November 29, 2015

Nourishing Your Soul

We are so in for a treat this month with special guest, Toni Genovese, is a Certified Professional Coach with a specialty in Wellness Coaching. She's going to help us get through the holidays by sharing with us how we can nourish ourselves (instead of our stomachs).

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The holiday season is upon us. Well, actually I think it started in August in some stores, but I will only take note of the season when the air is decidedly chillier. This time of year can bring us joy or it can bring us stress. That stress can take a toll on all of our systems and perhaps bring us to the breaking point, making us lose sight of our goals and even reverting back to behaviors we had expected were long gone. No one wants to end up going backwards.


SURVIVE OR THRIVE
In this three part series, I would like to take a journey with you, as we get closer and closer to the holidays, and look at how to ramp up the resources of your mind, body and soul to THRIVE this season and make a transformation in the area of your life that matters the most, your health. Today, I want to begin talking about how the power of your soul and spirit can help you grow by leaps and bounds.

When most people hear I am a health and wellness coach they are surprised to learn that I don’t immediately go into a huge discussion about what foods they should be eating or how much exercise they should be getting. In fact, I do like to talk about food, but not the food that is on your plate. I usually spend a great deal of time when I first meet a client talking about their “primary food.” The best way to explain primary food is to describe it as all the things that fill us up that we cannot physically ingest. Primary food consists of all the things that satisfy your hunger for life, not the hunger in your stomach. But nevertheless, we could not begin to grow and enjoy life without it.


FEED YOUR SOUL
Primary food is the healthy relationships in your life, the exercise you do, your hobbies and spiritual practice. In other words, primary food FEEDS YOUR SOUL. When you focus on primary food, your life feels full and you are being fed with all the things that energize you. After all, isn’t that what food is, the fuel that keeps us growing? So if you are thinking of creating a healthier lifestyle and are learning about better nutrition for your body, it is important to learn about what can feed your life and your soul.


We often think that getting healthier is only about the choice between eating healthy foods or eating unhealthy foods. But, great health and wellness is about striking a balance between all areas of our lives. If we focus on what we are ingesting we lose out on embracing the joys that fill us up in other ways and give us opportunities to go out and explore the world, feel better about who we are, what we do and the lives of the people we touch.

When you focus on adding healthy, primary food in your life you stop limiting yourself and beating yourself up over the food you eat. In other words, in this quest for wellness you get to see yourself in a holistic, whole-person way, focused on more than just the journey of tallying up how many cookies you had today. So if you are at a party and are starting to overindulge, think about what else would nourish you now? Instead of feeling numb and downing that plate of cookies, take a moment to think about what would nourish your soul? Is it talking to a friend at that party? Is it allowing yourself to sit quietly with the feelings that come up and just experience your connection to them? Whatever it is, next time you are faced with feeling like you are eating out of control, consider turning to a primary food and see if that is giving you what you need.


CHALLENGE ACCEPTED?
So, I have a challenge for you, if you so wish to accept, instead of counting your calories each day, I want you to spend one week recording the ways you fill yourself up with primary food each day and how the experience felt.

Come back here to share what you notice!

Challenge yourself to find more and more creative ways of adding more primary food into your life. See what shifts for you when you focus on primary food rather than “food-food.” I would love it if you would even share with me how this went. You can email me at toni@strongatthecore.com. I read all my emails and will answer them. I really can’t wait to hear how your week went, and I will be back soon to talk about how we can connect to our bodies in our journey for better health and wellness.

To learn more about ways to deal with emotional eating and what you can do about it, get Toni’s eBook:
Creating Calmness in the Storm: Five Ways to Tame the Chaos.

Join me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/strongatthecore/?ref=hl
Join me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Strongatthecore
Visit my website and blog: www.StrongAtTheCore.com


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Toni Genovese, is a Certified Professional Coach with a specialty in Wellness Coaching. She has been in the field of social work for 20 years and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She started Strong at the Core Coaching to help others who are struggling with health and wellness issues and are overwhelmed at how to begin making changes in their lives. Toni is a single mom with 3 kids, one of whom has autism. She learned how to turn her challenges into opportunities to create an amazing life. She uses this knowledge and experience to help her clients unlock their core strengths and turn their own challenges into opportunities to reach their goals. Toni loves running, strength training and yoga. She earned her coaching credential with the World Coach Institute and is a member of International Coaching Federation.




November 22, 2015

A Wounded Child's Healing Journey-Part 4

This week, Woody concludes his fabulous series! I hope you'll take a moment to comment to let him know what you took away from his posts.

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FIRST STEP: QUICKSAND

In my last post, I shared the seven tools that you need to begin your journey towards healing. We have to honestly assess where we are; optimistically choose where we want to be; create a plan for getting there; be true to our values while en route; and check to see that we’re on the right course. We ended with “Hiking Boots.” No one starts out a hike without proper footwear. Not only that, it’s silly to put on hiking boots unless you’re ready to hike!

We all begin the journey in what I call quicksand. It is that place of helplessness and inertia. We’re

We carry learned helplessness into our adult lives. Because we believe that we have no control over our lives, but rather our circumstances control us, we feel stuck. Like quicksand, the more we struggle, the deeper we sink. For each of us, quicksand manifests itself differently. For some, it may be spiraling debt. For others, it may be bad relationships. It can be clutter or one of many addictions. But whatever it is, we feel we have no control, we feel helpless and stuck.

There is only one way to get out of quicksand, and that is through action. Yet this is a paradox, because when we are in quicksand, the last thing we “feel” like doing is acting. What we feel is apathy, fear, dread, unease, anxiety, overwhelm and sluggishness. All these feelings oppose action. Yet it exactly what do not feel like doing that we must do to get out of the quicksand.

The reason is easily illustrated by a train. Have you ever seen a train start moving from a full stop? In the first split second when the train goes from stationary to moving its first millimeter, it expends many, many times more energy than it will cruising its second mile. Likewise, when we’ve been stuck for a long time, taking that first step requires so more effort and will, and is harder than anything else we will have to do.

You’ve heard the say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” That first step is hard! But it is the hardest step you will have to take. The second step is easier. The third is much easier than the first. With each step, like the train, you pick up not only speed, but momentum. With momentum, you need less energy to move forward faster.


I remember, as a child, helping a grownup push a car. When we started pushing, my body was leaning into it on a sharp angle. It was so hard, even with two people, to get it to move an inch. As the car moved more and more, I was able to stand straighter and the car picked up speed. Then the grownup hopped into the car. I kept pushing. I was amazed that I  alone could get the car to go faster and faster and with one arm no less!

When we are inert, any action seems insurmountable. When we are in action, what overwhelmed us before is effortless when we’re moving forward. So our greatest obstacle is the actual action we must do, but our feelings. So it is with a great act of will that we must disregard how we feel, and act anyway.

In the last post, I mentioned the seven tools. One of them, “The Map,” is about having a written plan. This is so important because it is based on your goals, and it lays out the action steps for getting there. A well-crafted plan will break down your goals into small enough chunks so that what seemed so overwhelming is now reduced to a small and simple task that you can do right away. Then it gives you the next small task, and then the next. Take those first steps and you will learn the greatest lesson of all: you, and only you are in control of your life. You are not helpless. You have the power to shape your life into anything you choose it to be.


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Woody Haiken, CPC, ELI-MP, founded Wounded Child Coaching to help others who have experienced child abuse, as he did. His recovery from the damage took decades. His greatest breakthroughs came from the coaching process, which saw him as sufficient, and the past as a teacher. Coaching has helped Woody release those things in his life that no longer serve him, and embrace those things that keep him growing.

Woody now shares his wisdom with others through the same coaching process that has revolutionized his life.

He received his coaching training through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. 

Go to https://woundedchildsjourney.leadpages.co/get-free-ebook/ for Woody’s free eBook, “The 4 Thought Patterns that Block Your Happiness & How to Change Them” 

To learn more about Woody and Wounded Child Coaching go to:

On Facebook:

November 16, 2015

A Wounded Child's Journey to Healing-Part 3

I am so pleased to continue our series with Woody Haiken today. He's going to be sharing with us his "Planning Toolkit"!

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In my last post, I gave an overview of the Wounded Child’s Journey. I used an image that I created to illustrate that journey.

Just as I used the metaphor of varied terrains to illustrate the journey, I’ve taken the metaphor of preparing for a hike further to illustrate the tools you need to prepare for the journey. There are seven tools, “The Picture,” “Binoculars,” “The Map,” “Guidebook,” “Compass,” “Backpack,” and “Hiking Boots.”



The Picture
Going back to my last post, I shared an image that I created. I had you imagine that you took that picture while standing in quicksand. Just as a picture captures an instant in time, the purpose of the Picture is for you to look at your life as it in this moment. Unless a picture is altered with image editing software, it is an accurate representation of the moment. You need to take an unedited look at your life. There may be much in your life that you’re unhappy about, and would rather not face. However, the more honest you are with yourself, and the more determined you are to have a better life, the more effective you will be on your journey towards healing.




Binoculars
If you were to zoom in on The Picture, you would see greater detail. For example, on the other side of the bridge, there is roof of a small building on the edge of a field. With binoculars, you can see ahead
clearly, so you know something about your destination before you reach it. On the Wounded Child’s Journey, it is important to use your imagination as a set of binoculars to see the future that you want. All our lives, we’ve focused on where we’ve been, so our steps forward have been about avoiding what we do not want. Instead, you must look ahead and see the life of your dreams, and write it down.



The Map
If your dream life is a destination that you’re traveling to, then the map is the plan you need to get there. Given enough time and patience
with yourself and circumstances, you can have the life you envisioned if you follow a plan. What most of us do instead is go through our lives without written goals or a plan. This is because we believe that we are in the clutches of our circumstances instead of in control of them.







The Guidebook
While you’re on your journey to healing, you’ll have to make many choices. If you’re clear ahead of time on which values you will not compromise, no matter what, then when the time comes when you have to make one of these choices,
you are prepared. We often have many conflicting values. For example, you might have a value that says, “Honor your parents,” and another value of integrity. You might be faced with a choice where your parent asks you to do something dishonest for them. Your guidebook will help you reconcile these conflicting values and make the right choice for you.



The Compass
We all have an internal guide that lets us know whether or not we are headed in the right direction in
our lives. This inner compass is made up of our emotions, our intellect, our conscience, our intuition and our inner body senses.

More often then not, we go through life reacting to how we feel. We make our feelings our goal, rather than our guide. So, if you do something that gives you a good feeling, you’re likely to do it again when that feeling wears off. This is what’s behind all addictions. This is what I mean by making your feelings your goal.

It is important to understand that when we feel ‘off’ about something, it is in our best interests to find out what is out of balance in our lives, what we are doing that is taking us from our major life purpose and our goals. When you use the feeling of unease to let you know that something has to be corrected, rather than masking the feeling with something to make you feel good, then you’re using your feelings as a guide, rather than a goal.



The Backpack
You must decide what you want and do not want in your ideal life. It is important that your most basic needs are met, as well as your need for love and belongingness, self-esteem as for reaching your
highest potential. This requires that you evaluate your relationships and habits—how do they serve you? Do you want them as a part of your ideal life? If so, pack them. If not, leave them behind.





Hiking Boots
Finally, we have the hiking boots, the most important thing that we wear when we’re hiking. Until we put them on, we’re not ready to embark. Just like only one person can wear a pair of hiking boots, only you can
walk your journey towards healing. If you wait for someone else to heal you, you will wait forever. It is your journey. It begins with the willingness to take the first step, and it continues with the determination to see it through to the other side of the bridge.







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Woody Haiken, CPC, ELI-MP, founded Wounded Child Coaching to help others who have experienced child abuse, as he did. His recovery from the damage took decades. His greatest breakthroughs came from the coaching process, which saw him as sufficient, and the past as a teacher. Coaching has helped Woody release those things in his life that no longer serve him, and embrace those things that keep him growing.

Woody now shares his wisdom with others through the same coaching process that has revolutionized his life.

He received his coaching training through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. 

Go to https://woundedchildsjourney.leadpages.co/get-free-ebook/ for Woody’s free eBook, “The 4 Thought Patterns that Block Your Happiness & How to Change Them” 

To learn more about Woody and Wounded Child Coaching go to:

On Facebook:

November 9, 2015

A Wounded Child's Journey to Healing-Part 2

I am so pleased to continue our series with Woody Haiken today!

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In my last post, I shared my story of overcoming my abusive past. In this post, I want to share the steps to healing that I call, “The Wounded Child’s Journey.” This image illustrates the journey. To help you understand the journey, please join me in a little exercise of imagination.


Imagine that you took this picture with your digital camera. You aimed your camera towards those beautiful green mountains while you were stuck behind an iron gate. See yourself behind that gate. Look, with longing at the white bridge that crosses the raging river to the green fields. Now, look down at your feet. You’re surrounded by dry barren earth.

This is what life before healing is like. You see others living rich, joyful lives. You’re blocked from having what they have, but are tormented by being able to see what you want, but not attain it. Instead, you’re stuck, as if you were standing in quicksand when you took this picture.

We all start on our journey to healing in the same place, a place of helpless, a place where we have no control over the circumstances of our lives. We feel stuck. The more we struggle to improve our lot in life, the more we sink into the mire.

To begin the journey towards healing, we must exert a great force of will to start moving towards change. We’ve been in a place of learned helplessness for so long, that we believe we are unable to effect change in our own lives, so why bother? Quicksand is the perfect metaphor for learned helplessness.

To get out of the quicksand, we must have the attitude that we are going to do whatever it takes to move towards healing. At first, the more effort we exert to pull ourselves out, the more we feel ourselves being sucked back in. This is why starting the journey is the hardest part. In my next post, I will describe the seven steps for getting out of quicksand.

Once we’ve gotten ourselves moving towards healing, we are next faced by an iron gate that represents our self-beliefs. We have many beliefs about our worthiness, our capabilities, our lovability that are not based on truth, but rather the lies told to us by our abusers. This is the gate of false beliefs. It is much like being behind an unlocked gate that we believe is locked, so we never try to open it.

Once we accept that our self-belief system is based on false beliefs, we’re able to pass through the gate. On the other side is a terrain not much better than the one we left behind. It is what I call “The Battleground of Beliefs.” There are three main areas of conflict in the battleground.

We first have the conflict of circumstances. Our present circumstances are the result of the choices we’ve made up to this point. We may now live in circumstances that make our lives difficult, such as debt, bad relationships, or an unsatisfying job situation. To overcome this conflict, we must learn to let go of the assumption that our past predicts our future.

Next, we have conflict with others. The conflict we had with our abuser in the past is behind us, but we bring with us a pattern of dealing with others that was shaped by our past. We may even enter into relationships now that mirror the abusive relationships of the past. A major source of conflict with others is how we interpret their words and actions.

The third area of conflict is conflict with ourselves. Ultimately, all conflict is self-conflict. The defining moment of healing and growth is moment of taking responsibility, not for the abuse, but for our choices. Personal responsibility is crucial to healing. We are responsible for our own healing. If we wait for someone to heal us, we will be waiting for the rest of our lives. It is here that we have to face our inner critic, and deny its power in our lives.

Taking personal responsibility is the toll that we must pay to step onto the bridge. The bridge is where we reconcile with our lives. We first must forgive ourselves of the harsh things we’ve said to ourselves with our inner critic. We must reconcile ourselves with our past.

These steps all lead us to the only place where healing can happen, a place of self-love. Self-love was robbed from us. But only we can restore it. No one outside of ourselves can do it for us. As we love ourselves more, we let go of those relationships that do not support self-love. As we love ourselves more, we draw to ourselves others that will love us. Everything that we want for our lives on the other side of the bridge begins will self-love.

In the next post, I will share what I call “The Wounded Child’s Journey Toolkit,” seven tools that are necessary to begin the journey towards healing.



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Woody Haiken, CPC, ELI-MP, founded Wounded Child Coaching to help others who have experienced child abuse, as he did. His recovery from the damage took decades. His greatest breakthroughs came from the coaching process, which saw him as sufficient, and the past as a teacher. Coaching has helped Woody release those things in his life that no longer serve him, and embrace those things that keep him growing.

Woody now shares his wisdom with others through the same coaching process that has revolutionized his life.

He received his coaching training through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. 

Go to https://woundedchildsjourney.leadpages.co/get-free-ebook/ for Woody’s free eBook, “The 4 Thought Patterns that Block Your Happiness & How to Change Them” 

To learn more about Woody and Wounded Child Coaching go to:

On Facebook:

November 2, 2015

A Wounded Child’s Journey to Healing-Part 1

I am so pleased to be able to introduce you to Woody Haiken today. Over the next few weeks, Woody is going to be sharing with us his story of healing from abuse and about the amazing work he does with survivors!

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For most of my life, I felt that I was abnormal. I looked at the lives that others had. It seemed that everyone else was happy, had good relationships, friends, a close family and a satisfying career. It was as if I was on the outside, peering in. I saw myself as defective. Why? Because that is what I was taught about myself.

I did not realize that what I endured growing up in the early 1960s was “child abuse.” That term wasn’t yet in the cultural vocabulary. Yet I was the family scapegoat, always on the fringe of what my parents and sisters enjoyed. While they had family time in front of the TV, I was doing chores. If I was done with my chores, I was being punished for any one of a million manufactured-on-the-spot infractions of my father’s ever-changing rule-book. 




It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I realized that my childhood was not the norm. As a member of the Civil Air Patrol, I had to take training in child abuse because adult members worked with youth. The training was a video produced by the Boy Scouts. In it, ten signs of child abuse were described. As they were ticked off, one-by-one, I realized that was me, that was me, for nine out of the ten, that was me. The only one that wasn’t me was visual signs of bruising, since my father only injured me where clothing would cover the bruises.

I went to the chaplain who oversaw the presentation. I was in tears. “Why wasn’t there anything like that for me, when I was growing up?” I asked him. He was unwilling to talk to me about it. He told me to go get help. This was the first time in my life that I put a name to what I suffered as a child, and I felt more isolated than ever.

Over the next few decades, I sought out healing. What I found from most of the professionals I went to was a “get over it” attitude. Perhaps it was the era. I found that, as a man, I was expected to be stoic about my feelings. I had some deep emotions, but could never find a safe place to express them. By that time, I was in my first marriage. As is with most survivors of child abuse, I married someone with many of the characteristics of my primary abuser. While the abuse wasn’t physical, she was verbally and emotionally abusive. 

I had to bury much of what I felt. Turned inward, these emotions manifested as an autoimmune disease that crippled me for years. It wasn’t until I was out of my second marriage, which was worse than the first, that I began the journey towards healing. As I learned to love myself, the symptoms of my illness subsided. But even more significant than the return of my physical health, I gained insight into the process of healing from child abuse.

I call it, “The Wounded Child’s Journey.” There are several parts to this Journey. The first is awareness. Until I was aware that I was abused, I was not able to do anything to heal from it. But awareness alone is not enough. We can become aware, and then bitter and angry at our abusers. While we might be justified in our anger, especially since we may have been made to bear guilt for our own suffering, that anger has no outlet other than our own bodies. 



So with awareness, we need a genuine desire to heal. We have to be willing to do whatever it takes change our lives. We cannot go to those who harmed us and expect them to heal us. They can’t, and they won’t. We aren’t responsible for the harm we suffered, but only we are responsible for our own recovery.


In my next post, I’ll share the steps in the “Wounded Child’s Journey. I wish you well in your journey to healing from child abuse.


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Woody Haiken, CPC, ELI-MP, founded Wounded Child Coaching to help others who have experienced child abuse, as he did. His recovery from the damage took decades. His greatest breakthroughs came from the coaching process, which saw him as sufficient, and the past as a teacher. Coaching has helped Woody release those things in his life that no longer serve him, and embrace those things that keep him growing.

Woody now shares his wisdom with others through the same coaching process that has revolutionized his life.

He received his coaching training through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), and is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner. 

Go to https://woundedchildsjourney.leadpages.co/get-free-ebook/ for Woody’s free eBook, “The 4 Thought Patterns that Block Your Happiness & How to Change Them” 

To learn more about Woody and Wounded Child Coaching go to:

On Facebook:

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