life

A-Z HEALTH

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H-H-HAZELNUTS

hazelnuts

In the nut family, hazelnuts contain the highest of vitamin E content, are 65% unsaturated fat, and are a good source of protein. They are high in most minerals; calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper and potassium, zinc and selenium, and have a good B vitamin content.

So how are hazelnuts good for you? Lets start with fiber. You know, the gut loving, quality-life giving element of food we have all come to love, accept and understand. Fibre, in review, helps with our bowel transit times, helps keep the intestinal tract clean and clear, and improves overall digestion.  When digestion is functioning at full capacity, so can all other body systems be.

Vitamin E is a skin loving vitamin. Not just the skin on your face. Yes, it's great for the complexion. It's also good for tissue in the body such as cardiac muscle. Yes, hazelnuts are heart healthy! Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant helping our bodies combat free radicals. Our cells in our blood stream and walls of our blood vessels need protection from free radicals. Vitamin E, found in hazelnuts can help with this task, thus contributing to overall health.

The calcium found in these nuts are supportive to bone health, and strong teeth. Other minerals, such as zinc and selenium are supportive to thyroid health. Magnesium, can help relax muscle tension and aid sleep. The iron source is great for men and women, and should be loved by vegetarians as an alternative to meat.

Hazelnuts have a good source of B vitamins for those looking for new sources. B vitamins are the "anti stress" relief many of us are looking for.

Protein, healthy fat and fibre, all contribute to healthy growth and maintenance of tissues during all stages of life. So the next time you are thinking about fueling up on nuts, throw some hazels in the mix!

 

A-Z HEALTH

“For the love of”-GARLIC!

Garlic. It’s a staple in cooking world-wide. It’s one of the most common, easily accessible, delicious, nutritious and potent herbs on earth.

Garlic is capable of many things. As an immune boosting herb, it has the ability to affect our organs involved in immunity in such a way, that our bodies can produce more immune boosting cells, increase the activity level of existing cells, or both. Hence, why our elders would say “eat more garlic” when we suffer with cold/flu symptoms.

Not only will immune boosting garlic reduce cold/flu symptoms and potentially help us avoid them in the first place, but garlic can help rid our bodies of parasites, lower blood pressure, and aid in reducing risk of cardiovascular type dis-ease. The list goes on…purifying the blood, detoxifying through lymph and the rest of the body, lower the blood clotting factor.

Let’s talk antioxidants. What do they do? Combat free radicals, that’s what. Why is that awesome? Because a free radical is an unstable molecule that can cause irritation and breakdown of our tissues unless they are neutralized by antioxidants in the body. Garlic is just one of those antioxidants.

Garlic gives us anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It’s been used as a supplemental herb for more than boosting immunity. There’s more garlic has been used for; anti-ageing, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory aid, energy boosting, immune support, and on a spiritual level, century old tales tell us that, in theory, garlic keeps away evil spirits (or any spirits for that matter). Hollywood has certainly brought these stories to life!

So eat your garlic! Cook with it, use it raw, source organic, local, good quality stuff. Keep some on hand to ward away those spirits, and most importantly, live long and strong!

ESMÉ, YOU'RE 2!!

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ESTEEMD LOVED,...

{TRIBUTE}

Here’s to looking forward, and reflecting back. From the inside out, Esme is a place of self-care. With holistic nutrition focusing on one’s transformation into health, aesthetics being the icing on the cake-allowing their guests to feel ah-mazing, and flowers to brighten ones spirit-there are no gaps to fill between inner and outer beauty. Supporting local, and small businesses, Esme boasts a wide range of products, including some of their own. Over the past 2 years, this part of the business has grown enough to create an online store, available for product ordering-thanks to the support of loyal guests who believe in the same thing Esme does-organic, whole, natural alternatives, and products that provide outstanding results. It doesn’t end there. From its conception, Esme has been on point with service. From the beautiful teas and coffees, crazy delicious popcorn, chocolates or macarons, there is always something to engage your taste buds during this experience. Private parties, a wide range of aesthetics, floral classes, holistic nutrition seminars, weddings, really any occasion is a reason to be touched by Esme-it’s a special thing. And it shows no signs of stopping. Esme. Where the end goal is that guests feel esteemed and loved. Where you get more than just health, beauty and floral. Where the vision is clear and the visionary becomes a true part of revolutionizing what the standard of beauty is.

{SHE} She creates her own path, gathering like-minded individuals to walk with her. She treats guests and Esme staff with much consideration, respect and honour. Serving them the best bites, and creating a welcoming, comfortable setting. She is tolerant of those who are lost on their path. She forgives those who make mistakes. When something doesn’t work, she works to fix it. She doesn’t give up when it gets hard, and is pulled in 10 different directions at once, and that’s inspiring. She practices optimism, and strives to create only an optimistic environment. She loves her staff like family, constantly building a strong foundation. Her staff is amazing, diverse, caring, hard-working, and talented. She’s always looking to maintain balance-in life and business. She is true to herself first, never straying from her dream. This, is why she is able to nurture and help them to reach theirs. She shares good fortune with others. She gives….and gives, and then gives some more. She inspires us to become our best version of ourselves. She is strong enough to stand alone, She’s herself enough to stand apart, And wise enough to stand together.

Team Esme-may you continue to grow, prosper, inspire, help others feel esteemed and loved. You are legendary at year 2!

Team ESME…. Angela, Meg, Andee, Robyn, Katie, Sarah, Jess, Jojo, Becca, Sara, Sora, Jill.

Written by:

Lise Johnson

5 Reasons to Drink Warm Lemon Water

When it comes to healthy habits, its all about ease, simplicity and consistency.  For me, that means that my healthy routines are all about what can most easily be incorporated and what will do the most for my body (i.e. smallest amount of effort for the biggest reward). If I don't feel and/or see a positive shift, I won't keep doing it (I don't have time for that and I doubt that you do either). With that being said, warm lemon water is my tried and true health habit that I commit to EVERY morning. It's one healthy habit that I recommend to everyone! Warm lemon water is easy to incorporate and has SO many health benefits. Below are five reasons to start drinking warm lemon water:

  • One:  Whole body detoxification. Drinking warm lemon water effectively detoxifies the liver and the liver is the bodies primary organ for detoxification. When the liver is functioning optimally, the body is able to purge excess toxins and reduce inflammation. Also, drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning wakes up your digestive fire to prime your body to optimal digestion all day long.
  • Two: Boosts your immune system. Lemons are high in Vitamin C, a key vitamin needed for immunity.
  • Three: Balances your pH levels. Lemons are an alkaline food. Yes, on their own, lemons are highly acidic but in our bodies, lemons have an alkaline effect. Alkaline diets are great at reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Four: Helps with weight loss. When the body is out of balance, it becomes increasingly more difficult to lose weight. Lemons help to restore balance in the body - by regulating the pH levels and detoxifying any excess toxins.
  • Five: Clears skin. As mentioned above, lemons are high in vitamin C which helps to reduce and prevent wrinkles and blemishes. Plus, lemons help to detoxify the blood which also has a positive effect on your skin (less toxins inside the body = less breakouts).

Instead of having a cup of coffee as soon as you get out of bed, make yourself a glass of warm lemon water (...you can have your coffee after). In addition to the benefits listed above, enjoying warm lemon water in the morning is very hydrating (and we need that after a good nights sleep). Lemon water is simple to make but in order to maximize the nutritional benefits of lemon, don't use boiling water! If the water is boiling (or even just too hot) you will actually destroy some of the nutritional properties of the lemon and as a result, reduce the health benefit in your body. So here's exactly what you need to do:

  1. Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil.
  2. In a mug combine 2/3 cup boiling water and 1/3 cup room temperature water (filtered is best, if possible).
  3. Add lemon slices or juice of 1/2 lemon.
  4. Enjoy on an empty stomach and feel great!

Tip: Once you finish your warm lemon water, rinse your mouth with filtered water to ensure the acidity of the lemon doesn't damage the enamel on your teeth.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

Beauty from Within

You've likely heard the saying before, you are what you eat. Well...that's not entirely true, you are what you digest and absorb. When we nourish our bodies with healthy, whole foods (and are able to absorb that nutritional goodness), our tummies, skin, hair/nails, energy, etc. all reap the benefits.

For example, do you want glowing skin? Well...that healthy glow you are longing for actually starts in the gut. Our external appearance is (often) a reflection of what we've got going on inside. It's not always an easy fix because no two bodies are the same, so what works for one may not work for another. However, here are a couple of things that we can all do to optimize our digestion and absorption:

  • One: Where possible, eat local. If you are eating local, your food is often more fresh with fewer (or no) preservatives. Not sure what's in season? Check out your local farmers market and browse the local produce stands.
  • Two: Eat whole foods that are as close to nature as possible. As a general rule, on packaged foods, limit the ingredient list to less than 5 ingredients and make sure you are able to pronounce each ingredient. If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be eating it.
  • Three: Eat probiotic rich foods or take a high quality probiotic supplement.  A healthy gut biome is key to all areas of your health - physical and emotional. Probiotics help to repopulate and rebalance the healthy bacteria in our gut.
  • Four: Add greens to every meal. Dark leafy greens are filled with antioxidant and detoxification priorities. Green smoothies and green juices offer an easy on the go option to get your greens in!
  • Five: Drink more water. Water is so important to overall health. When the body is properly hydrated our detoxification systems function optimally, nutrients are more easily absorbed and overall health is improved.
  • Six: Stress less. Stress hinders our bodies ability to digest because when we are stressed, we are in our sympathetic nervous system (i.e. fight or flight). When we are in this state, our bodies are not using energy to digest (because historically we experienced this stressed state when we were in a dangerous situation, i.e. being chased by a bear). Optimal digestion occurs when we are in a relaxed state (parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest). So...for optimal absorption and nourishment, we CANNOT be so stressed. So breathe deep.
  • Seven: Get more sleep. Aim for 7-8 hours every night (I know, this seems impossible for some). Sleep is important for your body to rest, repair and regenerate. Plus, a lack of sleep leads to an increase in the production of the hormone, ghrelin. Elevated levels of this hormone negatively impact our ability to recognize when we are no longer hungry (and therefore we tend to overeat). Overeating negatively impacts digestion and causes inflammation in the body.
  • Eight: Drink your food - sounds weird, right? Digestion begins in your mouth, so remember to chew your food, until its a 'liquid' consistency.

Integrate all (or at least some) of these suggestions and observe change in how you feel and how you look. Slow down and allow your body to nourish, absorb and digest. Sometimes its easier said than done, but your body will thank you.

[AUTHOR: BECCA CORNWALL]

 

A-Z HEALTH

D IS FOR SUNSHINE

Vitamin D. Are you getting enough? It's something that most people are deficient in. It is the vitamin that requires such a great deal of whole-body participation for it to be converted into what's known as vitamin D3, the most active form and best utilized by the body. The skin, bloodstream , liver, and kidneys all contribute to the transformation of the fully active form, D3.

It all starts with our skin, and the sun. Vitamin D is actually manufactured in our skin when it comes into contact with the u.v. light in the sun's rays. Hence, the name "sunshine vitamin" (in case you've not heard the reference before). From the skin, it's then sent to the liver for conversion, and then furthermore, to the kidneys. So, really, vitamin D is more like a hormone than a vitamin. This is because it's produced by one part of the body (skin) and released into the blood to affect other tissues (the bones).

Wintertime, dark skies, smog and darkly pigmented skin can reduce our bodies production of this vitamin.

Vitamin D helps a number of bodily functions. It helps regulate calcium metabolism and normal calcification of the bones.  Ladies, this is especially important for us, as we get older, since the most we can do after a certain age is maintain our bone integrity.  Vitamin D helps increase the absorption of calcium from the gut, decrease excretion from the kidneys (thats right, we loose it through excretion), can stimulate re-absorption of calcium and phosphorus from bone, and support minerals in teeth. On the other hand, if D is low, blood levels of calcium and phosphorous decrease, our body will pull those minerals from the bones, creating weak, demineralized bones.  Blood calcium is very important in connection with the parathyroid glands. If you have further questions regarding this, it's best to see your holistic nutritional consultant for advise.

If you are currently taking a calcium vitamin without vitamin D3, it's probably not doing you much good unless you get a lot of sun which can also have it's cons. So what's the ideal bone support? Calcium and magnesium, which should be taken in a 2:1 ratio, with vitamin D together, is probably the best. Typically you can buy a cal/mag supplement and it will come in the right ratio. Often, it will include vitamin D, making it an easy supplement to add to your regime.

A-to-the-D. One final point. This is a topic on it's own, but you can pick up an amazing Weston. A. Price book for an in depth explanation as to why. Just to put it simply though, Vitamin D is best utilized by the body with vitamin A.  They are both fat-soluble vitamins that work synergistically together. They long for each other. Vitamin A food sources include, but are not limited to; high quality fish oils, good quality dairy products if tolerated (if not tolerated, perhaps fermented versions of dairy). Green and yellow fruit and veggies are the best sources of beta carotene (the water soluble co-factor). If your liver is healthy, it will have the ability to convert beta carotene into the active form of vitamin A (retinol).

Do the D. Get ample, safe exposure to sun, and supplement if necessary. Always consult your health practitioner before doing so. Love your liver, so that it can love you back, and have a bright, bright sunshiny day!

#ESMEINK : "August Awakening" Day 28

awakening

{AUGUST MOON}

This is a delayed posting - but still words beautiful to digest....

This full moon seems full of forward momentum. While just a couple of weeks ago, I felt that things within me and around me were moving at a slow pace, that has quickly changed. I'm seeing through a new window. It is clean and clear. I have realized where I need to make some changes in order to progress. Sometimes I just have to take a leap of faith, and trust that making a change will serve me better. There is such a fiery ball of momentum within me. I've been planting soul seeds for the past couple of months in preparation of a beautiful harvest. This full moon, on August 18th can be a time of realization, awakening, rebellion, and seeing things from a new point of view. New understanding and directions. Big picture visioning. Taking risks, and diving into self expression is all a part of it. This is the perfect time to tackle any tasks and decisions I've been putting off. (like my basement spare room project, or small work projects.) Cheers to today, and the near future!

{Mantra}May my eyes be able to see,
And my ears be open to hear,
The beauty of all creation,
And the Spirit that brought me here.”

augustmoon

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Aloneness" Day 27

deepakquote

{ Aloneness }

"To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are  afraid of, because in the silence, you hear the truth and know the solutions."

-Deepak Chopra

Alone time is a sense of freedom in my eyes. I think its' a prerequisite for happiness. I've been needing a lot of it lately. Probably because my mind is still so busy. So much ahead in the next month-and-a-bit.

It's really tough to sort out my own thoughts without it. Knowing how to be alone isn't easy for everyone. But for me, it's easy. I revel in it. It is a time of great personal growth for me. Whether it means listening to my music, reading, crying, writing.

I am not afraid of the dark, of solitude. I don't fear bing alone for days at a time. Never have.

I think moms can get so caught up in caring for so many other lives, that before we know it, years have passed. We lose our identity. Who the hell are we anymore?

My goal as a mother, is to not let that happen. The more time I can spend self-loving, growing, caring and nurturing, the better I will love my clan. Aloneness brings me peace.

I've made my list of things I need to do to spruce up the spare room downstairs to create my little sanctuary. This project excites me so much!

Last night Pinterest-ed the "she-shed".  A female variation on the man cave. This idea is amazing! While space for one is not currently in the cards, it may be in the future.

"Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape."

-bell hooks

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson 

#ESMEINK : "Precious Life" Day 25

{ PRECIOUS LIFE }

"The trouble is,

you think you

have time."

-Buddha

Today's journal is short. It's a reminder to love deeper, life more passionately, breathe more deeply, and cherish moments. Even the thoughts in between moments. Because-as if I need to say it-life is short.

My husband and I had a scare tonight.

Our son, 5, nearly fell out of his bedroom window. It's high enough that It could have taken his life.

Thanks to our backyard neighbour, who saw him climbing out, -unlocked our gate, ran up to the back door and started ringing the doorbell and knocking frantically-he was ok.

My first thought was something happened to her. Then she yelled up at my son (as nice a she could as to not scare him) to get in the house.

 I saw him half out of the window, and very thankfully, he quickly got back in the house.

My husband had ran up the stairs to see him while I thanked her, in shock.

We are the lucky ones tonight.

I squeezed my kids longer tonight and explained more than ever how much we love them.

It's so important that they understand.

"Guard your time fiercely.

Be generous with it,

But be intentional about it."

-David Duchemin

buddah

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Life & Power" Day 24

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happiness

LIFE & POWER

I begin with a quote today. I love it, and I question it at the same time;

"YOU WILL NEVER BE HAPPY IF YOU CONTINUE TO SEARCH FOR WHAT HAPPINESS CONSISTS OF. YOU WILL NEVER LIVE IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE MEANING OF LIFE".

This quote reminds me that, what really matters, is right NOW. This very moment. Being present, once again. Finding peace amongst the bit of chaos I have in my life right now-today-this evening. I know that I'm not alone, when I feel like I'm always searching for more of a meaning to life. A purpose.

But how lost in this should a person get? And how far away from it does one get without seeming like they don't give a damn? And then, on the other hand, I also love searching for what happiness means to me. Questioning if I'm happy, and making necessary adjustments in my life to become so. My journals have helped me begin to reveal a part of this grand question.

I have felt, that the more I unravel beneath my skin, the more work I create for myself, and the busier I've become. I wish I didn't have to sleep at night. I wish I didn't tire. Truly, wishful thinking.

So, what is happiness to me? What is happiness to others?

{Power}

Everyone has power symbols. For some it's money. For others, it may be status. Maybe it's to be physically fit. Maybe its a career. Whatever it may be, we usually feel in control of our lives when that thing is present and abundant. When it's not, walls can crumble, our relationships can fall apart, and life seems less grand. Some people dive into a depression. It's different for everyone.

Power symbols. Are they learned from observing members of our clan from a young age? A sum of our experiences thus far? Probably both, I think. When and where in our lives did they become significant, and can we change them? I think yes, but not without a lot of work, love, and self-trust. That's where I'm at.

Money is definitely a power symbol to me. Not that I've ever had an abundance of it. I have made the connection to my happiness, or lack of it when money is either present or scarce. So thats where I'm starting. My first power symbol. Why this one? Because often, I feel like money is the root of all evil. Boom.

I'm starting to create change-new habits and beliefs that ultimately pave new pathways in my brain. A re-wiring (so to speak). I want my brain to understand that this power symbol, is truly symbolic. I want to physically not feel frustrated, scared, or stressed over money. I will rewire my brain to understand, that, when money is not abundant at any given time, that it's OK. This would be the time to reflect on life's simple, and often free treasures. Like mother earth. Love. Peace. Health. This will serve me better.

I love turning lemons into lemonade. Literally and figuratively.

As I work towards creating new habits, new thoughts, and new beliefs that ultimately create happiness, the one thing I can't forget to remember is, let go, and live! Because the more I live, the more the meaning of life will reveal itself!

I'm choosing a mantra today, that translates to releasing obstacles. It will help me let let go of that which is blocking my path.

{MANTRA}

Om Gum Ganapateyi Namaha

mantra

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Traditions" Day 23

sacred

{ TRADITIONS }

This weekend, my family and I were honoured to attend a wedding that included a traditional Chinese Tea ceremony to honour the bride's elders, and bless her as she departs from her family name, and takes on a new one.

The ceremony was in a beautiful setting, on the Seymour river in North Vancouver at my cousin's house. Just breathtaking.

The ceremony itself, was full of tradition and quiet emotion. It seems that in our culture, weddings seem to be getting so far away from tradition, and resemble more creativity and diversity. The more different a wedding is, seemingly, the more praise it gets. (Of course this is not always the case) I'm not sure that's not a bad thing, but I do feel sad when tradition becomes watered down, or lost. Tradition to me, resembles roots, foundation for future, and strength in clan.

The ceremony began with an introduction explaining why this ceremony takes place, and who it honours. From there, each elder-mother, father, grandparents, aunt's and uncle's from both the bride and groom's side sit, and A red envelope is presented to the bride and groom (containing money for granting them a start on their new journey) as they kneel before their elder(s), and exchange greetings and blessings. They then sip on traditional tea (or a liquor-although I'm not sure if that's a choice, or for any specific reason) It was so refreshing to be part of such an amazing experience!

My hope for the future, is that marriage remains sacred. That traditions are upheld, and that it's not just the "wedding" with all of it's bells and whistles that a bride or groom looks forward to. Because the road ahead of us all is not an easy one. That's not to say that it's not beautiful, but there needs to be a large foundation built in order for a marriage to grow upwards and outwards in love.

A common, traditional short poem that may be said to the bride and groom goes something like this one below; (To my cousin Joe, and new wife, Lisa, I hope I've got this right);

zhù nĭ men
xīang jìng rú bīn
xīn xīn xīang yìn
huā hăo yuè yuán
băi nián hăo hé

(Translates to): Wish that you two
 May you respect each other like honored guests.
May you always see heart to heart.
May fragrant flowers bloom and full moon shine over your life together.
May your joy and happiness be forevermore.

sacredmarriage

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "On the Road" Day 22

moments

{ ON THE ROAD } 

Im on my way to B.C. with my sweet husband and children for a visit with family, and my cousin's wedding.

This trip is going to boost my spirit in ways I need so badly right now! Having our BC escape once or twice a year will satisfy my heart. Especially in light of the soul work I've been doing to find peace with staying in Calgary, and making it home for longer.

The mountains. Ocean. Rivers, and lakes. Home in my heart. It feels so right to be going there for the weekend.

This drive is so breathtakingly beautiful! The mountains hold such spirit and mystery. I'm drawn to them like a magnet. I'm in love with the fierce wildlife, the mystic rain, glaciers, sunny days and hikes, and the thought of survival among them.

I can't wait to see my clan. To get my hands on my nieces and nephews. I've been focusing a lot on family and building clan, and strengthening my root chakra. This encourages my roots to grow deep into the foundations of my soul and earth. Having strong roots and beliefs help me to feel like home is wherever I hang my hat.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. In all aspects-people places and things. Maybe, having B.C. close enough to visit, yet far enough that it's an effort, will make me appreciate it so much more.

All of that being said, it's time for some soul-kissing fun times!

travel1

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Little Frustrations" Day 20

dailyencouragement  

LITTLE FRUSTRATIONS

{rant}

Day 1 of going to bed early-fail. Things came up in the evening after work, and I find myself finally sitting down to write my day 20 journal at 11pm. I'm already tired. My head has been pounding since  3pm.

I've also been a day behind in my journals for a few days now, since the Canada Day long weekend was so busy. It's playing on me! I don't like being unaccountable.

 I didn't get yoga or a workout in today, which I was really hoping for.

I feel discouraged tonight for some reason.

{praise}

Thank goodness though, I don't have bigger worries in my life tonight. If this is my only issue at the present time, then I'm ahead in life. Winning.

It was an amazing, busy day at work, with lovely clients.  Another win.

My kids had such a fun day at day home today, that they wanted to just stay for a sleepover! But we came home, and had lots of snuggle time before bed. Win, win.

We have another showing on our house tomorrow. Win.

I have the day off tomorrow to stay home. I will find time for yoga when the kids nap, or we'll do some yoga together!  {which would actually mean, I'm a mountain. Kids climb said mountain}

My candles are lit, and I'm finding calm in my head as I write. Win.

I'm going to crawl into bed in a minute to snuggle the man of my dreams. Huge win!

Good night world, that is all I have tonight.

dontstop

#ESMEINK Journal by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Saying No & Going with the Flow" Day 17

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sayingno

THE POWER OF SAYING "NO", AND GOING WITH THE FLOW

I have learned to say no. I am getting more comfortable with setting boundaries. I'm done feeling guilty for wanting what I want in life. This is self love! It's not selfish, and it's not hurting anyone else. I try my best to take care of other peoples feelings, but not to the point that I shove mine aside. Remembering…..In order to love others, I have to love myself first.

I've considered lately, creating a sacred space. A physical one. I have begun creating a scared space in my heart, where I can go when I need peace. It's where I ground myself, and meditate. It's where I find clarity. But, amidst the craziness in my life-and by crazy I mean amazing but busy-I would love to have a sacred space in my home that is mine. Where I can light candles. Read my favourite book. Soak my feet. Do my yoga, meditate. Really, whatever I need at the time. I want to feel like I have a place that feels far from home, that's not. Growing up, my mom had her sewing room. I remember her wanting a sewing room for years before she finally had one. A space of her own. Where she could make something beautiful. For herself. For her soul. It was kind of like a sacred space, that was just for her, not for us kids. Of course, as a kid I didn't realize that having a sewing "room" meant actually having a sanctuary that was kid-free, noise-free, stress free, and a place where she probably felt at peace, balanced and centred. It was a world of her own-just for her! So, I've decided. Now that our teenagers both no longer live here, I'm going to work on turning the spare room downstairs into a room that I can use whenever I please. I'm going to decorate it, maybe even paint it-it could use a fresh coat anyways- Put up pictures that inspire me. Gather my books and trinkets, cozy blankets and essential oils, sage, and set up shop for my soul.

Wow-So here I thought I was going to write about how "saying no" is empowering, self loving and important to health. I've touched on it, but felt more inspired to go with the flow today. And now I'm pretty set on beginning a new project. See, nothing is certain. The only thing certain in life, is change. Life is beautiful! Buckle up and just enjoy the ride they say.

I'm going to created a sacred space. Dive deeper into my spirit and bring more joy into my life.

Halleluja!

And a quote…..

"I now take my power back as I choose to respect, honour and love myself." -Trudy Vesotsky

gowiththeflow

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Age of Loneliness" Day 13

hardships.jpg

loneliness

This one is deep for me. I believe we live in the age of loneliness. I don't care how many Facebook friends I do, or do not have. What I care about, are my real interactive, meaningful relationships. I'm working hard to build them. Real, live conversations feed me lately. I've come a long way from being a very shy kid. I force myself to hold conversations lately, to work on my self expression and confidence. I work hard to build the clan of my dreams. It's even harder to let go of relationships that don't serve me. Seriously, it's F'n hard!  So, when I read this quote (below) today, there are a couple of lines that really stand out. Truthfully, they all stand out. But if I were to take each paradox, and try to write about them all, I'd be up for nights on end.

I feel sad knowing that while some people may seem to have a busy life because of their number of facebook friends and instagram followers, it is possible that they are living in a cyber nightmare. Where real relationships cease to exist, and the fear to be out in public is intense because social anxiety is real for them. Insecurities have been created out of false advertising-false women and men-a competition to gain the most friends on facebook-pressure to date or "hook up". Wondering if these virtual relationships actually mean anything at all. Obsessing over the "friend list number." What thoughts cross that person's mind, when the friend list goes from 875 to 874.

It breaks my heart. There is so much good that has come with the power of connection through technology, yet it still fails some.

I'm not intending to say everyone is lonely. Only that some are. And usually, it's someone we would least expect it from.

{prayer}

If you feel lonely tonight, don't, because my thoughts are with you. This journal is for you. Whoever you are, wherever you are. Reach out. Someone wants you to.

Love, and light.

XO.

THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE

"We have bigger houses, but smaller families;

More conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

More knowledge, but less judgement;

More experts, but more problems;

More medicines, but less healthiness;

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.

We built more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.

We have become long on quantity,

but short on quality.

These are times of fast food

but slow digestion;

Tall man but short character;

Steep profits but shallow relationships,

It's a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."

-Dalai Lama

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Creative Expression & Momentum" Day 12

throatchakra.jpg

create

Creative expression and Momentum

{The throat chakra}

Last night I had a soul kissing experience! A good friend and I went to one of calgary's many paint nights. Not only was it a great way to enjoy a good glass of wine with a friend and catch up, it was 3 hours of being completely present. In the moment. Nourishing my creative expression. I would recommend it to everyone, and can't wait to go again. The throat chakra was given a dose of recognition. It instilled a bit of confidence in me that I didn't know I needed. The throat chakra is related to creative expression, willpower, truth, communication, integrity and the power of the spoken word. Through balance in this chakra, I know I can stand up for what I believe in, and have confidence and power to do the things I dream of. When the throat chakra is blocked, it prevents energy from rising up to other energy centres. Clearing requires a deep commitment to my truth. I believe these types of exercises to be helpful in my desire to educate and speak in front of crowds. Something I'm excited to be doing again in the very near future! I look forward to the many years of continuing to clear and nurture this chakra! Self love is ongoing, ever changing and beautiful.

{Momentum}

I've been feeling a very rapid, forward momentum in my creative side of the brain. Ideas are flowing, projects have taken on life, and my comfort in knowing that my future may reside in calgary for longer is very present. And that is good! All that I do, all of my efforts, are focused on my love for this city, raising my family here, building clan here, as well as my beautiful job.

"The concept of "home" is not just where one resides, but where the heart resides; in the purest depths of the soul. -Michelle Cruz-Rosado

(A special prayer in my heart goes out to my friend who invited me out last night to be a part of this creative experience-To your mother, who's place I took at your table last night, may she be at peace with what the future holds. Let comfort enter her soul, and let fear leave, knowing that she thought about by more people than she probably knows, and everything will be OK.)

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

#ESMEINK : "Roots & The Base Chakra" Day 3

ROOTS

{Chakra #1  - Base}

chakras

I know that todays journal is one that I will be referring back to often. It's one that I really feel needs a lot of attention and care. It will be ongoing work within me.

As I am preparing to address my roots and grounded-ness today, I'm reminded about the organs associated with the base chakra that i've been called to work on. Those organs/body parts are, the base of spine, legs, bones, feet, rectum and immune system. What's interesting to me is connecting with how I feel in those physical areas. It's truly amazing how our bodies are so connected to our spiritual needs. It reminds me how paying close attention to my body is so important. Listen, feel, and respond!

The base chakra is all about roots, family, feeling grounded, control, feeling a sense of belonging, honour. It's referred to as the "tribal" chakra as well, referring to group identity and belief patterns. It's our connection to belief systems that can shape our future and give us some sense of belonging. I also strongly believe that when certain beliefs don't serve you in your life, find what does. I've gotten lost in this aspect more than once, but I know that I am on the right path today.

Fears within this chakra are connected to physical survival, abandonment of a group or loss of physical order. Strenghts within this chakra relate to family identity, bonding, tribal honour code, the support and loyalty that give a person a sends of safety and a connection to the physical world, or being comfortable living in "this" body.

I think the most important thing to remember within this chakra, is "all is one". My connection to nature and her energy is how I become grounded and plant my roots. Earth interconnects all people and all humanity.

I know that to maintain health within this chakra, I must address personal tribal issues. So here is where I begin.

BUILDING, AND LETTING GO.

It has taken a long time for Calgary to feel like home to me. And although in the last year I've really settled in with new friends, I'm still not feeling grounded. Part of my soul work tonight begins with making a commitment to myself to build a clan. Family. Tribe. The first chakra speaks of "tribe". People who are committed to finding themselves, and have similar values to me. Like minded individuals, who are not afraid to live and love outside of any box. Ones who dare to let their freak flags fly. Free spirits, rebels, humans who care about the planet and one another. Folks who understand the importance of educating younger generations about our cultures around the world. I want to be surrounded people who believe in the power of energy, and are searching and evolving and growing their souls on a daily basis. I commit not just to forming friendships such as these, but releasing the ones that no longer serve me, or steal my energy. Only growth, only grounding. I have to release the people and things that hold me back.

Ending friendships is hard, and awkward. There is no easy way to do it. But I give myself permission to have the life I dream of. I give myself permission to love myself wholly, which means feeding my heart with goodness, and being surrounded with the friends and family that make my world amazing. I will allow myself to grow, and learn from my elders, peers and children. I allow myself to let go. Of stress from poor relationships, fear, doubt, and all things that do not serve me in my life.

Today I feel incredible gratitude for the family I've got. I'm camping with my husband, kids and inlaws! (yes-with wifi-which is a first for me, but I've got to keep up with the journal momentum. Day 3!!!) Not only did I enter into a marriage with an amazing husband, but I've gained an incredible extended family with a mother and father in law who would die for their family. I feel like I've been a part of the "tribe" since the day I met them. The same goes for my brother and sister in law. And while we all have our differences, they love unconditionally. It is amazing. So today I let that resinate in my soul.

FAMILY {groundedness}

I'm blessed (an absolute understatement) to have an amazing family. Mom, dad, brothers, in laws, husband, children, and large extended family. I love them all so much. And I feel how much they love me too.

I have a void that has always left me with questions. And while sometimes i'm at peace with it, other times I'm not. The older I get, the more I feel I need answers.

Being adopted, in my eyes, is an amazing blessing, and was he most loving act of kindness that I could have been given. I'd some day like to thank my birth parents for that. I am so grateful for this gift.

I long to know about my biological history. Where I came from, what traits I have in common with these blood relatives, whether or not I have siblings, nieces, nephews, grandparents that are alive…endless questions.

I have to thank my brother Luke, for pointing something out that I never had considered when I was pregnant with my first babe. He said, "Hey Lise, do you realize that when you have this baby, that it will be the first blood relative of yours that you will ever get to meet?" That blew me away. Complete new meaning to having children! Love my two crazy maniacs so much. They are like me in so many ways. And it's opened my eyes to who I am, and how different I am than my own parents. I hadn't realized how different I was until having my own kids. How sweet these realizations are! Damn, I love life.

With no success of reaching my bio parents throughout canada's adoption/re-uniting processes, I've taken a step in a totally different direction and wonder where it may lead. It's a bit random, but it may actually get me some answers.

I've spent years in my head preparing for what I would say if I met my birth parent(s). I'm prepared for the possibility that they may not be alive. I'm prepared for the possibility that they may want nothing to do with me. I'm prepared for every possible scenario. I've thought about it for enough years now.

My adopted {true} parents are amazing, and have always said they would help me if I was ever interested in finding my bio parents. That is LOVE.

There is just a part of me longing to find a piece of the puzzle that is missing about me. I've never felt completely grounded. I've always been searching for who I am, and it's been hard. I've always been easily influenced by people, i feel, until my 30's. I would be in relationships where I would morph into this person I thought I was and who I knew my partner(s) wanted me to be. It was so false, and exhausting. I gave away so much of myself for so many years, because I didn't take the time to really evaluate who I was, or who I wanted to be. Of course, In my late 30's I now have a strong understanding of who I am and where I am going. I now stand up for what I believe in. If I don't like something, I'm not afraid to say it. I know more about who I am now, more than ever. And it's so cool! I started to really evaluate what speaks to me truly, and the one thing I recall that has always been strong in my heart and soul is spirituality, and energy. I can't help but wonder how much of that is a part of my ancestral heritage.

I can't wait to see what comes of this new search. I can't explain why I feel that knowing more about my ancestors will help me to feel grounded, or know more about myself, when all I need to do is look within me, and to mother earth. But I just feel the push forward in this. I hope to find truth, and gain closure, if not anything more. Then I know I can move forward with whatever information I have and know that the answers I have will be enough.

{BALANCING ACTIVITES}

To help myself feel grounded, I will spend more time in nature-especially bear foot. I will garden more. I will relax and spend more quality time with my family, and really connect with them on a deeper level.

{MANTRA}

Today I love and accept my family and friends as my tribe. They are a part of me. I believe If we are meant to meet, we will. At the right time in our lives. (Or in another life) I accept letting go of what and whom does not serve me in this lifetime. I accept that you may let me go too. I feel grounded today because I receive love from family, friends, and myself. Mother earth is always here, and I connect to her vastness and power which further grounds me. I accept things that I cannot change in my search for my birthparents and answers regarding them. Build tribe, let go, connect, ground, accept.

#ESMEINK Journal Entry by Lise-Marie Johnson

Get Quiet, Live Loud : Finding Time for Meaning

2406793335 Today's post comes from Wanderlust.com - I read this article by Meredith Cameron a few nights ago & it was just one of those enlightening moments where you feel "i have to share this - it's too good to hold it all for myself". These simple lessons are ones I have to constantly remind myself of - as I wrestle through the busyness of life. I hope you enjoy! 

 

 

Get Quiet, Live Loud : 8 Tips to Help Us Live a Consistent, Feel-Good Life

There’s that burning, yearning for something that you desire in your life.

Or maybe you know you’re not meant to be doing what you are doing, but you feel there is no other option, so you just keep doing “it.” Or perhaps life is so busy that you’re not sure if you just put a grape in your mouth or your child’s already chewed gum from the previous day.

The thing is, there’s a freedom that lies within all of us. However, when we go at life’s pace, the voices of our hearts can be drowned out.

So what can we do to ignite who we truly are, this gusto, this “light it up” attitude, the freedom that helps us to align with ourselves so we can get loud in our daily lives?

First of all, let me be clear that by being “loud,” I do not mean the type of loud that translates to: being literally loud with your voice, asking for attention, or even ego. I mean the type of loud that translates to: contagious, inspired, excited, aligned. So loud, it becomes clear that you are truly living life to the brim.

Life is now. It’s not just an expression, friends. It’s not when we go on vacation or when we retire. It’s now.

We’ve all heard that expression. In fact, we post these quotes and inspirational photos on our social media pages. However, how many of us actually live by them? For example, gratitude has become such a buzz word. Sure I’m grateful. I’m sure you are too. I even have people tell me that they make a list of what they are grateful for every day.

My point is, we can post a quote or write our gratitude lists, and then move on back into the hustle and bustle of life. That’s the safe path. Living loudly has deeper roots.

Lets get away from the surface, and get deep.

Go get what you want from life. In order to go that direction, it’s important that we feel good and inspired and lit up. How can we feel good if we are always busy or frazzled or have no time and going 150 mph?

We can’t.

It’s time to get quiet. Being quiet is so much more difficult than being busy. So be easy on yourself if you try and it’s boring or you were distracted. Here are eight simple opportunities to find quietness within your day:

1. Wake up to quiet. Before you scoff, remember that getting quiet is difficult. When you wake up, take a mental note of how you feel. Not how you physically feel, but how your brain feels. Empty. Not strung out on technology. Appreciate that stillness for just a moment. If you don’t have time in the morning, set your alarm earlier. With the extra 10 minutes you can immediately journal (keep a pen and paper next to your bed) or make warm water and lemon and sit as you watch the steam rise out of your mug. What you’re doing is setting the entire tone and texture for your day.

2. Breathe. Give yourself 120 seconds to really breathe deeply. You can do this. A big inhale and a big exhale. Lather, rinse, repeat for two minutes. Put a sticky note on your car steering wheel or on your phone that says breathe. You can do this multiple times a day. It’s a game changer.

3. Shift your perspective. It’s challenging, so I suggest more sticky notes. For example, cooking dinner for the family can be daunting. Shift gears to allow the gesture to be a massive act of self-care. Chopping and prepping food can be soothing if you allow it to be. Washing dishes can be meditative if you allow it to be. Find calm in the chaos with whatever task you are doing. It’s there with a little perspective shift.

4. Check in with yourself. How often do you check in and take note of how you are feeling? It’s going to change your life if you check in multiple times a day. It’s important that we know how we are feeling so that we can adjust and recalibrate as needed.

5. Keep technology out of the bedroom. At some point in your past, you most likely slept in a bedroom when technology didn’t exist, therefore it’s possible to leave it outside of the door. If it’s the last thing you see before hitting the hay and the first thing you see when you wake, your nervous system is officially on crack. When our nervous systems are off balance, we become reactive versus responsive in our daily lives, leaving no room to reflect, shift perspective, or check in with how we are feeling.

6. Go to bed 10 minutes earlier. Make it a non-negotiable. I’m sure there are still things left to do. Our to-do lists will never go away. However, you’ll sleep better if you quickly jot down what it is you need to do for the next day and that pre-made list will make you that much more on top of your game.

7. Journal. Tell the universe what you want. Get an idea of your uniqueness. What are the blocks inside of you that will stop it from moving forward? What lights you up? What makes you feel free?

8. That gratitude list. Continue to make your gratitude list, but instead write down the “why” behind each thing you are grateful for. This gives you time to marinate in your appreciation and thus more time to live with gratitude, instead of making a list and closing the book.

When we get quiet, we live loud. When we get quiet, we feel who we are and we can access our true alignment. Just by being who we are, we create ripples for everyone and anyone that comes into our path.

Dare to reshape your life and reshape the world. Take the time to find stillness and have a moment to yourself. Those little crumbs add up to radical change.