Grandpa’s Garden

What I don’t want you to know about me is that a lot of times I am driving around my neighborhood and most of South Wales, and all the gray pebbledash (aka stucco) houses stained with diesel smut really gets me down.

I want to see color! Vibrancy! Variety! Wooden cladding with beautiful paint jobs. Nicely decorated front porches and whitewashed fences.

I’m not in Kansas anymore though, and unlike OZ, all I can see is gray.

The part that I don’t want you to know about is that I am starting to resent where I live. I feel stifled. And I judge myself harshly for feeling this way.

‘Grow up. Get a life. Stop judging your surroundings. You should be happy with what you have. Stop being so superficial that you let a bit of dirt and gray get you down.’, my inner critic dutifully chides away.

A couple of months ago I was walking towards the Swansea waterfront for a jog on the beach. The neighborhood I was walking through… let’s just say it could use a facelift. Terraced pebble-dash houses with concrete slabs passing for a garden, bleeding into asphalt pavement (aka sidewalk). No grass. No trees. No sign of life.

Except for one.

One neighbor in the 4 or so blocks I walked was doing life on their own terms. They had created an actual garden in their 10’ x 6’ plot of front yard and humongous tulips were in full bloom, all different colors. You could tell it was cared for.

It was so beautiful, and so starkly different from it’s surroundings, that I stopped and took a picture to capture this memory. Imprint the beauty. Make it last.

grandpas garden

A true testimony to the idea that when you shine your light, you impact others.

Two days ago, I was again going for a jog along the beach, and The Beatles decided to come with me. ‘I am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together’ started running through my head.

I never could really understand the point of this particular song. The Eggman? The Walrus?

But as I fell into a rhythmic pace over the sands of Swansea Bay, it clicked. I didn’t have to be high on LSD to get the point, at least of this first line.

I am he: I want beauty in my life and so does the person who takes the time to make this garden beautiful.

As you are he: If you want beauty in your life, you’re just like him too.

As you are me: Oh cool, we both crave beauty (and both probably winge when it’s lacking).

And we are all together.

So if we’re really all together, than I’ve got some socks to pull up because ‘he’ is clearly doing his part in creating beauty, and all I’m doing is getting more and more depressed the more I don’t see it.

So two days ago I did something different.

Drug-free but high on endorphins from my run, I went to my car, took out a pen and paper, and wrote this neighbor a note of thanks. ‘Thank you for caring enough to make Swansea beautiful.’

I walked over to the garden (this time, huge purple roses in bloom; took my breath away so much I forgot to take a picture). I was going to leave my note in the mailbox but heard voices on the other side of the door, and sure enough an elderly man opened the door as he was was about to go walk his dog.

I thanked him for creating a beautiful garden.

He had no clue what this Crazy American was on about.

But he proudly told me about the days where he would get up every morning, walk over to the university, tend to the gardens there, and then pick up his grandkids from school.

I still don’t know who the Eggman is. Or the Walrus.

But lesson #1 from the Beatles I now know: People around us can teach us about, and heal, our soul cravings.

I crave beauty. I need it in my life. I know this because when I see someone else create beauty, I am attracted to it.

And now I am challenged to create it. Because I am he. And if this grandpa can conjure up some beauty, then so can I.

Whether it’s by planting flowers, cutting my grass, painting my nails, or writing a note of gratitude…

I get to choose. I get to let the light bouncing off my soul cravings, light up others around me.

Lesson #2 from the Beatles: I am he, and you are he, and you are me, and we are altogether… works not only with beauty, but with all the crap in life too. Our suffering is the same.

As different as we might think we are from those around us who suffer, we are not.

We are in this together. We create beauty together, we suffer together, we heal together.

Perhaps that’s the Eggman. The Walrus. I think I am so different… I mean, heck, I don’t have a bald head or tusks. I’m not a retired grandpa who maintains his horticultural hobbies.

But inside we’re all the same. So when you come across someone who is suffering, remember that their suffering is yours too.

Thursday happened to be the first ever World Eating Disorder Action Day, which makes this Eggman and Walrus concept even more profound. At the crux of an eating disorder you’ve got a massive loss of identity. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the person sitting across from me say, ‘I don’t know who I am anymore’.

So if that is the suffering of someone with an eating disorder, all the more reason for the rest of us to shine our light so that they’ve got a chance to find themselves through the light they are attracted to. Just like grandpa’s garden reminded me of my soul craving for beauty, and experiencing it healed a part of me.

I have no idea what grandpa saw in me other than that Crazy American, but I would like to think that somehow in helping me heal my suffering, some of his was healed too. Maybe he felt alone, unappreciated, forgotten and someone noticing his soul creation gave him some hope or something. Who knows.

But I do know that sometimes I feel alone, unappreciated, forgotten.

So maybe our suffering is the same. Maybe your suffering is the same. Maybe we can heal it all together.

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#bu29days: Day 20: The beauty of the binge and the purge

aka Do you think you’re crazy?

aka You mentioned yesterday that you binged on uncertainty. I thought you could only binge on food.

Nope, you can binge on other things. Uncertainty being one of them.

Think of a binge as this: An escape from reality.

A purge: The [somewhat futile] attempt to create order out of the chaos. Put things right after the binge.

When I made three major changes at once, got married, quit my job, and travelled for 9 months, it was partly an escape from living the lives we were living and the reality that we didn’t know what else to do, and partly answering a call to adventure. To go find what it is we really wanted from life. 

So maybe not a complete binge since there was an element of intentional choice in there.

But if I’m completely honest with myself, and with you, this binge/purge, control/release indulge/deprive cycle shows up frequently for me.

My house is either tidy or it’s not. More often than not, it’s not. Because we’re very much living in the moment, escaping from the reality that it takes consistent effort to keep order in a house. When the mess surpasses my pain point, then I will clean and tidy all at once.

I will let any admin, filing, accounting, etc that needs to be done pile up until I can’t take the messy piles of paper and the uncertainty of whether or not an important bill has been missed, and then spend a day or two plowing through it all, finding the order once again.

When I was working on papers or projects for work, I’d get the assignment weeks in advance of the deadline and do nothing about it, and then for the 2 days or so before the project was due, would cram and pour out an immense amount of work to meet the deadline.

Last year, from April-June I had a flurry of activity in the spring; blogs, newsletters, a radio interview, a 5 day challenge launched, a release of an 8 week self-coaching guide. Lots of activity to escape the reality that business wasn’t where I wanted it and I didn’t know why. Then July and August – Nada. Order once again because now there’s a good excuse why business isn’t working… there’s no action happening. 

I literally said this out loud this past Fall, ‘Wow, even my business is bulimic.’

Heck, even this blog series fits the pattern. For 2 years, dribs and drabs of my story and lessons have been shared, but for the most part, I kept it close, not facing the music that sharing the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, will inevitably have to happen. And now the floodgates have been opened.

This is how I expressed myself emotionally as a kid too.

You wouldn’t know how I was feeling. I’d be keeping everything in, ignoring and repressing the emotions, and then bam, you were hit with everything as I let it all out.

 

 

The consistency that does exist across this binge/purge tendency is this:

 

With a binge, that escape from reality feels really good in the moment. A temporary relief of giving yourself what you think you want, something that releases all the right chemicals. Food, living in the moment, not having to do the menial tasks. But the high is overshadowed by the knowing of what’s going to come at the end. The inevitability of facing the facts. The painful reality that regardless of all you consumed, the binge didn’t solve any problems. You still don’t like what you’re seeing the mirror, or you still have to clean your house, or you still have to file the papers, or your business still isn’t working, even though you’ve had the temporary feeling of pleasure.

A purge, even though it might seem messy and out of control when it comes to food, actually is the opposite. It’s a way to bring things back to the normal state of being. And most purges, are actually relaxing in a meditative, robotic way. Like an out of body experience. You know what needs to be done and you just do it. You detach a bit and let something else take over. Like being in flow. The satisfaction of the release is pleasurable, and masks any physical or mental pain from the outpour of energy that it takes to vomit, clean the house, put the ideas down on paper, or organize the files.

Each act of binge and purge serves a purpose.

Two things to notice:

  1. There’s a lot pain thresholds driving the bus in these cycles.
  2. The extreme contrast of energy shows up most prevalently with any kind of creative or raw expression.

 

I’ve had to ask the question, is this just how I am, or have I learned this? The age old nature vs nurture question.

I don’t know the answer, but here’s a couple of observations:

Those papers, and projects that were done last minute, they were typically ace. Maybe needed a few tweaks here and there, but close enough to the mark that I never felt I had to adapt my working style to leave more time to create the finished product.

Even with the way I write now, I’ll be mulling things over, processing in the background, so by the time I sit down to write, it all comes out in a few hours.

What does that mean?

Maybe the binge/purge cycle somehow facilitates a higher level of creative functioning?

Yikes!

For a while I’ve resisted this. When I realized my business was bulimic, I did NOT think that was a good thing. How embarrassing! An old destructive pattern back at work. Shame on me!

All good business advice says, be consistent.

Well, I’ll tell you one thing. I’m consistently inconsistent. Or at least consistently going to withdraw while incubating, and then resurface with a flood of ideas.

 

 

I’m learning not to judge this, at least not the action.

I can get clear on my intention though. Check in to see if the binge/purge is going to tick the boxes of Nourishment and Pleasure or are they coming from a trying and hiding energy?

Last year my business activities were defo in the trying and hiding camp. Trying to make it seem all shiny on the outside, hiding that behind the scenes I was a fish out of water.

Compared to this binge/purge with writing #bu29days:

 

The difference here was that I was aware of the pattern and I was making conscious choices.

This January, I made a choice to withdraw, incubate, go within and enjoy the season of winter. I was binging on ‘me’ time. And because it was a choice, it was nourishing to my soul. It was pleasurable because I knew I wasn’t missing out. I was saying yes to things I wanted and no to things I didn’t want. It felt like it hit my sweet spot.

It’s also when I had the idea to blog daily this Feb.

Considering I didn’t write 29 blog posts all last year, 29 in a row is a bit extreme, I’ll admit. Clearly a purge of ideas that have been stored up for a while.

There were moments I was afraid. Would I have enough to say? Would I run out of steam? Have enough time? What would other people think of my ideas? Would they see that this is a purge? (Well, too late for that.)

After getting over the fear, shame, and vulnerability,  I found the nourishment and pleasure.

This process has been filling me up. I’ve learned a lot. And it’s been fun. 

I also found some love. I’ve gained a new acceptance for my creative cycles, whether that is a nature or nurture thing.

I can easily tell myself I ‘should’ be more consistent, even keeled, ‘normal’ like everyone else (and I have).

Or I can accept the fact that I can sustain periods of high intensity out pours of energy during which I can formulate quality ideas. And I can accept that before and afterwards, I’ll require periods of very little action.

I can accept that I’m an expert at being bulimic.

And yes, maybe that makes me a little bit crazy.

But I can either work with myself, or against myself.

For now, this is me.

Working with myself, seems a lot kinder.

I also found another kind thought about my food bulimia: perhaps the binge/purge cycle with food was mirroring a natural creative cycle of mine, but since the creative outlet was blocked at the time, it came out with food instead.

Food for thought.

And one more taster to whet your appetite…

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine last year about those on the bi-polar, manic-depressive spectrum, and how there is often a lot of negative stigma, an idea that those with mental health issues have to be fixed, but that there’s also a correlation between manic states and beautiful creative expression

What we talked about next applies across the board.

What if instead of judging and trying to fix, we could all shift to a place of acceptance? 

To work with a person’s hard-wiring, whether a binge/purge pattern, manic/depressive, autistic, dyslexic, or whatever other mental health and learning-related condition.

Use the ebbs and flows, whatever cycle they may be on, and however extreme, to allow for the individual’s most authentic and greatest self-expression.

To allow for someone to be their quintessential self, even if in some environments and some instances, it might look like it needs ‘fixing’.

Wow, now that would be a miracle of love.


Something to think about: What patterns do you see emerge in your life? Where are they conscious choices? Where is there room to navigate towards as balance of Nourishment and Pleasure? What natural traits do you normally resist, but perhaps present an opportunity to work with yourself?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so we can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome judgement and shame, and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You.

Nourish your Quintessential Self. The Nourish Circle, a private group for women to support each other’s journeys with food, body and self, is starting soon. Join Liberty Bain and I on Wednesdays from wherever you are. A place to explore and accept all of you. Join us this February.

#bu29days: Day 1: Life as a Pumpkin

aka When did you first start comparing your body to others?

aka How to say buh-bye to shame.

I weighed 11lbs 2 oz when I was born. Yes, you heard right. Eleven pounds!!! That’s 5 kg worth of baby, just 3.8 pounds short of a stone. For you mom’s out there, you’re probably wincing in pain right now. I know my mom was.

If you have no point of reference for how big a baby that is, here’s a clue.

Pumpkin(1)

I was not a baby, I was a pumpkin.

I was born 2 months after my cousin on my dad’s side, who, unlike me, was not born into the Squash family but the Legumes. She was a string bean.

We grew up like sisters, except from our baby pictures you would’ve thought I was the older one.

Bikini(1)
That’s me on the left popping out of my baby bikini.

 

So I don’t know, I’ve been comparing my body since day 1?

I was always the ‘bigger’ one. I was never fat. Those words were never in the conversation, but she was called skinny and thin, and those words were never used about me.

As we got older, it was clear my cousin had inherited the recessive skinny gene that was given to my dad and her. She kept shooting up like a beanstalk, and me? I guess I was just average.

560337_10150924036244763_2033651786_n
Stringbean and pumpkin as teens.

 

In all families we assume roles. Sometimes about our body, sometimes about our behaviour, our grades, or athletic ability.

In my family, by the time I was 12 or 13, my cousin was the tall skinny one, my younger sister was the one that was good at soccer, and I was the smart good kid.  (Note, we were all smart and good kids, but somehow I was given that badge.)

The only comments about my body were reminiscences of me as a baby. I was famous for my cheeks. I get it, they were cute 🙂 And don’t you just want to pinch them!

But for whatever reason, I internalized this to be a negative. Combine ‘those cheeks’ with being told I’ve got a ‘round face’ as a teen. All I wanted was for high cheekbones and a pointed chin. But no, I was ’round face’.

I have a vivid memory from when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I was at choir practice. It was summer in NYC so we were in shorts. I remember the shorts I was wearing; Bermuda style, turquoise, pink and purple. I looked down and saw the chair filled with that bright plaid pattern. My thighs spread out across the chair. I looked around at the girls sitting next to me. Their thighs didn’t do that.

Why? What did they have that I didn’t have?

That question, ‘what did they have that I didn’t have?’ That was the first grip of shame. Thanks to one of my clients, it’s now lovingly called ‘Mr Dick’.

Mr Dick visits all of us. He finds a way to make us think that we’re different, and not in a good way.

Different because we are lacking.

She is taller, thinner, faster getting to the soccer ball, has shiny patent leather shoes with bows (instead of functional but not so pretty orthopaedics to support flat arches). Her thighs don’t spread their wings when sitting down. She goes to Catholic church not Christian church. She’s allowed to watch PG13 movies not 1950’s classics.

Mr Dick says, ‘If you had those things and were like her, then you’d be enough.’

He says, ‘Clearly, there’s something wrong with you because you are not like her.’

Want to know the funny thing here? As self-conscious as I was that I wasn’t the tall and skinny one, my cousin was just as self-conscious that she was.

Moral of this story: No one is immune to body comparisons. Just because someone else has the body we want, doesn’t mean they are happy with the one they have.

Here’s an idea, maybe, just maybe, we could all just be happy with our own bodies?

So what does this have to do with eating disorders, bulimia and being our quintessential self?

Well, if we start to believe the pack of lies Mr Dick dishes out, over time, they become part of our identity. They blemish our view of our quintessential self.

And then we respond in one of two ways:

We either carry that burden of an identity that doesn’t really fit but we’re convinced is who we are, and we hide. We withdraw because we don’t want others to notice.

The easiest way to hide? Physically. Either disappear (lose weight) or cover yourself up (put on weight).

Or we think, ‘Wait a second! I don’t have to be that person any more! I can be who I want to be! I can have those bony cheek bones if I want. I can be skinny if I want. I know how to change myself into who I want to be.’

So we work the system to put out a more acceptable version of ourselves (burn more calories, lift more weights, get rid of the food, get a tummy tuck, boob job, nose job, where’s my thigh gap?)

To be honest, it doesn’t just happen with our bodies. Sure, that’s an easy one, but I’m sure you can think of a time where you’ve been like, ‘hmmmm… something’s not quite right, they’re hiding something here’, or you get that ‘whoah! dude! You’re trying way too hard!’ kinda vibe.

We’ve all experienced it, probably even done it. It’s at the extreme end of the continuum where you’ll find the disordered eating and body image people living.

So what’s the 3rd option here?

Learn how to respond to Mr Dick and politely tell him to go shove it.

For example…

Dear Sir. I know you want me to believe that my stomach is not flat enough to look good in a bikini. And I know you might have some friends who agree with you. However, I happen to like wearing a bikini. I like feeling the water wash over by bare skin. It makes me feel like a mermaid. And I’m super grateful for how my stomach is there for me me all day long. Whether I am sitting down, standing up, running, swimming, or doing down-ward facing dog, my stomach supports me. And so I, in return, will be giving it some sun, just like a mermaid. So, back off dude, your opinion doesn’t count here. Sincerely, Me.

When you hear shame talking,

  1. Recognize it. Acknowledge it (otherwise, it turns into this cranky kid that keeps screaming until it gets your attention.)
  2. Find what’s true and real for you. Get down with your quintessential self.
  3. Be grateful for whatever part of you Mr Dick is trying to tear down.
  4. And then it’s thank you and buh bye.

 

Some things to think about: What early memories do you have of your body? How have they become a part of the DNA of your identity? What does Mr Dick keep trying to tell you? How can you say buh bye?

Your story matters. As part of ‘Bulimia Uncovered: 29 days to being your Quintessential Self’ we want to hear from you. How can you relate to what you’ve just read? Leave a comment below and share your related stories and pictures however you do best. If using social media, use hashtag #bu29days and tag me so I can follow. We’re also inviting stories to feature on The True You Project. Email kendratanner121@gmail.com if you’d like yours shared there.

Feb Food Fun giveaway! Want more tools to overcome shame and be your quintessential self? Join the True You Project community and you’ll receive Your True You Journey, an 8 week self-coaching e-guide that will give you the tools to navigate through the mud and peel back the layers covering up your True You. Visit www.thetrueyouproject.com.

GGS: My new GPS

Blog - Possiblity

This is a longie but goodie so I’ll cut to the chase. If nothing else, try this at home:

  1. Identify 5-6 people, businesses, or organizations that you admire.
  2. Write down the top three things that you admire about each.
  3. What do those qualities tell you about who you are and who you can be?

This exercise is the best shortcut I know to understanding ourselves. Using others as a window into our own soul. Gold.

I was accidently reminded of this shortcut as I found myself being pulled to these 3 words over the past few weeks.

Grounded. Generous. Service.

Some people would call them ‘guiding words’ but that’s a bit too airy-fairy for me, so I’m thinking of them as my new GPS. Pointing the way to how I want to be showing up in life and what I want as the foundation of my business.

As I’ve asked myself what that actually means, sure enough, my GGS radar has been going off like crazy.

Hello… Why do you think I’m constantly raving about the only place to eat out around here, how to get your money overseas dirt cheap, how I love doing yoga at home, and some miracle workers on the health front?

I engage with grounded, generous and service-oriented businesses each and every day.

Now I know why I love them so much: They fit my own bill.

And now that I’ve woken up to that, I can learn from them. Use what I see in them to show me the way forward. For that, I am forever grateful.

Instead of keeping the (unsolicited btw) rave reviews to myself, I’m sharing them with you. When something changes my life, I want it to change yours.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy a GGS guided ride.

1. How to turn your world upside down from your own living room… aka Gaia.com

I’ve been using gaia.com consistently for the past 2 years. Say no more! Because there is very little I’ve done consistently for any length of time in the last decade of my life, let alone 2 whole years!!!!

Never did I think I’d be doing handstands in my front room without using the wall! But it’s true. And I’ve got Gaia to thank for that.

Clearly they have grounded me, but what grounds them?

Grounded: They make it uber accessible to broaden your physical, mental and spiritual health. And they keep it simple. When you log on, pick the category and subcategory you’re looking for, and you’re good to go.

Generous: As a member, you get amazing value for money. Think your gym, netflix for personal growth, and a holistic health guide all in one… for only 10 bucks a month! There is so much packed in there, you need a lifetime to get through it all. Plus they have new member offers to save you some dough and offer referral scheme where you can end up with free yoga. (Here’s my link in case you want to check them out.)  

Service:  I mentioned they keep it simple, which is a bonus since there is so much variety. Whether it’s a quick 15 minute cool down for after a run, morning yoga routines, or a 15 day guided cleanse, I am never left wanting, which keeps me coming back even after 2 years.

2. How to occupy Wall Street and stay out of jail: Transferwise!

If you’re big on boycotting the banks, check these guys out.

I stumbled across them thanks to a google ad while trying to figure out a way to pay my coach in the US without jipping us both out of 30-40 bucks.

At first glance, they seem too good to be true. Transfer money anywhere in the world without paying bank fees?

So I called their customer service team, which were SUPER helpful as they were genuinely happy to answer all my typical control-freak and risk-averse questions.

Turns out they are legit.

Grounded: They too are simple. No fuss, no muss. Create an account. Pick an amount to send. Enter the recipient’s email. Enter your bank details. Job done.

Generous: When it only costs you £4.98 to send £1,000 to the US, I think that says enough.  But since I like to talk, I’ll expand on this. It’s clear they are not there to make money. Going back to grounded: they believe in what they do, that their service will change your life, and so they keep your money in your pockets and rely on customers coming back and spreading the word.

And here I am voluntarily spreading the word.

They also like to thank their customers for doing. So next time you are wondering how to pay your coach, get paid from your client, send your sister some birthday cash, or send money home, check them out. This link will give you a free transfer up to £2000.

Service: Anything that saves me time and money is a win for me.

3. A tale of two banks that shall and shall-not be named: Go forth with USAA

Speaking of money…. I’ve banked with USAA my whole adult life, thanks to my dad’s service in the US Coast Guard. While they didn’t seem so special to me half a life-time ago, now I can’t rave about them enough.

Grounded: They do what they do for US military families, full stop. My only complaint here is that they should branch out beyond military and beyond the US so that more people could have such a simple and pleasant banking experience.

Generous: They refund any cash withdrawal ATM fees you incur, without a cap on this. Their motor and property insurance policies are astoundingly low. And when you call to speak to someone, it’s like talking to your really nice next door neighbor. They genuinely care.

Service: They understand their customer’s main banking challenge: Mobility. When you get deployed somewhere new every 2 years or so, having a bricks and mortar local branch to do your banking doesn’t really help as you have to move on. They make it easy to do the normal everyday things in life.

Like changing your name or resetting your debit card pin number.  Seemingly simple but you’d be surprised. You gotta hear this…

When I got married, all they needed was a scanned copy of my marriage certificate. Unlike every other organization which has asked to see the original paper copy (including my mobile phone company!!!!) which, I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be posting the one and only copy of my marriage certificate around the world, and I’m not too keen on the postage bill.

When my husband and I back packed for 9 months we used our USAA account and another account from a bank-which-shall-not-be-named. I am still recovering from the trauma of this one.

Let’s just say that when you are in the South Island of New Zealand and you get locked out of your account, sending a new pin number via snail-mail in 3-5 business days, or visiting your local branch in the UK, or even, as an olive branch, your nearest local branch which is located on the very north of the North Island, doesn’t really help. Resetting it for you over the phone does (thank you USAA).

It made me think… if one bank/company can go paperless, why can’t everyone else?

I realize that not everyone will be able to experience their service… US military personnel and family members only. If you fall into that category and haven’t looked into it, run don’t walk. Note: Retired military counts too… eg) your dad may have been in the service for 2-3 years in 1978 and you could still be eligible.

4. Awaken your inner Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with doTERRA

I was introduced to doTERRA about 6 months ago when a friend was telling me about her essential oils business. I had heard of essential oils through some of Gaia’s yoga instructors, and even had a couple in my house that were just sitting there collecting dust. When my friend sent me a few samples to try, I was hooked.

Grounded: Their name means ‘gift of the earth’ in Latin. I don’t think you can get more grounded than that. 🙂

Seriously though, they stand firm in how they source and produce their product. Lavendar from the South of France, lemons from Italy. Think of their products as the equivalent of Champagne from Champagne, or Parmigiano from Parma . They source nature’s bounty from its indigenous region with the ideal growth environments, harvest at just the right time, and extract the oils in a way that ensures the best quality.

They get a lot a heat for their self-regulated CPTG standard, but they still stand by what they do. Just because there’s no industry regulator in existence, doesn’t mean they can’t hold themselves to standards.

Generous: They are consistently giving back to their members. Free products, monthly discounts, and opportunity to earn when you spread the word. (You can find out more here.)

Service: It works. Which makes it easy for them to stand behind what they do. The oils have aided in my digestion, skin repair, coughs, joint and muscle aches, and more. Added bonus: they smell nice and look pretty 🙂

5. Where to go when you’re craving a piece of NYC but stuck in Wales: Wright’s Food Emporium

The moment I walked into Wright’s 18 months ago, I knew I was home. The vibe is like none other I’ve come across in my 8 years of living in the UK. I was so smitten, I fulfilled my dream of being a waitress, just so I could be in this space on a regular basis. I would walk around the sun-flooded tea room, or the fire-lit cozy, or the laid-back and inviting wine room, and send out gratitude for finding the closest thing to a West Village haunt in this countrified corner of Wales.

Grounded: Their values are clear: Good Food & Good Vibe. In a part of the world where I’ve been to pubs and I swear the peas and carrots were boiled from frozen (my childhood nightmare) and the bread from Asda, walking into a place that makes their bread and cakes daily, on-site, and only uses fresh and organic meat and vegetables, was like putting on an oxygen mask. These people appreciate food and know how to cook it.

Generous: They also know how to make you feel at home. You walk in and seriously, everybody knows your name. Which takes people going out of their way to give you the time of day. You’re not just another customer. You’re a person they are genuinely interested in. 

Service: You go there for the food and for sure will leave with full bellies. Even better, you leave with a fuller heart.

6. How to heal your gut + smell nice at the same time: Chuckling Goat

Last Christmas I wanted to treat myself to some natural, handmade, soaps; locally made if possible please. I googled something to that effect and came across a website called Chuckling Goat.

Hmmm… Interesting.  What’s goats got to do with soap?

Everything when the soap base is made from goat’s milk kefir.

Grounded: Kefir and gut health is veering toward trendy these days, but that is not why Chuckling Goat exists. The story is fascinating… how kefir and essential oils saved the owner’s son’s and husband’s lives. Because they have experienced the healing power first hand, they do not compromise their product.

Raw goats milk from their free-range, organic goats, is fermented with their unique strain of kefir grains. Nothing is added to the goats milk other than the grains.

Which means it doesn’t suit everybody’s taste buds. But who cares if it works.

Generous: The owners opens up their home once a month for customers to meet the goats and have their health questions answered. They want to see your body healed and life changed; so much so, that they will spend time with you until all you have all your answers and then some.

Service: They want you to be empowered to own your own health. Once you accept the choice is yours, their products do the rest.

I was only interested in the soap at first (again: smells nice, looks pretty 🙂 ) but after 2 hours in their kitchen, I got thinking… maybe the kefir could help with the dry skin on my right hand? If not, it might help with the wind I get after eating red meat? Not things that were high on my ‘to-fix’ list, but I realized that I don’t have to settle. The discomfort can dissipate if I take responsibility for it. My husband and I both did a 21 day course of Kefir and both those symptoms have noticeably improved (he’s very grateful for the latter 🙂 ) with the added bonus that we no longer keep a stash of chocolate in the house. Sugar cravings? Gone.

In summary:

If you’re still reading, 1. if you can’t tell, I highly recommend engaging with these GGS businesses. Your life will change. 2. I also highly recommend taking the time to learn from those around you that you admire. 

You may not feel like you are ‘there yet’ (I know I certainly don’t) but everything I’ve highlighted in purple reflects back to me inherent values of mine. Which creates the possibility for me to make it onto my own list one day.

I’ll be using the following as my GPS this year.

  • Grounded: You know who you are. What you do, and why you do it.
  • Generous: You freely give without expectation of anything in return.
  • Service: You make a difference.

I’d love to know: What will you be using as yours? 

And what would make a difference in your life right now? Let me know in the comments below.

And if having a conversation about your life would make a difference, schedule a time to chat.