5 Self-Improvement Tasks You’re Doing that Make Your Life Worse

By Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

The things that we do every day – especially the little things – have the most impact on our lives.  

Conversely, little life tweaks can dramatically screw us up, too.

Here are 5 things you may be doing to improve your life that are making your life worse:

1. Trading sleep for productivity

I know you have a ton of things that you do every day. When you get home, it feels like a treat if you stay up one extra hour to watch Netflix.   

Skimping on sleep diminishes your health, productivity and state of mind (irritability, anxiety and feelings of loss and sadness without a specific reason). Going to bed on time and treating yourself to a nap when your body’s craving for one, by contrast, naturally improves performance, energy and mood.

Do you want your life to become unbearable? Me neither. Get your 7 ½ - 8 hours of sleep a night.  

2. Skipping your workout

So, you took my advice and now you don’t have time to work out because you got that extra hour of sleep.

Nope. You don’t get out of it that easily.

Working out is an investment. You should invest at least 4 times a week doing a combination of weight-bearing and aerobic exercise. You will find that the health and energy benefits actually FURTHER increase your productivity and effectiveness! You trade time for efficiency.  Now you have more time to do the things you love to do because you’re more effective – and healthy to boot!

3. Skipping stretching

You’re at the gym (or biking or running). Good for you! The hardest part about working out is actually getting there. So, pat yourself on the back for that success.

But, oh no! You only have a half hour to spend!  So, you think you could skip the stretching, or better yet, you’ll “do-it-later,” because you can stretch anytime.

First of all, you probably won’t stretch later.

Second, your muscles, tendons, and nervous system need oxygen to perform properly. When you work out without conditioning your joints and muscles, you risk injury (sometimes serious injury), and your workout is much less effective.

Do dynamic stretches in the beginning and static stretches at the end. Or make these your priority, and make sure you make time for both stretching and working out next time.

4. Taking a multi-vitamin

What? Of course, you should take vitamins, you say!  You pop that pill you got from Etos or Kruidvat every morning! Everyone knows you should take your vitamins.

Well, yes and no.

When it comes to nutrition, quality is everything.  The all-purpose, biggest-bang-for-your-buck brand of vitamin may actually strip your system of nutrients it already has, or heaven forbid, actually can hurt your cardiovascular system. Is your pee a crazy shade of neon yellow after you take your vitamin?  Do your skin and breath smell like chalk? Do you have diarrhea after taking your vitamins? Or constipation?

Our bodies are all different. What may work for one person may be harmful to another. It’s just more complicated than taking a big-box vitamin pill.

Talk with me (or someone else with advanced training in nutrition and functional medicine) about what’s right for you. If you’re a DIY kind of person, at least stick to organic, whole-food supplements. For instance, drink greens in the morning and reds at dinnertime.

5. Not stopping until the job is done

I’m guilty of this too. “When I've finished this, I'll get up.”

So, you sit in that chair for 8-12 hours cranking out the work, only stopping for a bathroom break when your bowels and bladder won’t take it anymore.  Or, you tackle your housecleaning or yard work like a fanatic, from dawn until dusk, without stopping, stretching, or taking a walk to take in the day.

You’re wrecking your body and your mind.

We all need breaks (see the sleep section). Our brains work best when we “clear the cache” and get some quality movement time going. Even if you have to set an egg timer (look how old I am) or your phone alarm to go off every 15-20 minutes, get up, stretch, move around. And every 1 1/2 hours or so, move on to something else. Come back to it in a rotation.

And for goodness sake, get out the door and take in some life, will you? Look at those canals and those wobbly houses! Why are you here in Amsterdam if you don’t get out and take a stroll every day?

Take the little things you do every day to “improve your life” and switch them out for quality time. I promise you, you’ll yield more time, accomplishment and quality of life than you would have. You’ll be shocked.

Is it All in Your Head? A Case to Get Your Cranium (and Spine) Checked

By Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

Do you or someone you know suffer from fatigue, confusion, attention disorders, movement disorders or neurological dysfunction? How about hormonal imbalance, mood swings, and global aches and pains? In addition to seeking medical help, it would be a good idea to get your cranial and spinal integrity checked.

You’ve likely heard this at some time in your life: “My doctor told me it’s all in my head…” Whether she knew it or not, she may be right – but not in the way she may think.

Chiropractors are known for their ability to address vertebral integrity.  However, many do not know that cranial, as well as vertebral, integrity is of the utmost importance for the body to regulate nourishment to the brain and spinal cord and excrete waste products into the vestibular and lymphatic system for elimination. It is not an area of study that is widely explored in general medicine; however, doctors of chiropractic are highly educated and well-versed in this area.

In fact, the more you know about cranial integrity and a person’s ability to thrive, the more you may wish to consult with an expert as a standard of care for you and your family.

Here’s a quick primer:

The skull is made up of two sets of bones - the bones of your face and the bones of your cranium, which make up your forehead and the back of your head.  There are 22 bones in total. The mandible (jawbone) is the only movable bone of the skull. The other bones are connected by fixed joints called sutures.

When the sutures along the cranium are out of alignment, as when spinal vertebrae are out of alignment, it is impossible for us to experience optimal health and wellbeing because the dura mater (the tough covering of connective tissue that attaches to the interior of the cranium) gets twisted.

Picture when you twist a water balloon, how the flow of the water is out of balance and presses more on different parts of the sides. It’s the same with the dura.

Cerebrospinal fluid is the nourishing fluid in which the brain and spinal cord float within the dura. When the flow of nourishment in and out, and indeed the pressure of the fluid itself, is uneven and out of balance, waste can get trapped inside and the brain itself is subjected to uneven pressure. As you may imagine, this isn’t good.

For instance, it is impossible to have a fully-functioning hormonal system when stress exists in the brain – which contains and regulates hormones at the highest level – when your cranium has subtle distortions that limit the movement of cerebrospinal fluid in and out of the head and along the spinal cord.

Cranial and spinal distortions can be assessed and adjusted by your chiropractor. Cranial distortions can be similarly addressed by other highly-educated, licensed health practitioners who specialize in craniosacral therapy. The good news is that addressing these distortions usually creates a change that can be felt immediately in most people.

During an assessment of the cranium and spinal alignment, in addition to the position of the cranial sutures, your vertebrae, your sacrum and pelvis, your chiropractor will also assess:

Eye Position – while a certain amount of asymmetry is normal, if there is a very noticeable difference between the action and the position of the eyes, this could be an indication of cranial dysfunction.

Mandible – she will observe whether the jaw is even on both sides, or if one side appears more compressed than the other.

Ears – if the ears are the same height, or whether one is further front or back from the other

Shoulders – if one shoulder is higher than the other.

Leg Length – if one leg appears shorter than another, but corrects when adjusted

Your Gut – whether there is tension in your belly, and if it is from an uneven pull from the fascia surrounding your gut organs

There is promising research coming out suggesting that correcting cranial and spinal distortions can help ear infections, learning impairment, support healthy blood flow in and out of the brain, and improve nitric oxide production. Research also shows that it can improve the autonomic nervous system function and heart rate variability.

In an age of endless blood tests and impersonal doctor office visits, it’s important to remember that there are doctors who actually put their hands on you to see what’s going on; who can help your body adjust naturally without the use of drugs and surgery; and who you can build a relationship with for you and your family. It behooves you to make trips to a physician well-versed in bodywork as part of your primary health care team.

‘Tis a Very Sexy Berry!

By Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

First, a disclaimer: I must inform you that nothing that follows should be construed to imply that this plant, nor its constituents, cures or prevents any disease. Also, this article is not a substitute for going to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis of your health concerns. Before you use any nutritional supplement or herbal remedy, see your physician to make certain it is safe for you to do so, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, very old or very young.

Okay. With that out of the way…

Sea buckthorn (Dutch: duindoorn) has been on the berry landscape for thousands of years now, but only recently recognized as a veritable superberry in the last decade.

I heard of it five years ago because a hypnotherapist friend of mine spread a rumor about Omega-7 fatty acid (FA). The rumor was: If you are a woman suffering from dry vagina and subsequently painful sexcapades, that Omega-7 is the FA for you. This fatty acid, the rumor purported, is a handy-dandy natural lube manufacturing enhancer. In other words… well… it helps you get wet.

Being a doctor and a woman in the harrowing throes of perimenopause at the time, I was intrigued; so I did a bit of research on Omega-7. It turns out that the easiest, best way to obtain the benefits of Omega-7 is from the sea buckthorn plant. 

Sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) is native to Europe and Asia’s high temperate zones, and it is very high in everything that makes a food a superfood.

There are documented benefits in more than 130 scientific studies worldwide on sea buckthorn oil. It turns out that the sea buckthorn is a very versatile superberry! In fact, it is one of the most nutrient-rich berries known to mankind. 

Apparently, it helps coordinate the reproductive system with the endocrine (hormonal) and nervous systems (resulting in a happy, lubricated vagina), and helps with menopausal changes. It is also useful in combating urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and related gynecological problems.

 

But wait… there’s more!

Sea buckthorn is said (by almost every other country except the United States) to diminish inflammation, is an antimicrobial, a pain reliever, and promoter of tissue regeneration. It is good for heart and vascular health and preventing cardiovascular disease. It balances cholesterol and lipid content in the blood and thus helps prevent fatty liver. It helps to increase appetite and stomach digestion, is great for skin health and acne, and is a powerful natural antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. 

It is a natural stool-softener and is used in Asia for gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune diseases, respiratory disease, and skin disease. It has anti-aging properties and is commonly used overseas to smooth wrinkles and discoloration of the skin. It is wonderful for balancing hormones and the nervous system. If you have cold hands and feet, sea buckthorn seems to be good for preventing chilblains. It also seems to be great for eye health. 

It has been used medicinally in China and Russia since 1977 to treat the adverse symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation; including oral mucositis, vaginal mucositis, cervical erosion, radiation damage, burns, scalds, duodenal ulcers, gastric ulcers, and skin ulcers caused by malnutrition. Additionally, the leaves and bark have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties.

Aside from the alleged encouragement of vaginal mucosa lubrication-producing qualities, clearing these health concerns would make you feel pretty sexy anyway… don’t you think?

This is a great food for all ages, as it contains more than 100 nutrients and extra-nutritional constituents that are normally in limited quantities in food, such as flavonoids, linolenic acid, glucosides, phenols, polyphenols, terpenes, and carotene.

The berry pulp and the seeds are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, vitamins (very high in A, C and E), minerals (including trace minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, selenium), which all neutralize free-radicals (are anti-oxidants). 

They have lots of omega 3, 6, 7, and 9 fatty acids which make them a viable alternative to fish oil for vegetarians. However, like the other good vegetarian source of omegas — flax seed, the time between harvest and consumption is short. Unless prepared in a preservative matrix, the berries and seeds need to be flash-frozen, refrigerated, and their oils need to be consumed within two weeks of harvest. 

It does have a nice amount of Vitamin K per 100 gram serving: 110-230 mg in the seed oil and 54-59 mg in the pulp oil. Vitamin K – in particular, Vitamin K2-7 – is very important to help Vitamin D3 absorb properly.

A bit of trivia: A legend says the ancient Greeks found that sick horses that were “let out to pasture” surprisingly regained their health and vitality by eating this berry. They named the shrub Hippophae rhamnoides L., meaning “trees that make horses shine,” and consequently used sea buckthorn leaves as a constituent in the diet of racehorses. According to another legend, Pegasus used sea buckthorn leaves to help him fly. Additionally, it is called “the Holy Fruit of the Himalayas” in Tibet.

You can get these sea buckthorn goodies and many other fine supplements in your friendly neighborhood supplement shop. (Remember: in Dutch, the name is duindoorn.)

Happy lubricating! (Did I just say that?)

Pain can be a blessing


By Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

In my office, I see people with shoulder pain, knee pain, headaches, low back pain, and neck pain. What most of us don't realize is that if our bodies find it necessary to shunt resources to areas of pain, it means the body understands that there is an underlying health problem that needs attention. It also means that there are less available resources for our bodies to regenerate properly.

If there is chronic pain (pain that began over three months ago), that means there is flawed neural patterning that began months or years earlier, when something happened in our lives that we couldn’t properly integrate. Maybe it was abuse. Maybe it was a jolt from a bike accident. Maybe the cause is black mold in the walls that we would never think to look for. Maybe it is continuing sorrow, disappointment or the nagging realization that life is not turning out the way we think it should.

If we are lucky…

If we're lucky, our imbalances express themselves with pain and sometimes anxiety. This doesn't feel like a blessing, but pain and anxiety encourage us to find help to relieve our symptoms. With real luck, you find practitioners who want to find the root of the problem.

I happen to think chiropractic is crucial in this process. Chiropractic helps us repattern our bodies and minds so that our bodies AND our minds are more flexible, more adaptable, more able to heal properly. But it often takes a team of dedicated integrative health professionals to help one person with multiple chronic health issues.

It’s easy to find physicians who will provide a quick fix to deaden pain. But a lack of symptoms does not equal good health. If I take painkillers and they deaden the pain, the pain may disappear, but the problem remains. It also means that my body has to deal with a foreign substance that, by definition, interferes with the nervous system’s ability to keep clear the lines of communication between brain and body.

I understand that, sometimes, we need to deaden pain temporarily in order to get through a situation. But many of us rely on painkillers to get through life. And that is not a workable strategy in the long run.

Pain is a cry for help.

Pain is a sign that our neural systems are not firing properly, that there is an improper feed in our bodies due to a buildup of stress. That stress could be chemical, physical, environmental, emotional and spiritual, or a combination of all.

But sometimes healing hurts.

Many times, we think that if our pain goes away, we are healed, and that the goal of our chiropractic care is to go back to our desperate lives, pain-free at least. Sometimes we find something else. Sometimes we hurt more during the process of healing.

Awareness brings consequences. As we heal and as our brains reconnect with our bodies, we can sometimes become aware that there is a bigger problem than the pain.

Awareness also brings us choices.

We now have a chance to face life full on, with awareness of the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful. Many of us cannot stomach this awareness right away, and we blame everyone and everything else for the way we respond to others in our environment. We must be patient with ourselves and others during this healing process.

While we must ultimately take responsibility for our choices, when we are subluxated (i.e., in a state of less light, less awareness, inflexibility, inadaptability, holding nerve system interference), we often cannot make the right choices right away. While we are subluxated, our ability to access our full capacity is still limited.

We must be gentle with ourselves while healing.

We mustn’t be hard on ourselves during the healing process, just as we mustn’t be unduly harsh to others during this time.

It’s when we are “painless” — we are disconnected from our bodies, minds and spirits, yet have a sense of dis-ease and dissatisfaction with our lives — that is when we are often the most dangerous to ourselves and those around us.

Pain as a blessing.

We who have pain symptoms at least have the blessings of some level of awareness. There is a chance of reorganizing our patterning. It also gives us the chance to grow in ways that we would never have been aware of without the pain.

We need inner connection desperately. That is what true health is. That is what chiropractic, and other forms of natural health care, offer us.

The Importance of Tune-ups for Good Health

by Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

I recently received a wonderful email from a patient of mine. For years, he experienced debilitating back pain. He was often bedridden for two weeks at a time. When he first came to see me, he was suffering from such a flair-up. After three weeks of chiropractic care, his crippling spasms ceased.

Still, he had some pain. During the visit that preceded the email, I had helped him release a very common, recurrent subluxation pattern I see in many patients on the road to recovery. He released it nicely.

Health is a process.

He emailed me afterward to thank me, to say that he noticed a huge change in his yoga practice that day, and that felt particularly healthy and clear. While this was a great report, and I was happy to read it, I knew that it just as easily could have been a report of increased discomfort.

That’s the way of things during the healing process. There is no straight line to perfection. One day is up, one day could be down.

But he will be all right because he is willing to weather his highs and lows. He is “all in” for the long road to personal excellence.

Health is a commitment.

He has a vision of himself free of shocking, debilitating pain, but that’s not all. He has decided that 43 is too young to self-identify as an “old man.” He has seen his father, his mother, his brothers, and his friends get old before their time. He has decided he would not follow them.

At the advice of a friend, he took a chance on chiropractic and me. More importantly, he has taken a chance on himself.

Don’t ignore the engine light.

Once a month, I hold an informational gathering for integrative health professionals. During one of these meetups, a doc made an observation: his patients take better care of their cars than they do themselves.

“What if you only took your car to get serviced when it couldn’t function anymore? Where would you be if you didn’t listen to the little changes — the noises, the lag in pick-up — and didn’t keep it tuned up?”

Many of us do that. We ignore the service light on the dashboard, we hear the knocks and rumblings, but we keep driving until we find ourselves on the side of the road in a cloud of steam and self-flagellation because we knew we should have had the car serviced long before.

But often, we are even more guilty when it comes to our bodies. We count on the fact that our bodies are self-healing mechanisms — and they are. But when the body fails to self-heal, when the nagging pain just doesn’t go away, when we push on and through appointments, commitments, and ideas that the world will collapse if we don’t show up, what keeps us from seeking help?

Why do we treat our bodies worse than the way we treat our cars?

And, who travels the bumpy road of life with you? Who helps you spot the potholes and sharp turns? Who is in the trenches with you, flagging you to the side of the road for a tune up, optimizing your engine so you can speed easily through this crazy race called life at top performance?

These are questions worth considering.

Chiropractic, true health, and you

True health is expressed when our bodies and minds are resilient, flexible, and able to adapt to the ongoing, stresses in our personal inner and outer worlds. That’s what chiropractic is all about.

It is not medicine. You don’t swallow chiropractic.

Chiropractic doesn’t bargain with you. It doesn’t ask you to take a chance with your health, your life, your mental stability, and your family’s stability so that you can deaden your pain. That is why you won’t be “fixed” by one, or two, eight, or ten thousand visits. You won’t be fixed because you aren’t broken.

You are a brilliant, living, breathing being who is changing and adapting to life and living as best as you can. You just need help, like we all need help. Chiropractic offers helping hands.

Chiropractic cannot promise an outcome, but it does promise to do everything it can to help your body reach its optimal potential so that you can have the optimal outcome that is right for you. Chiropractic is here for you.

Chiropractic asks you to have faith in yourself and your ability to heal, to adapt, to grow, to thrive, and to be whoever you want to be. It helps guide your body to help guide you there.

Chiropractic insists on being a good friend, even when you don’t want to hear what it has to say. When you lose faith in yourself and you think chiropractic doesn’t work, chiropractic has faith in you. And, when you’re ready to try again, chiropractic will try with you.

Each adjustment builds healing momentum.

The quickness, power, and longevity of your personal momentum are beyond a chiropractor’s control. Two people may show up with the same symptoms, but they don’t show up with the same past, the same present, nor the same future.

That said, each chiropractic adjustment builds on the last, like exercise, like eating right, like meditating. Each adjustment builds that healing momentum. When you build that momentum in your nervous system, that is when personal miracles happen.

I, as one chiropractor, am honored to be part of your journey. It’s what makes me happy, to see you blossom into the best you that you can be.

In any and all cases, I wish for you a healthy life full of love, peace, and joy.

 

Happy hour not so happy? When 4:20 hits, try these first!

by Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

Fitzpatrick Chiropractic
Joy Health and Body

Some of us have trouble with moderation. I know I do.

Like many of us, I tend toward an addictive personality. That means that, if I don’t watch myself, I get attached to people, behaviors, and things that aren’t good for me. If I let them, they ruin my life.

At different points, I have been addicted to approval, bad relationships, cynicism, and despair. All of these are deadly to a healthy, effective, happy life.

For 20 years, I was a 1 ½ pack-a-day smoker. It was hard, but I quit for good 20 years ago. I can never go back to smoking. I cannot smoke in moderation.

Alcohol has an addictive potential for me. So far, it has not had a hold on me as cigarettes did. But I know it could if I let it. Back in the 1990s, when my previous marriage broke down, I drank quite a bit to self-medicate. It only made things worse. In 2000, when I finally decided to do something meaningful with my life, I enrolled in chiropractic school. I quit drinking for five whole years. Afterward, I carefully reintroduced wines and spirits back into my life. Ever since then, I have had great respect for alcohol’s power.

Before I drink, I try to choose when, what, and how much I am going to drink, because making those judgments while drinking doesn’t work. Many of us are unable to drink alcohol, even in moderation. I applaud, honor, respect, and support those reclaiming their lives from alcohol and other addictive drugs. Some of us may not have that level of addiction, but may suspect that, lately, we are “enjoying” our evening beverages too much. It might even be starting to worry us.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t beat yourself up. Just make sure you are not confusing the act of enjoying with self-medicating, and act accordingly. Here are some healthy, effective tools I have found that keep me in check if I ever find myself looking forward to five o’clock a little too much.

Eat something. If I forget to eat, the urge to reflexively grab a glass of wine in the evening is much stronger than if I have had a nice, low-glycemic afternoon snack, along with some fresh, filtered water.

Dr. Claire’s 4:20 Trail Mix

½ cup organic lightly salted sprouted mixed nuts
½ cup organic semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
¼ cup organic raisins
1/3 cup organic dried cherries
1/8 cup organic sprouted sunflower seeds

Mix together and eat by the fistful. 2-3 should do it. Yum.

Meditate. Meditating calms the nerves, releases stress, increases energy, and rests your brain and body, even while you’re awake. Do this meditation before happy hour or before sampling the cooking wine.

Dr. Claire’s 4:20 Meditation

Lock your door, set your phone to silent. Set the alarm for 20 minutes.

Put on some nature sounds or some trippy Tibetan bowl music. Dim the lights.

Sit in a high-backed chair, get in the lotus position, or in a comfortable lying position. Just make sure your spine is straight.

Turn your palms up in your lap or toward the sky if you’re lying down.

Press your tongue to the roof of your mouth, turn your closed eyes upward toward your forehead like you’re looking up. Imagine a blue moon with a halo against a misty midnight sky (it’s a meditation thing).

Breathe deeply into your belly (not shoulders), and out, to the count of 4.

On the inhale, say silently to yourself, “So.” On the exhale, say, “Hum.” (Also a meditation thing.)

Do this for 20 minutes. You’ll be shocked how fast the time flies, and how great you’ll feel afterward.

Take a brisk walk. Brisk walking is different from rushing. Rushing triggers an adrenal hormone release, which isn’t necessarily bad, but in this case, it triggers the fight-flight response because you rush when you’re on someone else’s time. Brisk walking also releases adrenaline, but because you are walking for yourself, it is a positive rush instead of a negative rush. It also releases endorphins and factors that give a sense of clarity and calm.

Dr. Claire’s 4:20 “Suburban Shuffle”

Find a nice, scenic route with as little cross traffic as possible.

Briskly walk for 20 minutes. Stretch your legs wide enough that you feel your rear end tighten as you walk. Swing your arms deliberately as you walk to increase your cardio and to strengthen your upper arms.

Enjoy the scenery. Then go join your friends.

Do you have your own story? How do you handle the razor’s edge of addictive urges? Let me know.

Connecting and Reconnecting

by Claire Fitzpatrick, D.C.

Fitzpatrick Chiropractic
Joy Health and Body

We are capable of creating symphonies of connections that carry us as if we were gliding on the surface of a great lake — when we live with full awareness of life’s sorrows and joys; its ironies and horror; its endless hilarity; and its perfect combination of misery and bliss. Meanwhile, the crescendos are breathtaking.

We are all connected in this way, but it doesn’t often feel like that. We often feel disconnected from ourselves, our purpose, and our place in the world. That can happen as an expat, especially. We sometimes let go of an idea to follow another idea, and it’s easy to lose our way and our way to our loved ones.

Do you define yourself by what you do, by your relationship to others, or do you define yourself by who you really believe you are inside?

This article is about taking time to explore these uncomfortable questions, about reconnecting to our inner rhythms, and finding our way to ourselves, our families, our communities, and our lives.

In order to reconnect to the rhythm of our astounding connectedness, we start with a base of wonder, honor, and reverence for the cycles of life and death, including our own. Keep a sense of (sometimes irreverent) humor close to your heart. And follow these steps:

  1. Define what you really want. Write about it, or paint it, or draw it. Use concrete, images that speak to your senses. See the way you want to end. Keep that image in your mind 24/7, and let it guide every choice you make.

  2. Take the steps to get it, even if that includes letting go of temporary pleasures. For instance, if you want to rid yourself of inflammatory disease, do you want that third helping of mac ’n cheese casserole, or do you want to be fully healthy and present for your children’s children?

  3. We have to be ready when people, including our loved ones, get in our way. Change is often scary, and if our loved ones sense our change, they may think that we will change the way we feel about them. Gently, with love, don’t let them get in your way.

  4. We have to respect ourselves enough to follow our goals to their conclusion. Goals are exciting in the beginning, but it’s the day-to-day grind toward the goals that makes them materialize. To finish a marathon, we have to show up at the track every day. Stick to your dreams like your life depends on it — because it does.

  5. We have to throw away false ideas that hurt us and our mission. For instance, if you tolerate the conditions of your relationship because you are worried about what people will think of you, chances are that your loved ones — including children and your partners — already feel your pain, and it pains them. Recognize that this is a false idea and allow others to heal as you heal.

  6. We mustn't wait until we are “ready” to make a change, and we must forgive ourselves for not being perfect. We trip up. That’s part of life. Unless we allow ourselves room to make mistakes, we never really live. Mistakes are always made on the path to success. The greatest achievers on the planet, more often than not, made huge errors, including the error of waiting a very long time to start. They learned how to navigate these waters, and we will visit their lessons as we go.

In her book, “Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” Bronnie Ware interviewed people who were close to death. When asked whether they had any regrets or things they would do differently, she found that common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

I wish I’d…

  • Had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
  • Not worked so hard
  • Had the courage to express my feelings
  • Stayed in touch with my friends.
  • Let myself be happier

How many of these wishes are we violating? How many of us are, right here and now, on a straight-line path of regret and remorse? How many of us are disconnected from our dreams and each other?

Let’s change that. Let’s make a symphony of our lives.

Welcome, Friend, to this wacky vitality ride of mine — and yours.

Until next month: good magic!