Slow Food

Remember last week’s blog post when I talked about stress, the effects of stress on our body, and the difference between life stress and self-chosen stress? 

If not click this link to read all about it!


This week I want to talk about one self-chosen stressor in particular.  It’s insidious in our culture, and most of us are not even aware that it is a stressor!  

Are you a fast eater, a slow eater, or a moderately paced eater?

Ninety percent of people asked this question answered, “fast”.  And guess what?  Human biology interprets eating fast as being stressed.

Remember, we saw that constant low-level stress causes increased insulin, and increased cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • gut microbiome die off
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • appetite deregulation
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased metabolism
  • decreased Thyroid function 
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep

Imagine how this affects us if we have a weight challenge, or body transformation goal!  Even if we are not pursuing a food and body goal, none of these optimizes our health.  It makes complete sense that we want to reduce stress whenever possible. 

If you answered that you are a “fast” or even “moderately paced” eater, then you have now identified a stressor that you can choose to get rid of!  Reducing stress always has positive benefits, so why wouldn’t we put some effort into slowing down with our food?

The main reason is because eating fast is a habit. 

Generally, until someone asks us this question, we never even consider our eating speed.  In fact part of the problem is that many of us never even consider our food! 

We may skip breakfast or grab a pastry at the coffee shop, then eat lunch at the desk or running between clients, then grab some take out on the way home for dinner.  If any of these behaviors sound familiar, then you have a golden opportunity to release some of the stress that you carry!

(Slowing down with food is also a first step in releasing patterns of bingeing, after-dinner eating, and overeating.)

If you are interested in trying to break the habit of eating fast, you have much to gain!  So what do you have to lose (besides stress)? 

Here are some other symptoms caused or exacerbated by fast eating which can also diminish or go away completely:

Eating fast is a habit.  Eating more slowly requires some effort because we are creating a new habit, and new habits take time. This is NOT about counting bites. This is about relaxing with food and increasing pleasure! This is about enjoying our mealtimes and boosting happiness. This is about being present, becoming aware & listening to our body.

Fast eating is a habit.

Slow eating is a habit worth cultivating.

Grow on!

If you want to release the stress of fast eating, start by coming to your meals in as relaxed a state as you can.  Try to eat somewhere quiet when possible, or at the very least not in an environment that feels stressful.  Don’t watch the news, and incorporate some music that relaxes you if that appeals to you.

Before you begin to eat, take two or three grounding breaths.  Allow your heart rate to calm, then turn your attention to your meal.  Be present with your food.  Savor the flavor.  Explore the textures on your tongue.  Really enjoy the relaxed time with your food.  Food is meant to be a satisfying pleasure.

If you are eating food you do not enjoy, ask yourself, “why?”.  Food is meant to nourish body, mind and spirit, and we absorb far more nourishment from food we enjoy than from food we do not enjoy.

If you generally take 5 minutes for your meal, try to make it last 10 or 15 minutes.  If you generally eat in 15 minutes, try to stretch that out to half an hour.

I hear you!  

Life is busy.  Sometimes, unfortunately, we might actually have only five minutes to eat.  We can still approach our meal in a more relaxed and calm manner.  If you truly only have a short time, make that time count.  Breathe deeply and relax.  Taste what you are eating.  Be present to the flavor and texture. 

Enjoy!


Find lots more information on the benefits of slowing down when we eat in this fabulous book by Marc David, the founder for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

Stop Choosing Extra Helpings of Stress

The dictionary says stress is a state of mental or emotional tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

The dictionary is wrong.  How do I know?  Because stress is a feeling – an emotion – and the only place our emotions come from is from the thoughts we think.

Adverse or very demanding circumstances will absolutely cause some people to think thoughts that lead to feeling stressed.  Those exact same adverse or very demanding circumstances will cause others to think thoughts that lead to feeling exhilarated.

Our Thoughts create our Emotions, which drive our Actions.
We each brew our own TEA.

What Thoughts/Emotions/Actions am I conjuring?

Since this is absolutely true, we want to select our thoughts with great care and intention.  

Self-chosen stress vs normal, natural stress.

What is a “normal” or natural life stress?  These are stressors that we cannot control, like aging, health concerns, natural disasters, financial setbacks.  Those kinds of stress show up in every life, and Google can offer myriad advice on how to handle them.  I want to talk about optional stress – the stress we choose that is completely unnecessary – yet is often MORE damaging to our health and peace of mind than natural stress.

Self-chosen stressors include, but are not limited to:

  • negative self-talk
  • self body shaming & body hate
  • adopting weight loss strategies that are stringent & impossible to maintain
  • artificially controlling appetite
  • limiting a needed macronutrient such as protein, fat, or carbohydrates
  • believing we are unlovable, and will never be loved unless we lose weight or look different
  • trying to create an impossible-to-have body
  • unfavorably comparing oneself to others
  • believing we are alone in this world, or that the universe is against us

The list goes on, and is different for each of us.  When we choose these stressors, we live under a constantly higher level of stress than is necessary. 

Most of us have plenty of natural stress in life, so why would we choose this type of self-harming thinking?  We have been conditioned over a lifetime to choose these stressors. We didn’t make this stuff up.  We didn’t invent thinking negative thoughts about ourselves.  The world we live in trained that behavior into us, some more than others.

Other than the fact that stress feels crappy, why do we want to begin learning how to let go of these self-chosen stressors?  Constant stress causes increased insulin, and increased cortisol which can lead to:

  • weight gain
  • inability to lose weight
  • inability to build muscle
  • decreased calorie burning
  • increased fat deposits at midsection
  • increased inflammation
  • gut microbiome die off
  • nutrient wasting
  • decreased energy
  • appetite deregulation
  • desensitivity to pleasure
  • decreased metabolism
  • decreased Thyroid function 
  • decreased oxygen uptake
  • poor sleep

So how do we begin to let go of these self-chosen stressors?

Awareness is always the first step.
We cannot change it if we do not see it.

The Grow on! section below includes a way to begin cultivating more awareness around self-chosen stress.

Don’t beat yourself up for thinking stressful thoughts!  It’s a conditioned human behavior. Give yourself some grace, practice letting go of self-chosen stressors, and see what happens for yourself!

Grow on!

How does stress show up in your body?   
Write a physical description of how it feels when you are STRESSED about something. For some people it will include sweaty palms, or a racing heart. For others it might feel like a twist in the solar plexus or a kick in the gut. Whatever it is for you, take a minute to describe the physical sensations that arise for you when you feel stressed out.

Practice awareness by noticing these physical symptoms each time they show up. As you become aware that you are feeling your symptoms of stress – ask yourself what thought you were thinking that caused the symptoms. Then ask yourself if it is a life stress, or a self-chosen stress.

If it is something you are choosing to think/believe, what will it take to give self permission to let it go?

Reframing thoughts is a superpower that grows with coaching! 

If you are ready to let go of some of your self-chosen stress and need some help or guidance, I would love to chat with you! Click THIS LINK to schedule a free conversation to see if I am the right coach for you!

Be Your Own Best Friend!

Have you ever told your best friend that she looked fat in her outfit, or that she needs to drop a few pounds?  Have you ever looked your best friend in the eye and told her she should be ashamed of her body or her weight?  No?

Then why the fuck would you do it to You?

Have you ever looked at an infant with her chubby knees and thought, “I just can’t love someone with all that fat!”  I seriously doubt it.  

So why do we withhold love from ourselves, or shame ourselves for fat on our body?  Why would we hold ourselves to a higher standard of perfection?  How possible is it to love ourself the way we love our friends?

Hate does not help.  Hate does not motivate.  Hate does not inspire.

If we perceive that someone does not like us, we often feel wounded, or hurt.  It is no less painful when the disapproval comes from self!  Disapproval of self can damage the psyche, delay healing, and derail our goals.  

We cannot hate ourselves into loving our body, and as a wise client recently reminded me, we cannot heal what we hate.  If we live in a home we hate, how much effort will we put into repairing it?  Same goes for our body!  If we have a body transformation goal, how much effort are we willing to put in if we constantly tell ourselves the body is unlovable as it is, and needs to be fixed?

Next time you look at yourself appraisingly, give yourself as much love and support as you would give your best friend!  Next time you get a little off track with your plan, or goals, try gently encouraging yourself back on track rather than belittling or berating yourself for a perfectly normal human moment.  

Perfection is a damaging illusion, a standard to which we rarely hold others, yet frequently try to hold ourselves. Our body transformation goals cannot manifest when we are under attack.

What will it take to treat you like your own best friend?

Grow on!

Practice looking in the mirror and telling that beautiful human how MUCH you love them. This is challenging for many people, so don’t give up. Persist with the practice of telling you that you love you, more often than you tell yourself negative messages.

Next time you catch yourself saying something mean to self, pretend you caught yourself saying it to your friend, or your child. What would you do? I might hug them and apologize and promise to be more intentional as often as possible moving forward.

Make a list of everything that you appreciate about your body! Our body is a miracle that we often take for granted. We can be so grateful for our lungs that breathe without any effort, a heart that beats for our lifetime, and so much more! We cannot focus appreciation and disgust onto the same object at the same time, so keeping this list handy can help when we are feeling frustrated with our body in some way.

Body Transformation Playground ~ FREE!

I am SO excited about my Mind Body Eating Coach certification training at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating!

I am studying Mind Body Nutrition, and Dynamic Eating Psychology.

Soon I will be a Certified Mind Body Eating Coach with several unique tools to help people with issues like emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under-eating, food guilt, body shame, food and body judgment, intense appetite, digestive issues, and more.

I am discovering so much, and am eager to share with others!

I crave space to share the concepts and tools I am learning, and opportunities to answer questions that will arise in my coaching practice. I want to share with YOU if this is something that interests or excites you!

I envision creating a group coaching program where I help women and men – who have tried repeatedly to transform their issues with food and body – to finally achieve their goals. 

To align with this vision, I created Body Transformation Playground!

I am inviting you to play!

I know many people think of body transformation as hard work, and I want to reframe that by introducing some fun things we can do that lead to sustainable change. Of course if your goal is a super lean body and six-pack abs, then some kind of hard work and sweat will be involved, and most health and nutrition coaches have tools to help people map a path to this kind of goal.

I’m talking about helping those of us who have lifelong food issues we have repeatedly tried to “fix” with one kind of eating/exercise plan or another.

I sometimes engage in emotional eating.

Like so many people, I have used food to soothe stress for my entire life. Until I learned to address the emotional reasons I eat, no plan that my coach and I concocted could ever succeed, and no changes I made would stick. Weight loss and workout plans sometimes create results, but until we address the deeper issue of what to do about our stress, we can easily get derailed, or after progress we slip back into pre-programmed habits that land us back where we started.

If you are experiencing emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under eating, unwanted weight, food guilt, body shame, judgment around food and body, intense appetite, or chronic digestive issues, you are NOT alone! PLEASE join me on the Body Transformation Playground for six months FREE!


You heard me right! The Body Transformation Playground is open to you for FREE for the next six months – if you choose to join – just because you’re on my mailing list, or because someone on my mailing list forwarded this to you!

If you want to explore real body transformation, I am here to play!
Let’s make it fun!

What’s Included?

Body Transformation Playground includes a twice-monthly email focused on the juiciest tidbits, toys, and tools for body transformation that I discover in my psychology of eating classes. The emails will include fun ways to transform our relationship with food, journal topics around food and body, motivational images, ongoing encouragement, and so much more!

Once a month on zoom (audio only), I will host Body Transformation Playground live, where I practice teaching the concepts I am learning, answer participant questions, and possibly even do a little live coaching when time permits!

I will share all I am learning about eating psychology and how to free ourselves from our eating issues, and in return all I ask is that you submit questions, and give feedback.

Submit questions. Tune in to hear answers. Give feedback. That’s it!

My coaching skills are solid, but my tech skills need polishing, so these first six months will be a learning space, play space, and experimenting space for all of us while I learn how best to create fun effective content, record videos, post replays, and handle Zoom meetings, all while playing with the toys and insights I am learning at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and sharing them with you!

Beyond this six-month series, I will be offering the Body Transformation Playground as part of a package for paid clients, so jump in now!

Join me to play with the idea that body transformation can be more fun than we have been allowing! Join me to discover more ease and enjoyment on the path to sustainable transformations!

If you are interested, subscribe by emailing me at cyndicombs@gmail.com

Simply email with “SUBSCRIBE TO PLAYGROUND” in the subject, and I will manually add your address to the list.

Currently, I am committing to Zoom meetings (audio only) on the following dates, but I may add more dates!

Dates to add to your schedule if you are interested in Body Transformation Playground:

All times listed are Pacific Daylight Time

  • Sunday, April 24 @ 6pm
  • Friday, May 27 @ 6pm
  • Monday, June 20 @ 6pm
  • Saturday, July 23 @ 9am
  • Sunday, Aug 21 @ 6pm
  • Monday, Sep 26 @ 6pm OR Friday, Sep 30 @ 6pm

I chose different days of the week to accommodate many schedules, and I am willing to be flexible with these dates based on feedback!

If joining this series excites you but you cannot make these dates, please reply to this email to let me know what day/dates/times would work for you, and we will try to work something out and add at least a few dates that will work for all of us!

Thank you so much for being willing to play some new ideas!

My practice grows through referral!

As you can tell, I am SUPER excited about my expanding coaching practice!

PLEASE forward this email if you know anyone who struggles with weight issues, emotional eating, stress eating, binge eating, yo-yo dieting, under eating, food guilt, body shame, food and body judgement, intense appetite, or digestive issues!

THANK YOU. I appreciate you!

Accepting Divine Guidance

My mother turned eighty this week.  I bought a ticket to fly to Iowa in the dead of winter to help her celebrate the big day, but I didn’t tell her.  I decided to surprise her since no one who knows me would ever suspect that I would fly to Iowa in February.  (I am allergic to snow.)

I have been planning the trip since October.  I bought a new coat since winter coats aren’t really needed here in California.  I bought some leg warmers.  I packed my suitcase about two weeks ago because organization is one of my superpowers.  I paid to check a bag because, winter layers.

Two days before I was to fly it became very clear that travel was not worth the risk of covid, as fully vaccinated and boosted people were being hospitalized with the newest variant.  I chose to cancel my plans.

Of course I was disappointed, but I accepted the situation as Divine Guidance.  This was simply not the right time for my trip.

As I unpacked woolen socks and warm winter wear, I realized I had the next ten days off with nothing scheduled. 

My logical mind rushed in with a plan to reach out and book as many massage clients as possible.  Instantly I felt my energy drop, as if just booking them would exhaust me. 

My intuition speaks to me in my gut.  I have learned that when something feels warm in my gut, I move toward it.  If something feels cold in my gut, I try to move away from it.  Rebooking my week felt cold, but I momentarily resisted my intuition because one of the voices in my head was whispering, “we need the income!”

Luckily for me, a recent episode of my favorite Podcast, the Spiritual Sandbox, was whispering in my other ear, “Give. Yourself. A. Fucking. Break!”  That felt warm.  Then a Karen Drucker song popped into my head to join the party singing, “Money is coming to me easily and effortlessly!”  I laughed with relief, knowing that I didn’t need to break my neck to rebuild the week’s paycheck.  

I finished unpacking and picked up a book I had been meaning to read.  I spent the rest of the day reading and playing a silly word game that I love.  The next day we drove to San Francisco, took a long walk and enjoyed a picnic by the water.  I went shopping for a new pair of walking shoes one day, and found a really great deal.  I slept late, wrote blog posts, and finished watching the Book of Boba Fett on Disney. I meditated each morning, and made time to journal, and connect with friends.

I let my mom in on the planned surprise and Divine redirect. She agreed with the wisdom of my choice. We chatted daily, and agreed to celebrate her birthday in May when Iowa weather won’t be so bitter. 

It was a really relaxing, energizing week.

My tax refund arrived yesterday and covered the week’s bills. I feel well-rested, rejuvenated and ready to rock a full week of coaching, and massage clients!  I needed time off more than I realized. The Universe knew that, and arranged it for me – when I was willing to follow my gut.

The Universe is always guiding us.

Grow on!

What is your gut telling you?
When you consider a decision, does it feel warm or cold?
What happens when you follow that guidance?

Be Your Own Best Valentine

Regardless of our relationship status, each of us deserves to feel loved unconditionally. 

Even when we have romance, it’s possible to feel less loved than we might like sometimes.  The other person in the relationship is human after all.  What if they forget Valentine’s Day, or your birthday?  It more likely means they were focused on something else, rather than they don’t love you, but it’s normal to feel less than completely loved in those situations.

It feels amazing and wonderful to experience love and validation from the world around us, of course it does. We’ll take all of that we can get! But it’s also crucial to cultivate unconditional self-love.

When we deprive ourselves of a deep self-love (which is frequently the case for humans) we actually block ourselves from fully receiving all the love that is flowing to us.  When we refuse to practice self-love, we unconsciously teach others that self-love is not worth practicing.  When we practice the opposite of self-love, beating ourselves up, telling ourselves we are not enough, feeling shame about our bodies, guilt about our food, or questioning our own worthiness, then we increase stress to both mind and body, decrease our energy, weaken our immune system, accelerate disease processes, and feel disconnected from Spirit.

Cultivating deep self-love allows others to love us more deeply, and unconsciously allows others to love themselves more deeply.  Cultivating deep self-love gives us more energy, allowing us to offer more energy to the people and projects we love.  Cultivating deep self-love provides a sense of balance and stability when the world around us is in chaos.  Cultivating deep self-love means our cup is always full to overflowing, so when we choose to serve others we do not deplete ourselves.  Cultivating deep self-love boosts our immunity, and is the healthiest thing we can do for body, mind, and spirit.

photo by Dani Navarro

So I invite each of you to become your own best Valentine!

NOT just on February 14, please. I invite you to be your own best Valentine every single day.  Make sure that connecting with You becomes a priority, until it becomes a habit.  Add time to your schedule each week to date yourself and use that time to connect with You, do something you enjoy, and charge your batteries.  Use the list below as inspiration to create your own ever-changing list of at least ten to twelve things you enjoy doing alone.  When the time you have selected arrives in your schedule, choose something off your list and enjoy!

Don’t put it off, or say you’ll do it later! How would you feel if your lover rescheduled a date?  It would likely make us feel undervalued, or taken for granted! I know that’s how I would feel.  Would we put off a date with someone we were truly in love with to do the laundry ,or scroll the internet, or work overtime?  Not unless it was a true emergency!  Right?

Don’t make yourself feel like an afterthought!  Make yourself number one!  Schedule a date to do something you love with You now, and show yourself how truly loved and appreciated you are!  The BEST way to feel loved and well-cared for is to immerse ourselves in unconditional love consistently, every single day.

Grow on!

These ideas are NOT just for single people!
Don’t forget to turn off your cell phone so you can be totally present with You.

Ideas for dating your beautiful self include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Watch sunrise/sunset at a local beach/park.
  • Lie on a beach, or in your backyard and feel the sun on your skin.
  • Take yourself to a feel-good movie.
  • Visit a museum.
  • Cook your favorite dish.  Put flowers and candles on the table.
  • Take a good book, your journal, or a favorite podcast to the park and spread a blanket in the grass.
  • Create a romantic atmosphere in the bathroom and enjoy a steaming bath with Epsom salts, coconut oil, and lavender.
  • Take yourself to a local cafe to be alone with your thoughts.  Bring your journal.
  • Get dressed up and take a dance class.
  • Write a love letter to yourself.
  • Take yourself to a fancy restaurant and read the love letter to yourself while you wait for your meal.
  • Take a long walk at sunrise or sunset.
  • In front of a mirror, look deeply into your own eyes, and make a list of everything you appreciate about yourself.
  • Take a picnic somewhere pretty and revel in your own company.
  • What’s your favorite thing to do?  Add it to the list!

Be Selfish in Service of Others

Most of my clients live to serve others.  Nurses, parents, teachers, supervisors, business owners.  All of these people have a lot of things they want and need to do, but doing what WE need or want is often at the bottom of our to-do list, AFTER all the stuff we do for others. 
It’s human nature!  It’s the way we have been conditioned.

Why do my workout when I can fold the laundry in service of the household, or cover a shift for a busy co-worker? Why take time to meditate when there are so MANY things on my to-do list?  It seems so selfish to rest when I could help a friend instead.

If any of these thoughts resonate for you, you may feel exhausted a lot of the time.  Many of my clients tell me they feel selfish when they take time for themselves, or that they simply do NOT have time to do things that they want to do because they are too busy.

Is a cell phone selfish for needing to be charged?  
Is a toddler selfish for napping?  

Of course not.  We know that the charging and napping are a natural part of the cycle for the phone and the toddler.  It’s the same with us!  

In serving our own needs, we are not being selfish. 
We are completing the cycle.

We can’t just give and give and never fill ourselves back up. 

When we try, we get sick.  We get symptoms of stress.  We feel resentful towards others.  We may overeat in an attempt to soothe our emotions.  If any of this sounds familiar, you are not alone.  If someone you love comes to you and tells you she has no time to do the thing she loves to do, what advice would you give to her?  Most of us would encourage them to do THAT, to make time for it because we can see how important it is for them.

What fills YOU up?  

If you are not sure, think about things you USED to do that made you feel engaged, creative, excited, or happy.  If you enjoyed dance classes in your youth, maybe there is a local class to join, or maybe you can put music on in your living room and just move your body.  What’s stopping you?  If we’re too tired, maybe we need a rest day, or maybe our battery needs charging.  In the latter case dancing will increase our energy, not deplete it!

Many of us need to take a rest day.  When was your last day off that wasn’t full of errands and housework?  Allow yourself to schedule a day (or an hour) where you actually rest!  Take a nap.  Try restorative yoga. Sit and watch the sunlight sparkle on water.  Try just being instead of doing for a little while. 

Figure out what feeds your soul, and feed it daily.  Or at least weekly.  Maybe once in a while?

The more we charge our batteries, the more energy we have for any cause we want to serve.  It sounds SO simple, yet most of us resist it because our culture has conditioned us to resist it, to keep moving, keep producing.  

Society wants us to prove our worth through action, but we are worthy because we exist.  Once we accept our worth, it becomes vastly easier to see the value in giving ourselves whatever we need to thrive. 

Grow on!

What do you need right now?
How soon can you fit it into your schedule?

Ask Yourself this Important Question

Several times a day, I hear my partner ask our dog, “What do you need?”  Each time telepathy relays the answer and a walk ensues, or lunch, or a rousing game of squeaky ball.  I’m only human, so I started to feel a little resentful toward the dog, and wondered who was looking attentively after my needs.  

Well whose job is that?  (Hint: It’s not my partner’s, and when that’s what I think, I become resentful.)

After a little coaching, I remembered that it’s mine.  It’s my job to be sure my needs are being met.  So I started asking myself,

What do I need right now?

It’s incredible what a difference that little question makes!  Not only are more of my needs being met, but I feel genuinely cared for and supported! 

Crazy, right?

Eighty percent of the time the answer is water, so I hydrate.  Often I just need a few minutes to catch my breath, so I allow myself to sit and breathe.  Can you imagine?! When I need to catch my breath, I just sit and breathe for two minutes instead of feeling frustrated, and resentful that my needs are not being met, as I rush off to do whatever comes next.

It seems so simple, yet how often do we do it?  How often are we checking in with what we need in this moment?  The answer for most of us is not very often because our culture conditions us to think of that as being selfish, and regularly encourages us to put other’s needs before our own.

What we NEED shifts moment to moment and day to day, so it’s not going to be the same every time you ask/answer the question.  And what we need is not always the same as what we want.  We might want coffee to get us through the afternoon at work, but if we ask what we truly need and genuinely listen for the answer, we may find we need a twenty-minute nap, or a ten-minute walk outside, or a cup of herbal tea, or electrolytes.

What would it be like if we asked ourself this question once a day? Twice a day? All day long?  What changes when we ask the question before reaching for a processed snack food?  What will shift if we ask the question all week?

It’s possible we’ll feel more cared for and supported.  It’s possible we’ll feel happier and more relaxed.  We might even have more energy to give to the people and projects we’re passionate about.  Truly tuning in to our body’s needs will reveal deeper wisdom that might be the key to finally reaching our ideal weight.  We won’t know the vast extent of what’s possible until we try!

Grow on!

Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”

If it’s something simple like rest, water, or a bathroom break, give that to yourself! If it’s something bigger like a new career, you can ask, “what steps do I need to take right now to move in that direction?”


Coaching can help!

I offer the first TWO coaching sessions free of charge so you can see if coaching is right for you, and also see if I’m the right coach for you!  If we’re not a good match, I have a long list of peers to whom I can refer you.  You’ll walk away with at least one action step to move you toward your goal, so you have nothing to lose!  Book your first session HERE.

Are you worthy of oxygen?

Many of my clients resonate with a caregiver vibe.  Wives, mothers, teachers, doctors, nurses.  We know what it’s like to sacrifice for our children, our parents, our spouse.  We nurture, support, encourage, and serve.  We enjoy helping others, love to see them reach their potential, live out their dreams, achieve their goals and desires, grow to be strong, happy, and confident.

I have used the oxygen mask metaphor with dozens of clients and friends.  You know how the flight attendant always tells you that in case of emergency, you should put your own oxygen mask on first and then help anyone who may require your assistance?  I try to impart the importance of that to my clients.  Of course it makes sense.  We can’t help anyone if we can’t breathe, right?  

I remember when one of my clients protested that example, insisting she would assist those in her care before herself.  When I asked how helpful she might be if she didn’t have oxygen, she insisted she would hold her breath and care for others before tending to her own needs.  She went on to say that she’d rather die than put her own needs above her children’s.  She’s certainly not alone, it’s quite common for parents to feel that way.  But how helpful is it?  

*As helpful as giving mouth to mouth resuscitation while only exhaling and not inhaling.

*As helpful as your cell phone when you don’t plug it in.

*As helpful as pouring from a water pitcher you forgot to fill.

If we forget to fill up inside, what on earth have we got to give anyone?

And where on earth did we get the idea that anyone is more worthy
of our energy and oxygen than we are?

My client is NOT alone.  I have engaged in this energy-drain over a good portion of my own life and a surprising number of my clients have echoed similar sentiments when it comes to meeting the needs of others vs our own needs.  Many of my friends and relations are givers and fixers as well.  Myriad humans believe it is either selfish or greedy to put their own needs first.  Different cultures and religions have different variants of the idea that to honor others above the self is somehow noble or even sustainable.

I cry bullshit.

Yes, I thrive when helping others.  Everyone, but especially my kids and my clients. Yet when I make sure my own needs are being met, I am so much more effective at connecting with and supporting others, and I have an increased ability to affect positive, sustainable change.

It’s true for me.  It’s true for many of my clients.  

How true is it for you?

Grow on!

Are you allowing yourself to breathe? 
Are you denying yourself air because of some limiting belief you heard and internalized many years ago? 
How frequently are your own needs being met? 
What are you putting off that would truly make your heart sing? 
What is the thought/belief holding you back from meeting your own needs? 
How willing are you to start letting go of those limiting beliefs?

Allow yourself to take a DEEP cleansing breath, reminding yourself how very worthy you are.

And as you exhale, release the old belief that doesn’t serve your health.

Inhale worthiness into your blood and bones.
Exhale old beliefs that do not serve.

Repeat multiple times daily until energy shifts and you are closer to believing the new thought than the old one

Feed. Your. Soul.

The last six months have been challenging for all of us.  

COVID 19 Quarantine
Trapped indoors by smoky skies and raging fires
Travel restrictions
Canceled vacations
Weddings postponed or socially distanced
Reduced financial resources
People we know sick, or dying
Increasing tech stress
‘Homeschooling’ our kids
The utter LACK of hugs in this world!

Not to mention any personal challenges your may be facing like sick pets, vehicle breakdowns, relationships ending, or health issues – other than pandemic viruses – that force you to expose yourself to situations that could allow you to come in contact with the virus.

Normally, I am a beacon of buoyant energy.  One of my superpowers is seeing the opportunities in the challenges, knowing there IS purpose to the apparent madness, and keeping my balance despite what’s going on in the world or my life.  

However recently I have been feeling the heaviness of it all.  “Golden Fucking Opportunities” (GFOs) for growth have been raining down around me.  I have a travel addiction.  Travel opportunities feed my soul.  So far this year we have canceled nights in Monterey, Yosemite, and Burney Falls, and weeks in Colorado and Arches National Park.  It helped me to know that I am NOT the only one who had to cancel travel plans.  I am not alone in this.  We are all canceling plans, and adjusting to our own set of GFOs.  But then I found out that we have to postpone our trip to Hawaii (booked since February) and don’t have any way to know when we will get to go.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  

Suddenly it was ALL just too fucking much.  Hawaii had been my carrot through all the other challenges, so when they took that from me too, I hit the wall.

Royal Kona Sunset

In the past

In the past when I hit a wall emotionally, my world would go black and I would crawl under my blankets for days or weeks.  I would beat myself up telling myself I didn’t deserve fun, travel, happiness, or even love.  I would open the dark umbrella thought of “who cares?!” which lead me repeatedly to eat damaging foods, stop working out, and to thinking even more emotionally draining thoughts!  In the past I would lie there wondering WHY I felt so shitty, and why the world hated me and was being so mean to me.

And who could blame me?  Given that set of circumstances, anyone could want to react that way.

waterfalls at Plitvicka Jezera National Park

But now I know better.

Therapy and coaching have helped me discover how energy draining that old behavior is, how depleting, stress-inducing and disease causing.  

So last week when I hit the wall, I asked myself, “Cyndi, what do you need to feel better right NOW?”

1- Knowing what I need has made a huge difference in my life.
2- Allowing myself to do what I need is THEE difference in my life.

Ever since I learned that what I was doing was NOT working for me,
I have been on a quest to become aware of what DOES work for me.

Some of the things I have learned are:
Having something to look forward to is CRUCIAL to my state of mind.  
Talking to my coach ALWAYS lifts my energy exponentially.  
Getting a massage ALWAYS releases stress.

Rather than spiral into darkness like I would have in the past:
1 – I texted my fabulous coach, Jill Lebeau, and moved up my session.
2 – I scheduled a massage for my day off.
3 – I decided that I would schedule some travel or go stark raving mad.

Korcula Island, Croatia ~ Google image

Despite travel restrictions and the great inability to determine what the fuck the pandemic or politics will bring next, I have been planning my next trip to Croatia for almost a year now.  I couldn’t know when it might happen, I was just having fun dreaming of all the places we will visit when it DOES happen.  I’ve been watching ticket prices for months and they have been pretty steadily priced around $1,300.  That’s less than the last time we flew to Europe, but I was convinced I could get a better price than that!

Monday morning I decided that I didn’t care WHAT bargain rate I might get later.  I knew without doubt that if I had airline tickets for my dream vacation in hand, I would feel buoyant again, and all my challenges would morph back into opportunities.  I decided that I would just PAY the $1,300 fare.  We have been saving for this trip, so we already had enough saved for the two tickets. 

It would be worth paying full price just to feel better!  

The instant I had that thought, my spirit lightened immensely!

Dubrovnik ~ 2017

I pulled up searches of all my favorite airlines, checked different cities to fly into, tried different hubs to fly through, looking for the best deal available and the most AMAZING thing happened.  I found a fare on a reputable airline, with reasonable travel times for less than $800 round trip for each of us. YES! I checked all the details a second time, then booked the tickets.

Then I had a dance party in my living room. 

I was SO right!  My energy popped back up like a cork I had been holding under water.  Suddenly my energy was vibrant and flowing.
At my coaching session, instead of my coach helping me out of a dark place where I had gotten stuck (as would have happened in the past),
I was telling her about the miraculous return of my energy, and increased capacity to support others through the MANY golden fucking opportunities that are happening all around us!  I knew without a doubt what my soul needed to shine, and I didn’t hesitate to give it to myself.  Some might think it selfish, but that bit of self-care was crucial to my emotional wellbeing, and paid off tenfold!

Go me!

Dubrovnik, Croatia

My coach wisely pointed out that deciding to spend the full price because I deserved to feel better embodied an abundance mindset, and that vibration of abundance allowed me to attract the super low fare on a high-quality airline.  

Fuck. Yes.

And now, I feel INCREDIBLE, nearly invincible!  I am manifesting what I truly desire by trusting my KNOWING about what I need, and allowing that to outweigh the financial consideration.  I feel far more able to focus on my life and my clients.

Did all my challenges/opportunities just go away?  Hell no! 

But the things that frustrated the crap outta me a couple days ago seem like nothing more than minor irritants now.  They seem far more like opportunities than challenges.

And burdens that had felt unbearable – the unexpected death of a beloved pet, a best friend facing months of chemotherapy – became at least manageable, and I am able to remember that, in time, even these burdens will reveal gifts for us.

Am I saying that if you are struggling with GFOs you should plan a trip to Croatia?  Maybe.  If that’s what turns YOU on.  Heavens no, if you don’t enjoy travel.

What I am saying is that when the world seems to be crumbling around us it’s extremely beneficial to know what it is YOU need. 

Then allow yourself that.  ALL of that.

a room i dream of renting in Dubrovnik…

Grow on!

What works for you?
What person, place, thing lifts your spirits no matter what?
How can you allow yourself more of that?
What’s holding you back from allowing more of that in your life?
What will change for you when you allow yourself more of what feeds your soul?

Cyndi in Dubrovnik ~ 2017