Meet Brandi Bonica

March 22, 2019

Planning becomes a kind of self-care.
– Brandi Bonica

 

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Brandi Bonica about her experience with the FLOW Planner and FLOW 365. A lot of the people in FLOW 365 are entrepreneurs of one sort or another, but Brandi is a nurse, saving people throughout the day. I love seeing how the FLOW process resonated with her and had all kinds of ripples in her life.

 

Brandi’s FLOW Situation

I have two little girls. One is just turning six and and four and a half. My main job, other than mothering, is being a critical care nurse. I work part time at a hospital, which is wonderful because I can save my career but also be home to raise my children. But, finding balance in that is hard as well so that’s why I leaned towards Mia’s FLOW 365.

 

Key Tool: Putting Your Planning Together

While Brandi has always been a planner, she had ideas in lots of places, and it was hard for her to see the big picture. FLOW 365 helped her because it looks at the whole day, the whole month, the whole 90 days in one book. It allowed her to refocus her goals, thoughts, and tasks. She says, “I was a little skeptical about leaving my old planner behind but now I look back and now this is my new bible.”

And it wasn’t just the plan, it was the journaling in the same space too, “It forced me to ask those questions or to refocus my attention on things that are important to me, but I’ve never been one to journal in the past so that was really great to have that all in one place.”

 

Key Tool: Finding Your Rhythm

“I was really able to look at my home-life balance and really make it predictable, make it automatic, so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every week…. I could spend my energy doing other things instead of constantly thinking about meal planning or shopping or planning for the kids.”

 

FLOW Changes

Food: I participated in a couple of weeks of making some freezer meals and putting them away so I would have a lighter load during dinner times or meal times. It started during the holidays, but I continue to use that little tool throughout the rest of the months, just based upon what my life was going to look like. If I know I have a really crazy couple of weeks coming up where I’m traveling or my husband is traveling or just late nights, I can pull one of those out at anytime. So I have made it kind of part of my weekly process is to look at a new recipe or reinvent an old one but to put one freezer meal away a week.

Lifestyle: Instead of trying to do all the things during the holidays, Brandi chose to be purposefully present, purposefully planning things that are important to us and just letting go of things that aren’t.

OM: Planning becomes a kind of self-care.

Work: Shifting to focusing more on work and tasks and how to time-block those things so they aren’t interfering with my home and personal life.

 

We also talk about:

  • Having more mental space for goals
  • The power of working with a group of women from different places and walks of life, all looking for more flow
  • Choosing a word for a 90-day cycle to set an intention or guide you
  • How tools that get you through a busy period like the holidays can benefit you throughout the year
  • How saying no, also allows you to say yes
  • Freezer meals and moving meals forward throughout the day

 

BIO

Brandi Bonica is a critical care nurse and the mom of two young children. She found a community and a new process to bring great ease to her life through the FLOW planner and FLOW 365.

 

LINKS

 

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CHOOSE A 90-DAY WORD. Some people choose a word of the year, but here, we like to think in 90-day seasons. Choose a word (or phrase like Brandi’s purposefully present) to guide you throughout the next 90 days. As you are planning or trying to make decisions about what to do or not do, lean into your word as a guide.

  • MAKE FREEZER MEALS. Set aside a few hours to prep a bunch of freezer meals. The time spent now will serve you later when life feels hectic. You’ll be able to have a healthy meal, even when you are very busy. And you’ll appreciate yourself for taking care of you and your family. The podcast with Angela Litzinger has lots of ideas to get you started.

  • PRACTICE SAYING NO. Decide how you want to feel and what you really want to do. Say no to everything else. Brandi noted that it was hard, sometimes, but it left room to say yes to things that were really important to her. Practice saying no to things, even if they sound fun or you have friends going, if they don’t serve you and your family.

Get to Know Your Kids with Lee Lee McKnight

March 20, 2019

You have a relationship with your own self just like you do with other people. ... nourish the relationship with yourself.  Lee Lee McKnight

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Lee Lee McKnight about parenting and mindfulness and how they can go together. Lee is the publisher of Perpetual You and mom to a 11-year-old and a 6-year-old.

Lee Lee talks about not finding parenting fulfilling. She said, “I just decided that I wanted to enjoy motherhood in my own way and throw the rules of all the parenting manuals out the window and just see if there’s a way that I could reclaim it for myself.”

We talk about being as present as you can with each kid at the age they’re at, and about being mindful about when you are being a mom and about when you’re working (especially if you work at home). Lee Lee reminds herself, “I’m only one person,” which means you can’t do it all for everyone at one time. She says it helps to really tune in to where your kids are right now — and to recognize that they need different support at different times.

We talk about:

  • letting your kid be who they are and getting to know them as a person instead of placing your own expectations on them
  • Being in tune with what your own needs and your kids needs helps you avoid mommy guilt by giving kids what they need and doing your own thing
  • Making space to be present with your kids when you know they will or even might need a lot from you (like right after school)
  • The power of mantras and some of the ones she uses as a parent: This is right now and it’s not forever and I am the right mom for my kids
  • Slowing down and noticing what’s going on
  • Knowing and sharing your values
  • Intentional living and not taking what other people do or say personally.

BIO

Lee Lee McKnight is #ladyboss behind The Perpetual You--a lifestyle brand curated for women living intentionally--and the mom of Henri (11) & Wayne (6).  In 2018, Lee Lee began co-hosting the podcast, Mama Now Conversations, and in 2019, she began a YouTube series on Intentional Living. She is also at work on a book about the intersection of privilege and intentional living practices. You can find Lee Lee on Instagram @wordsbyleelee or in Hamden, CT—where she’s most likely hanging out on the front porch of her family’s 1920s bungalow.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • USE A MANTRA. Lee Lee shares some of the mantras she uses (and has more on her YouTube channel). Find one—or create one—that works for you. Two keys as you create yours—make it positive and make it believable. Repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Write it down and post it around your house.

  • LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL. Your kids are people and responsible to some extent for themselves. So if it isn’t a safety issue, try giving them ownership of their choice. For example, if your child wants to wear their shirt backwards, let them. And then let go of worry about what other people think.

  • LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS. Pick one time in your day or week that is really unpredictable. Lee Lee uses the example of the time her kids get home from school. They might need 5 minutes to reconnect or they might need more attention and support. By letting go of expectations about that time of day, you can be more present for whatever comes up. That might look like blocking off open time on your schedule and even not starting a really juicy, creative project too soon before they come home.

 

Meet Hélène Defrance

March 12, 2019

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Hélène Defrance, a olympic athlete turned nutritionist, and a member of FLOW 365. While I focus a lot of my work on moms and the demands of matching work and food and self-care with parenting, Hélène reached out to me and said, “You know, I’m not a mom but I think I’m supposed to do this program.” And she did and it’s been fabulous!

Hélène spent 10 years sailing and working toward the Olympics. She qualified for Rio, where she got the bronze, and got a world champion in 2016.

For the past two years, she has changed her focus and is now working as a nutritionist. She’s passionate about nutrition and how our food habits and digestive system can affect our health. She educates and advises people about nutrition.  

 

Hélène’s FLOW Situation

I felt stuck…. I was stressed everyday and I didn’t feel accomplished at any time. I had some vision ... but, for some reason I never was able to stop and think how I could get to there. Six months ago, that felt too wrong. I needed to get some help.

While Hélène was feeling this way, she was seeing private clients and serving as the nutritionist for a a big deal football team. She was doing so much and not taking it in. I love watching the women in FLOW 365 begin to see what they are doing and accomplishing.

Why Planning Matters

Hélène started out asking “Where is the time for all the other things in the planner?” As she started seeing where she was spending her time—lots of time exercising and shopping and working late but not doing the hard things—she was able to start making changes.

 

Key Tool: Group Meetings

I love when we all meet up online and share where we are and next steps for us.

These meetings are a chance to share and get advice from Mia and the rest of the group. And having a group of people who understand what you are doing is really special. When somebody can really hear that while you’re making the little changes that bring joy, it helps you with the momentum.

 

Key Tool: Daily Debrief

I’ve got my routine every night. I spend probably 15 minutes with my planner and I write things down. I look at what I’ve been doing…. I do my little debrief with myself and I really love it.

There things we don’t do because they feel hard or take longer than we think they’ll take or we busy or for whatever reason don’t start them. Debriefing gives you a chance to go back without judgement. It gives you a chance to see why things didn’t work or to move things up in your planner.

 

Key Tool: Word of the Cycle

At the beginning of every 90-day cycle (the FLOW planner includes a page for this), choose a word that you want to embody for this 90-day season. It’s a really simple but meaningful practice and helps you decide what you focus on or don’t focus on.

Hélène’s word was serenity and it helped her be more present, build trust and confidence, and feel more relaxed. She started a meditation practice and spent more time in nature.

 

FLOW Changes

Food: Being precise about nutrients, not just calories; choosing quality food from carefully chosen farms; having boundaries around food when traveling or busy

Lifestyle: Better flow between different parts of her life

Om: Meditating more. Adding in exercise but not using it to squeeze out other activities.

Work: Having more reasonable end times to the day.

 

Big and Little Shifts from Flow 365

Hélène describes her biggest shifts in the first two cycles of FLOW 365: I feel so much joy and I’m so positive. Everything feels like it’s fun.

BIO

Hélène Defrance is an athelete and nutritionist. Hélène spent 10 years sailing and working toward the Olympics. She qualified for Rio, where she got the bronze, and got a world champion in 2016. She now works as a nutritionist with private clients and as the nutritionist for a football team to help people improve their well being and athletic performance.

 

LINKS

Podcast with Jade Venables

 

Doable Change from this episode:

Pause before you act. Just take a minute, even 10–15 seconds to see how you feel before you eat or drink (or work or work out … or anything else). Sometimes we create rules in planning like, “I’m not going have coffee.” but every once in a while, after the pause, we realize it’s okay. It could be coffee or anything. It could be staying up late to watch a movie. Maybe you set a “rule” about going to bed, and often that rule serves you, but maybe one night you need to connect with your partner and that pause gives you the space to make a choice.

 

In FLOW 365, we get really intentional about how we want to feel and where we want to focus attention for the next 90 days. Pairing the pause with our intentions helps us make choices that bring more joy to life instead of just offering rules to follw. Our group provides a place to comment without judgement on our actions. And later you might debrief from you day and share that too. We plan, pause, and debrief around four key areas of our lives—food, lifestyle, OM (spirituality and self-care) and work. FLOW 365 is a high-end, yearlong program that helps entrepreneurial moms make time and space for clean food, joyful home lives and meaningful practices — alongside work, of course! It is designed to help you increase productivity without decreasing joy.

 

While there isn’t a space for pausing in the FLOW Planner, there is a place to set intentions and there is place to debrief. Taking time to sent intentions and then review your day without judgment help you live the life you truly want. The FLOW planner helps you fit food and the other things that “matter most” into your day.

 

Let It Go with Bonnie Harris

March 8, 2019

When our kids push our buttons, it’s not a problem with our kids, it’s a problem with us. – Bonnie Harris

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Bonnie Harris, a parenting and child behavior specialist. I love getting parenting experts on the show because as we’re figuring out how to lead healthy lives and do the work that we want to do, we also have kids. At the end of the day, we can feel bad about how we’re parenting, and it’s helpful having tools that support the way we’re trying to show up to the world as a parent. Bonnie hopes our talk will alleviate some of the pressure parents put on themselves.

Bonnie says her work right now is often focused on helping parents let go. She explains that it feels like you are saying, “Now, I’m cutting the rope and letting this little boat drift out to sea to fend for itself,” but really, you are letting go of that voice in your head that says you aren’t good enough, that you’re doing everything wrong.

Bonnie explains that our perceptions lead to feeling overwhelm, frustrated, depressed, helpless and that all of these feelings that come from our head, not from circumstances and not from our kids. These feelings then lead to our reactions. In a nanosecond, we react in ways we know is not effective. Then we regret it and go down the spiral of “I’m a terrible parent.” But it’s possible to break this cycle and Bonnie has lots of great ideas for us!

We talk about:

  • The power of the connected relationship: “A connected relationship is the number one preventive measure of anything that any parent is afraid of happening to their child”
  • Separating judgement from facts and reframing what you’re telling yourself every day
  • A step-by-step process to stop reacting in the moment
  • What to do when your agenda and your kids agendas aren’t aligned and how to problem solve with your kids
  • Self care being “as critically important as getting your child a nutritious meal”—and the many different forms self-care can take (it’s not all mediation and pedicures)
  • Starting by paying attention to your reactions and thinking about what caused them
  • Making this work a priority
  • One rule for making meals more peaceful—do not talk about food

BIO

Bonnie is a parenting and child behavior specialist. She speaks and teaches internationally and is the author of two books. She has designed and taught parenting workshops and counseled parents for more than twenty five years. She holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education is from Bank Street College in New York City, and works with the Connective Parenting Philosophy, which allows parents to understand where their children are coming from both developmentally and temperamentally and to respond with appropriate expectations. Bonnie lives in NH with her husband and is the mother of two grown children and three grandchildren.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • PAY ATTENTION AND PLAY DETECTIVE. Start by simply paying attention to how you react during the day. Note what you did (maybe you yelled at your kids). Notice how you were feeling. Try to figure out what you were thinking, what button were your kids pushing? Keep a journal for the week.

  • PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE. Bonnie reminds us that self-care is as essential as giving our kids a nutritious meal. Think about what really nourishes you. It could be work and having adult conversations. It could be spending time alone outside. It could be getting a pedicure or meditating daily, but it doesn’t have to be something that sounds like self-care. Do something that is just for you.

  • MAKE THE DINNER TABLE FUN. Have a no talking about food rule. You give positive feedback (like “This is delicious”) or explain how you made it or where you got it if that matters. But no complaining or whining about what it is. No badgering kids to take a certain number of bites. Try modeling manners instead of nagging. Try a game or a family question or something else to keep the dinner table a place you all want to be.

Divinely Sensitive with Heather Dressel

March 4, 2019

“One of my favorite parts of this group is you and the way that you lead and the way that you inspire … everytime I talk to you, I feel better. You always make me feel like I can conquer what I need to conquer and it’s like no big deal.”  – Heather Dressel

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Heather Dressel about her family, her business and her experience during FLOW365.

Heather has an 8-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. She’s been a stay at home more for ten years, and this is the first year she said she can do something for herself. And she’s doing something really exciting—starting her own business, called Divinely Sensitive. In addition she moved to a new state recently.

In the midst of all this change, she was resistant to committing to a full year process, here’s what happened when we met in person:

I just had this knowing … this feeling that we were going to work together … When we started talking and you told me about this program [FLOW365], there was like a ping in my heart that was like, “Ooh, you need to get her information and stay in touch with her. This sounds something that it could be really great for you.

Heather’s FLOW Situation

Heather needed to focus on healing from serious chronic illnesses and disease and learning about foods that make her and her family sick. She is transforming from full time mom to a business owner. Over the past couple of years, she’s had really amazing spiritual awakening and she’s settling to this new home. That’s food, lifestyle, om and work right there.

She says, “I had so much going on, I needed support, I needed a system, a gentle, ever changing, forgiving structure that would inspire me to show up to be my best self in all of those areas.”

Why Planning Matters

I always loved the idea of planning. Planning looked like tons of notebooks and lists floating around my kitchen and everything scattered. As much as I love order and planning, I just never really found a way to make it work for me and I still struggle with consistency, but I’m definitely getting better since I started FLOW.

Just Show Up

You show up when you show up. “It goes totally in alignment with what I’m trying to do with my entire life to let go of the perfectionist and just show up and do the best I can in that moment.”

Key Tool: Braindump

I always say there is magic in writing things down. It helps us really be focused on our goals but it also lets us let go of trying to hold all the information in our heads. Heather says, “Just the braindump alone is super helpful for me. If I fully get to that, it’s like I’ve let everything out, I’ve looked at it, I’ve read it, and it kind of sits with me.”

A braindump, or as I like to call it a Master List, can be super helpful, but for Heather, they used to be overwhelming. Here’s what changed:

A huge shift for me was doing this dump list and then breaking it down in the back of the journal to the food, work, om and lifestyle. I’m a really visual person and so seeing everything in the way it’s organized in the journal is a lot less overwhelming for me than looking at pages and pages and pages of list.

And what’s on our list can change season to season. Right now I might be really focused on work, but in a couple of months I might feel pulled to really reconnect with my food. But when you see it written down, and you don’t put it on your calendar it isn’t going to get done.

Key Tool: Week at a Glance Pages

The FLOW planner has a number of sections, and Heather’s favorite is the Week at a Glance page: I never took time to think about how I wanted my week to feel. Who has time to think about that? It’s just revolutionary for me. What is my vision for the week? What do I want to receive this week? What do I want to give this week? It’s just give deep meaning to your week which is so awesome.

Key Tool: Big Rocks

Imagine a jar that you need to fill with sand and rocks. If you put the sand in first, there is no room for the big rocks, but if you put the big rocks in first, the sand flows around it. We use this practice with planning by choosing the three big things to focus on each week. Heather says, Even Superwoman can only do so much in a day. It's definitely helped me scale back to the point where I can feel successful. I don’t have huge lists that like at the end of the day, I’m like, “Great. I have 70 things on my list and I only got two done.” As opposed to “There are the three big things that need to happen this week. Let’s break it down and figure out what has to be accomplished to get those done.” That’s been a huge shift for me.

FLOW Changes

Food: My kitchen feels a lot less like a prison than it used to.

Lifestyle: Settling into a new home

Om: Making sure spiritual practices don’t get lost in the shuffle—creating an altar with Goddess statues and crystals that are meaningful to her goals, listening to music and chanting to connect with her love of singing and with her body

Work: Creating time for starting a new business

Big and Little Shifts from FLOW 365

I definitely feel more organized because I allow myself to take the time that I need to plan without feeling guilty. That was a huge shift for me. I felt guilty sitting down and taking time out to plan anything that wasn’t like what I’m buying at the grocery store or something directly going to affect my children or my husband or my life like that.

I’ve seen my life as very small. I was thinking very small.

I feel like FLOW365 has opened me up and really inspired me to understand that I don’t have to be perfect, but I still can accomplish all of the things that I want to accomplish.

“One of my favorite parts of this group is you and the way that you lead and the way that you inspire … everytime I talk to you, I feel better. You always make me feel like I can conquer what I need to conquer and it’s like no big deal.”

We also talked about:

  • How being a mom and dealing with illness or a chronic condition can be more work than a job
  • Needing to take care of yourself as a mom before you can help your kids
  • Learning to make changes that we know will have impact—for Heather it’s putting her food down about gluten because of how it affects her and her kids
  • Having best days and “just need something” days with spiritual practices
  • Letting go of perfectionism and finding what you need each day

BIO

Heather Dressel was a stay at home mom for years before launching a Divinely Sensitive. Heather is a highly sensitive empath herself, and launched her business to lead a community of women who identify as highly sensitive or empaths or both. Divinely Sensitive provide resources and support as they learn to honor their unique sensitivities and unleash their superpowers. Heather is currently active in FLOW 365.

LINKS

Doable Change from this episode:

Make a dump list. Take a piece of paper or a blank spread in your journal and divide it into four sections for food, lifestyle, OM (spirituality and self-care) and work. Dump all the things in your head that you have to do or want to do into those sections. Just getting it out of your head makes a difference. You can relax a little more. You can see where you are out of balance. And you can see what you can start to focus on.

We do this practice every 90 days as part of FLOW 365. FLOW 365 is a high-end, yearlong program that helps entrepreneurial moms make time and space for clean food, joyful home lives and meaningful practices — alongside work, of course! It is designed to help you increase productivity without decreasing joy.

It is such an important part of my own practice that it is built right into the FLOW Planner. The FLOW planner helps you fit food and the other things that “matter most” into your day. By scheduling food tasks, exercise, your big dreams and downtime along with appointments and work and getting the kids to and from activities, you can love your life more and be present in the “flow.”

10 Lessons from Seeking Flow Between Work, Family and Wellness

March 2, 2019

“Am I good enough? Yes I am.” – Michelle Obama

We all have our own journey, but so often there is something, sometimes one little thing that we take from somebody else’s experience that helps us. This is me being 100% real about what I think about, what I do (and sometimes what I don’t do). I’m still figuring out the flow between work and family and wellness. Here are a few lessons I’m learning and continuing to play with.

  1. I am enough.
    I spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t thin enough or rich enough or smart enough. A few months ago I was trying to figure out the next steps in my business, and I actually had the thought, “I am not man enough.” I’m still tested by the idea of being enough, but the why behind putting time into my wellness is to remind myself everyday that I am enough.
  2. Freedom does not mean no rules. Boundaries are so important. In order to feel well in my body, I had to understand what I should eat. I’ve had a rule around not eating gluten and dairy for 10 years now, but many rules are shorter lived. I like to call them experiments: ditching coffee for a week, committing to a cleanse for 21 days, gifting myself a good nights sleep. This year I am working on work boundaries. I’m making the effort to work 8–3 while the kids are in school, keeping weekends for family, and planning for sick days or vacation days.
  3. Big Rocks have to come first and be non-negotiable. Big Rocks are three things that move you towards your dreams. They do not have to take the most time, but every day I do them, I feel like I got something done. Where do you want to be 10 years from now? What small thing can you do today to move you towards that? Think about 30 minutes writing the outline for your book, 1 hour prepping food for a cleanse, 10 minutes sharing your passion project with a friend, a day cleaning the basement.
  4. Planning is my best tool with the highest ROI.  A big part of planning is committing and making space, so the act of planning really makes me consider what things even belong in my day. Productive does not mean busy. When I plan, I’m not always reacting. Instead, I make sure I’m making space for the things I want to do and to get done the things that need to get done.
  5. My plan is not a set and forget thing.
    My planner can look a little messy, but I found out recently that is OK! I went through a phase where I wanted super beautiful, Instagram-worthy pages, but lately I realize the messier the better, because life is messy. Sometimes by Wednesday my meal plan is off, a kid gets sick, or I don’t have time to cut all the veggies for ratatouille the night I have it planned. Sometimes I don’t get something done at all for work or around the house, so I need to make more time to do it later in the week. Sometimes I ignore a timeblock all together, but if I am going to take my planning seriously, I have to move it somewhere else. I actually go back and account for changes I make in my planner. Messy, but it makes my planning real and helps me stay accountable.
  6. My money is an important part of my wellness journey.
    I have a lot of really limiting beliefs about money and my worth. My MO has been to ignore it, but I know that doesn’t work. I feel very much at the beginning of my journey on this issue. In the past few years I have gotten more confident being honest about money. I think more about what I need, why I’m willing to spend on things (maybe it was ethically made or supports a friend in business), and what causes I want my money to go to.
  7. Measurement is not all bad. I was inspired by an amazing coach named Christie to really ritualistically acknowledge money as it comes in. Know when payday is, have a gratitude practice when you see the money in your account. It took me a while to actually do this. This year I also started using an app called YNAB, short for You Need a Budget. Measuring money can be good. Measuring time and social media followers can be good. Maybe food measuring and the scale are not as bad as I have thought. I think it’s what you do with the information.
  8. Clutter can really get in the way of feeling productive. If I am having a hard time doing work, it means something needs to be cleaned or decluttered. Before I sat down to create this podcast, I cleaned the kitchen and my desk. Literally, I had been trying to thing of ideas for days, and after a relatively quick clean-up, the ideas came flooding. Things to clean: your phone (can you get down to one screen of apps) a closet (try the Kon Marie method), your head (write lists to dump everything onto paper).
  9. The little people are watching. If I have a bad day, my kids have a bad day. If I am stressed about dinner, they don’t eat. When I make an effort to design good days, they have good days. I find a way to enjoy cooking by making food I want to eat, listening to music, having my kids close by doing homework. They eat everything. I plan. Checklists appear on their walls with what things they need to get done. I talk about drinking water, they drink water. I meditate. Meditation becomes something they each find and love. None of us dream of our kids growing up to be stressed and feel trapped, so model the feeling of your dream.
  10. This is a journey. There is always more. We get so focused on the destination, but what if we focus on the journey and the next step. This year I am working on feng shui, cleaning up our cleaning supplies, getting old medicine out of the house, slow fashion, retuning my energy, making the money we need to renovate our house, my daughter’s sleep, our home, reaching more moms. I have come so far from the tired, always sneezing 85 pounds overweight Mia from 11 years ago. But my body is always changing, my kids are getting older, my work has gone in different directions. Everyday I have to listen to my body. Everyday, I have to remember what I am here to do. Everyday I have to remind myself that I am enough. These are lessons I think about regularly, and I wanted to put them on your radar. Which one resonated with you the most? Which have you learned but need to revisit? Because, like I said, it’s a journey and we are constantly figuring thing out and then having new situations to apply them too. Keep at it. You are enough!

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • EXPERIMENT WITH A BOUNDARY. I like to experiment with rules around my food and wellness and work. That means I’m not committing forever, but maybe for a day or a week or a month. Try ditching coffee for a week, commiting to a cleanse for 21 days, gifting yourself a good nights sleep, setting an end time to your work day and shutting off communication then. See how it feels. See if it’s a rule you want to keep or tweak.

  • DO ONE SMALL THING TOWARD A BIG DREAM. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Do one small thing today to move you towards that. Is it about 30 minutes writing the outline for your book, 1 hour prepping food for a cleanse, 10 minutes sharing your passion project with a friend, a day cleaning the basement? Choose your one thing and put it on your calendar. Do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day.

  • DECLUTTER ONE THING. Clear out a cupboard in the kitchen. Clear apps off your phone. Use the Kon Marie method to clean out a closet. Write a big braindump of a list to clear our your head. Don’t think about your whole house or even a whole room. Think small. Dive in and see how that clear space makes you feel.

Space for Spirituality with John Pedergast

February 21, 2019

As the heart awakens, we feel more and more grateful for no reason.  
– John Prendergast

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with John Prendergast about making space for spirituality. I met John at a retreat in 2018 and so many of his teachings connect with things we end up talking about here on the podcast.  

One of the most important aspects for me was quieting your mind. When John said, “Let’s just sit” it sounded so much easier than trying to meditate. If you are raising kids and dealing with how you were brought up and everything you have to do and all the world around you moving so fast, there’s so much coming at you that it’s really hard to hear the voice inside you. But, as John says, if we get quiet, we can start attuning to our inner knowing.

We talk about the difference between thinking and awareness. John explains, “The thinking mind, the ordinary thinking mind, is really helpful in terms of practical problem solving but, it’s not very helpful in terms of actually recognizing what I would call our “true nature.” Getting out of the thinking mind helps us realize that.

We talk about:

  • How disconnecting from our thoughts brings relaxation and attention can then drop down much more easily into the body.
  • Dealing with situations with our kids by getting quieter within ourselves and tapping into our inner wisdom
  • This process not being selfish because it’s about self-indulgence, but actually it’s about true self intimacy.
  • Using small breaks in your day to tune into yourself instead of looking at your phone or listening to the radio
  • Recognizing our core limiting beliefs and then getting quiet and going to the heart, not the mind, for an answer and transformation
  • How awareness can help us work through unfinished “stuff” in our lives—we need to notice where we feel it in our bodies and the stories we tell about it and finding the very core of it
  • The power of gratitude practice and even deeper gratitude we’re alive and that we’re awake and that there is an extraordinary mystery of human life that’s unfolding

John shares this practice:

  • Take a little time out of your routine, say 10 or 15 minutes in the morning, before the day begins, to quietly sit in a comfortable place where you’re not going to be interrupted.
  • Sit upright, comfortably.
  • Close your eyes or have them partially open.
  • Take a few deep breaths and just feel yourself held by whatever it is you’re sitting upon.
  • Know that there’s no problem that you have to solve in the moment.
  • Shift your attention down to the heart area or the belly. Use your breath to anchor your attention.
  • Thoughts about what you need to do or plans for the day may arise. Just let them fall away.
  • Begin to simply open to the silent, open sense of awareness. Let it deepen.

 

Attuning with the quietness can affect your whole day. This practice can take some time to get used to, so give it few weeks for a fair trial.

BIO

John J. Prendergast, Ph.D., is the author of In Touch: How to Tune in to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself (Sounds True, 2015) and the forthcoming The Deep Heart: Our Portal to Presence (Sounds True, 2019). He is a retired adjunct professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and a psychotherapist in private practice. John studied for many years with the European sage Jean Klein as well as with Adyashanti, and he was invited to share the dharma by Dorothy Hunt. www.listeningfromsilence.com

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • SIT QUIETLY. Take about 10–15 minutes daily to sit quietly. Try using the practice that John outlines in the show.. Remember that thoughts will likely come into your head as you settle, but they will fall away. Don’t get discouraged; it takes some time to get used to this practice. Just keep showing up.
  • DIG INTO WHAT DOESN’T GET DONE. Think about a project you didn’t get done that you really meant to do. How do you feel about that—and where do you feel it in your body? Get curious about that feeling. Notice any stories you are telling about the project or any core limiting beliefs related to it? Question that belief. Practice discernment—noticing things as they are without judging. Let yourself feel it.
  • PRACTICE GRATITUDE. Write down something you are grateful for at the beginning and end of each day. Take a moment to be grateful for just being. 

Styling a Year with Sue Rock Tully

February 19, 2019

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m so excited to talk with Sue Rock Tully, a stylist and coach with Stella & Dot, the mom to two teenage daughters, and a member of FLOW365. I can’t wait for you to hear how she’s flourished and how you can too!

Sue left a corporate job when her kids were in fifth and sixth grade. When she had a corporate job, she felt like everything was planned. “I just knew what my goals were, I knew what my schedule was, I knew when my trips were, I knew all of that. I felt like I had a handle of things.” Leaving that world left her floundering, and FLOW365 helped ground her.

 

Sue’s FLOW Situation

I was in a place where I hadn’t had a lot of focus and I wasn’t feeling productive. … I liked, especially that FLOW 365 wasn’t just about work…. the focus across everything I found especially appealing.

 

Key Tool: Getting Everything on the Same Page

Sue talks about how the holistic approach of FLOW 365 and the FLOW Planner have helped her get into FLOW and make space for and “count” all the things that she does. For her it looks like getting her family schedule into her planner first—plays, school events. Then blocking her business around that. She doesn’t work full time because she doesn’t have to. She can look at the different parts of her life and recognize that taking her business to another level right now doesn’t fit with her family. At the same time she is thriving at the level she’s at.  

 

Key Tool: 90-Day Seasons

Each FLOW Planner covers 90 days.

I like how it’s broken up into seasons. The fact that it’s a three month season and thinking about life that way is new to me…. I’m not a really big, big goal setter. All of those sort five or ten years things are very daunting to me. Even a whole year of what I want to accomplish. The three months feels so doable to come up with really actionable and achievable things.

 

I like too that we’re thinking into January ... because it doesn’t feel like that big end at New Years sometimes feel like a little cliff or something. This just feels like a slope. Flow again...

 

Key Tool: Community & Accountability

“I love the group…. We’re all so different but, it feels so good to be together…. Community in general is such a great thing. It’s not easy to create.” FLOW 365 is build around a community that  includes regular group meetings and communication that allow for accountability toward our goals or to just check in with what we’ve done in a non-judgemental way. It’s always amazing to me how groups come together and how a diverse group of people can really support each other and just how amazing that is. It’s so needed maybe this particular time maybe in history.

 

In FLOW 365, we plan at a lot of levels. We get together for high level seasonal plans. We break things down my month and then by week. And we keep all of the things that matter front and center—food, lifestyle, OM (spirituality and self-care) and work. FLOW 365 is a high-end, yearlong program that helps entrepreneurial moms make time and space for clean food, joyful home lives and meaningful practices — alongside work, of course! It is designed to help you increase productivity without decreasing joy.

 

Key Tool: Coaching

Sue says, “You’re very insightful. There’s just some advice that you’ve given that you may not even realize that comes so easily to you… You can hear people’s desires or where they need things when we have our group conversations. You just get right to it.”

 

FLOW Changes

Food: Thanks to FLOW planner, I haven’t had a week without a dinner plan in a while. Before if I didn’t know, the entire day was spent thinking about, “What are we gonna do for dinner?”

Lifestyle: Because it’s holistic, getting the laundry done or going grocery counts as something. It can be one of my big rocks.

OM: Committing time for yoga regularly because things go better when she does

Work: If I didn’t have a plan for when I was going to fit in work (because I get to choose that), all day I was like, “Oh, I really should do that. Oh, I really should do that.” But, I wasn’t really doing anything. I was just thinking about what I should do.

 

Big and Little Shifts from Flow 365

Thinking about things holistically has been great. I was a decent dinner planner before. I mean, I get to it every single week and I certainly knew the weeks that I planned dinners for the week, they were a much better weeks than the weeks I missed it. I think because of the bigger planning part of the FLOW planner, I am not missing a week of meal plan. Dinner plans are set and it becomes part of the bigger plan for the week. I like that it makes that holistic for me…. It just takes out all of that constant planning in your head.

We also talk about:

  • Why the timing for leaving her job was perfect for her—though not what she might have expected
  • The marginalization in both the work world and the mom world of working part time
  • How choosing a word we want to lean into for a season helps us make decisions that lead us to the way we want to be living
  • Why she started with Stella & Dot and her favorite perks—including creating community (and free jewelry)
  • Getting her big rocks on the calendar

BIO

Sue Rock Tully is a Stella & Dot stylist and mom. She’s growing an amazing part time business, practicing yoga, and helping her kids through college application process.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

TAKE TIME TO PLAN. Pause to prep for your week or month or season. Take time to look ahead to what’s coming up. Put in any big rocks—work deadlines or travel, school events, your favorite yoga class or writing workshop—the stuff that happens at a certain time that you want to work around. Get intentional about the way you want to feel and where you want to focus attention. Then plot out what needs to happen to get there. That may look like creating a meal plan and scheduling grocery shopping. It may mean deciding to hold off on certain activities to another month or season. It may mean setting some grounding self-care time at the beginning of every day. That pause to look ahead and plan helps you get in FLOW.

REFLECT. Related to taking time to plan is taking time to reflect. At the end of the day or week or month or season, stop and think back. What worked? What didn’t? Where did your attention really go? Where did you get off track? Where did you get back on? The key is to be non-judgemental. This practice can help you decide what you want to do next, but it can also help you really see what you did accomplish—and it helps slow down life, which feels so, so fast.

The FLOW Planner is designed to meet the holistic approach Sue talked about. It keeps food, lifestyle, om, and work on one page and gives you a place to pause and look ahead at your season, your month, your week. It also provides space for your reflection. The FLOW planner helps you fit food and the other things that “matter most” into your day.

 

Planning for Sex with Caitlin Cogan Doemner

February 14, 2019

I want you to be completely convinced that you are beautiful, that you are sexy, that you deserve pleasure. – Caitlin Cogan Doemner

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Caitlin Cogan Doemner about sex. Do note, that this is not one to listen to with your kids...

Caitlin runs a successful coaching business with her husband. They’re raising four kids. And they have sex every day. Caitlin didn’t think anything of this until she started talking to some friends and realizing they didn’t do the same thing. She credits daily sex with the energy she has to do other things—and she and her husband wrote the book on sex every day. They actually wrote his and hers versions, so you can both read it an be on the same page.

Caitlin has three main tips. The first is to sleep naked, and she offers practical suggestions to make this happen—buying a heated blanket, having a bathrobe at the end of the bed, not co-sleeping. The second is eating from the menu, which encompasses appetizers (anything that gets us ready for sex), side dishes (everything that connects with sex—fantasy, candles, music, narrating what you are doing …), entrees (what brings you to climax), and desserts (what comes after, like cuddling). And third, prioritize pleasure in every area of your life a little bit more—and you cum first.

We talk about having different love languages and how understanding and honoring them is so important. Caitlin needs words of affirmation, while her husband craves touch. Acts of service, quality time (schedule that date night regularly!), are also love languages. We tend to give what we want to receive, but that doesn’t work when we have different love languages. Understanding each other’s language and using it helps lead to more and better sex.

We talk about:

  • Body shame around being naked together
  • Having your husband do bedtime with the kids while you shift from mom mode to wife mode
  • Not faking orgasms but giving your partner a system to get you there
  • Using mutual asking and giving feedback about what you both want in a way that’s not emotionally charged
  • The excuses we come up with — and the benefits we could be reaping (like reducing stress and cortisol levels, a rise in happiness endorphins and so much more)
  • How do deal with “I just don’t feel close to my husband right now/anymore”
  • Doing a two-week trial of sex every day
  • Being convinced that you are beautiful, that you are sexy, that you deserve pleasure—and that you should be enjoying sex.

BIO

Today's guest is Caitlin Cogan Doemner - she's best known for her expertise in sales and business strategy, growing her company, Virtual Coaching Sales, to $600,000 annually in just 4 years, she's published two books and has been invited to speak to entrepreneurs at both Harvard and Westpoint.

But we're talking to Caitlin today about a much more personal topic - her marriage - and her new book "Sex Every Day" which shares the 3-step process she and her husband have used to prioritize their pleasure in the 10 years they've been married - while raising four kids!

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • SLEEP NAKED. One of Caitlin’s first tips is having more sex is to sleep naked. Give it a two-week trial. To help make it work, try sheets you love, a heated blanket if your house is cold, having a bathrobe handy for when you have to get up quickly.
  • KNOW YOUR PARTNER’S LOVE LANGUAGE. We’ve linked to the 5 Love Languages site. If you’re not familiar with love languages, read about them to figure out what your (and your partner’s) primary and secondary love language is. They often aren’t the same, and since we tend to give what we want to receive, there may be a disconnect.
  • TRANSITION OUT OF MOM MODE. Have your partner put the kids to bed while you do something for yourself. Don’t do the dishes or pack lunches for tomorrow. Take a bath. Go for a walk. Do whatever helps you transition out of mom mode so that you can enjoy spending some time with your partner.

Kon Mari Method a chat with my friend Lillia Flores

February 8, 2019

The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.
– Marie Kondo

Three years and a few months ago, I was sitting on the beach trying to relax into a family vacation. It was one of those weeks that had snuck up on me, and I left behind what felt like 100 unfinished projects.

A few days in, I opened the Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and literally read it from cover to cover while the rest of my family swam. We were not too far from home, and when my husband got out of the water, I looked him in the eye and said, “I have to go home.” With that, I packed my stuff and drove the 1.5 hours back to out house, leaving my computer and any work I would be tempted to tackle back at the vacation rental.

Within 6 minutes of getting home, I emptied my closet and 2 drawers, got all clothes from bins in the basement, and all coats from the front hall closet. On my bed was the biggest heap of clothes I had ever seen. I started the process of holding each piece of clothing and feeling if it gave me joy — sounds crazy I know, but 7 hours later I had a pile I was keeping and many trash bags that I was ready to let go of.

It is amazing how different tidying up is with your heart instead of with your head. I highly recommend reading the book, and now you can get inspired by Marie’s new Netflix series.

There are still a few areas left to go in my house, but my closet has been in great shape for 3 years….

“We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” ― Marie Kondō,

Today on the podcast I have my friend Lillia Flores on the show. We both went through decluttering phases at similar time, so I thought it would be fun to talk Marie Kondo with her.

If you don’t know the basics of this method, you focus on a category of stuff at a time—clothes, books, papers, other stuff, with sentimental stuff last. You gather everything from that category and hold each piece and decide if it sparks joy.

Here’s what we talk about:

  • Making the space to make decisions about letting go of things without others weighing in
  • Appreciating what you have and how it has served you – and letting it go if it doesn’t serve you or spark joy any more
  • How to break up the process to fit in your life – making blocks of time to go through a category of stuff
  • What you can learn about yourself by what you choose to keep
  • Creating a sacred space
  • Organizing in a way that makes sense to how you use things (and this doesn’t mean buying lots of new bins and boxes)—creating a flow to your home
  • The joy, peace, and calm that come with clearing out stuff
  • That this is a process to do again and again, that you may notice yourself start to cling to certain things and can find out what that’s about

I’ve created a worksheet to help you declutter  >> Decluttering Worksheet

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode: 

  • SET INTENTIONS & MAKE A PLAN. Use the worksheet to decide how you want to feel in your home and make a plan of some specific things you can do to get there. Some of that may be gathering information (the worksheet has specific ideas), but a lot of it will be blocking out time to do specific tasks.

  • START WITH YOUR CLOTHES. Pull all of your clothes together. Go through them one by one. Hold each one and appreciate it. Notice if it “sparks joy” for you, if you are drawn to it. Notice and follow your gut reaction, not your logical mind. Let go of the things that don’t spark joy, even if your practial side sees the use in them.

 

  • PICK A CATEGORY EACH WEEKEND. The Kon-Mari method breaks things down by category, not location. So pick a category and schedule a block of time to work through it each weekend. Try clothes, books, papers, cooking stuff (which may not all be in the kitchen), office supplies, craft supplies, sports equipment … leave the sentimental stuff for last. Pull all the stuff from your category together. Then work through it. If you feel like you can’t get through it all at once, block off time throughout the week to keep at it until that category is done.