Category Archives: Health

Lissa Rankin on The Fear Cure

Q&A with Lissa Rankin on The Fear Cure

As a newly certified MindMap Coach, I am all too aware of the effect fear has on the human brain. Fear puts us back into our reptilian and old mammalian brains, looking for comfort and safety. We become “irrational” because we are not able to access our frontal lobes, where our creativity and forward thinking live.

So Lissa Rankin’s The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul speaks to me, as it addresses Fear directly, turning it into a tool that we can use to identify the areas of our lives that need healing.

Q: What inspired you to write The Fear Cure?

A: When I was writing Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself I kept coming across loads of scientific data proving that fear was not only an uncomfortable emotion that keeps us from living up to our full potential; it’s also a significant risk factor for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, chronic pain disorders, inflammatory disorders, even the common cold. In fact, fear may be a greater risk factor for your health than what you eat, how much you exercise, or any of your bad habits. But when was the last time your doctor wrote a prescription that said, “Get a handle on your fear”?

I also had a post-publishing epiphany in the wake of the success of Mind Over Medicine. I realized that it’s all well and good to teach the 6 Steps to Healing Yourself, to invite people to do the deep transformational work that makes the body ripe for miracles and facilitates “spontaneous” remissions. But even if people are intuitive enough to tune into what their bodies need in order to heal, and even if they’re wise enough to write The Prescription for themselves, way too often, fear gets in the way. You may know what needs to change in your life, but if you’re not courageous enough to act upon your inner guidance, you’re likely to stay sick—and stuck. That’s when I realized (with a gulp) that I needed to write a book about fear and courage.

Q: We live in such a fear-based culture, but so many people are in denial of how fear is running their lives? Why is that?

A: Most people in our culture are riddled with fear, and it’s running the show in our lives, taking the wheel in most of our decision-making. But the funny thing is, we don’t even know it. This is partly because, in our culture, we tend to dress up “fear” in the more socially acceptable clothes of “stress.” And stress— well, hell— stress is practically a badge of success in our culture! We’ve been taught to think that fear is for sissies. We see it as a weakness, something we should hide from others and deal with alone in dark nights of the soul. But fear is not something that should elicit shame or stay hidden. Now more than ever, our fears need to shamelessly take center stage so we can let fear illuminate everything that is in need of healing in our lives and finally be free. Physical therapist Val Zajicek says PAIN means Pay Attention Inside Now. I think fear is like pain. It’s an emotional and physical signal alerting to you to Pay Attention Inside Now. Rather than running away from it, we need to examine it and let it heal us.

Q: So what is The Fear Cure?

A: The book title is kind of a misnomer because it implies that fear is something we should cure, like Ebola or cancer. But really it’s all about letting fear cure YOU. Fear can be your friend. When you’re getting chased by a tiger, fear is there to save your life. But most of the time, our fears aren’t survival-related fears. The dangers exist only in our imagination. So The Fear Cure is all about letting fear point the finger at everything in need of healing in your life.

The Fear Cure is about coming into right relationship with uncertainty. At the root of most fears lies a fear of uncertainty. So coming into right relationship with fear is all about coming into right relationship with uncertainty. The tendency to avoid uncertainty is rampant in our culture. Uncertainty is flat out un-American. If we’re honest with ourselves, avoiding uncertainty is the goal of 90% of our choices. The search for certainty is an addiction, and it’s deeply related to the pursuit of comfort. We’ve been programmed since childhood to believe that if you’re successful, you have comforts—big homes, good food, nice cars, a big nest egg for retirement. But what if we’ve been sold a booby prize? What if living a meaningful, fulfilling life is about recognizing that there is something beyond comfort and certainty? What if uncertainty is actually a gateway to possibility, and if we avoid it, we avoid something precious?

When we make peace with uncertainty, we realize that when we don’t know what the future holds, anything could happen. An angel could appear. A relationship you long ago gave up on could be healed. The cancer could be cured. A miracle might happen. Fear could disappear in one exhale. When we cling to certainty, we limit ourselves, but if we’re willing to venture bravely into an uncertain future, the doorway to mystery, wonder, and awe flings open. What lies on the other side of the doorway invites you to explore. When you don’t know what you’ll find, you might be surprised to find that the uncertain is even more wonderful than that which seems certain. Whatever might come next is an exciting adventure once you’re no longer afraid of that which you don’t know.

Q: Letting fear cure you can be hard work. Why should we bother?

A: Because on the other side of this journey lies FREEDOM. Not just happiness, which can feel kind of conditional, but real freedom. When fear no longer runs your life, when you’ve allowed Something Larger to run you, when love and soul-based courage are making your choices instead, your joy is no longer conditional on getting what your ego wants. You only want what the Divine wants for you, and you’re no longer attached to getting what you want, which means you’re no longer afraid of what is uncertain—in fact, the uncertain is almost seductive. You’re also not afraid of what you might lose, because you’re willing to lose it if that’s what is in alignment with your soul curriculum. When you’re no longer afraid of uncertainty or loss, a whole new world opens up to you, and life becomes quite magical, even miraculous.

Q: You sound like you’re speaking from personal experience. Can you tell us what you’ve learned from your own journey with fear?

A: Oh my. I just wrote a whole book about the miracles and magic I’ve experienced on this journey. It’s kind of a hybrid—a spiritual self-help book dressed up as a memoir—called The Anatomy Of A Calling, and it will be published by Rodale Press in December, 2015. I’ll tell you just one of many examples that demonstrates what is possible when you’re no longer letting fear run your life.

Back in 2012, during one of many periods of spiritual intensity (I call them the “quickenings,”) I could sense that some sort of spiritual guidance was trying to come through me, but I wasn’t getting the message. This is often my sign that it’s time to get quiet and make space for guidance to come through. So I took two days off and went to Esalen Institute. The minute I got in the car, I started getting messages from my spirit guide Sebastian. (I know. I know. This is where the doctor in me starts to realize I’m sounding like a loon.) Anyway, when I got to Esalen, Sebastian told me to sit down at my computer and take dictation in order to draft up an email. So I did. I wrote down word for word what I was told, all the while wondering if I was making all this up, even though it didn’t feel like it was coming from my own brain. The email was titled “Calling all visionary physicians.”

I was like, “Okay, so what’s this for? Am I supposed to send out this email?” Sebastian said, “Await further instructions.” Great, I thought, shaking my head. I’m supposed to channel some email to doctors but then do nothing about it.

A week later, I was telling this story to Martha Beck, with whom I was teaching a program called Find Your Calling (you can listen to our free Find Your Calling call here). Martha asked if I would read her the email Sebastian had dictated, and when I did, she started excitedly telling me that I was supposed to bring a group of doctors to her ranch, that we would do equine therapy with them and run a “Heal The Healers” program together. She started spouting off dates and hotel details, telling me she could already see the doctors at her ranch as if they were already there.
I was on the other end of the phone crying, in shock and awe and gratitude.

That’s how the Whole Health Medicine Institute was born. We’re now in our third year of training doctors and other health care providers about how to be true healers amidst a system that doesn’t easily support their callings to pure service. I had been dancing around my purpose, confused about how or if I should be involved in medicine at all. And Martha had been questioning why she had bought this crazy horse ranch when she didn’t even own horses. I never would have had the courage to start a school if the guidance hadn’t been so obvious and Martha hadn’t promised to help me. It all felt so purposeful and I felt so loved. It was just one of many miracles that guided me, once I started trusting something other than my fear to help me make my decisions.

Q: Do you have one final tool people can use to help them free themselves from fear?

A: Sure. It helps to learn how to discern between “true fear” and “false fear.” There are true fears meant to elicit protective action, and there are false fears meant to alert us to Pay Attention Inside Now. True fears are a call to action and should not be ignored, while false fears exist only in our imagination and are best used as fuel for personal and spiritual growth. But we won’t be free in life if false fears are ruling our decisions.

Once we can discern the difference, we can let true fears protect us in the way they’re meant to, while we learn to let false fears transform us—without ruling our decision-making. Sometimes true fear shows up as a “fight-or-flight” stress response when you’re in danger, as a signal that says, “RUN!” But sometimes it shows up more subtly—as intuition. So how can you tell whether a scary thought is intuition or a false fear you’re better off ignoring? The Fear Cure has lots of tools to help you discern the difference. But one way to tell is that intuition tends to feel very calm. It doesn’t feel like a panicky, paranoid thought. It’s simply a grounded, inner knowing that says, “Don’t leave your child with this babysitter.” You can tell the difference by paying attention to how your body responds when you get sensitive enough to read the cues. Once you do, your body compass can guide your safe, wise decision-making, and this gives you the courage to say yes or no, based on true, trustworthy guidance, rather than fear.

For more free tools to help you come into right relationship with fear, you can download the Prescription for Courage Kit at TheFearCureBook.com.

Revitalize Your Health With The Fear Cure

In The Fear Cure, Lissa Rankin, MD helps you cure your fear, anxiety, and worry and revitalize your health in the process.

Imagine if everyone—our politicians, our bankers, the oil companies, our doctors, our lawyers, our teachers, all the parents of the world, and YOU—actually made decisions from love and not fear. Imagine if we believed that we don’t need to avoid uncertainty and loss, that everything that happens, even the painful things, happens with purpose, and that we are all interconnected through a web of love, that we are not separate from each other, that each act of violence against humanity and nature violates ourselves.

We all know that fear, anxiety, and worry limit our potential, harm our relationships, affect our ability to thrive financially, and hold us back from fulfilling our life purpose. But did you know fear also causes heart disease, cancer, and the common cold? In The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul, my friend Lissa Rankin, MD shares with you the scientific data proving that fear isn’t just an uncomfortable emotion that limits your ability to fully step into your purpose in what poet Mary Oliver calls “this one wild and precious life.” Fear is also a significant risk factor for disease.

But don’t worry! This book is not meant to scare you more. In fact, it’s filled with hope, inspiration, and practical prescriptions for ramping up your courage and milking your fear for all it’s worth so you can let fear cure YOU.

How to Cultivate Courage

The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul includes a number of Courage-Cultivating Exercises meant to help you do your part in curing fear and shifting consciousness on the planet, including:

  • How to learn what your fears can teach you
  • A meditation intended to help you stay focused on the present moment
  • How to tell the difference between the frightened voice of your “Small Self” and the brave, wise voice of your “Inner Pilot Light”
  • A map to help you know where you are on your journey from fear to freedom, as well as tips to help you in the stage you’re in
  • Tools to help you “bench press” your uncertainty muscles
  • A powerful practice meant to comfort your “Small Self” so your Inner Pilot Light can take the lead in your life and drive your decisions
  • An exercise to move you beyond your victim story into a state of gratitude for the lessons loss can teach you
  • Tips to help you gather evidence that it’s not a hostile universe; it’s a purposeful universe conspiring to support you
  • A Tibetan practice meant to turbo boost your compassion
  • An exercise to help enlighten you through every way you judge other people
  • Detailed instructions on how to navigate “The 6 Steps To Cultivating Courage”
  • How to illuminate the fear-inducing patterns you may have inherited from your ancestors
  • Practical advice on how to shift from pessimism to optimism
  • A priceless tool to help you question your fearful thoughts to discern whether they’re “true fears” or “false fears”
  • How to stop caring what “everybody” thinks
  • Instructions on how to find a courage-cultivating mentor
  • Tips for strengthening your intuition and hearing the voice of your “Inner Pilot Light” more clearly
  • Diagnostic tools for making your own Fear Diagnosis
  • How to write your own “Prescription For Courage”
  • A 9 step practice to help you offer your problems and desires to the Divine, and how to interpret the spiritual guidance that arises when you do
  • 13 tips for shifting beliefs
  • 7 steps to creating your soul community

Wake Up to Your Purpose

Beware. This book is likely to infect you with “pronoia,” the opposite of “paranoia.” Pronoia is the belief that everything in the universe is conspiring to support you. What if you developed a raging case of pronoia? Who might you be and what might you do if you knew that you are infinitely safe and that everything in the Universe is conspiring to support you, that we are all interconnected in a web of love, and that you are being called to play your role in the awakening of consciousness on the planet? What cosmic purpose might be awaiting you right now?

Afraid to find out? I dare you to leap into your true nature and allow yourself to be used in service to that which wants to be born in the world through you.

Order The Fear Cure: Cultivating Courage as Medicine for the Body, Mind, and Soul now. And look for my review and a Q and A with Lissa coming soon!

BODYPeace Movement – Love Yourself

The BODYPeace Movement teaches self-love, spirituality, and honesty. Be at peace with your body!

If I learned anything in the past few years, it is the importance of self-love and honesty in my relationship with myself. Seriously! I lie to myself all the time.

Don’t we all?

I tell myself things are fine when they are not. I tell myself that I will be in control and then I am not. Hell, many times I hate myself over these lies and the discomfort they bring.

I started working through some of these issues in my MindMap coaching training (more on this later, as I am still waiting for my final paper grade). And then, in the middle of those coaching loops, I met BODYpeace founders Heather Waxman and Kasey Arena via Fitfluential.

BodyPeace - Your Thoughts

Heather is a spirituality and meditation guru, while Kasey is a personal trainer and maker of Power Cakes. They have both been through times where they hated their bodies and tried to control things with disordered eating and crazy exercise. Between the two of them, they know quite a bit about the body, mind, and spirit.

BODYPeace stems from the premise that our bodies are not the problem, it is our thoughts about our bodies that are the problem. We attach negative emotions and ideas to our body that cause us harm.

BODYPeace is a 30-day inspirational journey that will help you shed shame and guilt and find lasting peace with your body. Through personal stories, meditations and transformational exercises, you will gain all the tools you need to break free from food jail and body prison.

bodypeace

Once you purchase the BODYPeace book, you have access to the awesome extras – downloadable meditations, EFT (Tapping) videos, and exercise videos. There is also a private Facebook Group which offers more support and a place to share and vent.

This is a 30 day journey that involves guided meditation, journaling, joyful movement, and good food. The BODYPeace journey is not easy, and will have you really facing some difficult stuff, but offers the support to help you through.

I encourage you to try this program. We all know deep inside that “the thing is not the thing” (thanks Dax Moy). When we heal our relationship with ourselves, then working with our bodies becomes a joy instead of a burden. In the end, everything changes!

bodypeace

Sunwarrior Plant-based Protein and Supplements Review

Sunwarrior Plant-based Protein and Supplements are a high-quality addition to any nutritional program.

A few weeks ago I was approached by Sunwarrior with an offer to try a few of their Sunwarrior Vegan Protein and Plant-based Supplements to review. I had been hearing consistently good things about their protein powders and activated barley, so I signed up.

A couple of weeks later I received a Sunwarrior Starter Pack, which contained a shaker bottle (the good kind with a metal swirly belnder instead of a plastic shape) full of supplements. I received:

  • Warrior Blend Protein (Chocolate and Vanilla)
  • Classic Protein (Chocolate and Vanilla)
  • Supergreens (Natural and Peppermint)
  • Liquid Light
  • Immune Shield
  • Activated Barley

The greens drink was fine. I put the natural flavor packet in my morning smoothie and didn’t even notice a difference in taste. I mixed the peppermint flavor in water and it was pretty gross – sweetened with stevia, which reminds me of saccharine. If you like sweet mint and stevia, then you will probably love the flavor.

The Liquid Light and Immune Shield are packets of clear liquid. I don’t know if they have a flavor (once again it went into the blender) but they had no smell. These products are at base “a raw, plant-based fulvic acid and liquid mineral complex” extracted from the earth using cold water.

Now, I really think that in order to see and feel benefits from these products you need to use them more than once or twice, so I didn’t really expect any drastic changes and I didn’t get any drastic changes.

My favorite product is the Sunwarrior Activated Barley, which is a slow burning carbohydrate with benefits (fiber and enzymes). I found that when added (surprise!) to my smoothie it lent a little creaminess and kept me full and energetic for a few hours longer than usual. I would recommend this to anyone who needs sustained energy.

I really wanted to like the protein powders, but again the sweetener is stevia, and they just leave me with this cloying sweetness that lingers in a very yucky way. They were certainly among the best tasting protein powders I have sampled. My favorite was the Warrior Blend Protein in Chocolate, but even this left me extra thirsty and looking for another strong flavor to get the stevia sweetness out. Note that I generally use unsweetened egg white powder.

That said, the ingredients are impeccable. All natural, no fillers, nothing artificial. I highly recommend Sunwarrior Vegan Protein and Plant-based Supplements!

Have you tried Sunwarrior products?

 

 

LiviaOne Liquid Probiotics Review

I love LiviaOne Liquid Probiotics (Not so sure about the mlm business model and pricing.)

My physician actually got me on the probiotics bandwagon.

A couple of years ago I had a raging sinus infection that required antibiotics. When asked him for my usual Diflucan prescription to fight the inevitable yeast infection, he wrote it but suggested that I try taking probiotics and see if that might prevent the candida overgrowth.

It worked! For the first time ever, I took antibiotics for ten days and didn’t get a yeast infection. Plus, my bowels felt and moved better. I was sold!

But I always wondered how many of the organisms really made it, alive and kicking, into my digestive tract. Between processing, temperature and light changes during manufacture, transportation, and storage, and then exposure to stomach acid, it seemed that very few bacteria would survive long enough to be useful.

I tend to steer clear of liquid supplements, because they tend to taste vile or have a funky texture (I am so not a kombucha girl). And I cannot be bothered with supplements that have special needs and storage arrangements, so that rules out a chunk of the “good” probiotics supplements. So I have been taking capsules from the drugstore.

A few weeks ago one of my Fitfluential blogger buddies connected me with Livia Global to try their LiviaOne liquid probiotics. I received a free 4oz. bottle, which is 30 day supply that retails at $49.95 (more on prices later).

LiviaOne is a clear, USDA Certified Organic, tasteless, liquid probiotic that doesn’t require refrigeration. It comes in a dark brown dropper bottle, so the little buggers are protected from light. And because LiviaOne Probiotics are USDA Certified Organic, raw, living and active, they are more effective than any other product at breaking through stomach acids and getting into your intestinal tract.

And they work!

The liquid is completely clear. Just drop into any cool or room temperature beverage (to protect the bacteria) and drink. Each morning I put four dropperfuls in a glass of water. I also tried it in juice and in a smoothie. All good!

My digestion has never been better, my energy is good, and I feel great. Seriously! I would try more of their products. So why am I hedging?

Livia Global is set up as a multi-level marketing (mlm), or network marketing company (think Avon, Isogenix, Juice Plus). While this does allow distributors to sell the product and make good money, it does play with pricing in a way that gives those of us who just want to buy the end product a very high markup.

For example, the 4oz LiviaOne Probiotics retails at $49.95, and the 6.25oz BlackMP Living Powder costs $69.95 when ordered directly from Livia Global’s website.

If I were to be a Livia Global distributor, I could buy 2 of the powders and 8 of the 4oz Probiotics for $250. That would cost $539.50 purchased separately! Even with a $50 annual fee, it’s a good deal. But…

While bulk discounts are lovely, that is a lot to buy at once! I don’t want to distribute products or store products. I live in a studio apartment with precious little storage and would love to order just one or two bottles at a time, but will not pay $49.95 a month for a product that is being sold by the same company on the same website for 54% less. I just won’t.

If the higher price or buying larger bulk to use or sell isn’t an issue for you, I highly recommend LiviaOne Liquid Probiotics. It will do your body good!

Post Update 2.12.15-

I spoke with Ted Greidanus, founder of Livia Global, and he let me know a few things that were different about his company. There are no minimum sales requirements and you can set up as a distributor and buy products for yourself at 30% off without ever selling to anyone else. And then, so I could try it, he hooked me up with a one year membership!

I just ordered two more bottles of LiviaOne, and plan to try a couple of their other products, including the LiviaOne Athlete Protein Blend with enzymes and probiotics.

Those of you who know me well know that I have never signed up for any network marketing company, even though I have been approached by the top earners to be on their teams. I love this product!

Be More Human – Reebok

Reebok’s Be More Human campaign

(FYI – This is a compensated post. Yes, I am getting paid on this one.)

Be More Human

Be More Human. That’s the simple message in Reebok’s new brand campaign that launched on January 28th. I took the Human Score test on Reebok’s Be More Human website, which asked questions about what kind of people I would rather talk to at a party and what exercise I preferred, and handed me a score of 80.

That makes me “Brain Buff.” Shocking, right?

Hey Brain Buff, you make for a pretty great human specimen. Brain Buffs do more than keep their bodies fit – they actively work to keep their minds sharp. With their curious nature and insatiable hunger for knowledge, they’re always on the go.

For Brain Buffs, there is pretty much no end to self-improvement. There is always room upstairs to add more theories, ideas and wisdom. They make it a point to regularly challenge themselves to think big thoughts way outside the box. And they are rigorous thinkers inclined to do their own research and ask questions rather than take information at face value. Smarty-pants Brain Buffs use all their intellectual gifts to help reach their fullest human potential.

What are you? Take the HUMAN SCORE test from Reebok and leave me a comment with your score.

Reebok’s mission is to help every individual realize their full potential in the mental, physical and social aspects of their lives, by encouraging a fitness-focused life, and creating the products to perform in the toughest environments and activities.

Check out their Super Bowl ad, Freak Show. And look on social media for the tag #BeMoreHuman

My Definition of Classical Pilates

What is Classical Pilates? How is it different from Contemporary Pilates? Here is my definition of Classical Pilates…

Before I give you my definition, I would like to put out a bit of my history as a Pilates teacher and practitioner. Those of you who have worked with me at varying points in my Pilates teaching career may not have a sense of all that informs my current definition, so here we go.

I started taking Pilates in 1986 at SUNY Purchase (I was VP of finance for Student Government and we were funding the studio) under my colleagues Steve Giordano and Nancy Allison, who were trained by Romana Kryzanowska. Romana would visit on occasion, and Steve trained us to know the order of the exercises and the transitions/flow, so that we could impress her when she came. I would also make trips into the city to take sessions with her and the other full-on classical teachers.

In 1988 I moved to Philadelphia to enter a PhD program in Philosophy at Temple U, with a full graduate assistantship. In 1989 I saw an ad in the City Paper – “PT exercise instructors wanted. Pilates background preferred.” I was the only applicant who had done Pilates! And so I started working alongside Master Teacher Karen H. Carlson, who trained primarily with Pilates elder Mary Bowen.

In 1992 Karen and I both became founding members of the Institute for the Pilates Method (now PhysicalMind), under Pilates elder Eve Gentry (but then informed by all of the living elders). Eve and Michelle Larson certified me to teach in 1993. In 2000 I became a teacher trainer for PhysicalMind.

After owning award-winning studios and  teaching at Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos, I have come full circle. Thirty years after taking my first Pilates class at Purchase, I am now back in NYC as a Master Teacher and Lead Teacher Trainer at Real Pilates in Tribeca, a leading Classical Pilates studio.

That said, here is my definition of Classical Pilates:

I define classical Pilates as teaching that is closest to the system as created and taught by Joseph Pilates. I teach with a contemporary understanding of biomechanics, but I teach Mr. Pilates’ exercises in the order he prescribed and prefer at this point to teach on Gratz. Do I modify as needed or leave out exercises that may not be appropriate? Indeed I do! Do I teach on Peak, Stott, and Balanced Body? Yes! But still with the goal of offering as close to a good, old school Pilates workout as I can. His work stands up.

So there you go! I would love to hear your definitions and your thoughts.