Episode 5: Cutting The Ties That Bind

Breaking up with someone is always awkward, and uncomfortable. But a few years ago I had the McDaddy of all breakups when I had to break up with my BFF.

It was so bad I actually had to seek professional help. Because, how do you tell someone you have been best friends with for thirty years (yep, I said thirty), that you haven’t liked them for the past fifteen and have been trying to figure out how to break up with them for the past ten?

Find out what happened, and why cutting the ties that bind an incredibly empowering experience, and a terrific way to reclaim your human dignity.

Episode 4: Don’t Be Sorry–Just Be You

It’s interesting how some of our habits and patterns are actually self-sabotaging. And we don’t even realize it. However, some of our habits are so self-destructive they can become pathological.

Unfortunately, unless someone brings our awareness to it, we can’t change the pattern that is slowly and methodically chipping away at our personal power. And here is just one example.

How many times a day do you say you’re sorry? And what exactly is it that you are so sorry for? Women especially are always apologizing for one thing or another, even when the situation doesn’t warrant it or there is nothing wrong to begin with.

This episode of The FemiNinja Project addresses the apology pathology of Excessive Apology Disorder. But, never fear–there is a safe and effective way to recover from Excessive Apology Disorder and reclaim your personal power. And, it requires no harmful drugs or intensive therapy. Just good, old-fashioned awareness.

After all, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, restoring your human dignity, and unleashing your personal power.

Episode 3: Simple Ninja Safety Tip

In my previous episode, Super Special Ninja Secret, I shared the nifty little trick of how to avoid an attack. However, you can’t get out of the way if you can’t see it coming. Which is how I ended up getting a glass of wine thrown in my face. It was a waste of good wine, but also a powerful reminder of what can happen when we let our guard down.

I am not talking about being paranoid. I am talking about paying attention to yourself, to your environment, and to other people around you. Looking back, there were very subtle signs that the situation was escalating. But, I simply thought I was having an animated conversation with someone I knew well and cared deeply about. I was wrong.

The truth is that we can’t always see when a hit is coming. But, we can certainly increase our chances of avoiding an attack by training our attention and awareness. Because a distracted person is an easy target, and a perpetrators dream come true. And it all starts with putting down your cell phone.

Your phone should NEVER be in your hand when you are in a public place. It belongs in your purse, pocket, or briefcase. Trust me. Not only is your cell phone the epitome of distraction, you will never know what hit you until it’s over. And you do not want that to happen. Putting your cell phone away is the first part of this simple ninja safety tip. The rest is in this episode.

Be aware, or beware!

Episode 2: Super Special Ninja Secret

One of the first things I learned as a brand new martial arts student was how to get out of the way of an attack. It’s actually a super sneaky and nifty little ninja secret that can help you in a multiple of different situations.

It’s the secret to the infamous “ninja disappearing act.” I’ll just bet you’re rolling your eyes right now, thinking that it’s just not possible for someone to disappear. Think again. It’s a surprisingly simple, easy, and effective technique which can keep you safe in a multitude of different situations.

As I said, it was one of the first things I learned as a brand new martial arts student, and I was really, really good at it. Because anytime one of the guys tried to attack me, I would run off of the mat, screaming like a banshee with my gi top over my head. Not exactly the Ninja stealth my Sensei was trying to teach me, but it worked.

However, once I stopped running, I learned a powerful lesson and a valuable skill that changed my life forever (in a good way), and it can change yours as well.

It might even keep you from getting wine thrown in your face. After all, life is full of hits, and it comes in a variety of different forms. Attacks can be physical, emotional, verbal, and even spiritual. If you simple get out of the way, you can’t get hurt. Or get wine in your face. I guarantee that this is a secret you’ll be happy to have under your belt.

However, if you can’t see it coming, you can’t get out of the way. But, I will save that little secret for the next episode. Stay tuned!

Episode 1: Welcome to The FemiNinja Project!

Exactly one year ago I entered a podcasting contest. At the time, I had no idea what a podcast was, or why I would possibly want one. I entered the contest anyway.

Eight anxiety-filled weeks later and overcoming multiple steep learning curves, the contest was over. I didn’t win, but I was invited to join the platform anyway. I am now flying solo, re-branding the show, and creating a community of like-minded women and men who are dedicated to restoring human dignity and helping people of all ages and walks of life unleash their personal power.

In this first episode, you’ll hear about how (and why) I began training in an ancient Japanese martial art called Ninpo Tai Jutsu, the Art of the Ninja. As a matter of fact, you’ll learn more about me than I ever wanted anyone to know. But, it’s time for me to share my story and stop hiding in the shadows.

I also will share many of the ninja secrets, tips, and tricks I learned in my training that you can apply in every single aspect of your life to keep you safe, strong, establish clear boundaries, and be healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And all without spending 14 years in a smelly dojo getting smacked around by a bunch of sweaty men. I took the hits so you wouldn’t have to. You’re welcome.

Never underestimate the strength and power you have deep inside of you. My mission is to help you unleash that power, Discover that it IS possible to look like a woman, act like a lady, move like a ninja and think like a warrior. And remember, men are always welcome on The FemiNinja Project. After all, I would not be here today if it were not for the many magnificent men in my life.

I am grateful to each and every one of them, and I am grateful to you for listening to the podcast, and starting your own journey into the Art of the Ninja. Sayonara!

Summertime…..and The Grilling Is Easy

Ahhhh….summertime, and the living is easy. And so is the grilling. I don’t know about you, but I do get a little bored with burgers and steaks on the grill. Sometimes I want (and need) something that’s lighter, but still tasty and satisfying.

Fish on the grill is always an option, but let’s face it–living in Denver makes us a bit land-locked, and finding fresh fish choices is a challenge. And, since my husband and I don’t grill it very often, we never get it right. Which leaves me cooking it in the oven, and NOT something I want to do in the heat of the summer. Presuming, of course, that summer will eventually get here. A significant concern, since we got over 2 feet of snow in the high country on the first day of summer.

However, a few weeks ago I hit a home run. And here it is….grilled rock fish and asparagus. Light, tasty, and oh, so satisfying! It is now one of our go-to recipes. Even if my husband is still grilling in the snow.

1 pound rock fish filets

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

2 TBSP butter

2 TBSP capers

1 tsp fresh dill

salt and pepper to taste

1 bunch asparagus (Use the bigger spears. The slender ones do not grill well, and that is the understatement of the century.)

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

sea salt to taste

Lightly salt and pepper the rock fish and place on aluminum foil to grill. Be careful not to overcook. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Add lemon juice, capers, and dill. Stir well. Dribble over the cooked fish.

Cut the asparagus spears in halves or thirds and place in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, ans sea salt to taste. Place on aluminum foil to grill.

Ta-Da! That’s it. Fast, simple, easy, light, healthy, delicious, and a perfect summertime dinner. Enjoy!

Red Booth Writer’s Group

Have you ever sat in a red booth? You know, the old fashioned kind that is the standard in every diner in America? When I was a little girl, it seemed that even the nicer restaurants had red vinyl seats. And you never knew what magic would happen when you slid into one of those seats.

It had been many years since I sat in a red booth. But, this past January, I found myself sitting in one with a remarkable woman. She was a writer and an author, like me. And like me, she had experienced her share of health struggles and pain issues. She also had an incredible amount of sass and tenacity. And incomparable stubbornness. I felt like I met my soul sister.

It was in that red booth that an idea was born. To create a group of writers who could work together to help promote each other and share our work with the world. Since that day, four strangers became good friends, and developed a collaboration that is just short of miraculous. We came, we planned, we talked, and we wrote. Article after article. About our life journeys, lessons learned, struggles encountered and conquered, sweet memories, and life’s ironies.

The Red Booth Writer’s Group was born. Our theme became “Roads Well Traveled….Observations and Conversations.” Our plan was to (gulp), contact local newspapers and magazines to get our work published.

After much patience, perseverance, teamwork, and good old-fashioned hard work, our efforts paid off. Our articles are regularly featured in the opinion section of The Pueblo Chieftain. We even had an appearance in the online magazine “FINALLY!” the longest running magazine for GenX, Baby Boomers, and Seniors.

Every time we get together, we meet at the same restaurant and sit in the same red booth. And every time we get together, magic happens. Just like it did on that very first day. And I cannot wait to see what happens next!

 

My Fixation With Feet

My fixation and fascination with feet started with several years ago when I began studying ballet from an incredible woman, Jayne Persch. She is a teacher with an impressive background and a passion for life-long learning. However, I didn’t get her fixation with feet. And toes.

At the beginning of every class, not only did she have us exercise our toes, she had us play with them! Ewe! I didn’t want to touch my feet, or my toes. What did that have to do with ballet class?

Pretty much everything, as well as general health and well-being. When your feet hurt, everything hurts. But not only that, it interferes with your ability to feel the floor, stand your ground (so to speak),and messes with your balance, posture, and overall health as well.

Here are a few fun facts about feet.

1). Nearly a quarter of all the bones in our body are in our feet, which allows for the remarkable range of movement and flexibility of our feet. (Then why do they sometimes feel like blocks of wood?)

2). Feet function best when the heel and the front of the foot are at the same level. The toes have to be able to freely flex, extend, and spread. I guess that explains the following fun fact. Which is…

3). Women are 4 times more likely than men to experience foot problems in their lifetime. High heels, anyone?

4). There are a myriad of foot deformities and conditions that can cause pain, dysfunction, and make you miserable. Often times, painful injections or surgery are the only options offered. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and I have proof.

Because after my initial resistance, working my feet began to make sense. I did the exercises. I massaged my feet. I even (ack!) massaged my toes and between my toes. I used tea tree oil to help break up the calcium deposits that were interfering with my circulation.

My feet became softer, more supple, and more flexible. They contacted the ground more like cat paws rather than blocks of wood. My bunions got smaller, my toes re-aligned, my crossover toe magically self-corrected, my Morton’s neuroma disappeared. All without surgery.

Although it creeps me out a little to post my feet for all the world to see, here are the results. It took time and dedication, but it was well worth it.

 

I know everyone doesn’t have access to someone as brilliant as my teacher, so I would like to share some resources that I have found to help you change your feet and rock your world if you choose to do so.

The first is a book titled “Whole Body Barefoot” by Katy Bowman. She describes the biomechanics of the feet, toes, ankles and lower legs in a very clear way that’s easy to understand. And she’s funny. Who knew feet could be funny? She also includes techniques for stretching, exercising, and massaging your feet.

Here’s a great article I found that has video to support the information. Click here.

However, the model demonstrates the exercises too fast. They need to be done slowly, meticulously, and with thoughtful awareness to allow for the changes to occur. In the second video, she rolls to the outside surface of her feet as she splays her toes. That actually weakens the ankle joint as well as the inner thigh muscles which are crucial to stabilizing your knee, hip, and pelvic floor muscles.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Yes, it’s that important. Everybody deserves (and can have) healthy, flexible feet. Here’s to your health!

Freedom Isn’t Free

When I was a little girl, we always recognized and celebrated Memorial Day. As a child, I thought I knew what we were celebrating, even though my focus was on one event that was the most important to me. Which was the end of the school year. I hated school. I always did, which is ironic that I ended up being a life-long learner as well as earning a Master’s Degree in physical therapy just 3 months shy of my 40th birthday.

But as an adult I fully understand the incredible sacrifices that have been made by ordinary people who did extraordinary things to allow me the freedom and the ability to make some of the choices that I have made in my life. The freedom that we so often take for granted. The kind of freedom that people have fought and died for over the course of over 243 years. 

It boggles my mind to think about the tremendous amount of courage and determination that drove the founders of this great nation, the men and women, who were willing to put everything on the line for freedom. Their lives, their homes, their families. And the courage that makes the few that answer the call–the call to serve.

For me. For you. For all of us. Every Memorial Day, as we enjoy a 3-day weekend with picnics, cook-outs, beach trips and volleyball, I take a few minutes to  get down on my knees and thank God for my freedom. Then I look at the sky and say to all of those fallen heroes, “Well done. And thank you for my freedom.”

Because as we all know, freedom comes at a high price. Freedom isn’t free. And it never will be.

Seize The Day

A few days ago I woke up feeling heavy and sluggish. Gingerly I rolled over in bed, got up, and staggered toward the enticing aroma of fresh coffee brewing. Ahhhh, coffee! I followed it into the kitchen where my husband and 3 dogs greeted me with wagging tails and a cheery “Good Morning!” Easy for them to say.

Eventually the coffee worked its magic well enough for me to give everyone a pat on the head (including my husband) before going down to my girl cave to get some work done. I also had to clean the kitchen, get dinner in the crock pot, get dressed and head out the door for ballet class. I had a lot to get done, and I was in a crappy mood. I made sure I took my bad mood with me as I made my way downstairs.

But something funny happened. All of a sudden my creative juices began to flow. There I was, writing and working, working and writing. My mood began to shift and I felt lighter, and happier as I pounded away at the keys. Here’s one of my many deep, dark secrets–I can’t type. I never learned how. I’m a writer that can’t type and a physical therapist that hates exercise and thinks that chocolate is food. I giggled at the irony.

I glanced at the clock and got a shock. It was so late I would have to scramble to get dressed in time for class. Forget about cleaning the kitchen and making dinner. I was panicked about being late for class and agitated that I would lose momentum with my work. My bad mood returned.

As I ran around like a crazy person, I stopped cold. What was I doing to myself? I was exhausted, and it was obvious that my stress (as well as my bad mood), was purely self-inflicted. I went back into the kitchen, patted everyone on the head again (including my husband), and sat down to have breakfast with him. Surprised, he asked, “No barre today?” “No,” I replied. “I’m going to stay home, relax, and get some work done.” He smiled and patted me on the head.

There are a lot of life’s lessons in this story. First, we have much more control over our mood than we think we do. All it takes is self-awareness and introspection to lower our stress levels and change the course of our day. Next, it’s important to laugh at ourselves and embrace our idiosyncrasies. Also, sometimes we need to pass on the barre, no matter how tempting it is. Finally,  everyone could use a pat on the head. And a belly rub. It’s good for the soul. Besides, it makes us laugh. Most of all, remember to seize the day, and take charge of your life.