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Following Molly Schiot’s Instagram account, Game Changers / @UnsungHeroines, for several years has been nothing short of inspiring and beyond informative. If you aren’t familiar, the social media account resulted in her publishing the book with the same moniker. She features the unsung heroines of sport history with focus on “founding mothers” of eras gone by. Those who paved the way – our way.
As a competitive gymnast for my entire growing years whose life is built upon a non-stop active lifestyle - snowboarding, surfing, trail running, mountain biking plus dance and yoga – and as a self-made female within business – how could I not be beyond inspired by Molly’s contributions? This year, 2018, has been phenomenal regarding the role of women here on Planet Earth. We have only just begun to shift into a massive transformation. We give thanks to those before us who were not visible nor well represented. It is our honor to continually do so moving forward. The women have spoken – Time Is Up.
Women within health, wellness and related professions, have been barely visible in the past, under-represented and under-served within an arena where they more often than not, quietly rule. This culture of putting our heads down and doing the work while authentically and simultaneously “being the change” has led to where we are today. While there is much more to be say on the ethos of such a vast array of holistic health practitioners, let’s give a little credit where credit is due.
With so little change over time, looking at this wide window of wellness, we’ve been out of f*cks (thanks again, Mark Manson) for quite a while now. As holistic health and outdoor adventure entrepreneurs, the education and inspiration from Molly’s book and social media accounts has been a beautiful daily dose of just the right medicine - oh so high in value. Thankfully, some women have come into this world with enough check marks aligned to push through visibility-wise, voice-wise and glass-ceiling-wise. While others, due to different personal and professional circumstances, are truly unsung heroines.
Lack of credit and respect happens within all professions with the recent blow up at Nike being a perfect example. We were elated to see “disruptors” at Nike making change happen. Within health and wellness professions, both traditional and “alternative”, women are in fullest force. Thnk: registered nurses, elementary and middle school teachers, medical health and service managers, social and community service managers, psychologists and therapists, mental health professionals, human resource professionals, and now the plethora of holistic health and wellness practitioners - yoga teachers, health coaches, life coaches, massage therapists, acupuncturists, structural integration therapists, rolfers, reiki therapists, meditation teachers – too many to list - most of whom cannot bill health insurance companies.
But boy have we “wellpreneurs” been motivated to come alive, to stand our ground, to use our voices, to be heard, valued, receive credit, and hey the paychecks, too.
Within this little series in this tiny little corner of the World Wide Web, we are regular peeps who chose to create lives worth living, to challenge the status quo, learn from hard lessons along the way, and pivot on a dime when necessary. This does not include: famous parents, fantastically progressive upbringings, extra special IQ's, husbands or boyfriends paying our way, trust funds, investors, conventional business nor big business support or sell-outs to back the next biz, outstanding luck, nor a common theme of zero to not much emotional support from the generation who raised us (no discredit there). Solely the great love of what we do and the authenticity, grit, drive, and determination not to settle, regardless of the cards dealt and/or taken on our own accord.
Here’s to unsung heroines and heroes alike. The longtime much needed integration of the masculine and feminine within each of us as individuals and as a society is finally upon us. And we all need one another now. We need YOU now.
Meet Unsung Heroine, Allison Gilbert
While surrounded by women “wellpreneurs”, Allison truly inspired this series. She left Los Angeles to spend time in a small ski-town in Nowhere, Wyoming in the mid 90’s, escaping the concrete jungle and trusting her gut which was begging for adventure. Born and raised in Venice, CA, she never dreamed Venice would blossom into what it has today, for better or worse, and had zero desire at the time to dip back into the city of lost angels where botox and luxury automobiles reign.
After several years whooping it up snowboarding, mountain biking, bartending and working at the local record shop, she gracefully navigated the loss of her only sister, leaving the mountains to pursue her Ph.D. in Public Health. Along the way, she continued to ride bikes, rocked out in a band, created a family, and as always found ways within even a more traditional lifestyle to live a life less travelled.
Now, as a single mother of two young ones, she works as a researcher at a prestigious university and is currently pursuing her newfound love of running. Her social media post this spring saying: "I hired the most expensive babysitter ever this weekend just so I could tag a 12-mile trail run. Best decision ever." was rousing and infectious.
Her work falls into the category of ‘no rest for the weary’. Allison does public health research, aiming to help people who are mentally ill or suffering from addiction get connected to treatment in the community, and out of our jails and prisons. She busts ass to get new grants for her group’s research in an era of slim funding for helping society’s most vulnerable members, and publishes her work in top scientific journals. She’s fighting a worthy fight to help people who are otherwise disdained, ignored, or discarded.
In the aforementioned “Out of F*cks” article on Medium, I mention that I literally bow down to the single moms of the world. Having so many of these true heroines as coaching clients (95% of my clients have been women), I've always been amazed at their ability to once again take matters into their own hands to navigate their overall health and wellbeing – mind, body and soul. We all know within wellness that you cannot properly support those around you without first supporting your own holistic health.
Allison claims she would have paid 10x what she did that day to embrace the great outdoors and breathe deep within this one type of moving meditation, trail running, which can bring priceless peace of mind to one’s day. Holistic health hint: move your body, in some way, every day.
Allison’s first goal of many for 2018 was her first ½ marathon, where she placed 3rd in her age bracket out of thousands of entries. Chalk one up for creating a challenge > sticking to it > experiencing progression > finding fulfillment > feeling freakin’ great. This is the epitome of holistic health within one realm, movement, which eventually ripples into all realms.
This does not mean you must enter a competition. This does not mean Allison’s or anyone’s life for that matter is totally figured out. This is simply one of the foundations of holistic health, utilizing tools and techniques to do away with distraction and place focus on what really matters. From here, we then navigate toward, instead of away from the tough stuff that comes up. This is the trail unsung heroines run daily.
It is with great hope we wellness warriors come together, co-create, co-operate, and learn to use our voices together for the future generations of girls, and boys, whose eyes are upon us. Look out world, 2018 has been a big year and the unsung heroines are now also becoming game changers ⚡
Without stepping on Molly's toes, if you know an inspiring human who is a modern day wellpreneur, athlete, adventurer, traveler, self-made, single person, mom, (ok - or dad) - or whatever you get the jist! - who is getting outside, straight up being rad, and staying as stoked as humanly possible as an unsung heroine in the process, please submit to firstname.lastname@example.org with Modern Day Unsung Heroine in the subject line.
Words cannot portray our gratitude to all unsung heroines past and present for keeping our fire alive.
-Founder, Joni Madere
It’s never too late to pursue a new avenue. Conventional society says we should follow streets X, Y and Z and stay in those lanes for life. Even if we strayed from those paths at a young age, taking the proverbial road less traveled, what has been etched deep in our bones and deep in our cells, can still keep us from going from where we are to where we want to be, despite giving 110%. Shifting this stagnation out of our minds and bodies may take years, even decades, to achieve.
On the other hand, folks who followed what society deemed the “right” direction often find themselves lost later in life. Confused, frustrated, upset and feeling misled, they find themselves begging for something else, something more, something different. Decades of consciconscientiously created plans seem all for naught. The old “mid-life crisis” can truly seep in at any age. Instead of writing it off and attempting to turn away from it, we suggest tuning in.
In both scenarios, guilt, confusion and commitments can prevent us from investigating what is occurring, ultimately seeing a new path, then nailing down the pivot point. Pivoting is a scary move. Entrepreneurs must find ways to turn scenarios around on a dime, surfing each day every day. But not everyone is accustomed to that kind of upheaval or quick shift. Sometimes multiple pivots must take place before we re-navigate toward the direction that truly resonates with us. The avenue that screams from the mountain tops and echos, Hell Yeah.
If we find ourselves asking ourselves: What the hell is going on? Why am I so all over the place? Am I having a mid-life crisis? Am I on the right road? Am I taking care of myself as much as I am meeting the needs and expectations of those around me? Am I only focused on myself and actually pretty unaware of those around me? Why am I simply not stoked about my life? The opportunity to get curious about this state, investigate it, and gain understanding around it always exists
To find our way, we must first ask ourselves, "What is straight-up not working?". We then plow through the stickiness of the situation which requires strength, flexibility, great attention and the willingness to continually adapt to the current moment. Eventually, we emerge on the other side, with the opportunity to foster new-found spaciousness, allow, create new commitments, and pivot.
Drop any comparison to others. Notice when being too hard on oneself. Notice when not being hard enough on oneself. Zillions of people in their 30’s, 40's and 50’s on up have designed new experiences, new pathways, new businesses, new lifestyles, new communities and essentially lives they consider worth living. The choice is ours. What steps can you take to find your fresh version of freedom today?
It’s never too late. We truly have the freedom to change our minds at any time. If any of this resonates with you, our team is here to offer ways, both minimally and maximally exploratory, to tap into your potential, clear what stands in the way, and support your progression. Let’s après.
We nod to the ancient wisdom of nomadic people who knew how to travell well. While leaning progressive we use this archaic spelling of ‘travell’ to tip our hats with respect to those who came before us. They did not question “WTF?” when up against the challenges of a constantly shifting lifestyle. Adaptability and flexibility were the name of the game.
We have become sedentary in this modern life to the point of more humans than not living with disease and dis-ease. Challenging ourselves toward upheaval so that we can uplevel might seem straight up silly. However, motivating ourselves to move is one way to find our freedom. Session it to gain the tools and techniques needed to not only motivate, but excel toward an extraordinary lifestyle.
Much like surfing, the environment of a transient being, nomad, or vanlifer is constantly shifting. The waves are all different. Different in size. Different in force. Some roll slow and some close out hard and fast. The temperature or the wind can shift on a dime. The wind kicks up or the sun suddenly shines and your whole experience changes. The temperature of the water can also vary day to day. So any expectations must be left behind. You never really know what the waves will bring unless you get out there. Expect nothing, gain everything.
Translating surfing to life is great encouragement to relax, lower expectations of any kind, simultaneously challenge ourselves and then notice how we react. How do we adapt to self-inflicted change? How do we adapt to change beyond our control? Are we flexible? Are we rigid? Are we open? Do we shut down? Do we roll with it or do we become uptight?
Once we notice, we can begin to look for tools and techniques to manage our reactions and potentially place ourselves in the right place at the right time to efficiently and effectively ride those waves and in life, find that middle line.
Above all, to travell well, we must stay in today, surfing one day at a time. Train your mind, find your freedom. Let's après.
Also published on Medium.
Go-To Feel-Good Superfood List from 2015
Turns out this list of feel-ggod superfoods from 2015 still rings true today. Once again, we can always count on plants as feel-good superfoods.
Since stress is the ultimate cause of dis-ease attributing to anxiety and depression, plus manifesting as countless physical ailments, here is a super list of superfoods to de-stress.
Plants, plus other gifts of the earth, not only appear in the Top 3, but also show up down the line in the form of teas, mushrooms, and other adaptogenic herbs.
1. Leafy Greens. Plant foods like Swiss chard and spinach are rich in magnesium, the natural “chill pill” which helps regulate the brain-adrenal gland axis.
2. Avocado. Super fruit. Great for brain health and anxiety. Contain potassium which lowers blood pressure. B Vitamins and monounsaturated fats needed for neurotransmitter and brain health.
3. Asparagus. Sulfur-rich. Contains the special B vitamin, folic acid. Low levels of folic acid, linked to neurotransmitter impairment, can lead to anxiety. Plus potassium which lowers blood pressure.
4. Foods with Tryptophan. Turkey and other poultry. Veggie options include pumpkin, potato, walnuts, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, leafy greens and tomatoes. Tryptophan, one of the nine essential amino acids, is what makes us sleepy after Thanksgiving Dinner. Precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps you to feel calm. Tryptophan in the form of meat shows support of reduced anxiety disorders. Go eco as much as possible: organic; free range, grass and vegetarian fed, no GMOs, only the good stuff for your body and brain and loved ones.
5. Fatty Meat. Inflammation is one consideration when it comes to brain health and anxiety. Omega-3 fats have been shown to decrease anxiety. Omega-rich foods like wild salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, and venison can help decrease inflammation and help cortisol and adrenaline from spiking. Go eco as much as possible: organic; free range, grass and vegetarian fed, no GMOs, only the good stuff for your body and brain and loved ones.
6. Raw Cacao. The healing benefits of cacao are miraculous. It can improve your memory, reduce heart disease, shed fat, boost immunity and create loads of energy.
Contains four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries and 119 times more than bananas. This makes it effective in fighting free radicals which cause cancer, helping to boost immunity and preventing disease at large.
Raw cacao also has the mood booster, anandamide or the "bliss molecule," helping create feelings of utopia. Additionally, phenethylamine, which triggers the release of endorphins and other pleasure chemicals making it an aphrodisiac. Its chemicals also help balance mood swings, making it supportive of hormone imbalance from PMS. What’s not to love?
7. Chamomile Tea. Sip on this natural anti-anxiety medicine for its natural calming effect. This soothing, mild tea was shown to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in just a few weeks! Recommended: organic and sustainable offerings.
8. Rooibos Tea. Rooibos, or African red bush tea, is a delicious way to bring a natural calm to your day. Researchers are looking into its effect on cortisol as it seems to have a balancing effect on this main stress hormone. Recommended: organic and sustainable offerings.
9. Full-Fat Kefir. In functional medicine, the gut is considered the "second brain" because it's home to 95% of your "feel good" hormone, serotonin. With more than 100 million neurons, your gut's health is essential to manage anxiety.
Bacterial imbalances in your gut can alter brain chemistry, and kefir, an ancient fermented dairy drink, might just be the most powerful probiotic ever. It also has fat soluble vitamins A, D and K2, all important for brain health. There are plenty of other options in the way of probiotics. Session It
10. Adaptogenic Herbs. The term adaptogen refers to plant-based compounds that promote ‘balance” within a biochemical pathway. Adrenal adaptogens, as a de-stress example, are commonly used to support both underactive as well as overactive adrenal gland activity. Think of adaptogens as balancing your system in the same way the thermostat balances the temperature in your home. They are both gentle and powerfully effective. Best way to employ them is to consult our functional medicine doctor to be sure you are consuming exactly what your body and brain need. No two human biocomputers are alike and what works for a pro athlete may not work for you. Contact us today.
11. Mushrooms. Healing mushrooms are one of the most natural and accessible types of medicine on the planet. The reason they are so effective when taken for medicinal purposes is because humans share 30-50% of the DNA found in mushrooms. They are an excellent source of Vitamin D which in deficiency is linked to much dis-ease from heart disease to depression. Test drive the following:
Lion’s Mane – a prized neuro-regenerative supplement. Aids brain fog while boosting cognitive function. Calming.
Cordyceps – increase stamina, endurance, and act as a gentle stimulant, increasing energy, reducing fatigue.
Reishi – numerous benefits, but reishi fight mood disorders. Natural anxiety remedy. Help heal adrenal fatigue leading to increased energy. Mood booster.
We love to eat, so if we can de-stress, sleep well, let go of anxiety and feel good in the process, all the better. These superfoods will make you go “Ahhhhhhh”. Questions? Session It