Healthier, Happier Me – A workshop dedicated to simplifying health.

This year, pass on all the generic resolutions you’ve made in years past and commit to be being a better version of yourself.

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Why aren’t you there yet?

Why  do you keep coming so close, but can’t seem to ‘seal the deal’ ?

What’s holding you back?

The answer to all of these questions is YOU.

We understand making positive life changes can be overwhelming. As individuals, Julie and I have both had to overcome intimidating obstacles throughout our lives. It was these challenges that sent us on our personal journeys to discovering how to create health and happiness.  What we found was change lies in simplicity. Western society has made a very simple process seem terribly complicated. By simplifying our daily approach we are able to get out of our ways, so to speak, and finally live the life we have been dreaming of. Many are misinformed on how to create sustainable change in their lives and they surrender to the feelings of hopelessness. This mass mis-education was the sole purpose we created ALIGN. Our desire is to share with all of you the simple steps to healthy living.

“Awareness is the Prerequisite for Change” 

~Paul Chek

We invite you to begin 2015 by embarking on a health journey with us for three Saturdays this January. We will guide you through a simple four step process that begins with recognizing your dream or goal(s). It is through the discovery of your dream that you are able to create sustainable life change. The following steps will help you gain access to the vitality you need to build a lifestyle that supports accomplishing  your dream or goal(s). We will teach you how to eliminate the common struggles associated with making positive life changes. Acknowledgement of your dream or goal backed by a healthy lifestyle turns “I have to” into “I WANT TO“.

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This workshop is geared towards anyone who has ever asked themselves the following questions:

What do I want to do with my life? (What’s my dream?)

I know what I want to do with my life (my dream), but how do I accomplish it?

How do I distinguish between my dream and my goal(s)?

Can I be healthy without dieting?

Why can’t I get rid of this last 10lbs?

Why do I feel tired all day?

Does being healthy have to be so hard?

Why can’t I stay motivated?

How do I get out of pain?

During the six hours we spend together work-shopping we will answer all of these questions plus many more. Our goal is to educate you on how to fulfill your dream by balancing the four key life factors: Happiness, Diet, Quiet, and Movement.

Each attendee will receive:

~ A personal binder that will include: goal setting worksheets, metabolic typing handout, a customized rotational diet plan, food/sleep/exercise logs, and many more educational handouts.

~Instruction on how to perform and incorporate simple breathing exercises into your daily routine.

~A primal pattern movement routine designed to get your body moving in the way nature intended.

~Access to our ALIGN Tribe closed Facebook group where we share information and answer questions daily.

~ 3 weeks of access to our Semi-Private training sessions

When: Saturdays on January 10th, 17th, & 24th from 10am – 12pm

Cost: $300

Sign up NLT January 7th. Workshop limited to 10 (Only 7 spots currently available.)

For questions or to schedule a free 20 minute consultation fill out the contact form below.

Starbucks and Your Inner-voice

Standing behind the counter as a barista at Starbucks was one of the most irritating and infuriating experiences of my life. I was angry. I was angry and helpless as I stared into the eyes of the hungry beast; the hungry beast that I was feeding day in and day out. Customers would give me the once over and ask, “what do you get here?” “Nothing,” was my short reply.  I secretly began to love the offended look on their face as I bashed their (Smeagol voice) precious. And well, I didn’t bash it necessarily, I just didn’t give lip service to their precious chemical addiction. Having been caught in its clutches myself, I didn’t find much humor in it.

Starbucks has done much better than other destructive corporations. They paint quite a beautiful facade with phrases like “We do this together…” and “Corn syrup-free, because we care.” They’ve made what is no better than fast food seem somehow gourmet provoking the thought that it must also be healthier, right?

I’ll break it to you gently. It’s not.

Coffee farming is among the most environmentally destructive and Starbucks has ONE, I repeat ONE fair trade and organic coffee. That means every other coffee, including their IN-famous espresso bean is laden with chemicals and is NOT fair trade, shade grown, or chemical free. They don’t stop at the coffee. Their teas have chemical flavorings, their pastries have 1/2 page ingredient labels in font size 5. Let’s face it what isn’t good for mother nature isn’t good for us.

But WHY? Why is it so difficult to find good coffee, a decent pastry, and a sandwich that isn’t destroying the planet and your gastrointestinal track? I’ll tell you: it’s because people still buy it. The only reason that places like Starbucks are still in business is because they have customers. They have customers busting down the door at 4AM! They’re kicking customers out at 10PM. They have lines out the door on the weekends and holidays.

Their poison has been tasted. It’s been tasted by young and old and it tastes good. And it is poison. It’s the worst kind. The chemical addiction that lays hold of your taste buds, excites your central nervous system, and quietly whispers this is wrong. But we’ve been conditioned. Conditioned to believe the feel-good, bull-shit marketing that makes no true claim. It only spoon feeds your tiny desire to trust until it’s grown big and strong and now you’re a follower: a devote Starbucks drinker. No coffee is as good, no store is complete without that grassy green color accenting the pictures of fake people faking joy, and no other espresso is quite right. Now they have you in their grasp. Except YOU are the one in control. You are the one cradling your precious in the palms of your hand, gently caressing its sweet, sweet flavors as it silently kills you from the inside out.

This is what has been labeled as addiction. It’s powerful. It destroys through perceived slavery. Addiction is the captor of the mind which lays waist any empowering belief, any hope of escape, and most of all it tells you you’re free. It tells you that you’re living life! You’re enjoying experience! Until you don’t anymore, until the pain which you’ve inflicted upon your body will not be quiet any longer and no amount of chemical substance can make it shut up: no coffee is enough to wake you, no drink or drug enough to lose yourself, and no chemical is enough to fill your belly.

We’ve all been addicted and if you haven’t you’re a bull-shitter and I invite you to quit lying to yourself. I meet addicts all day long. Only it’s usually not the drunks and the druggies. I talk to the disciples of Starbucks and the “casual” drinkers (they only drink a little bit everyday). I talk to the fast-food-on-the-weekends people. In other words, I chat with quite a few people who don’t want to know that they’re addicted.

And I understand; it’s not fun knowing that you need to change in order to heal. It’s not easy knowing that healing is on the other side of your personal monster. It took me two years of pain every. single. day. for me to start making changes. Seriously. I had what I now know to be candida over-growth. It hurt to eat. It hurt to eat anything. It especially hurt to eat healthy, unprocessed foods like a salad. But deep down I knew this wasn’t right, this wasn’t normal, and I shouldn’t be living off of yogurt, butter croissants (from Starbucks), coffee, and reduced fat turkey bacon sandwiches (also from Starbucks), and, oh, coffee. My inner voice was screaming at me to change. So I did the painful thing which I new to be true. I went right for the jugular (a trick I learned in kung fu). I quit coffee cold turkey. I started drinking mint tea. I quit dairy. And I starting eating raw salad. Yes, the thing that hurt me the most. I ate salad every. single. day and it hurt, until it didn’t hurt anymore.

Along the way I made a lot of health discoveries and I’ve managed to become healthier and healthier every year. So I’m inviting you in a wordy way to take ownership over your choices. Take ownership over your health and well-being. Because as much as society tries to silence your inner voice, it’s still there. It’s just been muffled. Take your hand off its mouth and listen. It will tell you what to do, where to go, who to see and how to heal.

Love, Jules

100 Day Gong

Tonight Julie and I started our 100 Day Gong.

What is a Gong?

A Gong is a continuous Tai Chi practice of a 100 days. A hundred days in a row is encouraged for one to receive optimal Tai Chi cultivation. If a day is missed, the gong is broken and it must be started over. Each session should be at least ten minutes long.

Tonight we chose to do our practice on the beach just after the sun set. We initially set out timer for eleven minutes (my numerology). When the timer went off, we were both hungry for more. So we reset our timer for another eleven minutes. On our drive home from the beach we agreed twenty-five minutes will be our new minimum. It took the first eleven just to get my mind to settle and allow my body-breath rhythm to sync.

If you would like to learn more about the practice of Tai Chi, please join us at ALIGN on Saturday mornings at 9am for a fifty minute session lead by Julie.
All ability levels are welcome.

We invite you all to make time for your own daily spiritual practice be it through a barefoot walk on the beach, ten minutes of meditation, or through cultivation of inner stillness through Tai Chi.

Connect. Condition. Create.
~B

Reflection in a Baby Bok Choy

One of my favorite ingredients to put in a stir fry is baby bok choy.  Funny thing is if you asked me what a baby bok choy taste like, I am not sure I could describe it. I think it tastes like celery, but then again, I put celery in my stir fry as well, so that’s probably just the celery I taste.

For me the pleasure I receive from the baby bok choy does not come from consuming it.  I get great satisfaction from the flower pattern than is left when I chop the bottom off.  As simple as it is I find it so fascinating. Every. Single. Time. So much so that I even leave the left over flower sitting on the window sill in our kitchen, just above the sink. For the following weeks, until it dries up and no longer looks like a beautiful flower, I acknowledge it with admiration every time I wash the dishes.

About two weeks ago I made a stir fry. As you have already guessed I placed the bottom of the baby bok choy in the window sill. I can’t recall exactly if it was the next day or the day after, but I noticed there was a tiny green spec in the middle of our baby bok choy flower. So I watered it.

The next day the spec was a full blown sprout.

Fast forward approximately two weeks to today.

Today has been a rough day for me. Actually, truth be known, the last few months have been rough. When one decides to peel an onion, one should be expect a few tears. This is the best way I can summarize the change(s) that are taking place in my life, or more accurately inside of me.

Being an athlete I have always regarded the human body with such great awe.  The athletic feats I have witnessed both women and men accomplish through out my life are astonishing, sometimes seemingly impossible. BUT they all pale in comparison next to our bodies most amazing gift, it’s ability to protect itself against traumatic experience. The human body is a trauma suppressing machine. Until it isn’t…

At some point our body begins to speak to us. Usually it is in the form of a whisper telling us something is out of place. Like a reoccurring thought we can’t seem to shake. Problem with whispers is they are easy to ignore.

So our body gets louder. The thoughts are no longer reoccurring, they are now occurring, at every moment of everyday. But now it’s not just mental, we physically feel ‘off’, too. But no worries, our conditioning is proper. We believe that this is what is supposed to happen, the process of aging.

This back and forth exchange between our body and our mind keeps taking place. It warns us, we ignore the warning signs. This process may take months or years, but at some point our body’s amazing ability to protect us against the traumatic experiences we have undergone is no longer effective.

I reached my ‘ineffective point’ a few years ago. Luckily for me, I had access to a greater understanding that I could silence my body, by dealing with the trauma I had been suppressing for most of my life, or my body would eventually silence me, permanently.  (Yes, that may sound a bit dramatic but look around, how many people do you know that are REALLY living? Auto-pilot isn’t living, by the way.)

Those of you who have made the tough changes, the life saving ones, know that the first step isn’t the hard one. That’s actually an easy step to take. It’s those damn steps right after you think you got the healing process figured out and your body presents you with something you weren’t prepared for. A release of such great magnitude you question if the healing process is even worth all the effort.

That experience is where I was this morning. As I unconsciously returned to a past place and released out loud my doubts, anger, fear, and pain. I found  myself wrapped in my wife’s arms with my head on her shoulder. I glanced toward the kitchen window and there in the window sill was the baby bok choy, growing.

15 Seconds…

I had a really enlightening conversation this morning with a friend (Thanks Wendy!) that ended with us talking about ‘Awareness’.

I’ll share with you what I shared with her.

For me awareness is that 15 seconds I take to pause before I engage another. This 15 seconds allows me to consider that the entity in front of me is human, just like me. And just like me, they are dealing with a lot of compressed emotions. And just like me, they want to know everything is going to be OK. And just like me, above all things, they to want to love and be loved.

The majority of my life that 15 seconds was non-existent. I didn’t take the time to show compassion or understanding for where a person was at in their journey. I just fought fire with fire, action with reaction. I piled pain on top of more pain. By acting this way I delayed both my healing and growing process. Unknowingly, I was stuck in a world of ‘Me’.

I have begun my journey past my survival state of existence where I only consider “I” or “me” and into a thriving state of existence where I consider “WE”. All the time spent taking care of my body, all the lectures/documentaries I’ve viewed, all the books read, all the courses taken, the endless writing in journals, insightful conversations had with others (and myself), and the moments when the Universe reveals it’s amazing connective power to me… when its all added up, it equals 15 seconds.

I would invite you all to extend this gift of 15 seconds to the individuals who you encounter today and through out the Holiday season. Others may not possess the ability to reciprocate or appreciate what you are offering, but do it anyways.

~Be the Change

B-Ray

Practicing Connection

Don’t you love those moments when you FEEL so ALIVE? Dipping your toes into the cold ocean, walking in the moonlight, hearing exciting news, seeing something wonderful happen, feeling the rain on your skin, or tasting something delicious like ice-cold watermelon on a hot day.

I love those moments. I live for those moments and while those moments wouldn’t be “those moments” if they happened all the time I still desire to live in one of them forever. Don’t you?

So I wonder, what is it about that feeling? Why do I get the same feeling of wonder during different experiences?

My belief is this: it’s a feeling of connection. It’s tasting the life that is all around us. It’s a tiny awakening within our being that reminds us we are all connected. We are all alive. And when I say we I mean WE: the dirt, the plants, the rocks, the trees, the water, the sky, the animals, and the people. We, collectively are all alive.

So, while I long to stay in that awakened consciousness it does not stick around as easily when I am rushing to work or doing necessary chores. The awakening, the feeling of connection then becomes a discipline: a pattern or habit of thought.

It is the discipline of seeing life in everything, not just the sweet eyes of a puppy or the soft skin of a baby, but in the ants that annoy you, in the vegetables on your plate, in the cotton of your clothing. Something had to die so that you may live. Something dies everyday so that something else may live. The plants eat the fungi in the dirt, the insects eat the plants, the animals eat the insects, and so on and so forth.

There is no living without dying.

When I realize that it becomes an honor to exist here and now. My life however small it may be in this vast universe is important, because today I am the physical manifestation of life. All that fuels me and passes on to a new experience within my body allows me the strength and the love to share the connection and the awakening with everyone else.

In everything that you or I do we have the opportunity to practice connection and awakening. There is no task too mundane and no meal too small to be insignificant within our experience – everything we do matters and everything you and I do has the power to make a difference.

Let’s make a difference together.

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Living on the Fence

For many years I chose to travel along the neutral top of the fence. Looking down from my perch I could understand why one might choose to travel along either side, but for me there was certain level of safety on top of the fence.

Remaining on the fence allowed me to proclaim the benefits of both sides while renouncing the cons but never forced me to bare the responsibility of owning either. In a sense, I was having my cake and eating it too, or at least so I thought.

At the time what I was failing to recognize was that my attempt at living neutral was not derived from the oh-so-smart part of my big brain I boasted. No, it was not intelligence or uncanny insight that had me tight rope walking my way between sides, it was fear.

Yup. I was terrified to choose a side.

What if I was wrong?

What if I chose a side and none of my friends, family members, or clients approved?

What if they all abandoned me?

I was terrified of the repercussions of jumping down. But it wasn’t just the repercussions of the potential lost relationships, it was the burden of responsibility, too. By picking a side I would have to own it. I’d actually have to live out in the open for all to see, for all to judge. Choosing might lead to losing. I couldn’t talk myself into taking that risk.

All those “what-ifs” weren’t mine, they belonged to Fear.

Fear is like a Vampire, for it to get to you you gotta invite it in. Once you do, it just starts sucking the life out of you. That is exactly what happened when Fear became my roomie.

Eventually (and fortunately), balancing on that fence became exhausting. My nervous system was taxed. My adrenals couldn’t take any more. Living in the middle had me attempting to please both sides all the time. Some of you know this feeling. It S-U-C-K-S. Big time. I was going through life being what the person in front of me needed me to be at that moment.

While I must admit there was a small amount of pride I felt for my chameleon-like abilities, mostly I was tired and lonely. Living Agnostically was no longer an option.

So I hopped down off the fence.

And I was right. There was judgement. People I cared deeply for chose to no longer be in my life. I lost friends and clients.  I felt depressed and  began to doubt my decision. I found my Self staring at the fence thinking about climbing back up on top of it.

I was frustrated. I cried. Screamed. Broke a lot of things. Lost my shit on more occasions then I would like to admit. Got angry, sad, angry again… and then out of seemingly no where, I got really freaking happy.

This hurricane of emotions turned out to be the purging process I needed to let go. When I un-balled  my fist it exposed my palms to receive.  New relationships began to flow into my life. I found myself surrounded by like-minded individuals whose dreams aligned with mine. They motivated me, encouraged me, and challenged me to be the best version of myself I could be. They actually liked me.

Not only did I receive new relationships but also peace. I felt calm inside. I was learning to be OK with Billy. I no longer had to validate myself through my relationships. I could simply be. The being has lead to doing.

Making the decision to live life on my terms was uncomfortable, but not nearly as painful as living on the fence.

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