Sustainable Solutions for Healthy Homes

Empowering Transformations for Healthier Homes and Families through Strategic Inspired Healing


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Why you can’t buy a Healthy Home

cropped-sshhlogo.pngThere are at least 445 quotes about “Doing the Right Thing”. I just checked. But the real problem is the number of times a day that I have to make huge decisions. It makes me long for a simpler time. But then I remember that in many of those “simpler” times, people were starving or working themselves to death or scared all the time, and I try to be thankful for living in a warm house, in a safe community, with dinner on the table and a hot shower. But seriously, every day I am not sure if I am actually doing any of those things the “right way”. When you become a mom, this responsibility takes on a whole new meaning. Now you are making decisions for other people, and you never know which one of those decisions will come up again later in their therapy.

right-238370_960_720I feel like there must be something to this desire though. It must be human nature to want to do things the “right way”. I loved being a good student in school. I would follow the rules and study the material and get the right answers. I love playing board games and figuring out the strategy so that you can win. But somehow, in real adult-life, there does not seem to be an agreed upon set of rules or a strategy. We try to make the best choices that we can, in the moment, given the knowledge and resources that we have available. But then we are sure to have someone tell us that we did it wrong after all.

 

There are plenty of solutions being marketed to us that promise that if we buy their product, use their system, or take their pill, then we will be happy or healthy or successful. We’d love to believe it and sometimes we try one of the products or systems or pills just to check if maybe this is the one. But, somehow we know that tomorrow we will see another advertisement for the next, even better thing. And we know that none of them will actually do it for us.

In our deepest knowing, we realize that health and happiness are not things that you can buy. You cannot buy a better body or buy a healthy home. Those are just reflections of your current state of health. There is not a one-size-fits all solution. There is not one perfect house that you can buy that will be a healthy home. Even if you bought a house that was made out of all natural materials in a beautiful setting by local artisans it would not be healthy until it was a home that was lived in and filled with love and was cared for and maintained. A home is where you feel comfortable, and safe, and free to be yourself. And what that looks like will be different for each family.

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I just looked up another checklist of things to do for a healthy home. But just looking at the list was stressing me out (and I have studied this stuff for years!). I remember going to a seminar once about pests in the home. They had lots of info about what to do to eliminate them safely and without adding toxins, but why you need to do it because they can carry disease and destroy your property. But what I remember most if that they also had slides talking about the psychological effects on the homeowners who are having a pest problem in their home. I have been to countless seminars since then, on all sorts of healthy home topics, but I wish that they all included the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of each issue.

This is why I offer customized solutions for the families that I help. I don’t have one answer that fits every family or every home. I work with them to find something that is achievable in their reality, and that works for their lifestyle and their budget. I help them to identify action steps that they can try right now that will start to make a difference in their lives. I help them to prioritize which things to do first and where they can save their time and energy. Sometimes it is just nice to have someone to discuss these things while we are trying to make those million choices a day. I know that when I have to make a big decision, I appreciate having mentors and professionals to call for advice. Even if they don’t have one right answer for me, they usually help me to narrow the list.

If you are looking for some help with choosing healthier options for your home, call me for a customized, holistic consultation that takes into account the physical, emotional, psychological, and financial needs of your family. 

 


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Pretty Little Traumas

This winter has been so strange. I have lived in the Northeast my entire life, and I am not really sure what to do with a winter without snow. I have had years when we didn’t have a White Christmas, but this was the first year that I wore sandals and the kids played barefoot outside. My son finally had a backyard birthday party in December. But somehow it just doesn’t feel right. It makes me feel very unsettled. I’m not really sure how people live where they can’t plan their lives around the seasons.

It is February and we just got some snow, finally. It was just a few inches, but I was finally able to shovel the driveway. As I moved the small amount of snow around with a shovel, (because it’s not quite enough to bother with the snowblower, and not enough for a snow day), it reminded me of my work with healing trauma.

When you have a huge storm, you have to stop everything and deal with it. You aren’t expected to do anything else.  You aren’t expected to keep going with your routine. Friends and family and your community all chip in to help. You are given the time to clean up and repair and maybe hibernate while you focus on the tasks at hand.

When there is a small amount of snow, you need to just find an extra hour here and there to take care of it, but you are still expected to be places on time and continue with your day. It is fine if it is once in a while, you can store up your energy and you are not too far behind on your other tasks. But if this happened every day you would soon fall behind and run out of energy. It reminds me of when people live in constant stress.

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“More subtly, one might develop psychosomatic symptoms or stress-related symptoms because of unresolved emotional issues. These are not new discoveries; researchers have studied the mind/body interrelationship for several decades because of the importance of this link.”

“Often, physical pain functions to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done, and it can also be a sign of unresolved trauma in the nervous system. Even if one has grieved and processed the emotional impact of a trauma, the nervous system might still unwittingly be in survival mode.”

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They may not even realize that they are suffering from trauma because they have become accustomed to it, like when it snows a little each day for a long season and you are used to it. And many people are afraid of change because they are not even sure what life would be like, or who they would be without their pain. I’m not sure who I would be if I lived in a place with no winter. Caroline Myss covers this phenomenon in Why We Don’t Heal, explaining all of the energetic patterns and why it can feel safer to stick with what we know.

I remember one year when we got slammed with one storm after another and we were so exhausted, but then we just had to keep going, just keep shoveling. Sometimes our lives are just like that. Tragedies seem to come in threes. But while all that is happening, the routine goes on. Whether there is a storm, or a birth, or a death, or a huge event in your family, you just grab the shovel, keep at it, and then go make sandwiches.

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So right now the world is beautifully covered with a glittery blanket and I am loving it.

But I am sure that after a while we will be ready for spring to return again.

And surviving winter just makes it even sweeter when the sun shines, the snow melts, and the flowers bloom again.

If you are ready to explore what change may look like for you if you healed your old wounds or traumas, or if you are interested in learning more about the effects of your past experiences on your physical health and wellness, contact me to schedule a free 15 minute consultation and we’ll talk about how I can best support you.

 


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Tuning in to the Muscle of your Soul with Therapeutic Yoga

cropped-sshhlogo.pngI’ve been doing yoga since college, and I’ve tried various techniques, mostly because of what classes were available and fit into my schedule. When the babies were small I took an evening class because I needed to get out of the house and see adults and I desperately needed some quiet relaxation. After my surgery I took a gentle yoga class and I was the only one there that wasn’t a senior citizen, but they could all move more easily than I could and I gently taught my muscles to move again.

Recently I’ve been using exercise videos, which are great because they allow me to stretch and greet the day without leaving my house, which works since I then have to get everyone up and out the door. But when they say on the video that I am invited to go deep within myself and let go of the distractions of the day, I kind of chuckle to myself because I know that it doesn’t always work out like that with a house full of kids.

 

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A few weeks ago, I was invited by a woman that I met at the integrative practitioners networking group to drop in for a class at her studio. I didn’t even realize that it was a “therapeutic” yoga practice, but I do love amazing moments of synchronicity, so I will take it as a sign that I was in the right place at the right time. As soon as we started, the teacher said that we were going to do a whole series for the psoas. My ears perked up immediately because there has been a lot of talk about the psoas in the doula community. Read more about the psoas and pregnancy HERE.

“The psoas is an important, yet often unknown, muscle that plays a vital role in physical health and mental wellbeing.”

psoas“The psoas is the only muscle in your body that connects your spine to your legs. That means if the psoas is tight, then it will have a direct effect on your hips, shoulders, spine, neck, legs and even down to your feet.”

“On the emotional level, the psoas is intimately tied into your sense of safety and well-being. When we are stressed, or experience any form of physical or emotional trauma from childhood or recently, your psoas will hold those emotions and feelings. Our body carries these experiences whether we are aware of it or not and if ignored for too long, they will show up as aches, pains, injuries or illness.” Read More HERE.

 

I have been supporting moms who have experienced birth trauma, and having also gone through this journey myself and knowing that there is always deeper healing that can be done, I was happy to have this time to give some love and attention to my own psoas muscles.

And we also had the opportunity to talk about more workshops that we can do to support new moms who are recovering physically, emotionally, and spiritually from the birth process and while adjusting to mothering a newborn. I have my Unpacking from the Journey class at the FLC for mom’s to heal their birth stories and I have a 6 month program for women who want to learn how to incorporate healing practices into their life, but I love the idea of a class in a yoga studio where we can also incorporate movement and even more body awareness into our practice.

yoga meditation

I’ve talked before about how there is no App that you can buy that will make you healthy. You need to tune in to your own body and listen to what it has to say (and some of us have to learn the hard way to start to listen when it is whispering to us gently that is needs attention, not screaming in pain). You also need to find ways to quiet your mind so that you can have the opportunity to learn to tap into your inner knowing.

In our modern world of running around and doing so much, it is important to carve out little bits of time for this throughout our day and learn to fit it in to our routine. I meditate while I do dishes and while I drive my minivan and while I prepare sandwiches. But, it is such a treat to really let myself go deeper and truly dive in and ask my body and my spirit what it needs.


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Never too busy for amazing opportunities: How Trying New Things is an important skill

cropped-sshhlogo.pngI started another new job this week. It’s just another class at another school, and I’ve been teaching for so long that my resume is now older than my college students. But anyway, it has me thinking about trying new things. Just this week I was asked to take on another leadership position in the Girl Scouts, and during that phone call we talked about how Trying New Things is one of the biggest skills that we teach and model.  I just got home from a really inspiring meeting with some administrators from the school district and we were brainstorming ways to improve STEM education and Entrepreneurship opportunities for our kids that will let them create sustainable outlets for their innovative ideas through programs like my Business of Science program.

But before I went to the meeting I had to get in my paperwork for the Airband competition at the elementary school. And just for fun, I have been busy with a new volunteer committee working on costumes for the Middle School Musical. And I’m getting ready for my women’s circle tomorrow night and planning for Sunday school, and prepping for the college classes that start next week.

 

So the word of the week is BUSY. In my role as a mentor in the college internship program, BUSY is one of our swear words, along with Frustrated and Confused. As part of our company culture we work on eliminating the use of those words. But what I see as the problem is not the words themselves, but how they are used. When someone uses one of those words as their entire story, or as an excuse, that is where it is blocking them from accomplishing a task or moving towards their goals. I am busy, but I thrive on it. I get frustrated, but it drives me to make changes. I get confused, but then I ask questions and find solutions. But if you say “I’m busy” as a form of “no” or as an excuse not to start, not to try something new, or not to help in your community, then that is what needs to change.

In all my decades of studying health I have found that the common theme is that stagnation is what causes disease, whether it is in organisms or organizations. To be healthy, things need to flow. If you use your feelings of frustration or confusion as an excuse not to move on, then you are stuck, things will stagnate, and that just sounds smelly.

I was at a networking event and talked about how my business has been in transition, and when I say transition apparently some people hear “lost”… but I am not. I am happy to be transforming because that means that I am moving. I am not stuck or stagnant.  I am in the flow. I can keep growing and changing, making adjustments and small course corrections because I am focused on my vision and moving forward. (We’ll talk more another time about how the science of vision boards really works! Visualization is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do. Or you can read this for now.)

The key is to define your own success. With the students that I teach, the interns that I mentor and the clients that I help, the common theme that often keeps them from success is not being able to show up, ask questions, and keep trying. Like they say on my workout video at 6 a.m., “Half the battle is planning, the other half is showing up”.

There were a lot of moments this week when I thought about how some people would get stuck because it is intimidating to go into new places, having to start something new, having to jump through more hoops, and deal with a bunch of weird obstacles… but I just asked questions, kept moving, didn’t take it personally and didn’t let it stop me.

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Having that call with the Girl Scout service unit and talking about leadership and remembering all of the things that I learned while earning my Gold Award, made it really clear that these are the most important skills to teach our kids. We continue to need these skills in our own lives, in our own learning, in meeting our own challenges, and that is how we model that for our kids and our students, showing them that the work is never done, but that we are always up for the challenge.

Need more inspiration? Read some more stats about Girl Scout Alumni.

 

So, back to being busy. I have to go finish another hundred things before the bus gets here. And I will probably get frustrated that some other adults use the word busy as an excuse not to volunteer, or to miss the meeting, or to miss out on the opportunity to gather together to celebrate and to try new things. And I’m sometimes confused as to why someone would want to miss out on these amazing opportunities. But, in the meantime, I will keep working on creating more opportunities for people to heal those wounds so that they can just get started.

And if you need some support and inspiration, my beautiful friend started a Facebook community called Do The New based on a challenge that she gave herself to do something new every day. Whether it is a new hairstyle, stopping at a different grocery store, or trying a new recipe for dinner, find those little places where you are stuck, and make little changes until Trying New Things gets easier and easier.

It is not about being someone else, it is about stepping outside your comfort zone and removing those obstacles that are keeping you from being  your full self.

Define your own success.

And then take that first step.

Need help getting started? Ready to remove those blocks?