A Woman’s Intuition by Elizabeth Irvine

When Elaine asked me to contribute a post about how to find peace during tough times and how to deal with uncertainty, intuition immediately came to mind. Women utilize intuition every day, often unknowingly. Here is how I learned to awaken my senses.

It was my first job out of college, and it was overwhelming. I was twenty-two years old, fresh out of school, and scared. The hospital’s Neonatal ICU was a place of great intensity. I can still recall with great clarity the yelling of orders.

“Start an IV ASAP and get that drip going now!” And I’d scramble to do so, all the while knowing I had to hook up the heart monitor on a different baby, check a temperature, suction . . . a list of “to dos” so long that I teetered on the edge, feeling so overwhelmed I did not know where to begin. There were so many critical tasks to perform, and so little time.

A Calm Intuitive Whisper

As hectic and frightening as it was, those early days in my nursing career taught me to develop the ability to keep a cool head and allow intuition to move through me to get the job done. When I think back on those days, it was as if I had found a guiding presence from deep within, a calm intuitive whisper that led me. Relax. Focus. One thing at a time. You know what to do. Once I understood how to use this intuitive feeling, I have never stopped listening to that voice.

Uncertainties

Actually, for me, the challenges of motherhood (and life) do not feel so different from my early nursing days, and that same feeling of trusting my intuition as a nurse continues to guide me as a woman and a mother. For me, as wonderful as motherhood can be, it also can feel overwhelming, hectic, and holds daily uncertainties. And the challenges and unknowns are constantly changing with every stage. Now, as a mother of three young adult children, I find that I have had the capacity to perform in ways I never thought possible. Much like my experience as an ICU nurse, mothering has shown me that my reservoir of intuition is deep.

Elaine & Caitlin

My relationship with Elaine and her lead designer Caitlin, bring home a working mother’s ability to tap into her intuition and let that knowingness guide her. During our last design collaboration meeting, whether it’s Elaine’s teen age son texting her or Caitlin rubbing her tiny beautiful belly (second bambino), they both innately flex their intuitive muscle and gracefully navigate demands of working motherhood.

My Body Knows Before My Head Catches Up

What day isn’t filled with some moments of uncertainty? These uncomfortable parts of a day are the perfect opportunity to practice using your intuition. Tap into your gut feeling and allow this sixth sense to guide your choices. I’m talking about times when things just don’t feel quite right–maybe it’s one of your kids not acting like themselves or not feeling quite right about a situation. Frequently, my body knows and senses the right thing to do long before my head catches up.

Practice This Now: Feel Peace & Relax Into the Answer

Here’s an exercise to practice tapping into your intuition. Take a moment to pause. Sit up straight and relax into your breath. Take a long deep breath in and a long deep breath out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Allow your breath to make more space in your body and quiet your thoughts. In this quiet, still space feel solid as a rock– there are no barriers of assumption or judgment or criticism. Be present. Now, truly listen. The answer is in the quiet space. It is usually simple and direct. Try this technique during a conversation or in your own quiet space—either way you are tapping into what is subconsciously being told.

It’s Your Gift, Use it.

Most women call on their intuition and can read between the lines. Even though most of us have it,  most of us fail to acknowledge our gift and rarely use it regularly to strengthen our own intuitive confidence. Just as Elaine and Caitlin innately displayed theirs, my intuitive whisper has become a very natural way for me to maneuver the challenges and uncertainties of daily life. Through dedicated intention and practice, I have learned to awaken my senses and hone in on my sixth. It’s your gift too—use it.

elizAbout Elizabeth Irvine
As a nationally recognized author, speaker, writer and yoga instructor, I believe great health, feelings of peaceful contentment and happy-for-reason-joy in your life are within everyone’s reach. It’s not a quick fix: having the tools to create balance and well being, doesn’t mean we won’t come up against challenges. It does mean we can begin to learn how to become quiet and still and re-connect to our innate self-healing and intuitive abilities. You learn how to respond from a place of capacity to meet the unexpected, and begin to take greater ownership of your bodies and your life. The result is a lasting effect of clarity, energy and joy— truewellbeing.

Elizabeth Irvine is an educator, award-winning author and creative director of The Jewelry Project. Elizabeth’s philosophy and teachings are based on twenty-five years’ experience as a health care professional and through her yogic style of living. During this time she gained a reflective insight into what truewellbeing really means.

Irvine’s books, Healthy Mother Healthy Child and A Moment’s Peace provide women and families with a calming and healing influence and a simple guide for bringing peace and serenity into the home.

Connect with Elizabeth:

www.elizabethirvine.com
Facebook @elizabethirvinejewelry
Twitter  @elizabethirvine
Instagram @elizabethirvinejewelry
Pinterest @elizabethirvine
You Tube
@bethirvine


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For My Birthday: Love, Acceptance and a Little Cloudy Bay

yogaDear Friends-

Sometimes coincidences are not so coincidental.

Just as I was walking into my morning yoga class today, a fellow special needs mom/warrior friend forwarded a blog post instructing, “YOU MUST READ THIS!” So I did, and in a matter of minutes, I had tears streaming down my face.

In this post, a beautiful, courageous woman named Prima wrote of her experiences as the mother of an eleven-year-old autistic son. Her words struck me and this passage inspired me:

We have difficult days, sometimes weeks. I purposely choose not to talk about the difficult moments, because I am a “glass half full” kind of gal. I try my best to remain focused on the positive things in life; however, difficult moments do manage to come my way. All the time. Usually after a long and difficult week, my faith in everything I do is put to the test. Every time I am faced with one of life’s many obstacles, I can’t help but wonder if everything we do is worth it, if all the sacrifices will lead to the ultimate goal. And then I reflect; I think about the bigger picture and realize that, when things fall apart, it is simply part of the healing process.

After reading it, I quickly scooted into my yoga class, the instructor glancing as I wiped tears from my face. Crap, she knows I’m not at peace right now.

Now, I like to act like I have my shit together at yoga with my ‘I can be Buddha too’ mindset. But then karma pays a visit and you find yourself walking into yoga class crying. I know the whole point is acceptance, even if you aren’t sitting under a Bodhi tree, but we westerners just can’t help ourselves with our perfectionism. You know it’s bad when you’re practicing perfection at yoga — I’ve got real issues, don’t I?

After the warm up poses, the teacher said, “Okay, I want to set an intention for our class today. I want you all to think about acceptance, releasing all expectations and self-love.” I could have sworn she gave me a quick nod. She’s onto me!

Well, after this second coincidence, I began to rethink by birthday message, and rather than offer you some high and mighty advice in a listicle about what I think I know and have learned over the past year, I thought: what if I just told the truth?

And the truth is, I’ve been feeling like shit lately. (THAT felt good!) And, instead of pretending to have it all together, I reasoned, I need to love and accept where I am right now and have faith that my pain is all a part of the process of growing, healing and becoming stronger.

This advice has been extremely hard to follow because I’ve been on a roller coaster ride of emotions, and I’m struggling to figure out exactly why. For many of us the long, lazy, easy days of summer are a welcome, long overdue break, but for some of us, the change in scheduling proves more challenging.

The summer season is always harder for my daughter, Marlie. She becomes more anxious and frustrated, and her challenges become more evident. Somehow when you throw out the disciplined daily routines, her everyday vulnerabilities come to light. I see, feel and hear her frustrations and fears and they absorb into every molecule of my being. All I want to do is help my baby, but at times, there is nothing I can do.

I feel helpless, scared and quite frankly, exhausted. I often find myself emotionally stuck in that dangerous place between what it is and what I wish it could be. I’m desperately crawling my way back towards the present and doing all I can to find acceptance, love and peace there.

Every single day is a test for me to stay in the now — embracing her right where she is, not wishing or thinking it could be different, but knowing that this is her miraculous journey, her one of a kind story and to celebrate it for its truth, authenticity, and hope.

Like Prima, I consider myself a “glass half full type of gal.” But lately I’ve let my emotions get the best of me. On one hand, you want to trust them because it they feel so real, so raw, so true, but on the other hand, a deeper, more knowing part senses they are visiting acquaintances that do not have any real, sustained interest in my long term well being.

There is an old quote which states, “Feel what you feel and do not deny your truth.” But if I feel like shit, what then?

Inevitably, the cesspool of negative emotion leads to a feeling of guilt that I am even feeling what I am feeling in the first place. Oh the joys of being a woman — guilt mixed in with anger can be a lethal combination. Cue Maleficent. If I show up for work wearing a pair of black leather horns, its official – I’m a goner.

Put simply, I’m just not sure there are clear answers to experiencing pain and complex, difficult emotions. I do know that a certain amount of self-love and acceptance about where you are is a good thing. I guess I just keep telling myself that there are no skipped steps and I need to feel what I feel, to roll around in it, so to speak, to get to higher ground.

But now I sense a need to lay down my sword in search for peace, solitude and healing. Perhaps this is my soul’s way of communicating to me. Maybe it’s a primal message sent to ensure my survival that I am to stop, listen and just be.

I have come to the conclusion that I am going to pledge to love and accept myself on this 11th day of August celebrating my 46th year of life on Earth. (Forty-six, meh…I’m still trying to get on board with this one.) I accept this temporary dip in emotional health as just another step toward becoming a better, stronger version of myself. And as Prima states,

For the healing to happen, you need to leave room for all of it: for the grief, the pain, the tears, the anger.

Well, I can safely say I’ve left room for all of the above to fully manifest, and I do feel the healing has begun. Thanks to Prima for her brave, heartfelt post, to my yoga teacher for her encouraging intention, and to Cloudy Bay, my favorite Sauvignon Blanc for its soothing powers. I am now in a much better place 😉

marlieI’ll leave you with this picture of Marlie at Space Center Houston. She loved being there and when I asked why she said, “Because I want to be an astronaut and go far, far away and visit aliens.”

Maybe that’s not such a bad idea. If healing, self-love and acceptance aren’t your thing, then escaping to another planet can always be an option. You gotta’ love her.

Happy Birthday to Me!

XOXO, Elaine


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Here Comes the Sun: Happiness is a Ray Away by Heather Goodwin

Friends-I am thrilled to feature my friend and guru, holistic health and behavioral specialist Heather Goodwin here again on the blog. Today she enlightens us on the connection between vitamin D and depression. So gentle nudge: take care of yourself and get your levels checked today! XOXO, Elaine

nature-sunset-person-woman
About 1 in 10 of your friends suffers from depression. And 1 out of 13 lives a painful existence riddled by anxiety. And how in the world has the number of individuals on the autistic spectrum skyrocketed from 1 in 10,000 a mere 30 years ago to presently 1 in 45?! (That’s a different article, but one solution lies within.*)
For many, many years, we have believed that these type of mood (or developmental) disorders had a beginning and an end in the brain. And, with this belief, we were instructed that the only solution was to medicate the deficits away.

Thankfully, functionally-minded and progressive, trail-blazing physicians such as Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of A Mind of Your Own and Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Ultra Mind Solution, have put these particular mood myths to bed. As Dr. Brogan puts it, “Depression is not a Prozac deficiency.” And, Dr. Hyman educates us on how to fix this “broken brain” syndrome. Both she and Dr. Hyman purport that depression in particular is actually less of an exclusive brain-based disorder and more of a “lifestyle medicine” issue, a systemic physiological disconnect, often rooted somewhere else in the body. And, the real work involves pitching the pills and rolling up our sleeves to reveal the root cause of the dis-ease that is making us miserable.

As if it’s not depressing enough to know that only 9 (out of 10) of our friends feels connected, fulfilled and happy the majority of the time, vitamin D deficiency has not only been linked with depression and mood imbalances, but it’s lack has profound physical consequences as well. And a whopping one billion of us are deficient. Why is vitamin D such a powerhouse? Well, for starters, every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system, meaning we need it to be wholly healthy, mind and body.

Vitamin D is so integral to health partly due to the fact that it’s the only vitamin that also functions as a hormone, where it not only serves its more famous role of assisting with calcium absorption, but it stimulates both the immune system and neurotransmitters. Yep, in its hormone state, vitamin D can have a direct effect on our “feel good” brain chemicals! In fact, vitamin D receptors actually exist in the areas of the brain that are linked with depression. So, maybe our brains aren’t in fact “broken,” maybe we just need more vitamin D.

So if the solution can be as simple as rooting out a severe deficiency in something our body needs to optimally function, like vitamin D, the next question is how do we best get MORE? According to the Vitamin D Council, unlike most other vitamins/minerals, it’s virtually impossible to get the proper amount via food. What??? In fact, they suggest that the most optimal avenue for your daily dose could be a good old-fashioned sunbath away. No need for two hours of flesh scorching, baby oil-laden torture. (We Gen-Xers are paying for that now!) Researchers say 10-15 minutes of direct skin exposure for light-skinned individuals and a bit longer for darker-skinned folks per day will do it. Why? Sun’s natural nectar, vitamin D, that’s why.

I won’t bore you with the plethora of studies linking vitamin D deficiency to mood imbalances and more, but suffice it to say that many of these studies looked at countries the farthest away from the equator (note: less sun), or they measured vitamin D levels in individuals during the winter months (we’ve all heard of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder) and/or they noted elevated depressive levels in individuals who just don’t play outside enough. Are you seeing the connection here? (Hint: the most natural source of vitamin D comes directly from our planet’s greatest source of energy, the sun.)

So how do we ensure we are one of the nine happy ones? It’s a simple three-step solution:

1. Get your vitamin D levels tested ASAP! Our clinic, Heights of Health, will conveniently help you order this easy blood test. Once you receive your results, our skilled wellness practitioners will facilitate interpretation of your testing and create a customized plan for optimizing your vitamin D levels. Call the clinic today to get more details: 713.861.6777

2. Be sure to get your daily dose of healthy sun exposure in 10-15 minutes/day increments. We all have work to do whether it’s on the computer, in the laundry room, at the office or with the kids. Gather up your laptop, laundry basket, toddler and colleagues and conduct 15 minutes of your workday outside. Not only will this ultimately build up your vitamin D levels over time, but you will feel an immediate shift in your mood just by one work session in the great outdoors.

3. Supplement with a high quality vitamin D3. (Avoid the synthetic and less bioavailable version, vitamin D2.) Supplementation is actually the second best way (next to that sunbath) to get your vitamin D. We carry several excellent, high-quality options in the convenience of our clinic. And, don’t forget that our staff is well-trained in muscle response testing (also known as “applied kinesiology”) and can quickly determine the brand/dosage that most resonates with your individual health needs.

So, hop on your bike, scooter, skateboard or lace up your sneakers and take a 15 minute play session outside (or a nap in the hammock!) and if you are lucky enough to live within a 15 minute stroll of HoH, we will see you and your sun-happy skin as you easily implement your three-step plan toward happy!

*For those of you with a loved-one on the Autistic Spectrum, please visit the Vitamin D Council’s resource center on the amazing link between vitamin D and autism.

Heather M resizedHeather M. Goodwin, MA, HHP

As the Director of Heights of Health Mind Wellness Division, Heather empowers adults and children with proven life-transforming tools and interventions. Her multi-disciplinary approach is rooted in the recognition that physical issues cannot be separated from emotional, social, spiritual, and psychological influences. Therefore the whole person must be taken into account to achieve optimal whole-person health. Heather’s mindfulness and behaviorally-based approach leads individuals to make sustainable choices that bring life-changing outcomes within reach.

Heather holds a Master’s degree in Education and is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner. Heather has served as a teacher, a district-wide Behavior Specialist for a large urban school district, as a lead associate in one of our nation’s top  consulting firms and later as the Director of Behavior Programs for an innovative publishing company located in Colorado. Four years ago, Heather launched the Holistic Mind Wellness Division at Heights of Health, Houston’s beloved and cutting-edge natural healthcare clinic.

At Heights of Health, Heather teaches adults and children research-based practices that utilize the science of neuroplasticity to rewire the brain, biofeedback to balance the nervous system, and numerous powerful techniques that clients easily implement to positively affect daily habits and behaviors. Heather has particular expertise working with adults on changing the stress response and children with ADHD and other neurological or behavioral challenges. After 20+ years in the educational, behavioral and holistic health fields, Heather remains a requested national speaker and recognized behavior specialist. Heather happily resides in the Houston Heights with her husband, Mike and their two awesome children, Sophia (10) and Nicholas (7).

Follow Heather Goodwin and Heights of Health on Facebook.


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