When I stopped judging myself magic began to happen.

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I was at the YMCA working out the other morning on one of the machines.  It had been a few years since I had been and it was really nice catching up with old friends from before.  This morning in particular I was next to a young woman who I knew from before and she was lamenting about how she was really angry with herself for all the years she had been fat.  She had lost a huge amount a few years back and felt that she needed a reminder and was going to put up a picture of herself when she was fat as a deterrent to overeating.

This conversation struck me as sad for I could hear in her voice so much regret and anger for the woman she was.  In reality that anger and regret spills into the woman she is.

Although I am still overweight , I too have been able to keep 70lbs off that I had lost several years ago.  When I look at the pictures of me at my heaviest I am filled with love and gratitude for her.  I neither feel sorry for her nor have any anger for her now.  I too remember being filled with disappointed and anger with myself and yet I have come to love the part of me that felt she needed protection from the world.  There were many reasons for my being overweight; most now have healed.  It is so easy to judge people who are overweight.  Some of us gained it as a way of protecting ourselves from painful stories; we simply carry the scars where people can see; others hide them behind anger, blame and frustration that gets projected at the world.  My weight prevented me from the later.  It was and is a beautiful gift.  My weight is my teacher and I learn from each and every pound that I let go of, one at a time.  Yes let go of, not lose.  I know that being overweight is not healthy but in the end I also believe that self-hatred is much more destructive.

Ultimately until we find self-love and forgiveness we are never really lovingly present in our bodies or to others weither we are overweight or not.

Here is a picture at my heaviest and I am hugging a dear friend;  I look at me here and I know that for many reasons I was perfect the way I was.

Find a way to see yourself through eyes that are accepting and loving.  When we do, we get to see others through the same loving and accepting filter.   Remember the old saying “What you resist persists”.   When I stopped judging myself magic began to happen.  What is one way you could find more magic this week for yourself?

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Passion for life is a choice

As the winter months finally wind down and the sun is staying longer in the sky, we are having the last few cold weeks as we move into March.  I am excited once again and feel rejuvenated by the longer days.  I am starting to think about planting my tomatoes plants and dreaming about summer days collecting wild herbs, jumping into the wonderful waters of the Atlantic Ocean and working in my hothouse with the unmistakable sweet aroma of mother earth.  Spring always creates a stir in me.  Not only do I want to plant seeds but to cultivate new things in my life!

One of the things I love to do is walk and I have been pretty regular this winter (in my sneakers no less, very unusual to have hardly any snow here!!)  I do a lot of thinking along my path and I have come to realize how little time lately I have allowed for inner reflection and journaling.  Inner reflection always gives way to inspiration for me.  I have decided to take extra time in the mornings to be still, to write down my thoughts in a journal and let my thoughts wander freely.  I have also incorporated back into my daily practice qigong and yoga.  Both of these practices are waking me up from a winter sludge I felt I was in.

I get caught up in the stress of life sometimes and forget to dream.  Since restarting I am excited again.  This is a wonderful reminder of the commitment I made to myself on my last birthday to not forget the passion I have for life!  Now is a perfect time to renew and reboot my juices and get fully back into this adventure.

What daily practice can you introduce today to reboot your passion for life? It really is a choice that we get to make every day, in every moment.  We can choose to be awake and present to each moment.   How can you cultivate yourself for new inner growth this spring? In this moment what will you choose?

Want inspiration? Simply look at how children live life and get a perfect reflection living and loving each moment.

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“Whole food”; A sweeter and juicer life!

I am often perplexed by the term “whole food”.  We hear it a lot now in dieting ads, it certainly is advocated in many medical conditions and overall we understand this to be a much healthier choice.

Yet I wonder what my grandmother would say about this word.  Food has always been quote “whole” until the industrial revolution brought a new way to preserve food with the use of artificial chemicals and plastic packaging.  Our generation has learned how to genetically modify food; we have learned how to enhance the look of food by adding colors and artificial flavoring to the point of it being unrecognizable to my grandmother’s generation.   We even find it totally unacceptable to buy a blemished fruit or vegetable.  This last point is where I find it most disturbing, for as a gardener myself I realize that the only way to produce perfect looking produce is through the use of harsh chemicals.  Thus this is why I have been an organic gardener for over 25 years.  I have an elderly neighbor once say that “if the bugs won’t eat it why the hell should we!”

Over 25 years ago both of our sons were extremely sick most of the time; they suffered horribly with childhood asthma and were constantly sick with ear infections, colds and even pneumonia a few times a year.  We were in and out of the hospital often and they were on a steady dose of antibiotic every other month.  I got frustrated and did a lot of research and discovered with everything I was reading that what I was feeding them was a huge part of the problem.  Although I was feeding them what at the time was a standard healthy diet, the food choices were often packaged, filled with dyes and fillers and other such substances.  The food was overly processed and that was what our boys were reacting to.  I decided to take them off of all artificial foods and coloring, anything that was white including, white flour, and white sugar.  I started growing my own vegetables and switched them to goat’s milk and even had my own chickens for a while.  I found a Naturopathic Doctor and switched our family to mostly herbal medicine. We started purchasing organic beef and chickens from local farmers and “voila” in 6 months they were healthy and remained so. Back then it was not such a popular thing to do as it is today.  I was seen as the weird “hippy”mom who does not let her kids eat anything.  What most people did not know is our son’s did not miss anything, I learned to make many things that they loved including really good pizza with yes “tofu” meat that even their friends loved  as long as they did not know what they were eating! LOL!   Homemade ice-cream was our favorite!! Although I must admit our son’s said my healthy cookies needed work.  Today thought I have the best chocolate chip recipe ever!

Today many years later I still eat mostly foods that are organic and whole.   I use mostly herbal medicine and to me this is simplicity and what I am passionate about.  I make most meals from scratch, homemade soups are my favorite.  Now not as much as I used to, even my own breads; I still drink goats milk and make my own yogurt from it.   Today I do not have a huge garden any more but I eat lots of fruits and veggies mostly from local farmers and organic when possible.   Yes of course I still eat junk food but here I am picky too.  I usually eat (not always) organic chips, corn chips and indulge in a good organic chocolate bar with my favorite herb tea!  And yes I still obviously eat too much but I love myself, blemishes and all!

I think this example of the way we see food also parallel’s the way we are with ourselves.  Too many of us are living an artificial life; we have become obsessed with preserving our youth and projecting a false persona.  We need to be seen as completely unblemished physically and emotionally cramming away any sense of vulnerability or”weakness” needing to be seen as perfect.  I would like to think the same way I believe “whole” foods are better for us the same is true about letting our “whole” self  be seen and shine.  Blemishes and all!!

I know from experience that when I see produce with a blemish that it is much more likely to be organic, which means better for me and much sweeter and juicier!  The same way when we accept all of who we are, we far more happy which means to me a much juicier life !!  When we simply become curious instead of controlling we are far more accepting of ourselves and others !! 🙂

I believe all things in life are meant to be simple and we all are blemished, when we no longer need to hide them we are free to be organic and genuinely real with ourselves and others!    The more simple I make my life, the more I accept all of my many blemishes,  the more energy and vibrancy I have for everything I do and the more acceptance I have of others! .  In other words life is much more juicy and sweet! 🙂

How can you make your life simpler, sweeter and juicier this week?

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Following Our Dreams, One Step at a Time.

Often we are stuck in our lives because we are afraid to take action towards a dream.   There is a wonderful quote by Confucius (551-479 BCE),

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”

It seems as long as recorded history we, as a race of human beings, have often been stuck, unable to move into action for fear of not being successful.    Yet the evidence of so many success stories share one thing in common.  They were willing to fail over and over.   It is actually only when we see “failure” as an opportunity instead; we finally give ourselves permission to move forward.

Recently I have embarked on a writing adventure that has been one of the hardest things I have done in a long time.   Along the way I have been learning many things.  I have made many mistakes, and yet it has been one of the most fulfilling and creative things I have done since giving birth to my sons.

I find over and over when I am willing to take action despite the fear there is a flow that begins to happen.  It is almost as if God is waiting for us to make the first move and then wow; divine magic happens!  Our world seems to open up and then we are guided along the way, one step at a time.   When we are willing to make each step count, and continue to move no matter what the obstacles or challenges, we succeed.

Follow your dreams!  Take one step today!   Remember it does not matter how big or small the step is, so long as you are willing to take it!

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My extra weight has been a great teacher.

Being overweight my whole adult life has taught me allot about self-acceptance.

My weight has been teaching me so much about life and self-love and I have no doubt what so ever when the lessons I need are finished I will release the extra weight.  A long time ago I stopped trying to lose weight for every time I lose anything I always end up finding it again! 🙂

My journey has been about living more fully in my body, learning to listen, movement and be present to the food I eat.  Years ago I learned for me it is not about weighing, measuring, counting calories, or jumping on the scale everyday.   The weight I have managed to keep off has come only through being more present to my body and life as a whole.

I still have dark holes I fall into at times where I fall into old patterns of unconscious eating but here too I have learned these are only more lessons to learn.  When I finally release my extra weight I will be no longer be in the “learning” but in the “knowing”.  I feel graduation is near!  🙂  Then I will be in a place where I can focus on learning other lessons that I need to integrate.  Life is a school.  Sometimes I have had to re-earn my degrees but eventually I manage to graduate and then go onto the next course.

My message is the same, big or small; we all have shadows that we need to love and integrate and in that eventually creates self-acceptance for all of us.  I know this to be true for me, the more I love and accept myself the more I have been able to love and accept others.  Beauty is truly in the eyes of the beholder.  Let us all behold a more loving society that no longer uses words to break each other’s spirits.

The next time you have a negative thought creep in about your body or someone else’s…in that moment take a breath and remember these thoughts are only what our collective society has cultivated and they are only just that, thoughts.   Maybe you can be courageous enough to do your part by loving all of who you are, the light and the dark and then together we will reflect and kinder gentler world where we are all healthier, body, mind and spirit!

Pay extra attention today about what your thoughts are about yourself and others.  If negative things pop in, simply observe them, then take a deep breath and let it go.  Let go and let God.  Surrender is the wind  beneath our wings

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“This is mine” or “I belong to this”

Two distinct ways of seeing our world.  I read an amazing book each day called “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo.  He spoke of this duality this week.  I thought of so many ways in which we get caught up in thinking “this is mine”; for many it is validating our lives through how many possessions we have.  Mostly I ponder the delusion of possessing this beautiful blue planet that so many of us in the Western world have, as if we really could.

Although we claim to be so advanced in this part of the world,  I cannot help but marvel at indigenous people who live in less “civilized” parts of our world that have a greater understanding of belonging. They understand we are all connected and interdependent on each other and our environment.  

The first statement “this is mine” feels contracting to me, and the second “I belong to this” feels expansive.  Whenever I get caught up in my own delusions of possessions I  remind myself how in truth we own nothing, we are only stewards to everything. 

When I walk on the land where I live, I often speak to the trees and wildlife.  No I do not hear anything in return but I am comforted somehow by the thought that I am a part of this beauty around me.  Whenever life gets frustrating I sometimes simply go to the beach and walk until I feel relieved of my burdens.  This morning was one of those days where the ocean welcomed me as I walked along the shore letting the waves wash away my tension. This always helps me gain a much-needed different perspective.  Yes I belong to this! We all belong. 

When we feel like we belong we understand instinctively that we need to take care of nature and each other.   On the other hand if we are living the illusion that it belongs to us than we no longer have to take responsibility for the future of our planet or for each other.   Then we become an “I” society and what we need more of is a “we” community.  In my training we were given two simple words to look at.  I found these words to be profound.  They give us a clue that can be a wakeup call to all of us.

“I”llness  or “we”llness. 

It is not the act of acquiring that is wrong but the delusion that we need these things to belong.

What can you do this week to connect with nature, to get grounded in the healing energy of belonging?

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Relationships can be the greatest mirrors for seeing ourselves.

We often find ways to blame others for our unhappiness in life for it can be and often will be difficult at times.  The most obvious place is to blame those who are the closest to us that have hurt us along the way.  Some of us blame our parents for our unhappiness today or maybe an ex that hurt us along life’s path.  Only when we are willing to step back and see all of our relationships as wonderful teachers that give us opportunities to grow we can then find peace, contentment and love in our lives today. 
 

In my marriage of 32 years it took me many years to unfold and uncover all the layers of anger and pain from my childhood.  My dear husband and I married when we were mere children.  I was 18 and he was 21. We both were escaping from childhood pain and in our naive youthful ways we thought that we could find refuge in each other.  It took many years of inner work, exploring and letting go of many projections from our childhoods that somehow in the end we have remained together and still very much in love today! 

We both had and still have the courage to look inside and be painfully honest with each other during difficult times in our marriage.  It just happens that my partner was and is as willing as I to grow and therefore we grew together into a very spiritual loving relationship today.  Not perfect by any means but real, honest and deeply respectful of each other.  I still chuckle as my husband shared the other day how he loves who I am today and what we have with each other because when he first met me I was so jaded!  So true, I was so busy blaming the world I did not even see what was right in front of me.  When I showed up to myself my husband showed up in ways I did not know existed for me

For us this was our journey for others it may mean letting go of relationships that are toxic and loving themselves first before they move on to a new love.  Whatever path we have, each time we look into another’s eyes’ we see a reflection of what we feel  about ourselves inside.   If we choose as adults to allow others to reflect anything but respect and love to us then somewhere inside we believe on some level it to be true.

We attract to us what we feel inside about ourselves.  This is true if we are in a long or short-term relationship or still looking for love.  This is true even with friendships.  We choose those around us by the same gauge we hold about ourselves. 

I believe that we can look at each relationship either long-term or temporarily as great teachers of opportunities to grow.  As we learn along the way what it is we don’t want and then cultivate in ourselves the courage to heal and let go of blaming others; we then can blossom first with ourselves and then with another. When we love who we are first and treat our own lives with respect we then can be open for the same coming from someone else. 

Find ways to be kinder to yourself, heal inward and the outward world will be much kinder.  There is no secret to a loving relationship for it always begins with the relationship we have with ourselves. All other relationships will build from there.

Who do you see in the mirror? How can you be kinder to yourself today?

He has been my greatest teacher!
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Quantum leap in consciousness for my birthday gift to me! :)

About 3 weeks ago I woke suddenly about 5 am and jumped out of bed with an urgency I did not understand at first.  I went outside and stood in my bare feet in my PJS and looked around me as I listened to the birds almost shouting good morning!!! I felt a stir inside a kind of desperation and as I stayed with this feeling I was overwhelmed by emotion of gratitude and joy for all that surrounded me, my life, our home this amazing land, my dear husband of 33 years our sons their family and our dear dear friends.  Then I felt this sadness that I was turning 50 in just a couple of weeks and I had not reached the goals that I had set for myself.  Almost as instantly as I felt these emotions I felt a nudge of sorts, from God the universe I cannot explain it, it was simply an awareness that the goals were not going to be met until I was willing to step into my life 100%!!! I took a breath and I knew, I really knew in that moment I was on a mission!!
 

For many years now over 20 years I have been on this amazing journey of self-discovery and healing.  Over 5 years ago I began another journey training to become an Integrative Coach.  To say that today I am not even close to who I was 5 years ago wouldnot be an exaggeration, I look the same in some ways, but the changes from within are so much that I would not even know where to begin;  yet in that moment at 5 am I realized that I was still only living 50% of the capacity of who I have become today! Now for future reference I realize we all have infinite possibilities and the ability to reach for the sky and beyond but first each step along the way we need to be willing to step 100% into the newest evolution of ourselves.

For about 8 months now starting last winter I slid back into some dark places, what we call in coaching my default mode.  With some stress in my life I went back to very comfortable ways of being complacent.  I stopped envisioning and dreaming and went into an old friend I call survival mode.  You know this friend , the part of us that slides through the day without real passion or direction.  I call this a friend because at one time in my life this friend served me well but no longer.   Don’t get me wrong I have done amazing things over the past years that I am so proud of but I realized in the early dawn that I had lost my passion for life.  I got lazy with my journey and realized I was way out of integrity in so many ways. 

So for the last 3 weeks I have been working harder than at any other time in my life to shift my old paradigm. Those old patterns of thoughts and habits that no longer serve us.  Every morning I am spending at least 60 min writing my vision, dreaming, praying  and focusing on how I can show up that day with greater integrity to myself and others no matter what comes my way!  I have recommitted to my body and have made a list of integrity issues that I have not addressed and one by one I am doing them all, from cleaning out my closets to finishing long forgotten to do lists.  I have this overwhelming urge to strive for excellence in a way I have never before.  Not perfection because that is God’s business but for excellence!

I am so excited for my 50th Birthday now for I have committed to be unrecognizable to myself! Yes I will still look the same to others yet the people who know me will and have already seen the change.  I realize now that my vision is not possible until I make one hell of a quantum leap in my consciousness and stay committed to it no matter what and I am going to celebrate this new evolution on July 18th and beyond!!

 I WILL still continue to welcome my default shadow selves, fear, judgement, unworthiness, etc in the door of my heart to teach me to love all of who I am but they are not allowed to move in!!! I Will listen to my heart’s desire with a new awareness and understanding and bring a new level of integrity to everything I do, EVERYTHING; from my coaching to washing the dishes!!!!!!  I have called on a good friend to hold me accountable, we have been talking once a week.  I have a calendar that I show below that I put colourful dots on each day that I stay integrity with my body.  For me this is walking, yoga, eating well and Qigong at night before I go to bed.  I love seeing my progress , it reminds me of Sunday school when we got gold stars!! I love who I am and more importantly I love who I am becoming, this is what I give to me as a birthday gift and may the next half of my life be the best I have ever had!!!!

Let us all commit to loving ourselves and others more than we ever thought possible!! What can you do today to make a quantum leap in consciousness!  We all deserve to live life to the absolute fullest!!

This is what I see every morning this summer at 5am from my front lawn! A pathway I mow to my bluberry field.

Visual reminder of self care

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Compassionate wise questions can lead us too freedom.

I have been writing my memoir lately.  It has been quite a cathartic exercise for sure.  I highly recommend it to anyone.  I chose at this time in my life to write it from an observer and not a victim perspective.  Yes I had a very painful childhood but it gave me the foundation of who I am today.   I knew the time was right and as I write my story I have come to an understanding that this is how I am living my life now.  I am moving forward and no longer stuck in the past. It amazes me that as I turn 50 this year I have finally arrived to this point in time where I understand more of who I am and what I want in life!! Much of my journey of healing has come from asking myself wise and compassionate questions.  Early on I learned the power of this wisdom and was truly etched in me when I became a coach.

I think it is important to be the observer of your own life each and every day.  Simply put, too look at your life objectively as if looking at someone else’s life.  Much of my life today is teaching this concept to others but I too forget this wisdom from time to time.   The most important thing is to step out of our pity parties long enough to ask ourselves some questions.  It may only take one question to shift our perspective and other times we may need to spend some time asking a few more such as  “What do I need here and now?” “Can I accept where I am in this moment without judgement?” or “How can I see this differently so I can feel empowered?” Or one of my favourites from Debbie Ford’s book The Right Questions, “Am I looking for what is right or am I looking for what is wrong?” or another one from the same book “Is this an Act of self-love or is this an act of self-sabotage?” When we are struggling the most important thing to remember is to ask questions even if the answers elude us in the moment.  The minute we ask a wise compassionate question we are opening our hearts to a much higher wisdom than our wounded ego can answer.

When I forget this wisdom I easily fall victim to my ego and go into the blame game, either with myself or directed towards others.  I am amazed at how quickly asking a simple question either direct or more often open-ended can release so much anxiety!

One question to be careful of is a question that starts with “why”.  If we are not careful we can easily get stuck in a pity party starting any question with this little 3 letter word.  With this one word we can render ourselves powerless.  The most important part to remember is that questions need to be loving and compassionate without  judgement to be affective.

I will end this by quoting Mary O’Malley from her book “The Gift of our Compulsions”

“Live in Questions! Live in Questions! Live in Questions!” Mary reminds us over and over like so many other wise people who have come to understand this powerful tool.  When we do not have the answers to life’s challenges we simply are not asking the right questions!  I invite us to remember the importance of this practice or maybe now is the time to start this as a new practice today.  Ask yourself the right questions when you are faced with a challenge, you will soon learn to set yourself free!  You are truly wiser than you know! 🙂  www.sacredsharing.ca

If you want to explore this more I highly recommend Debbie Ford’s book “The Right Questions” to help you begin this journey!

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The dandilion’s message of renewal!

“It’s a new dawn, a new day and a new life” I cannot get that song out of my mind this morning.  It speaks of the promise of renewal each and every day! That is what I feel every spring. I feel that now that spring is officially here I need to clear out my garden beds and make room for new plants and seeds.  This is also a time for me to wake up the creative energy by planting and cultivating new thoughts and ideas, but first I need to pull out and examine the thoughts and patterns that are in the way! 

Remember our mind is a wonderful fertile ground and what ever we plant will grow! 🙂 At times my fertile mind is full of choke weeds which are negative thoughts that are covering the nourishing weeds which are my creative passionate ideas and thoughts underneath.  Our mind is no different from a garden. Left unattended the garden will be over run by weeds that will not let in any sunshine to the very plants that you want to grow.  This week I will be concentrating on pulling out the negative thoughts and patterns that have kept me stuck this winter  and give them some sunlight which is affirming not condemning attention, it is important not to make them wrong in any way but taking a gentle look at them with a loving filter.

In shadow work we look at these negative patterns with a new filter of compassion and uncover the reason why we have them in the first place.  With that knowledge we then can integrate and heal them.  In this way it is much more effective than trying to poison them with more thoughts about yourself that are unkind.   

The same is true in nature, the perfect example of this is dandelion weeds on our lawns.  A lot of  people buy poison to kill these weeds and if you took some time and researched these amazing little weeds you would discover that they have amazing medicinal properties of healing and restoration!! The roots are wonderful cleansers for your liver and the leaves are a great tonic for you kidneys!  If you use poison they are no longer edible or compostable.  It is much more wise to pull up these delightful little weeds and either consume them or at the very least compost them to help fertilize your lawn. Just as with our negative thoughts it is much more effective to observe them without judgment and discover the gift of why they are there in the first place and then magically they will no longer have the same negative power!  

Observe and cultivate your thoughts today, let them teach you to do better and like a dandelion when your thoughts go to seed they can  be taken by the wind to a world of possibilities!!   

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