arrived in Nepal.

Just to understand the magnitude of this, I had only seen my father cry twice before this: when my grandmother passed away and then later when my grandfather passed.  My father rarely showed emotions.  For him to “feel” my pain, and for me to make him cry, was a profound experience for me.  I am not sure if it was the love he showed towards me, or the realization that we are all interconnected on this Earth.   Suddenly, I got out of my own way.  Realizing that I was inflicting pain on my father, gave me a deeper sense of self, it took me out of my own self-obsessed thoughts and instead gave me more compassion for myself.  It gave me the strength and courage to finish my service in Nepal and then to travel to India by myself for 2 months.  My obsession with my weight and body was replaced by a deep love of who I was at my core.  I gained a new respect for my body, no matter what the weight, shape or color.

I am huge advocate of the Peace Corps Service.  Know that if you do join, you will come back a changed person, for the good.  Peace Corps is good for America and Americans.

Few lessons I learned from my Peace Corps service:

  • Life is too short and precious to waste your life energy on things that don’t serve you.
  • Trust that everything happens for a reason.
  • Don’t stress out about things you cannot control, especially other people’s actions.
  • Do focus your energies on moving things that you are passionate about forwards.
  • Volunteer your time and energy… it helps you get out of your own head when you help others.

What things do you need to let go of?

In Health,

 

The Abundance Code

Recently I have been thinking a lot about abundance and having enough.  I grew up as a first generation Chinese American.  Both my parents immigrated here from Taiwan back in the late 1960s.  We grew up in a modest home, living a middle class lifestyle.  Our main summer vacation was our annual road trip to Lake McConaughy in Nebraska where we either camped or stayed in a cabin.   One of my father’s passions was to fish, so he enjoyed catching striped bass in the lake, while we enjoyed waterskiing, and swimming.

I don’t recall a feeling of lack growing up, there was also not a feeling of extreme luxury or excess.  My parents were very practical, but believed in spending money on the things they valued.

Many of their practical spending habits got passed down to me, which is a good thing since for most of my adult life up until recently I have never made a lot of money.  For the first 10 years of owning The Wellness Center, I was typically taking out loans to survive and living as simply as possible, and pouring money into the business to keep it afloat.  I wasn’t until 2012 that I was able to pay off all of the debt associated with the business.Even through my 20s and into my 30s I never had a feeling of lack or not having enough.  I took time to do the things that I loved most, which is seeing my family and friends and traveling.  I took many international trips to Bali, the Philippines, China, Thailand, Taiwan and Canada.  To save money for traveling, I had to say “no” to consumer culture.  Typically I bought everything used at garage sales, consignment shops or Craig’s List, and I still do today.  I didn’t buy my first new car until 2012.  These habits of living “frugally” have allowed me, even during lean times to feel abundant.

So now, as The Wellness Center continues to grow and prosper, I feel it is even more important that I invest and reward those that contribute to its success.  What shocks me, is that the top Executives of our health insurance companies are paid millions each year, while health insurance premiums are sky rocketing.  It feels like these CEOs are coming more from a place of “lack” than abundance when it comes to running these health insurance companies.

“Aetna (AET) CEO Mark Bertolini received $17.3 million in 2015, the most recent year for which compensation has been reported. Cigna CEO David Cordani made the same amount. UnitedHealth (UNH) CEO Stephen Hemsley had total compensation of $14.5 million, while Anthem (ANTM) CEO Joseph Swedish received $13.6 million. Humana CEO Bruce Broussard received $10.3 million.” Source: CNNMoney (New York) First published March 7, 2017: 11:55 AM ET

Abundance is truly an inward process, but marketing and materialism make it hard for many Americans to stay the course.  It is too easy to spend money on things we truly don’t need that do not add anything to our lives, but instead give us an instant sense of gratification. For me abundance has never been about making a lot of money.  Instead it is about the abundance of time, good health, clean water, fresh air and the freedom to control your future.

Wishing you all the abundance the world has to offer.

In health,

Check out this new documentary: The Abundance Code

12 Months of Wellness  |  Month 3 – Nutrition

12Wellness_3_Header

This month we encourage you to set some intentions around healthy nutrition. What we ingest has a direct and sometimes profound impact on how we feel, how our body resists disease and ages over the years. Start tuning into how food can support your heart and soul, what you want to fuel your body with and why, and make choices based on what feels right for you and your body type.

There are so many philosophies in the nutrition field and it can be overwhelming to keep up with the latest fads and research. That’s why we suggest you start with an intention to make small shifts in your diet. This will help you follow through long-term and see huge benefits in the way you look and feel.

The Mayo Clinic talks about a “Heart-Healthy Diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease” that is a great place to start when making small changes to your diet. They outline the following topics with some great basic information. Please read the article with an open mind and remember our two-cents to this rather Western perspective.

  1. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol – of course, but don’t get suckered by the gimmicky products promising to reduce cholesterol like Benecol Promise Margarine. Yuck. Olive oil and even butter (used sparingly) are better choices.
  2. Choose low-fat protein sources – but skip the fat free dairy and soy products all together.
  3. Eat more vegetables and fruits – FRESH fruits and vegetables that is. High heats during canning can turn these gems into nutrient-less mush.
  4. Select whole grains – The words “whole grains” have been bastardized by cereal and other packaged food advertisers. We are talking about the actual whole grains of brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, oats.
  5. Reduce the sodium in your food – by NOT eating foods laden with salt like most processed items including canned, boxed, frozen and otherwise.
  6. Control your portion size – basic but true.
  7. Plan ahead: Create daily/weekly menus – fabulous for keeping you on track and abreast of what you have already consumed over the course of a week
  8. Allow yourself an occasional treat – such a great way to stay balanced and not in a place of deprivation

Changing your eating habits can be tough. Make sure you are kind to yourself and set your intentions at an attainable level. Maybe include a new step every few weeks so you are continually working towards a goal. Download this month’s intention setting guide to set healthy nutrition intentions for yourself.


Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:

12Wellness_3_NutritionAnswers

DOWNLOAD MONTH 3 – NUTRITION

DOWNLOAD THE FULL 12 MONTH PRINTABLE BOOKLET HERE

DOWNLOAD COMPUTER FILL-IN VERSION HERE

Fall in Love Again, by Diane Sieg

As human beings, we can all become bored and burned out with our workouts, partners, or job positions. To be resilient, to maintain a positive attitude and healthy wellbeing, we need to remember the big WHY of what we do. In other words, we need to fall in love again.

Remembering the big WHY gives us hope and connection for what we do in every area of our lives, even when things aren’t going well. We are resilient when we engage in and embrace what we do. Here are five areas to fall in love again:
1. Yourself. When you love yourself, life becomes lighter and easier because you aren’t spending all your time and energy focused on your mistakes and shortcomings. You value and honor the importance of your own well being by taking good care of yourself.
2. Your relationships. It is so easy to ruminate on all that is wrong when we get disappointed or hurt by someone. What we focus on expands, so put your attention on the good of the person and ask for what you need proactively, with love and compassion, instead of blame or resentment.
3. Your work. When I work with healthcare professionals to develop their resilience, I ask them to remember why they chose nursing, medicine, or other areas of patient care. With the stress of healthcare, remembering the heart and meaning of their work helps them fall in love with it again.
4. Your passions. Do you ever say, I used to (paint, ride, play softball) and loved it, but I just don’t have time anymore… We are much more interesting AND resilient when we have passions we make time to participate in.
5. Your truth. Sometimes we can’t fall in love again. There is just too much history or differences that cannot be reconciled. In these extreme cases, loving yourself may mean moving on from a relationship or position for self-preservation.
Falling in love again not only makes you more resilient in your health, relationships and work, it also makes you happier and more a lot more fun to be around!
Written by: Diane Sieg

12 Months of Wellness | Month 2 – The Benefits of Massage

2-Massage-Small

This month’s intention is all about the healing benefits of regular massage. It’s a well documented fact that touch is essential for human beings. Infants who are deprived of touch do not thrive as those who experience regular touch from care takers, even if all of their other needs have been met. Many of us live a touch deprived life. It is less allowable in our culture to touch one another, to make simple physical contact.

Massage is one way to meet our need for touch, and it has many other benefits as well. Massage can benefit almost any condition weather physical, mental or emotional. The general benefits of massage are that it:

  • Reduces pain
  • Increases attentiveness
  • Reduces stress hormones
  • Improves immune function
  • Decreases symptoms of depression
  • Improves sleep patterns (quantity and quality)

The benefits of massage are measured subjectively, meaning that the recipient of the massage perceives a change in their pain, emotional state, or the symptoms of their condition. The benefits of massage are also measured in objective terms, meaning that other people are able to observe the result or changes, or that there are tests that measure the changes.

Depression, anxiety, aggression, ADHD, sleep disorders, and self/body satisfaction have all been shown to improve with the application of regular massage. People in studies are shown to have decreased symptoms by subjective report as well as measuring biochemical indicators such as lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, lower diastolic blood pressure, and increased levels of dopamine.

Sleep disturbances and insomnia can range from mild to severe in their effect on our lives. Inability to function well at work, irritability, lowered immune function, and depression can all result. Luckily massage can also help us sleep better. By treating some of the most common causes of sleep disturbances like pain, anxiety, and stress, massage has been shown to allow people to fall asleep earlier and stay asleep longer.

Massage alters the biochemistry of the body. Massage has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine – all stress related hormones, and increase the levels of feel good hormones dopamine and serotonin. Another one of the benefits of massage is that it boosts the immune system by elevating the amounts of natural killer cells.

Some of the benefits of massage are more well known like its ability to soften, lengthen, and relax muscle tissue, thereby increasing relaxation and preventing injury. Massage is also a great reliever of pain whether chronic or acute. And don’t underestimate the power of the most well known benefit of massage – it feels good!!!

This month we welcome you to experience the benefits of massage. Introduce massage one or two times this month or if you receive regular massage try a different kind and see what it can do for your well-being. Download this month’s  intention setting guide to help you set your massage intentions.

Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:

12Wellness_2_MassageAnswers-small

DOWNLOAD MONTH 2 – MASSAGE

DOWNLOAD THE FULL 12 MONTH PRINTABLE BOOKLET HERE

DOWNLOAD COMPUTER FILL-IN VERSION HERE

Time to let go of things that are not serving you…

One thing that I have learned over the years is that you should only stress over the things you can control.  Which let’s be honest, are very few things in life. 

Control for many of us is a security blanket, it helps us feel safe.  When we can control our environments, what we eat, our bodies, our friends, our communities etc.  Then we can live the illusion that we are happy and secure.  The biggest growth opportunities come from when we are out of our comfort zones and have very little “control” of our physical environment.  That is when you really realize how “secure” you are in your own sense of self.

For me, this unintended personal growth opportunity came to me when I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal in the mid-1990s.  I was in my early twenties and thought I was a self-confident young woman.  I believed I was going to make a huge difference in Nepal.  When in reality, I went through a major melt down and Nepal had a much bigger impact on myself personally than what I did for the Nepali people.

About a year into my service, I became obsessed with my body.  I had very limited diet of rice, lentils and vegetables, and ironically I was gaining weight.  This is very common with a high carb diet for women vs the men were losing weight and being sent canisters of peanut butter to supplement their diets. But I found some great Weight loss supplements for men, that has helped my husband lose weight. In America, we are obsessed with our bodies, especially women.   I know that today, there is more of an emphasis on “healthy” eating, but this can be taken to extremes with the primary motivation being to maintain a certain body and weight.  In Nepal, being bigger and robust was a sign of wealth and bigger women were actually considered beautiful.  Many times people would compliment me, by saying I was so “moto” which means “fat” in Nepali.  Obviously that sentence did not bode well for my American raised brain.

I realized… that I was a confident woman when I could control my environment and weight.  Suddenly, in a place where I had very little control I was self-loathing and depressed.  Essentially crying everyday wondering why I was so obsessed with my weight in a third world country that I had come to help.

This was a HUGE wake up call.  It was ultimately the best thing that happened in my life, as I reflect back today.

What got me through this, you wonder?  It was a visit from my family.  My entire immediate family came to visit me in Nepal.  While I was trying my hardest to put on a smile, because I didn’t want to let my family know that I was vulnerable, sad and depressed.  My father completely saw through it.  As I was walking with him one day through a field of grasses, he stopped and faced me and started crying.  He started shedding the tears that I had been shedding since I arrived in Nepal.

Just to understand the magnitude of this, I had only seen my father cry twice before this: when my grandmother passed away and then later when my grandfather passed.  My father rarely showed emotions.  For him to “feel” my pain, and for me to make him cry, was a profound experience for me.  I am not sure if it was the love he showed towards me, or the realization that we are all interconnected on this Earth.   Suddenly, I got out of my own way.  Realizing that I was inflicting pain on my father, gave me a deeper sense of self, it took me out of my own self-obsessed thoughts and instead gave me more compassion for myself.  It gave me the strength and courage to finish my service in Nepal and then to travel to India by myself for 2 months.  My obsession with my weight and body was replaced by a deep love of who I was at my core.  I gained a new respect for my body, no matter what the weight, shape or color.

I am huge advocate of the Peace Corps Service.  Know that if you do join, you will come back a changed person, for the good.  Peace Corps is good for America and Americans.

Few lessons I learned from my Peace Corps service:

  • Life is too short and precious to waste your life energy on things that don’t serve you.
  • Trust that everything happens for a reason.
  • Don’t stress out about things you cannot control, especially other people’s actions.
  • Do focus your energies on moving things that you are passionate about forwards.
  • Volunteer your time and energy… it helps you get out of your own head when you help others.

What things do you need to let go of?

In Health,

Sharon

Moving at the speed of life…

Does your life move in super quick minutes?

This has been recent phenomenon for me… where literally my days go by so fast, that I account for every minute.   I think to myself, ok 10 minutes to take a shower, 5 minutes to get dressed, 5 minutes to make time-watch_00425445breakfast, 10 minutes to eat breakfast… on and on.   While I need days  like this that are structured and busy, because it allows me to get a lot of things done.  Days like this also cause me to be constantly in my “head” and I become very disconnected from my body.  I try hard to only have 2-3 days like this per week.  The other days are more flexible and free to go with the flow of the day.  This helps me stay sane.  Usually those more free and flexible days I can be more spontaneous, I can do lunch with a friend, go for a walk or get a massage.

The need to work and be in our “heads” all of the time is a Western disease, if I ever ran for office I would advocate for a 32 hour work week.  It just feels like a saner way to work, and I wouldn’t be surprised if our productivity went up.

Now with the election behind us… it is time to focus on the holidays.  Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it is not about gifts, but truly about spending time with those that you love and care about.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

In gratitude,

sharonsig

 

 

Hot Stone Massage

What is hot stone therapy?

Hot stone therapy is a form of massage therapy that follows the same principles of a regular Swedish massage but with the addition of heated stones, which are believed to better open the body's energy pathways. Hot stone massage is a form of “thermotherapy” in which hot stones are positioned on specific areas of the client's body and allow for greater deep tissue manipulation.

therapy

Not only does Hot Stone massage feel amazing during the colder winter months, there are also many health benefits to receiving a Hot Stone Massage.

Hot stone massage is proven to be safe and effective in treating the following:

  • arthritis
  • carpal tunnel
  • tension from strained muscles
  • muscle spasms and chronic stress

Using the hot stones during a massage, improves circulation and “energy flow” throughout the body, aiding in detoxification, activating our immune systems.

Hot Stone that are used during a treatment are smooth and typically several inches long. The stones are warmed in an electrical warmer so the temperature can be controlled. If the stones are too hot, be sure to let the massage therapist know immediately.

Deep Muscle Relaxation

The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate your deep tissues more effectively. Overly tense muscles can hinder the massage procedure, so if your muscles are extremely tight or stiff, the heated stones may provide the extra relaxation you need for the massage to be beneficial in releasing tension and easing sore muscles.

The therapist will use hot stones throughout the massage and will place several stones in strategic “energy points” or acupressure points of the body, including the spine, hands, feet and even toes to help prepare the body for massage.

We generally recommend that you book a 90 minute session if you would like a full Hot Stone Treatment, but therapists can also accommodate 60 minute Hot Stone sessions.

Who Shouldn’t Get a Hot Stone Treatment?

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, recent wounds, areas of weakened or inflamed skin, tumors, metal implants, or are on medication that thins the blood, check with your doctor before getting hot stone massage. In general, hot stone massage should not be done on anyone who should not receive standard massage therapy.

Also check with your doctor if you have had recent chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.

Pregnant women and children should avoid hot stone massage.

“Who knows? We shall see!”

balanceWhen I reflected on the results of this year’s election, it reminded me of the story, of the farmer’s son of fortune or misfortune…

Who Knows? The Farmer’s Son: Fortune or Misfortune?

One day in late summer, an old farmer was working in his field with his old sick horse. The farmer felt compassion for the horse and desired to lift its burden. So he left his horse loose to go the mountains and live out the rest of its life.

Soon after, neighbors from the nearby village visited, offering their condolences and said, “What a shame.  Now your only horse is gone.  How unfortunate you are! You must be very sad. How will you live, work the land, and prosper?” The farmer replied: “Who knows? We shall see”.

Two days later the old horse came back now rejuvenated after meandering in the mountainsides while eating the wild grasses. He came back with twelve new younger and healthy horses which followed the old horse into the corral.

Word got out in the village of the old farmer’s good fortune and it wasn’t long before people stopped by to congratulate the farmer on his good luck.  “How fortunate you are!” they exclaimed. You must be very happy!”  Again, the farmer softly said, “Who knows? We shall see.”

At daybreak on the next morning, the farmer’s only son set off to attempt to train the new wild horses, but the farmer’s son was thrown to the ground and broke his leg.  One by one villagers arrived during the day to bemoan the farmer’s latest misfortune.  “Oh, what a tragedy!  Your son won’t be able to help you farm with a broken leg. You’ll have to do all the work yourself, How will you survive? You must be very sad,” they said.  Calmly going about his usual business the farmer answered, “Who knows? We shall see”

Several days later a war broke out. The Emperor’s men arrived in the village demanding that young men come with them to be conscripted into the Emperor’s army.  As it happened the farmer’s son was deemed unfit because of his broken leg.  “What very good fortune you have!!” the villagers exclaimed as their own young sons were marched away. “You must be very happy.” “Who knows? We shall see!” replied the old farmer as he headed off to work his field alone.

As time went on the broken leg healed but the son was left with a slight limp. Again the neighbors came to pay their condolences. “Oh what bad luck. Too bad for you”!  But the old farmer simply replied; “Who knows? We shall see.”

As it turned out the other young village boys had died in the war and the old farmer and his son were the only able bodied men capable of working the village lands. The old farmer became wealthy and was very generous to the villagers. They said: “Oh how fortunate we are, you must be very happy”, to which the old farmer replied, “Who knows? We shall see!” 

 

This election is part of a larger whole… who knows what will really come out of all of this.  This could be what we wakes up more Americans and the World, or who knows maybe Trump will surprise us, as hequote-ulysses-s-grant-it-was-my-fortune-or-misfortune-to-92383 did in the primary and election.  At this point no one knows.  We can only say, “Who knows? We shall see!”

This lesson in all of this is not about passivity, but rather about how to be unattached to things that happen in our lives – to not project good or bad onto a circumstance or situation.  Don’t look at this election in despair or euphoria, because we don’t know what is around the corner.  Life is unpredictable, which is part of the experience of being human.  Humans are unpredictable, as we clearly saw in this election.

Try to, breathe, live in the moment and be compassionate with yourself and those around you.  Try not be attached to the outcome, or spend much time and emotion on controlling a future that can’t be controlled.  Do your best to control what is in your control, and leave the rest to the universe.

The essential point is to strive to be empty and to let all things go.  Let the contents of the mind go — both good and bad—and let the light that illumines the mind flow through us and guide our way. Then we can treat each moment, each situation, as a new beginning.  Then, we will be “seeing”, hearing, sensing, and feeling from a deeper more open space.

The best that we can do, is to do our very best — act from a place of love and compassion and be unattached to the outcome.

With this election, “Who knows? We shall see!”

Onwards and upwards,

sharonsig

 

Know someone who would benefit from our services, but either can’t afford them or feels like they don’t have time for self-care?

all-about-self-careThanksgiving is a time to reflect on the joys and challenges of the year and so often, one is reminded how blessed they are, despite the difficulties faced.  We, too, have been thinking about this and seeking a way to “meaningfully give back”.  We’ve happened upon the idea of Gifting Wellness, where we ask you, our wonderful clients, to nominate someone you know that could benefit from some attention and support.

For November and December (2016), we will read through the submissions and select an individual’s “story” and gift that person a massage 3-pack.  Whether they use it up in a few weeks or a few months, having the opportunity to be still and receive is priceless, particularly if it’s someone overwhelmed and unable to focus on themselves.

The submission process is simple.  Write up whatever you feel appropriate to share and forward your letter/email to Kris Wood, our Director, at kwood@wellnessdenver.com .  We will pick a submission in November and December.

Thank you for participating and co-creating an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life this holiday season.

Page 5 of 30« First...34567...102030...Last »
css.php