Time for a New Year! How to Effectively Transform from a Critical State to an Empowering State

What a perfect time for this post! It is 12/30/13 and many of us will be talking about resolutions. Much of the process surrounding coming up with resolutions is reflecting on what did & did not happen last year. Rather than staying in a critical state, use the misses & oops that come up in reflection as opportunities to empower you to move forward in your life.

During a recent opportunity to write for an incredible online community (be not he lookout, the article is coming soon! http://www.ournakedlife.com), I found myself digging in to much of the experiences that form what I call Operation Transformation. If you are new to AWA’s site & blog, Operation Transformation is lingo of my journey towards true transformation into a living out my ideal life. Which I know incorporate into personalized health coaching plans. My journey has been propelled by a handful of major life transitions and the time frame that captured these transitions serves as a sort of pool of thoughts to pull from.

Sometimes our greatest weakness leads us to our truest answer. After all, our weakness(es) are most certainly a part of our story. Some choose to try to cover these up while others mindlessly flaunt the oops. I think, “Why not use all of it to your advantage”? This sort of process of thought is a huge part of the Keely before, during, and after Operation Transformation. I am driven by the law of cause & effect. I believe that in order to effectively transition from a critical state to an empowering state one must be ready to face a few core issues:

Negative self-talk → SELF – LOVE

The easy part is defining self-love. The tough part is defining, accepting, and tearing down the wall(s) that gets in one’s way of truly loving all they are – inside & out. Usually the walls built are, negative, deprecating and harsh. Read on for tips on achieving self-love. WARNING – tears, laughter, and edginess may be a part of your process.

  1. QUIET THE MIND (yoga, swimming, running, lifting weights, meditate, dance, etc): putting consistent effort into training the mind to quiet down, especially in times of stress or heavy experiences. This is when the full-of-fear thoughts would kick in most. This is also when i needed them the least. GO FIGURE!
  2. FEED THE BODY WHAT IT NEEDS ALL THE TIME, AND WHAT IT WANTS SOME OF THE TIME. Get in touch with what your body likes to eat & digest. Know & enjoy the process of eating/feeding/preparing/digesting. Slow down and play with a ritual for eating meals. Maybe silent prayer or affirmation when sitting down. Or out loud prayer while holding hands. Find what works for you and cherish the ability to consume and nourish.
  3. EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKS/ISMS. This is tough tip for some, yet once accomplished the most fun! I always felt like I had to be this proper, kind person that knew what/when/how to say something. Or politely not say anything at all. Well this act only got me so far. Once I learned to let go and open up to the isms that so badly wanted/needed to come out, my life blossomed. AND, I learned I am pretty damn funny!
  4. SAY I LOVE YOU TO YOU FIRST. Sing a love song to yourself. Maybe even a lullaby to put your anxiety ridden mind to sleep at night. Sounds silly at first but what do you have to loose to just try it?!

With tough transformation comes → FORGIVENESS

Every divorce is different. From the very beginning of mine, no matter how painful, I saw the future clearly. I knew my ex would be a part of my daily life for at least 16 years (until our son was 18). With this, I knew we would need to discuss all sorts of things (to name a few-adolescent behavior, life choices, etc.) The only option was to forgive him AND myself. I played a part in the marriage and I played a part in the divorce. Many times during the first 2 years of our separation and then divorce, flashbacks would pop into my mind and that gave me the opportunity to reflect…on what I could have done differently; on what I felt and never voiced; on what neither of us may have had the courage to say, etc.

  1. CREATE A FORGIVENESS RITUAL. The act of forgiving is one of the most liberating experiences you can create for yourself. Forgiveness is transformative; it moves you from a state of judgement, guilt, confinement, and fear to one of acceptance and peace. When you can move to that gentle place, you reconnect with your true self and trade limitation and pain for contentment, freedom, and joy. The mind constantly evaluates and judges everything. Naturally, this narrows the range of experience. Many people are more critical of themselves than they are of others. You are more likely to resent or disapprove of something someone else does if you consider the behavior to be unacceptable in yourself. If you can learn to stop judging others, you will begin to stop judging yourself. As you expand your ability to accept and forgive yourself, you become gentler and more compassionate with those around you. You become more loving and understanding and less critical. To experience true forgiveness, you need to forgive yourself as well as others. It is a practice and must be given time. With this practice, ANY RELATIONSHIP CAN BE HEALED. It is a choice you make in each moment to be compassionate and understanding rather than holding on to resentment and pain. Everyone’s forgiveness ritual looks differently so create your own that suites your needs.

Man or Woman (women’s gut feelings are usually much stronger), one must tune in to their gut feelings → INTUITION

With reflection came conscientious recognition that my gut was & is always right. So its worth it to fine tune. Like an instrument.

  1. GUT FEELING or INTUITION or BELLY FIRE whatever you like to call it, GET IT BACK! Intuition is one of those things that is difficult to explain but universally understood. When you tell someone a story about listening to this gut feeling, they get it. Get back in touch with your intuition and vow to never quiet it again. This is personal. So embrace your way of listening AND ignoring and then vow to let the intuition serve as a guide ALWAYS. I can attest to the powers of this. Sticking with my gut has forever changed my life for the greater providing authenticity and self empowerment.

With grief comes → JOY

For the most of us, we know at the deepest level of our being how important it is to take time each day to relax and recharge. Even if only 20 mins. But let’s face it, we’re lucky if we can carve out 5 mins. Leading up to the days of my dad’s passing, some days I did this and some days I did not. It is tough. To find the time, the space, the resources, etc. Yet I did my best with what I had but with the lack of urge to ask for support and without that support, I turned to unhealthy habits to deal with emotions. It is crucial to find the best ways to truly take care of you. This has been the most difficult tip to clarify because we are all so unique. What feels like taking care of me, may be your worst nightmare and vice versa. Ask for support when we need it or find a health coach in your area and hire him or her! When we truly honor authenticity from within, we stop worrying about what others think and begin to think for ourselves. A couple ideas that stand out as universal ways to find joy in any situation:

  1. EMBRACE THE WORLD OF OPPOSITES. One of my favorite things to ponder. This world is most definitely, absolutely full of opposition. And we are trained to intensely feel the suffering and sorrow of these opposites. Birth/Death, Up/Down, Good/Bad, Fat/Skinny, Dark/Light, Left/Right, Black/White. Think about each one of these pairings and feel what happens as you sit with each one. Scary right!?!? Now the question is, “How do we embrace each one and come to peace with it all? This peace of mind is when some real JOY plays out in our lives.
  • What are you like in the car (traffic, road rage, etc)?
  • How does it feel to loose something or someone?
  • If you don’t get your way at work, does it change your mood for the rest of that day?
  • If you lost your job tomorrow, how would you react?
  • If family or a really good friend asks you to do something and you really don’t have the time, do you say that or say sure and regret it later?
  • What does your inner dialogue say when you look at yourself in the mirror? What does it say when you look at others?
  • It’s storm season here in FL, what happens if my house is demolished in a hurricane?

These questions seem tough and somewhat cruel right? Well we do not know what life will send our way, so why not approach from an unattached stance? This sort of inner digging is bound to reveal profound, transformative answers that will ultimately lead to true & lasting JOY. Try it. I dare you.


Smoothies…in December…GIVING a BLENDER as holiday present this year, read this post and make up an ‘idea card’ to go along with gift??


Not so hard to believe but…FLORIDA was hot last week! I’m talking 80’s hot. So the thought of smoothies sounded just right. What is the deal with smoothies?? Are they really as good as we think they are? Is juicing better? All these questions and so many views. Here is what A Wholesome Approach has discovered about smoothies (use the below ideas to decorate an ‘idea card’ to go along with the gift of a blender):

  • Smoothies are filling! Period.
  • Not always easily digested. You have experiment here. If you notice smoothie after smoothie that you just don’t feel good after you may have to lesson the amount of fruit (because of its natural sugar) OR omit/add a high quality protein power. **IMPORTANT: when choosing a protein powder PLEASE read & dissect the ingredient list! Do your research before purchasing
  • Think outside the box! Think fruits, veggies, liquids as in water/nut milks/coconut water, soaked nuts & seeds…even oats, spices like cinnamon & ginger. You can even add coconut oil, fish or flax oil if that is part of your daily regimen! Biggest AHA moment years ago for me was adding avocado to a smoothie! DON’T KNOCK IT UNTIL YOU TRY IT! A traditional ingredient use to be yogurt. If you tend to do ok with yogurt, still add it in to smoothies. I am staying clear from dairy for a while to check somethings out so you won’t see any in recent smoothies.
  • Smoothies are cooling
  • Smoothies blend everything together, keeping the fiber & pulp included in the drink. Again, this may be good for some digestive processes and not so good for others.
  • Smoothies are a great way to satisfy sweet cravings without over indulging or stepping in to unwanted/overly processed territory.

And you see from the picture that we do not have a fancy blender. It is about 4 years old. Oster is the brand and it probably did not cost more than $50. A high speed blender should be able to get any smoothie job done. Yes, we have the Vitamix on our wish list but are completely satisfied with the Oster until that happens.


  • about a cup of water (coconut water would be good here too)
  • 2 tbsp soaked chia seeds
  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • handful of strawberries
  • a couple handfuls of fresh kale

What are your thoughts on the hot topic of smoothies for health?

Sitting in Fierce Pose (aka Utkatasana)

Who doesn’t like the word FIERCE? Ok, ok so it may have a wild or aggressive undertone but I can’t help but relish in the power of embracing our ‘wild’ sides.

In physical yoga, this pose is seen as just that: POWERFUL, FIERCE. The buck doesn’t have to stop there. Lately, I have found this pose to offer permission to let loose. FREE YOURSELF TO BE YOURSELF. When teaching or breathing in this pose I like to tune in and see what feels right. Some moments it is necessary to sit still in the seated-ness. GROUND the feet to the earth while the arms reach above the head (palms may also be placed together in front of the heart for tight shoulders). DIG in to the ass by bending the legs and sitting the seat as if about to sit in one’s most favorite chair, all while allowing the upper body to be free and open. A beautiful time to flow within the presence of fierceness.

As I have mentioned in past posts, fierceness was not always my cup of tea. I found it loud when I was use to quiet. I found it threatening to those with a past or present not yet understood. Today I realize that is a bunch of BS. Our power is in our presence and the more we shy away from be-ing in the moment, the more we will shy away from the power that lies within each an every one of us. Personally, the more I shied away from honing in to my fierce presence, the more I stood in my own way. A demon that still baffles me. “How can fear of being powerful halt so many life experiences?” It is hard to explain but so easy to see. I was afraid to have opinions because of my own, possibly fierce, voice being heard!?!? Insane right!? This demon has required a lot of inflection, reflection and awareness. THANK GOODNESS FOR A PHYSICAL YOGA PRACTICE to help through this process of quieting the mind, tuning in, and building an awareness practice.

Try this. The next time you encounter a life experience that throws you through a loop and you feel afraid, powerless and insecure, sit your fine ass in a chair/fierce/utkatasana pose and see what sits at the seat of your being. Do you revel in having the time to be with yourself and practice stillness? Then stay still. Do you always have something to say but don’t? Then sway your hips and move the arms around, all while keeping the lower half of the body grounded. And do we dare mention the possibility of dropping the pose all together and having a dance party on the mat?? Play with the idea of opening up to a little move & groove. Or remain presently still in your powerful presence. However this pose comes, remember to stop posing and start living!