Please…Stop ignoring your inner voice!

shaving hair 2

Yes, you! I’m talking to you! You…the one who has been pretending not to know that you are “supposed” to be taking a certain action – quitting your job, leaving a relationship, moving to a new town, expressing your true emotions to a loved one, checking in with your doctor…or whatever it may be!

Please, stop ignoring that inner nudging! It’s your built-in guidance system, and it’s trying to steer you toward the best version of you!

Although it can be scary to think about making the “leap” and trusting your gut (especially in a society so dedicated to weighing the “pros and cons” of things all of the time), it’s been my experience that “leaps of faith” (when rooted in truly listening to one’s own heart), will not disappoint! Sure it’s scary! Definitely uncomfortable…and filled with all sorts of “what ifs.” Yes, I know. But just stick with me here, and open your mind to taking even one small leap that you haven’t had the courage to take before. Start with something small. And when it works out (and the “worst thing that could happen”….doesn’t happen), you’ll build your confidence in the process and work your way up to bigger leaps of faith.

It’s so easy to imagine all the things that could go wrong if we decide to start making the changes we desire in our lives. But if you sit down and really concentrate, I’m sure you could generate a list just as long of all of the things that could go wrong even if you don’t make those same changes! Yes, that’s right…tons of awful things could happen to you right now…as you sit there in your comfort zone with a white-knuckle grip on all of your perceived sources of security. Not to be harsh, but the fact of the matter is that nothing is guaranteed. And if you never take a leap, at least one of those “things that could go wrong while you’re sitting there” is definitely going to happen – you won’t be living the life you dream about! Sigh…(not good)!

I’ve learned from experience during the past couple of years that it feels so wonderful to follow your inner voice, and it really does not lead you astray! My most recent experience with my “inner voice” was the shaving of my head. (NOTE: If you’re not too interested in the soul-bearing example I’m about to share regarding my farewell to my hair, please bear with me as I really feel that you’ll find value in this example regardless of the type of leap you are considering.)

MY “LEAP” – To shave…or not to shave!

So…my husband wasn’t really too “comfortable” with the idea of me shaving my head, but I knew I just had to do it. Even after a month without my hair, I still don’t feel that the reasons why I needed to shave it so badly have been 100% revealed to me….but I do know that I do feel so much more me (if that makes sense to you), and I feel incredibly free without my hair!!! I definitely don’t miss my “bed head,” and I really don’t miss feeling differently about myself from day-to-day based on how I felt my hair looked!

So here’s how it all went down….

I’d been feeling the urge to shave my head quite strongly for several months, but I kept delaying the leap for…ya know, solid “logical” reasons (wink, wink). Actually, looking back on things, I can recall wanting to shave my head for many years, really, but I never really entertained it as an actual possibility until about 6 months ago.

As time went by, the inner nudging became more and more relentless. Finally, one day about a month or so ago….I found myself pushing my hair down with my hands every time I’d catch my reflection in a mirror…and I realized  that I just did not feel like my true self anymore with my hair – although I wasn’t really sure why I felt this way. It didn’t really make sense to me, but the urging was so strong that I knew a head shaving was inevitable.

That night as my hubby and I were going to sleep, I found myself overcome with emotion – I was actually sobbing to him in bed about wanting to shave my head. Emotions sure do have a way of showing you the direction you are supposed to be heading in life! I wasn’t actually feeling sad. I was feeling tormented by the idea of resisting this hair cut any longer. And the emotion was stroooong – like, impossible to ignore. All-consuming, really. Another clear sign that a “leap” was in order! I kept trying to explain to him why I needed to shave my head….not that I had any kind of explanation that would make sense to another human being. LOL! Finally, I realized that there really weren’t “reasons”….it was a feeling. When he realized that my desire to shave my head was coming from a place so deep inside me that I had no control over it, he assured me that he’d support me in whatever I decided to do.

bandana shotThe next morning, I awoke before him as usual. Again, I was feeling like a different person than what was staring back at me in the mirror. I grabbed a bandana and covered my hair in an attempt to approximate what I’d look like with a shaved head. I’m not sure where the idea came from, but I grabbed a hand mirror and stood facing a wall mirror while holding the hand mirror at a particular angle so that the bandana wasn’t too visible in my reflection (as you can see in this photo to the left – feel free to click the photo to enlarge if you’d like).

I took a picture of this pose with the intention of showing it to my hubby so he could get an idea of what I would look like with no hair… but something much more unexpected came from that photograph! When I saw the picture of my face compared to the smaller reflection of my face in the hand mirror in this photograph…it was like looking into my soul….the reflection in the hand mirror seemed like me…and the other shot of my face did not. I can’t really explain it, but that’s how it felt. The whole experience reminded me of that song, “Reflection,” by Christina Aguilera. (You can check out the song in the video at the end of this post –  Perhaps you’ll find something in the song for you, too!) To me, that person in the hand mirror seemed so incredibly happy, content, and “whole.” The strange thing was that I had always considered myself to be perfectly content, happy and whole. So that feeling really caught me off guard! (I also found it symbolic that the reflection of my face is actually over my heart in this photo, which was in no way intentional.)

So….in that moment, I knew I’d be shaving my head very soon! 🙂   Oh, and if you’re wondering….I did still use the photo to “explain” things to my hubby. And, far from what I was expecting….it still made no sense to him. LOL! So funny…because I thought it all seemed so objectively clear at this point! Seriously…from the way I felt, I assumed he’d take one look at that picture and know exactly what I was talking about and relate to how I was feeling. Well…not so much!

So that’s when I realized….this was between me and my soul. And there was no need to convince anyone else…even my beloved husband! 🙂

shaving hair 2Even though he didn’t understand (and now I realize his understanding really wasn’t necessary), he did help me shave my head. And, after a few days of getting over the “shock” every time he saw me with no hair (a problem I had, as well. LOL!), he was pleasantly surprised that my lack of hair didn’t bother him at all like he had assumed it would. Aesthetically, I’m sure we both prefer me with a hair-do of some sort; but we have both seen how much more I’ve “come into my own” by taking this leap…and “looks” were never a factor in the decision at all (in case anyone is wondering).

So…How about YOU ?!

If there’s something you have been wanting to do but you’ve been resisting it, I urge you to sit down and think about what’s really (I mean….really!) stopping you!!!

Most things in life aren’t “permanent.” And you may end up kicking yourself if you never give it a try.

You may just find that sitting there wondering what you must be missing out on actually turns out to be much worse than whatever outcome you fear if you go ahead and DO it! So GOFORIT !

pooschkesYou only get one chance at this life, so make sure you’re living the life you want to live!!! Believe me…I know it’s scary to step outside your comfort zone. After the last couple years I’ve had (full of leaping), I’m starting to have trouble recalling what my comfort zone even looks like! LOL! But the feeling of FREEDOM is soooooooooo worth all of the “fear conquering” involved along the way!

I blog about a lot of things, but if there was just one message I could spread to the world, it would be to listen to your inner voice! Do you agree? If so, please forward this post in an email message to anyone you’d like to encourage to do so!

Oh, and be sure to “follow” my blog (over in the left margin of this page) in case I decide to purge my soul on the Internet again sometime soon. LOL!

Alright, enough about me! Your turn! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! What leaps are you resisting….or what experiences have you had with listening to and following your inner voice? Oh, and here’s that song, “Reflection,” that I mentioned above…

From Pain to Purpose: My Journey from Fibromyalgia to Food

“Fibromyalgia” stole several years of my life. In 2002 (at age 25), my health began to deteriorate. I was extremely weak and fatigued, and I was in so much pain that some days it was all I could do to get out of bed. Among other symptoms, I suffered from digestive distress, sleep disturbances, chest pain, and an intermittent racing heart beat. After more than 15 different prescription medications, never-ending appointments with various specialists and more than a handful of diagnostic procedures, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

I was in constant pain – many days it was too painful even to hug my own husband. On good days, I felt like I was 90 years old. On bad days, I felt like I should be in the hospital. I was in pure misery, suffering from an “invisible illness” for which there was no treatment, no cure and no known cause. In 2005, after much consideration, I resigned – I resigned from my position as Executive Director of the after-school program that I adored, and I resigned myself to the medical “fact” that I would suffer with chronic, untreatable pain for the rest of my life. (Click here if you’d like to read about my illness and recovery in much more detail.)

Fortunately, in 2007 I stumbled upon some books that changed my life forever. Among other things, I learned that there are ingredients in processed foods (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors/sweeteners) that are making people sick and are often hidden on food labels under innocent-sounding ingredient names like “natural flavor” and “yeast extract.” This information made such an impact on my husband and me that we immediately purged our kitchen of convenience foods and mystery ingredients. We started eating only those foods which we could clearly identify as having come from a plant or animal in nature. And in just a couple of months, ALL of my Fibromyalgia symptoms were gone – completely gone! In fact, I now feel better and have more energy than most people I know!

It sounds so silly, but I never realized before just how good we should all feel. We should sleep well, feel great and have all of the energy we need to do all of the things we want to do. Each of us deserves that! People need a wake-up call – we truly are what we eat, and we need to make a conscious decision about what we are putting into our bodies. I’m not saying we need to spend half of our paychecks on obscure berries from distant lands; but we do need to stop eating FAKE food and return to eating things that are grown in nature rather than invented in a lab.

The Standard American diet is destroying our health! Meanwhile, we are bombarded with unhealthy messages and advertisements for junk food; and eating has been turned into such a “rocket science” that it’s no wonder folks feel defeated before they even get to the grocery store. Low fat? Low calories? High protein? Biggest meal at night? Biggest meal at breakfast? It’s enough to drive a person insane! Unfortunately, what most experts fail to advise is that what matters most is what’s in the ingredients list of what we eat!

Even when folks come to the realization that processed food is bad, they often have no idea how to make changes or what to eat instead! So I have dedicated my life to teaching people how to read ingredients labels, how to shop for and prepare REAL foods, how to use various kitchen equipment, etc.

I know that these changes aren’t easy and there are a million-and-one “reasons” why you “can’t” do it. Believe me! Just five years ago, I was eating fast food, candy, diet pop and frozen dinners. I was the stereotypical American “junk food junkie.” Unless I needed to lose a few pounds – then I was a calorie-conscious crash dieter. (I used to think that calories, carbs and fat grams were all that mattered and that if I wasn’t overweight, then I had nothing to be worried about. Boy was I wrong!!!) Five years ago, I had no idea how to cook! I was also battling a chronic illness and suffering from extreme fatigue, weakness and pain. So, if I can make these changes, anyone can!! There is nothing special about me that somehow made it easier for me to make these changes. After all, I hate doing dishes just as much as anyone else! It’s just a conscious decision that each of us must make – basically, you just have to want to change more than you want to stay the same.

This may sound cliché, but I know that everything happens for a reason. While suffering with Fibromyalgia, it was really hard to see any purpose in the pain. Now, I realize that I suffered for those years so that I could educate and inspire others to take charge of their diets and their health. So many people are so apathetic about what goes into their bodies – I was, too! Eating really shouldn’t be this complicated, and it is unfortunate that things have gotten to this point. It isn’t fair that food companies are allowed to add harmful ingredients to the food on unsuspecting consumers’ plates, and I am determined to do what I can to help people become more aware and make the necessary changes!

Although my particular symptoms were diagnosed as “Fibromyalgia,” you could insert countless other health conditions and get this same story and solution; and I’ve witnessed the transformation in many other people with a variety of ailments and diagnoses throughout the years. So if you’re still eating processed foods, I truly hope that you will consider this information and begin making changes in your own life.

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