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Hippocrates knew what he was talking about even thousands of years ago.  A Greek physician of the Age of Pericles, Hippocrates is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine, yet the way we practice medicine today is a far cry from his approach.  Hippocrates conducted his own research through experiments and data collection to conclude that disease is a natural process.  A process caused by natural reactions of the body and that the role of the physician was to support the natural resistance of the body to overcome the imbalance.  Once the imbalance was restored, the person would return to good health and harmony.  He believed (against the teachings of the school of medicine) that the body functioned as one organism and must be treated as such.  The school of medicine’s approach was to isolate each organ and treat them separately.  This is very similar to how we treat disease today in conventional medicine.  There is a specialist for each body system or organ and we are referred to one of these specialists by our primary physician if a problem arises that they do not have the expertise to treat.  The problem with this model is that we are going against nature and how our body was designed.

To be clear, I am not putting the blame on doctors, nor do I think there’s not a place for conventional medicine.  I’d like to share a little about overcoming my own health struggles and what worked for me.  Everyone’s healing looks different so you don’t need to follow the exact path I took, but I think there are a few tips that can help anyone in their journey towards better health.  I worked in health care for many years and loved certain aspects of it,  but shortly after I started my career I began having some health struggles of my own.  Fatigue, depression, anxiety, infections, pain, indigestion, inability to concentrate, and more.  Instead of listening to my body and taking guidance from it, I fought it tooth and nail, because this is how I roll.  After all, I didn’t have time for all this!  For the next several years I was in a constant fight with my body.  After lots of tests, therapy, medication, and a good dose of denial, I managed to find a way to keep up my performance at work without really taking good care of myself...sort of.  What took me several more years to learn is that you can’t defy nature.  If you ignore what your body is trying to tell you, it will bite you in the butt down the road, usually much harder than it tried to in the first place.  

So...as I began to feel as if I had control over my body with all the tools listed above, I was blindsided by a cascade of worsening health issues.  And they kept coming for what seemed like FOREVER, especially after the birth of our first daughter in 2010.  They knew me well at the dentist because I had eight root canals in a very short time, all of which would later be extracted, became dependent on medication, had worsening depression, and was struggling to keep my family together.  Even as I write about this difficult time I get a tightness in the back of my throat, a clenching in my stomach, and that feeling of desperation I once felt.  I know now that this was imbalance manifesting in my body trying to tell me it needed something other than what I was doing.  

Thankfully, it wasn’t yesterday.  It wasn’t even a year ago.  It was almost eleven years ago.  I was in a constant fight with my body, and the universe for that matter, for a good majority of this time.  What I discovered the hard way is that when you are in fight mode you are not open to the things you need to make real lasting change.  So long as you have your fists up ready to strike the next person who crosses your path, you will never come to a place of healing.  Our psychological and physical health are directly related and whether its physical, emotional, spiritual, or all three, you must heal yourself from a perspective of wholeness.  Yes, seeing a doctor, therapist, or other health care professional may be part of your recipe for healing, but you my friend, have everything you need right inside you to heal yourself.  You just need to listen very carefully.  

By sharing my own experience and struggles my hope is that perhaps you won’t feel so alone, or inadequate, or desperate.  I was really hoping to leave politics out of this, but Obama made a statement in one of his recent speeches that keeps popping up in my mind.  He talked about how it’s hard to lose when you’ve worked so hard for what you believe in, but despite our differences, we must remember we’re really all on the same side.  Whether you’re fighting yourself or someone else, it’s an incredible relief to know that unity is ultimately what will heal us.  This is how we were designed by nature, as a whole person needing wholeness for healing.  It’s all connected and we can’t heal one part without examining the others.  

There are so many factors involved in the healing process it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but I believe in starting simple.  What got me off on the right foot was getting all the toxins out of my life.  I’m talking about toxins in the body but also environmental toxins, psychological toxins, and emotional toxins.  We live in a toxic environment and that isn’t going to change anytime soon so everyone can benefit from doing an occasional detox program.  Doing this will allow you to think clearer, feel better, and set the stage for true and lasting healing and what better time to start than the spring when life and warmth are about to return!  Here are a few tips to get you started in each category, but make it your own.  Customize it for your own specific goals.  You can find countless detox juice and smoothie recipes on the internet that are specific for healing certain disorders or targeting a specific area of the body that may need attention.  

BODY DETOX:  There’s no better way to cleanse yourself than to start with good nutrition.  If you are up to diving right in and want to try a juice or smoothie fast, Cherie Calbom’s book “Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing For Life,” has some great tips and recipes for getting started.  A juice fast isn’t for everyone though so if you are one of these people, start by choosing organic as much as possible and decreasing the higher allergenic foods such as meat, wheat, and dairy.  Know what you are consuming.  The best way to do this is to prepare your own meals at home.  You don’t need much time to throw together quick healthy meals, you just need to commit to doing so and prioritize it.   Below I have included a tasty green smoothie recipe for you to try that is easy to make and delicious!  It removes heavy metal toxins that build up in the body and is loaded with micronutrients necessary for optimal body function.

ENVIRONMENTAL DETOX:  Most of us don’t think about it, but toxins enter our bodies in more than one way.  Our skin and lungs take in a good majority of toxins as well so be mindful about what you put on your skin and the quality of the air you breathe.  Things like laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soap, shampoo, lotion, make-up, and cleaning products all affect our “toxic load.”  Choose “free and clear” varieties and natural health products as much as possible.  Natural cleaning products are also effective and they smell great too!  Especially now since we are spending more time inside it’s important to use natural cleaners because any artificial fragrances and chemical additives end up in the air we breathe.  Visit your local health food store for an array of different brands or go online to order if you know what you want.

PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL DETOX:  The psychological and emotional detox may take a little longer to see results.  This were the most challenging for me.  I like to compare it to strength and flexibility.  Strength is easier and quicker to achieve if you have a good action plan, but flexibility needs more time, nurturing, and patience (something I have very little of).  Unfortunately, you can’t rush this part and it’s extremely important.  This type of detox can come in many different forms and is personal to you.  It may be prayer, meditation, exercise, religion, journaling, therapy, or simply engaging in a favorite hobby to express yourself.  Make time each day for self care that supports your mental health and your body will thank you for it.  Stress does a number on the physical body and may lead to weight gain, digestive disorders, metabolic imbalances, unbalanced hormones and more.  

I hope by sharing some of my own struggles and tips for success it has helped you to feel less alone and perhaps inspired to start your own journey.  Remember to BELIEVE in yourself even if others don’t.  Tell yourself you will and can have what you desire.  Keep telling yourself this especially when you feel as if you’re moving backwards.  Another thing about nature is that it’s always in motion.  Sometimes moving forward, sometimes moving backward, but there’s always a good reason for the direction it’s going.  I’d love to hear your story or simply the first thing you are going to do to get started.  Please feel free to comment here on our blog and get support from other likeminded people.  Most of all, enjoy the process and be kind to yourself!  

HEAVY METAL DETOX SMOOTHIE:

Cilantro and parsley are great for removing heavy metals from the body and taste great in this delicious detoxifying smoothie!

1/2-1 cup fresh cilantro 

1 cup fresh parsley

1/2 cup cucumber (without skin if non-organic)

1/2 cup chopped fresh kale

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 fresh mango

1/2 cup filtered water or raw apple juice

Wash and roughly cut up herbs, veggies, and mango.  Add to blender with lemon juice and blend until smooth.  Replace as a meal or drink as a post workout recovery drink.  Enjoy! 

Shawn Clavelle holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Certified Yoga Instructor.  Drawing from her clinical nursing experience and own personal journey, Shawn has a passion for identifying the obstacles to good health and guiding others in their own journey.  She has created a yoga and nutrition program which is accessible and sustainable for those wanting to make changes that last.  Shawn believes that what you put in your body and how you move it are crucial to living the most fulfilling life possible. 

“Get busy. Be more productive. Accomplish more. Work hard. You gotta do this to succeed”. Do you hear these messages ringing in your ears? Me too. Most of the time it works to my advantage; it motives me. I like getting things done and feeling like I’m doing good things with my time. But lately, I just want to tell that voice to shut the hell up. 

The holidays bring about a different kind of chaos. Our to-do lists grow longer as we squeeze in extra deadlines to meet and places to be. Parties, shopping, wrapping, writing out Christmas Cards, seeing Santa at the mall, making travel plans, decorating the tree, the cookie exchange…we find ourselves with endless ways to spend our precious, little time. All the while, there’s an unspoken nagging to ALSO plan and prepare for the new year. “Set intentions. Make new goals. Create your resolutions”. The pressure builds.

Shawn and I both felt this weight press down on us. For weeks, we’ve been intending to brainstorm next year’s plans for the wellness center. We just couldn’t find any room in our schedules to get working on it. And neither one of us was all that excited about it either. It felt overwhelming and exhausting to be simultaneously wrapping up 2016, trying to enjoy the holiday season, and prepping for the new year. 

One day at the office, we both stopped, looked at each other, and let out long sighs. In that moment, I turned to her and said, “Let’s not do it right now. Let’s pace ourselves. Take our time”. Right then, we agreed we weren’t going to force ourselves to devote attention to 2017 until we reflected on the past year and felt in a good place, free from pressure and overwhelm, to envision what is yet to come. There was almost instant relief. 

Now, 2017 is upon us…and we still haven’t started planning for the year. And we’re totally ok with that. It will come. It will all get done. It will be good…but only when we’re ready to take it on. You can’t force or push good ideas to the surface. You can’t squeeze motivation from your veins. When we feel pulled and pressured it’s time to stop and breathe. The moments when we feel we have to keep going are the very moments to pause. 

Can you feel it? Is there a voice inside of you pressuring you to hurry up and get to the gym? Hurry up and take down the decorations? Hurry up and submit that proposal, draw up those plans, make the decision, book the reservations? “You should be losing weight, eating better, sleeping more, spending more time with friends, spending less time on Facebook. You should ____________ (fill in the blank with all the things you wish you were better at and will probably set as New Year’s Resolutions).”

Before you get all caught up in this rhetoric and launch into 2017, slow down and take a minute. Here’s why and how you should PACE YOURSELF:

  1. LIFE ISN’T A RACE TO THE FINISH LINE. 

It’s a journey to be experienced and savored. There is no “there”. You’ll never arrive at a destination. The meaning of life is to give life meaning. Every moment, every minute, every breath contains a precious gift, but if you’re flying through it, you’ll miss the beauty of it all. With each step you take, immerse yourself in that moment rather than thinking ahead to what is yet to come. Slow, gradual, consistent growth is ALWAYS better than sharp, rapid (and often fleeting) changes. You’re in this life for the long haul. Build your life on a strong foundation, brick by brick, block by block, one step at a time. Pay attention to every detail and love what you’re creating as you’re making it. 

2. REFLECTION ON THE PAST CAN MAKE FOR A STUNNING FUTURE.

Our experiences are designed to teach us valuable lessons; to guide and direct us toward the path we’re meant to travel. The road we’ve already walked down serves as a compass. If we’re so caught up in looking forward, we’ll never learn from what’s behind us. Before setting intentions for 2017 and setting a new course, reflect on 2016 and see how far you’ve come. 

Ask yourself: “What am I proud of from 2016? What goals did I achieve?  What mistakes did I make? What lessons did I learn?” Gleaning insight into yourself, where you’ve been, and where you want to go next is sure to awaken your soul voice. The best way to gain clarity and bring forth vision for a prosperous future is to remember who you are and what you’re truly capable of. Our past crusades show us how strong we are. 

3. LETTING GO NEEDS TO HAPPEN BEFORE ADDING MORE.

This applies to SO. MANY. THINGS. What old, un-useful stories do you need to let go of? I’ll tell you, 2016 did a great job of helping me to let go of my fear of failure. What I once viewed as failure, I now simply view as learning and adjusting.

Letting go of my old definition of failure has helped me learn not to judge myself by other people’s expectations and to focus more on my own opinion of what I’m doing and why. This simple shift makes me feel curious, excited, and eager to see what 2017 has to offer, rather than feeling anxious, fearful, and intimidated. 

Let go of the unhappy relationship. Let go of drama. Let go of the closet full of clothes you don’t wear anymore. Let go of the number on the scale. Let go of all the “shoulds” you apply to yourself and others (“I should be further along at this point in my life”). Throw em’ all out. Gone. 

There’s no room for wonderful if it’s all filled up with mediocre (at best). 

4. TAKE THE REINS FROM YOUR EGO AND HAND EM’ OVER TO YOUR SOUL.

Your ego is going to attempt to convince you the most important thing is that promotion, impressing people, the perfectly picked up home, the ripped abs, the BMW in the driveway, the honor roll kids. Your ego is going to tell you to press on, keep going, push harder, overextend, overspend. Your soul knows better.

Your soul knows you’re fueled by love, kindness, and generosity. Your soul knows seeing the sunrise, smelling the fresh pressed coffee brew, and hearing laughter in the next room is what makes you come alive. Your soul holds the key to your biggest dreams and desires. It knows what makes your heart beat, what lights you up, what ignites the fire that sets everything in motion. 

Before setting your intentions for 2017, make sure your intentions are good. Make sure your listening to your soul voice and not your ego message. Allowing your ego to guide your future will leave you feeling empty. Tune in closely to your heart’s desires and let that voice guide you through the new year. 

The start of a new year seems like a natural time to take off on new goals and aspirations, and in all honesty, it is. But if you aren’t feeling inspired or driven to create an action plan yet, don’t worry. Pace yourself. It will come. It will all get done. It will be beautiful and challenging and messy and surprising because that’s how life is. So, to prepare yourself (your soul) for the journey ahead and to set a new life course, slow it all down, take it all in, steep in this very moment and then set a slow and steady pace as you take your first steps into 2017. 

Happy New Year!

Nicole Iacovoni is a psychotherapist, author, wealth building coach, and personal empowerment fanatic dedicated to helping you create a life of happiness & prosperity. Her work is centered around personal growth and holistic health and wealth building. Nicole takes an honest, straight-forward approach to helping clients identify where they currently are in their life’s journey. With expertise in how our DESIRES, EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and BELIEFS influence our success, Nicole helps clients create a concrete action plan for living the life of their dreams. Contact Nicole for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. 

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