Align with nature🍂this fall

“How about the weather today, Tim?” 

“Yea it’s feeling like fall is finally here.

This classic small talk conversation starter might be more helpful to our health than we think! Fall has arrived in some places more drastic than others. You may have noticed cooler mornings and evenings, maybe more wind in the air, a change in the tree’s leaves or local vegetation, potentially new birds arriving or leaving as they migrate. Nature is always changing, and when we can surrender to the flow of seasonal changes we can thrive right along with Nature. The seasonal weather change can be a signal to aid in letting us know what our bodies and minds may need  to feel our best is also changing a bit at this time of year.

In today’s blog I want to share with you ways to harmonize with your body’s needs and nature’s changing rhythm. Your body is intelligent and will communicate its needs to you, yet listening and understanding requires you to bring mindful awareness to your body daily. I believe mealtimes are a great time to check in with our body to see what it needs that day. 

The best way to harmonize your meals with nature’s rhythm is by eating locally grown foods. Nature provides what your body needs in that season. Can you think of some classic fall foods?

You are probably thinking…

  • Sweet Potato / Yams
  • Root Veggies (Carrots, Turnips, Beets)
  • Greens (Broccoli, Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards)
  • Squashes (Zucchini, Butternut, Pumpkin, Acron, Kabocha, Spaghetti)
  • Spices like cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, coriander
  • Fruits like apple, pear, figs

And guess what, there’s a reason these foods are placed in the fall season for humans to enjoy! These foods have grounding and warming qualities, which is what the body needs as it transitions from hot summer temperatures to cool winter weather. I have learned a lot about this topic through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. 

Our ancestors lived life very in touch with nature not only for their food source,  but also for clothes,  shelter, and navigation. They had to surrender and align themselves with what nature provided them within each season. That is how bodies have evolved and by returning to a seasonal diet you may experience great mental and physical health benefits. I suggest shopping at your local farmers market to make choosing in-season produce easy! Shopping locally not only helps your health, but also the planet because transport emissions are reduced since your food doesn’t come from a farm thousands of miles away. Instead you are investing back into your local environment and community so this is a wonderful reciprocal way to give and get at the same time. 

Before you begin preparing your seasonal meal I encourage you to tune into the moment with three deep breaths. Then you can have a conversation with your body. You may ask…

  • On a scale of 0-5 how hungry am I right now?
  • What does my body need right now, is it food, or could I be needing rest, play, comfort or love? 
  • Does my body need something warm or cool? (warm/cooked is suggested for better digestion in cool months)
  • Are there specific tastes or textures that would satisfy my body right now?

It is important to note that communicating with your body requires repeated practice using mindful self-awareness to develop a trust between your body, mind, and food so that you can best meet your needs in the moment. I think eating foods in season is a safe way to start nourishing your body and reconnecting you to nature (you are a part of nature)!

Once your meal is prepared I encourage you to listen to this brief mindful eating meditation. Tuning into your food and how it feels in your body is a key component to building that trust and communication between your body, mind, heart, and environemnt. 

With Joy and Gratitude,

Lizzie Shutt 
@lizzie_shutt 

Lizzie’s 4 month group coaching program Aligned Life Academy is now open for enrollment. This program is designed  for you to cultivate daily mindfulness and design your dream life! Learn more here!!
 

Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.
Go to www.sacredtreehouse.org

Sweet Potato, Lentil, Veggie Soup with Kitchari (Ayurvedic cleansing dish made from rice and mung dal beans).

Sweet Potato Lentil Soup Recipe:

1 Large Sweet Potato

1 Cup of Brown Lentils

2 Medium-sized Organic Carrots

2 Large Celery Stalks

2 Cups of Veggie Broth

4 Cups of Water

1 Inch of Fresh Ginger (I like to use a good amount)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil (coconut oil, ghee work too)

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Cardamom

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp Turmeric

½ tsp Coriander

¼ tsp Black pepper + a little Salt

Optional: Kale or leafy green, 

Optional Toppings: Lemon squeeze, Cilantro, Sunflower seeds, Avocado

**Soak the lentils in water for at least 3 hours prior to cooking**

Wash and chop the potatoes, celery, carrots, ginger. I personally cube the potato and thinly slice the carrots. For the ginger remove the skin and then dice into pieces, it’s okay if they are not very small. 

In a large pot on medium high heat add your olive oil, spices, and ginger. Let these heat and mix together for about 2 minutes. Then add the cubed potatoes, and coat the potatoes with the spices by thoroughly mixing them around. 

Next add in everything else: carrots, celery, lentils. Add the 2 cups of vegetable broth and then pour enough water so that it covers everything by half an inch. 

Bring the stew to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low-medium heat with the lid still on. Honestly mine was boiling for a while. It took a bit to reduce the temperature; that is ok because you will test everything at the end to ensure it’s all cooked before serving. 

Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. Stir every few minutes. Halfway through you can try the broth and adjust seasonings as necessary, I will encourage you to hold off on the salt until the end. 

After 15 minutes you may try poking the potatoes and carrots to judge if they are cooked. They should be very easy to stab. Taste your lentils as well to ensure they are soft. 

If you choose to add kale or another leafy green chop it up and stir it into the pot. Allow it to cook for another five minutes.

Plate this dish with cilantro or lemon. I added some leftover kitchari (Ayurvedic dish made from rice and mung dal beans) on the side so if you are feeling you want some more substance you may add rice or quinoa to the dish as well. 

Lizzie is a heart-centered entrepreneur who has a vision of helping people all around the world shine their light and live their most aligned life. She recently received her B.S in Horticulture and has combined both her passions for environmental stewardship and helping others by building her online coaching services that connect clients to their body, mind, soul and nature. She believes if we model our lives after living ecosystems we can live our most aligned life. A quote she loves: “We are a part of Nature, not apart from Nature.”

Intuition and Mindfulness💕

As humans who are part of the natural world, I believe we can know exactly what our needs are and can be resourceful in getting them met. When you observe a bird going about its day – singing in the morning, eating worms in the lawn, playing tag with its friends, and ending the day sleeping in a tree – there is no one telling that bird what to do, it simply knows. We are no different than that bird; some would say we are more intelligent, but I argue our so-called intelligence has often made us more disconnected from our inner signals than that bird. I do believe there is a way to reconnect and live in alignment with your truth in a 21st century modern world – it’s called Intuitive Living. 

Intuition is becoming more of a buzzword nowadays, yet cultivating intuition and using your intuition to guide your life sounds somewhat elusive. Oxford Dictionary defines intuition as “one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning”. Many times people will describe intuition as a gut feeling or their heart knowing the answer. This can still make it unapproachable for people who question “is this the right feeling?”,  “am I doing this right?”  or if they struggle to connect their life experiences with feelings in their body. 

If you like the sound of developing your connection to this inner-knowing that can aid in guiding us on life’s questions – whether big or small – one way is starting with practicing mindfulness in your daily life. 

Mindfulness is a foundational skill  to connect with your intuition. I teach my clients how to connect with their body and mind through mindfulness practices and mindful check-ins. Mindfulness in daily life opens your eyes to see life in a fresh way, to potentially notice things you never saw before or to look at the same things with a newfound understanding, appreciation, and/or beauty. 

My clients and I have found developing mindfulness around our meals to be super beneficial and accessible because it is already part of daily life. There are simply just a few tweaks that turn a meal into a mindful meal: 

1) By approaching the meal with intention to be fully present.

2) Bring one pointed attention– choose a sense to focus on like taste, smell, or the texture of each bite.

3) Use nonjudgmental observation by noting – Just The Facts! 

So guess what? You don’t even have to sit and meditate everyday to start a mindfulness practice. This month here on Sacred Treehouse blog I will share a recording on an intuitive eating process you can use to begin your meal! 

Sacred Treehouse has lots of other wonderful blogs on how to start incorporating mindfulness in daily life so check out these if you want to read more about practices:

Link to some blogs!

The basis of intuitive living -as I am describing this month  – is living in alignment with your body, mind, and soul’s needs – and it grows by intentionally  paying attention to your daily patterns. This “pattern recognition skill” is mindfulness in action! By using non-judgemental observation of what you do / say / think / feel- on a daily basis you will begin to recognize your patterns.  From there, you can decide if these patterns support your true authentic self or if they distract you from being the best version of you! 

This is just a taste into intuitive living. I am excited to share some insights and practices this month in the weekly blog as we continue towards a deeper dive into this topic! OFFERING TO GET YOU STARTED:

FREE RITUALS FOR SUCCESS CHALLENGE 

I am hosting a live challenge starting TOMORROW Monday Oct 4th 5:30 EST that runs every day this week, same time till Friday Oct 8th. If you are trying to implement a self care or mindfulness practice and are struggling to make it actually stick, you should join me!! It will give you the foundational understanding and tools to create a ritual that suits your needs right now and sets you up for living an aligned life! Attend all sessions or watch the recording replay to start your self-care plan. Only those who participate in live or recorded sessions will be entered to win. The calls are one hour on Zoom each day and the recordings will be available in the private Facebook group so be sure to join here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/4300925046696726/

The winner will receive goodies to have a successful Sunday planning session for their week ahead (join the group to see what you could win or find out on instagram @lizzie_shutt).

Hope to see you on one of the calls this week

 Lizzie and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

Lizzie is a heart-centered entrepreneur who has a vision of helping people all around the world shine their light and live their most aligned life. She recently received her B.S in Horticulture and has combined both her passions for environmental stewardship and helping others by building her online coaching services that connect clients to their body, mind, soul and nature. She believes if we model our lives after living ecosystems we can live our most aligned life. A quote she loves: “We are a part of Nature, not apart from Nature.” 

Heart Centered at Work ❤

The final offering this month within the theme of bringing mindfulness to work is our interview with Lisa Shaheen, Certified HeartMath facilitator and holistic coach. I have known Lisa for over 15 years, as our children attended primary school together and were both introduced and practiced Heart Math in school each day. At the time, I was in love with Heart Math and felt blessed that my children received this training and practice in daily life. 

Lisa was also in love with Heart Math and went on to train and become a facilitator. For the past several years Lisa has been offering Heart Math training for our clients at Therapeutic Oasis and our students at Sacred Treehouse to help bring balance in mind and body. 

This month the Therapeutic Oasis (my full-time place of work) will be offering staff and providers The Resilience Advantage: A Heart Math training for executives and employees as a way to reduce stress, increase creativity, and create balance. We are a company that is committed to practicing what we teach and fostering a work environment that brings the values of the company alive each day. 

The Resilience Advantage Benefits include:

  • Increased situational awareness in relationships, meetings, and projects
  • Enhanced ability to focus, process information, and solve problems
  • Heightened creativity and innovation
  • Increased ability to handle challenging clients and situations
  • Increased access to intuition for fast, effective decision-making on complex issues
  • Increased regenerative sleep
  • Increased vitality and resilience
  • Reduced stress, worry, and fatigue


Sacred Treehouse will also be offering this training virtually to anyone interested to incorporate into your workday or bring to your team in October….Sign up Here. 


Now for the interview with Lisa Shaheen, Certified HeartMath Trainer, colleague, and friend. LISTEN HERE

With love and gratitude to Lisa and all beings,

Patty and the Sacred Treehouse faculty

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Awaken at work 🙏

They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears, and I am most certainly ready and willing to wake up at work. Those close to me know I am a book-a-holic and I purchased AWAKE AT WORK over a year ago, perhaps I was awakening to my need to wake up at work. Truth be told, I deeply desire to be awake in all aspects of daily living: at home, at work, in relationships, and at play. 
 
Work has always been an important part of my life and I place a high value on doing my best and making right living a top priority. No doubt this is why I am where I am today, owner of the Sacred Treehouse and co-owner of the Therapeutic Oasis. Both are committed to compassionate care and inspiring others to live according to their values. 
 
If you have interest in applying mindfulness to YOUR work, whether in a role you serve in a job or career, or one you serve at home, then I highly recommend this book as a guide to waking up to the truth and reality of life, living, and being human in our many roles. I must say it is not for everyone- but if you have a daily meditation practice and are motivated to contemplate on a slogan each day, or week, or even once a month- I believe it can be a tool to serve in awakening in a role that many of us spend a bulk of our waking hours doing for the better part of our life. 
 
Author Michael Carrol sets out teaching four primary slogans that are the basis of the practice of awakening at work and can b practiced and fruitful in and of themselves. 
 
What is a slogan? How can it help?
 
The thirty-five slogans shared by the author are adapted from the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Logong, where practitioners memorize, recite, and place reminders to allow daily events to evoke the wisdom form these slogans to be used as guidance in living more mindfully. Slogans are not instructions, but rather inspiration and an invitation to strengthen our mindfulness practice and remain open and curious to the many ways we resist reality at work and prompt us to see ourselves and our situation more clearly. 
 
There are four main slogans that are as follows:
 

  1. Balance the two efforts
  2. Be authentic
  3. Cultivate li(natural goodness).
  4. Work is a mess.

 
He then continues offering additional slogans to choose at your leisure to practice regularly, even choosing randomly, to look for ways at work it applies to you. Keeping a journal, making notecards, and even memorizing all the slogans and reciting them are ways to allow the slogans to come to you in daily life. 
 
I found the book to be a gift, at a time that I needed inspiration to dive inward at work and bring greater wisdom, compassion, and love to all those I serve and in all that I do.  

 
With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Challenge and change are connected😍

 Work is often spoken like a four letter word, as if it implies something bad, difficult, or even something one would be wise to avoid. For years I have marveled at people’s reactions to “working” and wondered how that kind of belief or interpretation was developed or conditioned.

Perhaps it is because our culture displays such a positive image of wealthy, famous people at leisure, or from the abuses suffered by so many factories or farm workers, or maybe both and even more ways I have yet to consider. Additionally, as a psychologist I understand so many people suffer with psychological limitations that get in the way of their desire or ability to work, and for that I am even more sad-yet motivated to assist in helping, inspiring others in overcoming the obstacles that impede them. 
 
Whether you have a positive relationship with work or not, there are always challenges that arise both within the individual, the environment, or the task or job itself. This week I want to offer some things to explore at work that have been incredibly helpful to me recently in examining my many “work” roles.

As the image above reads, “You cannot spell CHAlleNGE without CHANGE and this is both very true and WISE. So, an invitation to look at ways you may be experiencing a challenge at work, in work, or in a project or role. Beware, or BE AWARE that as you examine the challenge you may see the opportunity or the need for CHANGE.
 
Some challenges at work that may show up WITHIN us,
 

  1. Resistance to starting or doing something
  2. Lack of desire or motivation
  3. Lack of clarity or direction
  4. Lack of skill or ability and training
  5. Internal conflicts
  6. Emotions like fear, anger, and shame

Some challenges that may show up in the environment or situation,

  1. Lack of resources or reinforcement
  2. Lack of support
  3. Lack of time or too many demands
  4. Lack of clarity
  5. Conflicts with others
  6. Conflicts with objectives

 
This is by no means an exhaustive list, yet a place to simply start and examine any challenges you have at work, with your work, or in any of your projects that require sustained effort. Just pick one fo this exercise!
 
My personal example of “challenge” right now is a conflict with others, so applying mindfulness and bringing the attitudes of mindful living (listed in last weeks blog) has been a helpful way to examine the conflicts I am having at work, An important part of this process is shining the light within to BE AWARE. So, grab a journal or some paper/ tablet, then write out your challenge and begin this inquiry:
 
Step 1 What am I Believing? Thinking? Assuming? 
 
Step 2 What am I Saying? Doing? Feeling? Or NOT Saying?
 
Step 3 What is the problem I perceive? The threat? The danger? The goal?
 
Step 4 Dig deeper and do the work to explore all the branches that stem from the stated challenge. Take your time and resist jumping to problem solving, fixing, or avoiding. Stay with it and keep exploring with mindfulness, curiosity, and openness.
 
Step 5 Ask yourself, “What do I need to change?”  because not only can we not spell challenge without change, we also cannot overcome it without (INTERNAL) change.
 
Some, not all, the possibilities of things that I can change WITHIN include my attitude, perspective, emotions, behaviors, and even my goal. Thanks to mindfulness I am slowing down and changing my goal. I am choosing to get curious, both within myself and with others, as I approach the challenge that is before me. 
 
I hope this simple, yet powerful approach is as helpful to you as it has been for me, and I would love to hear feedback as you apply any or all of this to your challenges in everyday work/life. Email me at  drpatty@sacredtreehouse.org or join our Facebook group (above) and post your challenges, successes, and struggles in our private group. 

If you want to deepen your mindfulness practice and cultivate the attitudes for daily life, consider joining the next MBSR class starting soon or stay tuned as we continue this month on ways to bring mindfulness to work.
 
May you find peace and meaning in all you do,
 
With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty
 
Need support in overcoming obstacles? Just email me us at info@sacredtreehouse.org to set up individualized mindfulness coaching or join our upcoming classes of MBSR or MSC for guided practices in a supportive community.

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

Mindfulness at work 📠☎⌚

In honor of Labor Day it seems a fitting theme of the Treehouse blog to bring mindfulness to work  this month. Yet keep in mind readers, our focus this month is not limited to the application of mindfulness to a paying job, rather it can be applied to any role you play in daily life that requires some effort, commitment, and accountability.

The definition of mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn is paying nonjudgmental attention, with intention, to the present moment. Unfortunately when it comes to work environments and culture,  many people have demands placed on them to perform in ways that are contrary to mindful attention and are set up to multi-task or have little to no control over interruptions or the pacing of the work. 

With most things it is wise to start with what we have control over and make changes there, rather than focusing on aspects of the work that is out of your control. So I would like to starts this month with a challenge to readers to spend some time examining and exploring your attitudes toward yourself, the tasks, and other people you encounter as you work.

So this means bringing curiosity to ways you may be working at a  task or interacting with others and how you can foster the attitudes of mindfulness, including yet not limited to the following:

Non-judgment
Patience,
Beginners Mind
Acceptance
Letting Go
Trust
Non-striving

Perhaps you can take one each day or one each week to focus all attention on building greater self awareness (without judgment) on your thoughts, emotions, and actions in daily life. 

Let’s use NON-JUDGMENT as an example of one attitude of mindfulness you can begin with this week. Some people they are far more judgmental of self versus others and so the focus may be on your critical self talk around tasks or interactions. Can you notice any judgments arise, like “I’m so stupid, lazy, not good enough” or some flavor of these sentiments when feeling less than in comparison to others? Comparing mind is dangerous and usually sets us up to diminish ourselves or others in some way. Oh and by the way…. judging ourselves or others in a positive light is also a judgment! So noticing when the mind generates a judgment in either direction can be a moment of mindful observing and an opportunity to let go.

So what do we replace judgment with? Just the facts! So let’s just say I did not post the blog on the usual Sunday evening, my mind may have generated judgments such as, I am  lazy, a slacker, a loser, etc., when in fact I was very busy this weekend enjoying time with family, friends, and taking a needed break from the usual daily grind. In fact, most of the blog was written and created, awaiting the final touches of real life mindfulness. The blog article went out 2 days late and my hope is that it will prompt you to shine the light of mindfulness this week at work and cultivate some of the attitudes that support a mindful approach to living, working, and being you!


With Love and Gratitude,
 
Patty and The Sacred Treehouse Faculty

Patty Thomas Shutt, founder of Sacred Treehouse, is a licensed psychologist and co-owner of Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Shutt is passionate about helping others discover the benefits of mindfulness and meditation.  She offers Beginner Meditation & Advanced Meditation classes at Sacred Treehouse, in addition to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Mindful Self-Compassion and various book studies throughout the year.

August 29, 2021

I am home today … taking an online course, sitting at the dining table with my daughter as she draws pictures of strawberries and frogs. I may make a cup of tea, and if the weather holds up I might head outside to do some gardening. Sunshine, quiet connection … this is what self-care looks like for me today. 
Self-care hasn’t always looked this way, though some similar themes run through my self-care routines like a thread. As a child I was a voracious reader, and loved to play games with friends (Yahtzee!). In college I was a bit more social, and filled my bucket spending time with friends listening to music, taking road trips, and going to concerts and Florida Gator football games. In my young adulthood I discovered cooking and writing, and even wrote a small cookbook for friends and family one holiday season (which I realize now was an exercise in self-care during my very stressful dissertation process). And as I settled into my career and became a mom, activities that tend towards quiet and solitude have nourished me — quiet walks in nature, yoga, meditation and midafternoon catnaps. I believe that as we evolve, our self-care needs do too. Maybe our life circumstances, our available resources, or our physical or emotional needs change. When I hurt my shoulder a few years ago I was forced to adapt my self-care routine to accommodate for my physical pain. When I began working intensively with trauma clients, my self-care routine also evolved to stave off compassion fatigue. And when I had kids, I noticed I craved alone time in a way I hadn’t before. The last letter of our self-care mnemonic this month, the “E” in CARE, represents how important it is that we allow our self-care efforts to evolve and adapt to our ever-changing lives. By practicing mindfulness we can stay abreast of our needs as they shift, and with that awareness we can modify our self-care strategies as we see fit. It is said that change is inevitable, but growth is optional. I say take the reins of life in hand and steer towards health and ease by bringing intentional attention and curiosity to your needs regularly. And as the road of life twists and turns, maybe you need to downshift or refuel or take a different route. Allow for this flexibility in how you care for YOU, knowing that the journey IS the destination. And that with each leg of life’s trip you may need a different type of pit stop. Maybe take a moment right now and ask yourself, what nourishes me in my life today? How is that different from what used to fill my tank, and how can I make room in my day-to-day life for this new type of self-care? And let us know what you notice!
With steadfast while ever-evolving love,

Nikki and the rest of the Treehouse faculty

Click here to learn more about our upcoming classes!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

August 22, 2021

Hello beloveds. Happy Sunday to all! And even if it is a difficult or not particularly happy Sunday, thank you for showing up for me, and for you, as hard as it may be to do. The showing up part, I mean. Showing up can be hard, even when we know it is good for us, and even when we know that it is what our hearts and minds are calling us to do. So again, thank you for showing up … for reading this … no matter what kind of day it is for you. 
  That is what I want to chat about today (as these written discourses often feel like a conversation between me and you when I write them) … how to practice self care when the going gets tough. When your body hurts. When your heart aches. When that inner critic says you don’t have the need or the time or the worthiness to slow down and make room for something that soothes you. Because no matter how clear we are on what works to fill our buckets, and no matter how much we genuinely want to hold our own hearts with loving kindness, there will be obstacles for all of us in cultivating consistent self-care practices. What are those obstacles for you?


Emotions or beliefs about the value of this activity (“I have to earn it ” or “it may not help”), about the obstacle itself (”I have to do it” or “something bad will happen if I don’t do it”) or a belief about yourself (“I don’t deserve this”). Maybe think about another option for self care that you would also like to do more of. What do you notice here, too? Do you see a pattern in the things that block you from taking care of you? 
  For example, I know I am not alone in having a belief that I don’t have the time to implement my self care strategies. I have hemmed and hawed off and on for years about not having time to exercise, practice yoga, walk in nature, and on and on. “I have to work,” I have often said. “I need to support my kids and show up for my clients … If only I had another day each week I would have the time.” The belief that I didn’t have time (short of dreaming of an eight day week, which inevitably I would probably fill with more to-do’s and lets for-me’s anyway) is actually just that — a limiting belief. Once I realized this belief wasn’t a TRUTH and was simply an OBSTACLE that I needed to remove (Hence the “R” in “CARE” — removing obstacles), I felt empowered to make some different choices about my schedule. Shifting my mindset from seeing the impossible as possible helped me to consider alternatives, ask for help and make room for the  exercise and movement my body and heart were craving. 
  In his book The Art of Being: 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life, author and speaker Dennis Merritt Jones says “In Zen, there is an old saying: The obstacle is the path. Know that a whole and happy life is not free of obstacles. Quite the contrary, a whole and happy life is riddled with obstacles-they simply become the very stepping-stones that help lift us to a new perspective. It is not what happens to us in this life that shapes us, it is how we choose to respond to what happens to us.” To his point, acknowledging that obstacles that may appear to be getting in the way of our self care are actually choice points for us to rethink, rework or reassess our current situations or beliefs into ones that work better for us. So this week, take a moment or two to reflect upon what obstacles you see as getting in the way of your self-care practices, and allow them to guide your way towards a healthier, happier and more fulfilled YOU. 
  Yours — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Click here to learn more about our upcoming classes!

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance. 

August 15 – 52 Weeks of Mindfulness

“And did you get what
you wanted from this life even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.” 

-Raymond Carver  

Do you have a voice in your mind, that may or may not sound like your own, that is criticizing, judgmental and even mean? That sees the worst in your actions and your attributes? Yeah, me too. I am sure that I am not the first person to point out that that voice in our heads is meaner to us than we would ever, EVER be to someone else. Sad, but very likely true. My self-care practice of kindness and nurturing towards myself is definitely a work in progress. I am up against decades of perfectionism and self-blame, both of which are issues I have tackled in my own therapy and personal reflection exercises for many years. Because my inner critic, like yours, in reality has fundamentally good intentions (to keep us safe), and because her messages of harsh disdain and judgment I believed would help motivate me to stay on the path of success and accomplishment (lots of reinforcement for that one), encouraging her to quiet down or at least soften has been a difficult practice to cultivate. This week, as I invite you all to contemplate the “A” in CARE — which stands for affection or affectionate — maybe try something that works for me even when my harsh inner voice is powerful and strong. It was one of my first self-compassion practices, even though I didn’t know it at the time. Here’s the gist — when you realize you are you are in pain — physical, emotional, spiritual — notice that you are suffering and say quietly to yourself, or even silently in your mind “Okay … it’s okay.” Use a gentle tone, even imagine talking to yourself like you would to someone you love. You can do this combined with a physical gesture (sometimes referred to as a soothing touch) like patting or gently rubbing yourself on the heart space, or clasping your hands together. Yes it is that simple, and actually works, by responding to our own pain with attention, acceptance and affection. In his seminal book The Mindful Path to Self Compassion, Chris Germer talks about freeing ourselves from destructive thoughts and feelings, and cultivating ways to meet difficult emotions from a place of kindness and love. He has created a guidebook to self-compassion that is accessible and effective. If you like the simple practice above, and want to learn more about self-compassion, check out his book or join us at Sacred Treehouse for our next MSC course this fall. With love — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
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Click here for The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance

August 8, 2021

“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.” Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

I can’t count the number of times I was asked by friends and loved ones what I needed when my father passed away several years ago. I didn’t know … What did I need? At that time in my life I wasn’t even sure I knew how to find out what I needed, let alone ask for or receive help. I had not yet discovered the power of mindfulness … I didn’t yet know that there is a fundamental wisdom within me, ready and waiting to be heard and heeded. 

I have had several other deeply felt losses since then … my beloved maternal grandmother, my favorite uncle … and mindfulness helped me access a deep knowing within me of how to care for myself and others during these times of grief. This knowing has also been with me during happier times, and serves as my ever-present lighthouse — piercing through the fog of busy-ness of the mind and chatter from external pressures, and illuminating the way to equanimity, acceptance and even ease. 

Patty and I, and the rest of our Sacred Treehouse faculty, often say that the practice of mindfulness is pretty simple. Easy — not so much. But with commitment and consistency you too can access your own lighthouse of wisdom, so that you can effectively care for yourself during both joyful AND challenging times. The first of the letters of our mnemonic this month, the “C” in CARE refers to “clarity”, which we cultivate through the practice of exercising the mental muscle of intentional attention. As our sixth sense of awareness sharpens we begin to see more clearly what our bodies and hearts need to function effectively in our day-to-day world. We can also more easily access the little joys that speckle the landscapes of our lives. 

Want to learn more about how to practice mindfulness and find that clarity of mind and heart? Join me in September (in person!) for our fall offering of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), an evidenced-based course on the fundamentals of cultivating a mindfulness practice. You won’t regret it! In the meantime, try the below brief practice that is adapted from a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill called “Wise Mind.” And tune into the wisdom, that lighthouse, that is already within YOU.

With Metta — Nikki and the Sacred Treehouse faculty
Listen to Wise Mind Practice Here
Click here to learn more about MBSR

Nicole Davis is a licensed psychologist practicing at Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches Dr. Davis starts with the core belief that each person already has everything they need to live a life of joy and fulfillment, and that therapy is just a process of uncovering their inherent wholeness. Dr. Davis gently invites her clients to uncover their strengths in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Dr. Davis completed MBSR facilitator training through the Center for Mindfulness at UCSD. Dr. Davis is also a 200-hour trained yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance.